Why her/him and not me?

When we make other people’s behaviour about us, we not only end up distorting our own perspective but we also don’t see the wood for the trees. I often hear from men and women who when they’re stuck on a particular ex or even feeling territorial about all of their exes, they wonder, Why him/her [the new partner(s)] and not me? What’s wrong with me?

In these situations we forget that they’ve been with several people so there are several people who could be wondering exactly the same thing. Bearing in mind that we can get stuck on the why with regard to relationship prospects that didn’t come to fruition due to our feelings not being reciprocated, never mind the people we actually had something with, and it’s easy to see how we can get completely carried away with this distorted thinking if we don’t rein our egos in.

Even if we were the first person to be with our now ex and they’ve been with a few more people since, that’s a few more people that it didn’t work out with. Fact. Why do we do ourselves the disservice of casting our exes in The Perfect Life fairytale when they themselves will not regard their own life as such… even if they pretend that it is on Facebook…

We’re ex#1 and wondering, for instance, why they were with ex#2, 3 and 4 and are feeling jealous that they are currently with #5 and then agonising over what they could possibly have that we don’t. We might even take it as an additional insult that it hasn’t worked out with 2-4 and yet they haven’t come back to us, or that we’re the rainy day option that they fall back on between relationships but then they move onto the next ‘future ex’, likely slipping in some reminder about why it hasn’t worked out with us again while still ensuring that they keep a foothold in our life so that they can fall back on us, again. We’re so busy giving ourselves a hard time over these ‘amazing future’ exes and this better relationship that we feel entitled to with them, that we’re only too willing to hang around.

It’s the, I know you think that you can do better but when you find out that you can’t, I’ll be right here waiting for you attitude.

We’re wondering what’s wrong with us and unfairly judging ourselves against these people and for all we know, those same exes are judging themselves against us and/or wondering what’s wrong with them. We’re acting like there’s something deeply flawed within us as if to suggest that if we’d been “good enough” or even perfect enough, that they would not have even had to shop or dabble elsewhere – we have an I Must Get It Right First Time mentality but we’re also under the very mistaken impression that it’s another person that makes a person, so if we’d been able to change them or we’d been ‘good enough’ in the first place, then there wouldn’t have been the issues that we’re now conveniently forgetting while being focused on our ‘flaws’.

When we’re one of several relationships they’ve had, again, wondering why these people and not us and scalping ourselves with comparison, rewrites history and makes everything about us, when there are exes before and after us. Not everything is about us! Isn’t it just a tad too much to take it to our hearts, minds, and ego that an ex is forever more using us as a benchmark to make all of their dating and relationship decisions on? Imagine dating someone in the early 2000′s and now, here in 2014, they’re in a new relationship and when they think about what they do and don’t want, they step into their proverbial time machine and skip over all of the time that’s elapsed since then and go straight to their involvement with us and go, Yep, this one’s definitely not like him/her.

We’re only imagining that our so-called flaws or our involvement with them is at the forefront of their mind because we’re still stuck on the hurt and perceived rejection that we’ve been clobbering ourselves with ever since. It’s us benchmarking us. We imagine that they’re doing it because it’s what we’re doing in our own relationships whether we realise it or not.

Imagine that we’re ex#7 – if we’re feeling this way, how are 1-6 supposed to feel? Less than worthless? How many exes beyond us would it take to realise that it’s not about us? #9, #15, #20? What would it be? How much ‘proof’ do we need?

Also, when we’re wondering, Why them and not me?, does this mean that all of our exes should be losing sleep over each other?

People say to me, ‘What’s wrong with me? He/she broke up with me X amount of years ago and has been married X times since. I don’t get it. They didn’t want to marry me.’ HE-LLO! They’ve been married however many times since! How much does our ego really need to say that we were one of the people that someone chose to get married to? As I pointed out to a reader, she needed to take her pick: Be one of four ex wives or be spared from that reality. Her fantasy that she should, would, and could have been the exception to the rule is just that – a fantasy.

Like I said to someone else who feels bad that her ex has been engaged several times since they broke up only just a few short years ago, “Um, me thinks that this man doesn’t know his arse from his elbow. He likes the feeling of being engaged more than the reality of commitment. I don’t know how he keeps a straight face when he’s proposing. I bet his family and friends have a ‘Here we go again!’ eye roll and side-eye….”

Another wondered why her shady husband played around behind her back (because he’s shady) instead of staying with her (because he’s shady) and felt tortured that he was off living some imagined fairy tale with that same woman. She came back to earth with a thud when she opened up the newspaper and read about the catalogue of abuse that he was being charged with…

Sometimes, in fact often, we can’t see past our nose to recognise what we’re being spared from – blessings in disguise – plus we deceive ourselves and conveniently forget the truth of the relationship in exchange for the lies we feed us about our ‘flaws’ and what’s so much ‘better’ in everyone else. We get hung up on who our ex is with because we’re afraid that their current partner or the next one might be ‘the one’ instead of a future ex. Even when it doesn’t work out, if we’re closed to budging from this belief that we’re “not good enough”, we can twist things around and think, Well I must have been really awful if they’ve had X exes since me. Say what? We end up basing our lives around, ‘Why him/her and not me? and end up obsessing and holding our breath, not realising that we could be using this time to work through our feelings and move onto a relationship more befitting of us instead of looking for signs in our ex’s life that we are indeed all of the worst things that believe about us. We continue acting as if somebody out there has stolen our identity and position with an ex.

Sometimes we forget that we’re not the only ex. Sometimes we forget that not everything is about us. We’re too busy convincing ourselves that an ex’s exes are the embodiment of all that’s ‘better’ than what we convince ourselves that we’re not, that we also forget that we can do better by us.

Your thoughts?

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112 Responses to ‘Why him/her and not me?’ Not everything is about us!

  1. Beckie says:

    “We continue acting as if somebody out there has stolen our identity and position with an ex.” I have been having this exact feeling for weeks now as I’ve had to watch my ex in his new relationship with a friend of mine…so I’m glad to know that I’m not crazy for feeling this way and actually see it articulated in words. This article couldn’t have come at a better time.

  2. Foxy Cleopatra says:

    Brilliant as usual Nat. We are way to quick too turn on ourselves. Let’s keep it in perspective.

  3. lynn says:

    this is a great article. Last week I was struggling with my ex-eum being in a new relationship and couldn’t stop thinking about him with her. But the more time passes with NC, I know that the break up was a blessing in disguise. I know that I need to work on my self esteem and self worth. I know that him breaking up with me really was ALL about him, its just hard to not think about the coulda, woulda, shoulda or what is wrong with me. But I know that leopards do not change their spots, so I know that he hasn’t changed in the 4 months since we started NC – he made that apparent in a text I received from him a few weeks ago. I was the girl though that thought my love could encourage him to change and that I would be the exception for an emotionally unavailable guy. Yea- that doesn’t work. :)

  4. Resolved EUM says:

    Although the title includes “Her” why did all your main examples place it on “Him”? Tongue in cheek comment. I’m a positive male fan of your site Nat. I found you having come out of a 15 month relationship which I thought was the one. Having been off the scene for 1 year following a 15 year relationship I was swept up in a whirlwind of a woman. She was a few months out of a several year relationship where the guy had, in essence, future faked her. She was a step mother to his kids on the alternate weekends they had them. Something early on she told me was about having a family, marriage, etc to which I was on board with. Looking back it does stink of future faking on both our parts, do you not think? However, I didn’t realise that I was also EUM, a term I had no idea about until finding this site. Where am I going with this in regards to this post though? Well she is now in relationship with a married “man”! (Almost a year now) About 5 months after we split she met this guy although for 2 months immediately prior we were meeting as “friends”. I was finally beginning to understand my issues (not just your site but therapy sessions too). However, too late or maybe I should spin that positively and say about time…Personally, I’m a believer in morals & values, as most of us are, and thought she too held these principles particularly as one of her other relationships (cue ex # 1,2,3, etc :-)) ended when she was lied to by her partner who denied but subsequently was proved to be cheating with her work colleague. (They’re married now! You cannot make this up!) I’m not hung up on who my ex is seeing and he’s definitely not better than me but I do wonder what my ex sees in someone who walks out on a wife and family (3 daughters)? Not a great catch. I understand people drift apart and stresses occur (my 15 year union did) but we had the presence to walk away without inflicting pain on others, indeed we actually stayed together for 4 months whilst the house sale went through! As you said in another article, if there are problems in a marriage then what makes you think you’re the resolution for those problems he has? (Even I’m at it with the guy bashing now :-))
    Sorry for the ramble…

  5. Care_78 says:

    I’m on day 40 of NC … and even though I currently live a few blocks away from him, I haven’t seen him. However, I can’t get over this awful feeling of thinking of him with someone else. We were in an 8-year on-and-off relationship and during the times it was off I never seen him with another woman, but feel like if I do, it will completely tear me apart. You would think after being broken up with countless times during our relationship I’d hate him by now, but for some reason I don’t. My mom doesn’t understand why I’m even still bothered by any of this, as she said she only would if I was losing a great guy who was very loving and respectful, but she’s just seen too much of my pain to understand how I can have anything but hate for him at this point. She’s right. The trail of pain he left me with after our MANY breakups were horrible, with this time being no exception. My question is, how do I let go of these thoughts of him, and the thoughts of him with someone else? It’s consuming! :-(

    • lynn says:

      Care_78 – It doesn’t matter what type of person he is. You were emotionally attached to someone for 8 years. It doesn’t matter if you were off or on…you never officially walked away until 40 days ago. I did the same thing. I was attached to someone for 2.5 years. We seriously dated closer to the end for 7 months….but as he would always tell me ‘something is missing’. I thought I could change that but you can’t. He emotionally unavailable and already in another relationship with a separated woman. He contacted me a few weeks ago and of course the texting was mostly about him and he said something bizarre about relationships never being the same to him again (since his marriage) and that they probably will never be the same but he keeps trying. I don’t believe he’s trying like we would try, he just wants someone to bang, someone who is fun, and someone to occupy his life until one of them gets bored. He doesn’t care about the important things….if he did, we would still be together…well, I probably would have ended it. My point is, after 40 days, you can’t just think you are going to feel nothing. You have to go through the grief cycle of losing someone. Someone you loved, relied on etc for 8 years…yea, it was probably crap and a lot of crumbs, but we get attached. I am learning slowly that this healing is NOT about him. Its about me and my self worth and being able to handle rejection better in the future. I didn’t do anything wrong in the relationship, it was ALL him. I don’t like thinking about him with someone else too…but they’ve already broken up once (thats when he texted me, surprise) so its not going to last. I’ve avoided the one place I know he goes so I don’t have to run into him. Maybe that is something you can do as well?

      • moh says:

        @ care_78, the thoughts of him will definitely take some time to clear as Lynn said, dont let u thinking of him bother you so much .. its really normal and takes time getting used to. I am in a quite similar situation though not so deep, I had to separate myself from a man whom I felt was not the right one for me, and though it only lasted for less than 3 months (of mostly courtship) I still feel down that it ended. Read Natalie’s post on http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/are-negative-associations-undermining-your-post-breakup-and-no-contact-efforts/ it really does help! Most of all try to work through these feelings, sitting through them ..processing them along with doing other things that you like doing, remember you are not alone.. you will never be alone…I may be many miles away from you but I (and many others) am in this with you… this too shall pass…

    • Grizelda says:

      Care_78 I’m so glad you’ve made it to day 40 of NC! It may not feel like it quite yet, but you’ve already started healing. It gets better. By day 80, you will not believe how much stronger you feel.

      The thing about NC is, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. It’s constant improvement. Your mind and body become healthier and happier, your emotions equalise, and your feelings for this horrible man will evaporate! Trust your inner resources, and you’ll get there.

      He wasn’t awful because you made him that way. He was awful before you met him, during the time you were together, and will always be. That’s who he IS. That’s what’s inside.

      The last time you went out to find a new pair of shoes, did you opt for the most horrible and painful pair, pay an incredibly high price for them, make yourself wear them til you shredded your feet, and then tell yourself that’s what you deserve? Of course not. Who wants awful shoes?? You know they’re awful, you throw them away, let your feet heal, and don’t make that mistake again. And if you saw those same shoes on some other woman, how would you feel? Would you be jealous that she has what you once had? Or wouldn’t you wince and think ‘gah, you stupid fool, you’re going to get hurt’ and then wonder how long she’ll stumble around trying to make the damn shoes work, trying to make everything ok, hoping no one notices her agony, til she learns the lesson you learned and finally gives up and throws them away?

      • LovefromNel says:

        Oh Griz, what a pearler! Your analogies are just . . . so . . . I’m actually stumped for words! Amazing doesn’t quite cut it! Of course those are shitty painful shoes. We don’t want to be stumbling all over uneven concrete, losing our footing at every turn. We don’t envy the next girl that finds herself slipping in them, wincing at the pain.

        Can you think of an analogy for a man who does a disappearing act? Months into a ‘relationshit’? And watches my whereabouts so to avoid me? What is that comparable to? I feel like I need a brilliant shoe analogy!

      • Dani says:

        Wow! that was awesome way to put things in perspective. Thanks

  6. Lorraine says:

    Great article for me. I really needed this this week. I am Number 3 ex. Last serious relationship he had in the past 10 years. He’s back with #2 ex at the moment.

    It’s funny, here I am/been pining for him and having such a hard time accepting that he went back to #2, but I envy #1 who finally rid herself of him and has been happily involved with a great guy for at least two years now. She’s the lucky one.

    I don’t “compare” myself to #2, my self esteem is a little bit still intact. I know he took a step down when he went back with her. What kills me is he also knows that but went back to her anyway. I did tell him that someday he will realize he lost a diamond while playing with a worthless stone. I hope by then I also am happily involved with a real man.

    Anyway, this article is a great one. I’ll keep plugging away here. Step by step…

    • Allison says:


      Some people thrive on drama, and this is what draws them back to their ex. This is what he knows, its like returning home.

      Start to put the focus on you. Block, and change your running path.

      • Lorraine says:

        Totally true. She was all about the drama. Even when she married someone else (for three months) she still sent drama his way. It was always an issue for us.
        What I can’t wrap my brain around is how he made me and everyone else believe he had no use for her and would never even look at her twice. I don’t know what changed.

        I know what I have to do. I forgot who on this site told me this but it really hit a chord with me. I can’t wait to be out of love with him to go NC or Block him, that’s like a heroin addict waiting to not want heroin anymore before they give it up.

        Knowing he’s with her still hurts. Especially when he has continued to contact me and tell me he loves me. I’ve learned through BR that he just wants to keep me dangling as an option for when it crashes and burns with #2.

        Thanks, I appreciate your advice!

  7. DunrobINE says:

    “It’s the, ‘I know you think that you can do better but when you find out that you can’t, I’ll be right here waiting for you’ attitude”.

    You know…in the midst of all this, sometimes a big dose of humour can go a long way. I’ve learned to laugh at myself and the woman that I was. Now, I can listen to songs like this treat from ABBA (Take A Chance on Me – http://youtu.be/-crgQGdpZR0)…poke some fun at my patterns…and thank my lucky stars that this is no longer one of my theme songs! There are millions of “love” songs out there like this beast. Our culture has been part of our conditioning. Go easy on yourselves…lighten up…learn to laugh….and stick with the BR. Re-condition and re-program yourselves…maybe we can come up with some new ‘love’ songs with BR themes :)

  8. Karen says:

    I feel really fortunate after reading this and discovering that I don’t care who my recent ex has been with or will be with next, just so long as it’s not me.
    It only took 6 months for me to see that I was with an assclown. I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend 6 more months getting over it. Twenty four weeks deserves maybe 24 days of mourning. I have a week to go, but I think I finished early, so thanks to my ex for all the lessons, and adios, mofo. :)

  9. debbie says:

    I waited for him for 5 years. He didn’t love his wife he said. He said they had a terrible marriage and they lived separate lives. He eventually told her about us almost two years ago and said he was leaving. Year one after her knowing, she contacted me and said she didn’t want him to leave because that’s what his father did to him and he’s doing the same to his boys. She wanted him to stay regardless of knowing that he was unfaithful for 5 years. She stole his phone and put a tracking device on it. He listens to all of his phone calls, can read his text messages, his emails, knows his location through GPS- all from an app that she pays $50 a month. He told her he won’t leave but would still reach out to me. She’s found us together, yet he still goes back because of his kids. I have kids of my own and understand the love for a child. She threatens him and so he stays. He ended up getting a second phone that i could call him on but we could barely see each other because she’s constantly calling him. She found the phone and it’s gone now. I know over the past year and half they’ve had sex- she told me and he admitted it to me but said it was to keep things “normal” for the kids sake (two boys 15 and 16). They know about us also. Over the past year, we never speak because he’s afraid he’ll get caught but we know we’ll see each other at events through work related things. We end up sleeping together and now he’s weird right after. I miss him everyday. For 6+ years we worked together, ate lunch together, saw each other outside of work, texted when we were apart and now I feel like something has died inside of me. I’ve spent the last year trying to get over him but I can’t. I’ve lost every bit of self esteem I had (which wasn’t much to begin with). I don’t trust other men, I think they’re all lying to me. I want him back- even though i know he’s lied to me. He says he didn’t get divorced because of his children and I think that’s a cop out. I’m getting divorced because my husband knows. Neither of us would have fell in love with each other if our marriages weren’t in good shape. She’s in denial and he stays with her. Part of me wants him back and the other part truly wishes that I didn’t care. Just to be indifferent. He was awful to me with the lying and cheating. I gave him my entire being. I’m 43 and he’s 55. People say i have my entire life ahead of me yet i just can’t get past this man. Songs I hear, places i drive everyday, etc. We’re not together because he fears her. I just don’t know what else to do at this point. Sometimes i feel sorry for her. I feel like he did the same to her as he’s done to me. But at the end of the day, he chose to stay with her. I don’t think i’ll ever get better and it scares me. Someone please help me. I don’t know how to get through this pain anymore. I hurt and cry everyday about him. I’m ashamed of myself.

    • Little Star says:

      Debbie, sorry to hear you in pain..He found a lots of excuses, his children grown up, so he can leave his wife for you, do not listen to him anymore, don’t waste more time, he does not deserve you! NC and time are the best healers, you will move on eventually, think about yourself and your future, NOTHING can stop man to be with love of his life…absolutely nothing!
      Hugs x

      • debbie says:

        Thanks Little Star. I don’t understand how he can just switch his feelings off for me and walk around like life is so grand. I wonder if he’ll ever hurt the way he’s hurt me. Again, i pray for indifference. hugs back to you

    • CC says:


      You need to sit with the feelings, no matter how hard that is. It will get easier and you can do it. Good luck:)

    • Wiser says:

      Debbie, this is a deep, deep mess for you and I think it would help if you saw a therapist who can help you chart a course out of this disaster. You’re in quicksand right now, and you can’t get out by yourself. A good therapist will help you with the shame, the fear and the addiction you have to this destructive relationship. Therapy will also help you see that this man is never going to leave his wife, and even if he did, odds are he would take up with somebody completely new who isn’t aware of or part of what a cheating, lying bastard he has been. This is more common than you think. You don’t want to stick around and watch that scenario unfold, do you?

      You are only in your early 40s and DO have so many years left that can be happy ones. But you must take action now. Go NC immediately, and then run, don’t walk, to get some help. You CAN get over this guy and call your soul your own again.

      • debbie says:

        thanks Wiser. I’ve been to several therapists, antidepressants, holistic healers, cord-cutting ceremonies, etc. Nothing seems to work. I self sabotage. We’re not friends on fb but i check his page, and hers because their walls are open. I try not to but check at least once a week. I really need to find a person who wants the same thing that i do- love, friendship, communication, respect. Do they exist?

        • Wiser says:

          Debbie, I think they do exist but you’re never going to find one while you are fixated on this guy. Right now you are blind to anyone else, and you are too full of him to have room for anyone else. “Nothing works” BECAUSE you are self-sabotaging, not because these methods don’t work. You aren’t going to get anywhere until you make a commitment to yourself to stop self-sabatoging, make a conscious decision to keep away from him, and accept the pain this brings (and not fight it.) You agreed to this pain, whether you knew it or not, as soon as you got involved with a married man. Hon, it’s time to take a deep breath now and endure it with some self-respect and dignity. Don’t run from the pain, but feel it fully. Yell, scream, cry, beat your pillow with a stick – do what you have to do, but END your contact with him. Every time you go on Facebook, you tear the scab open again – wounds will never heal this way. Up to you – do you want a healed wound or a gaping, festering sore that goes all the way down to the bone? When you get serious about wanting something better for yourself, I guarantee that you’ll make progress!

          • debbie says:

            You truly are a sweetheart. Thank you Wiser… You always tend to cheer me up! I’m going to really take your advice!

            • Tinkerbell says:


              Do you really want a man who lies, and misleads you and has NO BACKBONE. He’s just full of excuses that don’t hold water. You deserve better!

    • HappyAgain says:

      Debbie, He isnt worth the price you have paid. A decent man would be honest and make things right w you and her. Little Star is right, a man who truly loves you wont let anything stop him. He loves cake and is breaking your soul. Read Natalie’s posts on these things. What she says will bring the fantasy back to reality ultimately for a happier healthier whole you. Please take care of yourself, love and beckind to YOU. You deserve it. Hang in there it can get better but only when you BLOCK him from your life. NC him! hes not your soul mate. Hes mean. Hugs and well wishes for you.

      • debbie says:

        he’s cut off contact with me lately because he says that since he’s staying in his house “for now”, he feels like he’s cheating on her. Wow. What about him cheating on me for all of these years. He’s cutting contact because she tracks his every move… literally. I feel like i’ll never find someone who truly wants to be with me full-time. Not hiding in hotel rooms or towns where we don’t know anyone. It’s an awful situation. Thank you for your kind words <3

    • grace says:

      “She wanted him to stay regardless of knowing that he was unfaithful for 5 years”
      To be fair, you want him to stay regardless of knowing that he’s married and has two children. Many men and women will stay for the children. Maybe it’s just an excuse, maybe they’re doing the right thing, maybe they’re doing the wrong thing. But no one (not his wife, his kids, her family, his family) is going to clap him on the back and say “good job” if he leaves his wife and children for you (except you)! That disapproval can mean a lot to some.
      If they do leave their wives, it tends to be early on (well within a year). That time has past.

    • Lorraine says:

      I cried when I read your story. I really feel your pain. Believe me, you, I and most of the ladies on BR could all sit together and have a pity party and cry our eyes out over these men, but really, they aren’t worth it.

      One year is a very long time to continue crying over this coward. He led you on, he probably made promises to his wife too. Please pull yourself together as hard as it is. Tell yourself every day, I can do this, I will do this, he doesn’t deserve me anyway and mean it.

      It feels weird for me to give anyone advice because I still struggle every day over the end of my five year relationship with the AC, but know, we are here for you to give you support. Read the articles from BR, read our stories, gain strength from them. This is what is helping me.

      Don’t feel sorry for the wife, she’s not your problem and he for sure is not your problem anymore. Your problem now is working on your self esteem and realizing you deserve more. You settled for 6 years, no more. Don’t give this MM another minute of your time. He deserves nothing from you, I hope if he is still trying to contact you, you ignore any attempts at making contact. Take it from me, when you allow them in, even in the smallest way, it just messes you up even more and makes getting past them and all the pain they’ve caused that much harder to deal with.

      Be thankful that you have a job and children to keep you busy. Focus on that and especially yourself. I don’t work so I have all day to think… I just made a list of things I want to do and I will pick one each day to start keeping myself busier.

      Hang in there, please post whenever you feel you need to talk.
      Big Hugs,

      • debbie says:

        thank you so much Lorraine. Actually, I’ve been crying since Dec of 2007 when it all began. We’ve never spent any holiday together, birthdays, laid on a sofa together to just hang out, etc. I’ve wanted him by my side for so many years. He said he sleeps in his bed (with her) because his back hurts and it’s painful on the sofa. I’ve begged him because it bothers me that he lies nests to another woman every night. He recently told me that he shouldn’t talk to me anymore (for now at least since he’s still there) because he kind of feels like he’s cheating on her. Meanwhile, she’s told her friends what he’s done, my friends know, my world is upside down. I don’t know why he has such a hold over me. I feel like I’m not adequate or worth standing up for. He says he doesn’t love her and their marriage has been over for 10 years. I’m so tired. I joined an online dating site and I don’t have the energy to weed through the “winks”, bs lines, etc. How will I ever meet anyone? it’s so depressing :(

        • Lorraine says:

          Wow Debbie,
          If you’ve been crying over him since 2007, why would you want to give him any more of your tears? He doesn’t deserve one more tear!

          This man is truly a coward. You want a real man. Someone who will spend holidays and birthdays with you and make you laugh. Take you on vacations and beautiful dinners. You deserve that. You are selling yourself so short. Please stop doing this to yourself.

          “He recently told me that he shouldn’t talk to me anymore”.. You should be the one not talking to him anymore. I know its hard, but you have to let him go and accept that he made his decision. It doesn’t matter whether he loves her or not, where he sleeps or if he’s happy, he made his decision. Let him be miserable in a miserable marriage. As for you, you do have your whole life ahead of you. Take some time to work on you and the right man will come into your life and you’ll wonder why you wasted so much of it on this loser.

          And you’ve got to stop pretending that if only he would leave her and be with you, everything would be perfect. Trust me, you’ll still be crying on holidays and birthdays. Life with this man will be nothing but tears for whoever he’s with. Even if he got rid of the wife, there will be mountains of other issues that will make you miserable. You deserve better, right?

          If I were you, I wouldn’t get involved with online dating or any dating for the moment. Get happy with yourself first.

          Hope you’ve read Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. If you haven’t, you must. I just ordered the No Contact Rule Book and can’t wait to get it. Hoping it will slap me into staying NC and moving on with my life too.
          Good Luck and I’m always here. Keep posting..

          • debbie says:

            thank you Lorraine! You’re a kind heart!!!! When I see these words, I feel better- and that’s the truth. All the best to you too!!

    • A says:


      You will get through this. It may not feel that way, but you will.

      Get angry at this man – you deserve so much better than this.

      Whatever his reason for staying with his wife, you need to accept it. There are some things in life that we can’t change. You have done everything that you can do. You have waited for years. Nothing has changed, it has only gotten worse. If you stick around in this capacity – waiting for whatever encounters you may have at a conference, sleeping together every now and then – it will continue to get worse. It will destroy your self esteem even more.

      Trying to understand why he does what he does, how he’s feeling or why he doesn’t seem hurt won’t get you anywhere. Who knows what is going on in his mind – if he really doesn’t care then he’s just a messed up, shi**y human being – all the more reason to keep your distance and be thankful that you’re now rid of him.

      You need to decide for yourself that you’re done with him. When you’re in pain, remind yourself of the reality of the situation: he has treated both you and his wife terribly. That is who he is. You have spent years waiting for him and he has not left his wife. Even if you can’t understand why he would stay with his wife, you need to accept it.

      Getting over this will take time, but it will start getting easier if you work at it. Keep reading BR, consider Nat’s self esteem course, consider a therapist. Try to do something nice for yourself each day. Spend time doing things that you enjoy and with people who treat you well. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Find something that requires all of your attention so that, even if only for a minute or two at a time, there is some space during the day when you aren’t thinking about him.

      Things will get better.

      • happy b says:

        Debbie, the online dating sounds like a disheartening choice. He’s still a huge part of your life, you still see him everywhere (songs, places etc.). You will heal and find love again, but only YOU can heal you, not a man. You’re very vulnerable right now and this could mean that you give over too much responsibility for your happiness to someone else, and at worst that this is exploited. Or you’ll just see loads who don’t match up and feel hopeless.

        I think you’ll be very surprised at how good and strong you feel if/when you walk away. You won’t be throwing your energy into a black hole so you’ll have more to give to yourself, friends and family, and you won’t feel as lonely. It’s far, far lonelier, and unbearable, to have a man switch off his affections whenever he feels like it, than to just get on with your life and not think about him.

        • debbie says:

          thank you. Everything you wrote is so true. I compare men on the dating site to him. I’m a mess and just need to take care of me. I cancelled my on-line dating account. That, alone, just made me feel so much better. Thank you for your advice and kind words <3

  10. Kit-Kat says:

    Dear Nat… Thank you for this post at exactly the right time. I have been struggling lately. I saw his # come up on my caller id last weekend. I didn’t return the call but have been rehashing the entire relationship in my mind ever since. Ughhh, will it ever just not bother me anymore.

    • JustHer says:


      You should block his number, honey! It is very hard when you’re trying to move on to keep having to fight the determination to just pick up the phone one day and hear him out.

      You deserve better. Hugs x

  11. T says:

    Word for word, what Beckie said – right down to the timing. It really does put things into perspective, and more importantly, it makes the light at the end of tunnel brighter. Who knew I just need to get over myself to finish getting over him? It’s brilliant!

  12. I am free says:

    This is exactly my last relationship- dude had been engaged four times and seemed to rush into this early into a relationship. Yes I was not one that was engaged to, but when we broke up I felt disappointed that I had not made the cut. Looking back now I realise that he was the one who was a disappointment by:
    - saying he loved me on the first date (we hardly knew each other)
    - calling me his girlfriend on the first date
    - engaged twice
    - putting me down in an indirect way so that I didn’t trust myself and felt like the loser in the relationship
    - wanting to be around me all the time, and making me feel bad when I wanted a night off to do my own thing
    - blaming his ex’s for all the problems in previous relationships
    - almost having a relationship like a girlfriend with his mother
    and various other annoying things….but now I listen to myself and know that I would not put up with this situation ever again! flush i say.

  13. Little Star says:

    I am totally over of two ACs;), all “my love” more like lust is gone!!! I removed my pink tinted glasses and can see clearly that I did not want to be part part of this endless circus;)
    When I met them for the first time, I never wanted to marry them anyway, so why I wasted my precious time with them? Thanks God, I learned from my mistakes;) All the best to everyone!

  14. kay says:


    I had to work with my ex who i went NC with because in a matter of weeks of us splitting he found someone else, i found out because he took a week off work and the rumour round.work was he took her away!
    It broke me, im ashamed to admit it now but made me want to fight for him more,.thinking they hadnt been together that long so i wasnt doing anything wrong

    Worse mistake of my life, he then continued for 2 years to dangle the carrot & whenever he wanted to hurt me he would step it up a gear and take his girfriend away just to get a reaction fro me!

    My advise to you is if your ex moves.on with someone else, deal with your.emotions without him knowing! Speak to your girlfriends, read a book, go gym, do whatever it takes to direct your hurt and anger in these directions as aspose to the ex, because the minute you give him the green light that your hurt before you know it, you will be the OW and wonder how on earth you got yourself in that postion!

    I only wish i took my own advise years.ago & i wouldnt have had to go.through the pain he caused me! I hit rock bottom but now 4months no contact im finally seeing him for what he is….a rat who only thinks about himself & will only be happy when hes control! Xx

  15. kay says:

    Sorry above post was for care_78 xx

    • Care_78 says:

      Thanks for your comment Kay!

      It’s unbelieveable how much these men still affect us even when we’re not with them anymore! I have yet to wake up one morning since the break-up without him on my mind. My brother is an addict and I never understood why he couldn’t just quit the drugs. It was only after experiencing break-ups did I start to realize how strong addiction can be. In my two relationships before this one I was the one doing the breaking up … with this one, it was always him. Whenever there was conflict he’d break up with me, and it was always me running back. Even with this most-recent breakup. He wished me and my family a Merry Christmas and I asked if he could meet me for a drink. He said it wasn’t a good idea, so I never replied, nor have I initated any contact with him since. Good to know I still have a bit of pride. Anyway, the break-up, make-up pattern that was created makes it even harder to fully let go. It’s also the first time I’ve been alone with my pain (without jumping into another relationship like I did with my other two breakups) so I think that’s why this has been so difficult.It just eats me up on the inside to think of him with someone else, and I don’t know how to turn the focus off of him and back on to me. I’m really struggling with it. I just want to stop caring so I can start feeling normal again!

  16. crystal c says:

    Yes another timely article. I sometimes wonder if the universe guides you to write these things.
    I too have been struggling. I am technically NC for 98 days although I had a brief text encounter with my ex EUM last week when his mother called my phone and sat there without answering me , so after agonizing about it for 4 hours thinking that she had had a stroke or something I texted and said you better check in with them …his parents (elderly) to which he was his usual cold withdrawn self and responded a sorry she called the wrong number , that was it.
    Took me a few days to process that perceived rejection again (realized it was more about my inner child feeling rejected by my father) I thought he would at least inquire how I am doing. Yeah this stuff is complicated for sure.
    Anyways, in my situation, I ended the 7 year common law relationship because I felt like I was dying more each day, feeling unloved, rejected, unwanted, and so disconnected. I basically felt like I was living a lie and that we were more room mates than anything. So after some eye opening occurrences (lying again and more disrespect), I said I’m done and kicked him out . Took him nearly a month to get a place and leave but he did. He barely uttered a goodbye take care of yourself and left and that was it. It hurt like hell that I finally took the blinders off and realized he didn’t give a shit about me.
    So things have been ok the last few months I have been focussing on myself and my life with only a few bad days of crying and grieving. But I had an awful day today. He has been showing up to functions with my friends and hanging out with people in my circle (he has no friends of his own). A week after he left he added a gf of mine on FB and was chatting her up trying to get close to her. (I see this as pure manipulation) Apparently this past Saturday he showed up at a party that I did not attend on purpose cuz I had a hunch he might show up there. He did. My gf told me he was there but I didn’t ask any questions. I think he has started dating again tho. I feel it……super intuitive. Anyways I spent most the night crying and asking myself why couldn’t he just love me? And obsessing about me seeing him with someone new and them having this fabulous relationship he never had with me, and how it would kill me too.
    I too am asking myself when am I going to get over this, let it go, etc.
    I purposely have said no dating at least for 6 months. In the past my pattern was to jump into another relationship within 2-3 months. I seem to not have a problem attracting another assclown right away lol PUN INTENDED! That was my way of forgetting the past assclown.
    But I realize the unhealthy patterns I have participated in and would really like to break them so I can get healthy and hopefully have a real relationship someday. I’m 47 and have a lot of insecurities about ever finding one but that is a whole other topic.
    This article did help me though. I do realize it’s not all about me . Chances are any success he has with a new relationship will be short lived because a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots. It’s more likely he will attract another fallback girl as well. Plus he is 50 so his pickings are as slim as mine lol
    I am trying to have a sense of humor about things.
    Thanks for writing this. I put it in my favorites to read again when I need it.

    • JustHer says:


      You’ve done the hardest part already! You are over the biggest hurdle which was to walk out over this jerk.

      It doesn’t matter what he is doing, because you are doing so much better! It doesn’t matter how happy he is trying to be, because you will be so much happier.

      You should continue to have the faith in yourself, because this guy sounds like a complete loser and you are not the kind of person to settle for shit.

  17. on the other side says:

    Excellent article, made me smile, all the excuses we give to these guys when in reality cold harsh truth is we were just booty calls! My dad once said to me guys can just have sex to fill a need, its doesn’t have to be emotional, and that’s it really, would just be nice if they said that in the beginning and not future fake then you all know what your dealing with. Trouble is these guys are EUM and AC’s so we will always have this our job is to not get involved to quickly and to look for the red flags. They preyed on vunerable women ones that have been previously hurt, its how they work nothing for us to be ashamed of, we care its who we are and’ they exploit that, but shame on us if when we finally see this we go back, all we then hurt is ourselves as they never will be affected. And we all deserve way more than that we deserve the whole freaking cake including the damn cherry on the top and should not settle for anything less!! Thank you Nat thanks to you I got myself and my life back xxxx

  18. kookie says:

    it would have been easier for me if he was choosing not to pursue a relationship with me to go be happy with some other person, it would make more sense. it stung more at first that it seemed he would rather be how he is now, alone and miserable, than be with me,that i was thaaat unappealing but now i see it really has nothing to do with me. something broke in him a long time ago in the 36 years he spent on earth before he met me, and just because i wasn’t the magic cure to it doesn’t mean i wasn’t loveable and am not lovable to someone who is ready.

    a friend send me this today and i thought i’d share , esp for those of us going NC with someone who was never less than kind and respectful to us but who we need to let go of nonetheless.

    ” someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. they can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge and whatever their reasons, you must leave because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge, you never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. there is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen out here in this wide and wild universe and there is love that WILL be ready” ~ nayyirah waheed

    it’s really not you.

    happy feb everyone!

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Kookie,

      I’m in a similar boat to yours. The ex-EUM AC who I dated did not move on to someone else, and I still think he is on his own now (six months down the track).

      In some ways, I wish he was actually with someone else. It hurt me enormously that he’d rather be on his own and miserable, than with me, when we were seemingly happy. How can you choose misery over happiness? His catchcry was (and still is) ‘just me and the dog’. Well, how lovely.

      It is only since discovering Baggage Reclaim that I realised him wanting to be alone in his misery, was not a rejection of me. I think he actually did really like me for a little while there (as difficult as it is for my self-esteem to fathom that; as I’ve always considered myself unworthy).

      It was bad timing, he was emotionally unavailable, he was bitter and angry at his ex, he was depressed, he blamed the world and everyone in it for the faults in his life. I couldn’t ‘save’ him from any of that – although I tried desperately hard to. It took me a long time to realise that his decision to go AWOL was not about me, or what I did or said (although I did have the one false move mentality for a long time following his MIA behaviour).

      Coming back to what you said in your post, and the beautiful quote, although my ex-EUM was less than kind, and he wasn’t particularly respectful, and he wasn’t always nice, and everything was always about him, the quote you mentioned still did hit a very big chord with me.

      It hit home that it really was not me. And it brought me back to some of Nat’s words in this post too – “sometimes, in fact often, we can’t see past our nose to recognise what we’re being spared from – blessings in disguise.”

      Because at the end of the day, he wasn’t particularly nice, he was self-absorbed, emotionally unavailable, and downright cruel. His need to be alone was indeed very much a blessing.

      I think I’ve gone round in circles here, but I pretty much wanted to say how much I loved the quote! It generally takes me about five paragraphs to get to the point haha.

      Best of wishes to you, Kookie.

      • kookie says:


        Best wishes to you too! If there is one think I have learned the hard way in life it’s that hurting people hurt others so yeah, that’s on them. We dodged a major bullet, lol

  19. noquay says:

    Yep, since Latest Conquest is on occasion run into in town or even at work, I do compare her with me a lot. Noquay; strong, seld sufficient, kind, smart but dark, big Indian nose, heavy thighs and legs no matter how how I self starve/exercise. LC: taller, thin legs, more dependent, not outdoor skilled, probably more hoysewifey. Start hating on myself all over again. Though I know AC is unavailable, narc, bad news, I cannot force myself to accept a less attractive, less intelligent, unhealthier man as a sort of consolation prize, nor am I happy with old-maid do as my norm is to be in a good marriage. Just cant force myself to feel anything other than friendship with someone I am not attracted to. Sigh. So I am staying alone, trying to whip this house and myself in shape, getting deep into the backcountry. Hate most of my workday life now, (though I have always been someone who needs periods of solitude) but that’s how it’s gonna be for a long time. The best way to avoid all this navel-gazing, self hate, thinking I am ugly and only fit for less thans, is to once again, make sure that if I ever am attracted to anyone again, that the possibility of NC with them is such that I never have to see them again should things go south.

  20. Ellen says:

    I really, really, REALLY want to hear this message. Except that my ex’s always seem to marry the next one, and quickly–the guy I was engaged to ended up marrying someone else 3-4 months after he dumped me. And now, I just met someone I thought was a great match, the first person I’ve actually liked in a while, he texted immediately after meeting, and now I haven’t heard from him. I know it’s me, as I keep getting screwed. Damn this is hard.

    • Selkie says:

      I relate Ellen. It seems the same for me. Although my ex’s didn’t turn around and get married, some moved in with someone or at least moved on very quickly while I meet dud after dud. The men I’ve met who I actually liked seemed as though they liked me too, then poof, no hear or I get the drip feed. I wonder if it’s me and if I put out some red flags (although I feel like I don’t) or if the dating pool has gotten so bad that it’s like searching for a diamond, or heck, even a cubic zirconia in a haystack. Then I wonder if it’s my age (45) and if I’ve become looked at as used goods or as a wilting weedy hay field instead of green pastures. I try not to get discouraged but lately, it’s been bothering me and I’m scratching my head wondering WTF. Being single ( and not broken hearted )the past year has been quite peaceful for me and I don’t feel like I’m rushing to find a man or a relationship, which is good. I don’t think I’m being overly picky, but the men who do seem to persist are the ones who exhibit the most red flags, are really incompatible with me, or are clearly EUM and oblivious about it. I read on line dating profiles and see that many men my age are looking for younger women, and men 20 years older than me are looking for women my age. I want to date someone near my own age. I’ve never felt weird about my age until now. I look younger than I am, and this used to be nice, but now when asked my age by men, I see the look of disappointment when I tell them I’m 45 and I feel like day old bread in the sale bin. Two of my exes are with someone now, and they are both with women around my age, so why is it so hard for me to find someone my age who’s not looking for a bubbly legal teenager? I haven’t really compared myself to the new girlfriends so much, but feel like maybe I’m giving off weird vibes or smell bad (not really), or have food stuck in my teeth all the time. I actually feel better about myself than I have in a long time, so it baffles me a little that when I was clueless and had dysfunctional ideas of love I had no problem finding men who liked me. It’s kind of pathetic but I’ve though about going to a dating coach to find out what I’m doing that is so off mark. Or is it really such slim pickings out there for a woman in her 40′s or older? I don’t feel like this is me feeling sorry for myself, rather something I’ve observed. Anyone else feel like this?

      • julie says:

        HI Ellen, I’m 56 and I too have noticed the exact same thing about online dating. I really don’t enjoy it. There’s nothing quite like being hit on by someone in their 80′s. LOL!!! I don’t understand how a lot of men in my age range have never been married now want someone still able to reproduce to have his spawn. Most of these guys look way older than their stated years and obviously think they are god’s gift. my subscription ends mid-feb and i’m thinking of not renewing it. I do have a couple of meet-up scheduled – one on Friday and other TBA. I don’t think I really want to get involved with anyone at present and if I happen to find a nonloser in the bunch, we are gonna take it nice and slow, no sex at first. Hard to believe that at my age, men still play games and want to use women for sex.

        Most people think i’m in my late 30′s or 40 but not beyond that. I am a weightlifter and keep myself in shape by going to the gym daily. I have a lot of tattoos and big boobs and I think I scare away most men :) that might be a good thing.

        • julie says:

          Oops I meant this as a reply to selkie sorry about that

        • Selkie says:

          Have fun at the Meet Ups. I tried a few of those but most of the groups fizzled out over time or were full of women, which was fun but… I think maybe it’s a good time to refocus on things like my yoga practice and my other interests and put dating back on the back burner again.

      • Selkie says:

        In relation to Natalie’s post I want to add that one ex may have learned from our relationship ( how nice for him )and may actually have a healthier one now which bugs me a little but I’m not bitter. I’d rather see him change than bring someone else to their knees. I don’t find comfort in him making someone else suffer. The other ex found someone probably more messed up than him and finds this more comfortable for his dysfunction. Another ex I have no idea about. I try to avoid all of them because I find it easier not to know. Why torture myself or open pandora’s box of past loves?

      • Pauline says:


        You’ve kind of answered you own question as to why when you were clueless and dysfunctional lots of men liked you.
        You actually feel better and happier about yourself than you have for a long time.

        This is something I have noticed for a while since I started my BR journey and learned more about myself than I ever thought possible and also learned so much about EUM’s, Assclowns, Narcissists etc than I ever knew existed. I was truly clueless until I found BR. What an eye opener that was to finally be able to understand what was going on with the AC and other EUM’s that I got involved with in my ignorance.

        In my last foray into online dating I could see the red flags waving in a written profile and also in any emails sent and bailed out very quickly. I won’t even go to some of the God awful photos some of these men post, creepy would come close.
        I know it’s not me, it’s not my age, height or weight, my clothes, or anything else. It’s that I and you and a lot of the girls here on BR know better and we’re “not that woman anymore” who would put up with crumbs, BS, assclowns, momma’s boys, EU’s etc etc.
        I don’t know what the magic answer is to finding a decent guy online or anywhere else. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one but I do know that sticking with your principles and values is the only way to go and perhaps somewhere down the line karma or the higher power may bring you together with someone who is worth it. I’m an optimist and hope springs eternal.
        I’ve stopped doubting my worth and comparing myself to others, that’s a slippery slide downwards and I’m not going back there again.
        Nat’s right, not everything is about us.

        • Selkie says:

          I won’t give up my values either. Been down that road and being alone is better than being trampled on. So, here’s to better karma and hopeful thinking! Guess it just leaves us more time to become even more fabulous. :-)

      • Tracy says:

        It is slim pickins for those of us 45 and older (I just turned 50 a few weeks ago). I can’t understand how I, who has been told she is intelligent, cute, funny, kind, ‘have integrity’, can only find men who future fake or are SUCH narcissists that I can’t even believe it. I think, and I’ve said it before, many online men (and I’m guessing women, too) of ‘our age’ are NOT looking for a relationship in which everyone is happy and content…they want to have fun (no commitment), with the appearance of a girlfriend (on call) because they can’t be alone, but they don’t want the ball and chain. I can’t even look at guys on line without getting nauseous after a few rounds. I’m not finding anyone attractive, and if I do, my narcissist radar goes on overdrive when I read their profiles. I live in the land of size 0 trophy wives, and despite what the profiles say, this is what the men think they deserve. I know men have said that women (in this area) are obsessed with bank accounts and ‘stuff’. My job makes it impossible to meet a straight single man in my age group (elementary school teacher), my kids are too old to make friends with their friends parents, I don’t know my neighbors…I could go on, but I think you get my point. So for years I did online and would date someone for a while and then OUT OF THE BLUE, they would dump me after three or four months. I’ve given up, I won’t put up with this baby behavior anymore. If I’m going to meet someone, I’m going to do it IRL because on line SUCKS.

        • julie says:

          Tracy, I echo your sentiments almost exactly. In my case, I happen to live in the gay epicenter of the world and finding a straight, interesting guy in my age range, without too much baggage or personality defects, who is at least a little bit attractive and with whom I share some commonalities is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I too have said I wish I could meet someone IRL (the old fashioned way) instead of online because each and every attempt I’ve made with dating or meeting online douches has turned out bad. to me, online dating is like banging my head against the wall and expecting a different outcome every time. I go to the gym all the time but most of the guys there are in their 20′s/30′s and/or gay.

          I decided to write a letter to the waste of skin, highlighting all the ways he’s hurt me and detailing bad treatment, actions not matching words, the bs excuses..all of it. and whenever I feel like I need to txt him or I’m crying because I miss the good parts of the relationship, I have a read. then I go back to seething. it’s a good thing.

      • noquay says:

        It’s seriously slim pickings. Sometimes, like in my previous post, I beat myself up for feeling sorry for myself then think: in the past year of IRL and on line, I have met one future faker, two heart attack candidate dudes who lied big time about their health, a hot fellow ultrarunner who failed to mention the girlfriend, a guy who was seriously injured and seriously wounded emotionally and physically, two locals so down and out they depend on a local charity (which I donate to)in order to eat, one 60 something ski bum living off his brother, and the latest, a hermit band playin dude who talks about how much he needs to be alone. All of this while AC parades around, often right under my nose, with the latest. The older male dating pool seemingly has gone insane. Indeed Selkie, WTF! We older chix try so hard to heal, self improve, be aware, good, caring women and THIS is what we get?! Something seriously weird out there.

      • CC says:


        Yup, I’ve experienced all that you wrote. First dates good, then no second date. EUMs being persistant but no good for me. I’m shaking my head and wondering about this all. I guess it’s one day at a time. I have no other advice to give. Shaking my head and signing off.

  21. julie says:

    Frankly, this is not one of my concerns. I actually feel sorry for whoever gets involved with dickbag next because I know it will be short-lived. he will use her like he used me; he is unable to communicate beyond surface bs (like love of music and band talk) and is also unable to connect emotionally. he drinks, is narrow minded and hates himself as well as people on top of being passive aggressive. He will have her on his terms only, but that will happen after a short honeymoon period. He is like a big emotionally retarded smelly turd wrapped in a cool rocker dude persona that quickly vanishes. :)

  22. kay says:


    I still wake up with my ex on my mind, i still have strong feelngs for him but you learn how to deal with them rather than reaching out to them! Its lather rinise repeat if you dont break the cycle you could be in the same position in years to come!

    Your no different from most people, you fall in love with someone, & still carry on loving them regardless how much hurt & pain they have caused!

    I nearly broke no contact few weeks ago, i was hurting & felt like i needed him to make this hurt go away! For the 1st time ever i sat there & thought what would happen if i did…..he would make me feel “happy” for a day even two but at some point that would wear off & id be back to being hurt! I resisted & im so glad i did because the pain i felt then is nothing compared to the hurt & pain he constantly put me through!

    You can & will get through this! Read natailes no contact book, it really helped me!

    Whenever your thoughts turn to him, turn them right back to you, do things that make you happy! Because guys like our exs arent worth wasting our life on! So much better out therexx good luck

  23. Val says:

    Your post was timely for me. I couldn’t help feeling how exhausted I felt while reading it and this made me realize how truly exhausted I was reliving all those thoughts about my ex! He dumped me! He removed the label “boyfriend-girlfriend” and replaced it with “let’s not put a label on our relationship and keep it the same without the sex”…um…huh???

    So, I asked him at that time if we should see other people. And his reply was “Please don’t bring this up!”

    His decision was ‘unilateral’…that was about 6 1/2 months ago! I am still agonizing about it?!

    Your post was a reality check. I needed to read that. Thank you Natalie.

  24. Resolved EUM says:

    Thanks, feeling suitably battered by all you ladies, but what are your thoughts when you realise you’re not 100% committed and so don’t stay and inflict pain? I found BR & realised it was because I was EUM. Got myself into therapy and tried hard to work it out with her, however, my ex took up with a MM 5 months after we broke up. 2 weeks before that she was happy to come round and let me make her dinner? What does that say about her? The common denominator in her (several) failed relationships is her…I would say to Debbie, as tough as it is, no-one is worth 5 years of waiting. I’m not doubting your pain but this comment:-
    “I know over the past year and half they’ve had sex- she told me and he admitted it to me but said it was to keep things “normal” for the kids sake (two boys 15 and 16). They know about us also.”
    That is one big EUM MF! He admitted having sex with his wife to keep things normal for the kids sake? Do they watch? Come on!

    • lizzp says:

      Resolved, From what you write, sounds like the difference between yourself and your ex who is now with an MM is self awareness. Don’t we all (or most of us) have our baggage, emotional sore spots, triggers and so on but it is the awareness and willingness to recognise our limits, along with the genuine avoidance of further damaging ourselves or others ( as in you removing yourself from the so called ‘dating pool’)that separates you from your ex.


      I’m wondering if you’re the same Debbie who left comments about this MM and his wife sometime around July last year? I can’t recall which post, however if that was you, you received a plethora of excellent advice there that may be worth revisiting.

  25. JustHer says:

    I thought this way ALL the time. I used to constantly wonder why he kept hooking up with women and then leaving then and STILL not coming back to me (though he’d give a try in the middle with a text or two).

    I have begun to realise that it isn’t about me. I am feeling much much better. I am starting to believe in myself a tiny bit more.

    I remember one of the last times when we were together in bed and I suggested that if he wanted to keep being with other women, then we should have an open relationship, where I could also date other men (I just wanted him, but if I couldn’t be his only then he should not have to be mine). And he told me that he wanted to be with others, but he didn’t want me to.

    SUCH a jerk. The selfishness, such as he didn’t break up with me because he didn’t want me to find someone else, was always there and yet I never ever saw it.

    Looking back with fresh eyes now. And I no longer think what all those whom he got with have that I don’t. It isn’t about me.

  26. Peanut says:

    I spent much of my involvement with the ex comparing myself to his ex (so did he).

    When I broke up with him, like clockwork he went begging for her. She, with a smug and victorious attitude, took her place (that I had temporarily occupied/still warm I’m sure) right beside him.

    No, it didn’t work out between them after I was out of the picture (I cut him off from all contact immediately following the breakup).

    I don’t care. What do I benefit from their failure/brokenness? Nothing. I got hurt bad in the dating realm. There’s nothing the ex can do to make it right even if he has changed. I won’t ever go back. I can’t.

    I made sure I wasn’t there to swoop him up. His now again ex is still lurking. (She’s a lurker). Don’t be that girl–a fallback girl. Put your ego to better use by never allowing yourself to be someone’s second or fiftieth choice. Put you first and see where that takes you. You’ll be better off no doubt.

  27. Stephanie says:

    While I am married now, I understand the frustration many of you ladies are going thru when it comes to finding a suitable partner. In my twenties after I got rid of my EUM/AC while I was happy with myself I couldn’t find a decent guy to save my life? This was in my twenties! They were either liars, cheaters or just plain crazy! I just accepted that I might be alone and I was completely okay with that. All the while my ex EUM went back to the women he was seeing and eventually marrying her. But you know what I would have rather spent the rest of my days alone then to be with him. The karma was I got to reject my EUM/AC who called me to tell me he was getting married and proceeded to ask to meet up, Yuck! and met the love my life! Ladies it does get better and that’s why you must live your life to the fullest and let the chips fall where they may.

    • Lilia says:

      Thanks for that. Sometimes I think all these ACs I encounter (and now that I´m 42, this includes being hit on by octogenarians – never by normal guys my own age) are some kind of test: if you say NO to them, you´ll get closer to opening the (sparkling) ***Magic Door*** and what´s behind that door? Oh yes, finally, a normal man! Which nowadays seem to be a real prize.

      I´ve had the same experience as Selkie, most men out there are weirdoes. I´m noticing, though, that most women will happily put up with anything if it has a dick dangling between its legs. So I guess that means I´m finally learning not to accept crumbs. It is a lonely road, though, not centering my life around having a man. You become “out” when you focus on you.

  28. Deepend says:

    Resolved EUM,

    Clever handle man! I don’t see too many guys on the site. i can relate to that “freshly battered” feeling when I read Nats articles, and reader comments.

    Like yourself, i realized i was an EUM. i experienced being an EUM in a relationship over 3.5 years and didn’t understand it all. The woman in my life was a decently wonderful person, loved by my kids, my family, my friends, but not appreciated by me. That is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever experienced! I kept breaking up with her every 4 months almost like clock work, and wasn’t entirely happy with her.

    Then i read a book called Mars and Venus starting over which addresses the challenges that men and women have starting over after a breakup or death. It was then that i realized i was EU and all the characteristics of my feelings for her (hot/cold for example) were because I didn’t take time to heal my heart after my previous relationship (long story here), making my then fiance (long story there) a rebound.

    When i finally understood what I was dealing with, i didn’t think the feelings i was experiencing were ever going to change to the point where I was happy and in love with her, so i ended it, and with a lot of determination it has stayed ended for almost a year and a half. She tried to rope me back in a few times before she found another guy to move in with a couple months later, after which she still tried to keep the me roped in. (long story here too)

    The moral of the story is that i commend you for taking the steps you have taken to not be an EUM. I’ve been single the entire time since the breakup, and have not run from my feelings of grief and loss about my previous two relationships, which has been incredibly difficult. I find myself thinking about the good times with her a lot, and wishing i could have been emotionally available with her.

    I’ve been NC with her for 9 months due to her desire to afflict pain on me after the breakup, which I’ve wanted to break, but she’s with someone else now, and it would make me weak to face that again, or make nice and try to be friends under the circumstances. Thank God for BR!! It’s helped me understand so much about myself, and how to deal with some very difficult stuff!!

  29. Sparkle says:

    7+ months of NC! I’m so thrilled to be away from and over the relationshit. Recovery was beyond horrendous. 10 months with this man, full of confusion, emotional abuse, lying. The exAC Narc has tried to return a few times, but I’ve held NC. He even damaged my car again last month, with a follow up I miss you text the next night. Just trying to taunt and intimidate. Seriously, believe he is a sociopath. What I found out recently, is he had a GF when we were together. She’s been on/off supply for years and I remember he mentioned her a few times. So, when he returned in Sept., begging to start over, it was all a big LIE. His goal was to seek revenge and destroy for my NC. Of course, I had strong suspicions that he was cheating, but the extent of it is mind-blowing. He was out with other girls a minimum 2-3x a week. Now that I have confirmation of it, I know how truly evil he is. These assclowns aren’t happy unless they are boomeranging with old/new supply and hurting others.

    I’m at a point where I just don’t care anymore about dating. If a decent like-minded guy appears, then that’s fantastic. Otherwise, I’m enjoying a simple, drama free, positive life.

  30. Sunyata says:

    This post made me think of my friend A.
    Her ex broke up with her, and within a few weeks was in a new relationship (with a new woman – nothing shady going on previously) with The Right Woman for him. They got married pretty quickly, had babies, and 6 years later are still going strong.

    She kicked herself for a year, crying and wondering, “why her and not me?”, then hooked up with a Mr. Unavailable who treated her like crap. She spent a couple of years trying to be the exception, trying to change him, telling him all about himself, all of the typical stuff until they broke up.

    So, for two more years, she cried and complained and ruminated and obsessed – why couldn’t he love MEEEE??? Why did he love his ex more than me, especially when she treated him so shitty?? Why her and not me??

    On and on until one weekend, during a visit I snapped and told her, it’s been 2 years, I don’t want to hear about it anymore. You are better off, he was a shit who didn’t even like you much, I know you are in pain and this is hurting me to hear it over and over and I can’t listen anymore.

    She felt hurt – AND – that very weekend, she went to a fair and a super cute, fun guy started following her around everywhere for the whole weekend.
    That was nearly 5 years ago, and they are still together and engaged.
    She is an artist and a performer, a very unusual and unique person, and this guy is so perfect for her it is crazy. They perform and create and design together.

    Oh, and did I mention they met while she was on vacation?
    HE MOVED 2500 MILES across the country to be with her!!!

    No convincing, explaining, whatever.
    They met in the spring, she told him she was going to Burning Man in the fall and he FOUND A WAY TO GO. If you know anything about BM, you know it is expensive, difficult to get tickets, difficult to pack and get ready for (for some people it’s a year-round job).

    Later told her, “I decided I better find a way to go because if I don’t I am going to lose her!”

    They are living a life most people only dream of!

    So – sometimes it’s her and not you, because the Right One for you is coming down the chute. It can happen, I’ve seen it with my own eyes :) None of her exes were really suited for her, none of them were that into her, none of them fit that special vibe that was all her and he found her while she was off living her life, enjoying herself, being herself, and having a good time.

    A lesson that’s good for me to ponder on today :)

    • Selkie says:

      I love that story about your friend Sunyata. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Stephanie says:


      I love hearing these types of stories. Because many times we don’t understand that everybody you date is not meant to be the one. But when you find someone that treats you right and loves you the way your supposed to be loved, you know you weren’t crazy for feeling uphappy with EUM.

  31. Deepend says:


    That’s a great story about your friend. It gives me hope that one day i will find someone who is as uniquely wierd as I am!!

  32. Peanut says:

    The reality of dating and romantic relationships can appear bleak. It’s not streamlined.

    It takes hours, years and dedication to be a good pianist. It takes a lifetime of expertise to be a culinary artist. My favorite modern artist put near a decade into formal, academic training then went on to paint thousands and thousands of paintings before the few that made him famous.

    Natalie I’m sure your writing is a product of your lifetime thus far and is a skill no doubt cultivated.

    Think of how many jobs we’ve had to quit, how many foods we had to try to know what we like.

    Out of a near two years of drawing as an art major, I have only a few things I really like. Most will go in the trash.

    Sketches? Forget about it. They’re just a compilation of mistakes. That’s normal. It takes loads of either excellent guidance and motivation in childhood or a whole lot of practice as adults to be good at something.

    It’s human. We toil and toil for that reward because it’s what we do. With unavailable men, the reward, if we so choose to see it, is the realization they are not worth the toil.

    • happy b says:

      Peanut, I like what you say, it’s so true that the greatest things in life come after effort and persistence. Not only that, but with romance, it only takes one. Not that there is *only* one person, but it still just takes one to make all the lessons worth it. The other things I’ve strived for, I’ve been nearly crushed, thought ‘how much more of this can I take’, why all the rejections and failures?, but then somewhere deep down, known there was a point to it all and it all came to something. I often get close to giving up on romance, and it screws me up to know that what I feel as ‘love’ is often something completely different and misguided, but somehow I know there is such thing.

  33. Resolved EUM says:

    Lizzp & Deepend, thanks for the positive comments. Loving the Sunyata post too. BM is akin to Glastonbury here in the UK so can relate to the effort that went in there :-)
    I think BR should be added to the school curriculum. Catch ‘em early!!! :-)

  34. noquay says:

    The thing is, with relationships, the effort you put in is only half the equation. It takes two functioning and compatible people to make even the possibility of a good relationship. If only one has put in the hard work of self improvement, being emotionally present, then it’s still a wash no matter how hard one may try. It is good to persist as ultimately, we are better for it, but it’s also frustrating when ones efforts lead to naught no matter how hard we try. Would kinda be like practicing the piano for hours every day and still not sounding well because the damned things way outta tune and half the keys don’t work. This seems to be the very problem most of us BR folk are facing, especially these comments. I truly feel that a good deal of what we deal with is a manifestation of an overall declining society. The Native activist Winona LaDuke had a saying “we don’t want a bigger piece of the pie; we want a different pie”. Amen sister.

  35. Peanut says:

    happy b,

    I couldn’t say it better ;)

    Thanks I needed that xx.

  36. Peanut says:

    We can adhere to what we think makes us good enough and worthy of the most basic human needs, or we can take experiences at face value without spinning them to mean what we want them to (catering to that what can I do to be good enough/comparison image) and learn about ourselves authentically from each grow and failure.

  37. Peanut says:

    It’s funny how the human mind works.

    We can want to sing in childhood or play the piano and we get made fun of and discouraged so we grow a strong desire to be a famous musician (the best) and near kill and humiliate ourselves in the process.

    Or no one believes we actually “drew that” when we were seven so we set out to prove everyone we can draw in college (and near collapse of tire and overwork).

    Or we can be lonely as a child and practically grow up begging anybody to be our friend and to like us.

    Or we can never feel what it’s like to be wanted as our parents weren’t really into it, so we go on a mission to extract attention from unwilling sources as the ultimate pay off to prove we are THAT good (good enough for basic decent treatment and attention).

    We try to get a lover to pick us so that we feel better when we felt so inept as a child via insufficient parenting.

    We fear death (nonexistence) so much we evade sleep because it reminds us of this and become an insomniac because we weren’t payed enough attention to in childhood and felt invisible (nonexistent).

    We try and rely in intellectual intelligence for worth because we may have had an undiagnosed learning disorder and deep down have felt mostly stupid our entire lives thus far.

    The mind is a funny thing.

    Always question it when it’s not working in your favor.

  38. Revolution says:

    Maybe it’s cliché, but I always think, “Well, JFK cheated on Jackie, and she was beautiful, accomplished, a writer, spoke French, etc.” So WTF? Was it something wrong with Jackie? Or us? No. I had that question for so long, but now I think, “Thank the LORD ABOVE that he ran along.” He was NOT for me. It was NOT about me. It takes time to get there and to REALLY REALIZE the truth of those statements, but in time, my friends….In time.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      A cheater will cheat–0N ANYONE. It matters not if she is beautiful, smart, intelligent, etc. because it’s not about her. It’s about HIM. His lack of character and morals.

  39. Peanut says:


    I mean navigating the dating realm is a learned skill. But, yes, it is beyond demoralizing to put in so much emotional effort and the other does jack.

    And with every talent I have worked on cultivating, sometimes I spin my wheels. And, yep, it is sometimes painful and maddening. And reevaluation is always key, then changes in behavior/attitude/perspective to follow. I liken this to dating.

    Just because the dating world is rough doesn’t make it obsolete. What I’m saying is don’t compromise your values, give up, or stop working for a legacy that is meaningful to you romance included!

    • noquay says:

      I am not giving up for good, but I can see that while I live here, in this redneck downtrodden place, despite my efforts and hard work to make things better, the probability of meeting an equal (from somewhere else) that would be willing to be in a relationship, to live here, despite my cool house and farm, is nil. I do keep strong to my values, I’ve probably been hit on by every down and outer in the county, have seen their red flags, and said firmly “no thanks”. If they don’t get the hint, there’s always the “welcoming committee”; two serious and very protective dogs. I cannot afford the monetary cost and time to pay for multiple on line sites, buying better clothes so I look good when it yields nothing. Right now, I really think I have to wait for retirement and hope to Hades I am still seen as attractive and there’s still a lot of educated folk back home. I am kinda, except for the sustainability center, bailing out ta my career. I have decided not to run for the head dude position, do a job teaching in my degreed fields but haven’t enjoyed it for about three years. Someone at work asked me”why are you abandoning science?”, I replied “it abandoned me” which is true, my life was threatened, my marriage lost, because I was a good scientist and told the truth. Been pretty much alone ever since. Not OK. Right now, fixing up my home solo so it’s high end and sells, continuing to self improve through increased fitness, weight loss, are probably better uses of my time, not to mention I save more money. Just had a down and out, hard drinking and drugging neighbor kill herself a few weeks ago. Because neighbors here don’t talk to one another, no one told me, I had to read about it in the paper. She had been abandoned by her boyfriend and family, no one was there for her. Though her and my lifestyle and values were light years apart, I can see that had I not persevered, thrown away family and upbringing, I would’ve turned out much like her. I also see that I too are just as alone as she was at the end. Sobering.

  40. Peanut says:


    Whoah. I’m sorry about your neighbor.

    Sobering is right. But you didn’t turn out like her and that is something.

    I kind of had a long sigh at my previous optimism. I got a harsh, harsh reality check. Perhaps life doesn’t care what I want.

    I came to a sobering realization my ability is not sufficient for something I really really wanted to be good at. Now I must give it up in the way I thought I wanted it (piano class).

    It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard enough. I pushed myself so hard I made myslef sick. I am so glaringly behind average it brings up all the fears I’ve had about having a learning disorder. I can hardly retain symbols or numbers.

    I’m sobbing from being in
    a piano booth for hours and hitting keys and then the notes disappear from my memory like back spacing in type. I’ve never tried harder for anything other than the ex. I am devastated.

    Then I realized, just like with the ex, just because I want something doesn’t mean I’m going to get it no matter how hard I work for it.

    Then I thought of how I excell at drawing and art (my major) and even though it is so challenging, I always see vast returns on my work. What I’m good at most isn’t what I want most; I don’t know how to rectify that.

    I’ve wanted to be a musician since I can remember. I think my first words were related to that. But reality (I show promise in abstract art, which I rarely if ever even thought about before art school). Maybe the music thing is just an image/a mirage and the other (drawing/painting) is real.

    I really feel for you noquay. I struggle with the Texas town I live in. I stay for my grandparents and economical reasons. I’m not too focused on dating though I think there are some sweet men around.

    I am bereft at the realization that my abilities may not be such to reach my dream and dating isn’t what I want at the moment. I’m overwhelmed at dealing with learning issues I’m having with music on top of my busy school schedule.

    I don’t know what life has in store for us. I don’t know if we’ll get what we want noquay. But we are trying, and that is something.

    • grace says:

      There’s an old joke that musicians say “What’s the difference between a concert pianist and a non-pianist? Five hours of practice a day.”
      So practice is important, every day. But I do think natural ability is important. Some people can’t tell if a note is sharp or flat, or higher than another. I think most people are like that. Everyone can improve but there’s a point where it’s with the gods. Some people you can plonk in front of an instrument and they can figure it out in a few hours.
      I was very smart at certain subjects at school but sucked at piano. My nine year old niece is better than I ever got. Her sister got to grade 8 but her boyfriend is a lot better than she is. She entered a music competition and realised EVERYONE ELSE was better than her. It’s not just you.
      My only tip is to let go. You have to trust your body to remember, it’s not in your brain or your thoughts.
      And Sight reading is just hard.
      If you can enjoy it for fun, music is very uplifting, and takes you out of yourself. I take a dance class and am by no means a good dancer, but I enjoy it. Am I a better ballet dancer than someone who has never taken a class? Yes.
      Would it do me any good to audition for the royal ballet? Er, no. It’s like cooking, or dressmaking, drawing (I’m hopeless at that), singing, acting. You can enjoy it without being the best, or be able to make a living from it. It may not be something you’ll ever feel comfortable performing in front of others. but that’s okay.
      It’s not analagous with dating. You don’t have to be a world class pianist to be in a relationahip. It confers no advantage. I dont’ think there’s any such thing as pianist groupies.

  41. Peanut says:

    And on a lighter note, my dog may have heard me crying because she came and curled up on the couch beside me (I love her).

    I also sought out advice from an accomplished musician friend who gave me lots of practical guidance where I can go next.


    • EllyB says:

      @Peanut: I can so relate, even if in my case it’s not about playing the piano. Imagine this, however: If you really loved a person, would you blame them for not excelling at a certain activity? Would you blame that person for undertaking that activity for their personal enjoyment even if they are rather mediocre at it? I’m sure you won’t.

      And if that person was truly excellent at SOMETHING ELSE, wouldn’t you cherish them for that skill?

      I think we really need to learn to love ourselves the way we would love others. And love means cherishing the good things about that person, not blaming that person for something they are not.

      Yesterday I’ve been to a certain alumni event, and it was a total nightmare, because apparently most people there seemed to be way more successful than I… especially those who never had a backbone and not much originality either.

      I know it’s neither my skills nor my work ethic. I partly blame bad luck (getting bullied out of my old, more high-profile job at a time when almost no other jobs were available). Furthermore, when choosing my new position (I had a few options), I picked the one that corresponded most to my personal values and ethics, a job where I felt I wouldn’t have to twist myself into a pretzel. I’m not yet sure whether my choice was right (I started in January), but so far I don’t think it was totally wrong either.

      Anyway, unfortunately the position I picked is one that makes me look like a total “loser” with those people at the alumni event because they do not share my values. I’ve lost quite some sleep over this.

      I guess my narcissistic mother (I’ve gone NC with her many years ago) would say: “Your so called ‘values’ are an excuse. In reality you simply don’t cut it. I’ve always told you so. You’re mentally ill. This proves it!”

      I wonder: Should I change and give up my values so that I would be better able to “compete” with the others?

      My former therapist would simply reply: “If you changed, you wouldn’t be you anymore.” And of course he is right.

      • grace says:

        How do you know they don’t share your values? you can’t know without speaking to each one in some depth?
        I understand feeling like an outsider, but it’s not necessarily because people are that different to you. Were they all taking drugs or something?
        But, yeah, if you are a vegan who belongs to PETA, and you got a job at a medical research facility experimenting on higher primates (or such similar extreme), you need to get out. And Some organisations are toxic, generally because there is a leadership problem. Those are best left altogether rather than trying to endure it.

        • EllyB says:

          @Grace: No, it’s nothing like that… it’s more about routinely deceiving and manipulating people (customers or other “stakeholders”).

          I’m quite familiar with many of those people (I’ve worked in the industry for more than a decade and know many of them personally, even if we newer got along very well). As far as I know, many of them are aware of the fact that they are often doing quite questionable things. I know that some of them feel bad about it too. Anyway, few look for jobs in other fields, probably because it would mean a loss of status (and maybe money as well).

          Plus, it’s an industry in heavy decline. Many colleagues – many of whom were very good at their jobs – have gotten sacked last year.

          It was always a cutthroat field to work in, but in the current economic situation things have gotten even worse. Of course, that also makes it easier for bosses to ask their employees to do unethical things.

          This is why I decided to change paths. Anyway, there are quite a few others who have landed management jobs during the past years and who were lucky because their companies didn’t shut down.
          I think they are in a quite comfortable position now. They don’t have that much to fear, compared to their underlings who are probably suffering through all kinds of anxieties (of getting fired, getting bullied or the like).

          I would like to become a manager as well, but I cannot imagine myself supporting a culture like that.

          • EllyB says:

            Plus, vanity was a big factor in my former industry (the media). Many people in the field put up with bad things if only this helps them to become famous.

            I often thought the price for this kind of fame/recognition was way too high, but I also believed that I had to try to become famous anyway. Now I wonder whether I was subconsciously trying to feed my narcissistic mother’s ego – because personally I’m not vain at all.

            When I was young she loved bragging about my achievements in public (even if, at the same time, she told me that I was mentally ill). I think those feelings got triggered again when I saw all those successful media managers last night. I thought: “They have all the fame my mother would want. Why can’t I have it too? And why can’t I try harder? What’s wrong with me that I don’t care enough?”

        • Tinkerbell says:

          I think the average person wants a job where their interests and talents lie. Why would you be happy


          I don’t think the average individual would want to be doing something that is totally alien to their beliefs. I think one wants an occupation that reflects their goals aspirations, interests and talents. It’s unfortunate that nowadays many people do not have the luxury of this and have to settle for whatever they can get. What is commonly termed as “burnout” can simply be boredom.

          Block out what you think your mother would say to you, because that’s totally off base. Don’t compete with anyone else. Do what makes you personally happy regardless of income. You can make more if you WANT to go to work. If you hate your job you may call out sick a lot and create a poor work record which would affect a future recommendation. Make sense?

          • EllyB says:

            @Tinkerbell: Thank you, and yes, of course you are right. I think it boils down to a conflict between me and my “internalized mother”. She: narcissistic and vain, I: wants to live in peace without having to hurt others (or putting myself through pain for that matter).

            I seem to have a very hard time getting rid of her voice in my head, even if I’m not talking to her in person anymore. I think her brainwashing during my childhood was quite (although not totally) successful. Maybe at some point I’ll need another round of therapy.

            • Tinkerbell says:


              A great deal of my therapy is focused on my mother’s raising me and my reactions to her rules and attitudes. Whether we think so or not, those experiences influence us throughout our lives. Fortunately for me I’ve been able to understand more and weed out the bad and hold onto the good. She was a high achiever, very politically involved and very well known in the community. This caused me some pain as she was not a nurturer, but gave me what I needed. So I understand your hearing your mother’s words and being acutely aware of what she would say or think, and the NC. It can be too much.

        • EllyB says:

          @Grace: I think the real problem was that this was an alumni meeting of the place I had gotten bullied out about a decade ago. Many people who participated in the “witch hunt” back then were present at the event, including the former manager who instigated it all.

          And they all treated me like a piece of sh*t… again. I think the fact that some of them have quite impressive careers was a very minor issue compared to that.

          I thought I would be “strong enough” to suffer through this, I thought it would be a good “networking opportunity”, I thought I “shouldn’t be holding a grudge”, but I was wrong. I shouldn’t have attended that event no matter what.

          • grace says:

            It wasn’t a good idea to go, but don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s not significant. You had a crap evening. It happens!
            I remember spending hours at university with a group of people who did little more than take drugs or talk about drugs. It. was. so. boring. I did feel like an outsider but some groups you don’t want to be a part of.
            Glamour is a funny thing. People in the past have thought I’m glamourous when my life was a dead end job juggling debts. Apparently Kate Moss spends most of her weekends looking after chickens or something. We all get sick, our families get sick, we get old. No-one is immune from that. Try not to envy them or think they’re better than you (note to self).

  42. noquay says:

    I apparently have/had a talent for music, studied clarinet, voice, keyboards for malls, self taught 4 other instruments but got a very late start as the parents didn’t think I was worth investing much into. Learning scientific stuff, not about living things which came easy, but equations , cycles, that kinda crap, I literally would have to force myself to learn often after working an 8 hour shift, being in class, tending my brother. I’d literally slap myself, hard, when I failed because I was so damned tired. Everyone always said you cannot make a living at art or music so I learned science to pay the bills and I actually did well in a lab setting because I can multitask big time. In reality, I am a creative person with strong analytical skills. When I get outta here, I want to have a woodworking shop, write, draw again, sing, dance, provided I can find a decent dance partner. However, I never want to read a scientific paper again. Though the economy says one thing, follow your dreams. Feel for you, living in Texas, been there, no offense, but I wasn’t impressed. At least I get to look at mountains. There are a few men here that are “nice guys”, even sweet, but they still are unable to function in a relationship due to severe emotional, addiction, and financial issues, given regional economics, they’ve no where else to go; we really are a town of refugees. It’s good you are taking care of your elders, it’s difficult, but you’re doing the right thing. I wish my neighbors family had bothered to take care of her.

  43. Peanut says:


    Thank you; you are right :) xx

    Today I met with my instructor and was honest with him. He pinpointed the problem within 5 minutes. He was calm, compassionate and patient (much more so than I). He worked with me in learning to hear notes (I have trouble hearing notes).

    He reformulated the lesson plan on the spot for me and quickly came up with effective solutions in such a pleasant way. Then he showed me something really simple (but oh so beautiful) that is reasonable for me to eventually play soon.

    I go to a really good college and sometimes I get a bit freaked out about failing and losing the opportunities, yet so far the professors have been incredibly kind and patient when I struggle.

    Thanks again for your words, they were lovely, wise and really helped me put things in perspective.

    Peanut xx

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I attended a music college. Inotherwords that’s all that was taught. I was a voice student with a minor in piano. I thought you were an art student. Which is it? An “ear” for music is something that cannot be taught. If your major is art, is it that important to do very well on the piano. Music and Art are innate TALENTS. There’s only so much that can be taught. I studied voice and did not even make a living at it because the program was very rigorous and draining. So I left that college and after marriage and a child, I enrolled in a college for nursing. Medicine had always been my second love and I ended up having a great career.

      You sound like a very conciencious person who strives to do her best. I was the same. But, try to incorporate a bit more relaxed attitude as tension and self-induced stress blocks an open mind for learning. I admire your career goals. Music and art careers are exceedingly challenging a fact most people don’t realize. My advise would be lean toward what comes to you NATURALLY. You my want to be a musician but perhaps art is your stronger suit. Good luck. Also, don’t waste any time on trifling bozos. Make your studies and your life/career about YOU. It will pay off in the end.

      • Peanut says:


        I am a Visual Arts major; I am taking a piano elective.

        I wanted to be a musician the most, my natural talents (I pick up drawing/design/painting with more ease) are in visual arts. At least this is where it’s going so far.

        My piano instructor is willing to work with me; I am willing to do the work. We’ll see where that goes.

        But really a lot of what I’m good at is not what I necessarily imagined, so who knows?

        I’m going to continue doing my best with an open mind and investigate “gut” feelings.

        Peanut xx

  44. Satsuki says:

    I have been no contact with my guy for 4 weeks now. We were only together for 7 months with lots of issues, but it is so hard. I have made so many mistakes. He told me he had never told any girl that he loves them and he told me he was not sure he would ever be able to love me. I kept thinking if I was patient that he would let me in and love me, but after 7 months nothing changed. He kept pulling away and making it seem like he had no motivation for me. I couldn’t take feeling strung along any more and I ended it. Unfortunately I did it via text because of the situation and it was the only way I could contact him. He never said anything to me.
    He works in my department every thursday and for the past month will not be in the same area as me. I think he knows he messed up big time and feels uncomfortable to see me, which I’m very happy about. I also know he is a loser and will do it to the next girl. I feel sorry for her, but i’m struggling here.
    When I ended it, I was so happy for the 1st 2 weeks. Now on thursdays I feel sad. Yesterday I happened to hear his voice while he was chatting nicely with someone else. It hurt and it surprised me. I guess because he seems like he is not upset at all. I want to let go and I dont want to obssess over it anymore.

  45. Peanut says:


    Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your experience with the arts. Luckily I go to a school where the professors are great artists making money (teaching obviously) but they do many things as artists in the community. It can be done, but it is so challenging.

    I got a degree in something people told me was oh so useful (it meant nothing to me). I got a “good” reliable job and would have rather been dead than get up to work.

    I quit and here I am doing it right and following my integral passions for me. I’d never go back.

    And my new career path/studies take so much effort/energy dating isn’t on the table yet. The upstart is hard in the arts; you know.

    Congrats on pursuing your talents and rediscovering what most likely needs to be continued in you.

    Peanut xx

  46. Able says:

    I like that some of this reminded me of a line from When Harry Met Sally: (Marie, Sally’s friend) “I’m saying that the right man for you might be out there right now and if you don’t grab him, someone else will, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that someone else is married to your husband.”

    I kind of have the fantasy of the ex coming up to me saying she was wrong and misses me. Then I can say, you had your chance and fucked it up.

  47. Amy says:

    Great article. We’re always so quick to judge ourselves when a relationship ends. Whether it’s something we should have done (i.e. put more effort into romance, not leave dishes in the sink…) or wondering what qualities we didn’t have – we often second guess ourselves after a break up. We never think that perhaps the timing was off or that we just weren’t the right person for them. In sum – it’s not about us and your article is spot on.

  48. Tinkerbell says:


    A very big mistake it was. Learn to take your time before acting or reacting, for that matter. I don’t think you really thought it through enough before you went. We have to weigh not only the pros, but the cons of our actions- anticpating outcome is the key- if we want to avoid pain and hurt.

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!