If you invite me to your party this Friday and I decline the invitation, at what point have I made a value judgment about you? I explore the possible reasons why I may have declined in a new video Just Because They’re Not Interested, It Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Worthy to highlight how the reasons why someone does or doesn’t opt into something are about their reasons, not about confirming how you feel about you.

I listened to a guy fuming last year as he questioned what he’d done to “deserve” being turned down for a date. The thing is, he didn’t do anything and it’s not a question of rejection being for people who ‘deserve it’; she just didn’t want to go on a date. That’s it. She didn’t owe him a date because he asked and she wasn’t meting out some punishment on behalf of the universe.

If like him you’ve been plunged into a What’s Wrong With Me? / Why Wasn’t I Good Enough? Funk, it’s you doing a lot of the rejecting by taking it to the nth degree and interpreting their NO as a value judgment, when really, not only hasn’t it got a damn thing to do with your worth, but you know what I’m going to say next… they’re just not that special. I get it that you’re interested in them but who the hell is this person that they have the power to make value judgments about you? But they don’t have the power; you do.

If you take non-reciprocation to heart, it’s time to ask how much judging you are doing?

When you’re not interested, are you marking people’s cards and putting a black mark into the dating universe? Are you crunching all of the data that you hold (which may not even be very much) and judging him/her as “unworthy”? Unworthy of what? Your interest? Sure, but you’re one person in a planet of near 7 billion people – if you’re not interested, odds are that someone else will be interested… as long as that person doesn’t let their whole life go down the pan over your lack of interest and decide that your interest was far more valuable because you didn’t reciprocate because this has a knock-on effect with far reaching consequences because it means that perspective will be greatly affected, which means their choices will be affected.

When we don’t take ‘knock-backs’ very well, our vision can get a bit blurry. It becomes “This person has to be interested in me because I don’t take rejection well”, which isn’t a good basis for your interest, never mind theirs.

Are you attracted to people based on value judgments you’re making about them? If so, what are these based on? Why is this person so valuable and if you said the reasons out loud, would you either sound like a worshipper or like you’ve been smoking crack? If you don’t make these value judgments about others, why are you double standard-ing yourself?

In order to feel interested in someone, do you judge everyone else to ‘up their value’? Yeah… probably not. That would be a lot of judgment going on in your life.

If you’re judging you because your interest wasn’t reciprocated, why are you judging you so harshly?

Ultimately you’re not in their head so it’s you playing judge, juror and prosecutor, which are roles that you don’t have to play. If you’re making them more valuable in your mind and life because they’re not interested, that’s like saying “People who aren’t interested in me are more worthy” and that’s just setting you up for a trap of only being interested in people where you practically have to break your doormat covered back in order to be with them. Let me say it again: they’re just not that special.

And it’s not to devalue interest but it’s just interest and we do have a habit of overvaluing our interest in people and building sandcastles in the sky and then feeling let down by our hopes and expectations. It’s understandable to feel disappointed but if you’re excessively disappointed, you were setting you up for a fall by gambling too much of your self-esteem on the outcome. Check out the video here.

Your thoughts?

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194 Responses to Why does somebody not being interested HAVE to be about your worth?

  1. Valley Forge Lady says:

    I think people get their self esteem in a twist when they deal with people who run hot and cold. The key is to drop people who are inconsistent!

    My major nemisis had the balls to call me for Valentines Day. He is married and never really loved me when he was single. My guess he is calling me because he is never satisfied with any one he is with. He called me because I pushed him away the last time and threated to call the police. (This jerk dumped me 5 years ago!)

    I refuse to join the crowd of people who want what they can’t have. It is called being healthy!

  2. kiesh says:

    It’s amazing to me how much your posts speak to my heart. I’m so happy I found this blog!

    I spent much of my teens and early 20′s internalizing rejection and building sandcastles to the sky, as you say. I still sometimes catch myself placing value judgements on myself based on someone’s interest in my, lack thereof, and my relationship status. Now my rhetorical question is where the hell did I get this from?

    • Nikki says:

      I have some guesses. Going through middle school, high school, and college, people routinely reject each other in the most humiliating, demeaning ways imaginable. When I look back I appreciate the guys who rejected me respectfully instead of twisting the knife. Friends often talk to you like you are sad and pathetic if you have no man especially during big events like Valentines or school dances. I’d say some of society can work very very hard to forge a connection in people’s minds between your worth and your relationship status or the amount of interest you get in potential dates. The trick is getting out of listening to the Peanut Gallery and their value system and start listening to your own.

  3. kiesh says:

    That should say “based on someone’s interest in me, or lack thereof…”

  4. Peanut says:

    My problem with being interested in someone is this: I used to think my interest would be met with the same level of reciprocation as my interest. Nope. I just ended up looking at best a little odd and at worst, stalkerish. None of my relationships have worked out and the men I was truly interested in never reciprocated. I’d date the ones I was sort of ho hum about and it would end in this crippling stand off of whose more unaffected and they always one. I’m just really hurting now and hating life. I have these ups and downs. One week my outlook is pretty good and then I do something to go and sabotage it and I feel at square one. I know I’m not though. I’ve just always thought that a decent or at least half way decent man to love and take care of me would make me happy and motivate me to solve all my problems. The illusion is fading. And with it that comfortable numb I’ve been so familiar with. That’s being replaced with a lot of hurt.

  5. Angelus says:

    A recent date texted to tell me he wasn’t interested in taking it further. Before BR I would have been devastated and blaming myself. We realised our core values are different, and he was courteous to tell me so before stringing something out for the sake of not hurting my feelings. I totally respect his decision, and although disappointed initially, I wished him well and even now don’t bear him any ill-will or beating myself up about it. It’s not about me, it’s just what it is. Dating IS a discovery phase, so don’t feel you’re at fault if they choose not to pursue it.

  6. Maree says:

    So true!
    I have found that I base my personal self worth on the success of a relationship, and that’s just not a healthy outlook to have.
    You need to be confident and secure in yourself before you venture into a relationship, otherwise it will be an unequal union which you enter into.
    Sometimes being by yourself is the best option until you are happy enough to share your whole being, as you are, to another.

  7. Grizelda says:

    Wow Auntie Grizelda’s in early on one for a change!

    I struggle with this one. Rejection hurts, even when it’s only a ‘perceived’ rejection that I ‘think’ is going on.

    When I want to get inside someone’s arms so badly, I want them to feel the same way equally badly. So when I’m standing there metaphorically braced, in a ‘sports position’, feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, leaning slightly foward, curved arms spread wide in a ‘come n get me!’ pose, with the most hopeful look on my face, and my intended-beloved takes one look at me and responds in a way that sounds remarkably similar to a frog’s fart, it’s totally crushing.

    When someone I rate so highly doesn’t reciprocate, I automatically use it as a weapon against myself. I didn’t know why I did that… ’til now.

    Natalie says: If you’re making them more valuable in your mind and life because they’re not interested, that’s like saying “People who aren’t interested in me are more worthy”…

    Mmm. I only took Economics for one semester but I know what this is. The ‘scarcity’ effect. It makes the commodity of that person’s affection, which is already unobtainable, even more valuable. Something which was worth a thousand guineas this morning is now worth a million guineas simply because I’ve learned I can’t have it. Makes me want it MOAR. Makes the rejection WERSE. All because, I don’t know, Keynesian economic theory?

    The only response is to let the market go cold. Ignore that commodity and do something else, invest elsewhere. Because in a few days, weeks or months I’ll start wondering why I wanted Mr Pork Belly in the first place.

    BTW. Isn’t Natalie’s voice just so listen-able? Sorry Nat to talk about you like you aren’t here, but I just had to remark on that!

    • RedVelvet says:

      Grizelda,

      Next to Nat, you’re still my fave. “MR Pork Belly” LOL.
      Here’s to another fabulous year of continuing to fall in love with ourselves.

    • McKenzieM says:

      The “Mr. Pork Belly” thing made me think of pork belly… which then made me hungry, so now I think I will treat myself to lunch at one of my favorite places tomorrow and dine on pork belly and polenta. :)

    • theseamstress says:

      we need a ‘like’ button on this site. I love what Auntie Grizelda says.

    • Victorious says:

      Oh Grizelda this helped so much! yes, the scarcity effect.
      What I do is this, I only go out with guys who are “The Chaser” because if they are so wild and mad about me then there is much less chance of me getting hurt, right? Of course. Then I get to feeling all comfy and loved but I still feel like I am in the driving seat to a certain extent.
      Then comes the shocker. He withdraws a little, he isn’t so hooked on me after all. OMG. He has now become THE LOVE OF MY LIFE and I must do anything and everything I can to get his interest back. Pathetic.
      And actually, if you were to draw a cartoon of a Mr Pork Belly, that is exactly what ex narc looked like!
      Thanks Grizelda and thanks Natalie. I love seeing and hearing your videos, you look fantastic.

      • Lilia says:

        Victorious, I´ve done the same… and then I´ve done it back to them -making myself scarce so I´d be perceived as desirable. So then I became entangled in this endless game of scheming and planning and overall feeling miserable because relationships aren´t a game of chess after all and I´m really not into sports anyway.

      • selkie says:

        Victorious,

        I’ve ended up with ‘chasers’ too. I have never asked a man out….not once. If a guy shows interest with a smile and some flirting I leave it to him to prove to me beyond that that he is really interested in me and make him pursue me. I thought that that made sure they were really into me. What I think now is that those men who are really persistent are good at pursuing women through practice and see me as a challenge, not the perfect mate. The guy who smiled and lightly flirted but didn’t crazy chase me was probably the better one but he (they) gave up when I acted aloof and hard to get. I never did this consciously but it was more a symptom of my low self esteem and needing the guy to show me he thought I was worth it. It felt safer to me and seemed like less risk. To a healthy guy this was probably a red flag or seen as me being uninterested so they moved on. It really isn’t a healthy thing to chase someone who shows little interest or to show little interest in hopes of being chased. Lose lose shituation for me, but at least I see it now and am trying to change my pattern. It’s a conscious effort though.

        • Tracy says:

          Selkie-If you read all the dating advice out there, it TELLS you to be aloof, distant…mysterious. The advice tells you to have them do ALL the persuing; no calling him first, maybe even ‘forget’ to call him back. The advice is to make him work his ass off, therefore he is interested.

          Well, I have always followed that wisdom and guess what? I realized today that I have ONLY dated future fakers. So where has this wisdom gotten me? Heartbreak Hotel, that’s where. I think future fakers see the aloofness as a challenge and they work their asses off to ‘get you’. But when they finally get you, they don’t want you anymore!

        • Dharma says:

          Selkei, hmmmm.. I can empathize with the loose loose situation. I agree that those men who are really persistent are good at pursuing women through practice and see hard to get women as a challenge and not always as the perfect mate. Prime example is the AC that chased me for m o n t h s s s s and then acted like an A$$ when I began to like him. So how can I distinguish btw those that see me as the perfect mate and chase and those that see me as a challenge and simply want to conquer my “drawers”.

          • selkie says:

            Dharma and Tracy,

            It’s been an education coming here. I was so unaware of this kind of behavior until reading the articles Natalie writes. Other dating information sites have proven only to make me feel worse about myself and teach me to try to be the best performing seal I can be. It didn’t get me loved….just got me a few crumbs for my circus act. I am tired enough of it to make real changes in my life. Its slow going but it’s going.

        • Victorious says:

          Yeah Selkie that is just how it is. The ex narc even told me the reason he really wanted me was “because you were so aloof.” It honestly didn’t occur to me that he would lose interest when he knew he “had me” and what is worse is that he managed it/me so perfectly that when he withdrew was the perfect tipping point. I was just losing my ambivalance towards him, just starting to think, well, this is rather nice, when Bam! And then of course I convinced myself I loved him and wanted him and couldn’t live without him. Waa Waa!
          Is it a sport to them? This is a 48 year old man who has never married or lived with a woman. I know you shouldn’t try to understand a narc so I will stop. It has left me scarred and scared though.

          • Lilia says:

            Dharma I had a guy chase me for YEARS and when I finally fell he turned out to be a complete AC weirdo. I got the whole hot and cold shower and lots of manipulation and drama when I decided I liked him too. And yes, he is 40 and has never been married so maybe I just needed to notice that red flag? Also, he was very good with words and ff, I was naive enough to believe he was like that only with me.
            After this experience I´d say beware of the ones who are extremely charming. Oh yes and throw The Rules and Mimi Tanner in the dustbin.

          • selkie says:

            I’m not sure Victorious, but I think men who do this do it out of insecurity even though they SEEM sure of themselves. They feel empowered when they can get the attention of someone who seems uninterested in them. It’s like a drug. It strokes their ego and after enough times they become arrogant. I know I act aloof out of insecurity, thinking ‘how could they possibly like me, this can;t be for real, are they running out of options, did they just get dumped, etc?’ I don’t assume they find me attractive, just convenient. I am not kind to myself. When I act aloof its like I try to prove my worth by not seeming interested or easy. It’s messed up. At least I know now its messed up and can work on it. Before BR I had no idea I was doing it. And no, we shouldn’t waste too much time diagnosing the men who do this but having an understanding of these types of men does help us avoid them in the future. Future fakers are easy to spot now and seem so ridiculous to me. Thats progress at least. I feel like an experiment trying new things. What happens if I try to be less aloof? Less arrogant myself, warmer but firm. blah blahblah. at the end of the day I want to be myself but secure in it. Little by little I grasp it and make steps toward it. I get impatient like many women here but I have to remember that these feelings I have toward myself were taught and learned from infanthood. It will take time to undo and be reborn in a way.

    • Dharma says:

      Grizelda! You are AWESOME!!!!!! You solved the equation and now I know why. Because I’ve learnt I can’t have it then I make it more valuable only to end up wondering why I fought for this thing that was gold plated and not actual gold. Simply awesome!

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    Mr. Pork Belly – hahahahaha! That’s a good one. I’ll have to find an opportunity to use it. Hahahaha.

  9. Peanut says:

    Also, when I engage with friends socially and I don’t get a response, the one I desire or in the time frame I desire, I freak out. My body gets anxious, tense and I have such a terrible reaction. Just through going back and reading some of my posts on here and on facebook, I am a little alarmed. I am a near thirty year old woman and what I write reads as if it could be written by a thirteen year old sometimes. It’s quite disheartening and at times humiliating. But, I remember how I loved my ex even though (and he even admitted it) he acted 15 most of the time (he was 24 and 25 when we were together). But I always had to be the mature, needless and responsible one. In every way and with every fault I loved in my ex, I am now seeing I have to love myself in the exact same way, the exact same amount or perhaps more.

  10. MSA says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better timing!!! I just got back from a vacation where I met someone. I really liked him a lot, he worked at the hotel where I was staying. On my last night, I thought it was my last chance to do something about it, so I asked him out, something I’ve never done before tbh. He welcomed it, we met over a drink, it went really well that he kept kind of blaming me why I hadn’t talked earlier and that he wished he had more time with me since he liked me so much n all that. He gave me his FB and email address and told me he’d love to meet if we happen to be in the same city some time. I was so glad that i decided to extend my vacation for one more day (the fairy tale factor), thinking this would make all the difference in our happy ending. It did make a difference… Throughout that whole extra day, he was blowing hot n cold. I made some excuses, one of which was putting him on the famous pedestal and admiring how “professional” he’s being!! Yeah right, he could’ve found some time if he wanted to. I took it to heart and like a sad rom com, I was crying in the airport waiting for my flight. I did add him on FB and email him, but I haven’t heard from him. It’s taking me some serious cognitive thinking to tell myself “it’s not about me” and he doesn’t to be an a’hole either. I had to dig to find something I did to scare him off, like when he asked about my kids dad, I didn’t make it clear we’re separated, or any other reason for myself to put my head under the guillotine. Just today, I decided to let it go. I barely know him to spend so much time and energy on him. There’s million possible reasons why he pulled back, and the odds that any of them is about my worth are really slim. I still miss how he made me feel, but I’m accepting the fact it was more of a vacation-ship as my sis called it than a potential for anything more. Reading this post was like a cosmic sign for me that I’m on the right track and not to listen to my demons who try to bring me down lol. I still have to watch the video though, as I’m reading and posting from my phone while my two lil angels are asleep.
    Again and as usual, thanks Nat for such a timely post! :-)

    • Tired_of_assanova says:

      Are you serious? It failed before it started because it was a holiday fantasy. He was looking for an easy hookup and a shag. If thats all you wanted, it could be just fun, but clearly you wanted more and wanted him to make you The exception. Delete this guy from facebook, he’s delivering NOTHING and you can’t even touch him.

      • Nomi says:

        Also, he WORKED at the hotel you were staying. In customer service jobs, the customer is king, as they say. Don’t take it too hard, maybe he was just after a cash tip, who knows?

        Now you have to ask yourself WHY are you still spending time pondering on this, pinning over a guy you don’t even KNOW. If you keep your feet in reality, you won’t keep falling in situations like that anymore.

    • grace says:

      MSA
      He didn’t pull back, he was never in it. I expect he has regular flings with women staying at the hotel. He doesn’t know you and you don’t know him.
      No LDRs, online relationships or holiday romances for FBGs or former FBGs. We cannot do them. Not only that, but I no longer want to. What’s the point of having a boyfriend you can’t even see, except to fuel fantasies while maintaining the comfort zone?

    • Victorious says:

      MSA, Dr. Victorious prescribes a DVD of Shirley Valentine. Watching it once should be sufficient.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        Good, someone else got his number too, so it’s not just me. You don’t say where you were, but do an Internet search on “love rats” for that country and probably what you will find will make your hair stand on end. You *might* even find his name mentioned. Some of these guys have a whole side hustle with “girlfriends” and “fiancees” all over the world sending them money and gifts. They choose which one to marry based on which visa application comes through first.

    • Allison says:

      MSA,

      Sorry, but this is a fantasy like Online Guy. You seem to have a pattern of choosing men who are geographically and emotionally unavailable. Do you see that you are actively making choices for an unsuccessful love life?

      If want a relationship, I would look at your choices and address your emotional un availability. I would also start looking local, for someone you can have regular interaction with.

      • Bellaninha says:

        Hi MSA,
        Sounds like a whirlwind of emotions. I can completely understand as I used to always do this, actually until recently, and so I know I am not safe from never doing it again, but at least I am much more aware of my pattern. You feel this “connection” even though you have had minimal time together. I actually have to keep my head firmly screwed on whenever I meet someone new because I am prone to dreaming and fantasising big time. What made me really aware of my pattern was when the shoe was on the other foot. I met a guy who completely fast forwarded and spoke of this “connection” we had, when I felt none of it, and I was just happy to have a nice day with him on our travels then say See ya Later!
        Visualise the future. There will be many other guys in your path. the holiday romance working out is the exception to the rule. Enjoy the memory of the nice day, wish him well in your head, and move on.
        I recently did a big cull of my Facebook contacts and deleted all the blokes that were in some way romantically connected with me in the past. A few days later I felt totally at peace, past is passed, time to open my heart to someone else. The butterflies feeling with this guy will pass soon even though it doesn’t feel like it now. Lots of new love your way xxx

  11. Michelle says:

    I really get it when I read it but my question is the same as someone else’s who commented..I struggle with figuring out how to get from A to B. I’ve gone several months without dating anyone and then when I finally do date someone again, whoosh…same old feelings come right back. Am I destined to remain alone forever because my brain just can’t seem to get this concept of how to love yourself enough FIRST?

    • Lacy says:

      I feel u I wonder how to love myself,I try to take care of my body my home and kids.I try to do stuff I enjoy but I’m not fulfilled and I feel lost likeI don’t have a place in life.So I know a relationship now would only lead me or someone else in pain and drama.
      I don’t know how to show love don’t even know if what I felt is love.I really only had one relationship were I thought I truely was loved.Then towards the end he would hit me when he got mad,he died while I was pregnant but really our relationship was way over he lived with me but turned out he was seeing 2 other women.So I think my frustration and anger inside maybe because I never had a healthy relationship and the guys that were nice to me I was so busy worrying about why the guy who isn’t interested doesn’t want me I blew the nice guys off.
      Now I wonder if I blew opportunities on being with someone good and now will I have to settle or be alone?
      I will continue to work out my issues and pray that a guy will genuinely love me one day and I hope the same for any woman on here that wants the same.

  12. Lisa says:

    I have had huge issues with this, but am now realizing that I’ve replayed my relationship with my dad, who was a HUGE challenge for everyone to get close to. My dad was a hero to the world, but he didn’t get intimate with anyone for any extended period of time. I’ve always been drawn to challenging people with the same traits – until now. Therapy and a 12-step program are helping me feel with my heart that I really don’t want to play the cat-mouse game anymore. These people who can’t get close must not be having that much emotional fun themselves – at least not much emotional depth in a relationship. And I don’t want shallow relationships. So feeling turned on by being rejected isn’t happening to me much anymore. I’m spending time figuring out how to work on my own ideas and projects, and then working on them, instead of fantasizing about how great it will be to live through someone else’s activities once he gives me enough of the time of day to spend some with me. This is an empowering position.

    I am so glad you started this website, Natalie. This had to be one of your ideas turned into a project that helps so many of us!!!

  13. MSA says:

    @Peanut

    I can relate to it all. It’s an expectation problem and when our expectations aren’t met, it’s mostly internally interpreted that it’s about us, which isn’t. I have to make myself aware of this all the time.. Like I need constant reminders I’m worth more than I perceive based on people’s reactions and attitudes. Sometimes, it’s hard, especially when I’m panicky over someone’s reaction or the lack of it, be it lover, friend or family.. I’m sure it’ll become second nature by time though.
    Also, being the mature partner in a relationship can act as some kind of pressure that backfires later on. I’m not saying to act needy, but it takes two mature people to make a healthy r’ship, so your old relation might have had a role there too. You’re on the right track there.. keep going!

  14. Peanut says:

    I thought my ex never experienced rejection because he was so beautiful and wonderful and yada yada yada. Truth is he probably very rarely experienced rejection with women. He set it up that way. He’d only pursue women with low self esteem who showed up front that they were interested in him in overt even desperate ways. Case in point: His ex initiated sex with him on their first date (So he says. Who knows really.) I pursued him at a bar.

    Also, most of the men I was interested in at some point, and thought I’d just die over if they didn’t reciprocate, I see them or think of them now and think, Ew, what in the hell was I thinking? We change, paths change, people change, but we can only grow together when we have like values. I’m not fully sure what my values are. I have an idea what I would like them to be but what I would like and what is are two totally different things.

  15. BriA says:

    This is my worst habit. I take everything that someone does as a reaction to something that I did or didnt do right. I think this whole line of thinking (at least for me) comes from all the relationship advice that says any man can and will change when he meets the right woman. So if I keep getting into these “relationships” with guys who aren’t changing or loving me, then it means somehow I’m flawed and dont have what it takes to make a man change his ways or want to be with me. As I type this, I realize how backwards it sounds. *sigh*

    • McKenzieM says:

      BriA, I can fall guilty of this sometimes as I can every now and then be a bit of a fantasizer FBG. But reading NML’s posts about trying to be the exception really helped with that; those blogs helped me see clearly how that kind of thing generally only happens in the movies. I would suggest searching for and reading those posts.

  16. Suzie says:

    I’ve been going back and forth with someone I really had a lot of hope for, but he told me that he just got out of a relationship (after I asked because things were already getting physical). We kind of took a step back, but he kept texting me and even recommended that we hang out again. That was last Friday.
    He’s gone out if his way to say hi to me at work, but hasn’t texted again. I assume he met someone else he actually likes. He’s gone for a bit before between texts and I almost hope he will reach out again so I can ignore him and get some dignity back.
    I know it’s probably immature and he prob wont text me. It would help if I were meeting more people in this new city and if I didn’t get so stupid nervous sometimes when he talks to me. I’m sure it’s probably just a big ego trip for him.

    • Allison says:

      Suzie,

      When he said he “just got out of a relationship,” he’s telling you he is only looking for sex. Period.

      Please do not place so much value on a simple text. He is showing you through lack of communication that he is not interested in anything beyond sex. When a man is interested, you know it!

      Why not get yourself out and get involved in Meetup groups or other options where you will meet new people.

      This guy is a waste of time!

  17. Natasha says:

    Great one Nat! I don’t know about anyone else, but in the past I have found that I was perfectly fine taking rejection in other areas of life, but in dating it was like, “FULL STOP. I need to call my mother and cry for at least forty minutes.” When I was looking for a new job, I was rejected a bazillion times – sometimes after I’d spent hours being interviewed. In those cases, I was able to say, “Well, there was probably someone just a little more qualified, circumstances at the company may have changed or the fit is just not right. Next!” It’s ironic, because what is more important: (A) Earning a living or (B) Gaining the affections of a dude (in my case, replace “dude” with “utter assclown”)? Now, I apply my job-hunting attitude to the dating world and say, “It just wasn’t the right fit.” I highly recommend this approach!

    I’m actually on the other end of something similar with a friend that takes it very personally if I have to reschedule plans. We live a good two hours apart and see each other at least once a month. If I have to change the day, I have to listen to five straight minutes of how disappointed her child is (for the record, her child is too young to speak in complete sentences)and how upsetting it is for her too. Does my rescheduling have anything to do with her? Of course not. As her friend, of course I want to see her and her little one as often as possible. I would see them every day if I could! It’s come to the point where I dread having to tell her “Hey, I have a meeting I can’t miss – can we do Wednesday instead of Friday?”, because I know what the reaction will be. Among friends, that conversation shouldn’t be a big deal (unless you are friends with a chronic flake, but that’s another story). Self esteem isn’t just for staying out of bad relationships, it’s also to keep the good ones strong!

    • Marie83 says:

      Hey Natasha,
      your comments really hit home – I also have no problems facing rekection in my professional life. However in my personal relationships it hits me hard, I see it as a rejection of me, which I think goes back to being chronically bullied and school and feeling alienated combined with feeling invisible as a child.

  18. Tinkerbell says:

    Michelle. “…. same old feelings come right back “. Your gut feelings are protecting you because you’ve not resolved your issues to love you FIRST. When you reach the point of feeling secure in who you are, what you want and how to get it, those uncomfortable feelings will recede. But it’s not a magical process. Ask yourself what have you been doing while you were not dating anyone. Work on YOU so you can feel more confident and ready to date. You’ll get there but you have got to FOCUS. I don’t want to scare you but you need to get real. It’s a cold, cruel world out there when you’re unprepared.

  19. Gigi says:

    Amazing article! And amazing timing… We place too much emphasis on what others think of us..when what really matters is what WE think of us!! xoxo

  20. runnergirl says:

    Thank you Natalie for the continued reassurance. I’ve posted numerous comments about my “online dating adventures per BR” and it has been so helpful to recognize that I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and they aren’t going to necessarily be my cup of tea. Tagging on to the previous post, I have not internalized a date not working out as me being unworthy and I hope he did the same. I think I’m dating with my self-esteem in tow, at least I’m trying. So far, so good. All your suggestions with regards to dating have been spot on. I haven’t built sandcastles or plunged into What’s Wrong With Me? / Why Wasn’t I Good Enough? It really has been a discovery phase. Although I have found out that my “dating as a discovery phase” has been attributed to the fact that I’m an attorney. I give my friend Natalie the credit and don’t claim any credit as an attorney. It is a lucky coincidence. Apparently, my online profile which is filled with BR, weeds a lot of guys out. They write to say they are weeded out. I was attracted to the exMM based on my value judgments which were based on my imagination. If I said the reason out loud, I’d sound like I was on crack. I’m being really careful now. I’m being really conscious. I don’t think that their lack of interest is about my worth, in fact, strangers tell me “I’m out of their league”…I listen and respond nicely. But if they say, I’m out of their league or I deserve better, they are right!

  21. runnergirl says:

    Umm, BTW, I love the videos. You are simply gorgeous inside and out.

  22. miskwa says:

    I agree Peanut, I would much rather have a man tell me I am ugly right to my face rather than string me along, waste my time. What really was devastating to me was ACs acting as though he was interested for a very long time when he was just really using me for attention and wasted two damned years of my very busy life. I do tend to take a lack of interest hard mainly because there are so few men I am attracted to and if one “fails”, I know damned well there wont be another for a looong time. I am not good at forcing myself to be attracted to someone, a good thing, because then it would be me wasting their time.

  23. Gina says:

    I don’t take it personally if I have casually dated a guy and he does not call as he said he would, or if he rejects me early on in the relationship because I have not invested myself emotionally ( heck, I cannot even remember those guys!). On the other hand, if the guy is acting like he’s all into me–stringing me along for months and acting as though he is more interested than he actually is–when I find out the truth, I have hard time not taking it personally. Intellectually, I understand that his behavior wasn’t about me, but emotionally, I tend to make it about my worth–or perceived lack of worthiness.

    I remember thinking when I first started dating my ex EUM, how wonderful our time together was and if the relationship did not develop after a few dates, I would have been fine with it and felt grateful for the fun times that we shared (I had started to get back into the dating scene after breaking up with a FF/EUM nine months earlier). I would have also had a very positive impression of him and felt hopeful of finding a fulfilling relationship. Unfortunately, he unfolded, and showed his true colors. My impression of him is now tarnished, and because I keep meeting “nice guys” who aren’t sincere, my faith in finding someone who is genuine has diminished significantly.

    • Natasha says:

      Gina, I think the getting strung along hits harder because it makes you feel duped. I know when I was in that situation, I felt like, “Oh, so I had ‘easy mark’ written across my forehead?”. Fact is, we could do everything “right” and there will still be liars and assholes in this world. Fortunately, there will also still be kind, decent and loving people in spades. I found it really helpful to remind myself of how many lovely people I encountered on a daily basis – if you look around for them, there are lots, I promise! I have no doubt you will find the great guy you are looking for :)

  24. Lucky_Charms says:

    “If you’re making them more valuable in your mind and life because they’re not interested, that’s like saying “People who aren’t interested in me are more worthy”…”
    I actually stopped doing this, after I became widowed. I was not invited to dinner parties or any parties. It took quite awhile to see that they just weren’t interested in me, as a single person. I realized I wasn’t a thought in their head, I just stopped taking things so personally. It had nothing to do with me being “worthy”. It was people having different lifestyles and ideas about who THEY were. It was not about me. Huge life lesson. Now that I am NC for 13 weeks and I decided to opt out of the EU assclown’s “party”. It’s not about him, it’s about me and what I want. Whatever he wanted was not more valuable than me. I value me. It has nothing to do with what he thinks or what anyone thinks. What I think of myself has “value”. That is ultimately worth much more than anything, or anyone.

  25. Lacy says:

    Yes this is how my whole yr not able to handlr rejection.My situation started out ok which was a reason I feel in love with him but looking back there were code red alerts I ignored.
    So my reason for thinking he should turn from a frog to a prince is that,he is so good looking,fun to be with smart,sex was amazing.
    Then theirs the lies,send offs stand ups, future faking,borrowing money not paying back.
    But I still wonder why he couldn’t love and commit to me?and I feel ugly and worthless,I know I have serious work to do,thats why I pray and read these blogs and very soon I will be a lil more focused on me.
    The Ac text this morn said he was back in town and want to see me and I didn’t respond.I felt good now I have to keep it up,wish me luck.

    • grace says:

      Lacy
      Being good looking, fun, smart and sexy have got nothing to do with whether a man will love you or commit. In fact, it probably means that he won’t. If those were the only “good” qualities that he had, you are chasing the wrong thing.

      • Lacy says:

        I meant that was what attracted me to him because he was good looking etc,and thats why i wanted him so bad cause I wouldn’t look beyond the fact that he wouldn’t commit to me or love me like I wished just because I was fascinated or worshiped him for the wrong reasons.Like Nat said I was like a groupie,so it was doomed from long ago which was 12 yrs ago. Sad and Embarrassed to say I was satisfied with less and it took my yrs to know I need and deserve more,I am embarrassed and angry at me I allowed it but it didn’t make it okay for him to act that way but htose are his ways and I just plan on moving forward.I do have my days where I replay the drama wonder if the one he’s with does he treat her better,maybe way better than me but I have had info from gossipers that I have now separated myself from cause that will slow my healing process down listening to updates on him,well he’s driving around with a car full of his things and back living with his Mom. I don’t wish bad on him I just want to wipe him from my mind and move on,I brung most of the pain on myself so I guess I haven’t got angry enough yet.I have taken the steps he’s calling I’m not responding I have cut contact with my friend who is friends with his sis,she always had updates and seemed as though she liked the drama or was excited for me to be hurt.She would call and say hey have u seen your Boo?and I never dabbled in her relationships that’s just not and never been me I won’t do it with any friend so stuff if talked about with others may cause problems so that’s why I tried to keep my business to myself and didn’t start conversations about hers.But she couldn’t resisit seeing she was friends and worked with his sis,not close but hey they worked together. I told her I didn’t want to have conversations about him but the last time I seen her was in oct her and her sis asked me if I was still talking to him and how they seen his new car(that at the time I was the one took him to buy it and loaned him my rent money to change the plates and get a sticker stupid of me)they asked me if I had drove the car yet? they were being funny I haven’t talked to her since that day or seen her she text me a few days here and there saying hey friend but I didn’t respond.This will take time but I will get thru and I hope the same for every woman who is going thru this pain,Hugs and kisses to everyone.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Lacy,you feel “ugly and worthless” because of the way you are allowing him to treat you. The AC I had an emotional affair with at work made me feel sexy and hot in the beginning. but once he started pulling bullshit on me and I allowed it, I started feeling like you do. I regret the day I met him and regret my actions. I went NC with him at work (I no longer work there) and took back my power and started to feel better about myself and forgive myself for allowing someone to come between me and my husband.

  26. Mymble says:

    The (separated) MM is going to be in my town next week. We did agree to put an end to it a while ago after I said some stuff on the phone and sent him a hostile angry email. Since then he has sent out a couple of feelers which I have not responded to. Or they seemed to me to be feelers, they didn’t relate to anything we were talking about. I am feeling sad about the fact that I won’t be seeing him and to be honest, if I knew he would welcome me with open arms I would be very tempted to respond. But of course he never really did have “open arms” for me, or at least only in the physical sense. Emotionally he was shut off. I think with these things that it isn’t straightforward. I was really very fond of him, he was good company, affectionate, insightful, (as long as it wasn’t about our situation). So I do miss those things, the good things. But also along that I did put him on a pedestal and decide that he was better than me, and make his rejection of me (or more specifically his refusal to have a proper out in the open relationship with me) a sign of my unworthiness and inferiority. So the two things are mashed up, the “real” missing him, and the feeling of disappointment with myself because he didn’t want me. One of the last things he said to me was that maybe if we lived closer together it would have worked. Sadly I think that was not true. I think he chose to get involved because I was far away and therefore couldn’t impinge too much in his life. I sometimes feel such a disappointment that I have never had a really happy, loving relationship with anyone – excepting perhaps my first boyfriend many years ago. I feel sad that realistically now at my age it is so unlikely that that will ever happen. All around me are attractive single, divorced, widowed women (two who in their 40s/early 50s lost their same age husbands) who have given up on the whole thing. I see not one single man who would be of any interest to me whatsoever. So, I am having a pity party for myself. The only good side of the pity party is that I just could not face more misery over the AC. I don’t want him to see my sad face. He was often indicated how sorry for me he felt, what with me being so all round hopeless and pathetic. That was how he judged me and though I did sometimes rebel and protest against that judgement I did on the whole tend to agree.
    Running alongside that, is the anxiety, guilt and sadness I feel about ending my marriage. I should never have married him. I had known that for a long time but felt I had made my bed so should lie in it. I even knew as I was saying my vows that I was making a big mistake. (my gut was screaming at me but I refused to listen). Now I feel horrible that I am ruining his life. He is financially and in every way dependant. We are in limbo and still trying to sort out the finances which are not nearly enough for two households. But at the same time I know I have little respect and no attraction.

  27. Brenda says:

    I would rather in life have one actually just be friends for while and show me that it’s even possible.

    You know – totally skip over any chance of the interest for them only being about getting back at an ex or just a temporary ego boost.

    But the words friends a bad word to them it seems and they think it means being strung along – becasue maybe that was there experiences.

    And that really seems to be all I can have now, becasue my past included guys that could talk a LOT when it was to brag themselves up and bring me down after agreeing to something more with them.. But just a NORMAL conversation? not one of those guys could do that even today – just showing me it was all about having “control” for them.

    I’m not in any mood to fall head over heals in love with anyone and put rose colored glasses on, I feel that I missed out more than anything just the common decency to be treated like a person.

    How would you go about getting that though without a guy thinking it automatically means there will be nothing (or) that your stringing him along?

    I haven’t even started yet.. I don’t know where to start to be honest anymore.

    I’m not the same person I was when I stopped dating over 6 years ago..

    Right now when I go out there I have a hard time caring what people THINK becasue I spent so many years caring too much and getting crapped on for that, maybe it’s a phase I am going through?

    I don’t know or I am protecting myself from being seen as a doormat ever again and this is just who I am now?

    That is where I am right now.. Its hard to feel ready to date though when I am even questioning who I am turning into.

    • yoghurt says:

      I’m totally with you there, brenda.

      I’ve been thinking about the concept of ‘friendzoning’ recently, on the grounds that any man that I meet will have to put up with being friendzoned for a while whilst I check to make sure that he isn’t an assclown/psycho/liar/addicted/secretly married/kleptomaniac etc etc etc

      First of all, as far as I’m aware, the phrase FriendZoned first entered the common vocabulary after the concept was floated on Friends. Now, aside from the fact that Friends, being a sitcom, had to be about a bunch of people who didn’t know their arses from their elbows (else it’d just be a really boring programme about people whose lives are all sorted out), I seem to recall that out of the six people in the show, four ended up in happy relationships with other characters from the show, ie their FRIENDS. Doh!

      In the second, since when is a friendship a bad thing to have? I’ve spent years undervaluing my friends against my romantic relationships and that’s something that I have really worked hard to change. A good friendship is a good thing to have and a valid thing to seek, and certainly far far better than a bad relationship.

      These days, me making an effort to spend the time giving someone in my life the space to be my friend is a far far bigger compliment than leaping into bed with them.

      I haven’t yet worked out how to explain these concepts upfront to the blokes that I (don’t) meet, but I’m working on it…

      • PurplyLily says:

        Good one Brenda and Yoghurt.

        Im there as well, I dont know if I am ready to get out there. But a big part of me doednt want to get out there. Not right now. I have so many other (lovely) things going on and unfolding that I am truly scared of a man ruining all that. That being said, I should have learnt enough here on BR to make the right choices and decision the next time.

        Yet..there exists a slight fear..”what if I end up getting hurt again?”…what is one meant to do when on this boat? Just put on your life vest and take a plunge hoping for the best. Or wait for calmer waters?

  28. Magnolia says:

    It has taken a long time for me to separate out the difference between self-worth, or my intrinsic worth, and my social capital.

    For most of my life, if you’d told me that people not wanting to come to my party wasn’t a comment on my worth, I’d be like, if that isn’t, what is?

    When I was 10 I did invite a number of kids from my class to my birthday party, and no one showed, and I waited with a hat on and a cake on the table for the doorbell to ring while some people’s mothers phoned, and others just blew me off. It was awful, and I think it’s important to validate that the incident was no comment on my worth as a person, but did say a lot about my social capital in that context.

    I may have had all kinds of worth as a person, but I had no social capital. No one cared about my party and there were no social consequences for anyone who missed it.

    But I internalized it as me being “not worth anyone’s time or care”. I bet much of my drive to become recognized in my career comes from hoping that fame/success would mean I would be “worth” other people’s time.

    There are times when I have gotten a clear message that someone is blowing me off because they don’t think I’m worth their effort. More than one guy in high school rejected being seen even talking to me by loudly expressing their revulsion. Again, their opinion was no indicator of my worth as a person, but it was an indicator of my “value” in that social context: pretty low.

    So I’d say I’ve actually been looking for people and guys and jobs to confirm my social value, not my worth as a person (which they never could). The problem with this is that one’s social value keeps shifting depending on the context. I’ve been in rooms where I was the invited guest people paid to listen to, and yet that doesn’t mean in another room that “more important” people won’t be looking over my shoulder while they’re shaking my hand.

    What’s changed is the power of my relative social value to change how I feel about my intrinsic self and intrinsic value.

    It’s not pessimistic to acknowledge that if you hope to be received by a person or a group to whom YOU have given lots of social value, and they don’t reciprocate, it stings. I think for me the question right now is, what is the difference between me evaluating someone’s social capital and deciding whether to spend time with them (which I think is most appropriate in a business or work context) and me valuing them as a person with intrinsic worth?

    What is the difference between me being clear-eyed about my social capital (if I were to hold a party here in my new town next week, I would count it as a huge win to get 10 people) and making my situation about my worth (wanh! I have no friends and never have had and I must therefore suck!)?

    Thanks for the opportunity to think about this, Natalie! I think I have long mixed up “I have no value [yet] in this community” with “my community doesn’t value me and I am worth little”. Thanks to BR, group therapy, my 12-step program and even my new department at work I have now had the experience of earning and building social capital, so I now see it’s context and time dependent.

    I also see how some folks will not grant me social capital for stupid reasons (e.g., gossipy colleague who went on and on the other day about the “hierarchy of appearance” and how people judge each other based on looks and how het butch white men are at the top and non-white femmes are at the bottom). I can handle a world that I know thinks that way as long as I have confidence that I can build my social capital in social contexts that matter to me.

    My WORTH is my RIGHT to have that confidence, over and over again, in my right to belong and be accepted and be loved. The more I tap into my own sense of worth, the more I can hang on to that confidence even in the face of wonky social value contexts that do, at times, reject me.

  29. Stephanie says:

    I remember receiving the advice in this post from my sister about a year ago and I just wasn’t ready to hear it. I elevated some AC so high that I felt like a little sad lonely person looking up to Michael Jordan. He blew extremely hot, then hot, lukewarm, cold then ice cold over a period of about 2 months. I thought I was not worthy of his attention because he was better than me, and silently disappeared. I look back now and can’t understand why I thought like this because he doesn’t actually really know me and I don’t know what his reasons for disappearing were although I could have given Agatha Christie a run for her money as I turned into a private investigator trying to find closure and answers!

  30. Gina says:

    “Gina, I think the getting strung along hits harder because it makes you feel duped. I know when I was in that situation, I felt like, “Oh, so I had ‘easy mark’ written across my forehead?”. Fact is, we could do everything “right” and there will still be liars and assholes in this world. Fortunately, there will also still be kind, decent and loving people in spades. I found it really helpful to remind myself of how many lovely people I encountered on a daily basis – if you look around for them, there are lots, I promise! I have no doubt you will find the great guy you are looking for ”

    Natasha,

    You hit the nail on the head. My last relationship ended six months ago. I have been reading Nat’s post since then, and have taken some time off from dating to try and deal with my issues. Last Sunday in my church singles group, the discussion was about dating: letting go of the past and moving forward with a positive attitude. It’s time for me to put myself back out there and see what happens. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  31. Tired says:

    Yes its the being duped . But what is done is done . Id love to erasre the memories of being duped , but i think they serve as a ” were here and staying so you dont get duped again” lesson . It really is the ability to nit take it to heart and bounce back . I think when you been through the ringer every rejection big or small knocks you all over the place . But you got to look at it from a diff angle or a diff thinking . We dont think twice when we reject somthing but its not because its un worthy just not to what we want . We place or pin to much hope to quick . Instead of observing and watching . They really arent worth all that thinking .

  32. NK says:

    It doesn’t have to be about your worth but it can be feedback about you and how you acted, lets be real here and sometimes when you realise you are not as great or nice or acted wrong then you might have a self esteem crisis, which could be needed

  33. Discarded says:

    Well I’m back again ha ha! New development.
    Well another unexpected text again… got one early this morning where he texting a message to his boss, but ends up going to me. Why he has my number still I’ll never understand? As he was one who dumped me cruelly and abandoned me and told me to let go. Yet he’s the one who can’t let go.

    I replied (1st time since closure), probably shouldn’t, but I don’t see why I should change my number.
    I said ‘Please delete my number. Thank you.
    Simple and to the point, not engaging with him or anything like that.

    Then he replies (which I never replied back to) I made my point very well.
    He said. ‘Was sent by accident’ then went on to say ‘For what it’s worth I’m sorry’ then went on to say, ‘I prob made a big mistake but nothing I can do about that now’ and finally to top it off insults me at the end (like the drunk texts) saying, ‘hope you and him are happy and everything’

    I did not reply to that. Deleted his number yet again, and hope never to hear off him again. Phew!!

    • beth d says:

      The old accidental text thing. My ex pulled that one too. I didn’t answer mine cause my gf immediatly told me omg my ex does that too!! Damn these guys really do have all the same moves from the same play book. I am glad you didn’t answer that last text. He is playing games instead of acting authentically and just saying I am a shmuck, and regret my behavior. I would respect that text a lot more than him trying to use games to infiltrate.

      • Discarded says:

        Well I’m hoping that text worked. I couldn’t of been anymore cold and robot. Just to play with my head. It all games and I stopped playing that game 5 weeks ago.

        Just think it’s cruel and nasty, like he enjoys rubbing salt into the wound.
        He has no need for my number still, and the accusing me of being with someone else?
        If he believed that I would be getting a hell of lot of abuse. It just so he can find out what I’m up-to etc.
        I can see right through it, and the ‘I prob made a big mistake but nothing I can do about that now’. Is just to see if my door is open still, well it isn’t EVER going to be again.

      • Lilia says:

        I got the accidental camera-IM call, which I naively accepted. It was completely idiotic because the only image I saw was a part of his bedroom wall, with no one there. While I was trying to decipher what was going on, he interrupted the communication with no explanation whatsoever. Then, some days later, he apologized for “accidentally” calling me. Creepy.

        • Discarded says:

          It just so confusing. Like hey you dumped me, told me to ‘let go’ He a Narc/Bpd. I’ll never understand, just want him out of me damn head

    • Grizelda says:

      Discarded, that’s funny!

      I think he was asking you to fill out an application form for Fallback Girl Seven of Twelve. The days, hours and location for this role are 9pm – 2am, at yours of course, on Thursdays OR Saturdays, alternate Fridays last minute when he’s drunk, and to be on-call for drop ins on Tuesdays. There’s no pay, but it’ll cost you, and they keep saying it comes ‘with benefits’ but that’s just a rumour because there are really no discernable ‘benefits’ at all.

      Interested??

      • beth d says:

        LOL Griz You hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what it is! These guys have more balls than a Christmas tree!

  34. nancy says:

    it’s hard not to take it personally. I just drove 5 hours to meet my AC in another state where he was at a conference. After wonderful sex and since returning back home, he is ignoring me…which is usual pattern. It’s hard not to think it’s me and that I’m not worthy. But it’s really totally about him and his games and ability to manipulate me. I am worthy and need to work on my boundaries so I don’t feel so devalued.

    • PurpleLily says:

      Oh dear. Dear dear.

      Have you thought about calling it quits and going NC? You say its his usual pattern, please break the pattern and get out of there.You are worthy. And you can prove that to yourself but getting the hell away from him.Nothing signals better than you taking care of yourself. Good luck, hun!

  35. Jem says:

    I still think it’s because the unobtainable becomes more desirable in our heads simply because we’re not allowed it. Like sweets we can’t have before dinner when we’re little suddenly become the most desirable thing in the world – we’re not hungry, we just want what we can’t have. I broke the cardinal sin the other week – I broke no contact and was walking past his house (we’re pratically neighbours, not a lot I can do), and he saw me and invited me in. I wanted to say no but curiosity kicked in and so I said yes. I don’t regret it. I left feeling not on the same high I used to feel and without realising it I’d moved on, it’s just that my head hadn’t caught up with my heart. I text him later but that was when I immediately regretted it and sent one straight after to say it wasn’t intended for him. I’ve heard nothing since and don’t expect to. Not only that but I just don’t want to. I watched this film the other night and this line said ‘if you’re gonna let one stupid prick ruin the rest of your life then you’re not the girl I thought you were.’ Well ladies, I think it’s time to build up our self-esteems and stop craving sweets that only turn sour in the end…We know we can do better, it’s just whether we want to do better.

  36. wizzy says:

    One way that I have started to turn this around has been to focus on self care (as outlined in my CoDa program). I used to value everything external, and I dated every guy who showed interest in me. Some I even dated because I didn’t want to hurt them by rejecting them.

    I have worked hard to re-write my language that too. I dropped the word rejection all together and started making choices for my wellbeing I now describe the world as a supermarket; where you are free to pick what you want and need no explanation for the things you didn’t pick.. I am not saying that I am all better by any means. But things have massively improved.

    Focusing on my wellbeing has reduced my focus on others’ reaction to me. I am open to dating but not online and not to guys who bust my boundaries or try to uplift themselves by putting me down, or just because they spin the perfect pick-up line and brag about how awesome they are.

    I dated a guy for six months without putting my heart into it, I was right, he was a fake and quite sick! but keeping it non-committal worked. I am still attracting strange guys though….I think I need to start meeting them in different places, apart from bars and clubs…

    • courtney says:

      Wizzy, I love your comments about online dating and also dating people just because they were interested. I’ve had a similar experience and have taken what I hope is a loooong break from meeting people online (although, my friends and their friends tend to have success stories. I guess I just have bad luck).

      Recently, I turned down a guy who was interested in me but whom I wasn’t interested in for a a variety of reasons. At first I guilt-tripped myself, wondering if I was missing out, but realized, the only thing I’d be missing out on would be forcing myself to be interested in someone just because they showed interest in you and they’re a halfway decent person. That’s still not enough for compatibility.

      Clubs/bars have so far rendered 0 relationships for me, although like I said, I’ve also had friends who had “success” stories of dating men they met in clubs. Hell if I know how that happens though ;) Mostly, clubs/bars are filled with men looking to hook up. Sometimes, you may be looking for something more casual and that works. Usually though, you’re looking for something more and that just ends up feeling like another “rejection” but is, like you said, a supermarket filled with people looking to buy/invest in different things. A relationship might not be part of their purchase!

  37. AngelFace says:

    Oh Natalie,
    It is so good seeing & hearing you on the video clip!!! Thanks a Million :-)

  38. Tinkerbell says:

    Hey Runner. Not to encourage going off topic, but how’s the online dating going for you? Have you actually been on dates? More than one with more than one guy? I found the endeavor to be fruitless except that I learned how many different kinds of creeps there are around. But I was EU, only interested in guys hundreds of miles away that I’d probably never meet in the flesh. Is that dumb, or what. Those days are OVER for me.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Tinkerbell, I don’t think it’s off topic but Natalie will be the judge. Nope. Mostly first dates with guys who exhibited red flags out of the gate or who I wasn’t interested in. Hopefully, my lack of interest isn’t sending them into the unworthy funk Nat describes. It hasn’t sent me into judging myself as unworthy. Met with a nice gentleman last weekend but there was simply no interest on my part. Nothing at all to do with his worth or mine. I can now see at lot of what Nat writes from a different perspective. The odds are that somebody else may be interested in him.
      I can’t do the long distance or the cyberspace thing, so if they won’t meet ASAP, it’s simple…DELETE. I’m a dreamer and can conjure up the best fantasy within a few emails. Thus, I can’t go there. So far, so good as long as I keep my BR ears on, leave my rose colored glasses at home, and meet them in person with my self-esteem and BR in tow. In having the opportunity to apply my new found BR skills, I’ve probably learned more about me than them. They have to offer much more than “interest”. A very important BR lesson for me has been some guys are always “interested”…in sex. LOL. Since I’m not much interested in sex with a stranger(no judgment intended),that’s usually a deal breaker for me at the moment. Nothing to do with my worth or their worth. A simple difference in core values. I’ve still got an open mind and really see that building sandcastles is fruitless. Dating as a discovery phase with my self-esteem and BR in tow has changed my perspective. Every date or chat with a guy can’t be “The One”.
      It’s great to hear your long distance EU days are over and you are doing well with the new bf. Hugs to you and thank you for asking. I’m surprised how many BR folks have followed my dating adventures.

  39. kookie says:

    good one, natalie! it’s so true that someone not choosing what we want is not about us and the flip side of that is that our reaction to it is not about them. it’s sort of insanity really everyone supposedly participating in the same situation looking one another in the eye but being on totally opposite continents with other now gone people in their heads. i used to take “rejection” in stride but i think having something happen to you over and over again is what gets you mixing it up and thinking that it must be you. funnily enough my epiphany relationship that i had a near breakdown over was such a casual affair, it wasn’t him i was upset about i barely knew him and honestly wasn’t that into him, it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. i looked back at why this kept happening to me and it WAS me after all, but it wasn’t at all about my worth. i was only half-right.

  40. Sadder but Wiser says:

    I just had my first online dating experience with a very nice man – kind, considerate and respectful. After talking on the phone for several weeks, and meeting up to spend some good quality, non-sexual time together over two weekends just getting to know each other (we live 3 hours apart), we came to the conclusion that there just isn’t a romantic connection there, but there is the basis for a real friendship. I was still on the fence about whether or not I had any romantic feelings for him and perhaps some would have developed with a little encouragement – as it turned out he was clearer that there weren’t any on his end, but he handled it all with such class and respect that I feel nothing but positive about the experience and don’t feel ‘rejected’ at all. I am SO grateful it went this well! I may even try the online thingy again! :)

    So different from the experience with the ex creep… It’s one thing when someone isn’t interested up front, but it’s much harder not to take it personally when they convince you they are very much interested up front – but then decide they’ve lost interest AFTER you’ve given yourself sexually, AFTER you’ve risked opening up to them emotionally, AFTER you’ve shown them your deepest treasures about who you really are and what you have to offer. Worse, if they show their disinterest in a callous or cavalier way, it can be very hard not to feel like “it MUST be about my worth,” “I’m not good enough to even be treated respectfully…” etc.

    I don’t think that ‘rejection’ per se is the problem for many of us. I think it’s rejection PLUS cruelty, humiliation and gross indifference that causes the pain. I totally understand what I read from many women on this and other sites, that it was harder to get over some AC who hurt them for four months than their 20-year marriages. Rejection is no fun but I think it’s cruelty that digs the knife in and twists it.

  41. lo j says:

    Magnolia … I think I understand what you are saying. I have always been a people pleaser (wearing the rebel disguise). I didnt know I was a people pleaser or that I let opinions of others determine my “worth”. What a rollercoaster. When I became more solid in my sense of self, when I really liked who I am and knew mine and others true worth, peoples opinions just did not matter. I no longer wasted time trying to change someones mind if they didnt like me. I just gravitated toward others who did, because we shared the same values anyhow. I had nothing to prove to anybody. I am just being me, the best me I can, if I need improving I’ll do it, if I harm anyone I’ll make my amends if they accept fine, if not, its okay too. I am still worthy and so is everyone else. I have found that ones who are the most critical usually base their worth on performance or status. It helps me have a bit more compassion for them though somrtimes I have to avoid them completely. Life is so much more. Am I making any sense? Im on a phone … its difficult to write it all out. :-)

  42. Tinkerbell says:

    Discarded. Unless you are enjoying playing games with this fool, BLOCK him from your land line and cell phone. That way neither of you can reach the other. It’s drastic, but final so you have to be sure that is what you want. Deleting his number does nothing. Don’t allow him to maintain control by ASKING HIM to delete your number. Do it yourself. He ended it, so now YOU can be the one to make it final. Decide what you want and stop playing games.

  43. Gina says:

    To the BR gang,

    I would like to dedicate this song to all the ladies and gentlemen on BR. Every time I hear
    it, it makes me cry. Wherever we are on our journey to emotional healing, self-awareness, and self-love, it is SO important to look at the bigger picture: This life is temporary and we must enjoy every precious moment that we have while we sre here. Instead of sitting it out, I hope that you choose to dance….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDijUWjsG6s&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  44. Tinkerbell says:

    Gina. THANK YOU SO MUCH! My eyes started watering, too. I had only listened to the words intermittently prior to this, but now I’m glad I paid full attention. WE are the masters of our fate. WE can decide if we will be wall flowers or DANCE. As the words on the screen said, “We have more power than we think.” We can all be winners, no more losers.

  45. Skadia says:

    Magnolia, Spot on! I never could explain the difference to people but you nailed it. I think that there is a very important relationship between society and social value. I noticed that my ex only seemed interested in me when my project was going well at work and I had gotten really fit at the gym last year. In everyone’s eyes at work I was a mover and a shaker – I was the young professional on my way up. When I managed to piss some of my bosses off by being authenticate our open relationship started to fail. I am beginning to wonder, if he was leaving it open to see how I fared. I think most people have a social construct of who they think they should mate. There is is. As much as we would like them to see our value, they will more likely score on our social status and appearance… sorry… running off at the mouth again and not in a positive way either :/

  46. Revolution says:

    Okay, girls.

    Am I gonna have to get my mother on here to scream at you all with love (hey, she’s Italian) that it’s NOT YOU, it’s THEM?! My mom tends to do that a lot with me, especially this last year where I’ve bawled to her many times about assclowns (yes, I’m 35 and yes I’ve gone to my mommy and cried in her lap. What of it? ;))

    She gets so mad at me when I suggest that it’s something horrible about me that seems to attract and then, at the end, cause me to be dumped by some douchebag. So here’s what my mother would say to all ya’ll (yes, including and ESPECIALLY me):

    “Why do you always assume that it’s YOU?? It’s these men that you pick! I promise you. There’s NOTHING WRONG with you. You are a loving, kind, beautiful person. You just need to find a good man, and they’re out there! You just need to be PATIENT.”

    So there it is. Straight from my mama. You guys better listen, ’cause she ain’t playin’.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      I’m 54 and I still cry for my mommy, more than anyone knows. How I wish she was still around so I could go to her for advice. She would say the same thing your wise mama said. Can I borrow her lap vicariously sometime? :)

      • jewells says:

        I would just like to add, there’s nothing wrong with us per se, there’s something wrong with our ‘pickers’. But Mamma’s right, our pickers would be more accurate if we were more patient with it and listen to it…ohhh, our gut is our picker… tee hee

      • Revolution says:

        Sadder,

        I’m sure my mother would be more than happy to make room for you too. She is the best woman I have ever known.

    • Little Star says:

      Ahh thanks Revolution, your Mum is right!!! My beloved sister keep saying the same, that it is nothing to do with me but still I AM responsible for choosing losers:) NO MORE!

    • beth d says:

      Awee Rev that is cute. My young adult daughters still cry to me if anything goes wrong and they always tell me they feel so much better after they talk to me which makes an Italian mom like me feel good. Of course I try to throw in humor. I remember my beautiful daughter being hysterical about some guy who was giving her a hard time. I told her you tell him there are 10 guys in church on Sunday saying Novenas he messes this up. She went from tears to hysterical laughing in 1 second.

      • Revolution says:

        Ahahahahahha Beth!!!! Oh that is funny! Yeah my mom pulls that humor stuff too. Once, (about a year ago), I told her, “You know mom, I feel like looking for a good guy is like looking for the frickin’ Loch Ness monster.” She replied, “Well, when you find your man, I’m going to say when I meet him, ‘Nice to meet you, Nessy.’” Damn, that still cracks me up. She is just so STUBBORN in her positive view that I will meet someone. Probably where I get my stubbornness from. Now I just gotta learn to use it like she does….

        • beth d says:

          Rev Your mom is not only funny but she is right. You are beautiful and kind with a great sense of humor and the right one is out there. I still crack up at things my mom told me and so do my friends. I remember one incident with my hs bf. I second guessed telling him off and I was going to call him back after a fight to apologize. She said “don’t you dare call him. What are you a desperado? He’ll call if he cares” LOL Me and my friends laugh to this day about that and of course she was right because he did call and apologize to me. I said the same thing to my daughter when she was in a similar situation and added I will break your fingers off if you call first. She still laughs about that and yes she found out I was right about that too when hers came running back.

          • Revolution says:

            That was great, Beth. Made me laugh. :) Ah, you Italian mamas. Always a mix of love and yelling, lol. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Kisses to your (grown) bambina.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Revolution, I have to disagree with mama and you. I played the victim, blaming all my past ACs for my unhappiness and suffering, never once taking the time to look at myself. I was dependent on them, wanting them to fix me and make me happy and relied on them for my self worth. I was self centered, selfish, and manipulative. I was just like them though I would have denied it. Truth is if they had shown up with a minister at my doorstep, ready to marry me, I would have ran! I only wanted them when I couldn’t have them. I was just as responsible for the chaos between us as they were. And I had just as many character defects as they did. Thank God, a book I read years ago, “Women Who Love Too Much”,opened my eyes to my behavior and problems and I began my road to recovery.

      • Revolution says:

        Recovering,

        Yeah, I get you. And I (and believe me, my mama too! ;)) agree that we need to take responsibility for picking these dudes in the first place, and for CHANGING that pattern. Glad to hear you’re on the right path.

        • recoveringloveaddict says:

          Rev, thanks. Your mama was right about one thing, we DO pick them, albeit, unconsciously. That’s why once you do start recovering,you have to watch for the red flags.

  47. Nicola says:

    I invited 17 people from work to my 40th birthday and only 1 is coming! How can I not take that personally????? I’m trying not to but it’s very hard. One said she is busy, another said she cant afford it and the rest haven’t even acknowledged the invitation!

    • Grizelda says:

      Nicola, you’ve got to know that’s just a general sign of the times. Not a lot of people actually have any manners any more.

      I’m a very old woman when it comes to things like this so stand well back. It makes me mad the way people have started to behave when it comes to consideration for other people. If someone extends an invitation, you accept it immediately and you don’t back out. EVER. No excuses, no hemming and hawing, no pretending you didn’t hear or you forgot, no wedging your thumb up your backside and waggling it around as you frown at your shoes and have a good hard think about how you can possibly turn it around into another night on the sofa. No. You’re a grownup. Act like a grownup. You put your shoes on and you give up your time for people. You accept the invitation. Christ almighty people have GOT to put down the flippin XBox flibbertygibbit and get a life. When they’re aged 108 and staring eternity in the face they’d better have more to account for the time they were given than having completed the Payback mission on Grand Theft Auto IV.

      Sadly Nicola, invitations actually have to be repeated to people. That’s all. Not because their diaries are full-to-bursting with party invitations from thousands of other hosts, but because they don’t want their iPads cooling off.

      • grace says:

        Grizelda is correct, it’s the devil trying to get people to commit to things these days. You have to put the feelers out at least a month in advance then nag and nag and nag. Of those that do say yes, expect a significant proportion not to turn up. Though your genuine friends would.
        I don’t socialise with my work colleagues very much at all.It’s not personal. I’m just a grouch. And some workplaces are very social, some are not. It’s not about you.

    • Laurie says:

      Nicola,
      One of my oldest friends didn’t respond to my b-day request. It hurt, but it had nothing to do with me–she’s a flakey person. I didn’t invite anyone from work; that would have been super-awkward for me. Are you close to your work colleagues?

      As Grizelda and grace pointed out, rudeness and immaturity is pretty common nowadays. I had a huge problem with a former roommate (and former friend) literally scheduling parties at our apartment at the 11th hour. I would get texts like: “Having a party at the apartment in an hour–you should join us!” Join you? What the hell–I LIVE there! When I told her I didn’t feel comfortable with her planning parties at our apartment last minute, she looked at me like I had three heads: “I don’t understand why this is a problem.” What the what? I tried to compromise and asked if she could plan the parties 24hrs in advance? “People don’t make plans that far in advance.” “I like to be spontaneous.” Apparently this attitude is fairly common, as my roommate had never been confronted about it before. I don’t get it. But I do know it’s not about YOU!

  48. Tinkerbell says:

    Nicola. You need a whole new set of friends. Those you’ve invited don’t qualify.

    • jewells says:

      umm, yeah, also you and the one should go out and make sure you have an amazing time

      • beth d says:

        Yes Nicola Go out with your one true friend who is coming although I do suspect a few more will turn up after they check their busy schedules. Have fun and the ones who dissed your invitation need to be put on the friends back burner. Knowledge is power. By this experience you get to find out who the fair weather friends are. Happy 40th Great age and great times are ahead.

  49. Peanut says:

    Okay BR readers, I need some help. I’m stuck on my ex’s ex. Our social groups sort of overlap and yes I’ve checked her out on fb. She’s beautiful, seems interesting and was able to get a really cool job (my ex told me they used to work together). My ex is an alcoholic, cruel, spiteful and abusive. She took him back after I broke up with him and wouldn’t speak to him. My question: WHY? Does this make her a fallback girl? I just can’t imagine this is the case as from what limited I know, she does have the things I envy in other women. Tall, thin, tattooed, edgy, etc.. I’m short, chubby, barley a freckle on my non tatted skin. When I was with the ex, I just knew he wanted someone edgier and thought I was boring and wanted someone with facial piercings. I have gigantic glasses, wear a shit load of earthy colors, borrow my grandmother’s accessories and cry when I get my blood taken because needles terrify me. Why would someone so beautiful and interesting take him back when he (unsuccessfully I might add) tried to get in my pants for 3 months. I mean I can understand why someone as frumpy as me would be enchanted by his charms but she??? Please someone tell me where my thinking is all wrong. I’m stuck with this one.

    • NCC says:

      Hi Peanut,
      If you are new to BR, please stop, take a breath, and look through ALL of Natalie’s 1000+ posts here on Self Esteem, “Why is he with her and not me” related posts ASAP! Well all of her posts really.
      I’ve been the girl who was with someone who I knew I wasn’t their “perfect type” and was treated as less than. More than once. It’s not a fun, healthy, or worthwhile place to be. My latest ex-AC was marrid to a woman he told me was “his trophy wife, no one could believe I divorced her, she’s gorgeous…” etc etc. I NEVER felt good enough. He actually put my looks down alot, and I let that keep me down as not good enough, because that justified how i really feel about myself…not good enough. I’m 31 now, not sure how old you are, but going through this shit for 15 years, as difficult as it is and is going to be to change, I know I have to or I won’t survive. Please stop worrying about this other woman, she obviously has serious problems of her own she’s not dealing with if she takes this guy back. AS someone whos been on both ends, been left and taken back Assclowns and EUMs, it’s NOT ABOUT you trust me. He’s an opportunist who has no intentions of sticking to any kind of decision because he’s emotionally insecure and unavailable, and my guess looking to whomever will still speak to him and provide him with something if he’s an alcoholic.
      You describe yourself in your post. It all sounds like a put down of yourself. None of those things, (other than your negative associations with them) sounds like a bad thing to me. YOu have to learn to love you, if you wear your grandmas’s accessories….DO IT AND LOVE IT! Trust me when i say i am no queen of self esteem, but I want to be, and please please please take the focus off of his dumbass and CERTAINLY off of HERS! The ex’s ex wife was cruel to me and used me in her game with him and SHE NEVER EVEN MET ME. That says something about HER character, not mine. They have kids together and i was never anything but kind to her children, and did she ever bother to meet me? Don’t you think she might have cared who was spending three days a week with her kids? I’m guessing if you TRULY knew anything about this other woman other than what we PERCEIVE to be true based on looks, you wouldn’t want ANYTHING to do with her. I saw his ex and yes she was pretty, but as far as i knew, ugly on this inside. My guess is, you aren’t.

    • Mymble says:

      Peanut,
      Contrary to the explicit and subliminal messages we are constantly bombarded with, it isn’t about physical appearance. If it was, all men would marry showroom dummies, and beautiful girls would never be cheated on or dumped. You don’t know her, or how she feels. I had a boyfriend
      leave me for a girl paralysed from the waist down. So what? What does that say about me? Nothing in particular. I didnt know her and I don’t know what each saw in the other.
      Him-and-her are nothing to do with you-and-him, so let it go.

    • yoghurt says:

      peanut,

      So what if she’s beautiful and/or ‘interesting’ (although you have no proof of that – I used to work in a town where lots of people had tattoos and I can assure you that they’re no guarantee of character)? She’s just a person and she may or may not be more insecure, vulnerable, interesting, intelligent, weak, strong, morally questionable or in possession of revolting habits than you. The only thing that I CAN tell you about her is that she has crap taste in men and you’re one step ahead of her so far as that goes.

      The good news is that you can choose whether or not you believe that beautiful or charming or ‘interesting’ (or high-earning or well-born or dog-loving or light-skinned) people are worth more. I personally choose not to these days – it isn’t a logical or robust philosophy and I tend to disagree with the behaviours of those who do.

      Any cretin that thinks she’s worth more than you or that her choices ought to be better because she’s thin is not worth your time. So don’t think that yourself. You’re worth more than a relationship him because you’re a human being, and human beings shouldn’t suffer cruelty, spite and abuse. That’s all you need to know.

      if you’re both still here in 60 years time then she’ll be old and you’ll be old and the only noticeable difference in your appearances will be that she’ll have wrinkly tattoos.

    • Lochy says:

      Here’s a thought…you seem more interested in her than him. I find that if I am envious/jealous of another person (male or female) it is because I see things in them that I would like to be. The positive side of jealousy is that it can be used to spur us on to do something a little differently…or we can just let it turn is into regretful and bitter people. We do have a choice…again more good news! I’m not suggesting you imitate another person, but I’m thinking maybe there is something you admire in this woman that you never found the courage to try? It’s never too late!

      The other thing is…please, please don’t talk to yourself in such a negative way…it will make you feel worse not better. If you like your look/clothes etc. then challenge this negative critical voice with alternative views….and bugger what anyone else thinks! Yours is the only opinion that matters.

      You later posted a comment about how long it takes to feel better…I don’t think there is a right answer here but it happens a lot faster, the kinder you are to yourself :)

    • Grizelda says:

      Peanut, you’re part of the 99% on BR who insist that their exes immediately went on to get someone ‘better’. Sorry but I’m not taking ‘better’ out of quote marks because it’s only a manner of expression not necessarily a true fact. People don’t always go on to someone ‘better’. They just go on to someone else.

      You’re framing this as if she has all these wonderful qualities, yet their relationship didn’t work the first time and it’s not as if dozens of other men were ready to snap her up before she hit the floor. It doesn’t sound like she’s been busy gliding her foot gently and perfectly into myriad glass slippers offered by Mr Prince Charmings from all over the world. No, she just went back for another helping of Mr Didn’t-Work-Out. Which sort of tells me that she’s ordinary, just like everyone else.

      I promise you that NC will ease your state of mind. You will not believe how much better you will feel about yourself and the whole situation after a few months of it. Hang in there.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Peanut. Don’t know if you’ve read this post yet, but it pretty much addresses what you are talking about here…. http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/why-youve-got-to-minimise-comparison-to-improve-your-self-esteem/

    • Magnolia says:

      Peanut,

      What the heck does tall, tattooed and job have to do with self-esteem? I’m tall, thin, used to have a facial piercing and have a great job and I have struggled a lot in life. You don’t know this woman. I wouldn’t invest energy in thinking about it, because none of those status indicators says anything about what she will put up with.

      I was at the new Starbucks in my cow-and-horsey part of town yesterday and look up and who should be there but the ex of the AC that brought me to BR, the one who was always hanging around during our relationship, the one who clearly was still interested and called him when she was ‘suicidal,’ and the one who continued to see him after I broke up with his lying, mean ass.

      She is prettier and thinner and more toned than me, but that didn’t keep her from continuing to entertain the AC.

      We actually spoke. And yes, it’s petty, but I enjoyed her surprised look when she asked what I was doing in town and I said, teaching at the university. She said “I’ll give you my card,” went and got it and came back and slid it across the table almost apologetically, without saying anything to me and without looking me in the eye and left. I was going to say I don’t have a card but I didn’t get a chance. I never thought she had great self-esteem, despite how beautiful she is, and her body language with me yesterday was consistent with that.

      Turns out we are pretty much neighbors. We didn’t mention the AC once. Bizarre. But whatever. Maybe she is doing better 400 km away from his sorry butt, too, who knows.

      • runnergirl says:

        Magnolia, you ran into the exAC’s ex? Did it’s a small world start playing in your head? Sounds like you both are doing better 400km’s away from his sorry butt.

        Peanut, I hope you listen to what the others have said. I’d like to add how I admire your ability to accessorize with your grandmother’s jewelry. Not to compare but best I can do is some fake pearl earrings. I’d give anything to be able to figure out the jewelry/accessorizing phenomenon. Please don’t worry about why she may seem to be taking him back. Focus on you and why you won’t be taking him back. For all you know, she could be one of us posting on BR as to how she is caught in the FBG cycle!

  50. NCC says:

    It’s been almost two years since I met the AC, a little over a year since I found BR, and on a third attempt at NC. I’m still reeling and most days don’t know where the hell I stand. I read and re-read here every day, and every post just relates more and more to what I’ve gone through, seen, heard, put myself through, chosen to put up with and the change I want to see in myself. This post kind of feels like it sums up all the icky feelings I’ve been living with for two years and why, and how to start looking at those feelings differently and STOP judging me.
    It’s amazing how much we truly judge ourselves, and those around us. I still judge no one as harshly as I judge myself. Even today I realize how much of a people pleaser I am and after everything the AC has proved to be, I STILL feel an inkling, and “normal” desire to get closure while being “nice” to him. Saying kind things because I am afraid of saying NO.( I was taught by my father that his love and affection was quickly replaced with cruelty and animosity the minute I ever had the gall to stand my ground) , and I know that is still the little girl in me hoping if I’m nice to him, he’ll be nice back. Ha. Not going to happen.
    Speaking of being judged, something “interesting” happened to me this weekend. It wasn’t fun to experience, but I think it is a perfect opportunity to use what Natalie talks about here, and as a whole on BR. I have a friend who is GORGEOUS and whenever I am out with her, I get to witness what it’s like to live in a world where men just fall over themselves when she walks into a room. I feel like Janeane Garofalo in “The Truth about Cats and Dogs” when she walks around with Uma Thurman. We decided to stop in a local dive bar for a beer. We walk in and get a cat call instantly. As the afternoon progressed, we were aggressively approached by this guy who offered us drinks, money for the jukebox, more drinks, even after declining. I knew he was interested in my friend (even with the ring on her finger) and I instantly reverted to the not as attractive friend that he just had to be nice to (me judging me). However, when I was a bit brash, his reaction was to put me down as if I was just a loud mouth bitch. My friend however played more coy, and I felt a bit on my own. Finally, it came down to him approaching us yet again, telling my friend that she was 9 on a scale of 1-10. He then looked me up and down, stumbled on his words and said, “oh, you’re cute too, but your friend here….” I felt tears well up in my face, and I was very embarrassed. My friend politely told him, “you just blew it buddy she is the single one.” I had ABSOLUTELY no interest in this guy but I felt the sting and wanted to run and hide. It truly wasn’t ANY kind of compliment trust me, it was very insulting. I couldn’t believe the audacity of some stranger to judge me. It sucked, but I know that this person is of no value to me, and he made a complete ass of himself to everyone in the place. It just brought up many other pains and hurts I’m dealing with and it feels like a reflection yet again of all the flaws I see in myself and judge me for. Just so sick of it all. This kind of stuff may have been foreign to my friend, but it’s not to me. But again I’m trying to take the incident as just something that happened, it says nothing about my worth but certainly about that D-Bag who said it.

    • Robin says:

      That douchebag is someone to stay away from! O_o He wanted to chase your friend, even though she had a ring on her finger, and demeaned you at the same time! Holy crap. He’s not worth it.

    • Magnolia says:

      NCC, I feel you. I’ve often been that witness to my friends’ attractiveness. Sometimes the roles switch: it is all relative.

      Have you ever watched Drop Dead Diva? I started watching it as mind-numbing dross but I have frankly learned a lot from watching 3 seasons of aspiring-model-reborn-in-size-16-lawyer’s-body comedy. There is an episode where Jane, in her new large, brunette body, goes out with her model friend and the bartender gives her friend a free drink and not her (when she used to also get free drinks all the time).

      There are a bunch more moments like it in the show and I love how she handles them. Yes, it’s Hollywood and fantasy and just carrying yourself as though you are a model doesn’t make men respond to you like one but you have the right to feel as attractive as you want.

      My sister is an actress and there is one girl in their group who was/is stunning to the point of MY jaw dropping pretty much every time I saw her. It was good to see how much the other girls (all divas themselves!) supported and loved their friend who totally got more attention from men than they did.

      Now, this stunner has still not learned how to make great decisions around guys. She moved to LA, and is approaching her mid-30s not having gotten a career fully off the ground, and still gets and expects a degree of fawning from guys. Doesn’t mean she knows how to make a good thing last or even that a lot of good opportunities come her way – a lot of the guys who approach her are after a trophy or a conquest.

      I totally have felt how you do (I’m approaching 40 and still have terrible skin, what. the. eff.). That’s why I have tried to separate out social capital from my own sense of worth. It’s ridiculous for me to try to tell myself I’m higher up on the “hierarchy of appearance” that many, many people are happy to subscribe to because it works for them. If I have to wait to be a head-turner before I’m happy I’ll have to wait forever, so I’m working on feeling like a gorgeous person on the inside, trite as it may sound, cause that’s all I got.

      People who love me call me beautiful no matter what I look like anyway. I figure there are men out there who will see me through those eyes, and I will think they have excellent taste!

    • ixnay says:

      NCC,

      Please hear this: the thing that guy said to your friend and the thing he said to you are *the same thing.* The way he treated her and the way he treated you are the same. Not different.

      By the same I mean disrespectfully, aggressively, with entitlement, and with absolutely no interest in any real way in either one of you.

      His interest was not a compliment to either one of you because it was actually disguised aggression. He does not like women. He’s like those douchey, unattractive guys who say to their friend, “I wouldn’t kick her out of bed” regarding some actress so far out of their league it’s like she’s another species.

      Men like that enjoy inflicting small cruelties of judgment to retaliate for all the rejection they’ve (rightfully) earned. You notice how he told your friend she was “a 9″? She’s gonna have to work for that extra point! But if she’s really really nice he might let her make it up to him that she’s not perfect.

      This is something I realized back in the day when I was beautiful, and I wish to god all girls were taught it like gospel.

      It’s not that compliments and put-downs are 2 sides of the same coin: it’s that they are the *same activity with different content* The activity is that of objectifying and evaluating, out loud, uninvited, and intrusively, the “worth” of every woman in a certain age range who comes into view.

      And if you don’t think it’s the same, try to politely rebuff of of these guys and *immediately* “pretty eyes” becomes “stuck-up c*nt.”

      The guy you’re talking about, and this is not a metaphoric stretch, is walking around the earth holding a number on a piece of paper. He likes? The number is a 9. He doesn’t? It’s a 6. But the best game is to hold up the 9 and then flip it upside down to the 6 and watch the hurt in her eyes.

      What a pathetic, impoverished, delusional worldview.

      • Revolution says:

        You hit it out of the park, ixnay. Just hit it right on out of the park.

      • yoghurt says:

        ixnay, as I read that I felt another piece of my soul click back into place.

        Brilliant :)

      • Magnolia says:

        Ixnay that was a way better answer!

      • Mymble says:

        Ixnay
        This is so true. I was the not-so-attractive sidekick of a very pretty and vivacious girl who generated a lot of male attention wherever we went. Things like; a guy jumping over a table in a crowded bar in order to sit next to her. A guy breaking off his engagement after spending one day with her , etc etc. But I noticed that the kind of men who did these things were often aggressive “alpha” males and the rudeness they displayed to others (often me) was a hood indicator of their character. On one particularly unpleasant occasion there were three of them competing for her favours and the testosterone was running so high you could almost smell it. One of them asked me to dance and then started “playfully” pushing and hitting me -hard- on the dancefloor. I think now as an outlet for his aggression. I became the spoilsport miserable bitch when I walked off. What really hurt though was that she pretended I was making a fuss about nothing and that he didn’t mean anything, because at some level she was getting off on all the attention.
        Having that level of attractiveness does generate attention, but doesn’t get you a good relationship, and she had a fair few “relationshits” with ACs; one in particular a “recovering” alcoholic who used to periodically fall off the wagon and whilst on a binge do things like wake up in a hospital in another country with no recollection of how he got there.

      • Grizelda says:

        Ixnay I love your reasoning! I’ve just read your response twice — and I’m just going to read it through a third time for good luck!

    • courtney says:

      NCC, I am so sorry you experienced that. There are a lot of douchebags out there, but he seems like he’s on the top three list:/ What. an. effing. asshole. It sounds like he felt threatened by the fact that you weren’t buying his BS and wanted to put you down because of it.

      I know what it’s like to feel overshadowed by a friend or a sibling so on top of that it is awful to feel outrightly judged by someone who isn’t worthy of either one of you. It doesn’t matter who the f*ck he thinks he is, the problem is who he really is: an ugly mofo who puts down women he doesn’t even know and has no class. Did he really think he was going to get with your friend by putting another woman down? Moreover, who the HELL is he? I’ve also had a similar experience in a guy yelling at me because I was trying to assert my boundaries for both me and my friend when he approached us and tried to invade our space. As you said, he perceived me as the loudmouth and decided he was going to put me down because I explicitly expressed disinterest and called him out on his bullshit.

      It hurts, it stings, but you have the right attitude towards it and you’re going to use this experience to feel even more gorgeous because you DESERVE to feel that way, because you ARE beautiful and you also have to accept and appreciate your own beauty. And, to be honest, if it does make you feel uncomfortable to be with your friend around places like bars/clubs, it might be a good idea to not go to those places often with her — I’ve experienced what that’s like, the other person getting all the attention and you’re ignored completely multiple times and if you feel you’re too vulnerable to those incidents, it might be a good idea to do it with other people too (just for the purpose of self-care. In no way am I suggesting that it’s your fault or that you have to change the places you go to to accommodate the assholes in the world or let them stop you from enjoying yourself or your friendship with your friend).

      On a more general note, as Magnolia said, sometimes the roles switch and you’re on the other side, getting all the attention while the other friend feels left out. So, during those times, you can use that insight to also be considerate towards your friends who may feel the same way about you.

      Otherwise, I am really sorry you had that experience. You didn’t deserve that and you deserve to feel as gorgeous as you really are, not attacked by some weird asshole who felt threatened by you. Hugs!!!

    • Skadia says:

      NCC, I used to model and I think all of these responses are VERY good AND very realistic. Ixnay’s is probably the best overall and takes a good look at the other half of the equation. I know that we can all encourage you until we’re blue in the face but it’s really awesome that ixnay could so brilliantly articulate WHY he would say something like that and WHY it is so wrong. I hope you take those words to heart. I still struggle with remnants of modeling – instead of why am I not good enough, i have thoughts like if i hadn’t gotten fat, when i get back to my ideal weight (which is insanely small) he will want me again. My grandmother used to tell me , be gentle with others, you have no idea what battles they are fighting. Different isn’t always BETTER.

      Love and Light
      Skadia

  51. Peanut says:

    Also, does anybody know how much work we have to do before we feel good enough? Because I’m tired.

    • Lochy says:

      Hi Peanut – sorry I misread your question when I posted on your last comment.

      How much work to feel good enough? It’s a tricky business because you are already good enough…the work is about finding a way to see and truly understand that. Take a little breather if you’re tired…that’s allowed ;)Many a time I’ve gotten sick of all this ‘work’ and had a massive sleep fest. It’s a tiring business but does get better…be kind to yourself and then carry on!

      • Peanut says:

        Lochy, for some reason I can’t see any previous comments other than my last. I am seeing self esteem is a process and that I don’t get to have just one cry and then get to be all better forever. It takes time sometimes. Maybe all the time? Not sure.

    • Magnolia says:

      Peanut,

      I feel like after 10 years of one-on-one therapy that didn’t much work, it has taken 5 years of work on the right things to get where I am, and two of those are BR years that have perhaps been the most important. And as those who know me from BR can tell, I still have some hard-core self-loathing episodes, but these are less and less frequent and my confidence more and more the “normal” zone.

      Depression and self-doubt used to be my normal, with only glimpses of positivity or fantasy/dreaminess. Now I feel that confidence and a kind of boring steadiness (thank god) are my normal and that the down episodes are my “out-of-balance.”

      You will feel tired. And if you’re like me, you may feel super angry and jealous as you begin to understand what self-confidence is and realize why you haven’t had it and how it may have been taken from you or crushed in you, and how others have perhaps been lucky and have had self-esteem. You may resent having to work for what others have not had to work for.

      But it is WORTH it. And only you can give you what you deserve. You don’t have to suddenly wake up one day feeling good enough, you just have to make sure that each day involves one or two moments of doing something that helps you feel good about yourself, and the more you do it, the better you’ll feel.

      And soon you won’t feel tired at the thought of improving self-esteem anymore. You’ll have it.

      • Peanut says:

        Magnolia,

        I figured it out. I checked up on the ex’s ex on facebook because I was avoiding some deep pain. After work, I had to pull over because I was hysterically crying over my mom’s suicide some years back. I’ve blamed myself.

      • Lethu says:

        I loved your comment. I’ve often felt how you used to feel, where my norm is the depression and self-doubt, whilst every now and then I get glimpses of happiness. I’ve been working on myself a lot this year and I feel pretty positive about 70% of the time now. I also used to go for therapy, and it helped a bit, but most of the help came through blogs like this one.

    • anna says:

      Peanut… You ARE good enough… Just as you are… bless you!

  52. Nicola says:

    I invited 17 people from work to my 40th birthday and only 1 is coming! How can I not take that personally????I am trying not to but it’s very hard!

    • Kriss says:

      Work friendships are different. Lots of people don’t want to socialise outside working hours or have other commitments.

      Maybe a lunchtime would be better if you still feel like arranging something?

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Nicola, have you ever been invited to something and not gone??? I have and if wasn’t because of the person. Most times people don’t want to be bothered or they are tired or they don’t like the other people that are invited or they have a fear of people or social phobias or _____, fill in your own. My sister threw a 40th birthday party years ago for her husband and invited his college buddies. None of them came. It’s not an indication of your worth, it’s an indication of their character.

      • recoveringloveaddict says:

        In my case, I didn’t go because i didn’t know 95% of the people who were going to be there.

    • Peanut says:

      Nicola,
      Truth is I would take it personally too. Because, quite frankly shit like that hurts. A lot. But, that said, it isn’t intertwined with your worth as a human being. The equation rejection=less human worth, does not uphold.

      And, yes, work people are different. I was crushed when I realized no one at work gave two shits about my music or art career. I mean they really could care less. And it really stung when I realized my boss couldn’t be more annoyed with my personal life creeping up at work. HA! Quite literally, as the unavailable ex came to see me at work once and indeed acted like a real creeper. Onwards I know this stuff is tough and man to I feel for you. Hugs….and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  53. Erika says:

    Natalie,

    I just stumbled across your site because I Googled “how to keep busy to avoid contacting your ex” (pathetic, I know) and in short, you’ve saved the day for me. Possibly my future also. Your posts are brilliant. Your advice is so truthful and makes so much sense, I found myself wondering how these things haven’t registered in my mind already. It’s only been about 2 weeks since my ex and I ended things and I moved out of our place so it hasn’t been easy, but reading some of your posts have made me realize a few very important things that have already helped me to feel like my old, independent self again – but even better. I just want to extend a genuine thanks to you for doing what you do. It gives hope and light to those out there who are feeling lost. You’re great. Can’t wait to get into your books!

    • Lethu says:

      Haha you’re not pathetic. It’s taking me every bit of self control to not contact my ex, especially since my anger has subsided.

  54. anna says:

    not being about judging seems to contradict with they’re not that special emphasis… I like to think everybody’s special in their own way… even a’holes:))… just try not to waste time on self absorbed peeps… spot them coming and don’t make a date with one… or at least, once you realise, get out as soon as poss…

  55. Lollie says:

    it’s amazing how things come into your life, just as you need them. I came upon this fantastic site just at the right time, and it has helped me from coming too involved in an emotionally unavailable male.

    I tried to do the no contact thing after we ended our brief but intense thing. It didn’t work out very well as I am terrible at sticking to my decisions, and I really did want him as a friend in my life. He treats me so well as a friend but horribly when we were hooking up. Usually I would turn this all into ‘why am I not good enough” & ‘what’s wrong with me’ & “i’m clearly a fat, ugly, pathetic, eternally single fool’ but this time around, thanks to the regular, insightful blog posts, I have been able to get to a place where I realise that it’s not all about me.

    I take responsibility for my actions but I recognise what is his stuff, as separate from me. I really do love the guy but now as a friend. I see that he does not have the qualities I want in a boyfriend and that I dissolve my boundaries when I meet a guy, due to my huge fear of rejection & abandonment.

    I am working through those fears in therapy and I realise that I do not need to keep allowing these fears to have such a huge hold on me, in most aspects of my life.

    It’s really hard, and sometimes it’s lonely and I feel like giving up, but I have to say, that by deciding to put me first and look after my own needs and keep with my own values, I am learning to believe that I am good enough as I am, that I deserve to be loved, that I already am loved and that I have to tend to my own needs first before I can really let anyone in.

    I can be hurt by others, and by myself, but I choose to suffer in situations. And at the moment, I choose not to suffer but to learn from these situations,and to give myself the compassion that I give wholeheartedly to others. In short, I choose to love myself in the way that I have always wanted a man to love me, accepting my flaws alongside cherishing my lovely qualities.

  56. Dharma says:

    I have to say thank you for this piece. Today was tough. I thought I would have kicked this feeling yesterday. I went to my priest today and then I went to the psychologist today who told me that yep, I may need to try the meds. I appreciate the post because I have been contemplating revenge. I fully agree that when we don’t take ‘knock-backs’ very well, our vision can get a bit blurry. YES! It does become “This person has to be interested in me because I don’t take rejection well.” Perhaps because I have never been rejected before..

    I realized that I was attracted to the AC based on valued judgments I was making about him. This was purely and shamefully based on him being white (nothing wrong with him being white but I was shamefully objectifying him based on color and I was curious) and he is accomplished. Now that I have said the reason aloud, I do feel like a worshipper AND like I have been smoking crack. I realize that I didn’t really know this guy. Come to think of it, he didn’t invest any time in getting to know me. He offered a lot of future faking and here I am loosing my mind over him. Really!? Was I really rejected? Nope, The issue is not in any perceived inadequacies on my part. I shouldn’t even be concerned with his reasons. I have however learned that I am bot ready to date. I’m going to take a break from dating and work on my self esteem. I’m going to read every single post and read Nat’s books. This combined with counseling, I figure I’ll be good and ready for a relationship in 2 years.

  57. Wise ol owl says:

    Good Lord Grizelda, you are great! Rejection from someone who gives all the signs of being interested have hurt me the most. When the excitement and butterflies are replaced with a gnawing sense of dread, and then realizing if I dont make first contact, there’s nothing…well, it just stings. I go NC because I can’t bear to get a short reply, even if it’s happy and filled with exclamation points. That’s just a shitty game some guys play. What Ive learned from BR is to cut my losses WAY sooner than I used to do. I don’t think of it as something I’ve done wrong anymore, because I know that’s not true. Grizelda is right, they don’t usually go on to something better, they just go on and do the same thing with someone else. My mom says, “these are character flaws in them, not you.” It’s not that I fault them for not wanting to date me, it’s the whole way they operate that gets me. Just be honest and say if you are already seeing someone. He tells me he has an “other” but not a “significant other”—what a lucky gal! Those words are to what..? give me hope? No thanks, I never want to be someone’s (insignificant) other! 2013 is still young, wishing you all the best in it!?

  58. Tired says:

    I had somthing hapen recently . I was away with friends and one of them a lovely lady ( strong) said that one of the blokes in our social circle thought i was a man hater . Ive been seperated two years and not dated in our social circle . Arsehole was from diff one . I said ” that old chestnut im either a man hater or gay then” and it wound me up . Because i choose not to date or except any old offer . I said i bet i can imagine them discussing it ” old tired man hater wouldnt go out with me . I have turned down one or two because of theur big red flags . Ones a mean drunk the other a control freak , the rest knicker sniffers . We then went to a do were one ac said wheres your friend , my best friend who was awY . He said ” oh theres a rumour you two are Man haters .Maybe because im stronger or just angry at mo the old me would have laughed it off , but i thought you wouldnt speak to any one eles like that so i said ” are you surprised with whats on offer in our social circle ?” . My friend said i was being to pricklly i said no some people can show me sum respect . I said this is the ac that chased you and did the dirties and then said its our little secret . He then later tried to be all pally . I turned to my friend and said see ? . You sleep abouut id be a slag , i dont and im a manhater etc . Id like to say not all in my social circle are like that just a few its a vast circle of good people .

  59. Tired says:

    I did then wonder if i came across that way? I felt i couldnt win , i remember once putting up some pics of gerard butler ony mates fb wall for a laugh and a bloke in my club said ” oh for hod sake someone find tired a bloke shes desperate ” my friend told him off and removed comment . Made me feel like a right deseperate person over two pics . I was to scared to post anything after that . Now i dont give a flying f**k . It really doesnt pay to be a people pleaser .

    • jewells says:

      Tired, that whole thing with the guy and the ‘man hater’ crap, is just that, crap. He hates women, that’s what his statement is about, he did the dirty on your friend, you won’t let him do it to you, so he’ll try another angle. I would stay away from that cockroach and dismiss anything he has to say, and good for you with your accurate retort of ‘can you blame me with what’s on offer’. These asses don’t like strong women, so they are trying to cut you down. They are toxic and to be avoided where possible, if you can’t avoid, keep up the good work with throwing it back in their face, if they can’t win, they will eventually sulk off. Oh, and for the woman who repeated their crap to you, be wary, why would she tell you this unless she herself wanted to get a rise, or was stupid enough to believe that information was worthy of passing on…I’d review this social circle and it’s value to you.

  60. Tired says:

    I agree on the aloof thing . I used to be very aloof and it prob did save me from ac . I dropped it and got caught . Maybe its finding a happy medium ? Aloof but friendly ?

    • Lilia says:

      Aloof but friendly? I´m trying to imagine what that would be like. Nicole Kidman springs to mind.

      • tired says:

        Yes thats a good choice . Being aloof is not a bad thing but it can make you unaproachable. I think its a matter if cool but friendly with ac alert or random nutter magnet as my friend says on high radar lol

        • jewells says:

          I think I’ve been aloof in self protection. Unfortunately it works against in so many other ways. The BR education I’ve been getting should remedy this. I’m looking forward to being more open and friendly and weeding out the bad eggs as I find them and I know that will give me a better chance at finding a decent guy. The way I’ve been doing things certainly hasn’t worked, time to try something new :) At the very least I’ll be leading a happier life regardless of whether I find someone to share it with or not.

  61. Tired says:

    Peanut
    Dont , dont , dont compare yourself . Its pointless and you will just tie yourself up in knots . It is true they dontmove on to somthing better just someone eles . I tied myself up in knots and felt crap . Its not changed one thing. Im just finding out who i am again its a start to feel comfatable in youre own skin . You should to . I never did or got yhe chance to . Now i am . I heard through grapevine that the ex mm who went with ow is still miserable in his day job . Hes still stuck there . And it made me smile because i realised he changed the people around him and hes still not happy . Its because hes got to change himself and that will never happen . That made me double realise its him not me ! Right im off to bed as i woke up with night sweats and thats another thing about me i got to sort out . Be you and be happy :)

    • Peanut says:

      Tired,
      “It is true they dontmove on to somthing better just someone eles.” Ahhh, yes, he moved on so quickly bad to her, I had to question was the real motive her or just a warm body to get him over the pain I had to experience alone. The way he talked about her to me (red flag) was as if he didn’t even like her. Weird. I need to focus on me. I have this obsession with comparing myself to other females. I don’t know how to stop, other than I guess, just stop. Haha. I get hot flashes and I’m in my twenties! It’s all the sugar and wheat I eat :(

  62. McKenzieM says:

    So, I am now 15 days into NC. To be honest, I have surprised myself at not contacting him. I honestly think he is surprised, too. He tried to get my attention again yesterday via social media, but I did not respond. I must say I find myself wondering what he’s up to or if he misses me, but then I remember the crap he’s done and that I need to be focusing on ME and not him.

    I have been working on building my self-esteem during this time that I’ve been NC by cutting ties with other people in my life that are toxic to me — including some family members. I am now surrounding myself with POSITIVE, AFFIRMING people who see and remind me of my worth when I’m not seeing/feeling it. Not that they’re kissing my ass constantly or anything, more like just being good, supportive friends. Being what FRIENDS should be. (I hope that made sense). Anyway, it’s really helping me, and I thought I’d share this in case anyone else is looking for ideas on how to start “knowing their worth.”

  63. Sm says:

    Lovely video Natalie. I wished I had watched it this weekend. It would have really helped me in a recent situation I’ve had.

  64. Tinkerbell says:

    McKenzie. Good for you. Surrounding yourself with healthy friendships and POSITIVE people helps a lot to bolster up your self esteem. Kick out the naysayers, sour pusses and jealous, mean characters that could not care less about you. You’re on your way. Good luck and Godspeed.

  65. espresso says:

    I don’t know if this makes sense but I am taking this to a whole new level by interpreting the fact that I am certain my options for a post separation relationship (I am an older woman and I know that men my age are either losers or “prefer” to be with women 10-15 years younger) are miserable. I am filled with resentment thinking about how my ex will have women just falling all over him (he is pretty presentable and a decent guy although definitely emotionally underdeveloped and very EU). Whereas I who put a LOT into this relationship in terms of wanting to make it work and am good material will have….nothing except perhaps a few losers if I choose to do something like online dating which is not an option. So here is the thing. I have interpreted these realities as being all about ME being undesirable, even though I am “slim, attractive, well-dressed, interesting, active” blah blah blah – I see myself as having to construct my life alone despite what well-meaning friends tell me. There are SO many really great women out there like me! So why am I internalizing this to say to myself IF you really were lovable you would have men falling all over you? What is it with that?
    It has been hard for me to get out of this downward spiral of feelings about my future. It is not even that I WANT a new relationship but would like the “option” if it ever arose. It really really upsets me to think of how “easy” it will be for my ex to make that happen if he wants to. I am in a bad space about this and am having trouble getting out of it.

    • Laurie says:

      Espresso,
      Unfortunately, I think we often create realities for ourselves that aren’t, well…real. My *adoptive* parents (not officially, but they’ve taken me to be their own :) ) met each other in their mid-50s, and my therapist found his wife in their forties. The first couple came from horrible previous marriages, and the second couple had never been married before. From what I observed, both sets of couples have the healthiest relationships that I have ever seen.

      One of my friends is engaged to a man 12 years older than her. The only reason it works is because his maturity level matches hers. Actually, I think hers exceeds his a bit. I’m not sure why anyone in hell would envy that relationship. The guy is a total loser and she is closed off emotionally. I know some people are able to make relationships work with a wide-age gap, but personally, the idea of being with a man 10-15 years my senior is a total turn-off. Most of my friends feel the same way. You seem to have this idea that young, gorgeous women are going to be throwing themselves at your exes feet. I’d like to (respectfully) call bull on that. Even if that were true, what kind of relationship can you have with an emotionally stunted man? I think we ALL know the answer to that. His situation is depressing. I wouldn’t envy him or the FBG he ends up with.

      I know what it’s like to engage in fantasy nightmare making. I remember my ex-fiance didn’t invite me to his birthday party because he was afraid I’d make a scene (what. the. hell) In my mind he was surrounded by gorgeous women, interesting people, and having the time of his life. Instead he was spending his 30th birthday sipping coffee with a woman 30 years HIS senior. She was the only person who showed up. Fantasy-making in any form is emotionally dangerous, and usually not even close to the truth.

    • Mymble says:

      Expresso
      That bothers me too. Dating isn’t an option for me at present as my husband is still in the house but we are legally separated and at some point hopefully soon he will leave. I do wonder what my future holds and do not feel especially optimistic. The MM i was involved with is separated and living apart and I am aware that he will have A LOT of options, as he is attractive, well off, and a high status job – in which he does meet a lot of women.
      Where I work there are single men and single women in my age bracket but the single men are either gay, asexual (no interest at all in women) or undateable – poor self-care, heavy drinkersetc and have never had a relationship. The women in contrast are great – attractive, fit,healthy and sociable. They have all come out of long marriages/relationships through divorce or being widowed. (the widows lost their same age partners in their 40s!) I think I might consider online, because I rarely meet eligible guys and added to that have young children so it’s difficult for me to get out and about so much.
      Also, I think it might BR good for me just to “practice” the social skills involved in going on a date with a man, so that if and when I do meet someone I feel interested in I won’t be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.
      What my therapist said (not about this particular issue) was, how do you know what will happen? You don’t. Statistics, what happened to friends, what you read in magazines, none of them are predictors of your future.
      You sound still very focused on your ex and maybe when you are more detached from him you will see yourself – and the available men around you – in a more positive way.

      • yoghurt says:

        mymble and lauren – I know your replies were to espresso but I found them really helpful – thank you.

        I’m also a bit stuck in this particular hole and my predicted future looks rather dull and samey (on the grounds that I can only imagine it being like the present). So both of your responses have given me something to think about.

        espresso – I don’t know if it helps, but every so often I imagine how the present would look from a future where I have the things in my life that I tend towards thinking would make me happy – like a relationship and stability and so on. If you take away the worry and fear about Being Alone And Feeling Rejected Forever, my life is actually pretty good and pleasant, and I’m sure that I will look back with fondness at a lot of the things I take for granted now (eg free time, space to be creative, son being two etc).

        The other day I caught myself feeling nostalgic for the days when son was tiny. Even though that was officially the Blackest Time In My History (or seemed it) there were things about it that I miss now – quite small ones, like the route I used to drive into work and nattering to a colleague who’s since left, things like that. But I miss them and it makes me wonder how many nice missable things I’m failing to notice now while I’m cringing at the thought of life continuing like this for the next twenty years.

        I know that it’s difficult when everything is so transitional and stressful and scary, but remember that everything changes all the time and that this point holds things that are just as unique and precious and good as they would be if you were in a happy relationship. Don’t let the past or the (possible) future suck all of the joy out of the present.

      • Teddie says:

        Not sure about the statistics-bit, just now finished “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert, which is not really about happiness but about thinking quirks, and the take-away at the end of the book is “The best way to predict our feelings tomorrow is to see how others are feeling today… because if you are like most people, then like most people, you don’t know that you are like most people. Science has given us a lot of facts about the average person, and one of the most reliable of these facts is that the average person doesn’t see herself as average.”
        There is power in the baseline!

        • Mymble says:

          Teddie
          One of the interesting things about this site, as well as natalies insightful comments and advice, is that so many people go through similar experiences with ACs, EUMs, MMs, which to them seem unique. The behaviour patterns and even the scripts repeat, over and over. The useful thing about knowing this is understanding, from other peoples experience, where a “relationship” is heading and what the outcomes are likely to be. Still, I believe it is a big mistake to believe that “my friend finds it difficult to form a relationship, we are the same age and therefore it will be impossible for me too”. What I do notice is that many of the 40/50 something single women aren’t actually looking for a partner, and one or two actually say they don’t want one. It may be, after my situation is resolved, that I will feel that way too. But I believe that if I really want a partner and am willing to extend myself, it will be possible.

  66. Sass says:

    Perfect timing for this article.

    About a fortnight ago I got stood up to a movie date.

    I’m embarrased to say I did make it about myself initially ie what deficits did I have that would make him want to stand me up? It hurt cos I’m so cautious when it comes to dating anyway and to be stood up on my first re: foray back into dating kinda sucked.

    Then I realized that its not about me, this guy has been a bit hot and cold in persuinh me and in the end just didn’t have enough interest in me (or any sort of decency) to have the courage to say – I’m not interested in seeing you anymore.

    So now I’m reminding myself that it is his loss and am not willing to consider dating him again, regardless of his excuse.

  67. simple pleasures says:

    Espresso, and to all of us older ladies here…you say, “I have interpreted these realities as being all about me being undesirable”….even though (on the surface I am
    physically attractive and appealing)…I must construct myself alone. Yes, this is what we must do in aging with or without a significant other. We all die alone, perhaps with some support from family or significant other. We must define what is the meaning of our life to face death with dignity either alone or with support. My mother was widowed at 70, went to church and remarried at 75. (well, she was trim, active, lovely had something to offer and HAD SELF ESTEEM). At 75 she wanted another until death we do part partner. He was 71 a widow and they had about 14 more pleasant partnership/friendship years together. She looked great for a 70 year old. That’s not the point. Find out what is the meaning of life to you, what is your personal passion and interests in life. Everything else will fall into place. Ladies and gents, it has nothing to to do with appearance, profession,age, how many kids you have, the baggage you carry, the heartache you had in your youth, marriages 1, 2 or 3, it’s about your values, morals, humanity
    it is about what you feel is the meaning of your life.

  68. Miss Chell says:

    Back again. This has become my safe place for when it falls apart again. When my fingers itch to send that ‘last’ email/text – the one when you list everything you think is wrong. The only good thing is I now know it won’t give me the outcome I would want it to. No contact again. Thank you for all your lessons I wish I could work out why I am stuck in this groundhog day though! Ladies if you can help me please do. I met another seemingly nice guy on match.com. yet while we have met up 5-6 times the majority of comms are text and pretty much limited. He is a gentleman when we are together polite, interested but not overly forward. Yet my gut tells me he just isn’t that interested and the lack of comms and forward planning do nothing to persuade me otherwise. I keep getting this and its getting hard not to when pointing the finger at them look back where the other three are pointing… yes at me. I might not be that powerful and they may not be worth it. yet really can one person be that unlucky or am I sabotaging myself in someway. I only want someone to share my life with. I have a good life stable family good friends. I have been blessed I would just not like to spend it alone I would like a partner to build something with. I just keep finding this fakery this half arsed effort. The fizzle out within a few weeks. The lazy comms the phone phantoms. I am starting to think that most guys no longer want a person but a contact list full of easy shags… I don’t want to be bitter but I am starting to really feel it right now.

    • jewells says:

      Miss Chell, don’t give up. Get mad and bitter about those specific types of limp willy bores. Don’t put all your eggs in each basket of man you date. Date a slew, don’t sleep with them, but keep moving and don’t put any emphasis on ANY of them till one does actually outshine. There are more undesirables out there as they stay in the dating pool longer and the good ones get snatched up and rarely return to the pool. You have the BR education now to know what you are dealing with, so use it, but maybe the BR education in a way has got you down cause now it’s easier to see the pond scum than ever before and it doesn’t look good out there. Don’t despair, we’re all in the same boat. All we can do now is use this education, love our lives, live our lives and be happy with or without a partner.

      • Allison says:

        Jewells,

        I don’t understand getting mad and bitter, as nothing positive comes from that.

        What we need to do, is move on quickly when we see that something is not progressing.

  69. miskwa says:

    Mymble and Espresso: yep, I am in much the same boat. Most of the women at our campuses are highly educated, take great care of ourselves, and the men around us are none of these things plus have severe issues with substance abuse, violent behavior. I get tremendous pressure to settle for one of these gems from colleagues, become essentially a sugar momma to someone who cannot give anything in return. dont know whats happening to all those retired doctors/ professors/ etc. from the major urban/ suburban metastasis down the hill. maybe theyre all heading to Arizona to wallow in heat, comfort, and excessive convenience. I wind up being terribly lonely as I lack family ties and non work close friends, the latter a sad fact of dealing with years of displacement/trauma/poverty before I came here. I know what a good relationship looks and feels like because that is what I had when married and refuse to settle for less than which is like being alone without the freedom. At this point I avoid the local older dudes entirely, even if it means hurting my back trying to lift stuff I shouldnt, dont want creepy problems on my doorstep. Ive pretty much given up on meeting anyone till I can retire and sell out. This is why the issue with the at work AC was sooo devastating, I understood that there were no more options for me for a loong time. After two years it seems I was right. A previous poster had mentioned starting up our own state with folk that take care of themselves and are functional; a damned good idea.

  70. espresso says:

    Thank you to everyone (laurie, sp, yoghurt, mymble and miskwa – hope I haven’t forgotten anyone) who made comments on my post about feeling lost, resentful, not being focused on reality and making my own life. Somehow I have wandered off the path.

    Every single comment was really helpful and everyone had a different perspective. Amazing women of BR!

    Mymble – I think we are in similar situations where we are still house-sharing. I am interested also in hearing from women who have left longer term marriages (20 or more years). I feel like I am deconstructing a village here.

  71. Brighterside says:

    I have been divorced for roughly 3 years now, out of a relationship with an EUM for nearly 2 years (met him while I was going through my divorce – looking back – so not ready to date), & in my current healthy relationship with my boyfriend for nearly 1 1/2 years now. I was led to BR during a search on “boyfriend running hot and cold” when I was dating the ex EUM & during one of our many breakups. I was not ready to end things with him at that time as I was convinced I was in love with him & could not live without him. After he broke up with me (first time ever dumped at 35 lol) I did a search on how to handle a breakup – I think it was that. Lo and behold I was led to BR again. I have been here ever since. I am so grateful to have Natalie as a guide on my journey towards becoming a better me – Well on my way I am so happy to say! First time posting but I feel I know most of you very well. I would like to say – There are some fantastic writers here & you all make me laugh and learn on a daily basis & I thank all you for that as well! I just want all you ladies (and the few gentlemen that are here) to really feel and congratulate yourself on your progress & even more so understand that just having the courage to change in the first place is something to be proud of as well! It is not easy to face your fears, love yourself despite your flaws, reject the need to be “perfect”, and step outside & do things you have never done before (like put yourself first & have boundaries) Thank you for creating & opearting this site Natalie. You are an inspiration to me daily. If I had to choose one thing to keep (only one thing lol) on the Internet – It would be your site – Hands down. Thank you!

  72. Spinster says:

    This has been a difficult habit for me to break. I’ve gotten a hell of a lot better, but it’s still quite ingrained in me. I know that it’s because of remnants of my childhood; constant self-talk has helped me to deal with it better than before.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  73. Tinkerbell says:

    Espresso. Do not think that ALL older men are only interested in someone 10-15 ears older, thereby severely limiting your chances of finding true love. I’m probably the oldest person on this entire blog. My bf is 8 years older than me. I thought when I was deeply into being EU that I could only be interested in a younger man. The ex MM was 12 years younger. We had a rousing good time sexually (this is embarrassing to say), but that was ALL THERE WAS. I was so empty and full of sadness and desperation, wanting him all the time which, of course, made me a very needy woman. Now, I have a wonderful MAN. He is not looking for a young chippy, or even someone younger than I am because he wants a grounded mature relationship that has a future, and not built on frivolousness. He is just as youthful as I am, physically very healthy, exercising daily, very highly intelligent but very down to earth. He is a “southern gentleman” and treats me in the manner that I deserve. But most important, we share care, respect, honesty and love. There is NO DECEPTION because we want this to continue to be as great as it is. I’m telling you this so that you can start believing it is possible. My best friend got remarried after 30 yrs alone after divorce. She was 62! And he is 3-5 years older than she is. Think positive and allow that positivity to shine through. I firmly believe now that you extract from the universe what you send out. If that sounds too Pollyanna-ish to you, I’m sorry. That’s a part of the new me.

    • Revolution says:

      Tinkerbell,

      What a warm and thoughtful comment. Though not directed toward me, I REALLY needed to read your words. I want to make you a cup of tea and bake you a loaf of bread. :)But since this is all “virtual”, here’s a big hug from me: ((HUGS Tink))

  74. Tinkerbell says:

    Simple Pleasures. Your comments are spot on. Exactly what I’m talking about.

    Espresso. Just wanted to add that my girlfriend also is very healthy,strong, positive, well educated, very outgoing with a great sense of humor (always ready to laugh about something). She does not know what depression or insecurity looks like, being one of those individuals who has never experienced it- not visibly, anyway. She is also a devout Christian and married a minister. What could have been more perfect? And they are very happy. This gives me hope.

  75. CraftyGirl says:

    Hi all. My friend introduced me to this website, and I’ve been on it every day ever since! I just read Lollie’s post and it resonated with me. I especially liked her phrase about “dissolving her boundaries” – something I regularly do with this married man I am hopelessly in love with at work. We have been good friends for about three years now, and I have subsisted on this “relationship” to the detriment of all my other ones. Basically he is the yardstick I measure all the available men I meet by, and none of them have come up to his standard. Stupid really, he has told me that if he were single, he would marry me but that nothing can happen between us. So I have to take my part in this, he has told me categorically that he can’t be anything more than a friend to me and can’t leave his wife (not that I want him to, but I still want him – pathetic eh?. The killer blow is that he has told me that he is going to retire in about 5 months time and will be leaving work for good. Devastated isn’t the word for the way I felt. Now I am treading water, afraid of drowning in my feelings for him. We met up for lunch in the half term school holiday last week and he said that maybe it wasn’t a good thing for us to keep meeting and that we should not have any contact text/email/phone/meetings for two weeks. I am only on day 4 and it has been a real struggle. The truth is though that if i leave it for 2 weeks and then go back to my same old behaviour, what was the point? I need to build my self esteem without him … just wish I knew where to start. Anyway, thanks for “listening” to me – I think all you guys out there fight battles every day and come out stronger. I admire you all! And lastly perhaps the biggest thanks must go to Natalie for setting up this fantastic site. Thanks x

    • Newbie says:

      Hi CraftyGirl,
      I am new to this site as well and am just today 2 weeks NC. Your situation sounds tough. Love is hard to come down from, even when you know you have to. I wish you luck getting to two weeks. I printed myself out a little calendar to check off the days with a reward at the end for getting to two weeks and that helped. It has still been difficult, but already getting a bit easier. I doubt I will ever fully be over my guy but that’s ok, so long as I don’t feel as sad as I do now. And one thing I’ve come to realize about going NC is that you can still send love (and feel love)from afar. But for me it was getting to the point where anymore contact on my part would have been embarrassing and for me that would have been worse than just NC because then I would have had NC plus embarrassment in front of him to deal with. At least, it sounds like, you are at the stage where you can keep your chin up because he clearly loves you/has feelings for you. One of the things I put on my NC chart was that my rewards for getting to 2 weeks were going to be a little prize that I wanted as well as knowing that I hadn’t done anything stupider (and that he is maybe? missing me back) Good luck

  76. Newbie says:

    Hi ladies (and gents),
    Just wanted to post to report that I am 2 weeks NC!! Feels good to make it to that landmark but of course also mixed because I miss him. Wish me luck, I am going for a month as my next goal. Hoping it gets easier. Wishing he was chasing me, but (un)fortunately he seems to be going NC on me too. Anyone have any tips for speeding up the grieving process here and letting go? I find evenings are particularly difficult as I start to ruminate and get nostalgic when I am feeling tired.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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