Five years ago, a reader got in touch after her Returning Childhood ‘Sweetheart’ breezed back into her life after nearly 20 years, Future Faked and Fast Forwarded her off her feet, gradually started to blow lukewarm, then cold, and then unceremoniously dumped her for a woman closer to home because he couldn’t handle the long distance…even though she was moving there. Devastated, as she thought this was her second chance after nearly a decade long dating hiatus, she couldn’t comprehend how he could bust her heart into a million pieces all over again. Yet would you believe it, just like Mike Myers in Halloween, this man is back for a third attempt.

Now at this point, there are two paths to choose between: the path of least resistance, or change? So what do you think happened next?

She went down the path of least resistance, re-engaged, and started contemplating a third future with him. He admitted that he has issues (no sh*t Sherlock) but then made no indication of whether he is dealing with them and in fact seems resigned to them. When he got in touch the second time, it was after his divorce and this time, he’s got in touch after his relationship with the woman he left he for has ended. Flattering, not. He doesn’t really have anything to offer, he hasn’t dealt with the issues that broke their relationship, he doesn’t like to be alone, and he’s basically looking for a quick fix from the woman he can always rely on to get a good reception.

I was horrified that she would actually even contemplate putting her hand back in the fire again, not least because this man has had her heart and her hurt for all of her adult life. Where does this end? She’s not alone – I heard from a reader who has been doing this for fifty years.

As I was shoving stuff into the washing machine, I thought of this woman’s mother who passed away recently and made her promise that she’d go and live her life. I then thought of some of the very heart-wrenching comments and emails that I read from so many others in the same situation and then it came to me:

When your ex who broke your heart for whatever reason, comes back into your life, it’s an opportunity, just not for what you think.

As I said to her “He could equally be back to give you an opportunity to make things right with you and knock this whole palaver squarely on the head. It’s a test of your resolve, your emotional backbone, and an opportunity for you to gain closure, not so much on him (although this will be gained), but also on the things that have rumbled around in your head all of these years. You have an opportunity to grab your regrets and knock the wind out of their sails.” This could be you.

Life keeps throwing you the same lessons until you heed them – what are you supposed to be learning here? What have you learned that you need to apply to this situation?

Just because they’re back, it doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to get back together – it’s an opportunity to close the door, firmly. It’s an opportunity to apply the insights you’ve gained since your last go round into affirmative, empowering action.

You can never have too much regrets when you’re willing to listen to yourself and the feedback from your life and grow as an individual – regret kicks in when time passes and you find yourself in the same situation and you realise that your mentality and what you’re doing hasn’t changed.

If you’ve blamed yourself during an ex’s absence and in spite of their actions, denied, rationalised, minimised, and excused very obvious indications of why you’re not supposed to be together, you are highly likely to miss out on this valuable opportunity because you’re too busy trying to be the exception to the rule and have your fantasy ‘ending’.

I recently heard from a Mr Unavailable, who was gutted after making a bid for his second go round nearly forty years after cheating on his ex and finding himself blocked and with a warning from the po-po not to get in touch again. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just inject himself into her life and have an attempt to redeem himself. He had his chance, it’s over, and it’s just not flattering to think that someone has nothing better to do with their time whether it’s been months or years, to do nothing but hope you might show up one day with a text, email, or even friend request on Facebook!

When you feel helpless to life, it’s easy to think that another entity with their own agenda that keeps showing up because they have the tenacity of a cockroach after a nuclear bomb, is where you’re destined and that it’s a sign of their love.  

What it is a sign of, is that when they go through their mental Roladex of who is most likely to still hold them in high regard because they’re living in the past, they think of you. They tend to get in touch after they’ve hurt someone else, so that you can pump them up and give them a clean bill of health, like “Look, I’m not that bad! My ex who I’ve effed over a few times will still give me the time of day!” Then they launch themselves into their next relationship.

You have an opportunity. Use it well. You can draw a line under this and handle them with the high esteem you only wish you could have had the last time, or you can go for a repeat. You can give them all the power for how your life will be, or you can grab it back. Remember that nobody can breeze up in your life time and again and wreak havoc in it without your consent. They will stop contacting when you stop engaging because you’re no longer granting them access.

When life throws you lemon exes, make lemonade and squeeze them out of your life.

Oh and you’ll be pleased to know that the reader has flushed.

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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215 Responses to When Your Ex Returns AGAIN, It’s An Opportunity To Do Right By You

  1. Ta'Shana says:

    I am guilty of past episodes of allowing my heart to have a revolving door mainly due to my “give them the benefit of the doubt” nature. But you get tired. At least if I have to go through the same hurt, Lord let it be with someone different! LOL! Seriously, you have to be wise enough to discern when someone considers you as “the runner-up”. Thank you for this post and ESPECIALLY this part:

    “…They tend to get in touch after they’ve hurt someone else, so that you can pump them up and give them a clean bill of health, like “Look, I’m not that bad! My ex who I’ve effed over a few times will still give me the time of day!” Then they launch themselves into their next relationship…” SO VERY TRUE!

    • FX says:

      That is so, so true! I am so done being that ex. This whole post is so spot on and empowering. Thank you as always Natalie!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I’ve never had any of my exes come back and ask for a relationship – if they do come back, they ask for the friends package/dangle the Application To Join Assclown Harem Form.

      I love the photo. Wish I could share it on FB.

  2. fifi says:

    Completely 100% spot on, spookily close to my story.

    20 years ago my ex and I broke up and he kept coming back, to the point where I just left the country to go back home – because I couldn’t say no properly.

    He got in touch again 18 months ago, future faked to beat the band. We were engaged within 2 weeks – he’d recently got out of a 10 year relationship and yes – was looking for someone not too demanding to make him feel better about dumping her – and luckily I wasn’t in the same country so he could have his fake relationship a couple of days a month – enough sex to tide him through while he recovered, but not too much contact to make him feel constrained.

    He moved over to where I lived and that’s when he realized he had been deluding himself. Unfortunately he continued to fake it, consciously this time, until he dumped me from a height (no warning, loving texts etc) just after Christmas.

    I think a big driver was the fact I started looking at wedding venues – didn’t I KNOW it was all on his timetable??? It amuses me now to think how he just ran.

    That’s when I found this wonderful site, that for me just reduces their behaviours into recognizable patterns that I can understand and handle – and you have helped me keep looking at the situation from behind my own eyes, honouring my feelings, instead of what I would have done otherwise – basically coached him through finishing with me lol.

    I can just feel he’ll be in touch again, I know his patterns. I’d started to rehearse what I’d say – I’d been afraid I’d fall for it, or just that the contact would set me back.

    But I know I just have to keep focused on how I see the situation, how I feel and most importantly, how I could not be with someone who could not honestly or ever discuss with me what he truly felt.

    Very timely post, these things can’t be said often enough.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      That’s truly unbelievable! Open and shut case of a*sholery! *Bang* *Bang* (banging NML’s gavel). FLUSH! NEXT!

      I have to say, I feel vulnerable sometimes to know that ACs and EUMs are disguised within relationships. Often I used to think if someone was a playa/assclown that they’d be single or have problems starting an LTR – it seems that this is not the case and I have to be extra careful not to make correlations. I mean 10 years – you’d think they’d be adept at commitment??

      • fifi says:

        You made me laugh taa:)
        Yeah – I admit I thought, and said – but, but you’ve managed to be in a relationship for 10 years – surely you’ve learned something? About communication at the very least??

        But then he countered to say it hadn’t been working for 5-7 of those years. And actually I remember he contacted me 3 years into that relationship via email to ask me why he always got bored after a time in a relationship. I told him to go travel the world and find himself. Ironic that he SAYS that’s what he wants to do now lol. Maybe I can just console myself with – I was right! (faint cheer)

        The poor girl, I hope she is reading these posts. At least it was only 18 months for me. I’m very sure he did the future fake with her too.

        Starting calling them on their future fake early on (wedding venue etc), that will flush them out:)

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          But then he countered to say it hadn’t been working for 5-7 of those years. And actually I remember he contacted me 3 years into that relationship via email to ask me why he always got bored after a time in a relationship.

          I was within the grappling phase with the EUM for about 5 months – up, down, rollercoaster, cat and mouse, sea sick feeling. I don’t know how people put up with this FOR YEARS and even DECADES. It is really sad actually :(

        • Aimee says:

          @ fifi

          I did that – flushed him out early in his future faking, unfortunately I stayed cause I thought I would be the exception and wanted to buy into the fantasy. It was actually quite funny what I did tho – he kept talking about us making a baby – I was 43 then, so I threw it out at him that the doctor said I could still hae a baby – wasn’t that great?? THEN the change – oh this is going too fast, slow down baby!! LMAO!!!

    • titi says:

      FIFI, please, don’t answer him at all. The thing is as long your are thinking about the possibility of him coming back, you live in fear and you keep focusing on him instead of focusing on YOURSELF. You are not supposed to explain yourself to a nutcase. Period. Flush and move on with your life.

  3. natslayer says:

    Man I wish this post went up exactly 3 months ago! Managed to flush him after 7 weeks and some really dubious behavior. Now will be prepared to have one hand on the flush handle if the creep comes crawling back for an ego stroke.

  4. Lisa says:

    This is like reading about my own life. Three try ups and four years. Always ended up the same way. Been on NC for 4 months now, the longest time ever. But now for the first time i KNOW i wont ever reconsider us again. Finally starting to feel good about myself and i will never give that up to be with him or a person like him. My worst relationship but also the one that has taught me the most. About who i am, who i want to be and what my boundaries are. Finally ive found my self esteem and self respect. Feel happy and in a weird way lucky :)

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Trying to hold down the compulsion is very hard indeed. Closure would be much easier if they were just hit by lightning or deported, rather than have to see them around all the time.

  5. Robin says:

    This reminds me of an Asian drama called The Fierce Wife where the wife’s ex-husband cheats on her with her cousin/niece (forget which one) and on top of that decides to divorce her so he can be with her cousin/niece. She’s constantly forced to deal with them mostly because she feels her daughter still needs a consistent father figure in her life. However, she gradually becomes a stronger woman than she was at the start. At the series finale, when her ex husband “sees the light” and how wrong he was, he tells her he loves her, and she completely rejects his advances. I still remember the words:

    “I love you, too…..but I’ve already moved on.”

  6. grace says:

    I thought it was SO AMAZING and significant that my ex of twenty years ago washed up again. But a few months on BR made me realise this happens ALL THE TIME and it’s not that special. Not only that, he hasn’t picked us because we’re oh-so-fantastic (though we are are) it’s because we are CONVENIENT and EASY. We aren’t the women who will tell him to take a running jump. Though, in the end, I did cut him off and block him from facebook. And while I was at it, I cut off another EUM who’d been in and out of my life for over 20 years . I thought THAT was because of some amazing connection. The only amazing thing about it was how I let that go on so long.
    At the time, I thought I had lost something but I’ve only gained. I may not have another relationship again but if I do there won’t be any garbage men (and I don’t mean the useful men who empty the bins) in my life I need to explain or accommodate. I’m free of it.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Yup, I’m with you Grace. I had no idea how this happens all the time until I struck pay dirt with BR, all of you, and Natalie. Humm, it’s so NOT special. It’s convenient and easy. That’s not special.
      Natalie, I don’t know how you day after day to continue to hit the nail on the head . You truly have a tremendous gift and I’m always so amazed and grateful for your time. I’m a classic case of putting my hand back in the fire. Since I’m turning 53 next month, I don’t have time to put my hand back in the fire for fifty more years or two more years for that matter. At some point, there is no point. After the last meet up with the very exMM, I saw the graphic you posted. Another attempt at the fairy tale, oh so tempting, but nope. That’s a well trodden path for me and it ended with a cliff. The path of least resistance didn’t work either, and my father’s favorite line. Still ended up with a cliff. It’s time to choose the path of change and close that chapter forever. I loved the bonfire graphic. This one is really, really helpful to me right now too. I’ve sat at that bonfire and I’m at the fork in the road. But thank you so much for helping me see how I want to keep the fire burning, attempt the fairy tale (exception to the rule) and take the least path of resistance. At least I know there is the uncomfortable yet comfortable cliff down that path. What’s down the other path?

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        In my dark days of NC, I’d wonder whether they’d change, whether they realised anything, whether it could work if only I were different. I think this is what primes up to be receptive to their cr%p.

        That, and I had a bad bad case of “I Can’t Believe They’re An Assclown Syndrome” and playing Diagnosis Assclown or wondering if I ‘fixed’ the things I (misguidedly) thought turned them away from me that some good would come from it.

        Moving to change was hard because I had a smoldering wreck of supernovae assanovae and hadn’t yet seen or glimpsed what a better life I could have (now). Sometimes I feel cheated that I didn’t even get a real relationship out of this and basically had a non-break up from a non-relationship that had non-meaning. Very disappointing.

        I’ve learned to use my boundaries and each time I use them I get more adept at using them and enforcing them.

        • CrumbsNoMore says:

          “Moving to change was hard because I had a smoldering wreck of supernovae assanovae and hadn’t yet seen or glimpsed what a better life I could have (now). Sometimes I feel cheated that I didn’t even get a real relationship out of this and basically had a non-break up from a non-relationship that had non-meaning. Very disappointing.” tired-of-assanova.
          Tired, I know what you mean! I was in a similar situation, I’m healing from it, dang it did a number on me. But I’m a survivor, you are too. It does get better each day of NC, why? Bc we’re not dealing with “new pain,” just old pain. Choosing ourselves over scavenging for crumbs. For an update, I have been in NC with my ex Mr.EUM/AC for weeks & no longer work @ the same co as him. Quite a relief esp since he decided to act even more distant & unfeeling when I was back there. It was the most insane thing, he would text,email, and/or im me regularly asking me ? an stuff but never asked me out or even to hang out (though he claimed to be single, asked me personal questions, told me personal things about himself & I caught him checking me out a bunch of times!!), sometimes called me, but rarely talked to me in person there, he would follow me around a 1/4 of the time like a shadow but then not say a word! just observe me & finally usually I would say something, it made me feel like less than a human being. Like I was the “secret flirty friend” or just “the person I contact when I’m bored…” Sad. I letmyself be played with like a doll. So freakin hurtful. Why? Because I let myself get attached. He used me and dropped me after months of that w/out a word. I know, it’s a good thing b/c it wasn’t a healthy relationship. I wish I had left months ago, the min I sensed that things weren’t “normal” & felt embarrassed to share my situation with anyone. I’m a real woman, darn it, and I deserve more than a Peter Pan…

    • sm says:

      Thank you Grace. you just clarified something I’ve been wrestling with. A guy I dated just a few times, whom I met through Fb two years ago, jumps at any form of communication I do on FB that he feels is directed at him. Its just a minor annoyance but I’ve been wrestling with removing him. He never did anything bad to me, so I keep wondering if its mean to delete him. We are not friends, I am just annoyed at his attention and I can stop that by removing him. I think its probably a good idea, I’m not interested in keeping up with him and there is no need for him to keep up with me.

  7. CJ says:

    It has been six months since my ex dumped me after future faking fast forwarding and breaking up with me over & over, he was narcissistic, controlling and social path. He charmed me good at the beginning. But baggage reclaim has helped me understand the behavior and I value and respect myself now and happier than ever, and I won’t settle again. To top things off he had a psycho ex wife that tried to start constant grief,vshe did not want him but did not want anyone else to have him, he never once defended me either, I laugh to myself now because he really was not that special and won’t change, one sided and his way or no way. I thank my lucky stars he is history and pray for his next victim.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Overused word alert – “Psycho”. That’s what they all say – its always someone else’s fault.

  8. jennynic says:

    I had a high school ex return after 20 years out of nowhere, tried to future fake me, to say how he has been thinking about me for 20 years and wanted me in his future. Two years later he’s still sending these gushing love emails and no action what so ever has occurred. When I did try to contact him by phone he didn’t answer me for over two weeks. It was completely ridiculous that he thought I was actually going to have an email fantasy relationship with him. I told him to take a hike, and he got all indignant and said he was only trying to go slow. I laughed out loud. The ridiculousness of the whole thing was amusing. He kept saying he wouldn’t give up on me. The fantasy he spun was so big, I started to wonder if he was mentally ill. Luckily, I never fell for it, other than the curiosity it sparked when I first heard from him. I dodged a bullet probably. A rubber bullet. His attempt was so ridiculous it was almost insulting that he probably thought I was THAT desperate. I wasn’t the same little girl he remembered who continued to give him the time of day when I caught him in the back seat of a car with one of my friends.

  9. Intotouch says:

    Natalie have you heard the facebook song yet? It’s about exactly this and it’s a scream.

    Isn’t this the fantasy of everyone who has been dumped though? The ex realizes how wrong he is and begs forgiveness.

    • grace says:

      That’s brilliant! I was crying laughing.

      • Intothelight says:

        I have just split after 6 years with my future faker Mr Unavailable who does not seem to understand why I have said NO CONTACT when he only just wants to “check I’m ok” …. it made me laugh just when I was about to feel sorry for myself ….THANK YOU!

    • Fearless says:



      • Stephanie says:

        That was brilliant, someone who I went to school with 20 years ago poked me on FB about 3 weeks ago and it really put me off. I’ve ignored the poke because I don’t respond to pokes!

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Too funny. I listened to every version. “I certainly do not want you poking me” made me snarf. Thanks for that! Still laughing.
        Fearless….welcome back. Missed you! I hope things are good with you.

    • Natasha says:

      Intotouch, that just made my whole weekend!! THANK YOU!! :)

  10. Stella says:

    I saw the title of this post and cringed. I’m in this position now and am very conflicted because I want to believe the future faking my MM is feeding me now that he wants back in, but I’m able to recognize that’s likely what it is.

    A few months ago, he admitted he was married (Oops! Forgot that detail!) He’d previously come up with every sob story in the book to cut it off with me periodically (7 times), but he’d always come back to me in a few days. This time, we didn’t speak for 4 months b/c he came clean about being married, and said he was going to try to make a go of it with his wife. I was devastated, but finally managed to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I started dating a new man (albeit in a very unavailable manner; I told him I was still in love with the other guy and couldn’t commit.)

    Two weeks ago, the MM returned, telling me couldn’t stand another day without me. He’s had a change of heart since a life-threatening accident made him realize how short life is, and he wants to be with me. It doesn’t hurt that he and his wife were unable to get past his infidelity. So, I dropped the new guy and spent the weekend with the MM. When I told him I’d been seeing someone, he flipped out and turned things around on me, asking how I could replace him so soon and questioning my love for him because I’d been intimate with someone else. What?!? I reminded him he’d left me for his wife and that I’d instantly forgiven him for everything he’d done for years, and he’s damned lucky I’d even take him back. I said I’d not be his mistress. He’s agreed he doesn’t want to move forward under any pretext. I’ve been out of town on business for the past week, so we haven’t seen one another. Supposedly, he has major surgery scheduled as a result of the accident, and he wants to wait to talk about what our future plan is until after he sees how it turns out. He’s made it so I can’t press the issue when he’s “injured”. I’m not dumb. I know he’s stalling. I want to be with him, but if he isn’t really leaving his wife, I’m not waiting. In the meantime, I’m losing the nice new guy, but my heart is with the MM and I want so to believe in the fairy tale ending. I’ve read all of Nat’s posts and I know I’m being insane and a doormat, but feel incapable of flushing him.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Been here – lesson? Don’t make dating a sport or vacation.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      He’s not that special. Really.

      He stepped out on his wife; he lied to you about being married.

      You want him so bad why, exactly?

      Please also do some quick math on all the people who are being harmed by this situation, add it up, and see if your desire to be with him is worth all the hurt you’d be causing:

      1. His wife
      2. His wife’s friends and family (since they are the ones she’s crying to).
      3. Your friends and family (since they are the ones you’ll be crying to when it all goes south, as it will)
      4. The guy you just dumped
      5. Any future guys you date after your association with the MM fails — it’s probable that you’ll carryover some bad feelings to them

      Really, is his love so magnificent that you would tread upon all these other people?

      Oh, I left out one other person who will be harmed:

      6. You.

      If he’s willing to treat his wife like this, and lie to you to get into your knickers, be prepared for him to do the same to you with another girl once the bloom fades.

      He’s not that special.

    • Spinster says:

      He’s MARRIED. Enough said.

  11. Natasha says:

    “They will stop contacting when you stop engaging because you’re no longer granting them access.”

    Yes!! May I assure any ladies that are waiting for an ex to pop up like a deranged jack(ass)-in-a-box Yet Again that you are WAY better off doing something more useful with your time, i.e. getting over their arse. I know this because I did that with a total waste of space for five years. It would be six years if I hadn’t finally grown a backbone and listened to my own (and Nat’s and all of the other wonderful women of this blog) good sense.

    Once my ex got the hint that I was done with him for good, the idiotic text messages stopped and I haven’t heard from the guy in months. Since I took the time to get over it and deal with my issues, I’ve been too busy living my life to even notice. When you’re in the thick of Relationship Insanity, hearing from them is a rush. When you finally realize that it’s not so freakin’ flattering, it’s straight-up depressing to get a text/Facebook missive/phone call out of the blue. Trust me, no one who’s keeping you in their Fallback Rolodex is worth putting yourself and your feelings on the line for. You’re a valuable person with a life to lead and you deserve way better!

  12. FinallyDidIt says:

    I have tried over the last 4 years to figure this guy out and never could (always thought it was me) until I found BaggageReclaim. The ultimate AC (the book just had to written for him). When he had me, he blew cold. When I backed off, he became hot and I stupidly fell for it more than once. It’s been almost 9 months since I finally, finally saw the light and told him to give whatever great gift he thinks he has to somebody else. He has been contacting me, offering the friend card. I know now that he only wants his ego stroked and, I’m sure he is hoping for a good lay! I have been ignoring all contact from him. I just love this – it just couldn’t be better. He saw me the other day. I was in my car with my brother. I received a message later that day from him. He said he saw me with another man and hopes this guy is the reason why I am ignoring him and that it’s his loss, the other guy’s gain. What do you know? He finally got something right and he’s going to live with it. Gave him more than one chance – FLUSH. TY Natalie!

    • sushi says:

      FinallyDidIt; “since I finally, finally saw the light and told him to give whatever great gift he thinks he has to somebody else.” Precious!!! Hilarious!! Outrageously consise!
      Yes, he can take this great gift he thinks he has somewhere else, and the guy before him, and the one before…….I just truly don`t care, I care about me. I was such a sorry mess not long ago and I feel SOOOO happy and free, and so bullshitproof now, and OMG I feel worthy, not sure of what but worthy -after my year of BR. I feel I invested in myself and although this was the worst break up of my life it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am enjoying my unperfect life and looking forward to the future and not fretting whether there`ll be a man in it or not!! For anybody who feels hopeless- just keep reading and don`t give up on yourself, ever.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        I agree Sushi, a few weeks ago I had my last appointment with the psych after spending almost a year reclaiming all the baggage and cleaning up and scrubbing off all the assanovae they left behind.

        Yes, and I am dealing with these clowns faster than ever before! FLUSH FLUSH!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    When it happened to me, it was CLOSURE. Here”s why: Even at sixteen until I was 21, this man ripped me a new asshole. Steeped in my own dysfunction, playing the familiar roles from an abusive childhood, I took his shit all during most of my teen years. I got pregnant by him at sixteen and had an abortion. No gory details are necessary, but the bastard left me to rot. He came back twenty FIVE years later. UGLY as shit, divorced twice, living with his mother, no teeth and bitching about his ex wife, saying that he was “looking for me” and wanted to at least be friends if we could because I was the best sex he ever had, he should have been nicer and kept me when he had me, blah blah blah.
    Side note: When a man says you were the best sex he ever had, this is the BIGGEST, MOST OUTRAGEOUS LIE AND INSULT YOU COULD EVER HAVE. ALL the abusive ex’s of the past have pulled this and it didn’t WORK, this one was NO exception.
    Anyway, so I got my closure on this one and I did it with a big “F” you, you caused me EXTREME pain back then and quite CLEARLY you’re no different now. If I wasn’t “good enough” for you back then, I ain’t “Good enough” for you now LOL!!!
    It felt GREAT. It showed me a few things: I loved myself. I respected myself. I had healed from a lot of trauma, all assholes say the same lines, abusers never change and with some really good karma and if you’re fortunate enough to find out about it, they DON”T wind up “winning” anything. ALL but two of my ex’s are societal FAILURES and two of them are successful in the business world but are MISERY in their personal lives, with several marriages or relationships behind them. Still playing the VICTIM.
    Unsolicited Advice here; Heal from your wounds. Don’t believe an asshole is suddenly not going to be the same asshole he was. Learn to LOVE BEING ALONE, GET SOME BOUNDARIES AND DON”T HANG ALL YOUR LIFE HOPES ON A RELATIONSHIT!
    YOU are worth MORE than that! It’s YOU that has to work on believing it!

    It works for me! Here’s to being single and LOVING IT!

    • bella says:

      …thank you!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      UGLY as shit, divorced twice, living with his mother, no teeth and bitching about his ex wife, saying that he was “looking for me” and wanted to at least be friends if we could because I was the best sex he ever had, he should have been nicer and kept me when he had me, blah blah blah.

      Mr Unavailable operates a dumpster truck… keen to dump his tales of woe and bullsh*t on anyone and everyone who will receive it. In fact, sharing hurts is like intimacy and bonding for them.

      I recently was able to confirm, from the grapevine, that one of my exes is an EUM. I found it hard to believe NML when she said ‘they have a track record’ elsewhere in the book – but it is sooo true! NONE of this person’s relationships has lasted and I wasn’t going to be the exception to this pattern of theirs.

      Don’t get sucked into the clown tent a 2nd time!

    • Spinster says:


      “…and wanted to at least be friends if we could because I was the best sex he ever had…”

      Wow. He sounds like a charmer. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.

      (*whsipering* Fucking scumbag.) 😐

  14. teachable says:

    Go NML! YES, YES, YES!!! This is my lesson. From 20 to 42 I held a torch for him!! I hoped all those years that he would return. He did & effd me over SO badly it will take me a good couple of years to recover! He didn’t come back because he had an epiphany & realised I was his true love after all! He came back because only to use & abuse me because he’d stuffed up with the woman after me!! As hard as it was to realise this the lesson is learned! My final communication to him was not to return again ever no matter what. I know he will eventually though. And the self esteem shot I know I will experience when I ignore him & maintain NC – NO MATTER WHAT – will speak loud & clear!!! Thankyou for this post NML. It’s just where I am at today!

  15. Kit Kat says:

    Natalie… I always get excited to see your new post … Just sad that I have to come to a how to flush a EUM out of your life forever blog.. But hopefully it was my last EUM of my life that brought me here …I always have this fear that someday , sometime he will try and enter my life again. Right now I have been 6 mths NC & going strong. Went he cheated ,lied and I caught him he showed no remorse ,regret , only words of ” I am so messed up” and dont ever think its you … He also wanted to lick the wounds he caused to ease his guilt I suppose..Be my should to cry on.. I said no thanks , dont need anything from you ever…We were together for a very long time.. Its been an uphill battle to gain my footing again but I have survived and learned so much about myself along the way… Back in the day there were no computers , blog sites to explain about these types of men… I realized I have had a life long addiction to picking EUM’s… Enough already, FLUSH , ABORT MISSION are going to be my new mantra when and if I ever get to the point of wanting to date again…
    I am happy alone, for the time being, its just so much easier this way but I know eventually I may get the itch or someone might come along that sparks my interest … But I know the blarring warning signs now thanks to Nats book & this blog… Thank you Nat from the bottom of my heart for being great teacher !!!!

  16. pinkpanther says:

    My only question is: Where do we vote for Natalie to be Woman of the Year?

    Natalie, I know you are facilitating real change in women’s (and men’s) lives.
    Every single time I read this blog I learn stuff I wish I’d of learned years ago.
    I’m so grateful for your insights, you’ve helped me more than I can express.

    This post got to me too. In the back of my mind I’ve been wishing an old flame shows up again. In the fantasy, she tells me she was an idiot and that we belong together. It’s mostly a tiny fantasy, but it’s there, and it probably keeps me from making a new life with someone who really is available.

    thank yo for this post, I’m going to take it to heart.

  17. dancingqueen says:

    I personally would have preferred to tell him all about himself when he came sniffing around but instead I did the low key thing and just blew him off with no reply….I know that that is better but I childishly did not find that approach very satisfying:)

    • Jen says:

      I know eh? Every time my ex-AC comes sniffing around, oh every few months or so, with a text here, and email there, I have this giant urge to reply with all the things wrong with him, starting with the fact that I have asked him REPEATEDLY not to contact me.

      Instead, I ignore. Long-run, this is way better. Short-run, I am so childishly unsatisfied…

      He even created a new email address after I blocked the first one… I mean really. CRAZY!!!

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        dancingqueen and Jen,
        I’m thinking there’s a blog where these returning AC’s go to learn new returning AC tricks. An anti-BR blog. The returning exMM learned early on in my faux NC game to create new email addresses because I blocked the standard addresses as well as his cell phone. He created a new email addresses which I couldn’t block and his wife couldn’t know about. And he would call from a blocked number which I couldn’t block and his wife can’t track. Sometimes I used the opportunity to tell him about himself. Sometimes, I ignored and blocked the new address or didn’t pick up private numbers. Actually, I had medical issues and had to pick up “private number” because it was my DR which is how he got thru. Worse, I was the returning exOW as well. I know how to save one of his new email addresses for when I get sad or angry. Last May, I was in one of my firmest NC phases and he sent a Birthday Card via snail mail.
        The break-up bonfire just died out recently. My early attempts at NC were honestly the best I could do at the time. In retrospect, the door was still open, the fire was still burning, the hope was still there, and I was, Molly, still in danger girl. DQ, Natalie, Jen and the others are right. When these ex AC’s pop up, even telling them about themselves ends up empty. It’s like pouring water in a sieve and hoping one day you’ll end up with a cup-o-water. Ain’t gonna happen, no matter how much water you pour down.
        Natalie is like my personal Santa Claus. She just crawls down my chimney every night with a gift. I can’t say which Nat gift is my favorite because there are too many but “you don’t have to be friends with ex’es” was a genuinely liberating gift for me. Thank you Santa Nat for all the gifts. I believe.

        • Fearless says:

          Hey Runner. Great comment. great read. I hope you’re doing well. Fortunately I have never been bothered by my ex arse-man returning. He never contacts me. (and the childish part of me is slightly miffed about that. WTF?) I like to think he finally decided to ‘doing the right thing’ but he isn’t doing anything – good or bad. He is just being who he is – and he can go be who he is somewhere else to some other poor woman.

          My big problem with this particular ex arse-man has been mostly for me to avoid being the “returning ex” myself! I have done pretty well overall, given that it was a relationshit that I dragged out for years and years. I am ashamed to say that I realise now that I was not the one that got away – I was the one that wouldn’t go away! (though he did not exactly discourage me).

          I see now with horrible clarity what such a fabulous fallback girl I was. I think Natalie’s post here really gets to the nub of a misconception that I certainly had: I saw any “returning” (mine or his), as an opportunity to make it work out this time, to make him stay with me, this time. Nat is spot on as usual. There is an opportunity but it’s not what we think it is. The opportunity we get is to take that final leap off the mad merry-go-round and go do something else with our lives instead. For me, every time I think of contacting him on some silly pretext (not often now am glad to say), I desist on the grounds that although I have every opportunity to contact him (and have him blow more snow in my face), I also have every opportunity NOT to contact him (and feel much better about myself). Am pleased to say I now find it relatively easy to choose the latter – mainly cos I see what a lost cause he is and what a fabulous fallback girl I used to be (eeeww).

          Speaking of Santa, he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once. I was the gift that kept on giving. I also see that his failure to be the ‘returning ex’ only tells me that he knows this Santa has handed in her p45 (resigned from position, made a bonfire with Santa costume, ran out of gifts, paid off the elves, put reindeer out to pasture …etcetera).

          Keep on believing (hugs to Runnergirl)

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Hey Fearless, sounds like you are doing very well. Nah, you know as well as I do that when these ex arse men return, it’s about them so you are very fortunate he’s not hounding you with his stupid shit.
            You made me laugh again. I’ll see you and raise you on what a perfect FBG I was. Cringe and double eewwe. The realization of the dance of the Mr. U and the FBG was totally amazing. I’ve done the returning exOW in order to make it work “this time” too many times. Simply aint gonna work. It’s like the dance in reverse.
            Yeah, you are spot on. Time to stop being the gift that keeps on giving (read FBG), resign from the position, and shoot the the rest of the fantasy. I’ve always loved the “one who wouldn’t go away vs. the one who got away”. Who said that?

            My best to you Fearless.

            • Mymble says:

              “the one who wouldn’t go away” *cough* guilty plea. The pattern was that I would half heartedly finish it – leave the room, as it were, but not really shut the door. Then he’d throw a crumby text which I would eagerly interpret as a declaration of love an I’d rush back in.
              One time he said to me
              “you again! I keep thinkin you’re gone, and then you pop up again!”
              How embarrassing.
              This time it’s been more than 4 months, I did actually end it face to face and show some anger (he hates both those things) and I did mean it – at the time – so no more crumbs. Generally I do still mean it though I do sometimes try to think of excuses/reasons to contact. When do you completely lose any urge or desire to do so?

              • Fearless says:

                Best to you too runner!

                Hah! I know what you mean. For me the pattern was mostly more like this:

                I would half heartedly finish it – leave the room, as it were, but not really shut the door. Then *I* would throw a crumby text to which he would respond, which I would eagerly interpret as another opportunity to make good on my very bad investment, so I’d rush back in. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

                I think you lose any urge/desire to make contact with him or react to his contact with you when you finally get:
                a) That it is degrading to have anything more to do with him.
                b) That you’d only be handing over what’s left of your power for him to do what he likes with it, which would be to suit himself.
                c) The unutterable futility of it all; that it is never going to work out no matter what you do or don’t do
                d) That he is an arse
                e) That you have humiliated yourself enough for one lifetime

                Stay strong Mymble!

    • Tea Cozy says:

      The satisfying thing about the silent treatment, beyond the fact that it prevents any further interaction (i.e., no new pain) is this: being ignored is the most infuriating thing you can inflict upon someone. If you read polls about the things people hate most in interpersonal relations, it is always at or near the top.

      I’ve had it done to me as an EUW, and it made my blood boil. Geez, say ANYTHING, tell me you hate my guts, tell me to go pound sand, but do NOT ignore me. It makes me feel invisible, disposable, empty.

      (Shunning is also a punishment reserved in many societies for only the worst behavior. The great apes do it, too.)

  18. I notice whenever I have the urge to email the ex who lied his face off to me it’s when I’m feeling lonely and bored. I must learn to sit through those feelings and know they will pass. It’s not possible to feel good all the time and that’s ok. I’m learning how to treasure and cherish myself in the way I always expected somebody else to do for me. I realize I also craved the rush of the highs and lows a terrible relationship will give you. That’s not love; it’s unhealthy obsession. And media perpetuates it. It just saw Titanic 3D with my daughter and I realized that even if Rose and Jack had got off the boat together, it would be about six months before she wondered what the hell she had done when the lust at first sight had time to wear off. He’s totally irresponsible and broke. He’d be off gallivanting with his friends and drinking while she’d be stuck at home waiting for him without two pennies to rub together.

  19. Healing One says:

    Honestly, it was as a result of reading BR that I went NC on my ex who dumped me…and in reading all of these posts and responses I, too, learned that men do this all of the time. My ex was not an AC, he was just young and weak. He tried to come back and I ignored him. In the meantime (for 9 months) I worked on me. When he came knocking and I let him in again AS A FRIEND, I had my boundaries intact and I was a much stronger person. Now we are friends. I expect nothing. I am not afraid to disappoint him. I put me first, always. He is in my life on my terms. I LEARNED that doing things out of obligation leads to resentment and resentment makes you sick. Being real with MYSELF FIRST–leads to healthy relationships, be they family, friends or lovers. His breaking up with me was the best thing that ever happened.

  20. el says:

    you’re dead right. It’s an opportunity for them to do right–that should be the bottom line. If they don’t take this opportunity, they’re out…forever.

  21. neveragain says:

    I’m just wondering, when the inevitable resurfacing of the AC occurs, is it best to completely ignore them or to give them a witty piece of your mind?

    • Blank them – all attention from you is taken as a sign that you still want them, which can often be enough to satisfy their curiosity.

      • Stephanie says:


        Blank, blank, blank them! I replied and its not clever. Sometimes you think your totally over them, then they get back in touch and re-open old wounds. Like Natalie said in the previous post you have to just let it burn.

  22. ms. rinse and repeat says:

    Wow…… just wow. This is exactly what is happening to me right now. Thank you Natalie, for always reminding us to save our heart from all this hurt we are about to embrace. Now, I know what I need to do.. and I should have done this a long time ago.

    “You can draw a line under this and handle them with the high esteem you only wish you could have had the last time, or you can go for a repeat.”

  23. Tinkerbell says:

    It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life, but I did not let him return. The NC was so thoroughly effective that I do believe he was stunned. He drove by my apartment months later, saw we going about my business and tried to talk. I spoke politely and quickly brushed him off. The lessons I learned have stuck with me and actually I’ve changed so much since then it amazes me. Months later I almost got into a situation just as bad with another jerk. (A case of attracting the same EUM/AC. But, I got rid of him before succumbing to his attempts for intimacy. Now, I’ve met a really good man who treats me like a goddess, and I feel I deserve every minute of his attentions. The unbearably hard work that I’ve done on myself is now paying off. I am delighted over this but still treading carefully. Hopefully, I’m through kissing frogs and my prince has come. But, if not I will still be just fine. It is NEVER worth it to try again because there were valid reasons why it didn’t work the first time. Picking yourself up and moving on is the only way to go. BTW, if it were not for Natalie and BR, I don’t know if I would have become so strong and resolute. Thank you, Natalie and the rest of you ladies who have shared your stories and from which I’ve learned so much.

  24. Lia says:

    A third time? I just said that out loud, LOL. What a chump.

    “They tend to get in touch after they’ve hurt someone else, so that you can pump them up and give them a clean bill of health, like “Look, I’m not that bad! My ex who I’ve effed over a few times will still give me the time of day!”

    This is all too true. I’m notorious for being a good shoulder to lean on and I’ve never believed in burning bridges, it’s just not my style. But for guys like this I think that it can send the message that they’re welcome to return at any time, if I didn’t specify that the end has come. I’ve learned to save my shoulder for those who would give me theirs and let these guys go on their merry way to bother somebody else.

    …but what about the ex who keeps returning when the break up was amicable? What if the ex never mistreated you future faked or fast forwarded, they just weren’t right for a relationship with you? I have an ex who is now in a relationship with a woman after getting her pregnant (a couple months after our breakup), and every time they break up I get a call from him, it’s like clockwork. They try to work it out for the kid, and they go back and forth, and each time they’re ‘off’ he talks about the regrets that he has about how our relationship ended. But after a while he goes back because “that’s what’s best for his son”. The relationship didn’t end on a sour note for me, it just ran its course. We had a long period in which we didn’t speak at all, more my doing than his, but I actually didn’t have a problem with being friends, especially since it had been nearly a year. Yesterday he tells me that he’s gotten back with her AGAIN and that he needs to focus on his family, so I probably wouldn’t hear from him. I’m totally confused, I mean I respect that, but now I’m wondering if this is actually friendship, or am I an ego stroke? Because I don’t really understand how him communicating with me would interfere with him having a family with his child and its mother. Am I missing something here? Are we on two totally different pages? He never really did anything to me so it seems a bit harsh to do so, but is this a situation in which I need to just flush him?

    • Lia, you don’t need to forge a friendship with every ex. It’s obvious that you believe that you have to be friends if it ended on good terms – you don’t. The relationship is over. Normally you want to move on and you only stay friends if it’s a mutually respectful out in the open friendship. Which this isn’t. You’re the Fallback Girl and armchair psychologist. Cut it off. Learn how to cultivate quality friendships.

      • Lia says:

        I just read the words ‘Fallback Girl’ and wanted to throw up, LOL. Seriously though, I guess it never really occurred to me that I could be someone’s Fallback Girl if I had no interest in rekindling the relationship with them. But now that I think about it, it pretty much seems that way.

        But you are right also about me believing that we have to be friends (or at least friendly) if it ended on good terms, at least for the most part. I am the girl who is still cool with the majority of my exes (except for the ones who screwed me over or I screwed over). I guess this wasn’t a true friendship after all. The sad thing about it is that him cutting off contact doesn’t really bother me, he took up so little of my time and energy anyways. Maybe this was just a safe “friendship” for me, one where I really didn’t have to put too much time or energy into it…

        Thanks for the insight Natalie.

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Lia, Natalie has already responded to you and you get it. Your situation resonated with me because I’ve always been the greatest ex. Every ex would testify to this.
          Yeah, cos I’m the greatest Fallback Girl and arm chair psych they’ll ever meet. Not to mention, I’m their best friend forever. That’s their words…and we are 50 something. Nope. A FBG is a FBG, not a BFF. Cut contact. He has a wonderful son with her, not you.
          If you do NC now, you can be posting how you have a wonderful child with a wonderful partner. Or you can continue to post how you’ve waited… and waited….and waited…and how much he loves you but….he has a son with her. The end of our stories are so much in our control.

          • Tea Cozy says:

            Yeah, I used to believe in the myth of the Cool Former Girlfriend, and played that role too (or felt guilty if I wasn’t able to). Reading BR has really changed my thinking on that.

            grace made a comment a while back that really condensed it down to the pure truth, and stuck with me:

            “You don’t have to be friends with someone who hurt you. ”

            I love your final sentence: The end of our stories are so much in our control. Beautiful and true.

            • Kitty says:

              It’s interesting, I have always had the philosophy of being kind and thoughtful to everyone I interact with. It’s just a code of living but it isn’t the best thing to be supportive and loving to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart yourself. Unfortunately I broke NC yesterday with my AC and he said “I am such a mess, I always feel better after talking to you, you are my only friend and I treat you so badly but you are always there for me” . So, who is the chump here? I think it is me for allowing myself to be so taken for granted. The only answer I could give in an attempt to maintain some dignity was that he was no longer my BF as a result of his behaviour. But so what, I am still supporting him! The most infuriating thing was that he recognises his behaviour and continues to behave badly because he can get away with it and still have what he wants! We must simply “slap them” and walk away with our heads held high.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      You sound like you’ve been sucked into the Harem…

      • sm says:

        That exactly what it is.

      • Lia says:

        I dunno about the Harem thing, if I was I surely wouldn’t know it ( I only know his guy friends and those relationships actually seem normal), but he definitely has that lost puppy thing down pat. We met when we were 14 (we’re 25 now) and I totally got sucked in by the sob story: daddy abandoned him, mother grandmother sisters etc have all used him his entire life, and I guess it just felt good to know that I was the one woman who had no interest in being that way. Guess it made me feel special…I used to have this really bad habit of being drawn to guys who seemed like all they needed was a good hug and somebody to love them, and through therapy I’ve learned the reasoning behind it. I am no longer romantically attracted to guys like that, but somehow I let this one slip through the cracks thinking that it was okay since there was nothing romantic between us anymore. I suppose old habits really do die hard, still have some work to do…

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          You become a harem member when:

          1. You go for a committed relationship, but find yourself demoted to booty call/cuddle friend (happened to me)/friend status or you become an ex to them BUT they still retain you and cream off the benefits without actually having signed up to deal #1 (official dating) or deal #2 (LTR) AND they have free licence to go out and catch someone else.

          He’s using you as a go-to girl when he needs some psychology, or dump his Mr Unavailable garbage truck of problems from Me-Me-Me Island on you. NML has a post somewhere on this site about Being Friends With An Ex where some crazed woman came and peed a territorial line around Mr Unavailable while she was out one night. That or a similar situation could be you one day.

          Why pump someone up or be an airbag to someone who offers nothing in return? What is it about this arrangement that works for you?

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          I’m totally confused, I mean I respect that, but now I’m wondering if this is actually friendship, or am I an ego stroke? Because I don’t really understand how him communicating with me would interfere with him having a family with his child and its mother. Am I missing something here? Are we on two totally different pages? He never really did anything to me so it seems a bit harsh to do so, but is this a situation in which I need to just flush him?

          Clearly something is going on here if he feels he needs to pull away because he might feel you are “too close”. He is blowing cold on the friendship which just goes to show that even when you break up with EUMs everything is *STILL* on their terms and they are in control. Are in you in control here? Clearly not. What he is saying is basically ‘if you want to be involved with me in any capacity, I want to ring you up for armchair psychology when I feel like it, contribute nothing to the friendship, disappear when I like it and then maybe when I feel like it call back and pickup wherever and whenever.’

          You’re STILL an OPTION for this guy. He is pushing you away right now, don’t resist it. Cut him off – all the exes I’ve ever tried to be friendy friendy with (even ex dates) make cr*p friends. The tone has already been set at the start, and if sex was involved, even more so.

  25. Catherine Marys says:

    Wow. Met the same ole EU in a different package last summer … my epiphany 4 mo. relationship. Sped up dating sex and romancing. Hot then cold. Cheating, disappearing, reappearing.The pain got bad enough. I finally listened to my gut instinct-that led me on the road to find Nat and BR. Now I consciously listen to my instincts daily. And I do know I won’t buy into any BS again. Recently met a man who gave me his card & asked me to text him sometime. I laughed and handed it back telling him I will NEVER text him. The precedent of me calling THEM is over. If a man doesn’t have enough class/know how/ sense to ask me out he loses. Life continues to get better all the time. Just like Dorothy in Oz the answers were inside all along. PS: Still single, but no longer believe that last AC was a mistake..he IS gone ..but that final sordid scenario led me to Nat & her message of love=)

    • P. says:

      Yes, what’s up with the guys who give you their card / number /e-mail? When I said I would not call, one of them got offended and said it was for my benefit, to “feel safer”. Really? Or this is more of: “I don’t care who calls me, whoever is the first one I will hook up with her”?

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        This card thing has come up in previous threads. I’ve come across it too. I started carrying my cards so when he gave me his card and said to call, I gave him my card and told him to call. I simply toss them. I found a card from some guy I met this summer. I gave him my card and he never called. Who cares about a card. I don’t do cards. Who knows what these cards are thinking. Maybe if they hand out enough cards, they’ll find a taker, who will probably google and find BR eventually.
        Just my experience with the card thing. So low investment.

  26. Lori says:

    Wonderful post!

    I must admit I am guilty as charged of letting someone back, but currently in the process of learning about myself and why I do these things. I feel stronger, and now feel sort of like a spectator (in a sick, sort of detached way) when I see the ex doing what he did with me to others.

    I think what happens is we get caught up in the “crumbs” that Natalie has spoken about, we’re so eager for anything, we’ll sell ourselves short for the crumbs rather than asking for the entire cake!! I know someone who has waited for 8 years for a man to marry her. He only contacts her at night, makes all sorts of promises about their relationship, etc., but never delivers the goods. She continues to go back to him each time, and I find it baffling. She’s a crumb person, willing to starve on crumbs. Very sad.

  27. Lia says:

    “Life keeps throwing you the same lessons until you heed them – what are you supposed to be learning here? What have you learned that you need to apply to this situation?”

    Reminds me of my first year of college, or the worst grade I ever got in college. I had a professor who told us on the first day that we would all fail the first exam. Of course, being young and full of ourselves we all thought otherwise. But lo and behold, we all failed that first exam. We had overestimated our capabilities and underestimated the difficulty of the material we were covering. Some people dropped right after that first exam, but you’d better believe those of us who wanted better grades for ourselves studied our asses off for the rest of the semester LOL. We got the hint after the first ‘F’, that perhaps we weren’t as prepared as we thought. While we didn’t wallow in grief, we didn’t like how that felt so we did something about it. Why Oh why couldn’t it be that easy with relationships?…

  28. Dublin says:

    For me it’s been 5 months NC now. It’s still hard I won’t lie, but I’m doing better everyday. So ironic that this email showed up today. I had a long conversation with a friend of 25 years. SHE has been in this exact situation 35 years with a jackhole of a man. They met in high school, then he dumped her. She claimed he was the love of her life. He pops in and out of her life. When she was married he just showed up one day and wanted her to divorce her husband and marry him! She told him no. After her divorce he shows up again, they see each other on and off for a few years. He disappears. She is in another relationship and he shows up again. She ends the relationship to be with him again. A year later gone. 35 years of this! He only wants her when he can’t have her. She has finally ended everything with him. She cried telling me her entire adult life she really only loved him and always thought every time he came back THIS time things would be different. I told her about BR and how much I’ve learned about myself from this site. How this BR has helped me stay strong, to love myself, and want better for myself. Don’t think I could have made through the last 5 months without Natalie’s emails.

  29. FlushMrEUM/AC says:

    NML, Thank God she flushed. I can only imagine all the heartache she went through. I’ve gone through a similar situation, Mr.Issues blowing in and out my unbolted door :( but over a shorter period of time, and I’m still healing over that. These EUM/AC are reckless with other people’s feelings, they seem to only care about themselves. The whole knowing/admitting they’re messed up but making no or little effort to change, words and promises but no follow through, yuck. They should come with a warning sign tattooed on their foreheads.

    Natalie, finding your blog this year has been a Godsend for me, reading the articles and comments helped me to realize I’m not alone, I wasn’t needy and crazy…I can’t tell you what a relief that was. Thank you so much. Being involved with a EUM/AC was one of the lowest points of my life, very hurtful caring about someone who doesn’t extend to you basic courtesies, disappears and gives you no response when you try to talk to him about issues, presses the reset button, CLEARLY makes it known over time that though he seemed to care about you in the beginning and in intervals for awhile, bottom line? He refuses to fully let you in his life. They are afraid/don’t care much and have little respect for you/only think about themselves (insert one or all of those). Ouch, ouch. Turning point for me was when I realized I couldn’t change him, he would have to want that for himself and do the work, and that yes it hurts being in NC but it hurts more to keep plunging my hand in and out the freakin fire. Another good metaphor for it would be hitting a wasp nest with a stick, like a pinata, expecting a Prince to appear. Does one appear? No you get freakin stung. Why? Because it’s a wasp nest. Been NC for awhile now, and I can honestly say that since there is no new pain I feel less pain each day. Hugs to all BR readers and NML, we are survivors. Onward we go!

    • Mymble says:

      Hitting a wasps nest! Love it!
      If the wasp comes after you, don’t hang around to chat. They’ve got their own agenda!

  30. Fedup says:

    There is no way in hell I’d even think about giving such a person a second chance. Why would you? Especially when they don’t even remotely care when they break our hearts. How many years do you want to waste, meanwhile watching everyone else get married and pregnant in quick succession?

  31. tired_of_assanova says:

    Just a question – what’s a po-po? Police? Pope?

  32. Fedup says:

    Maybe I want to why I’ve had a guy disappear on me and been dumped by text. Never heard from ever again. Yet plain and homely cousins have been married and had kids before me.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Questions for you:

      Do you believe that “plain” people are inherently less deserving of love and happiness? Stated another way: do you believe that your relative attractiveness entitles you somehow to love and happiness?

      It may be that you’re over-valuing looks?

      • dancingqueen says:

        I concur with teacozy, fedup: whether or not a woman is attractive does not make her more, or less, deserving of a relationship. …Maybe you can learn from those women about what they are doing right in their lives, to attact positive, loving men….

      • Fedup says:

        That’s not what I meant at all. They do deserve to be happy. I just wonder when in hell it will finally be my turn for once. Or will I end up old with 20 cats or something.

        • Fearless says:


          For God’s sake, don’t end up with twenty cats – cats are EU(!!).

          These other woman (attractive or not) know what they want from a relationship; they are not accepting anything less and the men they take up with know they would be out on their ear if they don’t man up.

          These women don’t give an EUM or AC the time of day. She would not give these man-children the opportunity to muck up her life. These women have been headed down a different path than that of the fallback girl/ow/option – the path that gives her the opportunity to do right by herself and get the relationship she knows she wants and knows she deserves.
          The AC/EUM/MM would not get way with their crap for five minutes with these women and these men know it, so these dubious men have no time for these women who have some self-esteem and self-respect because they won’t get to behave like arses. No good man wants to marry a doormat. No good man wants to marry a woman who believes she is not worth the love of a good man.

  33. Teddie says:

    Absolutely true! Second attempts are attempts to rewrite the scenario, to refine the characters, and of course, it goes both ways, both parties have an agenda.
    There is a whole blog on PT on lost love reunions, basically, never a good idea.

  34. Little Star says:

    Natalie, thank you again for this wonderful post, especially; ” Just because they’re back, it doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to get back together – it’s an opportunity to close the door, firmly..” EXACTLY! That what I done, I have a new phone number and no way I am going to call him. He knows where I live, but I bet he will be too proud to come without invitation! SO it is finally over!!! OK, I lost four years of my life, but do not want ended up in the same roller coaster ten years later. I wish all the best to our reader, good for her that she finally flushed a loser!!!

  35. PHDinAssclown says:

    Very interesting post. But I must confess, NONE of the many assclowns and EUMs I have dated in my 43 years have come creeping back. I have to admit that a part of me is a bit miffed that I’ve never had the opportunity to blank them. Do I date atypical assclowns, I wonder, or am I really just not that desirable?

    • No it means you closed the door good and proper and that they’re under the misguided impression that you wouldn’t so much as entertain them for a moment of your time. If they don’t think you’re easy prey and that it could in fact backfire spectacularly, you have far less likely a chance of hearing from them. Little do they realise though, that actually, you still want their validation and another go round with them. You may get your wish in time. I haven’t heard from any of my exes for a very long time and they’re all Mr Unavailables, some ACs and I was engaged to one of them – I couldn’t give a f*ck. They’re not supposed to be trying to get me back or come crawling around- the relationship’s are over. If you think desirable is having ex’s creeping into your life, you have more Mr Unavailables and ACs to come.

      • PHDinAssclown says:

        Ouch! Bit of a harsh reply to a first time poster! But you are right in that I am still seeking validation – I am at my convinced that they haven’t contacted me as there is something wrong WITH ME. I don’t want these men in my life. It would feel good to get a text and ignore it but that in itself is seeking validation. Just got your book, am looking forward to reading it. Thank you for replying.

        • sm says:

          PHD, all my ex’s contacted me. I wish I was in your shoes. Thank God for BR because I finally realized that all this boomeranging is not flattering at all. I always liked to leave things on a good note no matter what they did, I thought I was taking the ‘high road’. Nope, they just thought it was a open invitation to contact me again weeks, months or even years later. I was just seen as a fallback girl. The last guy I dated has been gone 4 weeks and he hasnt contacted me at all, because of my past I keep expecting him to but hope like heck that he doesnt. I would like for just once to be thought of as someone an AC cant mess around. Good for you.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Oh PHD, Natalie’s response is NOT harsh one drop. There is so nothing wrong with you for not engaging with AC’s. It’s us FBG’s that continue to boom a rang and sit around the dying bonfire with AC’s hoping for…I don’t know what now! Good shags are a dime a dozen. It can’t be about a shag.
            Read Nat’s book. It’ll be a life changer. The fact the ex’es aren’t creeping around is a great sign. Ex’es are like termites. It’s not a coincidence that I have termites and need to come up the dough to get this house tented and call the exterminator. And for those of you in CA, I’m not calling Arnold.

            • sm says:

              LOl Runner on a side note, I had to get rid of termites 3 months ago because I should have had the maintenance treatment all along what with having a frame home in Florida. Just as I should have had AC repellent. Oh and you dont have to ‘tent’ anymore…they drill holes around the perimeter of your house and put the chemicals in there. Same as the boundaries we should uphold on a continuous basis.

          • Steely Blue says:

            PHD I felt the same as you. I had a short fast-forward fantasy ‘relationship’ last year. He disappeared & I wished for a good while afterwards that he’d get in touch so I could ask questions, tell him what I thought about his behaviour etc. It made me feel I did something wrong for HIM to go NC. Nat’s reply to you was a light bulb moment for me. Coupled with a conversation I had with a friend recently who said she was INSULTED every time her EUM texted her to see if she was still invested. She wished he thought more of her to realise she was worth more than his crumbs. I know I’m worth more than crumbs and so are you. We’re fortunate not to be pestered, let’s move on.

        • Little Star says:

          PHD, the first time Natalie commented on my post, I felt the same, but I loved her honesty!!! Thanks to Natalie, I finally rid of my “physical connection” with ACs!!! You are lucky that ACs are not contacting you, as it is much easy to move on. My two ACs appeared and I could not resist but talking and ended up even meeting them!!! I hated my weakness, and yet again if it was not for Natalie’s blog, I would be still involve with them. OK, it is early days, only one week of NC, but I feel stronger:-)

  36. Janet says:

    I went NC after a guy i have been seeing non exclusively for a while failed to step up and commit to a relationship. After a week he comes back and proposes a relationship, but after months of saying ‘i’m not ready yet’ it kinda takes the shine off it. Should i give him a chance or is he an AC??

    • grace says:

      I’ve been following BR for over 2 years now and not heard of a single successful upgrade from casual. I’d be interested to hear otherwise. And what makes you think he’s changed so much in – a week? Could it not be that he’s just miffed you dumped him? A week? I can’t even lose a pound in a week.
      Did he text you? Cos if he did, that’s a non-starter.
      I’d be slightly more impressed if he phoned you, asked you out, took you somewhere nice, told you the what, where, why, listened to you, paid, drove you home and left without trying to touch you up. An ex did that when he wanted to get back together with me. We did get back together BUT I EFFED IT UP COS I COULDN’T FORGIVE HIM FOR DUMPING ME. Think about what you are doing.
      Be really, really, really careful of going back. Why not take a breather,think about how and why you got into the relationship, why it didn’t work out (and it needs to be more than “he’s an AC”), what you want, what your values are. Constantly revisiting failing relationships will burn up a lot of your time and just erode your self-esteem.
      It shouldn’t be about you giving him a chance or him giving you one. It should be mutual. If that means nothing to you, just put relationships on the backburner for now until you know what mutual means. For it sure has taken me the longest, longest, longest time to get it.

      • Janet says:

        It wasn’t so much of a casual thing in the first place, i said to him no physical stuff until we were exclusive, and he respected that. At the time he had just gotten out of a long term relationship and wasn’t ready for something straight away so i wanted to avoid being the rebound. The only thing that worries me is that the offer of a relationship has only come up because he’s scared of losing me. He told me this face to face btw, i said i didn’t know and needed time to think.

        • Spinster says:

          Janet: “The only thing that worries me is that the offer of a relationship has only come up because he’s scared of losing me.”

          He’s scared of losing a potential rebound. It’s that simple.

          Eject. Flush. He is the weakest link goodbye.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @ Janet, “it kind of takes the shine off of it” yup it does. Why bother trying to shine up a clunker that is showing you how old and tired it will continue to be? A man worth having is one who co pilots and he has demonstrated that he was not on board when it mattered….too bad so sad….flush.

  37. titi says:

    Great post. I guess we all remember at least one moment we tried (whether successfully or not) to go NC, and when we actually didn’t CARE to answer their texts, sexts, emails etc. We felt empowered. And if we later succumbed to the temptation and answered some of their messages or calls, we felt like shit. That’s because when we actually start making decisions which are GOOD for US and not just them, we are back in control of our own lives. Precious.

    For all the women who put up with those jackasses for several years, and even DECADES (FIFTY years, are you serious? oh, my…), pretty please, do not shut door in front of their nose when they come back. Build the WALL instead, so that they don’t even get an opportunity to knock the door. Just because they showed an intention to “get back”, and it actually means for you returning to a crappy relationship, and them getting back to their crappy behavior they exhibited before, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD let them move in. You are not that desperate.

  38. says:

    “My relationship with my ex girlfriend was very psychological….she’s psycho and im logical”
    I recived that lovely text from my ex few days ago,apparently as a line to start the convo, thats 3 months after the third break up (from his side) and when i was actually slowly getting off my “psycho” obsessing mode

    Just a thing that makes me wonder….any normal,healthy human being when breaks up the relationship would stay away from you to let you heal,knowing that feelings aren’t mutual,sensing that contact would only make you feel worse and keep you hold onto none existing relationship. What makes those unavailable/assclown men to break it off and stand there watching you going absolutley “psycho” trying to get them back, it is very cruel, and it shows that they are attracted by unhealthy, “psych0” behaviour of their ex girlfriend that tries to fix things because she cant bare the guilt that eats her from the inside?
    Ive been following this site for months and everything here is so familiar
    I could say Im stuck between fantasy and reality,which is a bit of a progress where i was in a complete insane world since January when he broke it off with me. The extreme guilt ive felt for so long only added to my depression that i started developing when i was still in the relationship. Im not sure why i became depressed, had some stresfull situations, and the contraceptive pill i was on added to it too,i became extremly miserable and moody. I needed help. After one of the fights that I initiated I came to talk to him the next day and in tears I addmited Im not sure what is wrong with me but i think im depressed and need help.I wanted to work on it but needed his mental support.WRONG.The answer i heard was “I have too many problems to deal with myself,I don’t need you to be around me in such state,I dont want to deal with it, I want to break up”
    That made my depression only worse,i hardly left my bed for about 2 months, I begged him to take me back and help me to go through it, i didn’t understand his reactions because thats what I would do for him, id be there for him.
    What I’m slowly and painfully learning is to never ever put such trust in someone that showed you in so many ways that they don’t care from the first days. Im in counselling for 3 months now and exploring so much. It is sad that most of us know the pattern,know the reality but…

    • grace says:

      my ex had a psycho ex. I met her a few times, as they had a son together. She was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I saw this ex of mine drive his own mother hysterical. His brother used to threaten to come over and beat him up. He used to drive me to screaming fits. Isn’t it amazing now one person could be surrounded by so many psychos? How unlucky for him. Poor guy.

    • dancingqueen says:

      God bless you; I feel like going psycho on him for his weird, crazy attempt to get under your skin; it makes me want to tell him to stop acting psycho himself;)

      • Mymble says:

        This is o e thing that drives me mad about my girlfriends. They get a new bf and start spouting all this guff about how psycho the bfs ex is. However, the things they seem to be unable to process are these;
        1. If she is a psycho, why was he attracted to her? Is he generally attracted to psychos? Are you a psycho?
        2. How reliable is your information? Is there any possibility that it could be biased or (gasp) less than truthful? Have you asked the “psycho” for her side of the story? Is there any reason you can think of why he might be less than truthful?
        3. Is there anything he might have done that might have caused an otherwise normal woman to act psycho? Do you think he would tell you what it was, if he had?

        • Thank God for That says:

          Haha exactly.

          But on the other side of the coin, I do find myself telling people my own “narrative” that includes getting involved with dickheads. I always try to take a certain amount of responsibility, but at the end of the day, it’s a cycle that went around many, many times before I figured out (with the help of a good friend and this website) that *I* am the common denominator.

          I wouldn’t assume that these guys have ‘realised’ the effect they have, they probably just have a confirmation bias that forces them to expect all girls to be crazy, and hence they are drawn to those with low-self-esteem, who they gradually abuse into being crazy. Just like I have started to realise all guys who I get involved with, no matter who initiates, turn out to be dickheads, because I let them walk all over me.

          Healthy people would hear “all my exes are psychos” or “all my exes are dickheads” as a sign to just get up and walk away! Hence I went on a date recently and started talking psychology to this guy, and by the end of the night had explained my recent experiences (along with the liberating paradigm shift I had experienced). He wanted to go for a “drink” with me. He then bought tickets for and took me to an event which was much more formal, forced chivalry on me (when I had specifically told him how uncomfortable it had made me) – putting his arm around me, around my chair etc., forcing me to dance (when I had expressedly said I didn’t like dancing unless I was very drunk!!), and then asking if I didn’t want to because of “the self-esteem thing”. Wow. I was never interested in this guy but I actually couldn’t *believe* how obvious his red flags were. Before, I might have taken pity on how obvious his machinations were, but now I realised I had basically given him all the necessary information that told him I was unavailable, fucked up, and unsure – and yet he *still* wanted to pursue something. That might sound like a terrible red flag – but I honestly believe nobody worthwhile is going to recognise my worth until I do first, and I’ve still got a long way to go…

  39. Tea Cozy says:

    Perfect timing on this post. I very recently got a crumb-filled email from the Stealth Polyamorist I dropped last summer. “I miss our conversations, and I hope we can be friends.” I’ll admit I felt a twinge, but then I re-read Nat’s post on the Reset Button, and that got my head straight. Ignore, delete, move on.

  40. anon says:

    I have been learning a lot from you NML about boundaries and all aspects of relationships over the past year or so when I found your site. I recently started dating my first love boyfriend. I didn’t feel ready for a relationship, but due to a lot of work on myself, I was nearly ready, so decided to give things a go with him, on the condition that we took it really really slow. Over all the experience was a positive one. I had my boundaries firmly in place and knew my own limits. I felt good about myself with him. I promised myself that as much as possible I would forget the (extremely happy) past between us and focus on the here and now, treating the whole thing like a totally new relationship with a new person. I felt that we needed to get to know each other all over again and approach it from that position. In the end I discovered that he was not really interested in starting a relationship with me. He was interested in sleeping with me and being friends. But since I had made myself clear that I was only interested in a committed relationship, something pretty amazing happened: the guy actually put all his cards on the table and refused to sleep with me! He recognised that I was sensitive and that a casual involvement would hurt me and he opted out himself! This might sound like no big deal and at the end of the day, it is the only decent thing to do… but considering how many men would have taken advantage of my strong feelings and availability and got me into bed before admitting such a thing (knowing that I was by that time invested and likely to take crumbs)… I think it’s progress. No, I didn’t get what I wanted. But neither did I get taken advantage of as I have in the past. So I am proud of the work I’ve done on myself because I know that he wasn’t good enough for me and I must have shown him that I wasn’t someone he could play around with and that is great. Yes, I did spend three gloomy days in bed crying about it… but then I got out of bed and went on a holiday and forgot about it until I read this article. I am feeling like this whole boundaries thing is working and at least now I am seeing the true colours of each man BEFORE I become invested with them or sleep with them and this means I keep my self esteem (possibly raise it in the process too) and also no longer end up feeling used or less than in any way. I also feel respected by…

  41. miskwa says:

    The only ex I have kept in touch with was a wonderful man that I was with for 12 years. Neither of us wanted the breakup; I had to take a job out West and he hated it out here. We talk regularly and remain friends to this day. Other exes have been flushed immediately and luckily cannot contact me because I live far away. Last week I was contacted with a “friend” request on facebook from a guy who wanted not so much a relationship but another willing member of his harem as he turned out to be involved with someone overseas. It felt soooo good to refuse.

  42. Eve says:

    they clearly have a screw loose. One I’ve wrote about on here before got in touch basically saying he was sorry for how he acted/reacted and hopes I could forgive him sometime. and he knows he’s a cockhead.

    Well if you know you’re a cockhead why the hell do you think I would accept anything from you.

    I couldn’t resist replying (yeah I know my mistake)
    Told him no I didnt accept his ‘apology’. People can say any old shit online and I don’t trust him.

    If anyone thinks I was being harsh. I met up with this guy TWICE about 2 years. We did used to chat and I enjoyed that.
    You don’t try and sleep with someone when you’re trying to make a go of your relationship with an ex and your kids who you walked out on before. I could rant but I don’t feel the need to spill my guts or spend my time thinking about this loser.
    If he’s feeling guilty then good , deal with it but your half arsed apology is to the wrong woman but don’t expect me to forgive someone who I see as manipulative liar.

  43. Song says:

    Wow,….just beginning to be “thrown off a roller coaster” in, what I thought, was THE relationship that I always wanted. I Hear you Ladies and it’s beginning to come through my brain, however,…my body and heart doesn’t seem to want to let go of the fantasy yet. It’s such a bizarre thing. I would tell anybody the exact things that I’m reading but my EMOTIONAL attachment is so Damned strong. It’s crazy. BUT,…I keep reading and I feel sooooo supported with such great information. I know I’m not going to call or beg or do anything like that. I’m just dealing with my own “shit-storm” right now and I can’t believe it’s this difficult. I went through a divorce from a 16 yr. marriage that didn’t feel this crazy. There’s something about the confusion that these people cause you that plays a huge part of the mental duress that you experience in these types of situations. My guy has told me that he loves me and misses me and then will turn around and say that he “just doesn’t miss me like I miss him”. Or “you’re so beautiful Baby” and then turn around and say, “well,…I’m not infatuated with you,…never was.” Shit like that. In the beginning, (for approx. 8 months) it was near Perfect. Respectful, complimentary, etc. Then,…at Christmas,…everything began to change. So,…the last 5 months,…total flip-floppy hell for me. I read this article about 3 weeks ago and BAM,…once I saw the truth, it took me, at least, out of the thinking I WAS CRAZY mode. Now,…I’m just grieving! I realize I can’t “not see the truth now”. I’ve seen it! There’s no going back to believing in him anymore. Thanks Natalie. You truly are gifted in your insights and your ability to share information in a way that just GRABS people and knocks them in the head with common sense!

    • says:

      I know what you mean with the confusion part
      I’ve felt exactly same in the whole time I wasd his either fb or gf (as he constantly upgrated and downgrated me as he liked,meeting other women in the mean time). Confusion they create in our heads makes us go nuts. We don’t know which part is real,we spent hours on analysing : “if he said i am beautiful (and the best shag ever ), amazing, loves spending time with me,i’m fun-why the hell the next minute he says he doesn’t feel same way,he can’t give me what i want,we are not right for each others.
      One of the lines that propely made me think wtf was “i can’t see a future between us”- and that’s a guy who has 2 kids with two different exes,addicted to weed,workaholioc. He can’t see a future with a free,resposnible, always there for him person. I start seeing it as he can’t see the future with anyone (maybe the ex nr 2 who he has a second child with,but who will never take him back as he cheated on her with number of women and got pregnant her,and the other woman in the same time! i do think he still can’t get over her,even tho she doesnt want him in her life).
      So yeah all this confusing stuff do make us feel crazy and I also know what you mean with the emotional attachment.You can read those posts thousands time,and think-oh I understand now but the attachment is so strong that the reality of situation looses. But have you thought what are you actually attached too? Im studying psychology as well as in counselling now and Im discovering that attachment migt have nothing to do with this person, its more like being attached to the behaviour,response you get from that person. Ive discovered that I’m looking for rejection,and I am attached to the feeling of rejection therefore I jump after him so I he rejects me again,and again.Its hard when you discover the pattern,but once you do it its even harder to work on it.But its worth it.We should all put our energy on the self growth.

  44. So much wiser says:

    Eum’s who return after breaking your heart have an agenda. The real assclown variety have usually run out of options. Any ex who dumped you without care or good reason who comes back and suddenly wants to get married or move in be very suspicious. They might be in a financial crisis unable to afford to live on their own! You may a beard for an older assclown who is trying to keep up appearances. These eums seem to have seen the light but you are just useful to them at the time. Don’t fall for the bs if it seems to good to be true it is. Check their financial status and if they rush to get you down the aisle watch out! Once they have a way to support themselves the fairy tale may soon wear off. Take your time if the returning childhood sweetheart shows up it may mean very bad news and bad intentions.

  45. TotalAnon says:

    This post truly spoke to me.
    My (soon to be ex) husband has treated me like crud for years. He has done some stunts, left and I have always just put up with it all of this crazy stuff. He recently had decided to leave his job, and then came home saying he was making a clean break, leaving the area – and leaving the family. The assclown packed a couple of bags, and left. When I called later that night to see how he was (stupid, I know) he made sure that I understood he was “never, ever” coming back. He was so clear and so callous in his explanation that I truly felt ZERO for this man who could be such an ass. Guess who phoned several days later ready to come back, and eager to tell me all he had learned? I told him, “not to this house.” He thought I would cave and let him back — tried all sorts of tactics. Oh, he thought I’d feel sad for him and cave. Not. You wouldn’t believe the crap that ensued after this. I stood firm.
    All it took was having to explain to our child what he did on the night that he took off. And this child was actually happy that he HAD left because he had not been a caring father for a long time.

    Since then I have filed for divorce. It is really over. He will be a nightmare to divorce because that is just his personality. But it will be worth every headache and tear. H won’t be coming back to live under the same roof as me and child to cause any further emotional destruction. It has taken me YEARS to get to this point. But I have more strength and peace than I’ve had in a long time.

  46. Confusedd says:

    Feast to famine- I also thought about this blog while watching titanic 3d! I thought It was unfair of Rose to expect Jack to save her from her depression and the life she didn’t want with Cal! I thought Jack was pulling the short straw there. Now if only I could see these things as clearly in my own life! Although in the last week I have rejected a (very attractive) man that already has a girlfriend And tried it on with me and told an ex that keeps asking me back that there’s no chance for him.

  47. Confusedd says:

    That’s a start, right?
    As for the current man who’s on my mind, Ive made a start at nc and ignored a text from him.
    How’s everyone else doing?

  48. Phoenix says:

    I just got out of my first serious relationship, with my first love. Needless to say, it has been very difficult, although about three months has passed. We dated for two years (I am 23), but had broken up twice (the first time at the drop of a hat after he went golfing, decided “he didnt want this.” Came crawling back and I took him back no questions). When he came crawling back *this* past time, I was very skeptical. He told me he realized he needed to communicate better, be more honest, work on his issues. After weeks of him confessing his love for me and all this, I started to open up. But just as BR predicted, the same patterns emerged and he suddenly started blowing cold air and becoming detached. I was devastated.

    But this time I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I had lost a considerable amount of weight and my emotional health was in pieces because of this back and forth uncertainty. I told him I couldnt do it anymore, mainly because I knew he was going to tell me the same thing. What’s weird is that I feel very rejected this third time, because the second break up I felt really good about it (there was emotional infidelity on his part). So when he came back confessing his love for me and how much he’s changed– I started to believe it. I felt like once I opened up to him the third time, he had cleared his conscious from the emotional infidelity and was able to walk away easily, since I essentially validated him. And I suffered the most.

    Within three weeks of us breaking it off the third and final time, his new girlfriend had already met his entire family–graciously advertised on facebook. I deactivated my facebook, and when he tried to call to tell me to chat, I told him I know he’s moved on, and it wasn’t fair to me and that I didn’t want to talk for a while. (He insisted on this girl “just a girl he is seeing, not his gf.”) I had enough, and have maintained NC for three months now.

    This experience has been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. The night of the second break up my friend came over and stayed up all night with me while I cried, and told me about Natalie’s blog. I have been reading it whenever I need to validate my feelings and process what I’m feeling.

    I’m going to counseling, taking a break from dating, developed a new hobby, volunteering, practicing self-love and focusing on my…

    • Phoenix says:

      My question is… once I take some more time for myself, should I see my ex before I move to London ? I will be moving indefinitely, and most likely finding a job there after grad school. He has expressed interest in seeing me before I leave, I still don’t know how I feel about it but then again, I wonder if it’ll provide more or LESS closure. Not sure.

      • yoghurt says:

        Less closure, without a shadow of a hint of a doubt. What possible good can come out of it? You are not going to change him with a single conversation, no matter how much fun it is to construct and how well thought-through it might be. All you’ll do is prove to him that you’re still bothered and probably give him pointers as to how to wriggle back into your life, should he ever feel like doing so.

        The alternative to talking to him about himself and your relationship is to talk about the weather. And really, why bother? What a waste of time that you could be spending with nice friends and people who care about you.

        Take your own experiences and your feelings seriously. It sounds, to put it bluntly, like he ripped your heart out of your arse. If there’s the teeniest tiniest risk of ever having to feel like that again, don’t you think that you owe it to yourself to avoid it?

        And HE’D like to see you? Would he really? Shame he couldn’t treat you better and show some respect for your feelings then, isn’t it?

        Seriously (much as I hate it when people say this to me), you’re lucky and you’re in a strong position. You’re young, you’re about to embark on an exciting new life in an exciting city and you’ve no need to see him. At best meeting him will just leave you with a gaping re-opened emotional wound with which to embark on said exciting new life. At worst you risk being sucked in again. So don’t.

      • Tea Cozy says:

        I’d say you are doing all the right things — taking good care of yourself, remaining in NC with the guy, and so on. Carry on. Do not see him. Keep your full weight behind your decision. You owe him nothing.

  49. Tinkerbell says:

    To Stuck In Fantasy. Why, why, why would you grovel in front him. Submerging and or abandoning all sense of pride and self esteem is the LAST method to use to get him back. Take a break from relationships with men. Right now you are an accident waiting to happen. Just think, if he were the one begging and pleading with you to help him be strong and get his life back on track after breaking up, would you want him? All you will achieve is a huge lack of love, care, trust and RESPECT. If that is what you want no matter how much the cost, continue behaving like a helpless, pitiful waif.

    • says:

      I know all this things I done was wrong,I know the more you beg the more you push that person away and you insure that person they made a right choice to break up. I’m studying psychology, I know alot about human behaviour. But the scary scary bit is that something happened to my brain, I was so extremely depressed and couldnt surround myself with family as their are in the different country,friends busy working or far away, I was completely alone and desperate for mental support and help. The thing is,if that was me dumping someone and that person came running to beg me to take him back and I was sure I made a right choice I would say No.But I would cut contact,I would leave that person alone.Where my ex was sort of feeding on my hurt, everytime I asked him to talk to me he would come round,listen to me,see me crying,see me hurt and then leave saying nothings gonna change.
      I really understand that such behaviour only makes things wrong, but sometimes its really hard to fight your brain which is asking for the “high”. I did feel like coming of the drug which i was constantly craving. If you look at people addicted to cocaine trying to come off it,they beg for it,just like i begged him to take me back. I know it took all my self-esteem,self-respect,energy and made a big hole in my heart. And I am terrified if he comes back I will be back to the square one. My pattern goes long time back into my extremly abusive relationship when i was 14 that lasted for 6 year.I had to run to another country to get out. I still have alot to learn and huge work to be done on my self -esteem which is probably 0 right now

      • grace says:

        take it from a loner (me), that it’s not good for man (or woman) to be alone (that’s from the bible). Loneliness is not a natural state for human beings. Even meerkats waste away when they are separated from the group. My FISH don’t like it when they drop below a critical number. They start to become timid and stop eating. How much more does a human being need company?
        Abusive relationships thrive on the loneliness of the abused person. Abusers, whether by accident or design, cut you off from your support. The ex made it so difficult for me to see my friends and family or even to phone them that I just stopped doing it for a quiet life.
        I know it seems too simple to be true but having friends will really help you to feel better. In our modern societies, lots of people are lonely and there are solutions – meetups, churches, evening classes. Even if you don’t make bestie friends straightaway, you will eventually.
        Staying at home crying has its consolations, believe me I know, but don’t let it carry on too long.
        There is a huge hole in your heart. Fill it and you won’t be terrified of him coming back. You’ll just go – meh?
        Leave the house, join groups, say yes to every invitation, smile a lot, ask questions, reveal yourself. Yes, you might come home and lie awake at night and cry but slowly, slowly and yet quicker than you think, you’ll be over him.
        Counselling also helped me, I had a terrific counsellor but ultimately, it wasn’t so much that he was very skilful but that we built a relationship. At our last session, he said to me “thank you for what you have shared here, I have learned a lot”. It was a two-way relationship. I was so sad and so desperate that I took the risk with THIS counsellor rather than previous consellors to show him who I really am. I don’t exaggerate, it saved my life. To be helped, you have to trust, share, and let your guard down. But with people who deserve it. Otherwise, the emptiness makes you very susceptible to those who DON’T and will use it against you. The bible describes them as wolves. It’s apt but I also consider it an insult to wolves!

  50. teachable says:

    LMAO @ Grace & all those ‘psychos’ circling the biggest one of them all!

  51. SHERINA says:

    Well ofcourse all of this makes a lot of sense when you just wana get rid of that one disturbing guy . But I have failed in and out ,I am just 19 and i feel oh so more pathetic .He just talks to me when he is free ,free from his normal schedules and backs off when he wants like probably not commnicating 2 weeksor more just because he may have his exams or something like that. He is unbelievably rude to death.I cry over it many a times and feel sorry for myself .please just help me . I dont know what to do , I feel I need to act mature but just caught up in hell lot of unwanted thoughts .

    • Polly says:

      Hi Sherina,

      You are just going to have to ride out the pain. The more you try and avoid it by hanging around waiting for crumbs the more damaging it is to your self esteem and the longer it is likely to take to recover. Don’t wait around for an upgrade that never comes. Decide today that you will have no more contact with him and start looking after yourself. It hurts, it always does but so many women on here have been where you are and are sooo much stronger and happier now.

      The thoughts are all part of the process. Part of the grieving for a relationship you hoped for. You need to go through this to get to acceptance eventually. You WILL be ok! You’ve got a great opportunity to learn from this early in your life and have much much happier relationships in the future. I’m sure alot of us wished we could have learned these lessons at 19 x

    • Fearless says:

      You need to get to the bottom of what it is about you that makes you think his crappy, using, flip-flapping, behaviour is good enough for you, ’cause I’ve got good news for you: It is not good enough. End of.

      It is that simple. If you want it to be.

      You are not a doormat. He’s not that special and you’re not that desperate. Nuke the flip-flapper. There’s a big world out there. Choose another path. Hold your head up, know what you’re worth. You’re worth way more than this guy’s crumbs. Believe it. You can choose you or you can choose more of the same with this guy whose behaviour will only continue to chip away at your self-esteem. Choose you. Do it now.

      • Lou says:


        Very well said.
        I do feel desperate though and I’m failing at 42…. . The ex and I still spoke every month or so and he came back last year saying that he had ‘ a new appreciation of me’ etc and wanted to talk about getting back together. He was ‘feeling very positive’ and we had a long discussion over several weeks and talked about what went wrong and what we really wanted going forward. I was very honest and upfront and told him about someone that I dated for a few weeks prior to him calling me. It seemed like we wanted the same things but he walked away ‘feeling negative’.
        We talked over the next few weeks and he said that wanted to talk it all though first before getting into a physical relationship again. But then he flip flapped for 3 months and walked away. I blamed myself for being slightly hesitant at first, mentioning the short relationship and then pushing him for an answer – but then went NC for about 3 months when he said that he didn’t want to be a couple.

        We are now speaking a lot again- he found out that I was in hospital at the beginning of the year via a mutual friend and rushed to the hospital. He then called everyday to see how I was for weeks and now that I am virtually recovered, he calls a couple of times a week. He took me out to dinner last week to celebrate getting better. I don’t call him , he makes all the effort but I am enabling this. Neither of us are dating anybody and it’s like an addiction. I would like to get back together, I always have wanted to …. I need to nuke the flip flapper….

        • Fearless says:

          Mmmm… Lou, it doesn’t sound good, I’m afraid. Having a man in your life who just ‘can’t make up his mind about you’ is soul destroying. I had one of those for years. Thanks to BR I finally got that I had to make up my own mind about him and kick the flip-flapping soul destroyer out of my life. Go let him feel all riddled with indecisiveness some where else.

          btw, this ambivalence that they are ‘working their way through’ is not a temporary thing (though that would be bad enough); it’s who and what they are – it’s part of their make-up – it’s not going away. Ever.

        • grace says:

          My situation is not completely analagous to yours but I see some similarities we could both learn from.
          The crush treats me well. He’s taken on himself the responsibility of making sure that I get home okay from social functions. He’s offered to buy me food (to which I laughingly replied “I can afford to buy my own groceries”) because I’m getting skinny. When I was going through a depressive episode he could see I wasn’t feeling right and was concerned. BUT THE TOPLINE is that he isn’t asking me out. I’m rolling back my emotional investment and feel better for it.
          In your case, yes, your ex is doing nice things for you BUT THE TOPLINE is that he has told you and shown you he doesn’t want a relationship with you.
          fearless is right – the ambivalence runs very deep. I DO think it can be overcome, though, as I am overcoming it myself. But, But, But, I’m not overcoming it via the process of jerking someone around. It’s been though counselling, six years of celibacy, a lot of tears, and divine intervention. It’s been worth it but it’s been painful and very hard work. Your ex has no need to overcome his ambivalence – you’re still there.
          If you left him to it, he may or may not overcome it. I suspect he won’t for a very long time, if ever. But it won’t be your problem anymore! Yay!
          PS He may not be shagging you or dating other people but it’s not enough is it? It’s a sorry state of affairs if that’s all we’ve got.

  52. Arlena says:

    My choleric father gave me ample opportunity to develop a very strong Pride Line guiding my life. Any inappropriate behaviour like one yell or one slap and out I was. No doubt, this spared me a lot of grieve, but I stayed unhappy in relationships which led me to rethink my Pride Line and some values being obviously too harsh and lowered them. Bad idea. Wrong conclusion. Results even worse. Second chance? Bottomline: It’s not worth it. Not ever when dealing with an AC.

    A man asking for a second chance in most cases I would rather suspect him wanting an opportunity to end something on HIS TERMS again: the chance to get revenge, to show who’s boss, to get his ego straightened.

    BR has brought me back to my former Pride Line reaffirming that I was on the right path but without understanding the gory details. I had to learn a few lessons, so I couldn’t really prevent some of the wrong guys. Looking back I mistook a lot of behaviours and funnily it reminds me of these dog training shows where a “dog whisperer” sheds light to the surprised owners. Firstly they all enabled bad doggy behaviour and gave lots of pads/food for a steep learning curve. I also thought “WHAT A WELCOME!” when a dog jumped with a licking attack all over his owners face raising my eyebrows to hear that all this allegedly “cute and affectionate” behavior actually is a show of disrespect, domineering and showing who’s boss even done by the tiniest of species.

    Well, my point is not along the lines of hinting dog/man training, my point is this baffling realization of totally mistaking behaviours. I felt miffed when I closed the door and the man didn’t try to come back. Confusion. I saw it happening around me mistaking it for shows of “undying love” and “them seeing the light finally” and felt left out of the fun. Something wrong with me? Now I see, that often enough I got my message through. – There are extreme cases where a father who sexually abused one off his daughters caused jealousy among the others. Why THAT daughter and not the others? (Well, those wouldn’t have shut theirs mouths about it, for example) Quite a phenomenon. I am so glad to have the pieces fall into their right places eventually and getting out of that twisted perception.

  53. Sarah says:

    I have found BR after a horrific split from an Future Faking/Fast Forwarding ex for the FOURTH time over twenty years. Its been awful, but there will never be a fifth time. I’ve been really working on changing my life in so many ways, and hugely helped along the way by Natalie and this site. It hasn’t been plain sailing but I’m really out the other side, and I don’t intend to ever see him again. If he ever came sniffing round, even if it was under a friendship guise, there’d be just the loud sound of flushing. Thank you Natalie.

  54. teachable says:

    Relationshit? AC repellant? Yr crackin me up wimmins! lol

  55. teachable says:

    @ Stuck in Fantasy
    When I described my xAC’s behaviour to a friend, when I said I felt like I’d ‘dodged a bullet’ by getting rid of him, I was told I’d dodged a CANNONBALL!! I pee’d myself laughing & later relayed the comment to my therapist who agreed wholeheartedly. My point? You too, have dodged a CANNONBALL!!! Also, don’t be too hard on yourself for having chased him to the degree you did, as there are hooks he laid out to trigger that response in you & falling for them can happen to anyone. The important thing is recognising our own behavioural patterns & being committed to healing our wounds. I’m right alongside you with this & promise you – things DO get better (eventually). No more cannonballs huh? They really ARE bad for you. Shocking indigestion! x

  56. Minky says:

    My ex EUM has shown up for the FOURTH time, still playing the same old tune! I had a ‘what the hell wad i thinking!’ moment that made me laugh! I never thought i would get over that idiot, but it’s now two years on and i have just returned from six months of backpacking. The boyfriend and i are still going strong, thanks to skype and webcam. We spoke or emailed every day i was away and he even came out and visited me for a month. As soon as the EU realised i was still taken (nearly a yr and a half with my groovy guy) he slunk back under his rock.

    I have a feeling this isnt the last i’ve heard from him, but i know he no longer has a place in my life. Thanks so much, Nat. My life would not be what it is without this site. Many congrats on your upcoming wedding! 😀

  57. jennynic says:

    Glad to see you back here! Hope your trip was fantastic.

  58. jennynic says:

    Fitting song by Eric Clapton Old Love

  59. c says:

    Hey there, well new to the site and of course glad to have found it.
    Mine was never a dating relationship but a friendship that grew to both sides having feelings and 12 years later, able to finally admit it was an emotional affair. I mean we both eventually married, supported and were friends through eachothers relationships, but our closeness never faded but only intensified.
    Of course this has caused confusion. Heartache when the hot and cold comes about, questions I ask myself are why do I care. I am fulfilled at home and happily married and this person and I never even tried to date or have any sort of physical contact. so why is it so much a part of my thoughts or feelings? He says I love you alll the time and so on and so forth but I am just confused and everytime I walk away he never lets me. I did no contact for 2 weeks then saw him randomly at a baseball game and he talked to me for a good while, tearing up over losing our friendship, the works. Ugh! Is there any one on one help on the site or the just the comment section? Cause 12 years is a long time to try and let go of, I just keep floating in and out of strength and the truth is, he isnt sooo bad. Amnesia? Maybe.

    • grace says:

      If you call it an affair, it’s time to let it go and nuke it.
      Many, many women, including myself, have put a lot of value on the fact that these relationships/emotional affairs/dalliances/ affairs/ friendships have lasted for years, even over a decade.
      But, really, it just shows that the thing is frozen and not alive. It’s not moving forward to something satisfactory, it’s not rolling back to accommodate changes in circumstances (even as significant as marriage), the two of you are just maintaining an ambiguous holding position. And that, as we know, is the hallmark of EU.
      You’re not committed, you’re not uncommitted, you’re not friends, you’re not not friends, you’re not in relationship, you’re not not in a relationship. That’s fine if you’ve only known each other for a few weeks, or a few months and are feeling each other out but 12 years?! Something’s not right. That’s all a bit philosophical and airy-fairy so here’s a question:
      Would you like it if another woman told your husband all the time that she loves him?

      • Fearless says:


        “The two of you are just maintaining an ambiguous holding position. And that, as we know, is the hallmark of EU.
        You’re not committed, you’re not uncommitted, you’re not friends, you’re not not friends, you’re not in relationship, you’re not not in a relationship.”

        !! OMG. I know your comment is about someone else, but you have described perfectly my relationshit with the ex EUM, which dragged on in same ambiguous limbo land that for a decade. Sometimes your posts send a shiver up my spine Grace. If there was no other reason to read BR (thankfully there are many), you alone would be enough. When I found BR and told him I did not want to be in this destructive faux relationship anymore all he had to say to me (by email, of course) was “I will never not love you”. (work that one out if you can!). Classic.

    • MuchMoreBetter says:


      Do you have any idea how convenient this set up is for him? You are happily married, so you won’t want anything concrete from him, yet emotionally open enough to have the feeling of a little fling on the side. He gets to have his cake and eat it too, all in perfect safety!

      Thing is, he’s having that cake at your expense. At the expense of your confusion and heartache and mental space. And he’ll continue doing that in perfect comfort – after all, he’s not actually *doing* anything, right? He’s innocent! – as long as you’ll let him.

      It’s your call how you want this friendship to be defined. Like this…or like an actual friendship? An actual friendship being a relationship where the other party cares about you enough to not make feel this way.

  60. Tulipa says:

    They tend to get in touch after they’ve hurt someone else, so that you can pump them up and give them a clean bill of health, like “Look, I’m not that bad! My ex who I’ve effed over a few times will still give me the time of day!” Then they launch themselves into their next relationship.

    This statement is so true.
    He always came back after he was dumped or he had dumped someone, but I made it easy for him always hovering in the background so he knew I was there and not much effort would be required to suck me back in until the next relationship came along for him.
    I realise part of the problem was/is I don’t know what I want in terms of a relationship so it is easy to be lazy and fall for anything that comes along and think yes I’ll be lazy for a while and slot in here what could go wrong I wont get hurt. Famous last words.
    For now I’m staying away from dating until I know what I want and can stick to it.

    • sarah says:

      Wow…feel like I’ve just read my own life story. My ex comes back every time he needs an ego stroke. This has been going on for 2 years, now I have become his agony aunt listening about how much he loves the current ex and wants a commited relationship with her (whilst having the benefits of a ‘fake’ relationship with me). This is all okay just as long as I am in control of my feelings and don’t see him too often too fall back in love with him…

  61. Fedup says:

    I often wonder if my ex will ever pull this on me. Considering he dumped me out of the blue and left everything completely unresolved. Then turned everyone against me and called me a nutjob for wanting answers as to why I was being dumped for no reason.

  62. Tinkerbell says:

    Grace. I have always thought, in the short time that I’ve been reading,and once in a while posting on BR , that you make some of the smartest , share the most insightful comments and offer some of the best advice of all. This last entry of yours is right on. I admire your wisdom and bountiful common sense. You are a most valuable poster on this blog. I hope your biggest dreams are realized soon.

    • grace says:

      Aw, thanks tinkerbell.
      Credit to Nat and all the commentators, it’s really helped me to find clarity.
      Getting rid of all the returning exes has been so beneficial to me. Even though they weren’t taking up much time and effort, they were still holding me back. And maybe I was holding them back too. There’s nothing wrong with moving on.

    • Teddie says:

      New to the site as well, but I cannot help but second this!

  63. lessons learned says:

    I discovered this blog today. I cant describe how it has resonated with me.
    I have just broken up (two days ago) with a man who I went out with for over a year. Having read through some posts, I can see that he was a classic “fast forwarder” even following me from Australia to NYC on a holiday I had when we had been dating for a few months. He professed his love, said how right I was, and was willing to do anything for me. And how things changed.

    I came on this site because I took the day off work, and was doing some unproductive googling… which became productive.

    I knew when I broke up with my bf two days ago that it wasn’t right, but what being on here has made me realise is that the only reason I got sucked into his fast forwarding, was because when I met him, I had recently broken up from a long relationship (4.5 years) with a guy who most perfectly fits the EUM bill to the tee.

    And, this post resonates, because my ex EUM has sniffed that my relationship that has just ended was not going so well, and he has been circling. And this site is giving me the strength to NOT GO BACK THERE.

    If I did go back, it would be FOR THE THIRD TIME! and that would be RIDICULOUS! and if I was giving advice to a friend I would tell her she was being ridiculous, and why would this time be any different to any other?

    I am going to focus on working out what I really care about, and also on being better equipped to spot the red flags, so I don’t get caught up in any fast forwarding that is bound to fail in future.

    As my friend said to me today, i deserve a “big love” and that’s what I hope I’ll get. And I will keep reading this site so that I do not go back to my EUM, just to be chewed up and spat out again. I could deal with it before because I was young, but now I want the real deal. Trust, respect, growth and all.

  64. Spinster says:

    Ugh. I did this, somewhat naively, with The Snake. I’m sure that I mentioned this in a past post. After not speaking for 3 or so years, I had a dream about The Snake out of nowhere and figured that it was “destiny” that I had the dream. (I don’t even remember what the hell the dream was about.) The Snake had also asked about me a few times, probably on purpose because he knew that at least 1 person would come back & tell me. So add my dream to his calculated inquiries and BAM! Another try at the… well, I don’t know WTF to call it because it wasn’t even a pseudo-relationship… so, another try at the whatever-the-hell-it-was even though he was still with the girlfriend of 11 years.

    NEVER again. Lesson learned.

    And what a “coincidence” that he asked about me recently via a friend, stating that he’s “still in love” with me… even though he’s marrying someone else this year. “In love”? That isn’t what I’d call that bullshit. Thank goodness for age & wisdom because just like the reader that this post is about, I immediately flushed.

    Ladies & gentlemen, don’t bother with the path of least resistance. In reality, that road is MUCH rougher than the road to change.

    P.S. That Mr. Unavailable who contacted you (Natalie) had to be told by the POLICE to cut it out? Seriously, WTF? What a disrespectful, inconsiderate, self-entitled, narcissistc piece-of-shit ass-wipe dirtbag.

  65. over-it says:

    Last night I gave him the boot. It was the third time back and I wasn’t looking forward to the runner. Waiting for the calls or texts. I don’t want to leave the door open for him to walk back in a couple days, months later. It was hard to let him leave the house. I just wanted to throw myself in front of him and say please please I can be what you want. I can’t though because he doesn’t even know what he wants. I am taking a page of Tulip book and just being alone until I know I am strong enough to cut the BS on the first time rather than the 3rd time. One day at a time.

    • Annelli says:

      Yes sweet heart…just one day at a time is all you can do in addition to praying for strength…I tell you, playing around with someones emotions and hurting them should be a federal crime.

  66. Katie says:

    This literally just happened to me. I was the OW to a guy with a gf for a couple months (I was so blinded by so many things and if it weren’t for having extreme low self esteem I would never agree to such a thing!!) and then they broke up but we were still ambiguous and I kind of figured it wouldn’t lead to anything. After a lot of soul searching I am seeing him in a different light but every once in a while he will still send me emails or something. I am pretty sure him and the ‘ex’ are back together and he didn’t even bother telling me or anything. This weekend he wrote me an email asking how I was. He can take that email and shove it somewhere! I just don’t understand why he feels the need to send me emails asking three little words once in a while- go be with your gf a-hole!! Now I don’t know if I should even reply or just let it be!

    • Allison says:


      You should not respond and you need to block this guy!

      Ask yourself what you would get by responding? What are you looking for?

      • Katie says:

        On one hand I want to be nice and reply with just something, on the other hand I want to be mean and let him know what I think because I never ever have told him off once, I was just this submissive woman to his stupid ‘love’! BUT I realize that either way it doesn’t change anything and it will only make it worse… so I’m trying very hard just to bite my tongue!!!

        • yoghurt says:

          I totally understand both impulses – in fact I’ve blown several fuses in my brain trying to work out how to be nice whilst at the SAME TIME as telling him off.

          Do you know, though, all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the emails, as humourous and insightful and well-worded (and well-practised!) the speeches were, I just regret it now. Because, whatever I did, he DIDN’T CARE and I couldn’t make him.

          I know it’s horrible, but if he cared about you he’d be with you now. Or failing that, he’d be leaving you alone. He wouldn’t be treating you as though you’re not good enough to be with and not good enough to move on and find someone else. He doesn’t care about you, and he doesn’t care what you say, other than to have his pathetic little ego stroked after his gf’s made him do the washing-up.

          Try to think about this from a future perspective – one day you’ll look back and see it as a momentous waste of your time and effort (you will, by the way… if I can then anyone can). The only thing that you’ll not regret is saying nothing. That’ll make your point to him better than ANYTHING you can say and it’ll have the added bonus of helping you to set yourself that little bit freer.

          • FX says:

            “I know it’s horrible, but if he cared about you he’d be with you now. Or failing that, he’d be leaving you alone. He wouldn’t be treating you as though you’re not good enough to be with and not good enough to move on and find someone else. He doesn’t care about you, and he doesn’t care what you say, other than to have his pathetic little ego stroked…”


          • Katie says:

            “I totally understand both impulses – in fact I’ve blown several fuses in my brain trying to work out how to be nice whilst at the SAME TIME as telling him off.”
            –> OH MAN I have done the same exact thing more times than I can remember!!!!
            I get so infuriated with him for this entire “THING”, and with myself for not ever giving him a piece of my mind, and again with myself for not leaving the situation at the time it was all happening and later hanging onto ‘crumbs of attention’ like this while having self esteem in the dumpster!

          • Allison says:

            I agree! Nothing is worse than being ignored!!!!! The message will be loud and clear!


        • MuchMoreBetter says:

          In the same situation I told the guy that he had his shot and I was underwhelmed. He never bothered me since. :)

          • Outergirl says:

            Silence is golden. Silence speaks volumes. Shout without saying a word. Katie, not so long ago I’d be doing backflips if my a/c would TEXT’! ‘ TEXT mind you!! those 3 pathetic, lazy, no effort words: ‘how are you?” Then finally, I said ‘wtf??! That’s not even a sentence! That’s not even worth replying too” and I never did. ok, there was the one time I texted back ‘I’ll call you’ and never did, just so he could know what that felt like. How am I? Much, much better without you, thanks for asking.

  67. IceQueen says:

    Great post! I stupidly used to think if a man comes back in to your life after months and even years of no communication that you must be this “goddess” and are totally irresistible…lmao what a joke! Lots of women think this too.
    I now realise it is actually an insult, and these assclowns are probably looking in their contacts thinking “which mug can I call/text/email/facebook today so I can get an ego stroke/shag/prop up”… No more flush!

  68. Annelli says:

    I have always said my life is NOT a revolving door for ex’s. Once the relationship has ended that’s it. There is no need to be friends, to keep in contact, to meet up every now and then. Chances are if they didn’t make a good partner, they aren’t going to make a good friend, associate or anything else for that matter. If you and your ex don’t have kids or business deals that link you together, just cut all ties, all contact and move on. I know it’s not easy for most, but it can be done. Just pray and ask God to give you the strength to leave and never go back to such a situation.

    • Kit Kat says:

      Annelli. Love your post and you are absolutley spot on … Cut all ties , all contact & move on….Kick them to the curb & never look back… Yes, it is very, very hard to walk away but it is possible …I am living proof of that… I have prayed everyday for strength, wisdom, patience hope & love for myself…

  69. Low-La says:

    I am still struggling with this after two years of off again on again with a much younger man. I can’t let go of him for so many reasons, he’s young, funny, we have great sex, but he keeps coming up short in my expectations and I know that’s my fault not his but I can’t keep myself from contantly trying again and again with him to see if it will be different this time. It’s different for a while and then back to the same old. I’m 53 and can’t imagine that I’ll ever have this kind of sex again and have never felt loved ever in my life and so when we fight or i tell him to eff off for the umpteenth time, it feels like my life is over. I’ve been let go from my job and today I just laid in bed in cried, after a good day yesterday. The difference? He called me last night. What other proof do I need that he upsets me unhealthily? Anyway, I know I’m rambling and not making sense. Thanks for all being here.

    • grace says:

      I’ve not had sex in six years and while I’m not advocating it for everyone I am happier now than when I WAS having sex – on and off with a younger man. You don’t get over them by continuing to see them, you get over them by stopping. The number it does on your self-esteem isn’t worth the sex and, with hindsight, the sex wasn’t even that great. I just liked “winning” (even though I was losing).
      Sorry to hear about the job though.
      Maybe this difficulty is the start of better things.
      PS Last week I went to a dinner where – gasp – there were more men than women and it was kinda sexy even though it was all innocent. There’s something to be said for just enjoying male company. It gives me a feel of what men are like, which I don’t think I knew before when I was actually shagging them.
      Cut the guy loose, there’ s still a lot of fun to be had out there.

      • Low-La says:

        Thanks so much for the reply. I’m dealing with still unresolved childhood issues and the loss of any kind of love, in whatever form, is devastating to me. Thanks again. Just getting a reply and knowing that someone thought about me for the time it took to write it has made me cry again. i have a lot of work to do.

        • Outergirl says:

          Hi Low-la
          Welcome. It is called abandonment, abandonment grief. I am working through it too and trust me, you are going to feel like you were re-born as the layers and cobwebs get pulled back. My thoughts are with you.

    • stereotype says:

      Hi Low-La!
      I just wanted to let you know I understand you completely! I’m a bit younger, but have a similar story after me… 2 years, younger man, crazy sexual attraction, fellings of getting older, the thrill that he’s giving me, believing he can change because he’s still young, having his youth as an apology for his bad behaviour, even having verbal fights between us as a proof of our “relationship” getting deeper… it’s all rubbish! Deep down I know it’s not his youth, it’s his personality that is bothering me, and that will never change. And I can’t make him have feelings for me that I deserve, no matter how hard I try, because he only cares about himself. I guess we sometimes choose people that hurt us because we want to be hurt, we want to suffer to be able to pity ourselves, maybe because no one else does – tell us how sorry he/she feels for what happened to us… self pity is somewhat a comfortable feeling… C’mon Low-La, we’re intelligent good looking women. If you could turn his head you can turn lots more. 50 is the new 40 :) We should play with those AC, not the other way around!

      • Sylvia says:

        your comment about self-pity is probably the most accurate way to hit the nail on the head here. It might help us to see that if we NEED to feel self-pity, we’d better look at that need, why it’s there, what does it require to make it better. Maybe it’s simply that when we needed to be comforted, we didn’t get that from anyone. It’s not that we want to be hurt, it’s that we have been hurt and are looking for acknowledgment of that all our lives. If there’s a real need for pity, we’d do well to give that pity to ourselves, finally, and lose the need for hurtful men in our lives. Thanks for pointing this out !

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hey Low-La,
        I’m sorry to hear about the job situation. That must be devastating. My thoughts are with you. I’m 53 too and I know what it’s like to have great sex with a guy who is unavailable. I kept trying and trying, returning to the scene of the crime hoping that each time would yield the magical results. Every time he contacted me after several feeble attempts at NC or when he responded when I broke down and contacted him, I’d think yippee. This is it. He finally realizes how great we are. Nope. It really isn’t flattering when they get back in touch. He knew I’d take the path of least resistance. Natalie is so spot on: “…regret kicks in when time passes and you find yourself in the same situation and you realise that your mentality and what you’re doing hasn’t changed.” I finally had to break down and choose the path of change. Otherwise I’d be 63 still waiting for the exMM to choose me instead of shag me. Choose you Low-La. When I was not selected for a “promotion”, it prolonged the situation with the exMM because I needed some support. Let’s not be in the same situation with an available when we are 63…deal?

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Opps I meant, let’s not be in the same situation with an “UN”available. Let’s be with someone who is available! We got some time.

  70. GettingBetterAtIt says:

    The timing of getting the email update of this post is almost comical, because my most recent ex tried to friend request me on a social networking site the very same day. After over two months of no contact it was actually insulting. The old me probably would have been like “Ohh joy! He misses me! He must want me back!” even if that was only in the context of some twisted validation for myself. That would be quite the exaggeration of a click on a button that says “Add Friend” out in cyberspace. Gee, they should give out medals for that type of effort lol 😉

    Instead, it led to another journaling session. Initially, just to vent my anger of him requesting me to begin with, but then to some other realizations.

    1) Should I really be that surprised or stew in anger over this person? It’s true that I communicated a number of times, as a general rule, I don’t do friends with exes & he was no exception. Yet, this is someone who already proved a few times over they didn’t respect what I wanted or me.
    2) We have one mutual friend who hasn’t yet asked me “what happened?” but I was dreading the day. I wanted a clean & short answer. Then I realized I didn’t want that clean & short answer for them. I wanted it for myself.
    3) The clean & short answer is: “We valued VERY different things & I IGNORED that for far too long.”
    4) There was a point in our relationship, when things really started to spiral, that I told him “I don’t feel like I even know you.” The truth was, no, I did “know” him; I just didn’t like (or want to admit) what I was seeing.

    I didn’t have a thought to hit the “Accept” button to begin with, but it sure as heck made the deletion of the request that much more validating.

  71. FX says:

    Yes, the timing of this post really is perfect! Last night, he left a voicemail and texted me that he had tickets for a concert and “I would love for you to accompany me.” When I didn’t reply, he sent a text with the sweetener that there was a reservation for before the show “in our names” at a lovely restaurant he knows I like. I have to admit, it did impact me for a moment and it did seem rude not to respond in some way to a cordial invitation. Then I thought about the fact that all of this took place after 11PM last night for plans for tonight! He obviously didn’t buy those tickets with me in mind since I’ve been NC for a month and haven’t replied to any of his other invitations to get together for drinks. Also, I don’t have any particular interest in this show and he would have no reason to think I would! I channeled my inner NML and saw all the disrespect in his presumption that I was waiting around for him and would be jumping at his offer!

    He must have planned to take someone else and, since I’ve been his option for so long, he was using this as an excuse to see me and get validation that he’s not such a bad guy/get an ego stroke/shoulder/maybe sex and then take the smoke he expected me to blow up his bum and treat me less than again and chase someone else. When I went NC once before, when he wormed back in he did say “Wow, I must have been really bad if you wouldn’t even talk to me.” And then he proceeded to do the same shit and worse! So, no, I will not lather, rinse, repeat as his ex gf/fallback again! I will not be validating him to feel better about himself for how he treated me! I have no interest in things being reset to where we left off – I admit we both used the reset button regularly. And, while in the past I would have been flattered and think he missed me and rationalized that we have so many years of history and blah, blah, blah, thanks to BR, I can see this for what it is and ignore him. The dinner would have been nice, though. LOL But definitely not worth my dignity! Progress!

    • yoghurt says:

      Ah fantastic FX – I love the idea of channeling your inner NML (I am going to start consciously doing that)!

      Dinner would’ve been nice at the time, but the smacking back down to earth would’ve been horrible afterwards – you’ve just saved yourself a bucketload of pain. Brill :)

    • GettingBetterAtIt says:

      Saying “no” once is an explanation. The second time is a warning. The third time requires neither =)

    • grace says:

      That’s when we’ve turned the corner – we’re no longer flattered by their “efforts”, we’re indifferent. Or insulted. Who. Do. They. Think. They. Are?

  72. snh says:

    Hi everyone:

    It’s been a number of month since I’ve been on the site, and the short of it is my last relationship break up was the rock bottom I needed to get myself and my emotional life in order. The results of taking the time, and doing what I needed to do about myself with that time, has yeilded remarkably unexpected results. I won’t ramble on about it here, except that it was the best time out I’ve ever given myself.

    Specifically related to this post, my ex came back into my life recently when his grandfather – very much a father to him – died. I was at the funeral with him, and his family who still treat me like royalty (an aspect of our relationship that kept me hooked long after I knew I wanted out, and something I saw crystal clear when I took my emotional time out). Many opportunities presented themselves to me at the funeral, but as Natalie said:

    “When your ex who broke your heart for whatever reason, comes back into your life, it’s an opportunity, just not for what you think”

    “…not for what you think.”

    At the funeral, and memorial reception at his aunt’s house, I noticed that wherever I went, there he was…quite literally like a shadow. He asked me a lot about my life. He wanted to *know* things about me, he was *interested* in me, he was *thankful* of me for being there, he allowed his family to shower affection on me, he was *attentive* – he was doing and saying so many things that at one point in my life would have been a life-vest to my drowning self-esteem.

    But it wasn’t anymore. The great opportunity was my ability to accept his words and actions IN CONTEXT (a funeral for a man who we both loved and who loved us both) and neither fantasize a future with him NOR (and just as important I think) regret the past. There was no projections of anything about anything.

    And as a result I was able to be, well, classy. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was, of course, a sad, long day but I was able to leave it behind when I went home: I didn’t wonder how he was doing, I didn’t reach out to him with “if you need anything…”, and I didn’t try to twist emotional vulnerability into meaning something other than we were both just sad grandpa Lxx had died.

    I did get an unsolicited apology from him that day, which I accepted because there as no aggressive baggage around me not to. And I had a…

  73. snh says:

    It’s been a number of month since I’ve been on the site, and the short of it is my last relationship break up was the rock bottom I needed to get myself and my emotional life in order. The results of taking the time, and doing what I needed to do about myself with that time, has yeilded remarkably unexpected results.

    Specifically related to this post, my ex came back into my life recently when his grandfather – very much a father to him – died. I was at the funeral with him, and his family who still treat me like royalty (an aspect of our relationship that kept me hooked long after I knew I wanted out, and something I saw crystal clear when I took my emotional time out). Many opportunities presented themselves to me at the funeral, but as Natalie said: “When your ex who broke your heart for whatever reason, comes back into your life, it’s an opportunity, just not for what you think”

    “…not for what you think.”

    At the funeral, and memorial reception at his aunt’s house, I noticed that wherever I went, there he was…quite literally like a shadow. He wanted to *know* things about me, he was *interested* in me, he was *thankful* of me for being there, he allowed his family to shower affection on me, he was *attentive* – he was doing and saying so many things that at one point in my life would have been a life-vest to my drowning self-esteem.

    But it wasn’t anymore. The great opportunity was my ability to accept his words and actions IN CONTEXT (a funeral for a man who we both loved and who loved us both) and neither fantasize a future with him NOR (and just as important I think) regret the past.

    So I was able to be, well, classy. I don’t know how else to describe it. I was able to leave it behind when I went home: I didn’t wonder how he was doing, I didn’t reach out to him with “if you need anything…”, and I didn’t try to twist emotional vulnerability into something profound about our relationship. It was a funeral. The end.

    I did get an unsolicited apology from him that day, which I accepted. And I had a realization – accepting his apology didn’t condone his behavior or how he treated me. It was, in this case, about being classy at a funeral – I mean why put up a fight about something I was indifferent to, and didn’t need anymore?

    Thanks for everything you all provide here.

    • grace says:

      Thanks for this comment. In the face of it all, let’s all try to maintain our dignity. If we can respect ourselves that’s at least half the battle.

  74. Barbara Doduk says:

    I think can also apply to any toxic person you have flushed from your life. Just this last weekend a woman that I flushed out of my life almost 3 years ago, emailed my BF who incidentally also flushed her 3 years ago after I did.

    She claimed a “friend” of hers (not her) reads my blog and noted I had mentioned her. I used her as an example, in a post about dumping toxic people from your life. I never used her name, and it was only a brief mention of the incident at the very end of the entire post. Only her, or someone close to us all would know I was referring to her if they read it.

    The fact that she didn’t email me directly speaks volumes. In the email she defends her actions, and goes on to explain how wonderful her life is now.

    Both my BF and I were like WTF is that about? AND I think this post nails it. My BF has the choice to respond, but I asked her what can of worms does she want to open by doing it, and engaging again with this woman? SURE people do change, but they don’t then go back to the victims of their lives and say forgive me please and take me back… when people change they just change and move forward.

  75. Sarah says:

    I totally agree with this post. It’s all clear and true, And i’d like to add something about the risks of getting back with an ex that you already know to be an assclown. Recently this guy made contact with me after I cut him out of my life because he had hurt me and my reputation pretty bad when I left him because he was taking emotional and financial advantage of me. I realized back then that I was being blind so I ended it, woving not to get into any of this ever again. But when he attempted to make new contact “as friends” I put my money on the fact that I was now “strong enough” not to fall into this. Also what could be the risk since we would only be friends? Well you see it coming, he started blowing hot and I fell into it again little by little but still very quickly. Not later than two months after inital contact we were back together, or I was back with him, because he was seeing other people freely. I’ll spare you the details of me trying to save the relationship, not wanting to see it for what it was. But still I knew something was definitely off and couldn’t help but back off. When he felt I was dropping out and that he was loosing control over me, he went mad. He started showing a side of himself I never knew existed. He became violent and it escalated very quickly over a week or two. He would be verbally, sexually and physically violent, slapping me when other guys called and physically keeping me from leaving when I finally broke down, threatening to lock me up and being insanely scary. It was a nightmare and for days I couldn’t get out of my house or see any man without my eyes watering up and feeling very scared. I wasn’t at all about whether or not I would be “strong enough”. I was being “strong enough” by keeping him out of my life and I did’n need to prove it any further. I’m still dealing with the grim aftermath of this and I believe it will take serious time for me to fully recover and feel like myself again. Now I don’t mean to be scaring people of their exes or in any way implying that all unavailable men are violent, but I think it’s very important to remember that you never know who can be, even though the vast majority of men are sane and sweet. I would like to have considered more before letting him back into my life. Considered that he’d already hurt me without regret and that I was exposing myself to more…

  76. TJ says:

    Thank you Natalie. Excellent article.
    I explained in another post a while back that this happened to me. The ex came back out of the blue (after a year and a half of no contact) with a lazy e-mail telling me the he still “loves me” and “wanted to talk sometime”. Of course he was still with his girlfriend at the time he told me this – the one that he was involved with before ending things with me… total AC . I told him it wasn’t necessary to talk in a lazy e-mail from ME to him for a change LOL. I told him these words ” Don’t contact me again for any reason whatsoever, goodbye.” It was a beautiful moment. Liberating really. It took everything I could do to hit send but once I did it was absolute utopia. I got my opportunity to make things right for ME. See, I didn’t treat myself with the love, care and respect that I should have when involved with this AC. Time and patience have done wonders for making me see that this man is not good enough for me and will never change. I deserve more, period. I could have went down the old comfortable road by engaging in more contact with him, but why? I had to change MY old ways and my own ideas and feelings about myself to be able to make the right choice – I got my self esteem back and ditched the man that had a hand in lowering my already low self esteem to begin with! It is very hard when you are involved with a class A manipulator/predator but I have learned that if you really love yourself you will choose YOU over anything that an AC says or does. I now feel sorry for the poor woman that my ex is involved with – I just hope that she finds the strength (and finds this blog!) to get rid of the ex AC and come out of it unscathed. So many lessons to learn in this life…

  77. Jolene says:

    Thank you for everything Natalie!
    Whenever I feel I’m in danger of forgetting about the true nature of assclowns, or giving in to reverting to comfortable hell, I read BR and that helps me stay on my path to recovery and away from relationship insanity. Readers’ comments have also made it a lot easier, especially on this article.
    It is completely outrageous what these ACs do! And very comforting to see that so many women have seen it all. One of my exes, and not even a recent one (an AC with gf) is so persistent in keeping in touch with me it is unbelievable. He doesn’t even want me back, he just calls and calls and calls, often 10 or more times on the same occasion, and this has been going on for months of my NC. He even came to my doorstep two months ago and decided to sleep in front of my apartment until I come home from a night out so he can force me into contact. Luckily I was out of town, but when I came back I saw the hallway demolished because he got pissed when I didn’t return. A few days ago I broke NC and answered the phone, and he was like: ”Hello. Do you wanna come over? I moved to your neighborhood. It’s your turn to visit me, I always visit you, don’t be rude.” And then he tells me how he slept in front of my apartment and the rest of what happened. And he basically told me he would find me when I move somewhere else. And from the outside this man looks like someone who is every girl’s dream come true. I would like to know if any of your assclowns are this determined to get their supply? I see they write you false declarations of love, want to get back together etc, but do they actually come and sleep at your doorstep waiting for you to return??? Not to mention online stalking, stalking friends and family, contacting everyone close to me, digging up all information he can get. And all of that without any reason specified. This would be totally romantic if it weren’t about a sadistic AC who is in a relationship!!! Who f****d things up for good almost three years ago. I tried everything, from chasing him years ago, being with him, being friends, not being friends and now NC that I’ve managed to hold onto for over 6 months (and he called regularly)…but the guy is like ”I still visit you”. Not like he does this every day, but once a month is stressful enough. I know he’ll try to contact me and that anticipation puts…

    • vivia1212 says:

      Amazing story but Keep strong girl! His sleeping on the hall way or your doorstep means absolutely nothing-maybe a tiny part of you thinks he cares since he is going through the extreme here. Still,all this hot pursuit is going to turn lukewarm to cold pretty fast that you’ll wonder who turned off the hot water heater?!
      He did,and he will continue doing this seductive I want you bad dance,it’s like a drug that can pull you in,have this BR page on automatic or print or paste it all over if you can. It’s hard but be strong,that is the only way to kick a bad habit-like him!

      • Jolene says:

        ”His sleeping on the hall way or your doorstep means absolutely nothing-maybe a tiny part of you thinks he cares since he is going through the extreme here. Still,all this hot pursuit is going to turn lukewarm to cold pretty fast that you’ll wonder who turned off the hot water heater?! He did.”
        Exactly! I don’t know what is more dangerous here, thinking you have feelings, or wanting to help the mentally disturbed get better. Both of which are, of course, bs and no more than destructive habits.

    • grace says:

      Er no. No woman in her right mind would find this a dream come true. It’s not even romantic in theory and you need to re-examine your values if you think this is good stuff on any plane. If it happened to me, I’d call the police.
      Cut him off, if necessary get a trusted male friend to make a calm telephone call telling him to back off. Change your number. Record every incident with dates should it escalate.
      He thinks he owns you. Katie Piper was raped and had her face burned off in an acid attack by a stalker. I lately heard that in parts of the world, such acid attacks by men on women are quite common. Talk about busting boundaries. Sleeping on your doorstep is busting boundaries.
      I’m not saying something that extreme will happen to you but this isn’t the sign of someone who loves you. He is out of control.

    • Sunshine says:

      It sounds like you’ve normalized bad behavior…

      This man is mentally disturbed, this is not romantic in any way, shape, form or fashion. It’s criminal, harmful behavior, he is out of control, and if it were me I would have gotten the police involved long ago.

      I’ve been stalked my experience is the only thing to stop it is to send a clear, direct message of “eff off, I will not tolerate this” and bring in outside forces – this sends a message that you are not weak, helpless prey. It also illuminates the situation, where you are not in isolation and nothing sends a cockroach scurrying light flipping on a light switch :)

      • Jolene says:

        Thank you for support. :)
        I read all of these posts you gave links for, and I’m actually quite new at setting boundaries, since not having them was partially due to my fascination with BDSM, which is in essence normalising outrageous stuff. Also being raised by a father just like that ex didn’t help much. :) To me it is now dealing with my relationship past and my NPD dad at the same time. This ex doesn’t seem criminal to me, although he is, because my dad who is in essence a mentally ill and difficult and violent person, kept me fascinated with this type of behavior and himself for about 27 years until I learned about NPD. I guess now that I’ve found out what’s wrong, I can deal with it, but I’m having a hard time not getting high on drama and finding danger arousing, both mentally and physically. I don’t even see myself as prey here, although in essence I am. You know what my dad said when I asked him to help me install bars in my hallway so I can be safe? ”Oh cut the crap. The kid just likes you and can’t stand rejection. He has bad courting style. Besides, you loved him, didn’t you? Just tell him to go away I’m sure this is nothing to waste money for and install some stupid bars.” So much sympathy for the psycho from my very own parent!!!

        • Sunshine says:

          With a crap response like that, no wonder it’s difficult to know what’s ok and what isn’t…
          BDSM isn’t actually the same as normalizing outrageous behavior, in my experience it is acknowledging the desire and creating a negotiated time and space for outrageous behavior. All consenting adults with agreements in place. There is a HUGE difference between intentionally setting up a scene where you may or may not have a safe word, with everyone in agreement to the parameters of the scene…or even an consensual agreement to be a live-in pet or a slave, and ongoing boundary-busting effing-up-your-life criminal behavior from an A/C who will not go away.

          If the people you play with break agreements during a scene, you need to find new people to play with. Otherwise, instead of a consensual power exchange, it’s just abuse.

          • Jolene says:

            Hahah, the first thing that came to mind after reading your response, Sunshine, was to justify my ”crap response”, and I asked myself ”do I come across as retarded?” Then i realized…Yes, I actually might appear retarded, first of all because I’m not a native english speaker, and YES, I was clearly NOT able to tell that an AC was an AC, and not a responsible adult. I didn’t want to make the entire thing about bdsm, thus the crappy part, more of what I wanted to say is that I do have my own issues and kinks that (more issues than kinks obviously :D) made me susceptible to this form of abuse.
            Anyway, your comment is down to the point – do NOT play games with ”people” who actually just want to play with your head, without your consent. Even live-in pets know that! 😀

            • Sunshine says:

              OH I am so sorry! I meant your FATHER’S crap response to your asking for help with the bars….oh, geez..glad you took it so well! I mean really, “bad courting style”…ugh…

              Please do seek legal advice if the hallway sleeper doesn’t go away, it *is* a dangerous situation and this guy seems to be aching to test your limits. I know all too well this kind of thing can go on for YEARS (decades, even), if you keep trying to handle it alone thinking maybe it’s not so bad.

              About getting high on the drama and the danger…NML wrote an article about keeping a feelings journal:


              Just noticing and being honest about what you are really feeling will make a difference. It’s like anything else, it takes practice, what seems hard now will eventually come naturally.

  78. Jolene says:

    I know he’ll try to contact me and that anticipation puts him in the center of my attention, again. I know I’m still bothered by it because of what’s inside of me, not because he still calls, but sleeping at my doorstep seems a bit too drastic to just forget about. I’m moving soon so that’s cool, and I’ll change my number probably, but I hate having to do so just because some moron with narcissistic personality disorder won’t f*** off!!! Plus I still have it in the back of my mind that ”he’ll find me”. Not to apologize or whatever, or for physical violence. Just to try to suck the life out of me. And I know he’d be able to do that if I gave him just a few minutes of my time. It scares me to realize that for now NC is the only way my mind is safe, and if he comes near me I’m screwed. I’m still not strong enough to be able to just call the police if he comes again and not even look at him. I even felt ”in love” while I was speaking with him! I hope there is an end to this, and not a messy one. BR is helping me a lot in keeping my mind clear and not succumbing to my own fears and weaknesses.

  79. vivia1212 says:

    wow interesting someone has been going thru this for Fifty years! Lucky it was five years worth of waste of energy with this guy. As embarrassing as it is I shouldn’t feel bad especially if someone have been dealing with this crud for Fifty years!!!
    All I won’t be adding another year to this foolishness,I can do all things Thru Christ who Strengthens me!

  80. Jolene says:

    I just wanted to add, in case there’s someone here pining over an ex AC who now has a new gf…having the issues that I do, I had another assclown for a bf a couple of years ago. This one could also be diagnosed with NPD. After I left him, he went on to find a new girl (not like it was something he wasn’t also doing during the relationship :D) and he made sure I heard everything about it, ”she’s way hotter than my ex, we’re moving in together, I am soooo in love…” It all looked like he was really happy with her, and finally becoming the man I was hoping to make him, while I was single and still miserable, trying to fix myself. After a while, a friend introduced me to this new girlfriend, who turned out to be a really nice but lost person, and she actually told me she was miserable, afraid and that none of the wonderful things I saw, were actually happening, except for the part where he did want to move into HER new apartment 😀 and that she had to listen about me way more than she should. This was helpful, for both me and her.
    Several years later, he still gets in touch occasionally, (with every girl he ever liked, not just me)but I’m not bothered at all. I am so indifferent that I can even go out for a drink with him and completely forget that it even happened. I just see him as a mentally ill person, and I don’t have feelings for him, or want to help him, and I am completely sure he cannot ever be helped. And that is wonderful. He doesn’t deserve any of my time, but if he does get it, I still lose nothing.

    • Fearless says:

      I find your story very disturbing. There is nothing romantic about this man’s crazy behaviour – not by the wildest stretch of the imagination. Normal/healthy men do not behave like this. He sounds dangerous to me.

      Why you would see going for drinks with him as harmless or giving him any of your time as ‘nothing to lose’ is beyond me. This is the guy who will not take no for an answer, who refuses to go away, who bullies you into contact with him, who parks himself overnight on your doorstep and demolishes your hallway when you don’t show up. I’m sorry to be be blunt but he is a total creep – and a dangerous one, so you do indeed have very much to lose if you do not take all steps necessary to get him to stay very far away from you.

      On the news this week (where I live) we are hearing about a man who would not take no for an answer when his lover tried to end their relationship. She is dead. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. Her body has not yet been found. Last week on the news was a young mother of two whose boyfriend had just been sentenced for breaking her jaw and gouging her eyes out, leaving her badly disfigured and blind. I have heard about this gouging out of the eyes before. I have also heard about the practice of men throwing acid in the faces of their (ex) partners. These two acts would seem to be part of the repertoire of these men. And you can be assured, Jolene, that these type of men do not suddenly gouge out eyes or throw acid – they build up to these things; the acid and the gouging are the grand finales. I don’t mean to scare you but you must wake up to the very dangerous ground you tread with this truly horrible man.

      • Jolene says:

        I had drinks with a different man, not the ”sleeper”. Jeez, horrific! :@ I see your point, that’s exactly why I wrote all of this, so I could read some answers that would shock me back to reality. Thank you.

    • grace says:

      I assume this is a different guy to the current crazy guy (though what fearless says still stands – you are in danger). However, they both point to the same issue with you (yes you, not them, even though they are both EU/AC in extremis). You have no limits.
      Or as my counsellor said to me, “you have an incredibly long fuse.”
      At what point do you say “enough” and walk away? From what you’ve said, you don’t. To justify these interactions as being helpful makes me gasp with disbelief. Help yourself by not engaging with ex’s girlfriends or with them. It’s a circle of crazy that has you believing that being stalked is normal.
      Cut these people off. You think you should be pleased with”feeling indifferent” and not being punched. I suggest you aim higher and not cast yourself in the thankless task of AC-whisperer.

  81. stereotype says:

    Soooo happy that I’ve found this site, thank you all for your thoughts, girls! I come and read your posts whenever I feel the urge to contact my sweet little Bastard again :) My story is in a way similar to C’s. We met 2 years ago, he told me how he was immediately taken by me etc., there was a strooong attraction between us… But nothing happened. I have my family, he’s got someone in his life. I’d probably never get myself into this if I didn’t find out that my otherwise very good husband got himself a young beutiful mistress… who happened to be our nanny, what a stereotype, which totally crushed my self-esteem. Well, this gorgeous looking man was obviously also much younger than me and luckily lives very far away. We talked to each other afterwards quite often, saw us on skype, were flirting constantly, and I felt good on the days I’ve heard from him and crashed when I didn’t. We managed to break up a few times and to get together again… What always confused me was that he wanted to have sex talks with me, but, as he said, felt so bad afterwards (because of “cheating” on his girlfriend) that he disappeared. For a while. He never wanted real sex. He never came to visit. He said he wants me, but… He would be totally on, but got cold feet after a day or two. Never met anyone like that – someone that approaches and then backs off. Last time he came back after a few months, he explained what an ass he was, how bad he behaved, how differently he thinks now etc. etc.. He was totally sweet, calling me at least once a day, then we got into sex talks again… and he called less and less. And I finally broke up with him again. I know it’s a total non-sense, I don’t really want him, I know I’m having feelings for some imaginative person with all the characteristics he doesn’t posses and that I just like the feeling of being wanted by someone so young and so good looking… My husband and I never split, our relationship is stronger again. BUT… I’m stuck! I’m in the phase of wanting to contact him again. I’m 40 and still so stupid. HELP!

    • Teddie says:

      Stereotype, I sooo know what you are talking about! Got myself into a similar long-distance fantasy for coupla years, there is something very stereotypical about approaching 40, ha, ha, pun intended!
      Really, fantasies are even more difficult to let go of than real messy relationships, Nat said it somewhere. This makes sense to me, if one indulges one’s imagination to the fullest, the fantasy ends up being too good to be anything else but a fantasy. And because nothing much is happening in real life, you don’t even feel guilty about this, even it is technically cheating. You walk on air carrying your little secret about a special somebody that is somewhere far away and (may be, just may be) thinking of you. Very difficult to let go of such a fantasy, indeed! But think about it: if of friend of yours shared with you a similar secret, you’d recognize the absurdity right away, wouldn’t you? You’d tell her: “look, this is ridiculous, infantile, absurd, get real!”
      Nat and the BR-posters are great at pointing out such things, thank you so much all! Keep reading this site, Stereotype, you’ll soon start feeling down-to-earth, and less stupid!

      • stereotype says:

        Thank you, Teddy! Your answer made me realize how infantile this really is, although it means a world to me. Oh yes, I walked on air with a smile on my face some days. But much more often I felt crushed because of his actions, because they didn’t meet my expectations, because I felt more then he did. I know all this and still… The real problem is I give it so much importance, spend too much time thinking of him, googling for infos of him… embarrassing! I must be on some freaking spell! My friend that knows keeps telling me “Just go there, meet him finally and just do it!” But I can’t. I have that much dignity left.

  82. Teddie says:

    Stereotype, you can easily busy yourself with other things: self-care, self-growth, working out, whatever. Reading is a good one too: read the Dragon Girl trilogy, or anything by Joy Fielding, I’m sure you’ll find it much more gripping and entertaining than googling the AC. And no, don’t go there and don’t meet him! Hold on to your dignity!

  83. Amber says:

    Ok ladies and NAT i have a QUESTION????
    What if he’s back because he really is sorry and he’s realized how wrong he was and that he loves you, wants noone else but you etccccc…???

    I know I may get attacked for saying it lool but seriously what if he is a changed man? People change dont they? Or am I being delusional?

    Nat can you help what are the signs that he’s back for real and not just back for an ego stroke or just to poke around and see what he can get?

    • Polly says:


      You’ll know he’s changed by his actions. If he hasn’t you see it pretty damn quick because they tend to behave even worse than before. If he is making a genuine attempt to address the things that weren’t right before . I wouldn’t be taken in by words though – anyone can say they love you and want you and mean it in their world but still treat you badly and shit on you from a great height.

      • Polly says:

        That didn’t quite make sense – I meant to say if he is making a genuine attempt to address things that weren’t right before you will see it in his actions consistently over time.

  84. susan says:

    i had someone come back a second time – and due to contrition i gave him a chance. what a mistake. but anyway i learned from it. when he tried the third time, i said, yeah no thanks. applied NC and that was that. phew.

  85. TT says:

    I need some advice from my sisters 😉 My biggest and most significant ex boyfriend got intouch via my business website as I had blocked him on my personal email. We split 9 1/2 years ago haven’t seen him since, we never spoke on the phone again and he moved on very quick to the next girl…he never initiated contact, would reply to the odd email out of many that I had sent but one liners mostly. It was a very humilating painful time for me but I finally let it go. Out of nowhere he emails to say he wants my contact details. Like a tit I sent him my mobile. Then nada. its been 2 months. Should I email him to find out why he got intouch?Its been niggling at me nonstop..god they always get under your skin its beyond annoying. Thanks girls!

    • Hell-to-the-no. Do not be a glutton for punishment. Surely there is a limit to what you will put up with? It’s been two months – that says it all! It’s been 9 years – it’s time to accept that it’s over and move on. That’s a long frickin time to be trying to get an ex’s attention.

      • TT says:

        Thanks Nat. Yeah I needed that to be reaffirmed. Can’t wait till the dust settles again.. all these emotions have bubbled up. Im really miffed he’s pulled this stunt. Nail. Coffin :) x

    • grace says:

      Email him. He’ll ignore you. You’ll email him again and – shzam – this will have gone on for TEN WHOLE YEARS.
      (btw that’s not a good thing)

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.