With sex this good, they must be interested!

Picture this (adopts Sophia from Golden Girls voice): You’re attracted to someone. You think they’re funny, clever, witty, they embody all of the physical qualities that you like, and seem to share a few of your common interests and possess a similar outlook. After a date or few, you sleep together and feel like there’s an amazing ‘connection’. Over the coming weeks and months you notice a pattern – after loads of calls/texts/emails and off the chains sex initially, it’s slipped into a territory where you don’t really know where you stand. But you’re still sleeping together.

One night, lying there in the afterglow of another good ‘seeing to’, you tentatively ask what the score is, or mention a forthcoming event that you’d like them to come to with you. You want to progress things and there is a niggling concern that they’re using you for sex, although you really don’t want to see it this way. Every time these thoughts creep in, you remind yourself of when you were laughing a few weeks ago, or when you they talked about stuff they’d like to do with you (but have made no moves to), or when they said that they really enjoy your company. You reason that it’s pretty obvious that you’re crazy about them, so surely they wouldn’t be stringing you along?

You’re also in the Justifying Zone, that slippery slope many people go to where they look for reasons to justify their initial emotional and sexual investment instead of saying “I’m out.” Trust me when I say, you can have sex with someone and it not mean that you’re destined to be together forever and ever.

After posing the question, the atmosphere changes. They pull themselves onto their side and look at you. “I’m having a really good time you know, but let’s not ruin things. Let’s just go with the flow.” You suddenly feel exposed and vulnerable. “What do you mean?” you ask hesitantly. “Well…I just don’t want you to get all serious on me, because being honest with you, I’m not really looking for a relationship right now… Is that OK?” Er, well no it’s not OK but what the hell are you supposed to say when you’re lying there naked in a room that reeks of sex?

As I type these words, more than a few people out there are having sex with someone who they have more than a casual interest in, who is not interested in a relationship or isn’t even that interested in them.

In an ideal world, you’d like to think that shagging each other and even buffering it with hanging out, dinners, and some contact, would be an automatic precursor to a relationship…but they’re not.

If someone is having sex with you and they’re not interested or they don’t want to have a relationship, it’s because in their mind it’s a casual relationship. They may overvalue what they bring to the table and assume that because they’re having a good time, that you’ll be just oh so grateful to have them break you off a piece.

It is actually pretty ridiculous that someone who for instance, would have the cheek to tell you that they’re not interested in you, would see fit to exchange bodily fluids and ask you to engage in all sorts of sexual acts, when they could just skip on down the road to someone who they were interested in and leave you to put your time, energy and er, your bodily fluids elsewhere.

Unfortunately, there’s actually more than a few people out there who like the idea of sleeping with someone who seems crazy about them and believes that the relationship is going somewhere – like an effed up power trip. It can also allow them to be uninhibited because they feel like they can let their real sexual self hang out because they don’t care. They feel like they have no responsibilities and you’re just this sexual plaything, which can be pretty damn degrading.

On the whole not wanting a relationship but still sleeping with you and even hanging out and appearing to be dating you, this can be a serious mind eff. It looks like a relationship and in your mind, feels like a relationship, but it has the hallmarks, not the landmarks of a relationship (commitment, progression, balance, intimacy, and consistency, plus shared values, love, care, trust, and respect), so it’s actually casual .

While some are upfront, others don’t say anything until they really have to, which is normally around the time when you’re wanting things to progress or looking for some clarification. They might kid themselves and insist that they initially genuinely wanted a relationship, but at some point, they changed their mind and they didn’t give you a heads up, removing the opportunity for you to decide what you do or don’t want to participate in. It’s also a case of why endanger the good time…and why create conflict, so they say nothing. Experience has also taught me that people who claim to ‘change their mind’ and say nothing, weren’t genuinely in the market for something more.

To be fair though, I receive thousands of emails each year from readers who are told all manner of variations of “I don’t want a relationship” or “I’m unavailable” or “I’m not interested/a jackass”…and they ignore it. Why? Because they focus on the action and think “Well we’re having sex, they still text me, and we have so much fun together so obviously they do want a relationship.” No they don’t – actions and words must match. No match, no relationship.

So many people ask me “Why are they still having sex with me then?”

‘Having’ is like implying like you have nothing to do with it. Like you’re helpless to a shag machine and that you don’t have any say in what does and doesn’t happen and like you don’t need to read any hints because there’s nudity involved.

You should be asking “Why are we still sleeping together if they have shown or communicated their disinterest or have shown or communicated that they don’t want the relationship that I’ve said that I want?”

Answer this question and you can start stripping the illusions out of this involvement and take action that gives you back your power.

Some people will chance their arm and if they can get it, they’ll take it. It’s not cute, it’s not cool, and it’s actually disrespectful, but it is all the more reason why you shouldn’t use sexual involvement as a barometer for the relationship you want or what you feel someone’s feelings are. It also doesn’t matter if you want more; if they don’t and you continue to sleep with them, they assume you are on their terms.

Not only are sexual organs poor judges of character, but sex should never be used as a basis for working out what the hell is going on in your relationship – if you’re defaulting to sex, it’s because it’s lacking on other fronts.

It’s very difficult to gauge someone’s true character and intent immediately – time and experience demonstrates this. I’d avoid ‘negotiating’ with sex because there are some people that would sell their mama or at least sell you a big dream and a fake persona to get you into bed.

If you’re the type of person that values your sexual interactions and struggles with the discovery phase and sleeping together, slow yourself down and don’t have sex until you can manage the two. But once you discover that someone’s interest isn’t mutual and that they don’t want the relationship you want, it’s time to pull your pants up and flush them out of your life. Persisting will leave you feeling devalued – something you can be spared from if you don’t let your ego or libido blind you.

Your thoughts?

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

Image credit: Orphelia SXC

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289 Responses to Why Do They Keep Having Sex With Me If They’re Not Interested Or Don’t Want The Relationship I Want?

  1. nia says:

    So true

  2. katy says:

    I am not sure what category this falls in, but I have had 5 sexual relationships this year and all were honest about it but one, two were married, two told me they didnt want a relationship, and one just disappeared. I ended up developing strong feelings for one man( he is 30 years older, asked me to do a threesome etc) i told him I had feelings for him and he said he didn’t want a relationship but we were more than just “playmates”. I took that to mean there may be hope down the road so I really clung to it. We were having sex, going out talking every day etc. It ended when he cut me off after several texting rants from me starting in december, One was because he didn’t show up after a surgery I had, one was because he was ignoring calls, and I forget the other. to be fair, I was totally out of control with my emotions to the point that he had to NC me. he even threatened to show pictures of me if I didn’t stop telling him about himself. I am beyond devastated still, I miss him and I feel like humiliated for my behavior and also like its my fault because he never clarified what we were, I should have opted out then. I can’t stop being angry at myself and wonder how other women are able to handle these casual situations.

    • This may help you (and others) Katy. It’s from a new ebook I’m about to publish. “When you realise how you’ve been treating yourself, it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming yourself and feeling like there’s no hope. You may read this book, or others, hear advice, or see people endeavouring to make changes in their own lives, and feel like there’s no hope for you due to “all the things I’ve done to myself.” It would be easy now to look around and feel hopeless, to wonder where on earth you can start, to feel regret, remorse, blame, shame, guilt and a myriad of emotions, and when faced with the choice between moving forward, or punishing yourself, you may opt for the latter……
      …You have to forgive you. If you think forgiveness is going to tap you on the shoulder one day after you’ve spent sufficient time punishing yourself and ruminating the crap out of past experiences, you’ll be in for a long wait.

      Forgiveness is a choice and a decision undertaken by you. Forgiveness is an action.

      Being angry, frustrated, and disappointed with you, and torturing yourself with guilt, blame, and shame causes you the most pain, just like when you hold onto anger about other’s, it’s only you that it affects.

      You have to make a decision to offload the burden of all of these feelings so that you can move forward. It’s a choice between remaining in a comfort zone of punishment and emotional purgatory, or change.”

      • BanannaBubbles says:

        NML – I can’t wait to get my hands on this new ebook!

      • Doubtful says:

        I have been regreting my behavior, which involved getting anxious, for the demise of what was a very important relationship, at least to me. Really, it was quite casual but just meant so much to me. Friends and family say I was vulnerable and was exploited. But I can’t hear that. Instead, I take all the blame for all the discomfort I felt. My therapist tells me that staying in the blame works for me because it keeps me down, making it near impossible to look at myself and what my next step in life might involve. Like NML says in her reply to Katy, I”have to decide to offload the burden of these feelings so that (I) can move forward.”. That’s scary to me.

        Plus, if I offload these feelings, I would have to see him in a poor light or maybe not think of him at all. And that’s hard to let go of, too.

        • katy says:

          Doubtful, I don’t know if this applies to you, but I know what was so perplexing to me (and its been discussed on this board) was that every single man I was involved with was a great guy to everyone else. These guys were educated, wealthy, and had tons of friends, and were good fathers, sons etc. I just didn’t get it. I kept trying and trying to figure it out, what was it about me??? I accept that my lack of control over emotions was a key problem, but one thing I have picked up on as I dissect it, is that every single one of these men has full lives. They had before me and they will after. it was ME who wouldn’t go away because I didn’t want to go back to the non-life I was living. I just realized this month that while I may have a job, some interests etc, I have never , in 36 years, BUILT a life that I love. This is my fault, but something that I can work on, and I feel alittle bit more control over things. I can tell you that whatever may be emotionally lacking in these men when it comes to sex, they are aces at looking out for their own time and interests, and that is one thing
          I can learn from them.

          • Doubtful says:

            Thank you, Katy.

            You are right. He goes back to his girlfriend and a new, exciting business which is amassing a huge local following. He is well liked and personable. I was a customer. No one knows that I had a bit of a dalliance with him, and that now that is gone.

            I was divorced for more than a 10 years, and he slowly and surely worked his magic with me. We finally spent a brief morning together. He tells me he loves me. He kisses me. Then, he says, “You know this can’t be.” I tell him I love him and then I divulge a huge health secret.

            I get anxious days later about disclosing anything, especially when it dawned on me that he was not planning to be with me. He was planning to be with his girlfriend! Unless, my health secret scared him away.

            Regardless, I was hooked, and after a few follow up conversations, he is for all intents and purposes, gone.

            I stayed at the gym for as long as possible, trying my best to be “friends”. He steered clear. And so I left. He probably thinks I am nuts and that this is old news. But, for me it was not.

            Back to my “old life” which no longer is enough. And he, I am sure, is just thriving.

            I reached out to talk with him, and he says he and his gf are now close and he would have to check with her. Needless to say, no call back.

            What was probably small to him was and is such a big deal to me. How do I put this behind me? I feel like I lost so much. And probably because my life is not full in other ways. Even my job is slow.

            Today, my therapist told me that I starve myself emotionally. And then, when I look for sustenance, I go where there are no nutrients: To unavailable men. First, my ex-husband so many years ago. And now, in my first pseudo-foray out, to this man, who won’t even talk to me now.

            So sad about this.

            • tired_of_assanova says:

              These guys, they are just totally cruel.

            • Ashamed says:

              I know that it hurts to see them thriving while we suffer in secret. My AC is having a great time, with his promotion came a move to a fabulous part of the country where both the women and climate are hot. He always wanted to live there so he is off making arrangements. It makes me sick but in the long run it will help me to go over his pathetic ass. It’s all about them. Ride a bike, have a drink with a friend, see a movie – whatever it takes to not think about
              him. It’s a process that will take time.

              • Doubtful says:

                Thanks, Ashamed. I’ve had to get on anti depressants and anti anxiety meds because I think this just tapped into old stuff that I never dealt with. At least, that’s what I am being told. I know I am an overthinker, and he is not. One day, he might tell someone he “feels bad” about what happened (just like he said to me about his first gf after his divorce), but, for me, this has been months and months of analyzing, blaming myself, etc. Same situation for both of us, but two totally different reactions. He would really think I am crazy if he knew what I’d been through during/since.

                • Mymble says:

                  I would like to say just how much I sympathise and empathise because I also experienced so much of the rumination, anxiety etc for months and months – and even after 3 months NC still have some – and I doubt whether he even gives me a thought any more, busy enjoying his prestigious job, lifestyle etc. That thought helps me keep NC, though because I really really don’t want to hear or see any of it. It does get slowly better though and I am sure you will too.

                • tired_of_assanova says:

                  Doubtfu, I’ve been where you have been though I don’t take medications as I am anti-drugs.

                  Yes, my AC had no problem with me leaving, it was shocking how me leaving had zero impact on them and they just kept shagging around, skipping on their merry life. It did make me seeth with huge anger and it just felt so unjust – they just don’t give a damn or thought or anything don’t worry, get out and believe me, lightning will hit them one day.

                  • Doubtful says:

                    Thank you, Mymble and Tired of A. Your responses are helpful and supportive. Everyday is like Groundhog Day for me. I wake up thinking it was me that ruined everything and by the evening I can say, hey, wait a minute, even a friend would be reaching out to me to see how I am.

                    He was actually my instructor in an exercise class, and his gf was there, too. I bowed out because it was too hard for me to be his “pal”. Every morning I wake up scheming as to how to get back there, saying to myself that at least I had a spot on a regular schedule. No one knew I was hurting inside. I miss the exercise (altho I am going elsewhere, it’s different), but my family says no, you miss him. Be real with yourself. I can’t forget that he could not even speak with me when I reached out to him. I left but really, he had already left our “situation”. Why do I feel like it’s my fault?

                    • grace says:

                      He has a girlfriend. The only thing that is your fault is that you decided that was irrelevant.
                      Don’t continue to make it irrelevant. Nothing could have happened, nothing is happening and nothing (worthwhile) will happen because he has got a girlfriend.
                      The moral of this story is not to go digging around looking for what’s wrong with you. It’s DON’T GET INVOLVED WITH ATTACHED PEOPLE. no.8 in Nat’s list on the right *pointing*.
                      If you inadvertently find yourself involved with an attached person, don’t tell yourself “Well, I’m involved now, it’s too late. “. It’s never too late to get out but, sure, the sooner the better. Unless you have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD.
                      The reason he is not reaching out to you and has cut you off is because he’s not your friend.
                      Good for you for dumping the exercise class. Try to see how tragic (and I don’t mean that in a snarky way) it is to be pining for a slot in an exercise class. Talk about crumbs. You want and deserve way more than that. Not from him, from someone who is actually in a position to give that to you. Such person would at least be SINGLE.

        • j d says:

          Doubtful, I know how you feel. Anxiety killed something meaningful for me too, but it’s done. You can’t go back, and the other person is off living their life not worrying about you. You are just hurting yourself by looking backwards. Resolve to do better going forward. There are so many people in the world that might be great for you, more than you can ever even meet. So just go out and live and find the next one.

          • Doubtful says:

            Thank you, Katy and jd. I tried to submit a follow up comment, but it did not work. Wanted to make sure I thanked you both, though.

            • Doubtful says:

              Grace. Thank you for your frank words. I read them a few times. I watched his relationship develop with this girl while he flirted, etc with me. The brief time I spent with him made me think that, although he said “this can’t be”, that he was sort of coming to me. I don’t know if my health secret that I then disclosed scratched me off the list. Or, if he always planned to stay with her. I’ll never know. I took a brief break from the exercise studio back then, too. When I came back, he turned cold to me, and the gf no longer was speaking with me. I spent months trying to gain some equilibrium but finally had to leave the class. I think he would say we were “friends”. I just can’t get behind my decision to leave this time, and it’s been a few months already. His not speaking with me now makes me regret leaving, thinking that, at least, before, he sort of was. I see it as my behavior that made him turn away. It’s weird, because even as I write this, I see that I am taking all the responsibility for something that involved two people. I was not in it alone.

      • katy says:

        I am very interested in the new ebook, please keep posted because that is exactly how I feel. I wasn’t a victim of a man, I was a participant and that makes it so much worse.

        • grace says:

          when you realise you were a participant it does hurt and you do persecute yourself. And then you’ll realise it is, in fact, a good thing. If you can choose a bad thing, it means you can change and choose a good thing.
          You’re not just someone to whom random shit just happens (barring natural disasters and war). You don’t have to live in fear and trembling that an EUM/AC is just around the corner. You get to make your life and it doesn’t have to be that amazing to be yours. For me it was just making a comfortable home for myself, joining a nice church and being more open with people.
          Believe me, as someone who has been treated really really badly, one day you just won’t want those garbage things anymore. They’ll be in the past (apart from the odd bad day, but who doesn’t have those).
          When you’ve got over this horrible experience, it strengthens you. Whatever happens, you know you had it in you to survive. He won’t mean anything to you anymore, you’ll be too busy, reading, knitting, gardening, seeing friends, working, making babies or whatever it is that the future holds for you.

        • Natasha says:

          Katy, I’ve been where you are and I want to second what Grace said. Believe me when I tell you that once I forgave myself, my life totally changed in the best way possible. Instead of flogging myself, I’ve gone on a few dates with a new guy and actually enjoyed them. Grace is right that it WILL one day be a distant memory and I would say do everything in your power to make life fun again. Personally, when I’d want to start torturing myself, I’d go play tennis/have a drink with a friend/focus on my golf swing…anything that was enjoyable! I want you to do something nice for yourself this week – doesn’t matter what it is, it just has to be a reminder that you’re allowed to be happy.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Ladies, I just had a weird experience today that relates. We were looking at old photos at work today and there was a photo of me and exMM#1 and ex-abusive narc (both work colleagues). Talk about someone I used to know, a distant memory, and a cringe moment. I had sex with those losers? I obsessed and thought about them incessantly? I morphed, twisted, and did whatnot to please them? Katy, the others are right. Someday you’ll look back and wonder WTF?
            Presently, I am totally grateful that things went tits up and it didn’t work out with those pitiful AC’s. They really are in the past and just a distant memory, although at the time I thought my world had ended. It didn’t. The sex now seems rather irrelevant since everything else was missing. Still here and then made another giant mistake. But I’m still here but not making the same mistakes thanks to BR.

            Really looking forward to the new ebook Natalie. Since I check BR several times a day, I’ll be looking for the announcement. That’s the best thing though. Some of the other blogs (which I don’t read anymore) seem to be book pedaling. You have created such a wonderful blog filled with substance and then there is a book to boot! Thanks for all you do Natalie. Can hardly wait. Now I understand the phenomenon associated with Harry Potter.

            • Natasha says:

              “The sex now seems rather irrelevant since everything else was missing.”

              AMEN Runner! When I think of jackassy exes….the sex is just about the last thing I think of. (And I had a lot of great sex with some really crappy dudes. Truth.)

    • Lia says:

      My heart hurt a little reading this because I’ve been there, but have faith because you will get past this. To be fair, while he never defined the relationship I’m sure he had a good idea of what you wanted. He knew that you had feelings for him so he had no business telling you anything about you two “being more than playmates.” What a jerk, he knew that you would bounce so he gave you a string to hang onto just so he could get what he wanted: a one-sided relationship in which he got everything and you got whatever he wanted to give when he felt like giving it.

      I’ve been there, and after I had my Diary of a Mad Black Woman moment, I felt awful about how I was acting towards this jackass that I let string me along. At the time, I thought that I felt bad about possibly hurting his feelings, but it was really that I cared about how I looked to him. Everything that I has said to him was 100% how I felt, I just didn’t like looking like the imperfect one. I stopped focusing on what was really important: that what he was offering wasn’t good enough for me.

      Just think of it this way, you felt misled so you were mad and hurt and lashed out, but given the circumstances it was totally understandable. You may not have expressed yourself the way you may have wanted to, but you got your message out there, which is what you should have done all along. You can’t take it back, so don’t worry about it. If he is really sitting there focused on what you said to him instead of focusing on whether or not any of it was actually true, then dude needs some serious lessons in accountability. I think that you are holding yourself accountable for your actions and that’s very mature of you, but you’re also punishing yourself for them when there’s really no reason for it. You’re human, we all act out of pocket from time to time, especially when we’re in pain. Just learn from it and don’t put yourself in this position again. I’ve been right where you are, and I know how you feel. But trust me, this will pass.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I often got good advice but feel completely powerless to apply it. People would say ‘stop beating yourself up’, ‘stop feeling bad about it’ but if it were all that simple, there would be no need for grieving.

      Beat yourself up if you really really feel the need to, and then FORGIVE yourself. He’s Mr Unavailable. This is the thing – open honesty just isn’t enough – I have been there. It’s like trying to be ‘honest’ with Fire. Honest or not – fire burns *regardless*.

      Two were married! I think that is totally unethical, and I would flush their cheating asses. If they want to shag around in their marriage, they should have got a partner that is happy to let other people in.

  3. JennyC says:

    This is exactly the situation I’ve been in this weekend. Knowing that I had started to sense that he may not want a proper relationship I had to basically force him to say whether he did or not. He admitted himself that he has issues with commitment and he even said could we still be friends. I said no to start with but text him again later that day. I just couldn’t help it!! We text that evening and all the next day as if the conversation hadn’t happened but I realised last night that I couldn’t carry on like that coz my self esteem would just be destroyed!!! He was saying that we could just meet up again sometimes as friends and although he didn’t specifically talk about sex I know he was assuming thats what it would lead to. So I said no. I got out. It hurts so much because I really liked him. It has taken all my willpower today as there have been so many times that I wanted to contact him. But I’ve gotta keep being strong, even through the tears…..

    • JennyC, I’d stick with your willpower. I’ve seen this story play out thousands of times. If you don’t exert some self-control and keep your pants up, this will only end in tears. Friends don’t screw each other and they certainly don’t keep screwing when they know that the other party wants more. Let him go and grieve the loss of this relationship and the hopes you had for it – if you cling to this fantasy that he might come good, not only will you be another Fallback Girl waiting around, but it will have devastating consequences for your self-esteem and your life. Let it go. Wind your neck and your ego in. He hasn’t rejected you – he’s turned down a relationship. You don’t equal the relationship – when people turn down the ‘deal’, they turn down their part in it. He cannot give you want you want and you deserve better than all of this text shite. He is taking advantage of your feelings for him and offering you a watered down version of things where he’d slip you the mickey given half a chance. Flush! If you’re going to be friends, do it when you have purely platonic feelings for him.

      • JennyC says:

        Thanks Nat, Baggage Reclaim has helped so much, I know that I’d have just gone back and ignored my reservations if I didn’t have this blog to read and understand what his aims really are and what it would do to me if I carried on. I will get through this and find someone who deserves my attention. Thank you

    • Kelly says:

      Hey Jenny,
      Stay strong! I allowed that exact same nonsense to go on for more than two years with a guy. We had a great time together, I thought I loved him, and when I asked about our future, he would say, “I’m not sure what that means.” It was like hitting my head – and my self-esteem – against a wall. Totally futile and ultimately unfulfilling. Stay strong and remain true to yourself, because I totally regret spending all that wasted time on a total douche bag. I can’t even blame him, because really, I just strung myself along. I allowed myself to buy the illusion instead of the reality. It added up to a whole lot of nothing.

      • JennyC says:

        Thank you Kelly. I am really trying. Even now, after reading this post and commenting, my brain still tries to tell me that it wouldn’t cause that much trouble to just text him for a bit. I have to pretty much get off my sofa and walk away from my phone and shout at myself for thinking this. I really hope I am strong, but I miss him.

      • Kathy says:

        “I cant even blame him because I strung myself along, really”. This is my day in a nutshell. I had an epiphany when I was on the phone with the douchebag AC at work today and heard him tell me, “I’m looking for love. I’m 1000% ready to be loyal. I’m not going to SETTLE (talking about me). I know you wan’t a relationship too. If that were going to happen with us things would have evolved that way – and they haven’t. We have chemistry, but you want more. I still want to kick it with you…..” My heart sank. Hearing it from the horses mouth in such a literal way – and he was quite straight up with his intentions. This is after me going NC for about six months, him trying to contact me the entire time, me giving in toward the end of last year. Since I gave in we’ve been hanging out weekly – having sex, yes amazing, me even ending seeing someone else because of him. He’s an alcoholic, a narcissitic asshole and I am just so disappointed I decided to stick my hand back in the fire. I suppose the upshot is that as soon as I got off the phone with him today I called AT&T and blocked him. No more blocking apps that I flip-floppily turn on and off – I want the real deal. And I can’t call or text him. I find so much solace in this site and knowing that other women are going through the same thing as I am. What is wrong with these douchebags that make them think the “sun shines out of their asses”? Is that our doing?! Is that some f’ed up mommy issue stuff? I mean, I am just curious how these men have brewed to become so poisonous. It almost makes me never want a son. I also have my second therapy session tomorrow and I’ve got quite an earful for my poor shrink.

        • Kathy, experience has taught them that sun shines out of their arses. If person after person keeps making a big deal out of your crumb efforts and treating you like a king when you actually have nothing to offer, then yeah, you’ll think you’re damn special. If I had the problems that he does and you were with me, I’d think I was special too. You can now be one less person with a pump up his arsehole inflating him into something he’s not. Focus on you – there must be a damn good reason why you would invest in this non starter in the first place. That’s where your energy should be.

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          If that were going to happen with us things would have evolved that way – and they haven’t. We have chemistry, but you want more. I still want to kick it with you…..” My heart sank. Hearing it from the horses mouth in such a literal way – and he was quite straight up with his intentions.

          Wow, he should get a blow up doll or at least pay a hooker.
          Why does it have to be you? – It doesn’t!

          BR a few weeks back had a post on the fantasy (http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/chasing-crumbs-perfection-in-pursuit-of-the-fantasy/) which went through a list, and this inspires me of the perfect person for Mr Unavailable:

          Imagine a person with…

          No needs.
          No desires.
          No dreams for a future.
          No love.
          No care.
          No need for trust.
          No maintainence.
          Nothing to take care of.
          No responsibility.
          No accountability.
          No conflict.
          No problems.
          Free, on demand sex.
          Ring up for whatever you want, when you want.
          Free cooking, cleaning, therapy, cuddles and money.
          Agrees to anything and everything.
          No contract – On or off when you want.
          Allows you to shag around.
          Comes in ‘Friend mode’ or ‘Booty mode’
          Looks beautiful
          Good at parties

          ^ This is Mr Unavailable’s perfect match – a cardboard cut out or blow up doll!

        • Aimee says:

          @ Kathy

          “I mean, I am just curious how these men have brewed to become so poisonous.”

          Enjoyed how you phrased that!! I remember my epiphany at the end of my experience with Mr Unavailable/AC. I told him that ‘I was tired of banging my head against a wall that was never coming down, it’s insanity, that I am in a deadend relationship and that he was nothing but poison.’ Not very nice , but oh the truth!! They say the truth shall set you free!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Knowing that I had started to sense that he may not want a proper relationship I had to basically force him to say whether he did or not. He admitted himself that he has issues with commitment and he even said could we still be friends.

      Sigh. I had to have one of these precarious, high tension moments trying to extract what the hell it all meant so I could get validation and be proven wrong and that they really really did want me.

      Except they told me ‘let’s just be friends with cuddle benefits’ and later texted me that I could come over on ‘Friday, Saturday or Sunday’. Not only that I was sexually rejected too, so I was only too happy to try and ‘prove’ myself in the bedroom the next time around in the vain and futile hope that if only I fixed up the sex – the only single obstacle that seemed to be between us – they’d change their mind.

      Cue complete and utter catastrophe…
      My self esteem, identity, entire belief system — everything was burnt up and destroyed on this one assclown. 10 months on and I am in such a better place.

      It’s not just sex – you CAN be managed by cuddle, text, chats, IMs, and dinners as well.

      • happy beginning says:

        Hey if it hasn’t been mentioned on BR before, ‘You keep me hangin on’ by the Supremes is totally about manipulation by an AC and what I once saw as a light-hearted track makes me well up every time!

  4. Natasha says:

    Ooooh good one Nat! With my ex, I ended up lamenting, “Why, why, WHY was he chasing having sex/contact with me and fronting like he wanted a relationship if he didn’t want to be with me?!”

    The answer I will borrow from Sophia…the man was a YUTZ!

    I’m long over this moron, but it still pisses me off how many stories I hear that are so similar to mine! If you’re involved with someone that’s using you/mind eff-ing you/behaves like a shady-ass lawyer they have so many loopholes in your “relationship agreement”, bounce sooner (by sooner, I mean right now. I’ll wait. No seriously, go get rid of him.) rather than later and let homeboy get his power trip elsewhere.

    • NCC says:

      Awesome response! “Loopholes in your relationship agreement”….WELL SAID! That’s exactly what i’ve been through.

      And may I say ladies, the Golden Girls references….just added to my MANY reasons I love and come to BR!!!! THANKS!

    • metsgirl says:

      Sweet! You had me laughing tea all over myself!

      “…I mean right now. I’ll wait…”

    • Natasha says:

      @NCC – Thanks lady! If only we could disbar assclowns from “practicing”. It’s a crappy experience and it’s a good thing we left these fools in the dust! I too love the Golden Girls and enjoy finishing random stories with, “…and that man was…WINSTON CHURCHILL!” :)

      @Metsgirl – So glad you enjoyed!! For serious, time is of the essence when removing assclowns from one’s existence!

  5. hpy2bme says:

    Oh Nat, that’s exactly what i had with the AC. This had gone off-n-on (more off than on, those last few years) and even in my most delirious thoughts and fantasies, i knew it was nothing more than great sex. Finally i realized that if i was ever going to have a real 3-dimensional r/s – i was going to have to give up this addiction, which is precisely what it felt like, altho’ i’d managed to avoid all other addictions! Your article hits this nail squarely on the head – you’re absolutely right. Amazing the clarity i have after 2 years of NC!! Blessings and JOY from this single lady who loves who she sees looking back from the mirror 😉

    • metsgirl says:

      Good for you hpy2bme! It feels great doesnt it? Something truly happens when we step back long enough to catch our barings. I’ve avoided the lazy texts for over 9 months and I’m pushing for one year NC…after that I’m automatically gearing up for another full year (if needed). Cheers to clarity!

  6. Ria says:

    l think the most hurtful for women who are in casual relationship is to be considered/categorized casual by a man, who is nothing but casual for them. Every woman wants to be that special one for a man, and the biggest unconditional fear, that lies within woman, is to discover that it isn´t the case. One we realize that this might be the case, then, to avoid the shock, we try to keep telling ourselves, that it can´t be true and this crucial game isn´t on.

    • metsgirl says:

      What you say rings true for me. I think it’s natural for a woman to want to be captivating. In retrospect, it makes me wonder if the AC looks at FBGs more like “wind up toys”. They give us a little attention and then we feed off of our own energy/drama while they contribute absolutely nothing but fodder. We have the magical show going on in our head (very little of it being communicated to the AC for fear that we’ll be seen as expecting too much) and they just sit back and watch us jump through hoops. It’s humiliating actually.

  7. yoghurt says:

    Good post, and all as true as true.

    I feel that I should add, though – and I was always quite aware when people were using me for sex – that people can also use you as a nice kind listener, who sympathises with their problems, lets them talk about themself incessantly thinks that they’re the bee’s knees, makes them tea and generally soothes them through life a bit.

    That was something that I didn’t understand before. And combined with a push for sex as well, it completely took me by surprise. I could understand someone using me for sex, I couldn’t understand someone seeking out my company so that they could talk to me for hours and hours and THEN using me for sex. It didn’t make sense unless they actually wanted a relationship and didn’t know it…

    …or, alternatively, if they literally didn’t give a rat’s arse about me – which, oddly enough, turned out to exactly be the case!

    I spent too long saying “Well, if *I* could talk to someone for hours and if *I* also wanted to have sex with them, I’d consider myself in love”. “If *I* was getting this much support and care from someone I’d feel bad about sneaking my way into their knickers” etc etc.

    Yep, that’s because I’m a basically nice person who values authenticity and cares about other people. He wasn’t.

    My mistake, though, I let him do it…

    • Lia says:

      I agree. I’ve only had two sex partners and they were both in relationships. What I was used for, outside of a relationship, was my listening ear. I was always on guard for sexual users, so it caught me off guard to find that men will also use as a listening ear. I think that connecting with others through shared thoughts and experiences is very personal and important, so when a man shares those with me I have always figured that I must be of some significance for him to do so. But I, too, have had to realize that not everyone operates the same way that I do.

    • Magnolia says:

      Great, great point Yoghurt. Speaks to how we can get used in relationships outside of sexual ones too. I believe Nat calls it being ‘the ego stroke’ or the ‘shoulder to cry on.’

      The last person I went out on a date with had all kinds of laments about not being clear in his life. I can empathize with that. I did empathize with that. But at the end of the date, I felt like we’d just done a bunch of free cognitive and behavioural therapy for him.

      I used to feel so “heard” when I would have these conversations, because I could see that my feedback was giving folks valuable insight, or a new perspective, or encouragement. I developed this skill on a Dad who constantly sought it, but never once thanked me or my mother for it. When I found people who seemed to value that, I felt I’d found a friend. With good friends, if there was one bitching and the other supporting, it goes both ways. With men I often overlooked that they couldn’t give back, or that their version of “support” involved telling me what to do without really listening.

      So great point, Yoghurt, that intense talks that involve what feels like soul-baring on their part can simply mean they’re using you for your support skills (as well as your kegel skills).

      When looking for that trust, respect and intimacy NML speaks of, make sure you’re not misinterpreting the feeling of giving all those with the feeling of mutually sharing them.

      • yoghurt says:

        “When looking for that trust, respect and intimacy NML speaks of, make sure you’re not misinterpreting the feeling of giving all those with the feeling of mutually sharing them.”

        This ^^^ pretty much sums it up, although heaven knows it took me long enough to learn!

        My stand-out all-time epitome moment in this regard was when the EUM ‘dropped round’ at four am one night (yea, I know – let’s not forget that *I* let him in).

        I was six months pregnant with his child, in the middle of moving house all by my lonesome, partly to be able to afford a reasonable maternity leave and partly to sort out our dynamic before the baby arrived (but I really really didn’t want to, and spent a good two solid days crying over my lovely little house). Earlier that day I’d twisted my knee carrying some heavy boxes and had spent a couple of hours in casualty getting it checked.

        So I hobbled to the kettle and made him a cup of tea and then sat there for two hours while he talked about himself and how he’d been doing this and that and how hard it all was for him and how it wasn’t how he’d wanted his life to go and how he hadn’t wanted to have a child under these circumstances with someone that he didn’t love (yo. thanks)… and all the time I was thinking “you ARE going to ask me how I am, right? You are, aren’t you? Surely you are? Maybe you’ll offer to help me move? Maybe you’ll ask me how it’s going? No? Alrighty then…”

        He didn’t… but the WORST thing? The worst thing was that I STILL felt lucky to have seen him. Oh sweet mother of crap :(

    • Melinda says:

      Yoghurt, this was my situation–but without the sex part. The sex part just makes it worse, but feeling like you were “there” for someone emotionally only to be ignored once they get over the hump of their situation and move on is a horrible feeling. Just as you said, I thought that if someone treated me the way I treated him, and if he treated me the way he did, he *must* be interested in me in more than a casual way. As Natalie says, actions and words must coincide.

      • yoghurt says:

        “feeling like you were “there” for someone emotionally only to be ignored once they get over the hump of their situation and move on is a horrible feeling.”

        It is… and yet I was CHASING that role in some ways. I had this idea in my head that I wanted to always be the person that everyone felt that they could turn to in need, who never asked for anything in return and who shone a little ray of sunshine (and hearts! And kittens! And daffodils!) in the life of all.

        Laudable ambition, just not realistic.

        It was an eye-opener to me, once I decided to stop being that person, just how many people in my life I needed to distance myself from on the grounds that they were toxic, a drain and didn’t really give two hoots about me. I’m starting to refer to it as The Great Purge.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I feel that I should add, though – and I was always quite aware when people were using me for sex – that people can also use you as a nice kind listener, who sympathises with their problems, lets them talk about themself incessantly thinks that they’re the bee’s knees, makes them tea and generally soothes them through life a bit.

      Sigh. When I tried they lost interest immediately after sex, so I dressed up as a doormat and became ‘cuddle friend’. Crazy! Not only that too, I was a total passing the time candidate while they hooked up with everyone else. I never understood the concept of ‘being devalued’ until I was devalued my self.

      You can be used for cuddle! Watch out! You can also be used as a escort service too- one person I was going out to movies and dinners – and it was just not progressing. It was just insane.

    • Jessie says:

      Wow, me too! This sounds so familiar. I had the same experience, he would carry on about himself for literally hours. It was so boring, but I am such a faithful listener. Then he would pull the Mr. Magic act out of his ass and practically rape me. Maybe he was raping me and I just thought it was because he was so crazily attracted to me, ha ha. This is sick i know, but there was something about that forcefulness that attracted me!

      He showed his non-committal hand over and over again, all along throwing in the I love you’s and the will you marry me’s? I really saw right through him from day one but I wanted him so much anyway.
      I was playing with him as well, but at the same time was wanting something in return. He never gave me much of anything. He couldn’t even answer a question without it creating 6 more in my head. I felt like the interrogator, even though I just wanted a straight answer. My head would hurt afterward. I have never had these issues with other men.
      I went NC for 2 years, and now he has contacted me again! I just don’t get it, why doesn’t he find another girlfriend? Maybe they have all smartened up!!

    • pinkpearl says:

      That describes quite a few friendships I’ve had as well, with women. I do the listening and supporting thing with them a few times and boom! I’m the go-to friend for all venting, crying and whining. Of course, this was never, ever reciprocated. I’ve had to extricate myself very messily from some very toxic friendships that were like this.

      For a LONG time, I believed that these people confided in me becaus they trusted me, thought I was a good person, etc. But no, they were just self-centred users.

  8. valleyforgelady says:

    The one thing that I have learned about narcisstic people is that they are ALL users. Self centered men will all take all the sex they can with out emotional involvement because that is the way they operate. Women have to be very cautious. I come from an era when sex was what you did on the third date BUT with HIV Aids plus STDs plus emotional disastors abounding due to no strings attached sex….. I am celibate until I really fall in love. Do to otherwise is emotional and physical suicide. I am not a nut, but I think I am going to get a written STD test result and demand the same. I am sexually on the shelf and SAFE!!!!!!

    • Sugar and Spice says:


      I have been celibate for …let’s just say a lonnnng time, and I too would not have it any other way. I don’t know if I am going to wait until marriage (per my childhood beliefs) because I think I am going to want to try him out; you know take “boy” around the bend, if you know what I mean because although I don’t ever want to use great sex to confuse how I judge the value and “realness” of a relationship, I think it is an important part of one…atleast good sex with the potential to get better ;). However, I am definitely going to make sure that my man gets tested, and I have no problem getting tested because I think it is an important, responsible thing to do.

      And, I definitely don’t think you are crazy because as you imply, sexually transmitted diseases are not a joke, and why would we not take care of ourselves.

      Let’s face it, there are some really sexually irresponsible people out there; I used to be one of them, and I think I will just leave it at that, so as not to offend or hurt anyone who might be dealing with some ramifications from this issue.

      (If anyone is dealing with this issue, my heart and blessing go out to you!)


    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I’m not celibate, but I do follow the advice from some previous NML posts instead…

      Here’s the thing – EUMs and AC will not fundamentally change even if you withhold the sex for any period of time. They are an EUM or AC with or with out you and despite what you might say or do. If you make them wait, they will just go and screw someone else while the wait to crack you open.

      If you make someone wait, it is for your benefit only – so that you can see what the deal is and whether they’re worth it with a clear head. Trust me, I knew my EUM for 9 months before anything happened. You could make them wait for 100 years and they still would be EUM.

  9. Lanie C says:

    Your advice is so spot on and should be taught pre-puberty for the record to every young woman! I have turned so many people on to your blog I receive THANK YOU’S on a weekly basis. If you share your body before you’ve established ground rules and are in a “Don’t ask-Don’t tell” kind of “relationship”-don’t be surprised when you ask to be exclusive and they don’t return the feeling-“Hey we were just having fun-lighten up”!

  10. Little Star says:

    What a brilliant post!!! After reading it, I realised YET again how I degraded myself with my stupid behaviour…Yes, I truly believed that if AC kept having sex with me, he felt something for me…But in reality I was an available “sex toy”, who was willing to go alone and did not ask questions:-( How could I do that to myself??? I will read this article every single day and memorise it, and I will NEVER do the same mistake again!!! Thank you Natalie!

  11. Sarah T says:

    I feel like I’ve been laid bare here! My m.o. went pretty much along these lines where I’d accept the casual relationship and cling to the bits that felt like they had development potential (meeting his daughter etc). I was scared to rock the boat, couldn’t face ‘losing’ again so I hung in with hopes of winning. He dumped me the day after my birthday after I got cross with him for not asking me if I’d had a good day or showing any interest whatsoever. I’ve finally realised, 8 months later, that if I hadn’t been so scared to ‘lose’ him, there was very little there that made me happy or that I actually really liked about him! He was just a guy but the drama of the chase was so loud and so big in my mind that he seemed so much more important than he was.
    My ego and self-esteem really suffered after this dalliance. Luckily I wised up and resolved to end my destructive relationship pattern. Shortly after, I met a man whose actions match, if not surpass, his words and who is set to move in with me in April. No drama, no niggles in my guts and our physical relationship blows the EUM out the water!!
    Whatever lesson was being repeatedly sent my way has finally be learnt and I have never, hand on heart, been happier in myself.
    Keep the faith xx

    • Lia says:

      I think you’ve been reading my diary LOL…I had pretty much the exact same experience, even the birthday thing except I snapped because it was the final straw.”I’ve finally realised, 8 months later, that if I hadn’t been so scared to ‘lose’ him, there was very little there that made me happy or that I actually really liked about him! He was just a guy but the drama of the chase was so loud and so big in my mind that he seemed so much more important than he was.” Bingo! And the weird thing is that if he really was that great, you would probably feel confident in his love for you so you wouldn’t even have to question the relationship. But I’ve done it myself, it’s like you can get so focused on getting to the destination that you don’t stop yourself to think of whether or not it’s even worth it to go. Isn’t it funny how when you get far enough away from the disaster, you can see it for what it really is? Glad to know that you found happiness elsewhere. :)

    • metsgirl says:

      Sometimes I wonder if the AC looks at FBGs as “wind up toys”. We can feed off of our own energy and they don’t have to contribute a thing. We have the magical show going on in our head (very little of it being communicated to the AC) and they just sit back and watch us jump through hoops. It’s humiliating actually.

    • Dancedwiththedevil says:

      Love it !!– This is exactly what I did! He was weird. Luckily we never had sex! (MY POINT BEING THAT THEY WILL USE YOU FOR MANY THINGS– SEX BEING THE MOST COMMON)I ALSO made him out to be something great and in reality he was a disaster in every area and turns out I cant think of one thing I truly admired or even liked about him NOW… Emotionally , Spiritually, Physically(VERY UNDER ENDOWED LOL) and MOST certainly Mentally!!!! OH AND THE CHASE– THE PUSH AND PULL CREATED THE DRAMA– MADE IT SEEM I HAD INVESTED TOO MUCH TO JUST WALK AWAY–OR SO I THOUGHT– I WISH I HAD) They know how to keep you confused so you cant see it until your away from all of it how manipulative they are!!! Good Riddance! NO MORE LIKE HIM EVER! (faked a relationship & EVEN PROPOSED JUST to receive gifts & babysitting ))He ALSO let me meet his child RIGHT AWAY too and spend a lot of time with the child!!!! Some men will do what ever ,say what ever and use who ever to get what it is they want– be it money , (material items/what mine got ) a place to live, sex, someone to clean, babysit (Almost sure mine went out while I watched his kid and I was visiting from out of town!!) LIFE LESSON LEARNED!!! Glad you found someone who’s actions match his words! That is a huge RED FLAG when they don’t match over and over! Take Care!

  12. Broadsided says:

    Oh yes – every single thing said there is 100% true. Been there, done all of that.

    Pay careful attention to this phrase, though: “because there are some people that would sell their mama or at least sell you a big dream and a fake persona to get you into bed.”

    I am going to go back in and notate all my previous posts about my former boyfriend (whom I was giving a second chance to – well, live and learn, he just dumped me again 2 weeks later for no reason other than he wants to be back on the open range). This guy was clever. He played the “relationship card” before we had sex – saying, “I want a serious relationship with you” (after 2 weeks), “I look forward to many years with you”, “you are just the woman of my dreams, ” blah blah blah blah. Well, we agreed we both were soul mates!! And began having sex. Couple of months later he dumped me – nothing he said was true – future faker!!! So, be sure you HAVE a relationship as demonstrated by time, if you want one. I thought I was being smart this time up front because we had the relationship discussion early and it seemed we were on the same page. Yet in fact I was being dumb because no man should be saying things like that 2 weeks into the “relationship”. Red flag – but I ate it up.

    Yet what just happened to me was even more painful than the scenario of learning you don’t have a relationship 3 months later, because were lies, deceit and lack of integrity involved, as he messed with my heart and mind.

    Oh yes, and of course, he’d had sex with me the day before he dumped me for the second and final time. Guys are adept at having and enjoying sex whether or not there is an emotional commitment. In fact, they can throw themselves into it like they’re on their honeymoon and it can mean absolutely nothing to them. I wish younger women could learn this – before I did!

    After he broke up, he said, “Well I would ‘at least’ like to be friends.” Hell no! Are you kidding? I know what the ‘at least’ meant. Friends, sex, no commitment, he’s free to do what he pleases. I would not choose to have friends who lack integrity and who willfully hurt me to their end.

    • Lia says:

      “Yet what just happened to me was even more painful than that scenario, because were lies, deceit and lack of integrity involved, as he messed with my heart and mind. You don’t go from being madly in love with someone and screwing their brains out to dumping them a few days later, right?”

      I just don’t get it. Why don’t people who don’t actually want relationships just pair off with other men/women who don’t want relationships? I mean, wouldn’t that give them everything that they wanted? Perks without the responsibility. And it would certainly save many hearts from being broken. I imagine that some of them just don’t know that they’re unavailable, but there are a lot of them who know good and well that they don’t function well in relationships. Can they really not see what they’re doing? I’m skeptical to believe that to be true. If they would all just pair off with one another, then the rest of us who want relationships could actually trust in what we’re getting with another person…

      • Broadsided says:

        Lia – yes, I wish that were the case, too. Unfortunately, I think the ratio of people like this would be 50 men to 1 woman. I think women generally have more substance or at least emotional needs. In an ideal world of integrity, though, the man would simply say up front he’s not looking for a relationship, then the woman could decide whether to play. I do have guy friends who claim to be this honest with women. Kind of like some women use men for money and material goods – yet some of those rich old men let themselves willingly be used for such in exchange for a cute young woman on their arm. It just goes into a different ballpark when there is lying and BS-ing involved, for that is deception and cruel.

      • A says:


        I’ve thought the exact same thing–why don’t these guys just find women who also want something casual rather than going around and causing so much damage? But I think that some of these guys specifically want women around who will fall for them. They get off on it, it’s part of the fun. Having some woman around who is crazy about them is a nice ego boost, and hey, he gets sex out of it, someone to help him out with whatever he needs…..bottom line: they are selfish users and they don’t care who they hurt.

      • Tulipa says:

        I just don’t get it. Why don’t people who don’t actually want relationships just pair off with other men/women who don’t want relationships? I mean, wouldn’t that give them everything that they wanted?

        In my experience it still doesn’t work. The second time I got back with the eum it was on a verbal agreement that was casual.
        I thought we would both be happy we had set out what we wanted how things would play out nobody gets hurt situation blah blah it didn’t work.
        This man still wasn’t happy and he ended up breaking it off with me because he wanted to be in a commited relationship once he got his ‘commited relationship’ he didn’t want that anymore and wanted to go back to our casual arrangement.
        It really is a case of they DO NOT know what they want though the theory sounds good and I felt messed around throughout the arrangement.

    • Little Star says:

      Broadsided, I just cant get men, honestly! My ex AC was waiting for TWO months before we had sex and yet he behaved as a real a** in the end…The other guy “was a future faker” and after being intimate with him, he did what your AC did…I am so confused, even if you wait or do not wait, still the same result! I cant trust anyone:-(

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        I just cant get men, honestly! My ex AC was waiting for TWO months before we had sex

        That’s right – you can wait as much as you want, an assclown will still be an assclown, and EUM will still be an EUM. Waiting will NOT change them, all waiting does is allow you to have a clear head while you gather information and make a clear decision.

      • Broadsided says:

        Little Star – apparently, we just have to take time. I wonder if I am up to the challenge of dating a man without sex involved for at least 2 months. And see if their interest in me as a person can last. I have to believe that amongst all the jerks there are some gems. The bad thing is that bad guys can come in good seeming packages.

  13. Lia says:

    “While some are upfront, others don’t say anything until they really have to, which is normally around the time when you’re wanting things to progress or looking for some clarification.”

    Man, reading this really does bring back memories. The sad thing is that by the time I got around to asking questions, I was already so emotionally invested that I refused to see an end. The crazy thing is that we weren’t even sleeping together, so don’t just think that it’s sex that binds two people together…I was giving up my time and energy for him (which I now value more than anything), and he didn’t mind taking it until I expressed my desire for some reciprocity. Homeboy managed to wiggle his way out of answering me anytime I asked him what he wanted, yet I still managed to open up my schedule for him and remained available.

    I kept getting angry with him for his “indecisiveness”, until one day something just clicked and I realized that I actually had a say in what was going on. You don’t know how empowering that realization was. I don’t know why I didn’t know that all along. I hate that I had to learn that lesson the hard way because it was so painful to let go, but it’s one that I’ll never forget…

    • Tea Cozy says:

      “I kept getting angry with him for his “indecisiveness”, until one day something just clicked and I realized that I actually had a say in what was going on.”

      Yep yep yep!

      Last summer, I wrestled with that same scenario, and a constant low-level anger, until I finally had the light-bulb moment that I didn’t *have* to stay in limbo. I could simply opt out. And I could opt out without second-guessing myself, or feeling sorry for the confused guy. It’s tremendously freeing.

      I had a new suitor recently flipflap from being very enthusiastic, to saying he’s “not sure”. He basically wanted me to give him a sales pitch. Oh, hellllll no! His indecisiveness was my cue to exit stage left without further ado.

  14. SheSoFly says:

    Another GREAT article and 100% TRUE!!! I have been there, done that…being emotionally invested with a man and thinking because we had awesome sex for YEARS that eventually it would lead to more but it never did. He always kept me hanging on with the “We’re Best Friends” approach and the “I know I should be different…I try to change but I just cant…wait a lil longer”….straight BULL!!! But I fell for it. Needless to say I am on day 6 of NC!!! Brushing that dirt off my shoulders and loving it!!

    Keep your head up ladies!!! We are GREAT women who deserve better!!!

    Thanks Natalie for another ON POINT article!!! You are MY HERO!!!! :)

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      He always kept me hanging on with the “We’re Best Friends” approach and the

      The word FRIEND should be an *instant* alarm and CODE RED.

      You don’t meet friends on dating sites
      You don’t meet friends for sex
      You don’t meet friends for dates
      You don’t make out with friends
      You don’t lust for your friend’s ass
      You don’t sign up to the “friends package” after the date
      or relationship failed – FLUSH

      Boundary – I will always go NC with someone I’ve dated or had a relationship with and it didn’t work out. Mandatory NC.


  15. Movedup says:

    OK Nat – you have nailed this more on than any other post I have read. You completely described my previous “entanglement” to a T. Absolutely, and it hurt like hell – especially when I could not let go and got kicked to the curb HARD! I should have been the one doing the kicking… Years have passed since then and he is no longer a concern. I have moved on and up. I am much happier now and quite blessed… By all means FLUSH! But wow did you really describe that one – OUCH! No more for me I tell you that – never a FALLBACK GIRL for anyone. Happily married for almost 2 years now and still going strong. Hope you got your dress! Looking forward to seeing a pix of you in it!

  16. slow learner says:

    Ouch… I did this for eight years. It ended last May and I am still not over the hurt… :(

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Same here – ended in May too. I am over it though. It took 8 months and heaps of therapy and bans on dating and ripping down online profiles.

      I learn more every day from this horrible, horrible experience.

  17. FinallyDidIt says:

    Guilty as charged. I continued having sex with my ex-AC even after he showed me so clearly he was using me for sex and was really not interested in a relationship with me. Stupid me – I thought if I gave him the hottest dirtiest sex ever he would not be able to resist me and would fall madly in love with me and feel for me what I felt for him. How wrong I was!! He ended up with some hot dirty sex and I ended up with a hefty bill from Victoria’s Secret and the shaft, literally! That’s ok because he taught me a hard but invaluable lesson and that is how I would never, ever want a man to treat me again, and more importantly, to pay attention to the signs when you feel there is something just not right. Bolt, get out, don’t make excuses and din’t look back.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I thought if I gave him the hottest dirtiest sex ever he would not be able to resist me and would fall madly in love with me and feel for me what I felt for him. How wrong I was!!

      Mr. Unavailable is totally and completely oversexed. He doesn’t have to do anything with 100s of people literally THROWING themselves at him without him having to lift a finger.

      You CANNOT win. You cannot sex them into commitment. You can’t! If that were true, hookers would be the ideal models for LTRs and that’s just not true…

      EVER. FLUSH!!

  18. Candi says:

    The mistake most women make is they don’t date more than one man. You should NEVER be exclusive with a man who has not declared his love for you. His audio should match his video! Until then, I don’t care how many of his family members you meet or how close you are to his friends you should always circular date.
    I have had men say they want a relationship with me and that there is no other woman they want. However, until they fully say AND DO what feels right and consistant to you, make them fight for you. Always having other males in your life continues to let men know you are not going to be sitting around waiting for them to do right by you. Even if you have a favorite one you MUST date others until the right one does right by you.

    • Happy Soul says:

      Thanks for your post! Yes, I arranged 4 dates next week, I will go and see “who and what”…I am not going to be exclusive to anyone for now, until I am sure 100%. I was faithful to AC and ended up with broken heart!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Wow I have to disagree with this – I’m not dating anyone and haven’t for 10 months and my friends have doubled in this time and they give me more attention than any of the EUMs I dated ever did!

      I don’t do multiple dating or dates – singular OR plural. What is the need for a boatload of attention? One at a time, if it doesn’t work out, move on to the next.

      I have half a mind to drop the word “commitment” on the first date (the C-bomb!) next time I date (when I do) and sit back and watch the reaction… LOL.

      • Broadsided says:

        Candi, I’ve long heard that as a good dating strategy. I seem not to be wired to date multiple men – but I am open to ideas. If it was “light” with all of the guys and there was not physical involvement with each beyond a kiss, maybe I could do it. Yet don’t know if I have enough time in the week to juggle multiples for too long…..

        The one thing about this that could work is it keeps you from going off the deep end for one guy, and doesn’t allow them to indulge themselves too quickly.

        Guys do get crazy for you when you are dating another guy. I’ve had ex boyfriends come out of the woodwork when they hear I’m dating someone else. This happened with this past boyfriend, as well as the boyfriend before that.

    • sushi says:

      I don`t really get it Candi,
      you want to date several men until one offers commitment?….hm…would you really expect someone worth their salt to offer you commitment knowing that you date other people? A man open to commitment would never do that, but an EUm would, just to win. And would you offer commitment to a man who dates several other women at the same time as you? I think that is a very EU behaviour and rather typical of people who use mostly online dating- the plenty of fish in the sea mentality. The being on the lookout for something better. No, not for me. I think if you like someone, give them a chance…but flush at the first boundary crossing and then be open to someone else.

  19. Heartache Amy says:

    Broadsided — this almost happened to me, too. A MM pursued me last summer (hitting me at a very vulnerable time as I’m getting divorced). He sent me flattering e-mails and texts and called me on the phone. The second time we had dinner, he told me he was going to leave his wife and move into an apartment and was looking forward to spending weekends with me and his two sons. Oh, and he kept going on about how he saw a future with me (big-time future faker). Fortunately, things didn’t go too far, thank goodness, but the “fling” did end, with me being hurt, nonetheless, and with me having to see him at church every week. My stomach rolls when I see him and he has the nerve to say hello and be all pleasant, like nothing ever happened. I know all men are not like this, but it’s hard to understand why men take advantage of women, dump them and/or hurt them, and go on their merry way like nothing every happened. Still trying to figure that one out.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      My stomach rolls when I see him and he has the nerve to say hello and be all pleasant, like nothing ever happened. I know all men are not like this, but it’s hard to understand why men take advantage of women, dump them and/or hurt them, and go on their merry way like nothing every happened. Still trying to figure that one out.

      Yes. Isn’t that infuriating! My AC was hooking up left, right and centre, before, during and after and I totally meant NOTHING to them. Sometimes I think I want lightning or and STI to strike them and teach them a lesson – but you know what, I move on and am in a much much better place now. And because of them *I* get to be the one who changes into a better person and eventually in a better relationship WITHOUT THEM while they and everyone else continues on the merry-go-round and insanity.

      Thank you AC for showing me what I need to be and do flush people like you out of my life!

      • Broadsided says:

        Yeah, the guy who broke up with me had the nerve to say he’d still like to be friends and “do things” with me. Seriously?? I’m thinking I agree with the comment above about mandatory NC, at least for a time. I NC’d my last boyfriend for 10 months. After that time (he has moved across country), I was able to recontact him just to ask a couple of questions about things he knew about, etc. He has no more hold on my heart or body. That’s what NC does.

        I’ve since hid him from my computer, but how about this. He posted on Facebook that he was now single (after all these cute pictures of us, which had received nice comments). One lady courageously said, “I am so sorry! But maybe this is a good thing?” and he responded, “I ended it. No sympathy is required. By the way – are you free on June 2nd for ‘such and such’ an event?” In the same breath. Wow. I felt like posting, “Guard your hearts, ladies!!!!!”

  20. NCC says:

    Once again, I can relate. I can think of several times I’ve felt empty after sex and wanted to tell my legs to get up, get the hell out, and never come back. But my legs instead became cement blocks, and my mind froze too, I guess to avoid reality, and what I percieved as the pain reality would bring. But all the while too, my stomach was turning. I’m not just talking about random hooks up either, I’m talking about men I was emotionally invested in. The last AC was the one who changed the goal posts nearly everyday, told me one thing and did another, told me really crappy things, but I took them like I deserved it and minimized. Because afterall, I was the one still there, even after all the bullshit. I was still in his bed. It is such a shitty dynamic (and absolutely 100% a pattern) when I end up this way yet again. I’m the person living off illusions and fear, wanting so badly to believe that sex, hanging out, and laughing will pan out. The AC never told me he didn’t want a relationship with me, the opposite actually, but it was all a lie. To get what he wanted. I’m the one that will stay around waiting for him to say just the right thing. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But either way, he says some ugly thing to cancel it out anyway, putting my expectations back down so he has what he wants on his terms. And then i fall into “the woman who talks too much” syndrome and try to fix everything ONE MORE time with words. Doesn’t work. And yet I’ve stayed. Neither one of us will end it, because sadly we are alike in some ways. Like you say Natalie, why would he bring up conflict? He’s getting what he wants and giving NOTHING more, and i’m still around. Why would he push that away, he’s an AC with no respect or empathy. I feel empty and alone and used and ugly and low no matter if he wants sex, or if he doesn’t. Either way sex is always on his terms. If I want it and he doesn’t, he chuckles at me like I’m just a useless used up pathetic girl that doesn’t turn him on. When he wants it, he practically attacks me.
    I do realize that I have a choice in this, i’m not just a victim to the dynamic, it’s what happens everytime, until I finally leave. Honestly, I have yet to be “left” by anyone of these EUMs/ACs. Don’t get me wrong, they did shitty shitty things over and over and over, and I stayed, until I didn’t. But it’s that creepy familiar uncomfortable zone that does it’s damndest to hold me there. Gotta break free. I feel so broken and tired.

    • Happy Soul says:

      NCC, I felt so sad after reading your post:-( You know what, at least you realised that this “pattern” is NOT working anymore, you know that…Please do NC, I know it is hard, but try to push yourself. Trust me, you will feel better, do not allow this AC to destroy your future! I was with AC on and off for FOUR years, I regretted so much that I spent few years with a guy, who did not worth a minute of my attention. It still hurts, as I saw him last October, but I would never ever allow any guy to use me!!! Please stay strong NCC, we are here you! ((( HUGS)))

    • happy beginning says:

      NCC, I completely relate to what you say. I spent a lot of the time feeling rejected because when he was in ‘friend’ mode, making advances on him would seem ridiculous, it was like nothing sexual between us had ever happened. Then at some random time, he decides to be lovers again and it feels authentic. It becomes a painful cycle because we want to be desired again but as we can see from this blog, sex on these one-way terms is a very poor validation of our brilliance!
      I also had talked it through like crazy and that’s why I ended it with the kind of indifference he had treated me with – not worthy of the passion behind anger and absolutely nothing to talk about anymore. I don’t think this ‘thing’ can happen without the kind of hanging out and laughing and ‘special connection’ that you talk about and it makes it very difficult to back away from someone who ‘gets you’. well I don’t get him and can’t be bothered! I knew how truly f’ed up it was for well over a year (and in some ways the whole time) before i finally had enough. I feel very angry with him and myself but surprisingly don’t miss him and feel like I’m getting my old self back, very slowly but very surely!

  21. Christina says:

    This is such an important realization that every woman needs to come to, sooner or later. Most of us require some sort of emotional connection before we’re comfortable having sex with a man, so naturally, we assume they must feel the same way. Unfortunately for us, a great many man are quite capable of having sex with absolutely no feeling beyond that he finds us attractive enough. If all men were totally upfront about this, we might be a bit better off, although there still seem to be far too many women who disregard the “I’m not looking for a relationship” conversation, thinking she’ll change his mind.

    If you’re looking for a relationship, the above conversation is your cue to flush immediately. Don’t waste your time with these guys!

    • Acceptance says:

      Brilliant post Christina,

      When we were kids, someone sat us down and told us that it wasn’t nice to play with people’s hearts… I guess no one did this for them.

      Many men can completely separate sex from any feeling – it’s really nothing more than a fun, sweaty day at the tennis courts. They choose not to settle down so they can “date” alot of women, and those really just consider it part of the game that some of the women that they “date” have feelings for them that need to be managed. Translation: they’ll keep coming for a great game of tennis until your “feelings” get annoying…

  22. Sugar and Spice says:


    “people can also use you as a nice kind listener, who sympathizes with their problems, lets them talk about themself incessantly thinks that they’re the bee’s knees, makes them tea and generally soothes them through life a bit.”

    “I spent too long saying “Well, if *I* could talk to someone for hours and if *I* also wanted to have sex with them, I’d consider myself in love”.”

    I think I know what you mean: I can remember spending ours upon hours, days upon days, and weeks…months in some cases willingly being some man’s arm-chair therapist–mistaking it for true intimacy.

    I mean it felt like we were being intimate with each other because he was revealing so much of himself to me, but really when I think about it now…; most of the time I was being a “good listener,” extremely supportive, life coach, cheerleader, ego stroke-r…and in some cases a “rescuer”…uh, and a fixer…um, caretaker….

    But, in all fairness, in most cases I was being supported right back , and in most cases, again, I can’t say that they treated me badly, but I thought we were either in a relationship or moving toward a romantic relationship after becoming friends first, after all isn’t that what the wise ones suggest, but the end results were either requests for sex with no real intention of being in a real relationship, or the uh, “you’ve been a great support to me; you’re an amazing woman, kisssesss,” but surprise, surprise, I just see us “as friends,” please pay no attention to all of the future faking, fast forwarding, etc., and well, “you just thought I was pursuing you, sorry (or not sorry) you were confused– oopsey (or tough luck babe)!”

    Meanwhile I’m standing their blindsided, thinking what the freak just happened here? Gee thanks dude….

    But, after much reflection, in each case, the red flags were definitely there, my gut was screaming in some cases that something was amiss, or it was directly telling me that I was not in a real relationship, …one serious red flag in each case was that I had this gut feeling that even though these men seemed concerned with me…asked the right questions…actions even matched their words in most cases, they really didn’t show any interest in my life, not really…just parts of my life, and even though I gave them snippets of my career or family life, or something like that…the focus was really on them and their problems, and…

    • Sugar and Spice says:

      and their problems, and I knew deep down that they weren’t really focused on me, or even worse, sharing a life with me–it was more about telling about our lives, but not living our lives with each other; I knew it; I felt it, but I ignored it until it was too late, and then of course I discovered that my gut instincts were right.

      And, in each case where “I really liked the guys,” and gave them my full attention, even though the “relationships” ended on good terms, and I agreed to be friends. When I stopped contacting them, they stopped contacting me. Puff! They just disappeared. And, when I was in the hospital, do you think they came to visit me? my dear friends? No!

      I remember contacting one man, and I told him I was in the hospital, and he didn’t bother to contact me back until after the weekend was over, and then when I didn’t contact him back…nothing. He never bothered to contact me again…. What if I had died? Or, just needed a friend.

      I see these men from time to time from a distance, and they look happy as larks, and believe me when I tell you that they could care less about me.

      I can’t say that I was a victim though because I was obviously getting something out of these relationships…oh boy, like focusing on others instead of focusing on myself, using them to fulfill my needs, wanting to be loved and cared for in a needy way, so I could stuff my feelings, and fill my emptiness, etc., but it’s all good now that I’m learning to do the healthy part of that for myself…well, I’m getting there anyway 😉

      • jasmine says:

        sugar and spice,

        i had a similar experience with a EUM i was seeing. i went into hospital for surgery , it was somewhat risky and could’ve caused nerve damage. anyway because by then i was so infatuated by EUM, i told him i was going to be in hospital and to wish me luck. he texted saying he was going to call me before the surgery…..did he? no….i ended up texting him the night before telling him to wish me luck, he texted me back to wish me luck….did he text me after the surgery, hell no….i was in complete pain from surgery and i could’ve used a friend to comfort me…but he didnt care to even see how i was….just proves some people are non empathetic bastards…

        • Sugar and Spice says:

          Yes Jasmine, it can be very disappointing, and it initially made me quite angry, and I felt soooo rejected on such of a deep level, but after manyyyyyyyy months of NC and self-discovery, I came to really believe that what these “non empathetic bastards” do is NOT about ME it is about THEM.

          I mean I reaaaallyy thought it was my fault. I mean what the freak? am I not worth of a visit in the hospital?
          But you know, that was a great wake-up call for me, and this one man in particular… I just thought to myself: I just don’t think that he could possibly really CARE about me if he could not come visit me in the hospital when I am seriously injured unless he had a dang good reason for not being able to do so, and even if he couldn’t make it or text or email, etc, he never bothered to find out if I was ok afterward.

          So, at the time, I thought to myself, as I looked at his pitiful text that didn’t even ask me how I was doing, and it only contained about four words…, and fearing that, perhaps, some acts of love just aren’t within him or accessible enough to…so, I just decided to walk away without explanation, and he never bothered to ask me why I removed myself from his life.

          I wanted my feelings for him to die in that hospital, but they didn’t, but I knew that I did NOT want to be treated that way ever again, and it gradually CHANGED how I viewed him, to the point that even though I still cared about him (barf, puke, somebody slap me!), that was one BOUNDARY that I BELIEVED IN soooooooo much that there was no way in the devil’s sandbox that I was going to let him cross that line.

          And, I knew that if I failed to stay COMMITTED to my decision of NC that he would think that it was ok to treat me that way (no consequences), and what would be next? What treatment would he test me with next? And, it reallyyy bothered me that he thought (or didn’t even bother to think about; decided it was ok, or WANTED to) that he could treat me that way, and that I would be ok with it, or that he could just apologize if I did have a problem with it, and I would allow him to keep receiving everything that he wanted from me, …going on his merry way, and then coming back around when he felt the NEED.

          And I wondered, just what in the heck kind of relationship did I really have with this guy, and how did it get to this point? What patterns? What were…

          • Sugar and Spice says:

            What patterns? What were my patterns?

            And when my heart felt compassion for him, I CHOSE to show more compassion for myself by “putting myself first,” and on a personal spiritual level, I let go of it and gave it to my higher power by just allowing myself to feel compassion for him, but not acting on it, and realizing that I can have compassion for someone, but that not only do I not need to act on it but also it isn’t my responsibility to “heal” that person, nor do I have the power, right, or wherewithal to do so (not to say that I don’t believe in helping others because I do, but I’m careful about discussing water with horses).

            I’m just a beautifully imperfect human in the order of things, and I don’t know what he needs to do about anything, I only know what I am willing to put up with and what I’m not … judging the situation–what I think is of good character; what are good signs of integrity, etc…what I don’t want…and I’m still working on what I do want 😉

            Much Love and blessings to you on your journey, xoxo,

  23. NeverTooLate! says:

    don’t beat yourself up, look at this as a growing experience, stay strong who cares what he or anyone else thinks, you only need to answer to yourself! You deserve, can, and will do better, when you are ready, no rush!

  24. neveragain says:

    After a year of my AC blowing hot and cold I finally showed him the door for good. When doing a recap of the relationship with a friend I asked, “how could I have meant so little to someone that meant so much to me?” His response was, “No one means anything to him.” And as soon as I heard this it rang so true for me. I realized that you could substitue any girl and the results would be the same. Don’t envy the next girl and be glad you cut your loses when you did. The price of being with these guys is just to high.

  25. Flower White says:

    Many, okay, most women don’t understand or refuse to believe that men will have sex with women that they don’t even like! Yup, they do it all of the time.

    The analogy is shoes or clothes shopping…many women would allow a new man to take them shopping for a lip gloss or perfume or a pair of shoes, even if she didn’t like the man that much, she’d accept the gifts.

    Same thing with sex! He did it all for the nookie! Thats why you newbies and young ladies better take heed, keep your legs closed if you want a serious relationship. Take your time. He if pressures you, let him go, billions of men on the planet all you need is ONE.

    • yoghurt says:

      “The analogy is shoes or clothes shopping…many women would allow a new man to take them shopping for a lip gloss or perfume or a pair of shoes, even if she didn’t like the man that much, she’d accept the gifts.”

      Ew. Really?

      I wouldn’t. I’d let a man pay for dinner in return for the pleasure of my company, but that’s as far as I go – if I knew that I categorically wasn’t interested and they were then I wouldn’t spend any more time with them, let alone accept any gifts from them. It’d be too much like accepting their ‘terms’ when I didn’t want to.

      I’m not sure that I’m a model of relationshippy health yet, though, so that might just be me.

  26. bella says:

    I tried online dating last year for a second time & was ambushed by a text book EMU ass clown. He added a new chapter to the book which had me baffled..GOD. …he was future faking, pushing for a physical relationship & quoting the bible… Ugh! I knew this was a lesson sent for me to listen to my inner voice and stopped seeing him..
    This has really bothered me because of his use of a suto relationship with GOD….& to know I was in the presence of such a sicko… talk about words & actions not alining…
    Online dating is a breeding ground for EMU’s… never again.
    Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your experience, wisdom & humor. You give me hope! Congratulations..


    • Lia says:

      It’s so sad how so many of them will use God with no shame. My mom’s friend has tried her hand at dating through a certain christian dating site. She met a man who was all about God, until they got back to her house. Poor thing left to go to put dishes in the kitchen and found him naked on her couch waiting for her LOL. I know one couple that met online and are now happily married, but I know plenty more who either didn’t work out or are fighting the obvious inevitable.

  27. Sugar and Spice says:

    Great article Natalie, and congratulations on your new book ! :) :)

    I’m abstaining from sex all together, right now, but I found the article quite beneficial to me, and I’m going to read it again, and read all of the linked information as well.

    Recently, I thought I was forming a new friendship with a man–seriously just friends–one that was based on love, trust, care, and respect, but my gut kept telling me not to trust him…his words weren’t matching his actions, and I could feel myself going into fantasy land. I really valued his friendship, but the red flag on his actions just wouldn’t go away, so I reluctantly had to flush the relationship. It is amazing to me how long it took me to acknowledge my instincts; I can see how I wait sometimes for other people to validate my red flags, and then I will act on their judgement of my gut instinct, instead of acting on my own gut instinct. Could it be that I don’t trust my own judgment? myself? or am I just being stubborn…wanting the relationship to not end…waffling?

    And, it bothers me that I was so reluctant. I want to get to the point where I just flush the scum bags, but I suppose that idea would go against my nature. I think it’s natural to feel disappointed that the relationship didn’t work out, but I still want to celebrate taking care of me, so hooray for me, and good bye you dishonest man, you showed me who you are, and you don’t have to tell me again cuz I sooooooooo believe you.

    Ok, so I am thinking about re-entering the dating pool in 3 or 4 months, so I intend to practice, practice, and instill…. :) :)

  28. runnergirlno1 says:

    Natalie, I get this on some level . But why do guys continue to have sex. Is it really all about having sex? Is sex better for them that it is for us?

    I totally now accept that some guys just want to have sex. I don’t understand or get it. I now accept it as a fact. I won’t be having sex with any guy anytime soon. It just seems really weird. I don’t get it but I won”t be doing it.

    Your posts and all the comments are a wake up call for me.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Some guys want to have sex… and then move on to the next one!
      This happened to me … SO confusing to get mixed messages – who says that they don’t want to sleep with you but are just *dying* to have cuddles with you and MUST have them…


  29. Ashamed says:

    After my latest posts, I can’t help but think this was written for me – lol! Thanks so much for your insight. My “lover boy” (someone used this term for him on here and I love it!) AC was so good at this charade. My perception got clouded because he is soooo respected at work – moving up fast and so well liked. In my mind I was thinking “someone who is adored and respected this much at work must have morals and values” . Boy was I wrong. We have mutual work friends which clouded my judgment even more. He is getting yet another promotion and I’m sure he is seeing this as a great tool to get and use women. He’s not even that great looking but he’s
    tall and oh so charming. Knows exactly what to say. We actually had a great friendship and then he chased me and we spent time together and the nakedness came and *that* changed everything. It was great in the moment but not after or in-between. I do forgive me though because I had no idea he was such an AC – live and learn. I am NC and trying desperately to forget him. I can’t stop thinking of the fantasy even though I know the illusion is what I’m thinking about not the reality. It’s like my mind won’t stop. I need a hypnotist lol! Was the best lover I ever ever had and don’t think I’ll experience it quite like that again and it saddens me how something so good can be so bad!!

    • Ashamed, all that someone being respected at work means is…that they’re respected at work and possibly do a good job. That’s it. It has shag all to do with their suitability as a partner. You cannot inherit status through sex. Anything that you value in a person must directly translate into positive results in your relationship.

      • Ashamed says:

        Thanks Nat. Unfortunately for me, his success at work has made him more attractive to me. It’s the “he’s adored by all so there must be something special about him” mentality. You are so right though. A hard worker doesn’t automatically translate into a good partner. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that part of his success comes from how well he puts on the show at work – in the same way he acts with me alone in bed. It’s all BS to get exactly what he wants –Me=sex, work=promotion.

        • Broadsided says:

          Ashamed – man, I think actually *THAT* was the same guy I was dating – right down to the “tall” part. Hmmmm. Very respected at work, long time in his career, popular, people would run up to him when we’d go out as though he were a celebrity, etc. Everybody seemed to “love” him. His boss told me what a “straight up honest guy he is.” It is simply amazing to me that a guy can have this great a personality, be this easy at a surface level, be so well thought of….and be so freaking disingenuous and BS on a close emotional level. I would never, never have called this one. Maybe guys who are eligible and in the public eye (and who are shallow) can get intoxicated by women being after them all the time. Like potato chips, they don’t want just one. I’m trying to remain classy and not spread harsh rumors about him which could come back to bite me. So tempting to, though!

          • Ashamed says:

            Broadsided-They must be made from the same mold. Believe me, I have wanted to let the cat out of the bag on this guy too but it’s not worth it! I don’t want to ruin my reputation – he did enough damage.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        There is so much ‘magical thinking’ going on…

        • Ashamed says:

          I know, I know. It’s a problem! My mind is full of fantasy with this arse. I think it’s b/c he never let me get close enough or spend more than 2 days with him so my mind is filling in the blanks. My sister always said – ” try thinking about your ex in the bathroom when good thoughts set in”… maybe she was on to something lol!

          • Tea Cozy says:

            Ashamed, if it makes you feel any better, here’s my list of recent ridiculous magical thinking that led me to think my now-ex was the cat’s pajamas:

            “Ooh, he’s a world-famous scientist!” (And this means WHAT in terms of his relationship skills? Zip.)

            “Ooh, he’s so good with his daughters.” (That’s nice and all, but what about how he acts with GROWN women?)

            “Ooh, he’s so patient with his dog.” (Oh, for Pete’s sake.)

            …and, drum-roll:

            “Ooh, he has such sensitive features…he must be a sweet person.” (Ha ha ha…oh god, I’m rolling my eyes.)

            Thanks to BR, though, I eventually came to my senses, and gave him the boot. :-)

            • Ashamed says:

              Tea-love the dog one lol! My fantasies are all about how great his personality is – so so fun and adventurous, never a boring moment with this guy. My life could be so wonderful – oh please *sigh* – this would never really work for me as I need stability. My AC is a walking amusement park. Time to get off the ride.

              • Miss Kitty says:

                Ashamed, “My AC is a walking amusement park. Time to get off the ride.” This is funny if it wasn’t so sickening, roller coaster rides with AC’s need to end .

    • intuitive says:

      Ashamed, a point to keep in mind about the great sex that Natalie has brought up elsewhere: the sex is magnified in your mind because there was really nothing else to the relationship. It has expanded to the space alloted to it, which for you is ALL of the space.

      He basically gave you some OK fast food meals in the middle of a terrible famine… that he caused and that you ended up dying in anyway!

      When you stop and think it through, that is their whole strategy.

  30. Dublin says:

    Great article. And almost exactly like what had happened to me with an ex. Laying in the glow as Natalie would say. After several months of seeing each other I just flat out asked him how he felt about the relationship. I know, not the smartest thing to do. But I did it. And he politely said he loved spending time with me, I was fun to be with, and he wasn’t seeing anyone else. But he didn’t want a committed relationship. Strange.. because I clearly remember when we had first met we both talked about what we wanted and didn’t want in a relationship. I thought we were on the same page. Obviously I was wrong, or he just didn’t see it with me. I said to him right there in bed “I can’t do this anymore”. I put my clothes and started out the door. He was shocked, asked me what the hell was I doing, and did I think the last few months were a waste of my time. I said no, but if I stay one more day it will be. This relationship wasn’t so hard to walk away from. Don’t get me wrong it did hurt. I did care a great deal about him. But I was not in love with him at that point. It was the next relationship, 4 years of my life that just about killed me. It’s been NC 3 months now. Natalie’s emails have really been very inspiring for me. I have only posted a few times, but I read, and re-read everything she writes.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I said to him right there in bed “I can’t do this anymore”. I put my clothes and started out the door. He was shocked, asked me what the hell was I doing, and did I think the last few months were a waste of my time. I said no, but if I stay one more day it will be.

      Is it just me wondering if he was more shocked at you leaving or more shocked that the sex and cuddle supply just got turned off?!

      Ambiguous dating sites/hook up sites, sexting and sex applications for your phone, multi-dating and having a bazillion people chasing you for sex are becoming more common to the point where a lot of people think sexting and treating people like booty call is totally the norm. It scares me! It wasn’t like this 3 years ago! What the hell happened!

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        “…and did I think the last few months were a waste of my time. I said no, but if I stay one more day it will be.”

        Thanks Dublin. That was so perfectly stated. I’ll keep the vision of you pulling up your pants, saying flush, and walking out the door when you discovered things were going nowhere. I can just imagine the “shock” on the exAC’s face. It’s a nice vision. And thank you, your comment helped me to see that although I spent two years as a mistress, and then the subsequent year beating myself up over being such an idiot, at least I finally pulled up my pants and flushed. Only wish I could have done it like you!

        So sorry to hear about the subsequent 4 year relationship. Stay strong. Stay NC. Oh yeah and keep your knickers on!

        You made me laugh even though the reality of someone using me for sex, ego stroke, and a home cooked dinner has been difficult to face.

      • sushi says:

        T_O_S- yes, absolutely EUness seems more like the norm than oddity now. Thanks to Natalie I stopped worrying about what the norm is, but it was a blight of my life in the past. WRONG thing to do. We are the norm, we make it, it`s brilliant to realise you don`t have to subscribe to someone elses vision of things. It makes me feel so free…..

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Oh, Dublin, your exit line was just so perfect. “I said no, but if I stay one more day it will be.” You’re my hero.

      I know the situation had to have been terribly painful, but you handled it so well.

    • sushi says:

      Take heart Dublin, my last one nearly killed me too, and it`s taking time but life kicking back into me. Bless Natalie and NC. You are a strong person, love your posts because you are so good at ACTION. :)

  31. Sandra says:

    Nat what would we do without you? You are our hero:)

  32. Bluebyu says:

    I don’t know how you do it, but you always manage to create these posting when I need them most. I was just thinking of seeking out a man who I had a sexual relationship with. After my AC of a husband left me for another woman, I was emotionally screwed up. He eventually started cheating on her with other women, but that’s her problem now. Anyway, I barely held it together for my kids. One year later and 60 pounds thinner, I finally got my mind together enough to stop wondering why. My friends kept telling me in order to get over one man; you have to get under another. Such bad advice, I knew, but I thought if I took part of that idea and just seek the social part of a man’s attention it would be enough. So, when I met a professional man. I thought maybe I was ready, we went out it was great. Then when he wouldn’t return my calls as expected, or text, I took it as a sign. I couldn’t deal with another rejection so I stop calling. I Thought I wasn’t ready for dating, got usy with work and kids again then, he would call, or text like he was conscious that I was trying to forget him. This tug of war went on for a year, and although I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, it was helping to keep my mind off my ex. I kept thinking he’s just the fill in till the right one comes along. Then we had sex, it was great, but I only saw him when I had time. I thought it was great I would leave and there were no emotional attachments; I couldn’t get hurt, right? then I started having feelings. Ugh! Women can’t act like men and have a strictly sexual affair; we get soft and mushy reallll quick. I started thinking, wow the sex is good, conversation is good, I wanted more. When I wanted validation of the relationship I thought we were having, he said I don’t know how to define what we have. He couldn’t even say the word relationship; he just kept saying this thing. That went on for some time. I suppressed the disappointment, the rejection, because as long as I didn’t confront it, it was all good. But the truth is, it wasn’t, and the right one who I’ve been waiting on wasn’t coming along. I didn’t think it was because I’ve spent so much time with the wrong one, but he was blocking that energy. This man who couldn’t even define what we had together was using me up and I allowed him. The problem is loneliness is a hard thing to deal with, you work all day deal with the kids…

    • Yes Bluebyu, but you’re still lonely anyway in spite of this sexual involvement which goes to show that he’s not the solution. Fill up your own life, get over your ex – you are doing what Mr Unavailables do, only you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Stop using people to avoid your feelings and life – that is what is blocking you.

      • Bluebyu says:

        Natalie, you are soooo right, but sometimes you want the comfort of a strong embrace, it makes you feel like you’re not so alone, at least not for the moment you’re with them. I never learned how to be alone my time was filled with the man in my life, kids and work. I haven’t learned how to just do me, what’s that? But that’s probable the embrace I need to learn to look forward to I just don’t know how to yet.

  33. Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

    Oh dear indeed.

    The older I get, the more I realise that what our mammas told us was true: most men think about sex one way, and most women think about it another way. They use ‘love’ to get sex; we use ‘sex’ to get love …

  34. Matakarie says:

    Holy shit… I am in this exact boat!!!!! How did I not know about this blog months ago??????

  35. bits says:

    Hi all you people,

    please, I need some help and advice. My guy is not in it just for sex but he doesn’t want the full relationship either. I don’t know what to do. We’ve been seeing each other for two years. With ups and downs, but the general trend is getting better all the time. We’ve broken up several times, always because I cannot cope with him telling me he “doesn’t know” and “cannot commit” and “is not ready / capable”. Then after a short time he comes crying and telling me he can’t live without me, and I believe him, and we have another go.

    What’s making it even more difficult is that it really does get better with every try. In every respect – only he still doesn’t “know”. I truly love him and I think he loves me too, and I know he tries his best. I’ve been dating all my life but for him this is the first real relationship (we’re both 30), and I understand it’s more difficult for him. I really want to give him all the time he needs, but after the latest “I can’t commit to you until I’ve traveled the world, also I don’t know when I’m going to do it and I don’t know if I’m ever coming back” -speech my heart feels so broken it’s numb. I’ve been reading this site and it’s immensely helpful, but I am stuck… don’t know what to do…

    I want to feel secure in a relationship. I am secure and happy with myself, and I am really really ready to share my life with another person. This one doesn’t let me go but doesn’t take me in, and I’m so broken and stuck between two places I can’t move my ass. We’ve been on again, off again so many times I don’t think I even believe it’s possible to be permanently apart anymore. It has been so very good with him, I cannot understand why again he’s telling me he is not happy with me, there is “pressure”, he doesn’t know, cannot know, wants to know but doesn’t… how do I get out?!

    • Bits, no it’s not just about the sex; it’s about the sex and all the fringe benefits of a relationship *without* the relationship or the commitment which is a casual relationship which is an oxymoron in itself which is a non relationship. If I could get all this without a relationship for 2 years, I’d go for bust and try to get it forever. He’s unavailable and unable to commit which means he can’t commit to bring with or without you so keeps you in no mans land. It is you who has to walk away. *If* he’s going to change, it will never be while you’re together. Stop lying to yourself – no person with great self-esteem puts up with this BS, certainly not for two years. The fact that you don’t think and act like someone who deserves better is in direct contradiction with your declarations of feeling great about you.

      • Sugar and Spice says:

        “Stop lying to yourself – no person with great self-esteem puts up with this BS, certainly not for two years. The fact that you don’t think and act like someone who deserves better is in direct contradiction with your declarations of feeling great about you.”

        Dead on!!!

        Bits, I thought I had great self-esteem as well; thought I was strong enough to handle anything that came my way, and that I was strong enough to put up with anything; I was happy as well. BUT after I compared my actions with my words, it was a completely different story. It helped me to start by increasing my self-awareness…you have to be really honest with yourself about everything, and I don’t mean surface level BS, you have to go deeeeeeeeppppp, but take your time, and be good to yourself. :)

    • grace says:

      I recently found out that someone I knew over 15 years ago is still in the same on-off relationship that she was in when I first met her. Only now she’s got a daughter with an on-off dad. Keep telling yourself how great he is, and how happy you are, and – when you’re 45 – all this could be yours too.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      What is wrong with these people,

      The moment you mention the C-bomb, (Commitment) they go all mushy.

    • Magnolia says:

      As someone who stayed with a guy for almost 6 years, when I “didn’t know”, I’d say get out. Being the kind of person who knows themselves, and knows enough that if they’re feeling “don’t know” that they should get out, at the very least so that the other person can find a relationship with security, is a sign of the maturity to have the kind of relationship we want.

      I thought for years that “not knowing” was about the middling quality of the relationship. The quality of the relationship was middling, not least because I couldn’t put myself in it 100%, though I did try to magic up the feelings that I “should” have had.

      But “not knowing” was the sign of a deep ambivalence in me that came from not knowing how to ensure my own satisfaction and emotional security. It is only since my time on BR that I realized that I could be hit with the relationship-lottery-stick and “not know” it because I didn’t know my own peace. Your current guy sounds the same, and no one else can find his peace for him but him, and he won’t find it while he’s using you as an emotional soother that he can drop on the floor if he knows where you are, but go nuts if he’s not sure where you are.

      It was only because my ex-bf had his own issues and had something to prove to himself that he allowed a waffling woman to waffle on him for nearly six years until one day I dropped him cold, after we went to a wedding together. Just get out and be the one to maintain the boundary. If I hadn’t said yes to that bfs heroic attempts to change my mind at year 2, and year 4, then I wouldn’t (and he wouldn’t) have the hurt of a six-year lost investment.

  36. Helsbels says:

    Well, it’s not nice when you realise what a complete idiot you’ve been! I myself recently fell foul of a Mr Unavailable, and i’m quite a cautious person. But he found a chink in my armour (that’s all that’s needed) and I continued to look at him through rose tinted glasses for a while.
    But i’m not one to put up with crap for very long and since telling him that i’m not prepared to have casual sex with him, funnily enough i’ve not heard from him for a couple of weeks….what a surprise!
    I think he knows he’s not going to get what he wants from me so he’s off finding easier targets. (I met him online btw. It’s a mine field on there!)
    Like Nat says he didn’t just wake up one day and think ‘I know, i’ll start messing women around ‘ He’s obviously that way inclined and treats women in general the same way.
    I know I’m a decent woman and i’m worth more, so i’ll just overhaul my boundaries and move onward and upward!
    Thanks for another great article Natalie :-)

  37. katy says:

    Thank you for everyone who commented, It does help to not feel alone, and it also helps to process things. I am writing every day, planning my days to be full and working hard, its just the anxiety still looms in me , an may possibly run deeper than the flurry of sexual encounters I have had over the past 3 years. I write and write to get it out and always appreciate the feedback.

  38. Elle says:

    Read and pondered something today that seems to relate: when the standard we set for ourselves (as a person, girlfriend, wife, worker, whatever) does not match the outside feedback we’re getting from others (those who are responding to our behaviour), there is a natural ‘computer says “no”‘ response in the mind. We then have two choices: either to change how we perceive the outside world – the stories we tell ourselves of what the feedback means – or else to change our behaviour. Neither one or the other is intrinsically bad or good – they serve different purposes. But they CAN both be bad if there is not an honest self-reflection step in the middle. You can, for instance, change your behaviour – conform – to match the expectations of others (e.g. be nice, compliant, quiet etc in order to maintain that standard in your head, that you’re say, a worthy, likeable or attractive person) or you can change your perception of the feedback – which is a form of identity ‘cheating’ because the outside, relevant information about your actual position really isn’t offering your identity what you are telling yourself (e.g. saying that they’re just having a tough day, that sex really is the way men communicate love etc so that your self-constructed role as girlfriend or loved-one is maintained). I like this.

  39. Brad K. says:

    “Why is he still having sex with me?”

    I don’t like the ‘progression’ model of relationships. I think of the progression model as making a connection, finding an attraction, getting to know someone (i.e., third date), and expecting the attraction to progress to intimacy, and then to commitment.

    Popular culture bolsters the industries that tout fashion and merchandising to make money off of so-called “romance”. The reality is that for all too many people, both male and female, sex has become social recreation. Like a basketball game. That is, a group finds some bond — they work together, hang out at the same bar, or their mothers are friends, they get together and play. And even as the initial bonds wear off, find that the game fills a niche in their day, and is less trouble (and often fun) to continue than to figure out something else to do in that now-regular time slot.

    I am not positive what the alternative is. Historically various cultures arranged pairings to suit the needs of families in the community. What was evaluated then might still be the first things to evaluate today — the aptitude to be a parent and family provider, the skills to manage a home and family, the character to be loyal, faithful, and honest, and the demonstrated interest in nurturing bonds to friends and family.

    The presumption that sufficient intimacy can be achieved if the rest of the relationship is reasonably sound, is the foundation that sustained the world that produced the world of today. Have we grown beyond the past (vital, growing, and persistent families and communities), or do we need to get back to our roots?

    • Mymble says:

      One of the things I have to do with in my work is connected with section 50 of the national assistance act 1948, whereby the council is required to carry out funerals in cases where no-one else is doing it. Sometimes it’s because they have no money but often they do have money but no-one in their lives who cares to take responsibility. There are increasing numbers. If you regard other people as mere basketball partners, what happens when the day comes and you can’t play anymore? Will anyone care?
      The purpose of commitment is to share the good times and the bad, we have not evolved out of our need for this. These ACs may see themselves as invulnerable warriors, always on the lookout for the next narcissistic food supply, but they’re deluding themselves. Evidence shows that single men have poorer health and die younger than married men (opposite is true for women).

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I think there has been a major shift with regards to oversharing, devaluation of frienships/relationships in general, boundaries all in the mix.

      My boss wants to be on my facebook, in fact EXPECTS to be on it. Are they crazy? Random people who I do not know but are friends of friends try to ‘friend me’ on facebook. Who are these people? My friends all have hookup applications in their phone and spend any spare moment they have on facebook or their iphones on hookup sites chatting to heaps of people. When I phone people, it is a bit awkward!

      Everyone is happy to discuss sex, sex positions, porn, how many they had in the last week, but emotional vulnerability – watch them clam up!

      It is just me, or has the world gone mad?

      • Tea Cozy says:

        t_o_a, the trend toward oversharing online about intimate details is just so ewwww eww ick to me. Looking at the online dating profiles of guys in my age bracket (almost 50), it is a total squick-fest. Way way WAY too much information! I mean, a gory level of detail. DO NOT WANT. (And mind you this isn’t on Adult Friend Finder or FetLife — it’s a plain vanilla dating site).

  40. ferncat says:

    This is happening to me right now. I am on the receiving end of classic EUM behaviour, blowing hot and cold, managed by texts, with amazing sex, but general shady behaviour (e.g. has had 3 different mobile numbers since I met him last May – he’s lost his phone, left it at work, dropped the SIM down the toilet, etc etc etc!!??). I did NC on him for 3 months last year and then he managed to worm his way back in before Christmas. He gave me the keys to his flat, which some might say is a gesture that shows that he wants me in his life, but that just puts the onus on me to come round while he makes no effort to even have to leave his own home to get sex. I seem to be addicted to the lust/chemistry because it was lacking in my previous, healthy, relationship with someone who didn’t dick me around, but it’s just making me utterly miserable. It is dawning on me that sex has always been best with men who just give me crumbs. How do I work on my self-esteem to stop this awful cycle? With this particular guy I would absolutely LOVE to speak to his ex-girlfriends to compare notes. He mentions his exes all the time but I have never really got to the bottom of why they split up. I still have the chance to get back with the guy I had a healthy relationship with previously (who the EUM pressured me to leave), but as the sexual attraction was lacking in the previous relationship is there any hope of it working out, especially now I’ve got this recent amazing sex as a comparison? Confused as hell!!!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      If you overvalue sex you will get sex and not much else.
      It is like trying to strike up a LTR with a hooker – pointless.

      He can’t even bother to go to your house?

  41. nysharon says:

    If I was in bed with someone and they said they didn’t want a relationship with me I would hand them their boxers and kick their ass out. Guess I’ve come a long way since starting to read this blog. “..if they don’t and you continue to sleep with them, they assume you are on their terms>” SOO TRUE. A couple years ago I decided not to have sex with any guy that 1. didn’t express an interest in the rest of my life and 2. I could rely on the fact that It was accepted we had weekend plans together unless otherwise stated. It is probably why I haven’t had sex in a really long time. But at least I love myself.

    • Jen says:

      Hahaha me neither.

      I guess it goes like that though… no sex, but a good self esteem.

    • Crystal says:

      yuck yuck yuck. I’ve read every single one of these posts and I know that feeling, that horrible sinking doubt tingle that starts from your solar plexus and feels like someone has just jump started your heart and it actually misses a beat and you struggle to breathe. Intense soul sucking horrible, and all i can say is they obviously don’t have any idea of what love is for if they did they wouldn’t do it. It’s those people who whipped JC and put him on a cross whilst spitting on his face. Absolutely soulless freaks of nature. SCUM… No respect for the place they were born from and as for us running around trying to get them to see it…. Pah they make me puke….. My ex EUM AC gave me the best gift ever and for that i’m grateful and it was the one thing he didn’t want. His daughter…. I hope he has sex with as many bimbo’s as he can get his slimy hands on so that when his mind goes in that nursing home when there is no one to hold his hand and reassure him he will die in mental aguish and spend the remainder of his eternity in purgatory till he susses it out and lives life as a slug…….

  42. Maya says:

    I love this website. After having an incredibly intense encounter with someone I (mistakenly) imagined was “the ONE” a couple of months ago, reality soon came crashing home and I came across baggage reclaim whilst searching for answers to questions such as: “why do men disappear?” and “how to deal with a player?”, because let’s face it, despite all the hot air, there was absolutely no subtance behind the future faking and despite all the crumbs I was being thrown, there was no way I could roll them into a loaf. This man is, I now realise a textbook case of Emotionally Unavailable Man/Assclown.

    For example,he really fitted my “perfect man” bill: he was charming, intelligent, slightly older, experienced, excellent at his job, respected by his peers and with a great sense of humour. We had, ahem “so much in common”, including the fact that we work in the same field and share several friends/colleagues. Of course, there was that “amazing connection” and naturally, the “mind blowing sex”. All of this inspired a degree of confidence in me that he might actually be just the person I had been waiting for, especially since he broke down my initial reserve and reluctance by talking about how much he was into me and how i shouldn’t use past disappointments to measure him against, because he had no intention of hurting me.

    Bla Bla Bla Bla. Of course there was no match whatsoever between words and actions, he disappeared for days at a time, promised the moon on a stick but could not even deliver a phone call, or else emailed/skyped sporadically to say how “busy/unwell” he had been…meanwhile he manipulated me into telling him I was in love with him, fed me some guff about how into me he was (without actually saying that he loved me back) and then made ridiculous proposals such as inviting me to come and stay at his place in Bamako (Mali) with my one-year old son, which of course he knew was completely impractical and something I could not just up and do given that it would involve last-minute international travel with a small child. He could just have easily come to see me, or even, wait…call me on the phone, but no.

    So, I just stopped contacting him. And that was that. Two months later, not a word. Not a peep. I was so devastated at the time: up and down every day, checking my phone every hour, day-dreaming about the exciting life we could…

    • Allison says:

      How did you meet if he was in Bamako??

    • Broadsided says:

      Maya – did we date the same man??? LOL.

    • Ashamed says:

      Maya, these men really know how to turn on the charm. My lover boy AC seemed “perfect” too. Everyone adores his selfish, egotistical arse but they are only opportunists – nothing more. They know how to get what they want then disappear when they are no longer curious. Just feel sorry for the next victim and don’t continue with this. My mind keeps going too but eventually it will stop and the sooner you realize it’s over, the better off you will be. Find someone worth loving.

      • Maya says:

        Broadsided and Ashamed: i KNOW! It’s incredible isn’t it?! We meet these guys, fall hard, they let us down and we begin to think that it is our fault, that we were perhaps, too keen, too needy or something and that it is all about ‘us’ and ‘something we did’. But reading through all the posts and comments on this site, one of the striking things is that there are so MANY of these men out there, and so many of them appear to have a near-identical modus operandi. Perhaps they are issued with a ‘little black book’ at some point in their lives that tells them exactly how to go about their dastardly business? In which case, thank goodness for ‘baggage reclaim’, which is, in effect the ‘how to manual’ for all women needing to avoid their devious strategies…

        Allison: I work in Africa and happened to meet him at an event. At the time it seemed fated, fortuitous and intoxicating. In hindsight i just feel that I acted like a fool. Fortunately it only took me 6 weeks to realise what was going on. But still, I do feel a fool for falling for it.

        Ashamed: I agree with you. Time to stop letting the mind go back to it and time to stop feeling foolish and just move on, wiser, stronger and more confident.

  43. Broadsided says:

    I appreciate the comments about the situation I encountered. I just think it is very cold that men will use misrepresentations – I mean, serious declarations of substance in their feelings and intentions for us – to get us into bed and have us for as long as they want us (usually not very long; this was nearly 3 months – which he actually told me was a “long relationship” for him)…..then abruptly leave. We had no specific problems in our relationship; we got along well, had fun, so therefore I thought all was good, that I’d indeed met my lifemate and it was mutual – as he kept telling me things, writing me cards, etc., all delivered with a warm and authentic seeming smile. Leaving, his reason was basically “I don’t see a long term future for us,” and “I don’t want to be in a relationship any more,” but with no articulated, specific reasons about me. So ultimately, this was the same conclusion that guys who go out with you, talk extensively to you, have sex with you, but do not represent that they do want to be in a relationship has. I think it is almost sociopathic that a man can say he loves you then leave you a few days later. This man is locally popular, a public figure, handsome, Christian, yada yada – but a “nice guy” only on the most surface level. It is interesting that he takes 2 antidepressants. I am wondering if these medications cause people to feel abnormally – wondering how much is caused by medication and how much is caused by him just being an asshole and a user, and a pro calibre future faker. This is the second guy in a row I’ve been with who has had mental health problems. The last one had worse ones – but never represented anything to me about his long term feelings and thus was more authentic – he just acted very erratically (hot and cold, leaving and returning, etc). I am definitely not going to be involved with a guy with mental problems again. No judgment, but I am not up to the task. I need substance and predictability, not flightiness, BS, and in-the-moment behavior. Both were very bright, handsome and fun guys on the surface, and I gave them the benefit of the doubt. My last boyfriend’s dad said, “Time reveals the truth of a situation.” There is just no substitute.

    • NCC says:

      I read this a lot on here about us FBGs looking at the different struggles our EUMs and ACs are going through, and it’s natural to ask ourselves…would they be “better” and would this all be working out if not for X, Y, Z? If only I had met them when they weren’t going through this or that. I know I’ve asked this question many times, and fell back all the manure to justify why I wasn’t being treated properly, and I also fell back on it as an excuse to myself why I wasn’t treating myself properly. But what I see here is what Natalie talks about, “reasons” vs. “excuses.” The REASON they use us for sex for example is because they don’t respect anyone else’s feelings, they are only out to get what they need, they will not admit wrong doing because then they have to 1) risk an end to getting what they want and 2) might actually have to look at themselves in the mirror and see that they hurt people, etc. The EXCUSE they give us for why they use us for sex is “oh I’m just not in a place where I can commit because my ex screwed me over financially and emotionally” blah blah blah. The excuses change every day, but the true reason for their behavior, not likely to change. It should be that the REASON they WON’T use us for sex is because they have more respect for their fellow human being, not to mention themselves.

      • NCC says:

        I’ve taken anti-depressants, I’ve been in tough situations, but did I pull the shite that some have on me who have been in tough times? No. And I admit I have treated others poorly using excuses. I know the reason I’ve treated some men poorly in the past in because I myself have been EUM and unsure of myself, so I was afraid to be honest and live authentically. But, I used every excuse in the book rather than looked at the reason. I just can’t live a life justifying poor behavior just because someone has “problems”, I mean deep down consistent poor behavior. Sure we are all bound to be assholes to other people once in a while, but having NO integrity, NO empathy, NO respect, (the list goes on) hard times don’t just mutate someone to the core. Sure, a drug addict may steal to get a fix, may say cruel things to their family who loves them, but ultimately, an actual authentic, kind person can CHANGE, but often they are changing BACK into what they have always been, they just got lost on the path for a bit. With ACs, they don’t’ go from decent to scum…its usually always been scum, and then their fake, decent selves are what tricks us. The AC used money problems, his ex-wife, his kids, (insert every other excuse here) as to why he deceived me, used me, lied to me. Do I believe its all survival and instinct that drove him? He did what he HAD to do to protect his kids? I could believe that in some instances…but not in his. I literally FEEL the manipulator he is and he is so far gone from his own reality and full of lies….if there’s no good point to revert back to, likely it was never there in the first place. Sorry a bit off topic here…

  44. Broadsided says:

    I would like to add, taking my share of responsibility in this matter – that I believed and wanted to believe his words, and allowed myself to go deep very quickly, following his lead like a fish on a hook. Can you believe I did have an intuitive hit that something seemed off, and I ignored it – my heart and my ego so wanted it to be true. I was even feeling some non specific anxiety – which I attributed residual feelings from my last boyfriend who was erratic, just assumed that I was having trouble trusting again. Believe me, in the future, I am going to pay careful heed to my intuition. Intuition can seem so illogical. But man – it takes the pulse of the true energy of a situation, and bears careful attention.

  45. IceQueen says:

    Absolutely spot on! This was my experience for 6 years…I look back and cringe at my behaviour in the situation. Was I that desperate for attention and “love” that I let my self esteem take such a battering from someone who clearly didnt respect me or even like me?

    I look back and I realise how cruel and twisted he actually was, he would say things like “you will have to find love first” whenever the topic of marriage, future etc would come up in general conversation..

    He would tell me he thought I was in love with him, so I asked if he felt that why he continued to link me when he clearly didn’t feel the same way. I knew he didn’t love me as he would tell me this but I never told him I loved him.
    If you know you cant give someone what they want why would you continue to take from them unless you are an absolute c**t?! These casual sex situations allow men to get away with shitty behaviour and they think because they told a woman from the get go they didn’t want a relationship it absolves them of any responsibility.

    Im done with sex for a long time.

  46. amanda says:

    I haven’t all the comments, so I don’t know if I’m repeating a common refrain, but boy, was this a great post to read. Timely, also, as I fell off the wagon this weekend and broke NC with the MM whom I have been trying to distance myself from, and see myself suffering the same feelings of anger, frustration and diminished sense of self as a result. This post exactly describes our relationship (or whatever the ‘eff’ you want to call it). I have been dealing with the kind of AC who isn’t really aware of how ACish he is. That has made getting out all the harder, because we have both been doing the rationalization game. He knows how hard I fell in love with him, but he always tries to play it off, making me out to be the paragon of cool; able to carry on a casual relationship without getting emotionally bruised. He does that to minimize his own guilt, since he’s already overwhelmed (so he claims) by the pain he caused his wife and the risks that he subjected his children to (they are too young to understand what was going on, but his behavior and the tension in his marriage drove away the family’s nanny).

    Case in point. MM and I stopped being lovers five months ago, when it came to light that his “open marriage” had been closed for the last 8 months, and that he was lying to both me and to his wife (oh, and to the handful of other lovers out there ) so that he could have his cake and eat it, too. Not surprisingly, he turned to me and to another lover for support (probably the two of us who were big enough idiots to fall in love with him) which we freely gave, trying to be his “friend.” as he confronted his sex addiction, his depression, and tried to make things right with his wife. The AC/MMs who claim to be your friends and claim to want to recover are the most dangerous ones! This set back my emotional recovery significantly. But, it did give me some interesting insight into his mind and into his operation. I don’t know if it was worth the pain of being given the false intimacy of being his “friend” when he was going through the roughest time, but it was interesting.

    Well, back to trying to maintain NC. This is harder than quitting smoking!

  47. Michael says:

    Wow. It seems men leave a lot to be desired. We use women for sex and don’t communicate any of our intention at all.

    The truth is that men date two types of women, the women they’ll sleep with, and the women they’ll marry. The two rarely share characteristics.

    Men like all people have a vision of type of woman they want to have a “relationship” with. It may be education, profession, or family background, but that woman in their mind is their target girl. When men date a woman we go through the process of reconciling the woman across the table from us with our vision, and that process doesn’t happen overnight. It can take months or weeks to trust the feelings.

    I’m not sure men should be penalized because the woman felt the chemistry earlier than he did. If he is dropping the “I don’t want anything serious” line, then it’s on the GROWN UP woman to make a decision whether to stay around and let him between her legs.

    No one likes to be pressured into making a decision earlier than they are comfortable with. Give men a break.

    • grace says:

      Carrying around a picture in your head of the ideal partner and then trying to hammer (excuse the pun) your date into that shape is no good for men or for women.
      How are any of the men in these comments being penalized? Yeah, we may be vetching about them but they. don’t. care.
      Pressure? A lot of these women are basically on dial-a-lay. They aren’t exerting any pressure at all. Not that it would make any difference. Refusing to partake in threesomes, sending one text in three weeks, waiting for MMs to leave their wives, waiting for him to come back when he’s disappeared is not my idea of pressure.
      Give them a break? Have you read the comments? They’ve had WAY TOO MANY breaks already. It’s laughable.
      Though you’re absolutely right on this – if he has some screwy ambivalent madonna-whore thing going on, doesn’t want a relationship, disappears, treats you like you’re not “good enough” or generally dicks around – don’t have sex with him, don’t continue having sex with him, and don’t bother pressurising him. Just FLUSH!

    • brenda says:

      While You make some good points,I tend to disagree with others.
      Many Men like to meet a GROWN WOMAN,spew out a bunch of garbage so they can make it to the next base.
      Now having said that,I am a strong minded woman and can see the redflags,and get the hell out of Dodge.
      But there are other Woman,that suffer from low selfesteem,insecurites,etc….And these are the types of Woman these Men prey Upon..the Vulnerable.
      I will never understand Mens view of what makes a woman “Marraige Material”???I myself have never Been married,Nor have I been asked unless it was from some Future Faking Guy I had only known for a month…
      I do think your right when you say Men have 2 types they Date,I have been on the end of some Man saying I am not career orientated enough because I am a waitress????Guess what this GUy ended Marrying a Lawyer,and she is a nasty Woman,going thru a divorce…I think its sad really when our worth is dictated by what we do for workandif our Family is not a tad dysfunctional……
      I do thank you for your comment here,its always nice to see a mans point of view as well..

      • grace says:

        I’ve had five marriage proposals. I’ve also been beaten up by a man, dumped repeatedly by another man, been used for sex by a consummate playa, and used as sextertainment by a MM. So, what am I – a woman that men will marry or a woman that men will abuse, treat casually or sleep with? And lets not forget the poor women (or men)who are abused within their marriages. I think that men don’t get to say who/what I am.
        EU people get married too. All the time. I deeply regret getting married, I regret it even more than being pushed down the stairs because it’s public and I have to tell anyone I get involved with. I know it shouldn’t matter (but it does).
        Whether a man will marry you or not says nothing about your value or how good you are at relationships, or your career, or your family. You’re just fine as you are. Don’t compare yourself to other women – we’ve all got our “stuff”. Be the best you; no one else can do that better.
        I love a good waitress. Makes my evening.

        • Heartache Amy says:

          Grace – I read your posting and it made me cry. My husband was verbally and emotionally abusive to me, and I tried so hard to be the “good wife” — where did it get me? Then, the MM/AC (who plays the role of Mr. Church Guy/Funny Guy) chased me, laid it on thick and then suffered a depressive episode whereby he then backtracked and after much future-faking, told ME I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, along with other insulting crap. So, I wasn’t good enough for my husband and wasn’t good enough for the jerk church guy. I have two degrees, a respectable career and have always been known as a “nice, sweet” person. I know both of these “men” (if you can call them that) have major issues (including some mental illness). I’ve been feeling badly about myself for a long time and am just starting to feel like I have some self-esteem. I’m incredibly lonely and I find it hard to believe I’ll meet a nice, “normal” guy who treats me well. And I HAVE compared myself to other women who I view as being prettier, smarter, more athletic, etc, etc. But, you made me feel a little better tonight, so thank you.

    • lioness says:

      Michael, this site is not about men bashing. If you have read the blogs and understood them you would know what. I take exception to you using the old two types of women line! In that case it works both ways. There are 2 types of men then – players and the one’s we women marry/serious committed relationship material! In both cases one of these man/woman has some low esteem/confidence/EU/lack of integrity issues going on (guess which ones), otherwise why would anyone choose to ‘use’ someone for sex and not treat them with respect and walk away if they are not really what you want. What pressure are you talking about. There shouldn’t be any pressure for sex from either party if both are dating with integrity and honesty. Also the oneous is not just on the woman to call time. There 2 people are involved. Any mature person of either gender would be honest quite quickly and let the other person take their leave and not use them for sex then use the get out clause of ” I don’t want a serious relationship” if they even suspect the other person wants more.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        No one likes to be pressured into making a decision earlier than they are comfortable with. Give men a break.

        Sorry, but this is gender non-specific! Lesbians and Gay men have EXACTLY the same issues, sex and gender socialisation does come into it but even that is becoming less true over time as our culture changes.

    • yoghurt says:

      “It seems men leave a lot to be desired”.

      Some do, I’m afraid, yes.

      Not all, admittedly (and many women too, whilst I’m being scrupulously fair) but generally the ones described in the comments on this blog do fall into that category.

      “I’m not sure men should be penalized because the woman felt the chemistry earlier than he did.”

      Penalised? Really? How?

      I’ll accept that I might have misinterpreted this wrongly – and apologies if I have – but by ‘penalised’ you seem to mean ‘having sex with-held until they’ve made a firm commitment to an exclusive relationship’. Is that really such a breach of their human rights? Honestly?

      “If he is dropping the “I don’t want anything serious” line, then it’s on the GROWN UP woman to make a decision whether to stay around and let him between her legs.”

      Fair enough, although I rather think that’s the point of the post – in fact, the point of the blog when I come to think about it.

      Having said that, I don’t think that it’s asking too much of any man (or indeed any functioning adult) to stop hassling or manipulating someone else into a situation where they aren’t prepared to put in as much as they’re taking out.

      Last time I looked, men were just as intelligent and morally responsible as women, and didn’t need step-by-step instructions or firm commands (such as you’d give a dog) to work out what is fair, honest or kind. They’re perfectly capable, and many of them manage it.

      I don’t think that there’s any excuse for the fact that I allowed a man to walk all over me for the best part of two years – and I’ll accept responsibility for the emotional consequences – but then again I’m not about to make excuses for him doing so, either.

    • Jen says:

      Okay Michael, get a grip. This post is not complaining about ALL men, ALL the time. And if you read anything on this website, you should be able to understand that the underlying message is that there are good men out there. Somewhere. Who don’t troll female empowerment websites. Just saying.

    • Natasha says:

      “The truth is that men date two types of women, the women they’ll sleep with, and the women they’ll marry. The two rarely share characteristics.”

      Michael, I’m confused. Let’s say a dude wants to marry a woman that’s smart/funny/attractive/successful. If I’m following you, that would mean that the “only good for one thing” woman is dumb/has no sense of humor/not attractive enough/doesn’t have much going on for herself. I’d say be careful about putting people in one category or another. To use myself as an example, I have two degrees, love to have a good laugh, run my own business, make it a point to be the best person I can be in a relationship, and used to model (short girl modeling, but I’ve decided it counts!). I’ve been treated as “only good for one thing” despite all of it. I have to say, that “determination” had a hell of a lot more to do with the guy’s issues than it did with my “characteristics”.

      • Tea Cozy says:

        Michael’s statement fails the reality test. There are plenty of men who don’t see women that way, and those men conduct their love lives with integrity. In my own circle, I know men who aren’t interested AT ALL in casual sex, or having multiple partners, and will NOT date women with that as sole goal, or even an option. They are relationship-minded, and are put off by the notion of casual affairs.

        Sorry Michael, but you speak from a position of false authority. Just because you’re a guy, doesn’t mean you have all men all figured out.

      • blueberry girl says:

        “I’ve been treated as “only good for one thing” despite all of it.I have to say, that “determination” had a hell of a lot more to do with the guy’s issues than it did with my “characteristics”.
        Yea, Natasha, you said it. I felt sick when I read this post because I see myself so clearly reflected and it’s scary.
        The last two men I was involved with treated me as a sexual toy/ego stroke. One was a married man who consistently reminded me this was “just sex.” The other was a charming alcoholic who finally texted me after I waited weeks for him to get in touch. Although we didn’t have sex, the physical intimacy was intense. I was shocked and hurt when, after we had such a great time, he did it again. Poof. Another disappearing act. I’m still reeling from the rejection.
        I was recently propositioned by a man with a live-in girlfriend to have sex; thankfully, I’ve been in the understudy role before and I’m not taking that part again ~ went NC on him.
        Not exactly my most stellar moments, but here’s the thing:
        I, like you, Natasha, am well-educated, attractive, bright, funny, loving…what the hell? How did I get relegated to the discard bin? What more could I be? Why am I only good enough to have sex with?

      • Natasha says:

        @Tea Cozy – “Fails the reality test” is now my favorite phrase in the English language. Classic. THANK YOU!

        @Blueberry Girl – The irony of it is that decent men don’t HAVE “Just For Sex Discard Bins”, they have “Interested” or “Not Interested…Therefor I’m Not Trying To Sleep With Her.” Don’t let how those two fools acted get to you. One’s an (attempted) cheater and the other’s clearly a hot mess. Don’t think of it as a rejection, think of it as the universe doing you a favor via this dude’s disappearance. If he’s an alcoholic, he’s unavailable. Full stop. Not to be insensitive to addiction issues (which break my heart, truly), but you can’t have a relationship with someone that’s already married to a cocktail. He may be charming as all get-out, but it’s moot if he’s not dealing with…more pressing issues. NEXT!

        • blueberry girl says:

          “Don’t think of it as a rejection, think of it as the universe doing you a favor via this dude’s disappearance.”

          Thanks, Natasha. I’m a great believer in fate and the universe moving events and people…and when they move out of your life, there’s a good reason for it. I need to stop spinning my wheels here on these fruitless ventures!
          But you know, if I blame my heartache on the men I’m interacting with, that doesn’t say much for my choices, does it?

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hi Micheal,
      It’s nice hearing a male perspective and your comment and the comments from the others are helping me see that there really are guys that will just use a woman for sex and other things. Thank you all for commenting as I really struggle with this unpleasant fact. I’ve really been giving some serious thought to Natalie’s post and all the comments as I truly have a blind spot with regards to what sex means. I am in total agreement now. If a guy spouts the “I don’t want anything serious” line, for me that means knickers up and flush. No between the legs or sheets. It took me a while (10 years) to reconcile that what I want is a committed healthy relationship based on honesty, trust, and respect.
      I’ve always heard the line that there are two types of women, the ones a guy sleeps with and the one a guy marries. That seems to me to be an overly simplistic, outdated view. However, assuming it is true, I’ve been married three times. Thus, I’m apparently the marrying kind. Wahoo. Since I’ve been married three times, I’ve also been divorce three times. Oh oh. Then I allowed myself to be used for sex two times. Apparently, there is overlap and I don’t fit nicely into either simplistic category. I don’t begrudge you your nice neat categories. If the categories work for you, so be it. Here’s the thing though, when a guy lies, future fakes, and is deceitful in order to get his needs met at the expense of everyone, that. is. wrong. Right?

    • Sugar and Spice says:


      Michael cannot speak for all men; he is really projecting on all men, but really speaking for himself:

      The truth is I date two types of women, the women I’ll sleep with, and the women I’ll marry. The two rarely share characteristics.

      I like all people have a vision of the type of woman I want to have a “relationship” with. It may be education, profession, or family background, but that woman in my mind is my target girl. When I date a woman I go through the process of reconciling the woman across the table from me with my vision, and that process doesn’t happen overnight. It can take me months or weeks to trust my feelings.

      I’m not sure I should be penalized because the woman felt the chemistry earlier than I did. If I am dropping the “I don’t want anything serious” line, then it’s on YOU, to make a decision whether to stay around and let me between your legs.

      I don’t like to be pressured into making a decision earlier than I am comfortable with. Give me a break.

      Top line data for me= I don’t want anything serious, but I wouldn’t mind shagging you, and I’ve told you that I don’t want anything serious, so whatever happens happens, I will not be held accountable, so don’t count on me to treat you with love, trust dignity, care, and respect. I have issues, namely, I am superficial, and I appear to lack empathy, good character, and integrity. I plan to marry “well.” You can count on me to “trade up.”=EUM/AC=Double Flush!

      Thanks Michael, I need the practice.

      • Sugar and Spice says:

        Also, NOTICE how he used the term “target GIRL” as the woman he wants, yet he expects a “GROWN UP WOMAN” to be responsible for “keeping her legs closed.”

      • yoghurt says:

        Hell, it sounds a whole lot different when you put it like that!

        I need more practice…

      • sushi says:

        Brilliantly put Spice :) Absolutely, flushing material to me too !

      • Used says:

        Don-t you worry about Micheal.

        Sugar and Spice, it is EXACTLY as you write, the way he thinks–I grew up w/guys like this.

        What happens to them?

        Remember: men use love (words/future faking/fast forwarding/etc.) to get sex. Women use sex to get love.

        So who is the joke on?

        Michael will be having sex with The Ones he Doesn’t Want to Marry until he actually falls for one of these girls!

        It will all be based on timing.

        So the joke will be on him.


        Funny, she may be a cocktail waitress with no college education, from a screwed-up family–but he WILL THINK OF HER as a a queen. Why? Because he will want to. Because he won’t be able to reconcile what WILL HAPPEN with The Dream.

        Why isn’t he dating one of his Dream Girls right now, if he has the chance to do so? Or does he think such a girl will always be available to him whenever he will want her? If she has known him, won’t she be RESENTFUL of his waiting, and reject him? Hell, this is what I used to do, all the time!

    • Used says:

      The only EU man I ever dated was one of these madonna-whore, “macho” guys who dated many women at the same time, while looking for the “right” one.

      Though he had his own “vision” of what the “right” one would be like, and though he did respect nice (yes read: virginal) girls (and I was a virgin when I dated him, and when I ended things w/him!), and though I did have the education, looks, money (GOBS of it!), family, etc., guess what–he was STILL looking for better.

      He kept going back to his on-again, off-again, yes, with whom he was sleeping, who he always felt respect for b/c she adored him so! She also put up with his cheating, drinking (not alcoholic, but he’d get drunk now and then! still bad!), and b.s. (seeing her every 2 weeks, etc.).

      He thought like you, sounded like you, but he married his on-again, off-again. “The girl who’s not the marrying kind” he DID marry.



      Who is the real pussy? (Sorry for my language here.)

      Be careful what you say! Do you want people calling you a pussy like I call him behind your back?

    • NCC says:


      As a woman, I’m compelled to want to share my views on your comments from a gender standpoint. But also as a PERSON, gender having nothing to do with it, I’ve always been very respectful to all views and on most subjects always realize there are two sides and I will have my opinions and others will have theirs.
      First, as a WOMAN and a female, your comment screams to me that women are the ones who have to make the “right” decisions, it screams ancient times and attitudes that women must either be “pure” or deal with being treated like a whore and take the blame and shame. (I’ve been watching a lot the “The Tudors” forgive me) and men are supposed to be allowed sit back, judge women, and to determine who is marriage worthy, and who is simply a whore. Just because a man decides that if I engage in sex and enjoy sex, then I shouldn’t consider myself the marrying type? I’ve had men tell me that if they couldn’t get in my pants, they wouldn’t have stuck around. This was AFTER some dating and their future faking, then truth came out. So if I don’t have sex, I can’t have a relationship, and if I DO have sex, I can’t have a relationship? Then, men are allowed to do what they will with whichever woman, as long as she goes along with it. Why respect a woman who doesn’t seem to respect herself? Free rein to use her then? Just because she has sex with you, how do you know she doesn’t respect herself? Is then the marriage worthy woman supposed to be a prude in the bedroom? The whore should do whatever is asked of her but she doesn’t deserve respect and commitment? Which is it? I simply don’t like that AT ALL. Yes, women, AND men, have a responsibility to themselves ultimately to make the decision…”do I want to be in this situation? “ And then make a choice. Like you say and I agree with, making that choice is on each person.
      Our feelings as men and women probably aren’t going to match up, but I appreciate open discussion and hope you take it as such. It’s an AGE old saga…….

      • NCC says:

        On this site, I don’t think any of us are stereotyping men as all inclusively being using, lying, sex fiends. I don’t see it as a men vs. women site. You’re asking, “give men a break” but you seem to be ok with only leaving women with two categories to fall into. Isn’t that stereotyping us a bit? Men and women both bring something to the table in dating and relationships based on gender, it’s inevitable, it’s inescapable. But PEOPLE in general can choose to treat someone with disrespect or with respect. A huge theme of this site and that I think Natalie fully supports and makes clear, is that as people, in an ideal world, will treat each other well. But we don’t always, so this site talks about how to take back the power for ourselves rather than look to someone else for what we first need to look for in ourselves. She talks about the fact that women can and do behave poorly in relationships. I have learned from this site to call MYSELF out when I’m not being honest with men, and I seriously, at 30 years old, am finding new meaning in “treat people how you would want to be treated!” AMEN! The men we are dating aren’t treating us well, and for many of us, (myself for sure), WE aren’t treating OURSELVES well, and that’s why we stay with men who WILL use us for sex, as one example.

    • Crystal says:

      Sure which bone?

  48. happy beginning says:

    Amazing article and comments that make me think I can heal. So many years of thinking it looks like a relationship and smells like a relationship so must be one, yet he could distance himself whenever he felt like it and absolve himself with his limited terms and conditions (a zero hour contract), then could jump right back in at some opportune time. I find this heartless.

    And what does that make me?! Since I ended it, I have really beat myself up – I thought he just took me for granted and didn’t commit because I made it easy for him and enabled it. I thought the sex and affection meant intimacy. But the truth is, he could take me or leave me and I had no say in the terms of our relationship. I have humiliated myself not only in front of him, but also in front of many others as a result. I feel like I should do the 12 step programme! I ended it graciously and am thankful for that, but I still struggle to like or know myself and spend a lot of time regretting my stupid behaviour. It is 3 months since and I hope this is rock bottom.

    It strikes me that he always managed to undercut my expectations however low and I wonder if others have noticed this? It got to a point where I was pretty ok with virtually nothing – just a good stretch of quality time together now and then. I thought this was a fine deal because I was really busy and didn’t feel in a position to look for another relationship – no questions, none of the trying to reason with him and go into big discussions about feelings that had gone before – and still he managed to make a mockery of his new premium deal. You’d think from this that he was trying to get rid of me, but his efforts whenever we were together, including the last time, were always OTT and loving as can be and yep, we ‘connected’ and shared our daily lives and he sometimes called me his best friend. How could he be so involved with me but ultimately treat me with contempt? I think it is all about ego and the OTT lovingness was to make me act like I needed him, then he could forget me when his mission was accomplished and until his ego deflates again – is this common and does this make him a heartless assclown or just unavailable/mixed up and following his desires?

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Happy B,
      Oh yes, yes yes, I can undercut even my lowest expectations which were less than a crumb. Subsisting on virtually nothing was my middle name. I thought it was a virtue. What guy wouldn’t want a woman who needed nothing? Hmmm…an unavailable one, that’s who.
      I like how you have turned the focus on you instead of him. Keep the focus on you. After a year, I had to stop beating myself up mostly cos there’s nothing left to beat up. I can’t keep kicking my arse around my back yard, the neighbors are getting tired. Shagging, being soulmates, hanging out for dinner, and a billion texts apparently doesn’t equal a relationship and intimacy. Plain and simple. It’s tough to face. Yup, it looked like a relationship, it smelled like one but it wasn’t one. Even though I’ve gone through three divorces which were real, this one was the worst because it wasn’t real. It only existed in my head.
      On the upside, we didn’t need to divide property.
      You may be dealing with an AC/EUM. In my experience, there’s no such thing as just mixed up and following his desires. The exMM always claimed we were soulmates and that he was f **ked up. That’s code for the justifying zone. It may be that he’s just another AC/EUM. So sorry. I know you tried.

      • happy beginning says:

        “Shagging, being soulmates, hanging out for dinner, and a billion texts apparently doesn’t equal a relationship and intimacy.”

        It doesn’t even equal basic friends! Just a load of fakeness and illusion, hard to accept I could be that superficial and not see through it, what an idiot but no longer a helpless one! Definitely an EUM and I think an AC too, who never thought there was a problem with his behaviour. He can just forget about those women who wanted too much from him, by building new fake connections or revisiting old ones with his impecable timing. As long as someone is blowing smoke up his arse, what’s the problem?

    • blueberry girl says:

      Hi happy beginning,
      Several things you mention definitely point to an EU; it sounds as if you did the right thing to cut him loose. Most of us are pupils of Natalie’s teachings by now so here goes:

      1) he could distance himself whenever he felt like it (that’s running cold so you don’t get any ideas that he’s offering a “real” relationship)
      2) he could…absolve himself with his limited terms and conditions (a zero hour contract), then could jump right back in at some opportune time. (keeping you in check and, as Nat calls it, pressing the reset button to the place he’s comfortable with. Too bad if *you’re* not OK with it.)
      3) he could take me or leave me and I had no say in the terms of our relationship (they run the relationship on their terms; if you try to navigate it, they disappear, go dark, etc. to maintain their control)
      4) he always managed to undercut my expectations however low (yes, we have all noticed this; the tossing of crumbs manages down your expectations.)

      For me, Cold & Heartless and EU are one and the same. They are often so selfish and singularly focused, they mow down everything in their path that threatens their status quo. EU = C&H

      No more beating yourself up. The only person who can change his unavailablity is HIM. It’s not about you. Stay strong. You deserve so much better.

      • happy beginning says:

        Hi blueberry girl and thanks for breaking this down.
        From what you read of it, this behaviour looks very controlling and not simply a case of following instincts, i.e. not blowing hot and cold because he’s confused/indecisive/capricious/free-spirited/keeping options open/commitment phobe, but because he wanted to manage our arrangement on his terms. I have come around to thinking your reading is right after thinking on it for some time, but not at all obvious – it seems hugely at odds with the personality he projects.

        Thank you for your kind words and who doesn’t deserve better than these insulting crumbs. I think EUs prey on women who deserve better – their ego thanks them for the achievement.

  49. Leavingya says:

    Michael you must not have read any other blogs than this one. It’s not that men take a while to make up their minds. These men do the mind f*&k. Rarely are they upfront about their intentions. They lie, deceive and play the whole con game. We aren’t talking about well adjusted men who need some time. Read a few more blogs and you will understand. There are many, many men out there who are users and abusers, predators if you will, who are so self absorbed that they can’t see past their own noses and who maliciously set out to cause you harm. This is what Nat and the rest of the women on here are talking about.

  50. lioness says:

    This is so spot on Nat! I have been in 2 ‘relationships’ where nearly word for word it was like this! Unfortuately, it is a very common experience for many women. I have girlfriends who are still in relationships like this and have been for years! It makes me really sad – thatwon’t they wake up and smell the coffee! Recently a couple of friends have been habitually moaning about their relationships to me but when I tell them to leave they come up with excuses even when they feel like terrible and depressed! I’ve even had one friend accuse me of being hard because I wouldn’t give the EUM another (umpteenth!)chance – what to mess my head up and cause me more pain? I seriously wandered what planet she was on. I suppose everyone needs to get to their pain limit before they decide they have had enough, although I suspect that some never will and will keep throwing themselves againgst the ‘electric fence’ expecting it not be ‘live’, which is sad.

  51. Lois Lane says:

    Wow! Just wow. Natalie you have outdone yourself. Again. And I think I can relate to at least one thing in every single comment. I could go on for days describing my exEUM and that whole disaster. And while I was in that miserable “relationship”, I didn’t want to admit any of this. And yet it is all so true. I KNEW it, but didn’t want to acknowledge it or accept it. I was afraid of………. everything. Being wrong, being hurt, being made to look foolish, being alone….. You name it. And I didn’t want to give up the AMAZING sex. Lol!

    It’s been a year and a half since the breakup and almost one year of NC, and I can actually laugh about it all now! In the beginning all I did was cry. I thought I couldn’t make it without him. I thought I’d never find another man who checked so many of my (useless and unimportant) boxes. I’d been reading BR already and that did help but I wasn’t really exercising the knowledge. After a while, I finally got with the program. (My self-esteem came back and boy did I miss it.) It wasn’t easy to face myself in the mirror. At first. I beat myself up pretty bad. But I kept reading, and writing, and processing (NO dating)….and eventually it clicked. I hadn’t felt so good in a while. I filled my life with ME. And had tons of fun doing it.

    And then I met someone. What a difference. I feel so at peace. I felt this way before I started seeing him and it hasn’t changed. I’m myself with all of my boundaries in check. I haven’t morphed, twisted, disrespected or devalued myself. I don’t agonize, ruminate, or go into fantasize mode. It’s not necessary. And you know what? The sex is GREAT! (And I didn’t just hop into bed with him.) It is possible to have fun and great sexual chemistry with someone and still have all these other wonderful things like stability, consistancy, and progression.

    And I know that whatever happens, I’ll be just fine. Thanks to BR!!!!

    Lots of love to everyone!

    • Ashamed says:

      I love your story! I’m happy to hear that there are decent guys out there. Do you mind me asking your age? Not that it should matter – I’m just curious.

    • S says:

      I love love love your story! So positive and wonderful. Gives me so much hope. My ex and I ended things 4 months ago. It started off amazing – I thought I had met ‘the one’, but the last few months were painful. I hardly recognized him as the guy I fell for. I relate to everything you said…I was afraid – of losing the dream, of being alone, of never meeting anyone as *amazing* again. So I clung onto him and the relationship. Lost myself and my self-respect in the process.

      I’m on a new journey right now. Focusing on ME! Building my life, taking responsibility for making myself happy. I’ve been reading and writing and processing and making fundamental changes. And, its finally starting to feel good. I hope I meet someone amazing along the way, but will never forget myself and my self-esteem in a relationship again.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  52. Stephanie says:

    Natalie, this post is spot on!

    This guy chased and pursued me hard in the initial stages of our dating, he took me out to eat and drink at nice places, cooked me dinner at his house, pumped me up and generally made me feel special. Of course, I thought I had found “the one”. But I noticed he never really asked me anything about me, it was always about him, we always met on his terms and his convenience and the night would always end in a shag or two!

    After 2 months I finally started to recognise all the previous red flags. One night we were lying in his bed (after he gave me a seeing to) and I said to him “I need to know where this is going?” he said “your now starting to sound like a chicken head, and I don’t even know you, so I want to get to know you more and hopefully things can develop”. My heart sank, I felt a bit embarrassed, how could he say “I don’t even know you”. I knew from then onwards that I was in the unknown territory that Natalie talks about, when you don’t know if your in a relationship or not. I became mute and didn’t question him further. After this night he used every trick in the book to avoid meeting up with me, and then finally stood me up one afternoon and made me look like a prat! Then he disappeared and never returned my last call.

    I beat myself up for weeks, and weeks, until I found BR and gained some clarity. I felt like such a fool for being used for sex and a ego stroke, I always thought I was clued up about these things and had more sense. He used me in such a passive and cowardly way, but I’ve learnt many lessons from it. I’ve seen him for what he his and subsequently learnt that I’m not the only one he has done this to. He’s definitely a serial dater that enjoys the initial chase and has the majority of the traits associated with being a narcissist!

    • Elle says:

      What a shitdog that guy was! Next time a guy says he doesn’t even know you, even though he’s been up in your lady business, please do simply push his head down into your crotch and be like ‘well, she knows you!’ No, really, glad to hear you’ve learned the lessons and are moving on. No need to give yourself a hard time! You can feel foolish, but remember that someone else was fooling you. You’ll know better now, and you won’t need to be pushing any heads down because you won’t even let it get to that mute-making stage again.

  53. Magnolia says:

    Another way of thinking about this: if women, when they have low self-esteem issues, behave in ways that are sometimes labelled “romance” or “relationship” addiction for the dysfunctional and out-of-control ways they engage in relationships, then men – well – they don’t get “love” addiction but they do act out sexually. Counsellors and recovery groups will attest to the easy opportunities all men have (should they choose to) to pay for sex or use women for sex.

    Take a look at this article for an interesting perspective. My own experience in recovery groups would have me concur – of course I’m in a mixed recovery group so guys don’t speak about it as freely as they might amongst themselves, but they shared a bit, and sometimes when I describe the ways in which men have used me I can see a few of them squirm with recognition.

    I don’t say this to vilify all men nor to excuse the behaviour because one can call it “addiction.” I point it out more to remind us of the widespread pay-for-play culture we inhabit and the different ways men and women live out their internal struggles. If a guy is using sex as if it’s a drug, he’ll say anything to get it, and will not be particularly happy to see you if really you are the source of his ‘fix.’ Some men will do the ‘ethical’ thing and pay for sex from women they have no intention of caring about; others get around the impersonality and some of the guilt/shame by getting into these pseudo “relationships.”

    When I went travelling in South East Asia, there were all kinds of men there who had found “girlfriends” for the two weeks/two months they were on holiday. They paid for the girls’ dinners, outings, etc. and I’m sure the girls “needed money” for something fairly regularly. It was prostitution but how lovely that everyone carries on the pretense that they’re ‘dating.’

    I really think that being real with ourselves around how available and ubiquitous pay-for-play sex is to men (and women), and taking the time to consider how a person would behave if they didn’t want to pay for it but wanted the same detachment and convenience, can make sense out of a lot of these situations.

    What are they going to tell you when you ask? “Sweetheart, of course you’re not my hooker (plaything/fuckme friend/etc)!!” Of course I feel something for you!! It’s like their version of the working girl saying: ooh, you’re so big, ooh, I want you so bad.

    Again, not all men participate. But I believe all men (gosh, all boys, from the time someone shows them their first porn site) are aware of the culture, and aware it’s aimed at them, and negotiate with themselves where they are in it.

    From this perspective, the question of why does he keep having sex with me? is like … duh. (I wondered why my wealthy, head-turned-by-streetwalkers, exAC kept being with me when we weren’t having sex … but we’ve covered other reasons – beard! – and I am about 75% certain he was having his needs met professionally).

    • EllyB says:

      I’ve recently received some attention from a top manager. I meet such guys from time to time due to my job, but this one was very eager to arrange lunch with me after we first met, insisting he wanted to meet me personally and not one of my colleagues (not even my boss). I gladly agreed because I knew we had some interesting topics to talk about. The meeting went well, but something in his behavior struck me as odd. I was surprised how well he knew my work and CV, for example (he must have done some research). Nothing really out of place, but still…

      I have to confess I started fantasizing a little, even if his CV stated he was married with kids. I thought (and I’m ashamed to admit it): Well, maybe his CV is outdated and they are divorced?

      Oh well. One week later I did what I should have done earlier. I googled and found several references to him appearing in public together with his wife very recently… Of course (and thanks to BR), I flushed my fantasies immediately.

      At the same time, I wondered: I wouldn’t even want to be the wife of a “big shot”. I don’t think those women have much freedom, and especially the young “second wives” often seem desperate to please at all cost. Then why was I having those silly fantasies? I guess I’m still longing for validation… from the wrong sources.

      The next thing I did was trying to restore my “perfect image” of him. I told myself it was all in my head. Of course, his attention was purely business-related. Of course, I’m too ordinary and too unimportant for such a guy to even think about anything shady. Of course, he has way more integrity than I! Of course I’m crazy. And so on.

      Anyway, I shouldn’t blame myself. If my gut instinct tells me there is something “off”, then it might very well be true. Those guys aren’t all “perfect”, no matter their status. Truth told, quite a few of them regularly pursue younger, less powerful women.

      In the past, whenever something like that happened to me, I told myself it must be all my fault and that I shouldn’t blame them. Whenever a MM approached me, I felt insanely guilty, even if I rejected him. I told myself I must have subconsciously done something to “turn him into a bad person”. But of course, if guys (even the powerful, wealthy ones) try to recruit us for something shady and we say no, it’s NOT our fault that they tried it in the first place. I still need to learn that lesson.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Oh ElleB,
        Flush, run, don’t give this guy the time of day other than what is required in your profession. This is precisely how I allowed myself to become involved with a married man for two flipping years. It started off innocently in my mind. We had to meet to discuss business. It didn’t dawn on me until later that we were meeting more and more frequently and somehow the others weren’t there, including the College President, my boss. I did the same exact thing, googled him, yup married with kids, albeit no wed ring. But his attention felt really good and he was higher on the totem poll than the College Pres. So I engaged, fantasized, and came crushing down to earth two years later. You haven’t done anything to turn a F**ked up married guy into a F**ked up married guy. He’s just a F**ked up married guy. In my experience, I got used in exactly the way Nat describes. I spent two years as a miserable mistress and then this past year healing from being used. Double flush this married AC ASAP. As Natasha says, I’ll wait. A MM who hits on single women is so not about the single woman. It’s about a MM who wants to use you to get his needs met. There are numerous former mistresses who comment here because Nat has created such a wonderful safe harbor. Read the OW posts. We all tell the same sad story. We were used at least I was. Any MM hitting on a single woman is totally F**ked up. Do what you need to do professionally, ALWAYS have your “boss” there. The minute you enter into fantasy zone with a MM , you are on a very slippery slope. Hopefully BR will still be here two years later when you learn what all OW’s learn. You’ve been used. It’s been a really sucky year and I’m still not over the hump. I’m smart, I have a ton of degrees, I’m attractive, still mistaken for a student (cos I’m short and thin). Chin up EllyB and don’t give this MM the time of day. He’ll use you.

        • grace says:

          Elly, runner
          I concur – I know someone very eminent in his field, well-respected, wealthy, perfect manners. Who’s cheated on his wife several times.
          Scratch the surface he’s quite mysognistic about women. I’ve argued with him about ir but he’s incorrigible. It’s no skin off my nose – we are just business acquaintances.
          The playa was popular, very good looking, succesful (a part-time model and a lawyer) and athletic.
          But watch out, this is just surface gloss. To start fantasizing that such a man (or any man) is going to improve your life is a big mistake. If there’s stuff missing from your life – friendships, interests, peace of mind, sort it yourself BEFORE you start dating. Otherwise you are just too dependent on their whims.
          Not all successful man are asshats. But if he’s married and hitting on you – he is. If he’s treating you casually while alleging to be your boyfriend – he is. That’s the case whether he’s a Fortune 500 CEO or works in the sewers.

        • EllyB says:

          @runner: Thanks for the reality check! No, I have absolutely no intention of getting involved with him. I’m familiar with all the OWs stories in here.

          Anyway, even that single week during which I fantasized about “well, maybe he is divorced???” was too much for me. Plus, it’s good to know my gut instinct was quite likely right. He was up to something shady, and it wasn’t “just in my head”.

          Truth told, I’m glad I have “permission” (from myself) now to flush those guys at once!

          In the past, I somehow used to believe I “owed” those guys sex, whether I wanted it or not, and even felt guilty for saying no! I believed I was a very, very bad and evil woman, because I usually said “no” to sex with EUM, MM and the like. Sounds sick, but is easily explained by my history of childhood abuse, I think.

          I had horrible feelings about this guy too, right from the start! Anyway, for a short period of time, I tried to override them (also a habit from my childhood).

          During that lunch, I remember suddenly staring at his fingers in horror. They seemed incredibly ugly and somewhat creepy to me. Normally, I don’t pay much attention to such detail, because it’s irrelevant for the conversation. In this case, this must have been a message from my subconscious mind: Danger of a sexual nature! I think listening to such messages is very important.

  54. TabbyOlimber says:

    Last week, the guy I had been seeing (for 9 months) and I ended things. I should have known from the start that it wasn’t going to work. He had only been divorced for 2 months (had been married for 5 years, with her for 9 years and had a 5 year old son) and I had broken off a 2 1/2 year relationship 3 months prior. During the course of the 9 months, I had tried to end it about 3 times because he was clear with me from the beginning that he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I tried to stand up for myself and my needs and tried to end things a couple of times, saying that I wanted more. But each time, he’d send an “I miss you” text or call and say that we could spend more time together and just see how it goes. Each time, he’d give me just enough more for me to think that maybe it could work.

    The last time I tried to end it, he said he didn’t want to lose me and that he’d give a relationship a shot. That lasted about 3 weeks before he finally admitted that although he thought he was ready, he realized he still just wasn’t (this happened AFTER I was totally embarassed when I went to a mutual friend’s get-together where he basically ignored me all night). I had been very empathetic to his situation and tried to be patient, and now after it’s all over I realize that I completely let MY needs and wants go by the wayside so that I could make things easier for him. He got EXACTLY what he needed out of the relationship: attention, sex, ego boost, someone to be there for him, etc. And it required very minimal effort on his part.

    The frustrating part for me is that I LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT. I let myself be used for those things. Looking back, I should have ended things with him the moment I realized I wanted a relationship and he said he didn’t want one. I should have gone No Contact and been done with it. I keep beating myself up for how stupid I was and how stupid I probably look. But, never again will I let my needs/wants go unmet in an attempt to make things easier for someone else. Every day, I fight the thoughts in my head and the habit of ruminating about the relationship and what I could’ve done differently to make things work and whether or not it was something I said, did, my looks, etc. It’s a daily struggle.

    • Lois Lane says:

      That was one hard pill for me to swallow too. I LET him. I put MY needs aside. But don’t beat yourself up. Really. He obviously has no empathy and you sound like a caring person. It’s totally his loss. You get rid of him and get to keep the lesson. 2 for you, zilch for him!

      • TabbyOlimber says:

        Thank you so much for your reply, Lois Lane. I’ve been feeling so alone in all of this. Two days ago, he actually texted me saying that he just wanted me to know he was thinking of me and that he feels like he lost his “best friend.” It was SO HARD for me to not respond, but I didn’t. And I’m still struggling with that decision because I keep thinking how awful I would feel if I had texted him and he didn’t respond. Clearly, I’m still struggling with putting his needs before my own because I KNOW that if I did respond I would be back to where I was with him…not knowing where I stand, him flip-flapping and me just waiting for him to decide he’s ready for a relationship while living off of his crumbs. I’m so afraid of looking like a b*tch and I don’t know why.

        • Lois Lane says:

          Stay strong. Your story sounds SOOOO similar to mine. I felt the same way. I struggled with NC. But I wasn’t going to let that jackass take any more of my self-respect from me because I’m a nice person and tried to be sensitive. He called me his “true and pure” friend. Rubbish! I would never treat a friend that way. And if he had really cared and been my friend he would have told me the truth, and then LEFT. I own my part but only MINE. Don’t look at it as being a bitch. It’s self preservation. And if he wants to think you’re a bitch, so be it. Besides, it feels a lot better being a bitch than a doormat. Believe me. Stay NC. It REALLY does get easier. Hang in there!

  55. Sarah says:

    Honestly, you have NO posts on the positive sides of dating and relationships. I appreciate your realism in a lot of these posts, as they verify the intolerance that is needed regarding some of the behaviors of men towards women…. but in all honesty, with a negative attitude like the one you have how do you expect any of your followers to have trust in relationships ever again??

    • natslayer says:

      This blog is primarily about reclaiming power from rubbish situations that we have found ourselves putting up with. If anything, NML’s followers (like myself) are finding this blog a useful tool for waking up and smelling the bacon (or porkie pies). So of course there will be an emphasis on negative situations, but if you read further in, it’s actually very positive advice.

    • katy says:

      If you go back through there are lots of posts on various subjects, such as building self esteem and even why someone isn’t an assclown just because he doesn’t want to be with you. Its about empowering us to build our own lives and own our own decisions and not be victims. Some of us (like me) were very uneducated about how typical this can be and felt used and alone. I think you will also see that she never asks anyone to substitute her judgement for your own, and if anything, says we should all be experts on ourselves. If every person always did the “right” thing and we were all tough as nails we wouldn’t need blogs like this. I don’t see it as negative at all. Try reading the post on having more positive dating experiences. Its all about SELF, and what we can do and look for. Just my thoughts.

    • grace says:

      How can realising you’re in a casual set up and getting out if you want more be negative? If you don’t like what you’re hearing maybe it’s because the truth hurts (I know that feeling).
      Also, I don’t think that people in positive relationships are looking for relationship advice, unless it’s “what to get my hubby for our anniversary?” or “how do I deal with my Mother in Law?” I’m sure there are blogs that deal with those issues but this blog has a different focus. It can’t do everything.
      And there is a REAL DANGER in trying to apply “positive” advice to jacked up situations. If you’re dealing with an AC it doesn’t help at all to communicate more, or to see his point of view or to compromise. What does help is to RUN in the opposite direction. Very fast. Preferably yesterday.

      • SM says:

        “What does help is to RUN in the opposite direction. Very fast. Preferably yesterday.” Ha ha Grace you are sooo right. I find all these posts very helpful. Now that I’m dating someone who so far seems to be a ‘good’ one, reading these posts helps me to keep a clear head and realize I do have a choice in whether I continue to date him or not. When I start feeling askew because of my own head trash or letting past issues interfere with this situation, I come to BR, read some posts and feel empowered to make good decisions. So I would call that positive.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      “Honestly, you have NO posts on the positive sides of dating and relationships.”

      False statement.

      If you’re going to make such a blanket accusation, please take the time to actually do your research first. Read every one of NML’s posts, and then see if your statement holds true. (It won’t.)

      If you’re unable to see how Natalie’s practice of dissecting poor relationship behaviors, and offering healthy alternatives, isn’t inherently positive, well…that reflects your biases more than anything else. Check your head.

  56. msblue says:

    I’m 46 years old and have had a history of EUMs. I’ve been reading Baggage Reclaim for a little over a year. I made a real point of finding out my current boyfriend’s values before we got serious, thanks to BR. We talked about values thoroughly and he demonstrated them to me. Thanks to BR, I could articulate with more clarity what I wanted in a relationship and was aware of red flags. I’m happy to say that I believe I’m in a happy relationship with my new guy. Taking it slow but it feels good to be with an emotioanlly available, reliable man. Thanks, Natalie

  57. runnergirlno1 says:

    Natalie, this post and all of the comments have been such an eye opener. I feel a bit silly at 52 to just realizing all of this. You all would not recognize me in my professional life and what I’ve posted here. It seems as though there a two me’s. The me that gets used by AC’s and the me that is a professional, an expert, and looked up too.
    I still can’t reconcile the two me’s.
    Micheal, this is the damage AC’s wreck as you place us into your neat categories of being screwed and being married. I’m opting for a third category…neither. None of the above.

    • EllyB says:

      At least for me, my work environment is a problem too. I’m well respected professionally, but personally, I’m pretty much the “identified patient” to my coworkers (same as in my own family as a child). All they ever talk about is their “perfect families”, their “perfect” relationships with their parents and in-laws – while everybody knows I’m single and I have cut off contact with my abusive parents!

      They all act as if I’m the sick one while they are all perfect and healthy. Their small talk is very painful to me, because all they ever talk about is their “impeccable” family lives. I’d prefer talking about work (because unlike almost all of them, I’m still passionate about my job), but they say it’s not healthy, because family is all that matters, while work couldn’t make anybody happy (according to them).

      Truth told, I know some of them are divorced, some of them have handicapped children, some of them are unfaithful, some of them have addictions (or family members with addictions), but they never mention anything like this. Some married colleagues seem to sleep with other married colleagues, too (it’s glaringly obvious), but of course, nobody ever mentions it. Nobody seems to be gay, either.

      Even the ones who have mentally handicapped kids talk about them as if they weren’t!

      All they ever talk about is their “textbook” family lives, their happy, sunny weekends with kids and partner, their happy vacation trips and holidays, and how eager they are to always make their own parents happy. Well, that would be okay if it was true, but in many cases there is so much evidence to the contrary that I’m unable to believe their stories.

      I wonder: Are people who desperately hide so many issues, even to coworkers whom they know for 10 years or longer, really healthier and happier than I?

      My self-esteem has really crumbled during the past years. One of the reasons why I got so obsessed about men was the hope that with the “right” partner, I could become a “perfect family person” just like them.

      But maybe I’m okay just the way I am? Maybe *gasp* I’m not even THAT unhealthy?

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Maybe we aren’t that unhealthy at all. Once we kick the certain folks to the curb and sit down with just us.

      • yoghurt says:

        maybe… and I hesitate to say this because it’ll sound like a criticism of you when it isn’t… maybe they’re just happy in themselves, and the way that they talk about their lives is just the result of the fact that they see them positively?

        I used to have a momentous problem with the people at my work for the same reason… now I don’t and I’m not sure what’s shifted, but I think that I can identify more with the fact that they’re just not riven with insecurities, anguish and an overactive brain like I am and genuinely enjoy the minutinae of their lives.

        I’m not sure that I’ll ever enjoy minutinae myself (I have never and will never chat about pelmets with anyone, for example) but whereas it used to make me angry and uncomfortable, it doesn’t now. I can also see the value of having a work persona – again, it’s something that makes *me* uncomfortable (mostly cos I’m bad at it) but it’s not necessarily just a terrible thing.

        I don’t know how your colleagues talk, so I might well be wrong, though!

        • EllyB says:

          @Yoghurt: I’ve thought about that, too. I think having a “work persona” is perfectly okay. What I don’t like is the fact that they chat ONLY about their family lives (never about hobbies and rarely about work), and then always as if it all looked like a commercial. I would be fine with pelmets or stories about infants, I think. But they almost never mention any detail. It’s almost always the same basic story: “Happy, smiling family sitting around the table/travelling/preparing X-mas”.

          And then I hear that one colleage who smilingly talks about her “perfect” family life and even mentions her husband as if he was part of it had gotten divorced a year ago. Or a woman talks about her daughter as if she behaved like any other child her age, even if I know the girl has very severe brain damage.

          And there is that cheating couple, too…

          I somehow understand why people prefer to hide such issues. What I can’t bear is the fact that they talk about “family life” all the time anyway – even if so much of it seems to be lies! They mention so little detail (not even irrelevant, innocent detail) that it could very well all be lies (which I don’t believe, but it’s odd anyway).

          I couldn’t do this. There many things about myself I wouldn’t like to reveal, but I want to be genuine in what I’m chatting about. If I couldn’t be honest about something, I would try to change the subject. It’s just… the way I am.

          Plus, they always act as if I’m the only one with issues simply because I’m single and not speaking with my parents anymore. It’s as if I had written “sicko” all over my forehead. I seem to be the only one whose personal life is openly “messed up”. Should I tell them lies whenever they try to do small talk about my family life and maybe invent a partner and healthy parents??? There is no other way out for me. It’s really, really painful.

          I personally don’t consider their behavior particularly healthy. I think healthy people would simply shrug and leave me alone, or chat about something else. Or tell me about their own kids. I have other acquaintances (outside work) who often chat about their kids, and I love it, because it sounds genuine to me. But not my coworkers. Whenever family life comes up as a topic, they act as if I had a contagious disease or something.

          Problem is, this reminds me so much of my own childhood. In my family there was an incestuous marriage, sexual abuse, narcissism, all kinds of addictions… and yet I had to pretend everything was perfect. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions either. And I was the “sick” one according to all of them, even if I, the child, had done nothing wrong.

          It’s as if my coworker’s behavior triggered those memories over and over again.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            EllyB, I wouldn’t measure my life against what my work colleagues report to be their happy, snappy life. Sometimes work chitter chatter can be like FB. Yup folks went here, they did that, they have kids, some are challenged, they carved pumkins, and decorated the X-mas tree too. It’s just hallway chitter chatter. Maybe I’m just too skeptical cos I stood by as an option while the exMM dealt with a bipolar 19 year old son who died while he carved pumkins and decorated the x-mas tree with his wife and family while texting his mistress (moi) and claiming to have the perfect family life while having great sex outside his marriage with me and probably having great sex with his wife too. Yeah, he is a user and it shows. Thus, I wouldn’t place much importance on what folks report around the water cooler. The grass is not always greener. I got a string of exMM’s who would report how wonderful their marriage is while texting me. Duh. No more. All MM’s need to go home and have sex with their wife…if they don’t want to…face it.

            • EllyB, Yoghurt, Runnergirl et al – work persona has jack all to do with what you should measure your life against. I worked in the media industry for 12 years before working for myself – what you ‘see’ isn’t always what is. It’s work not a direct reflection of their personal lives. People present what they think they’d like you to see. You might spend 60 hours a week in the office – for some people looking like their shit doesn’t stink may be preferable to admitting that things are fucked up at home.

              EllyB, there is such a thing as oversharing. You don’t need to tell work colleagues great detail about your childhood or family circumstance. Aside from the fact that it’s none of their effing business, there are people who have no parents due to bereavement, being fostered and all sorts of reasons. Why make it into a them vs me? Fact is, at least half of these people have got more complicated backgrounds and families than they’d admit.

              Yogurt, everyone is ‘different’ at work. You can maintain the same values across the board, but you may have specific work values that are added in when you cross the office threshold. It’s not false unless you have a complete departure from values. There are also thing that don’t have to be a part of work. There are also things that you need to rein in, in order for you to be more successful.

              My directness, honesty, and desire to ‘help’ are great in certain contexts, but it’s got to be done with respect, I don’t have to say everything,and actually I need boundaries too so that I don’t get taken advantage of. I’m more of a task master and hard ass in an office environment than I would be at home – it’s *work*.

              Often in work environments, if you don’t assert yourself and learn how to get the most out of your character and work ethic, you’ll be looked over. Some of the most successful and liked people I know from work environments, are very shy and even introverted in a non work setting.

              • EllyB says:

                @NML: The problem isn’t oversharing from my part. It’s just that during almost every (daily) lunch, the only topic of conversation is “our perfect families” and “how perfectly we are fulfilling all our duties towards our families”, and I can’t contribute anything. I just sit there and keep my mouth shut, which is odd, because with other people (including business contacts outside the company), I’m usually rather talkative and enjoying myself. But with those other people I can talk about work.

                With my coworkers, however, the worst case is when they suddenly notice me, ask “And, Elly, when are you going to see your parents for X-mas”, and I say “Um, I’m not going to see them…”. Then they remember I’m NC with my parents, and the shocked look appears in their faces, and silence.

                I often wonder whether they see me as threatening, because unlike them, I don’t claim all families (especially all parents) were perfect. I encountered the same kind of lies as a child. Maybe it’s because of the socio-demographic background (conservative, educated upper middle class – same for most of my coworkers).

                In those circles, everybody pretends there is no such thing as child abuse, no such thing as cheating, no such thing as addictions to alcohol or pills – never. If a child blames the parents, something must be very wrong with the child.I had to fight my way through all this denial before I was able to face my childhood trauma. My coworker’s behavior brings up those memories over and over again. Whenever I’m with them, I’m again the little girl who hears all those stories about her own “perfect family”, wondering why she feels so much pain and anxiety despite all this perfection.

                Well, truth told, I don’t need to have lunch with them. A few other colleagues regularly opt out as well… and oddly enough, some of them seem to be the healthiest coworkers I have. Open-minded, friendly, with seemingly good marriages (about which they don’t brag), and still, they don’t want to participate in those lunches. They go out on their own or simply get something from the take-away. In the past, I was wary of them, because they were “stepping out of line”, “not willing to socialize”, but recently I started acting the same way, and the sky didn’t come crashing down so far.

                I think that’s part of the problem. I never HAD to have lunch with them, but in a somewhat masochistic way, I forced myself to do it everyday, despite the pain. Having lunch with the crowd doesn’t even seem to affect our careers (showing up to business meetings and communicating with the bosses is way more important). It’s as if by having lunch with my coworkers, I tried to repeat parts of my childhood trauma (struggling with other people’s denial), always hoping for a different outcome.

                • EllyB, I have to disagree with some aspects of your comment although in the interest of staying on topic, I’ll keep it brief:

                  It could be a cultural thing, but in spite of working in gossipy industries, often with people in families, I’ve never had to share that level of detail about my background, nor have I heard it. It could be living in both England and Ireland but that level of conversation is inappropriate in a professional environment. Just like when I’ve been asked by colleagues why I was single or whether I got laid at the weekend – I wouldn’t answer. Just like you don’t harangue someone about why they haven’t had kids – I’ve worked with people who are infertile, have just had a miscarriage, or lost a child days after it was born. None of this information *has* to be disclosed and anyone with a modicum of decency doesn’t demand this info from people nor intimidate them into giving it.

                  You didn’t have to tell them that you were NC with your parents.

                  Christmas is once a year.

                  Cheating, abuse and everything else does exist – the fact that they either aren’t or haven’t experienced or don’t want to validate your previous experiences, doesn’t invalidate your experiences. They’re one group of people – not the universe. It is not your job to make them see abuse.

                  My mother was abandoned as a baby, experienced various abuse and she doesn’t talk about this with her colleagues, whatever their class or education. She also doesn’t speak to her parents or siblings, all who are still alive. They don’t know this either.

                  One word: boundaries.

                  Back to the actual topic at hand, unless you know people both at work and in their personal life, who you meet is their work representative and if you have sex with them, it doesn’t mean they’ll give you a relationship or that they should.

                  • EllyB says:

                    Sorry, but all this seems to hit a nerve with me. I never saw it that way. Sharing those details not necessary? With my company, it always seemed “crucial” to present a (heterosexual) spouse, two kids and being on good terms with one’s parents. If you couldn’t present all this, you were nothing – or so it felt. It’s the one thing everybody seems eager to know about everybody else: Is he/she properly married? Is the spouse “acceptable” (status, social background…)? Whenever I showed up to a company party without a partner, they treated me almost as if I wasn’t there. Well, maybe that wasn’t my fault, but theirs???

                    It seems to be part of the “company culture” to put a lot of emphasis on family. Oh well, maybe that last phrase is an euphemism for something worse?

                    Unfortunately, I overshared in the past, particularly before I cut contact with my parents 5 years ago. I didn’t mention abuse, but often talked about my “difficulties” with my mother. Back then I had no clue how wrong that was (how could I, with my distorted world view due to all that brainwashing by my narcissistic mother?). I never heard about boundaries I guess… I even somehow hoped they could tell me what I was doing wrong with my parents, because they seemed to have those “perfect” families themselves (how wrong I was). Back then, I was still totally stuck in my childhood patterns, and that did me in I guess. I simply didn’t know any better.

                    I shared less and less personal information later, but of course, some of them still remember what happened back then. I feel very self-conscious about this. I still feel completely like a “failure” whenever facing them. I need to do something about this (change my own behavior, my own attitude I guess), but it seems very tough at the moment. Maybe I even have to look for another job, but I love my work there.

                    • Mymble says:

                      I don’t know if this helps but anyway….before I started my family I lost 2 pregnancies, the second was some way along. I was distraught and terrified I would never be able to have children. I couldn’t bear being around pregnant women, new mothers etc. There were some of these at my work, and sometimes on occasion tactless and insensitive things were said and people were thoughtless. I used to feel furiously angry at times. However, I do realise now that most people really are only thinking of themselves, it wasn’t done from malice at all. Its true, everyone likes to present a wholesome, attractive exterior but you already know it is a little bit of a charade – as all our “public selves” are, so don’t imagine it’s done in order to diminish you. How could it? I was making
                      it all about me, when it wasn’t. It’s maybe not a bad idea to back off a little – cut down the number of lunches to 1 a week, go for a walk or read a book at lunchtime. Don’t cut them
                      out altogether.
                      Perhaps I was also blaming them for my own unhappiness, and directing some of my anger onto them.

                    • EllyB says:

                      Mymble – thanks! I also believe… well, it’s a very competitive environment, and they use whatever stick they can to beat you with. I think it’s very hard to find any fault with my work and my work ethics, but I’m clearly vulnerable on the “family” side. Or at least I used to be when I joined the company in my late twenties. I think Natalie is right when she says there should be boundaries. For my colleagues, prodding others about their personal lives seems totally normal. But it shouldn’t be!

                      Our company parties, for example, are totally geared towards families. Everyone is expected to present their spouses and kids there. If you show up without (very few coworkers dare to), it’s really really awkward.

                      I can’t change that. I could only stay away, or show up and (that’s a tough one!) smile hard, walk from group to group, ask everyone some polite questions about their kids and act as if being single wasn’t an issue for me at all.

                      It being a company with a seemingly psychopathic CEO certainly doesn’t help. He has some weird ideas, and almost everyone seems to swallow them (out of fear?).

                      A few years ago, I got promoted to a position in a faraway country. Problem was, the setting there was completely geared towards a married guy. Doing my work properly was impossible due to the very isolated geographic setting (home office). I had to fake most of my results because it was almost impossible to get in touch with the important people in the country. All my predecessors (all guys) happily faked their results. After all, it was such a nice couple’s/family retreat!

                      For me, it was horrible, though, almost traumatic, because I was so isolated and frustrated with my work. I urged them to change the setting. They refused. In the end, I threw in the towel, was allowed to return, but got reduced in rank as a “punishment”. I’ve now been told that our CEO is very angry at me for opting out. Oh well.

                  • EllyB says:

                    @NML: Thanks again for the feedback! At the end of the day, I think I don’t even need to decide whether my coworkers’ behavior is benign, or whether they are hiding some unhealthy stuff. Ultimately, for me it doesn’t matter.

                    What matters for me is that any mentioning of “family values”, any bragging about “strong sense of family duty” rendered me powerless in the past. I’m usually rather fearless, even when interacting with high status people. That is, unless family comes up as a topic…

                    I think it’s simply a very strong trigger. Momster went on and on about her “family values”, but many people in here who are familiar with my story know the truth (or parts of it). Even worse, she did it in front of other people, hiding her abuse behind lies about her motherly perfection while claiming I was a mentally disturbed and evil child. And then I saw all those powerful adults swallow it hook, line and sinker. Those were maybe the most painful moments of my childhood. It became crystal clear there was no way out for me. Nobody would ever believe my version of the story! This is a horrible experience when you’re small and powerless. It’s aptly described in Alice Miller’s book “For Your Own Good”. It’s really soul murder.

                    Anyway, my coworkers aren’t trying to murder my soul, and I’m not powerless anymore. Whenever they start prodding about my personal life, I can simply start asking questions about their kids (“How old are they?” “Which school?” and so on). They have no right to judge me for my personal life. I can act accordingly. Subtle self-defense is not forbidden. And even more important, I can learn to keep my triggers in check, provided that I understand where they come from.

                • ixnay says:


                  Your experience at work seems weird to me. It’s got to be a certain company culture, paired with your hypersensitivity to “happy family” talk.

                  Just for contrast, at my work there is very little sharing about family life or holiday plans. People who do choose to share are listened to, but in a neutral “oh, that sounds nice” way. I don’t share and have never (7 years there) been directly or ambiantly asked or pressured to share.

                  We don’t, however, have a going-out-to-lunch-together culture. People sometimes go in 2’s or 3’s, and generally talk about work.

                  There is one woman who is an oversharer, and can then try to expect the same in return. People shut her down, going “mmm,” “uh-huh” until she runs out of steam.

                  This could be a function of the degree of privacy people maintain in New York, where it’s crowded and you have to compartmentalize in a way to function.

                  It’s not like we’re business robots. I’m aware of 3 recent fathers, 2 pregnant women, one person going through a divorce, the woman next to me planning her wedding, the other woman next to me tried for years with IVF and has accepted she won’t have kids. But this info was not through big gab-fests or intense confidences, but rather picked up from little contextual comments.

                  Further, in terms of your own workplace, it simply cannot be and is not true that everyone is well-adjusted and high-functioning in their personal life with no skeletons in the closet. Every family I know has mental illness, addiction, health issues, complicated webs of step-siblings, marital issues, and vacations from hell. All of the happy people did not self-segregate to your workplace.

                  I would be seriously annoyed to work in an office where personal sharing was a major factor and expected of me. I’ll bet there’s a subset of your coworkers who feel the same and are discreet and do not participate. hang out with them instead.

      • FedUp says:

        EllyB- I can totally relate. My co workers are exactly the same. They’re always like “why aren’t you married with kids yet” like a broken record. But if you scratch the surface they’re not all that perfect. One married woman constantly hits on all the men at work. Yet at other times she brags about her perfect family.
        The other week she even slapped a young guy on the bum. Yet no one will do anything about her. Everyone just laughs about it. And she’s the supervisor’s friend, so she can get away with anything.

      • Anon says:

        EllyB- I write responses to you here and there, and the delete my posts, I’m still trying to get every thing in my head straight. I have a hard time writing compelling or emotional posts like some bloggers, I am somehow stilted, but want to help and encourage & give you eye opening/ life changing resources below. I’ve spent many hours devouring articles that name and describe our childhood trauma, and I hope to come out on the other side (happy) soon. Give yourself credit for noticing that your co-workers brag and accentuate the positive in their lives while needling you for uncomfortable information, they are sneaky- don’t expose insecurities & maybe protect your boundaries better in the future. Good for you for recognizing a toxic family and going No Contact so young- you are in a rare predicament that not many people can relate to- except the people on these blogs. Since you mentioned you grew up strict/religious- you might want to read “Narcissistic Predicaments- a biblical guide to navigating the schemes, snares and no-win situations unique to abusive families,’ by Renee Pittelli. It supports NC and gives many chapters about how to navigate life without your toxic family, which can seem overwhelming or lonely. Also, check out this blog post written by a mental health professional who talks about guilt and shame and what makes people vulnerable to attractive more exploiters in adulthood- after leaving their families of origin (foo). Also, why we are continually surprised at the people who want to prey on vulnerability (the ACs? co-workers?), & what to do about it….

  58. Namaste says:

    @ Magnolia-“getting sober from alcohol and drugs is a cakewalk compared to the sex issue. Its tentacles just run so deep—” (from the article you referred to)
    I read Patrick Carnes book “Don’t call it Love” and learned there just how tenacious those tentacles are. After reading it I can agree with Emma Lee that people who are sex addicts are not worse than other addicts, and when we can face our shadow side we will be able to empathize with people who are caught in the vortex.
    Having said that we also need to teach children how to be aware and stay safe in our society.

  59. Confused2 says:

    I’m having a really hard time and a dilemma. So ok I met my EU/AC on an online dating site. He came on pretty strong, giving me loads of attention (i wasnt even that interested in the beginning) but it was refreshing and flattering and within little time, I felt like i was in HS again. Needless to say I saw red flags but by then my eyes were so clouded and deep in that I needed to believe what i wanted to believe instead. We broke up a couple of times for real shady behaviours and excuses. I went back probably 3-4 times. This all lasted 9 months and came to an end last Friday when I got an email from someone asking me why I had sent flowers to him while they were on vacation in Hawaii. We agreed to speak as she was just as confused and looking for answers as I was. We find out that she had been with him for 2 years….had keys to his place and had closets and dressers full of clothes (of course i never once opened a draw or a door). We talked and put two and two together that the Jackass had been using and lieing to both of us. I could not believe the lies and betrayal that this man was capable of. I mean, I would literally stay at his place and he had the balls of letting me all the while knowing that uhm, his GF had keys to get in. The audacity of these monsters!
    Either way, after my conversation with this woman (who was very polite and nice and we had both been in the dark about each other) I called him. He turned things around on me, denying and further lieing about things. He literally had the balls to say: “with the bond that you and I have, you just f*cked up by not coming to me first and running with what someone else was telling you”. (IS HE SERIOUS???) these men are so delusional its scary. Needless to say I let him have it and hung up on him. He tried to call me back and when I answered he said: You know what, lets just leave it the way it is. I was so paralyzed with anger, anxiety, you name it that I couldnt say anything. So we hang up. I text him and I say…actually I did have something to say and since your not picking up your phone… can you call me. He responded with: Lets just leave this the way it is. This will be my last phone call and text to you… take care sweetie. I responded back and was like: WOW! like im the one who did something to you! I dont deserve this! To which he replied: You did nothing wrong…

    • sushi says:

      I do feel for you and I do remember that AC “style”of conversations; of him turning situations around so that you end up being on the defensive and so confused that you can`t even put two logical words together. . The mixture of being angry, disbelieving, confused…. Do you know, the only thing to do is; at the first sign/ instance of them producing any sort of BS, red flag, lie ect- must just get up and go. It never gets better, and there is no point in trying to make sense of it all. Always take your side and try to work out what your reality is and stick with it. Your ex is a terrible manipulator, liar and a cheat, there is no point in talking to him anymore, he will only understand silence from you, perhaps just listen to him and leave things as they are, as he suggests. He will most likely be back to try to mindf***k you some more. Don`t go there. Keep strong.

    • grace says:

      You need to deactivate your drama seeking missile. I’m surprised you’re surprised. You break up several times because he lies, then you’re in shock and awe that he’s got a girlfriend (which makes you the OW). What did you think he was being shady about? I get that you didn’t know before but you do now. You need to take a breath and process this information rather than leaping headfirst into the flames and fanning them.
      If I didn’t think it was futile I would tell you to NC him straightaway. But at least give yourself ten days to consider
      a) how he has treated you
      b) how it made you feel; and
      c) the fact that he has broken up with you
      Yes he’s a liar, a cheat, and a coward. I can validate that for you if you can’t believe the evidence before your eyes. You don’t need to hear it from him.
      Don’t get stuck in indignation, shock, drama, and “fighting for love” (how I hate that expression). You’re distracting yourself from the fact that he has hurt you and you made a mistake giving him five chances (or more). Take it from an expert (moi) that unless you get yourself in hand you could find yourself obsessing about this for a. very. long. time. Nine months is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let it be years.
      If, after ten days, you still want to make a nuisance of yourself, send him flowers, talk to his girlfriend, and tell him about himself (by text) – go ahead but at least do it in the full knowledge of who he is. Spare yourself the constant state of surprise. You are going to get exactly more of the same.

      • Confused2 says:

        Thanks Grace. I always appreciate your comments and advice.
        I am not confused about what i need to do now, now that I know the whole truth. In fact its a bit of a relief to know that all the crazy making was me not losing my mind but the tricks and MO of an EU/AC. Im also glad to know that nothing this man does or says has any real value or meaning. Him having been with someone for 2 years, giving her keys and making her believe that things were progressing all the while also telling me the same things and having me on the side confirmed for me what real issues and delusions that have nothing to do with me not to mention i was spared the agony and the time that this other woman wasn’t. Like you said, he is a liar a cheat and an emotionless, selfish A**hole. I am struggling with the betrayal, with him having “discarded me” when he said: This is my last text and call to you… (yes he is a coward) but how easily he gets to slip away with it all while not even realizing the harm he has left behind. I know this has to do with validation. I am in therapy to help myself get through this but I cant help to feel the urge to want to call him or text him and just tell him how much he hurt me. Yes i want my pain to be acknowledged and i feel I have no where to put it. Its hard for me to fathom people can be so cruel, so non caring and without a conscious. Its just so foreign to me and this break up so hard. I atleast deserved to be treated like a human being and not to be discarded like as if i never even existed. Was he a narcissist? A sociopath? If he said: You did nothing wrong….. than why did he try to turn things around instead of saying: you know what, I made a mistake, I was wrong…. im sorry and goodbye. I could of dealt with that a lot easier than: This is my last text/call to you… as if I was the one that needed to be punished! He in the end, (it feels) rejected me and i guess that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. The fact that its been 5 days and I still thought he may come through with something is yet another disappointment. AGain, Its a bitter pill to have to swallow to realize that perhaps someone never cared about you…. How do i process this?

        • Anon says:

          Yes, he is a sociopath, my ex was a cheater too and loved to ‘use and discard’ to – get this; see the look on their face and watch them go ballistic. Worked every time. Spaths like drama cuz they get bored easy, once they get sick of toying with people *usually women- looking for love- very easy targets* , their abuse (crimes) escallate. He would come back and apologize and cry and go to counseling, only to do it again, b/c they enjoy it. They have a thirst for cruelty- which is probably forgein to you unless you grew up with borderline or abusive parents who enjoyed harming you, then – you would be conditioned to it. Now you are just shocked. Don’t engage, if you go NC he will blow up your phone eventually. Don’t fall for it in the future either, or you’ll have an even nastier surprise, trust.

        • A says:


          I think his “this is my last call” comment was designed to turn the situation around on you again. Rather than have *you* break up with *him*, he wants to act as though he’s the one who has decided to end it. It’s the move of an insecure, pathetic person. Don’t feed into his ego by texting or calling to tell him anything. Show him that you’re done with him and his bs by going NC, and don’t answer him when/if he he tries to contact you.

        • Kathie says:

          Confused2… I really have no clue how these men can look at themselves in the mirror and think wow, I am such a great guy.. Really …I think he is a narcissist.. I think my EUM had alot of narcissist characteristics …I saw things that seemed a little weird but I had no clue what a narcissist was …Then the break-up happaned because he got caught cheating. I then started searching for answers. I went NC immediatly. Changed my phone# ect…But the pain & heartache continued and I just wanted answers. We were together 9yrs and are both in our early 50 ies… He just kept saying over and over and over its not you, I am messed up.. Well, yea, they all say that right… IDK.. I have just come to realize I will never know some answers. I cant get in his head & I really need to focus my energies on something worthwhile like ME… Yea, I still have those sad times.. Times where I stare into space and wonder if he ever felt guilty at all… I doubt it.. He is too busy persuing his new supply, getting his ego stroked and probally something else too :).. But I dont want a cheater & liar in my life.. I deserve so much more..
          I will always wonder as u do why just one time he couldnt just say “I AM SORRY . I KNOW HOW MUCH I HURT YOU”… would it really make a difference , probally not, but I know those words will never come out of his mouth…

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          “Its just so foreign to me and this break up so hard. I atleast deserved to be treated like a human being and not to be discarded like as if i never even existed.”

          Me too, me too, me too. That’s why Nat’s post is so spot on even though it’s foreign territory for me. I would never treat a human being this way, thus nobody could treat me this way. Wrong. He treated me like a blow up toy. I treated him as though the sun shone at his arse. Therein lies the problem. I agree Confused, it’s the betrayal. Then I have to admit, in my case, I betrayed myself. I don’t know if it’s the same for you. These AC/EUM’s are just mind f**kers. I’m not on the dating circuit but the next guy that plays the tall, dark handsome, alpha male, charming mysterious card is going to get bounced, flushed, and a resounding thump up side his arrogant head. Those guys are a dime a dozen. And if they are married or attached, their wife or g/f will get their text to me forwarded to their wife or g/f. Stupid me for falling for their assclownery. No more. I’ll be forwarding every single attached male’s text or email to their wife or g/f. I would want to know if I were hooked up with one of these creeps.

          • grace says:

            I did hear the “I’m sorry I was such a crap boyfriend” from the playa. Then he went on to treat me even worse (which I didn’t think was possible).
            Stop waiting, expecting or dreaming that they will come back and tell you want you want to hear. It’s the fantasising that’s going to do you in. You can do that on your own in the comfort of your home. You don’t even have to leave the house while you imagine all the ways that he can fix it. I could do it in my FREAKIN SLEEP. This can go on for a very long time unless you knock it on the head quite early. It becomes a habit.
            He cant’t fix the problem. HE IS THE PROBLEM.
            There’s nothing wrong with any of you. You are all worthwhile people. If you could see that you wouldn’t be wating for a jackass to make you feel better.

        • Tea Cozy says:


          When dealing with the aftermath of a creepazoid like that guy, anger can be your ally. It helps burn away the shame, and energizes you to rally for your own well-being. I think as women, many of us are indoctrinated to be nicey-nice, not stir things up, be compliant and complacent. Users like your ex prey upon that.

          Here’s an article from another blog that might be of interest to you, or others who’ve dealt with guys with sociopathic traits. (I hesitate to use that label, because I think sometimes we get too caught up in armchair diagnosis of these creepy guys when instead our focus is better spent on our own role in the dynamic. So I use “sociopath” with some reservations. )


          There are some other articles on that site that speak to how these shady characters choose their targets, and how you can avoid running afoul of them.

          Time and no contact will give you clarity, Confused. Hang in there.

          • BeenThere says:

            TeaCozy… I believe Narcassist would better descibe his actions than sociopath when looking at the article. I mean in the ream of things there is just something not right in the way they deal with relationships … Be it one or the other.
            Narcassist think they are all that and more …
            They love the chase, cant get enough, then there gone…
            They are future fakers……
            Just my opinion…..

  60. TwinFlames says:

    So, I’m feeling really pissed at guys like Michael right now because all
    of my life I’ve been told by my family that your self-worth and value
    is based on what you do for a living, how much money you make, your social staus, your fame, how much power you have over others, and I believed them, and although I know that I was born worthy, and that my value is really based on the kind of person I’m within me,… what is in my heart, what is in my soul, some EUM/AC like Michael can still come around and trigger me into thinking that I’m not “good enough” and I’m not “worthy” simply because if I have self-esteem that is based on how I see myself in comparison to others, some guy like Michael can always come along and convince me that I don’t have enough education, I don’t have the right profession, and because my family background doesn’t measure up, I don’t measure up, not pretty enough, not thin enough, competitive self-esteem fluctuates and when it swings low for me that is when I am most vulnerable to guys like Michael who spew their bullshit, and mind fuck me into thinking that I deserve to be used and treated as they wish because I don’t deserve to be treated better, and in my confusion of my own mind, I am the true enemy because I already believe it, and he is really only my reflection, but that doesn’t justify these bastards treating women the way they do, and Michael you are most certainly 50 percent responsible for what you do between a “woman’s legs,” and ladies if we feel good about ourselves and take care of ourselves and our needs, we won’t find guys like Michael in our mirror in the first place. I haven’t figured my all of this enlightened shit out yet, but I’m looking out for myself now, just sayin’ . Thanks Natalie and Ladies

  61. Kimberly says:

    This is such great and understanding advice. SO many simply preach and don’t take the time to really analyze what someone in these types of situations might actually be thinking and feeling, as well as subconsciously acting upon. It’s not easy to give up on the dream of being with someone even when your common sense is clearly waving red flags in your face.

  62. SM says:

    I always know when I’m being used for sex. What I dont know is when I’m being used for a shoulder to cry on, a cure for loneliness, a ‘beard’ as someone put in an earlier post, an ego stroke or a therapist. Even though I dont like being used for sex and havent been in a very long time, at least I’m getting some pleasure from that ‘type’ of using as opposed to some of the others I mentioned.

  63. Still Standing says:

    Great post for me, from a different perspective.

    At this point in my life I only want casual flings/relationships. By that I mean an ongoing, no-strings bit of companionship with a nice man, that revolves predominantly around sex. I am clear about that with my prospective partners, and I will stop things if I see them forming too much of an attachment to me, as that’s not what I want. To do anything other than that is not decent. On the flipside, I’m clear about what I want from the get go, and find it quite frustrating when some men try to push it into something more. I told them what I wanted. If they felt they wanted more then they should have pulled AWAY from me, not try to wrangle something from me that I don’t want to partake in.

    We must all take responsibility for our own hearts.

    I have had quite a few people talk about me being ‘used for sex’. No. You cannot be used for what you willingly, conciously give away. You cannot say you are being used if you voluntarily keep going back.

    It’s OKAY to have casual flings. They aren’t illegal. Thesedays, they aren’t even imoral. We are exposed to the concept through a variety of media. But if they aren’t what you want you should make that clear.

    A decent person will not continue to have sex with someone they can see is emotionally invested. But we all KNOW there are PLENTY of people out there who aren’t decent. So cover your arse (and heart) by stating what you want – relationship, marriage, kids etc.

    It could be argued that a person who continues to hide their desires for a serious relationship is using the other person for emotional interaction, in the same way that other person is being accused of using for sex.

    I do want to voice a small protest at the scentence ‘If you’re the type of person that values your sexual interactions’. I place a very high value on my sexual interactions, which is one reason I seek out casual ‘relationships’. Likewise, I think that people who place a high value on serious relationships that go somewhere should be seeking that from LIKE-MINDED people.

    Relationships and sex are not mutually exclusive. Be clear which team you play for!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I’m going to disagree and say that the only really surefire way to not have a relationship is not to have one – casual or otherwise. There are sex venues, sex sites and one night stands.

      Even with one night stands, you would be surprised at how many will put dinner/breakfast/buy coffee for you, take your number and want to be ‘your friend’.

      I’m not celibate, but I am sick of assanovas and so when I have a one nighter, not only do I have a DTR to make it clear that its a one night thing but I also go NC with them immediately after. Once and once only.

      Like NML has stated in previous posts, there is no need to mock up a pseudo-relationship to get laid. Once and once only, then commit to being gone.

    • j d says:

      If you can do this, and find someone who can also do it, then no harm done. For most people, though, sex and emotion are tied together; that is probably why some men who start out as sex partners develop feelings for you. You seem frustrated by this fact but you are fighting evolution; sex naturally has an emotional component. But when you do find someone who can just do the act, is it enough? Don’t you feel something is lacking? I am not judging, it’s just very rare to find a woman with this view and I am curious.

      I am not a man who can have sex without emotion. To me it feels like masturbation; you get physical relief, but nothing else. I imagine it to be like a colorblind person viewing art, incomplete.

      • Still Standing says:

        I’ve been told many times that I think very differently to most women.
        I don’t have one-night stands anymore as they aren’t satisfying. I do have a connection with my partners, just at a less intense level than I do when in a relationship. I think it is my nature to be EU, but that changes if I am in a relationship…I am fully available then, and will always put both feet in and do the hard yards. I just don’t go searching for that.

        I disagree that I am setting up a mock relationship. There’s no courting going on, no fancy dinners, no planning futures. But there is plenty of talking when we meet, plenty of emotional warmth, and some light texts or emails in between.Connection, but not a serious committment. It certainly isn’t sterile, or feels like masturbation. They are not close friends and I would not turn to them in a crisis. But I still have care towards them, and treat them with care and respect. Mates with benefits, I guess. Low-key but still decent and kind.

        Is it enough? Yes, at this point in my life it is enough.

        I do not get frustrated if a man becomes more attached to me. As said, sex and emotion are naturally tied together. I am compassionate and gentle towards that. What frustrates me is when they PERSIST. As NML says, if someone is telling you who they are then don’t ignore it and pretend that you are the exception and things will change!

        Men aren’t bastards for wanting casual sex. Neither am I. I think it’s unfair to label someone a user for just wanting casual sex. I don’t chase or manipulate my partners, they are there of their own free will. I can’t use what they don’t give.

        I just don’t think there is a Standard Life Rule that says all sexual interaction must have depth and be moving towards a serious committment, and that if the other person doesn’t have the same set of rules then they are users or assclowns. If you willingly go to bed with someone you are not a victim!

        • I hear you Still Standing and you’ve got to do what works for you and I was right there with you until I got to…“I can’t use what they don’t give.”

          This is the get out clause of every unavailable and shady assclown out there. I’m not saying that *you’re* an assclown but what you have to recognise in all of this, is that some, in fact many people do give for the wrong reasons. They have low or even no self-esteem and unhealthy beliefs and habits. Now I’m not absolving them of their own responsibility, but the fact is, the driver in casual relationships will ‘take’ and ‘use’ under dubious pretexts using the reasoning of “I can’t use what they don’t give.”

          From the moment that you know that someone is into you and wants more, it is no longer a mutual casual agreement, and you as the person who is the driver, should step away. It’s the decent thing to do instead of taking what they’re ‘giving’ to you. It’s integrity, care, respect, and not abuse of any basic trust that’s been given.

          Someone whose feelings have been clouded by what may have started out to be a mutual agreement, which incidentally, they may have agreed to not knowing their emotional limits and personal boundaries or even what the real deal was, is not necessarily going to have the presence of mind to step away and will perceive the fact that you still continue, as a sign that they have a chance and that you feel more.

          I don’t think that all sexual interaction must have depth. Sometimes it’s just sex.

          But I don’t do this whole bullshit of ‘willingly’. There are enough people out there who have gone ‘willingly’ when it’s not willingly at all. I’m not suggesting that people are victim’s, but it’s about time ‘driver’ people started to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

          There are people who ‘willingly’ hand over their money to door-to-door sales people – they are often vulnerable, hoodwinked, hard sold, and subtly coerced.

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            I’m not saying that *you’re* an assclown but what you have to recognise in all of this, is that some, in fact many people do give for the wrong reasons. They have low or even no self-esteem and unhealthy beliefs and habits.

            Wow, this was totally me, I was so naive and with unhealthy beliefs and I would sign up to almost any offer that was going at the time.

          • Sugar and Spice says:

            Amen to that Natalie! Thank you so much for this post. That is it in a nut shell, and you said it so well.

            People can rationalize and/or minimize just about anything, but the truth is always there. It’s funny because people always think that just because they “say it is so” it is “so,” as if his or her actions have no consequences.

            Uh…, “Sir Isaac Newton first presented his three laws of motion in the “Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis” in 1686. His third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if object A exerts a force on object B, then object B also exerts an equal and opposite force on object A.”

        • grace says:

          Wow, so this is what we’ve been dealing with.
          Thanks for the insight though. And you’re not even one of the bad ‘uns. Heaven only knows what some of these men must be thinking.
          To the crowd:just cos someone is nice to you, chats to you and says they care about you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they actually do. They could just be using what you’re giving. AND THEY KNOW IT
          Hmm, I’m actually feeling a bit scared and I’ve been doing so well!
          Well, tomorrow is another day.

          • Still Standing says:

            ‘Wow, so this is what we’ve been dealing with.’ I’m not sure how to take that. It feels like an insult to my character.

            NML I agree with you 100%. It is NOT cool to continue to have sex with someone that you know has begun to form more of an attachment. If I sense that’s happening I ask. If I get a denial but over a short amount of time I don’t see actions matching that denial, I stop things. I hate cruelty, in any form.

            Yes, some people do give for all the wrong reasons. I try to avoid spending a lot amount of time with them beacuse I don’t want to see them, or myself, hurt. This is in ALL situations, not just sexually. That is where MY boundaries, my standards of decency and personal integrity kick in. I try to engage with people who have healthy levels of self-esteem and their own boundaries, which I respect. But often people don’t know themselves.

            It is difficult to know what to do with people who appear to be giving willingly, but actually aren’t. Sometimes it takes a bit of watching amber flags and some questioning before you can make a definite call that they’re starting to care more, especially if they are denying their attachment. But it is in that period between starting to wonder if they are investing more, and actually deciding that they are and you must step back, that the other person can get hurt.

            Absolutely the driver must take responsibility and care, but sometimes you aren’t sure when it’s gone from co-driver to passenger.

            I only know how to minimise this by being honest with what I’m offerring and watchful of, and opting out of driver/passenger situations. I’m by NO means perfect or have all the answers, so am interested in peoples thoughts about that. But I’m not a villain for preferring casual ‘relationships’.

            • Sugar and Spice says:

              Translation: (In my opinion)

              I am an EUW, and I tried having one night stands, but “I don’t have one-night stands anymore as they aren’t satisfying.” So, I create connections with my partners, I am not courting you; I am creating a connection with you, but not a serious commitment, and I see you as a “Mate with benefits.”

              At this point in my life this is what I WANT, so I NEED YOU to become more attached to me because, as I said, I have discovered that sex and emotion produce better sex for ME because I think that they are naturally tied together, so I NEED your EMOTION, so I will show you compassion and be gentle, so I can get that GOOD SEX.

              But, I get frustrated when you PERSIST: I told you who I am; don’t ignore it, and pretend that you are the exception to my rule, “and things will change!”

              I think it’s unfair to label me a user for just wanting good casual sex. I will USE what you GIVE, so with that said, I will not be held accountable for my actions, your actions are on YOU, so don’t cry ” victim!”

              Sure, I know you have self-esteem issues, and you may not be really be a “willing” participant in my pursuit for “good sex,” but the fact that you don’t know yourself is NOT my problem. I just wish I could find a way to USE YOU without having to suffer all these annoying consequences of my actions, and I don’t have the answer.

              Does anybody know how I can USE these men without suffering the consequences? I’m not a villain ladies, come on help me out here; I’m stuck. I just want to go out and be able to get my swwirlllll on!

              Come on, I know some of you ladies here are really hurting right now, but come on, can’t you take some time and help me out? After all, some of you know what it is like to have self-esteem issues, so can you help me figure out how to manage down these mens’ expectations, so I can get the good sex? Can’t you help a sista out?

              • grace says:

                Oh my, that’s funny.
                I think it’s very difficult to align two people’s needs/desires/expectations in in a “relationship” when they aren’t both completely in it. There’s going to be a mismatch – if not with this person, the next person. If not today, tomorrow. I’ve been on both sides of this – not using men for sex (they wish ha ha!) but I’ve used them for friendship and admiration. And, while I did the “decent” thing and got out – they’re still hurt aren’t they? Cutting someone off for getting attached is not a lovely solution in my opinion. You can’t just wash your hands of people (well you can if you want) and expect them to be fine about it. There are consequences. They just aren’t consequences FOR US.
                Ultimately, the “users” in these situations are allowed to do what suits them. They’re not breaking any laws. But I think we kid ourselves to say no-one gets hurt and it’s all honourable and above board as if we’re selling washing machines. We’re not robots and emotions aren’t easily controlled or predictable. Which is why the EU fear them so much. They can’t deal with their own emotions and they sure as hell can’t deal with someone else’s , especially when that someone else is not “playing nice”. It’s basically on their terms – or get out. Preferably quickly and quietly.
                But there are worse things than being cut off for getting attached – and that’s being cut off AND THEN CHASED by the same FREAK. That’s when it starts to become villainous/AC which I don’t think is happening here.
                The one-night stand and move along may be the “safest” option but I’m sure many wouldn’t want to be used that way either. And I personally would be worried about sexing a stranger.
                I’ve been celibate for over five years, mind. To me, it’s not that big a deal to – just not have sex. I’m glad I don’t have to go out there looking for sex and be constantly managing down expectations – my own or other people’s. I think I’ll just watch my fish.

                • Still Standing says:

                  Ladies, you missed the part where I stated my own boundaries means I seek out people with high self esteem. I don’t need to prey on the vulnerable.

                  None have you have asked why some of these men get attached, or even where I meet them. You have all projected your own pain upon these men.

                  The bulk of them who claim to ‘fall for me’ barely know me. What they are doing is one of a few things: some are chasers/players/assclowns, who in the absence of having to chase sex, decide to chase my heart, and say all sorts of future faking stuff to me. I learned that the hard way.
                  Some are fueled by their own needs for validation that they are able to get what wasn’t on offer.
                  Some are addicted to relationship crack, and the more they don’t get what they want, the more they get blinded by it and pursue it to incredible lengths. Then they go cold.

                  I don’t need a sista to help me out. I offered a different perspective to ‘typical men just want sex’. It’s not just men. And it’s not sex that’s the problem; it’s what each individual infers to sex. But you can personalise my posts and slap me down in the name of sistahood if that validates you. It seems quite a disproportional response to me. Of the thousands of readers do you seriously think there may not be another woman out there like me who thinks like me, and may get some value from my perspective?

                  I seek casual things for a few reasons: A bit of kind human touch and company. I am disabled with major health problems, and want to balance out the bulk of touch that I get in the medical system, which is sterile, painful and degrading. To have a man touch me as a woman, rather than disjointed, damaged and diseased limbs and organs is incredible healing for me.

                  An ego stroke. Yes! Of course! Why would I not? Why would I want to spend time with someone who can’t find a few nice things to say about me for the time we are together?

                  I also get to practice some important things I learned here. After sex I have learned to ask whether I really am attached, or if it’s just oxytocin clouding my thoughts. Because I haven’t heavily invested emotionally I have learned how much oxytocin hijacks my thoughts for a day or two.
                  If they turn out to be an assclown I notice my own validation needs getting triggered, but because I haven’t invested heavily I can ignore my own nature to ignore their behaviour and desperately chase that validation, and instead say to myself I’ve given them chances to be nice, so now I should flush, and remember my boundaries and self esteem.

                  I walk my own path. You can declare it wrong in the name of ‘sistahood’ if that single-minded thinking and inability to consider other views makes you feel more ‘right’ and worthwhile.

                • Sugar and Spice says:

                  I like how you think Grace.
                  :) :)

              • Crystal says:

                Wow, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that. Wow, you’ve just made a completely sound description of the entire process in such a comical way that its good enough to be used in a stand up.

                Certainly got my heart and mind standing up. Flip me sideways and make me laugh the tears away!

                Brilliant Sugar and definitely Spice xxx

  64. runnergirlno1 says:

    Hey Natalie, I can usually keep up with your articles and the comments. Apparently, this article hit a sore spot with many folks as evidenced by the numerous comments in such a short period of time. I’ve been so struggling with how guys can seemingly just exchange bodily fluids, do the cuddling thingy and then move on. I’m still resisting the realization. As you know, I’m 52 and still struggling with how a guy can simply f**k and use a woman. I guess they can plain and simple. Since I teach anthro, I know not to generalize from non-human primate behavior to human primate behavior but, sheesh. Are these guys apes?
    BTW, I managed to find my way to work this morning and I had to lecture on the difference between apes and humans. I managed to uphold the academic difference. I’m not totally convinced there is a difference. But I upheld the academic difference.

    • Tea Cozy says:


      Up until the ripe age of 42, my dealings with romantic partners had been universally positive. My first encounter, at midlife, with an assclown left my worldview in tatters. My thinking in the aftermath went something like this:

      “How on earth can a guy be so heartless? How DARE he act in that fashion? He SHOULD have treated me carefully! I simply REFUSE to accept that this happened to ME! Oh, this is HORRIBLE and completely UNACCEPTABLE!” And so on.

      In short: I had a rather naive view of the world and human behavior, and I was shocked and appalled that Reality with a capital R didn’t match up to my idealized notions of how things “should” be. I resisted accepting Reality as-is, warts and all, and resisting adjusting my worldview to accommodate it.

      This cognitive dissonance escalated to the point where I made myself extremely distressed. I was obsessed with getting into the mind of this Bad Guy. Ultimately, I had a nervous breakdown, eventually got into therapy, and slowly rebuilt my view of How Things Are to be more reality-based, and less wishful-thinking based. It was painful, but ultimately, freeing.

      What set me free was the realization that this prick of a guy was simply acting in a way that got him what he wanted, according to an internal logic that, while foreign and offensive to me, was just. the. way. he. was. Full stop.

      Once I had the realization that everyone has an internal logic that makes perfect sense to them, including a-holes (male or female), AND that they behave accordingly, the perceived insult became much less. I was able to shrug the guy off as being a prick, and not take it so personally.

      I don’t know if any of that resonates at all, or jogs some fresh thinking, but I do feel for your sense of anger and disappointment. Stay strong!

      • Confused2 says:

        Tea Cozy (and everyone else) first, thanks so much for all the feedback yesterday. I desperately needed the support! During my lunch break at work i wailed in my car and cried so hard i didnt think I had that many tears in me. Wasn’t crying because i wanted the AC back…crying for the lost time, having not loved myself enough and crying for the reality that i now have to face…. the betrayal, the lies, but most of all for not following my gut. I know its hard with these types of men. We are reeled in too deep before we even realize that we have just met the devil. By then our psyche is so distorted we actually begin to side with him, justify his behaviour and as sick as it may sound…. even go as far as saying we fell in love with the devil. How dysfunctional am i to not be aware of the depths that i was capable of lowering myself to?
        Could it be that the reason we continue to wish and want them to contact us, or for us to reach out to them is because the reality of it all is just too much to have to bare? We resort to our fantasies again because its prettier there. It is la la land after all isnt it?- who wouldnt prefer that over a nightmare. I know i for one feel (at times) that the pain is much harder than letting go that this person doesn’t care. At times I still even see myself willfully taking crumbs….anything other than feeling what im feeling now (im hanging in there and hope this subsides). That scares me because when is enough enough then? I think its about control for me too. I didn’t win, I feel like i want revenge (not in harming him physically) but turning into him and giving him a taste of his own medicine- see how he likes it. In my dreams (and in my lala land moments) we get to speaking again and he pines for me so badly, looking for me, wanting me and i simply reject and reject and reject him. I read somewhere that we like in them certain qualities that we wish we possessed. Perhaps because as FB girls we are too nice, too kind, too giving etc… and we see in them the complete opposite and wish we had the ability to be somewhat as strong as they are (not saying as cruel or inhuman)
        TEA COZY: what you wrote absolutely resonates with me because i think i am still in shock and now in denial. I’m hoping to see what you see and be able to one day simply only feel indifference. I will check out the link you sent before…

        • grace says:

          it’s okay to cry. just don’t contact him. i keep banging on about that cos NC IS the foundation to healing. You can do all the right stuff but if the foundation is no good the whole lot could still fall down.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        My first encounter, at midlife, with an assclown left my worldview in tatters.

        The result of my encounter with the AC was the complete and total collapse of my internal belief system and identity. What was shocking and painful was the very sharp, very stark and obvious painful truth that nearly ALL of me beliefs were totally and completely wrong.

        In fact, I groaned when I read Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl because I think almost all of my beliefs (common interests, trying to play doormat etc) were all in there.

        There is an upshot – I finally got Practial Reality installed into my brain and now my beliefs have a nice predictive quality about them.

  65. Kim says:

    Last year I became involved with a guy who offered me practically everything in an attempt to sleep with me..a relationship, love you’s, meet the parents, move in..all within a a few weeks of dating, even less. I had a gut feeling that maybe he was bullshitting me as there was a lot of pressure..obviously if he really had of loved me he would have accepted no for an answer and been patient. I was so so so stupid!!! It was so obvious what he was doing. I eventually relented.

    “It can also allow them to be uninhibited because they feel like they can let their real sexual self hang out because they don’t care. They feel like they have no responsibilities and you’re just this sexual plaything, which can be pretty damn degrading”..

    I remember him asking me for a lot of different sexual things that personally I wouldn’t ask of someone I’d only been dating a few weeks..things like to film me, to engage in exhibitionism, to have sex in front of his friends. Without an ounce of shame! It really felt like he didn’t give a crap. And he didn’t. It’s upsetting. I was looking for ‘the One’ and he was looking for someone to meet his needs for a few weeks.

    He eventually went cold on me. Towards the end of our relationship he didn’t even want the sex. I know he was dissatisfied with it but I never really felt comfortable or secure enough to ‘let go’ or anything. My gut never really allowed me to.

    It’s hard to get rid of that sense of degradation. It’s still very upsetting and does affect the way I view myself and others. I’m not even sure if I could ‘let go’ with anyone now. I don’t know how these men do it.

  66. InLoveWithMarried-no more says:

    Men…very predictable…they do it since nobody wants to refuse possibility to have a good sex…since they know to make difference when is something done with emotions and when withoit it….that is called “using someone emotions” to get benefit….

    Basically, nobody will refuse sex, ( only those who are let for plane), but no decent person shall use anyone if can not return the same fellings…

  67. Miss Kitty says:

    Lia, Selfish users all right. I call them l’users (loveless users)

  68. Mymble says:

    This blog and most of the posts are so helpful, I recognise so much of his behaviour and my behaviour .. there really was nothing special about what happened, it’s the same thing, the same words over and over.
    Have just finished reading “A round heeled woman” by Jane Juska and the things that happened there, the ways she was hurt and humiliated, are the same old same old shite.

  69. Emily says:

    OMG. It’s like you’ve been right next to me through all my “relationships”. Ouch. Yikes! I love how you tell it like it is. You are awesome. It’s been 14 months since I went NC on my “epiphany” breakup/heartache. I’ve been in weekly counseling since then and have been reading so much. There is something the BR adds that I don’t find elsewhere, it’s the no-nonsense truth from someone who “gets” us women and the support of knowing there are so many women like me reading this that have felt these same things; have gone through the same experiences, and all looking for the light at the end of this tunnel. Natalie, you are such a bright light of hope, truth, and reality. Thanks.

  70. lioness says:

    ss I really don’t understand why you pursue casual relationships. What’s wrong? You seem to talk a good talk and seem to care deeply about not hurting others but I can’t see how this is compatible with having casual relationships!

    We are all human and the probability of you hurting someone with this behaviour is quite high!! Many people as Nat and others have said have self esteem issues and in others it can flucuate at different times in their lives. Maybe you need to analyze why you prefer casual relationships instead of one night stand. Maybe you secretly want the o possibility of emotional attachment from the other person.

    • Still Standing says:

      I don’t seek one night stands because I am disabled and disfigured. For my own self preservation I want a person to know how physically and visually challenging it is to be with me without having to say it, in person, again and again and have to harden myself to possible recoil and rejection to my FACE. My self esteem has been hammered and I just can’t expose myself to that right now. Rejection by not knowing I haven’t been picked in the first place is much easier. If they come back after the first time for a casual relationship, then I can start to relax and let go a little and not be so embarrassed and awkward, and start to feel that maybe my body is bearable.

      So, if you want to say I take the cowards way out by putting all that on an online profile of a site that is for people to meet for sex, instead of in person on a regular date, then I will accept that. I have had to be so damn brave that I’m ok with being a coward on some things at times in my life.

      I wish, more than anything, that my ex and I could fix our differences in some key values, because damn my heart aches for that man. But he doesn’t value working on things and I do. I don’t value pressing the Reset Button, and he does. We don’t have a match.

      Indeed, our self esteem does fluctuate through the course of our lives. I used to be so fearless.

      • Still Standing, I stand by what I said to you before which is that I heard you right up until the point where you said that you can’t take what someone doesn’t give.

        I think understandably due to the nature of the topic, you’re not going to have readers clap you on the back. That said, we all stand to learn a lot more when we judge the situation before we break our neck to judge ourselves and others.

        All you have proven is what I have always said – there is no such thing as a ‘casual relationship’, an oxymoron in itself I might add. Unless you’re devoid of empathy or a sex addict, which both have their own issues attached to them, there are very specific reasons why a person chooses to engage in casual relationships as a habit.

        It’s never *just* because they like sex – casual sex and relationships meet specific objectives that give you a perceived ‘payoff’, albeit one that may only be short-term and one that when you’re too busy trying to tick your own boxes and avoid the full spectrum of our feelings, you are bound to neglect the other person’s feelings. Things are always from the ‘driver’ perspective and it is assumed that you’re having a good time and meeting your own needs, hence what can go wrong?

        People are not victims when they not only participate in casual relationships but they try to upgrade them and fight the tide. That said, I’m not absolving them of the 100% responsibility to themselves, but lack of self-esteem and unhealthy relationship habits means that they’re vulnerable anyway and will engage in self-destructive behaviour. Disinterest, ambivalence, and ambiguity are a hook for them – it makes you suddenly interesting.

        I’ve come across many women who engage in casual sex and ‘relationships’ during my time, including people I know personally. You are not alone. That said, you’re acting like a meat lover wondering why you’re not being understood or patted on the back by a room full of vegan’s and vegetarians on a conference about their lifestyle.

        I understand and empathise with your reasons for doing what you do. You are in survival and protective mode – you’re trying to hold onto your power and dignity because like many people here, you have rejection avoidance issues, albeit tied to some very strong concerns re your disability. You’re also not over your ex – you’re unavailable. That alone is one of the biggest reasons why people do what you’re doing. But just be careful.

        It’s up to you to own your choices – you don’t need the validation of people here. Owning your choices also means owning the results and any subsequent consequences for others. You can never do this while only focusing on you and avoiding vulnerability, which also avoids responsibility.

        Take care.

        • Magnolia says:

          I’m coming way late to this thread – and just went back and read Still Standing’s first comments and all that follows. The discussion reminds me so much of conversations I’ve had with my friend. He’s all like, “they’re grown up women.” I’m like, “yeah, but how is it that you always pick the ones who don’t know their own boundaries, who will say yes to whatever you propose?”

          I appreciated Still Standing’s emphasis on her own boundaries being about choosing people who, as far as she can tell, have good boundaries and healthy self-esteem themselves, i.e. who are entering into the ‘deal’ as well-informed, experienced dealmakers. It would be another thing if she targetted inexperienced men, or men who are into her, and then strung them along.

          I appreciate hearing a woman lay out her experience of wanting and seeking ‘casual’ interactions and think I understand her suggesting that they’re not devoid of care or respect. I appreciated Natalie’s response, too.

          A good reminder that empowerment is about 1) getting clear about your values 2) getting clear about what you want 3) taking action to do and be what you want within those values.

          If ladies like Still Standing in fact do end things decisively when their sexual partner clearly wants more and is pressing for it / clearly is in over their head and has weak boundaries, then that seems to be within the bounds of integrity.

          What to do when a person is SAYING they don’t want more, and ACTING like they do? Still get out. Otherwise the user is indeed taking what’s being given from a source that doesn’t know what’s best for him/her. But both parties are equally responsible for being that situation.

          Thanks Still Standing for offering a perspective that generated so much helpful discussion.

          • Still Standing says:

            Thanks Magnolia

            I knew I’d possible upset the apple cart with my perspective…that’s not unusual. But I didn’t expect the backlash to be personal, as my post wasn’t aimed at anyone, it was just my perspective at this point in time. Natalies analogy about talking meat to vegans gave me insight.

            I agree with everything Natalie has said about me, though I am struggling with the concept that you cant take what someone doesnt give, as that feels like rape. But I’m open to the concept and am letting it marinate inside me till experience and maturity provides an a-ha! moment.

            It is possible to be decent even if you aren’t swept away by feelings for another. Care and respect for another human being has nothing to do with sex. Above and beyond my respect for them is my respect for ME. I constantly ask myeslf ‘if the shit hit the fan, and there’s an outpouring of emotion, or an unknown wife or girlfriend suddenly appears…can I stand there, take the heat and look everyone in the eye?’. If the answer is ever no, I end things. No sex, with any person, is worth losing my self respect. Ever.

            • TwinFlames says:

              I feel like you just missed an important
              wake up call. Your “perspective” is not unique, plenty of people engag in casual sex. You never know what is
              going on in someone elses head, hell, most of us don’t
              even know what is going on in our own heads. My two cents, you are taking a risk, and one day you may
              Have to deal with some ugly consequences, and you might think that you can just “end things,” but the consequences that you face may not be resolved, just because you decide to take your ball and go home, and I think that is one of the points Natalie, Sugar, Grace, etc were trying to make. But, yes, the choice is yours, and you don’t need anyone to validate you, but. You don’t sound good to me. You sound just as hurt and confused as the rest of us

  71. Allison says:

    What a great post! I am a constant reader of your posts, yet somehow can still not get it through my head that I deserve more than what I’ve been getting. I recently started my own blog http://separatingfrogsandprinces.wordpress.com/ where I will be highlighting my adventures as I search for love and hopefully reading what I wrote down will help me grow and look for more.


  72. Thank God for That says:

    The amount of things on here that ring true is unbelievable.

    I realised that I was the common denominator in my frankly catastrophic love life a few months ago…all thanks to the latest Mr. Unavailable. He told me I was the best sex ever….then stopped having sex with me. So of course I rationalised and told myself…well it can’t just be about sex then!! Haha. No, it wasn’t about sex, just attention and an ego-stroke, de-valuing me to give himself a boost.

    Although I have to say, I for some reason still have compassion for the guy. I hope he figures himself out at some point (with no help from me, I realise) because I know I have been pretty f***ed up before and probably had a horribly toxic effect on those around me, without realising because of being so self-absorbed and narcissistic. So I have to keep on reminding myself to have sympathy from a distance. I believe there’s good in everyone, but one belief I’ve really got to let go of is believing that I can be the one to get it out of them!! The amount of time I’ve heard “you can’t change anybody” and thought “of course you can’t – how ridiculous to think you could!” and yet I’ve believed it all along (and probably still do to an extent).

    What I am curious to know, is that some who have commented said they met their first AC in their 40s/50s, and before then their belief system didn’t bring any harm their way, and yet they still had to restructure it…how does that work?

    • jadednotfaded says:

      I would think that these women we’re married young and have recently divorced or perhaps the husband died; and now are single in a generation that is much different than the generation they we’re single in. Perhaps this sort of thing happened 30 to 50 yrs ago, but I imagine much has changed as the saturation of commitment phobic behavior reaches an apex. I don’t really know that it is reaching an apex, I left it in as a creative license. :)
      I found myself nodding in recognition throughout your entry. I am always absolutely floored that I find myself in an EU situation as I fully know I am one, and have always and only been attracted to them. I am a seemingly unwitting participant in my very own life. It is curious behavior. I don’t think I can change people, don’t set out to yet time and again I am surprised that men don’t change when I expect nothing of them and give them everything. It’s pretty sick. I am often amazed that I actually function with the amount of turned-around shit I have in my head and heart.
      Anywhoo, just chiming in…
      Peace to all.
      For those like myself, whom find themselves walking along the path of hollow madness, Word!

  73. Intotouch says:

    My last EUM made plans with me 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE, rang me all the time while I rarely rang him (the Rules are nonsense), spent loads of time with me and included me in his life and so I trusted that he wanted a relationship. I waited until strange behavior occurred before I asked the right questions. Never again. I thought I had seen good signs and that I meant something to him. In his own weird mind I may have. But he did not want a relationship, responsibility, commitment.

    Signs, words, actions. I don’t know which are the best to go by but now I check all three. I wish they came with a warning sign stamped on their foreheads. It feels like each new man comes with a new puzzle. How long will it take you to realize this one is a commitment phobe. I don’t trust words, any words, or actions unless they’re around moving in or marriage seem like useless guides as well.

  74. Helsbels says:

    I recently met an EUM and luckily came across this site a few weeks ago.
    I was married for 27 years, my marriage broke up 7yrs ago and I was definitely EU myself for a few years!
    It’s quite difficult to meet available men at my age (54) as most of them are divorced or separated with issues of their own and just out for a good time with no strings.
    I did lose my boundaries, that I know, but am now reading these articles and gaining the knowledge to protect and take care of myself.
    I can’t do casual, it’s not for me, I’ve tried it and it’s hurtful. I need some commitment and to feel secure and to know where I stand.
    I do crave love and affection and I do become attached to men. I wonder if it’s to do with my father passing away when I was 10yrs old. I don’t remember much about him and have often wondered if it has made me insecure.
    I have a busy life, have lots of friends and a varied social life, so i’m not sitting around pining…but sometimes I wish I had a partner to share my life with again…..

  75. Nat says:

    Human babies and mammals bond with their primary caretakers based on physical closeness. Likewise later in life, sex bonds people together.

    Attachment is a core human need. The main purpose it serves is to bond two people together so they can raise offspring, who then have a higher chance of survival.

    The main purpose of attachment is not to ensure the happiness of two individuals in a “relationship”. So you can and -will- bond with people who are not good for you, or you for them. Especially if there is sex and some degree of physical nurturance. It is highly likely that if you were to spend time with even a massive douchebag, you will become attached to them, especially if there is physical contact. Knowing that you will bond with people regardless of the quality of the bond, and that it will hurt to end a relationship whether it was healthy or not is freeing.We are built and born to attach, but we have to learn to distinguish between a healthy and not so healthy attachment. The ways out of this trap include- not having sex until there are foundations, and focussing how you feel with someone, rather the degree of attachment you have with them. Attachment is not a relationship! attachment is a normal human function that arrises from contact between individuals. Positive emotions, nourishing experiences and malevolent actions- they are the kinds of feelings and behaviours that define healthy relationships.

    Humans seek being in the company of the greatest source of nurturance. If you don’t care for yourself and nurture yourself, almost any source of external nurturance will look like it offers a lot, because it’s more than you offer yourself. If you don’t focus on nurturing yourself, you will be satisfied in feeling attached to people without needing that attachment to -feel good-.

    Attachment can exist without a relationship, some humans can experience a relationship without attachment, some humans only feel low levels of attachment and are so disconnected from their feelings they don’t care if it’s there or not, some humans don’t know the difference between attaching to someone and a good relationship. some humans want the attachment without the relationship, some humans are content living without quality relationships. Some humans want attachment and a relationship and wont settle for less.

    It is hard to distinguish where you and other people fit in this variation. The key is to know that we aren’t all seeking the same things and what you want is not what someone else wants. If there is any confusion about where someone fits, pause, take a step back, reclaim your projections and let them tell you, because they’ve been telling you all along.

    • Helsbels says:

      Thanks Nat for this post, it’s very interesting and makes a lot of sense to me. I can see immediately where I fit in and probably what mistakes I’ve made.
      The thing is, if the main purpose of attachment is to bond two people together to raise offspring, what happens later on in life if you have separated from the person you raised children with and don’t want or can no longer produce more children?
      Does that then change the dynamics again?
      Does that make it more difficult to meet an emotionally available person?
      It seems that there are a lot of people who have been divorced or come out of long term relationships and are so scarred by their experiences, they are not capable of forming healthy relationships at all now.
      What’s your take on this?

  76. Cat says:

    ROFL over “sexual organs are poor judges of character.” This is (hopefully) not news to most of your readers, but how succinctly put, I love it :)

  77. Bhoot says:

    Michael reminds me of a cousin of mine who is 31 years old and got into a semi-arranged engagement (still engaged after 2.5 years….LOL!) and his fiancee is a cute, well-educated, well-rounded girl with a good family and a good future (or so she appears on the surface). Heaven Forbid, he would never marry anything less!

    One time before he got engaged, we were having a conversation about different types of women. He flatly stated to me that there are only 2 kinds of women: good girls for marrying and bad girls for *ahem*! When I responded that there are all types of relationships, he shook his head again and reiterated his previous words like I was an idiot. Even though he is over 30, he is still very immature and emotionally behind.

    This is a guy who does well at work, is handsome, and everyone loves him but it’s all superficial! I kind of have to blame his culture and religion for influencing him so strongly regarding his view of women. However, this is only a partial reason and doesn’t take away from the fact that the guy is an emotionally dwarfed, self-centered, egotistical Mama’s boy who, at the end of the day, has a long way to go before he understands women. And the route he is taking still shows that he doesn’t understand them despite his proclamations of being happy and in love! :)

  78. Violet says:

    I feel so foolhardy for getting into something similar as well… I am an undergraduate in college and became pretty good friends with my graduate student mentor. In the beginning, I thought of him as a brotherly figure, and even confided in him when I was frustrated with the romantic part of my life – I’ve always been the one to confess to guys. I had just gotten out of a pretty bad first relationship and was subsequently rejected by a guy whom I liked, so I was emotionally lonely…
    I started hanging out more and more with my mentor, and we chatted more frequently over the internet – we began to have dinners together, and one night this whole sex thing began. I had prior knowledge that he was quite the player and has many women acquaintances but I was reckless. He would never talk to me about the progression of our “relationship” and I went along because I was in denial and I was trying to safeguard my heart the entire time… Of course, it didn’t work out like that. I fell in love/lust/whatever it is one can feel at my age. But at the same time I sensed his own insecurity, his reluctance to let go of any female relations (he’s not even 30, but the number of girls he has been with one way or another could probably make a book), and I grew increasingly unhappy. I began to reach out to my friends, and although I knew some aspects of his character was lovable to me, I could no longer agree to have sex or do couple-y things with him because that would be disrespectful to my values. When I finally worked up the courage and asked to talk to him, he LITERALLY ran away from me. Haha. I ended it coolly over an email to him, never admitting to my own feelings, just stating that I no longer wanted anything to do with him. Too bad I will have to see him almost every day for the next two years of my life. But it’s a valuable lesson learned and I’m going to concentrate on loving myself before entering into anything again. It makes me sad to think that he has just been going from one woman to another for the entirety of his young adult life and he probably doesn’t even know what truly makes him happy. My hope is that I won’t go down the same path. :)
    And the sex wasn’t even that good for someone who lives like Casanova…. -_-

  79. amanda says:

    It’s easy to get down on yourself on how hard it is to truly see that the ex- (or AC or EUM or MM or some combination thereof) is not truly present for you. I have spent so much emotional and mental energy making excuses for the MM’s absence in my life… his wife, his kids, his two jobs that he has to hold to make ends meet, etc. etc. He managed, in our time together, to remember some basic things, like sending me a text, unprompted, on my birthday. But, come on! A text? Why did that make me thousands of times happier than the wonderful birthday party my REAL friends threw for me that same day? The wonderful cakes and drinks… the hugs and conversations… the good wishes, the time they took to acknowledge me. All felt pale compared to that short little text. Again… its easy to lose perspective and get ecstatic on the crumbs that these men feed us.

    Well, today the opera that I have been preparing for, in which I have a lead role, finally opens. My mother has come to visit for the weekend to cheer me on. Over a dozen of friends are planning on attending. I’ve been preparing this role with love, hoping that I can give *them* the performance that they hope to experience. The MM? He hasn’t even acknowledged that I am doing this. We haven’t seen each other for three months, and are in limited contact. He knows enough to know that I am doing this. Nothing. Not a peep. The old me would have kept making excuses; he’s just moved across town, his internet isn’t back up, he’s working hard to patch things up with the wife, his kids have the flu…

    But when it comes to it, its all about the actions. Even if he did say something supportive about my opera, he still would not be able to come; can’t afford the tickets when there are so many mouths to feed at home, blah blah blah. He isn’t there in my life. He has said hundreds of times that he really wants to hear me sing, but in two years, he has assiduously ignored all offers I have made to get him into my performances with free tickets. My real friends are the ones supporting me (and the ones enjoying my art). It’s finally becoming clear. It feels really good.

    It doesn’t have to be about a Big Fat Opera. It could be about a birthday, or having to clean up a flooded basement, or getting a new job, or getting suddenly fired from an old one.

    I encourage all of you to look…


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.