guy telling woman that he won't leave it a month to call her. Her thinking that she knows that it's a booty call

Most of us have been guilty at times of telling people what they want to hear or what we think that they want to hear. It’s the people pleaser in us that doesn’t want to disappoint and be disapproved of and if we’re entirely honest, it’s also because we’re afraid of potential conflict. Sometimes it’s about not knowing how to say no and yes, some of us are masters at telling people what they want to hear because we use it to our advantage and get what we want in the present.

When we’re faced with situations where we choose to be indirect or even outright lie, it can be because:

  • The person in question has told us what they want or expect to hear or we believe, based on our interactions with them, that this is what’s expected of us. If we’ve previously said no and they’ve just kept at us like a battering ram until we caved, we’re likely to deduce that anything other than yes will be rejected.
  • We think it’s what they want to hear even if it’s not. Our thinking may be based on skewed perceptions of them or what is wanted, that are in turn based on beliefs and fears around criticism, conflict, disappointment and rejection. It’s also safe to say that we tell people what we think they want to hear based on what we also think that we’re going to gain. Prime example: Future Faking. Now if a Future Faker was upfront and said, ‘I’m going to talk out of my bottom, give you a good time but I’m really not in the market for a relationship and in fact, am a consummate commitment dodger’, you’d be unlikely to drop your pants, unless of course that’s the type of challenge that piques your interest. The Future Faker decides that it doesn’t matter if what they say doesn’t come to fruition, that their behaviour is contradictory, and that they in fact hurt you because they reason that telling you what they thought you wanted to hear gave you a good time and spared you some hurt (and got them laid or whatever). Another prime example is that person who keeps cancelling. They think it’s more important to us that they say yes than they turn up. Even when they cancel 50 times, they still expect people to believe in their intentions to come when they accept the 51st invitation.
  • We also tell people what they want to hear based on what may be faulty associations, so Peter went ballistic when we said no that time, as did Paul on another occasion, so we decide that if we don’t tell people what they want to hear, they will all behave like Peter and Paul. Let’s throw in a parent that either told people what they wanted to hear or went crackers if they didn’t hear it, and it’s easy to see how one might have a negative association with honesty.

While most of us will tell people what they want to hear from time to time, it will pretty much be a full-time habit if we’re passive or passive aggressive.

A passive person will tell someone what they want to hear because they typically suppress their needs, wants, and expectations to gain approval, validation etc and to also avoid the likes of conflict. They believe that if they do and say what’s ‘expected’ (which may be based on an unhealthy belief anyway), that they will be rewarded. Instead they feel marginalised and possibly taken advantage of and abused.

A passive aggressive person is only too happy to tell someone what they want to hear because unlike their passive counterpart, they’re either going to do what they originally intended to do anyway or they just undermine whatever was said with backtracking, managing down expectations, moaning, griping, being obstructionist, orchestrating conflict, cancelling etc.

When we decide to tell people what they want to hear even though it’s either going to cause us or them (or both of us) pain plus we may come across as flaky, difficult, full of sh*t, and even manipulative, we’re saying that people would rather that we make them feel good in the moment with a lie, than have them feel possibly uncomfortable in the moment (and possibly for a little while afterwards) but they’re ultimately spared from the consequences of our BS. We also have to question who we’re so afraid of telling the truth to people who genuinely care about us, because while they won’t exactly do a jig if something’s not what they’d hoped for, they will respect our honesty and the ability to know where they stand with us.

When we tell people what they want to hear, we’re just postponing discomfort and potentially adding on more consequences than would have originally existed. We’re postponing, not avoiding or deleting.

Some people have a serious aversion to being direct and representing themselves in a way that respects them and anyone else involved and so they will swear that they’re definitely not going to cancel this time, that of course they don’t want the relationship to end and will do whatever it takes to commit, or that of course they meant what they said and that they don’t mind doing whatever it is…. and then they end up showing us things that we’d prefer not to see or experience. The one who says that they don’t mind when they really do ends up miserable and blowing their proverbial gasket one day.

What I do know from personal experience is that the sky has yet to fall down due to lack of stroking egos or telling the truth with respect (honesty). I know that I’m most likely to tell somebody what they want to hear if I’m caught off guard or I know for a fact that it won’t go down too well but I’ve taken to the, ‘I’ll get back to you’, ‘I can’t give an answer now’, or just biting the bullet approach. On the occasions where I do get caught out – it happened recently with an estate agent that knocked on my door – I have to put on my big pants and nip the situation in the bud because aside from giving me brainache, delaying what I really mean is actually only causing ambiguity and messing us both around.

Remember that each time you say yes to something when you really mean no, you’re saying no to you while busting your own boundaries.

It may feel good to say or hear the words in the moment but the subsequent actions and thinking can hurt for much longer because while the truth can hurt at times, it’s the lies, contradiction and even the suppression of ourselves in our efforts to ‘please’ that can do far more damage.

Your thoughts?

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92 Responses to Why it’s time to stop telling people what they want to hear (or what we *think* they want to hear)

  1. Tabitha says:

    Just to share…. I was on my break at work today when a young girl who I am mentoring told me how her boyfriend had been “distant and very different” all weekend. I absent mindedly told her “Well you just tell him you aren’t the sort of girl who accepts crumbs and if that is all he has to offer you are no longer interested.” She later said to me, I sent that text. “What text?” Oh yes, she had texted him exactly what I said!!! Ha ha!! Good old BR.
    Joking aside, I have found having boundaries and stopping people pleasing incredibly difficult because of my family of origin issues. What I can report back is that the more often and the better I do it, the happier I am. I never would have dreamt how much better my life could be by telling the truth more often rather than just spouting off what people want to, or what I think they want to hear.

    • SuckerFreeMe says:

      Cheers to you Tabitha! We’ve got to teach them while they’re young. A girl’s self-esteem will skyrocket if she’s shown how valuable she is from day one.

      Nothing burns me more than an older woman telling one who’s younger to coalesce in the hopes of snagging a “man.” I wish more women read BR and put the lessons into practice.

    • JustHer says:

      Wish more people had given me this kind of frank advice when I was younger!

      Learn earlier, live happier.

    • Beth says:

      That is awesome!
      Too many young girls nowadays get inundated with the “you have to compromise to get a man” crap – and it’s just that, CRAP.
      Glad that you were able to set her on the right path:)

      Love Ourselves More

  2. Sparkle says:

    How timely! Out of retaliation, my exAC sent a text on Fri. night that said FUCK YOU, I will be OK. He atached 5 pictures of him with different girls. He had sent me a tasteless text invite earlier in the week to “revisit the crime scene” and return to the beach for a weekend getaway. Yep, just what I need, to revisit where the nightmare began. :)

    I went no contact in Jun. In September, he turned up trying to reset and I relapsed for 2 days. I knew I made a bad decision and immediately shut it down. So,it’s been NC since his messages last week. Which I have ignored.

    I recognized 4 of the girls in the pics as ex-girlfriends. In 3 of the pics he is wearing clothes that I bought him. So, it just confirms my instincts that he is a cheater and flip flops through girls all the time and he is obviously proud of it.

    Setting healthy boundaries and saying no is my biggest lesson with this AC experience. I was too passive, even though my insticts were on high alert for 8+ months.

    • Australia says:


      Ugh! What an assclown he is. Maybe that text was a blessing in that it reaffirms what an ahole he really is.

      I too am learning boundaries with men, family and friends. Learning to be strong. Good luck!

    • AngelFace says:

      Hi Sparkle,
      I hope you aren’t still hurting from him intentionally trying to hurt you. Being in Love, or being not over someone who moves on easily to other women is difficult (but he is the same AC & will be treating the new ones in a similar way…)

      PS: I NEVER BUY MEN GIFTS anymore, and I sure as heck don’t invite them over for DELICIOUS HOME-COOKED meals ($$) at my place which I prepare and pay for. I learned that they just don’t deserve it. They don’t evenly reciprocate it. They don’t appreciate it – and I can spend my cash on nice things on myself, or family, or a best friend…

      Hope you find a really good guy in the future dear Sparkle! Have a good day/evening :)

    • Tabitha says:

      Sparkle! I know it isn’t funny but your post made me laugh out loud! He sounds IRRESISTIBLE!!!!!
      Time to do the “I dodged a bullet dance.”

      • Sparkle says:

        It made me LMAO too. And I am happy dancing to be rid of the drama. Thanks to all for your kind and supportive responses. :)

    • Lara says:

      I bought my ex 2 fancy dress shirts on his birthday last August (in 2012), and it cost me $150. I would not be surprised if he wears them without even remembering who got them for him. He probably now wears them in his “peacocking” attempts to woo women/whores/exes into his bed. Not that whores need much wooing, but according to my ex, they do — and apparently that is a great compliment to his attractiveness. lol!

  3. SuckerFreeMe says:

    Recently I’ve had a few friends tell me the honest to goodness truth about how I’ve been stuck for years. The feeling of stuckness I am well aware of; however, it hurt (in a good way) to hear it come out of someone else’s mouths. I do wish people would say how they really feel though. Some tip-toe to spare feelings but everyone ends up getting hurt in the end.

    Tell the truth!

    • Australia says:

      Yes I agree that I wish more people said how they truly feel.

      But I had a friend recently tell me something I already knew about myself (basically that I made a mistake by not grabbing a work opportunity), and it really compounded the feelings I already had of not feeling good enough. She was of course right that I made a mistake, but perhaps it was in her delivery of it that hurt me. It was a careless text. I was on the other end at home crying.

      I am always scared of hurting others so I protect them. For example I never wanted to tell my mom how she has made me feel over the past few years, for fear of hurting her. But my therapist told me how it important it is to not silence my voice and that a lot of times by being upfront with how others make you feel, you are also helping them gain understanding. The truth sets people free even though it hurts at first.

      Going back to my friends comment though, I think it came off as condescending and preachy, even though she meant it in a helpful way. I don’t think its our job to tell people all about themselves though. If you don’t like how someone is conducting their life, then learn from their mistakes. Again, actions speak louder than words. Anyone have thoughts on this? Perhaps I am coming across as harsh because of my recent experience with my friend but it really hurt me, even though it was the truth.

      But when it comes to telling someone your feelings if they are directly affecting you, then I feel being upfront is absolutely important.

  4. espresso says:

    I was thinking about this exact topic today and feel I need some shoring up in this regard. I am facing dealing with the unreasonable demands of a very difficult contract manager who has no respect for deadlines, my workload or the complexity of the task. I received an email after the submission of two very weighty reports giving me an absolutely impossible time frame in which to make changes that they haven’t even suggested yet. I have spent a LOT of time trying to manage this person over almost two years while keeping myself strong but all day I have been feeling overwheleed at having to engage with her again as she is a totally toxic individual doesn’t collaborate, attacks personally and professionally etc. It brings up also my parallel struggles with my ex – similar kinds of issues…not being respected, heard or my not feeling I am able to handle the situation effectively. It is not that I won’t say no (I will) but it is the dealing with the emotional consequences and feeling good about myself later. Saying no to people who don’t respect my boundaries (this person and my ex) doesn’t end up well. In other words in these two relationships I DO have a negative association with honesty and experience tells me it will be no different with her this time and it is certainly no different with my ex. How do I handle this with the emotional consequences that I think will likely result and remain positive about myself? That is my question and would love some feedback on this.

    • Tabitha says:

      Espresso, I am not sure if this will help but I will try, as I have had my own “toxic cow” situation to deal with at work recently. What has helped a little is to try to separate her behaviour from my feelings. So I tell myself she is being offensive but I am not offended as I will not give her that power. She is overly critical but that is her behaviour again, and I know her criticisms are unfounded. Not because I think I am practically perfect, but because she is the lone voice and she seems to be like this with everyone. Look at it dispassionately, is her behaviour consistently off with others as well as you? Then you don’t make it all about you. You just bounce it back at her, It’s her behaviour and she can deal with it because you are not going to. You can say no, this doesn’t work for me. Don’t get sucked into any drama.
      I wish you luck, I have wasted a whole weekend on this kind of crap and life is too short.

  5. JustHer says:

    So I don’t know what the ex-AC wanted to hear, but I have decided that it is time for me to really let go.

    A few minutes ago I wrote one last email to him. Short and vague, telling him I had blocked him everywhere. And for once, I have.

    I have changed my number, blocked him on Facebook and blocked him on all my emails.

    It has made me feel oddly light. Now I know the going will be hard for a while, but who knows, this could be the beginning of something new. I have tried NC half-heartedly for so long that it was about time I put some effort into it. I will no longer be logging onto his Facebook, asking info about him, getting my friends to contact him etc.

    It’s been over a year. Time for another attempt at being me again. At being happy again.

    Let’s hope it works.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Just Her,

      Don’t “hope it works”. Make it work. Be strong. It’s up to YOU. He’s not going to help you get rid of him. Good luck.

      • JustHer says:

        Hey Tink,

        You’re right. It is much harder this time – the complete blackout, but I am making it happen. Relapsed a bit into depression-mode yesterday, but have not contacted him!

  6. Maeve says:

    I’ve had this lifelong pendulum where I swing from passive, people pleaser to incredibly blunt. I think the people pleasing was over-compensation for the bluntness–I went the people pleasing route after getting backlash from being blunt.

    When I’m really at my best, I can be straightforward but couch it in good humor. That works for me, but I have to be in a good place emotionally.

    I recently read this book called The Art of Persuasion: How to get What you want from people. The basic premise is about learning to stick up for yourself around difficult people and learning to manage difficult situations. It resonated because it’s about being genuinely nice and softening people up so you can say what you need to say without putting them on the defensive. I value harmony, yet I often find it at odds with having my emotional space respected.

    I have much more incentive to stick up for myself and be honest when I know there is a humble, non confrontational way to do it. It’s also, in my opinion, a way for me to exercise the people pleasing tendency in a much healthier and focused way.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hey Maeve,

      I read your post after responding to Kookie. But, that is exactly what I advised her. Soften up the person first before saying what you want to say. It does help to avoid defensiveness on their part. I used to think this was a manipulative tactic, but I don’t anymore. We can come across some very sticky situations in life that really impinge uoon our “space” and self care. I think as long as you’re not telling lies to the person, whatever you say nor the manner you employ should be regarded as manipulation.

      • Maeve says:

        Tinkerbell–I always thought that tactic was manipulative too! And I think you nailed it…as long as you’re being genuine and coming from a genuine place (not trying to butter someone up in a fakey kind of way), being nice pays off.

        Now whether this has any value when ending things with an AC, I don’t know, but acting in this way may make their red flags more evident early on.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          The one AC in my lifetime( when I was old enough for it to matter that much) I had the misfortune to engage with, the MM, never heard doodly-squat from me when I went NC. I did not concern myself with softening him up before I told him what I had to say. Thus no dialogue followed by NC. You do that when you care about the person and don’t want to hurt him/her. By the time you reach the point of ending it, presumably you no longer care enough to be concerned about their feelings. So, bottom line, “No” not a viable tactic with an AC, imo.

          • Maeve says:

            Tinkerbell—yeah, that whole tactic is strictly about relationship building, not really about ending one.

            Although, I’ll say, with the acid that’s capable of coming from my mouth, ending things in a kind, yet firm way would be quite an accomplishment. lol!

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Hahahaha! Yeah, Maeve. I
              hear you. Of late, I try to refrain from using my “acid mouth” as much as possible. But with some AC’s that’s all they understand.

    • Nigella says:


      Thanks for sharing the book reference on the topic of learning to assert ourselves without coming across as aggressive. I identify with what you are saying about swinging from people-pleasing to speaking in an overly blunt manner.

      Though I’ve come a long way in learning to assert my needs and limits, I still need to get better at looking out for my best interests. Especially in unexpected scenarios, even if one does not say an abrupt “Yes” or “No” to each invitation or request, when in doubt I think it is vitally important to use phrases of the sort Natalie has included in this post: “I’ll get back to you” or “I can’t give an answer now”.

      Two days ago, I made the mistake of accepting the invitation of a seemingly good-natured man to meet him at his place for supper. I have zero romantic interest in this person, whom I have known for only two months. I regret not thinking clearly at the moment and agreeing to meet him. Because of the nice manner in which he had been treating me, I felt obligated to accept his invitation. But when I disagreed with him on some topics later in the evening, I could sense his attitude changing. That same evening I became uncomfortable around him as I felt he was trying to control me by giving me unsolicited advice on random topics.

      Few months ago, many wonderful ladies at BR reminded me of the importance of listening to my gut feelings. Though I don’t want to assume the worst about this man, I don’t feel comfortable meeting him at his place. For my own peace of mind, I’ve decided that tomorrow I’ll send him a note to call off the meeting. I admit that I’m feeling uneasy about wanting to do so, because I don’t want to antagonize him or provoke him to complain about me to our mutual friend who had introduced me to him.

      My goodness! In writing out the last sentence, I just realized the fears that I am feeling. The fact that I am feeling so fearful is frustrating – why do I care so much about what other people think or say about me? Even if someone might gripe or gossip about me, why should I give a damn? In worst-case scenario, if our mutual friend sides with this man, why should I care? I don’t have to please anyone and I don’t need everyone to like me. In writing out these self-empowering messages over here, I’m trying to truly and deeply absorb them.

      I don’t want to betray my gut feelings. I could be wrong but I feel he is railroading me into getting close to him – even if just as a friend. It may not be necessary for me to cut all contact with him, but I don’t want to see him next week. I feel irritated, unnerved, and aggrieved because of the small ways in which he tried to patronize and control me – after first trying to win my trust through his small gifts, nice comments, and thoughtful actions. I’m not ready to write him off as a friend as yet but for now I feel the need to distance myself from him.

      It’s time for me to stop fearing the negative reactions or consequences that might follow if I stand my ground and stay true to my feelings instead of telling people what they might want to hear. I can’t expect people to treat me with respect, if I keep betraying myself.

      • Maeve says:

        Nigella—just thinking out loud here, but I think that dinner thingie with that guy is a GREAT example of how that technique might be employed. And in being nice in saying no, you would’ve felt less obliged.

        For example: “I really appreciate your offer to make dinner for me. What a nice gesture. I have to be honest though, I don’t feel I know you well enough to be comfortable coming to your place for dinner. I guess I’m just old fashioned in that way. But thanks anyway.”

        Then if you add in: “I hope that doesn’t make me sound cold or anything, because I certainly don’t intend to be.”

        See, that would shut him up because what’s he going to say to that???

        (the above is what I might say, but you’d say it according to your true voice).

        I realize this isn’t for anybody, but I know myself well enough by now to know I don’t want to swing from one side of the pendulum to the other anymore whenever it gets too hot on one side. So this is me in the middle, employing the truth, but softening it up.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Hope you don’t mind my input. Please honor what your soul would have you do. Your mind and heart is def not into spending an evening with this man and at his home, no less. DON’T. I personally don’t see anything positive coming out of it because he’ll probably try to put the moves on you and then it could escalate to a scene at his house. DON’T. If the mutual friend is sincere he/she should understand your saying “No”.

      • Nigella says:


        Thanks for your helpful response – the phrases you suggest make perfect sense. Next time I am in a similar situation, I will draw on the phrases you shared. To become more assertive, I definitely need to overcome my fear of antagonizing people.

        I realized that when I am undergoing a lot of work-stress, I tend to become less assertive in my personal life in an attempt to keep it stress-free. But the experience with Mr. Supper has made it clear to me that I now *feel* doubly distressed when I do not take timely action to assert my own boundaries in the personal realm.

        Instead of worrying about people badmouthing me, I need to continue building my self-confidence and reputation based on the results I achieve and the good relationships I form. Plus, I need to continue listening to my gut feelings and learning for them & the small mistakes I might make before they turn into bigger issues. From my mistake this time, I have understood once and for all the importance of asking for more time if I cannot say an outright “No” to an invitation or request. I tell myself: it is not a crime to resist making a commitment on the spot and it is not an offense to say a polite, firm “No”.

        Thanks for helping me get better at asserting myself.

      • Nigella says:


        I have been away from BR for a few weeks. I hope you have been keeping well.

        I value your input and want to thank you for telling me to stay true to my feelings regardless of what Mr. Supper or our mutual friend might think of me after I call off the dinner meeting.

        I do not want to act like a people-pleaser or pushover anymore. Must set myself free from my own limiting beliefs and habits.

        Sending best wishes to you.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Thanks Nigella.

          I quite value your input as well. Very wise. I’ve noticed with myself and maybe you have also that I can give good advice to others but when it comes to myself, I’m still plodding along. But, when you continually focus on what is best for YOU, regardless of deep emotions (which tend to cloud the picture) you don’t make as many poor decisions. Right?

          • Nigella says:


            Yes, I know what you are saying. Like you, I tend to find it easier to advise others than to trust fully my own feelings or responses to an unexpected situation.

            But, as you said, focusing on oneself does make a difference. Steadily and consciously, I am learning not to second-guess myself, and not to place myself in situations or relationships that do me practically no good. To stay on track, I am making sure I do not get too emotionally involved with anyone right now. I need space and time to grow as a person.

            I can never go back to being the overly trusting and understanding person I used to be before things fell apart with the EUM. I regret all the care and support I showed him both as a friend and girlfriend. Looking back at the whole thing, I am mortified to realize the extent to which I fell for his lies. I just did not realize how unreliable and unavailable he was.

            Oh well. The good news is that I am not going to be as easy to use and fool as I was last time. I am prepared to be on my own for the rest of my life but I simply refuse to put up with any sort of shady behavior from anyone. Enough is enough.

      • Allison says:


        I have always lived to regret not going with my gut feelings – always got screwed in the end.

        This is not a big thing. Simply cancel, as you’re not under any obligation.

  7. Erin says:

    I think this is one of the reasons why I am still angry with my most recent ex. He was a narcissistic, Future Faker, that pretty much sold me a dream. I didn’t necessarily believe him and I doubted if it all were real in the beginning, but like the future faker he was, he assured me that it was… until one day he breaks up with me out of the blue to date another girl and treat her the exact same was as he did me in the beginning of our “relationship” (Found out he was a lying, scumbag after seeing that the girl I suspected him secretly overlapping me with post a picture that looked exactly the same as the meals he used to cook for me). Anyway, if he had just been honest about the type of loser he was, I surely wouldn’t have given him the time of day. Then the fact that he couldn’t be honest enough to tell me the truth about why he broke up with me out of the blue, (or forced a break-up between us), showed me what a coward he was. I want to stab him more because he was dishonest than I would have if I would’ve heard the truth in the beginning. Such an ASSCLOWN! SMH. I don’t understand why honesty is so hard to come by, but lying and passive-aggressiveness hold true in relationships with these types of loser men. I’m done with assclowns and EUM’s! Thank you for this site, Natalie. I’ve seen the light!

  8. Little Star says:

    Thank you Nat for another reminder;) I feel a bit guilty as my AC1 contacted me and I broke my NC after so many months, I thought: “OK let’s give him ONE LAST CHANCE, maybe he was missing me and changed…” Ehhh no, he was offering me cinema and after go to my flat to have sex, how predictable! I said: “that’s all what you can offer me?!” He: “yes”. What I was expecting…. before my BR knowledge I would have probably meet him but as I changed and became more asserive, I texted back saying that I do not to see him ever again, I think he finally realized that its over and I would never put up with his crumbs;)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Little Star,

      I’m sooo proud of you. Isn’t it rewarding when you can actually see your own progress? Keep it up! xx Tink.

    • Rosie says:

      Go, Little Star! :) Yes!!!

      The loneliness can be very hard but losing ourselves in a loser is harder because the only reward there is a vacuum.

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you so much my lovely girls!!! I full of regrets today, how I allowed my two ACs to use me, was I blind?! No more. Hope you are both happy and healthy xx

  9. teachable says:

    I can absolutely assure you I told the person bleeding me senseless for paralegal support what she did not to hear! It was, ‘I can no longer assist you in any way with these matters as I now need to focus on my own life & needs’. This person had just prior, gone so far as to get both their psychiatrist & mental health worker to call me in manipulative attempts to gain further committment from me to CONTINUE supporting them, beyond my already clearly stated boundaries (although neither realised they were being manipulated in such a way.) The important thing is, I recognised what was going on & GOT OUT. I was very polite & returned their (incomplete) work to them (which I had put 50 plus hours into!) with a very polite email, stating the situation from my end & wishing them well, with the other supports I had by then set in motion for them (a law professor to assist). Not surprisingly, I did even get a simple ‘THANKYOU’ for my efforts. Good riddance to all the takers in life I say! No matter how ‘nice’ & ‘complimentary’ they are, a user is a user! End of! (Still fuming at myself for falling for this one as it cost me time, money & peace of mind. Classic lobster in the pot technique! Grr!)

  10. kookie says:

    right on time nat. i have a friend who has been draining me the last year and i really do need to stop telling her what she wants to hear. she has been having a year long friendship?? ( they go on dates, but have not done anything physical but they clearly are attracted to each other but they both dont really want any relationships cos they were both hurt yada yada). even though she claims they are nothing but platonic friends almost everyday i spend an hour on the phone being asked to decode this guy’s behaviour. she usually comes to the conclusion that she fears the most “that he doesn’t like her if he did he would have stepped up by now etc” and what she wants is for me to be like ” oh no, he really does like you , i mean he takes you out to dinner and holds your hand, he is just scared but yeah you’re totally awesome and he’s into you” . i know that is what she wants to hear and so i say that but i’m honestly tired of this obviously going nowhere relationship.

    he is respectful towards her so he isn’t an assclown so i can’t suggest she stop seeing him but if he really is a platonic friend why am i badgered constantly to analyse it? and when i even hint at that i am shot down with how her situation is not like my previous disasters cos she hasn’t rushed to have sex like i did and maybe if she had had sex like i did, she would leave it alone but for now it’s a great friendship and he’s a kind but hurt soul and she’s too busy for love anyways.

    i love talking to this friend about ANY OTHER topic on earth except this guy ,and we get along otherwise. i just want to tell her that i don’t want to hear anything about him anymore but can’t figure out a way where i don’t look like i’m jealous or something. i’ve been sort of subtly changing topic when he comes up but dnt know how long i can be indirect about it.resisting going full on BR school mode on her cos meh, not my life but wish i didn’t have to hear about it at all.

  11. Tinkerbell says:


    The best thing you can do for you and your gf is be honest and direct. You start out with the POSITIVES of your friendship, how much you enjoy her personal qualities and how much you value the relationship between the two of you. Then after laying that on thick but TRUTHFUL, you tell her point blank that it is HER relationship with this guy, that she’s been with him for a year, that SHE has to make her own decisions what to do about him and that she can’t ask you because you are not in the relationship with him. Your decoding his behavior is not irrelevant. SHE’S needs to step up and decide what she wants to do about him. Sometimes these relationships can be very difficult when the guy involved is a nice guy. But, instead of running to you for feedback when you’re not the one dealing with him and you’re only getting her impressions of what he says and does, she needs to try and look at her situation objectively. She needs to step out of it, look at it as if it were someone else and then gauge what she would tell that person to do. I think it’s called “mirroring?” in psychology. You are pretty new here and don’t know my story but I’m currently dealing with a similar situation. He’s a wonderful guy and I’ve felt a lot of confusion about our future. But, I certainly don’t expect my gf’s to tell me what to think or do. In my case it’s far too personal anyway, but I still would not involve them to any great extent. It just isn’t fair to. And it isn’t fair to you for her to think that anything negative you were to say is because you are jealous. Pulleeez!!Gimme a break! All the more reason why you should let her know in as diplomatic way that you can muster that she has to make her own decisions about him. If she is your friend, she should understand that you always have her back. And don’t forget to approach the subject with the positives of your friendship, first. OK? Good luck. Let us know what happens.

  12. Tinkerbell says:

    Telling people what they want to hear, as most of you regulars know, is not one of my weaknesses. BUT, I do have a problem saying “No” to requests that are within reason. Oftentimes, it may be an inconvenience for me and I wish afterwards that I had not said “Yes” but by then it’s too late. I’m trying to remember not to be so hasty with a reply.

  13. Cyrano says:

    Dear NML,
    I just want to let you know that your website and articles are incredibly insightful and helpful. I also want to say that it applies equally well to women. I was married to an assclown and recently ended a relationship with an assclown that did wonders for my self-esteem in view of my new understanding from your posts. It helped me see exactly what I was doing wrong with my lack of boundaries, and helped me change how I approached relationships and people. I was able to take control of my actions and responses to their UAM/AC behavior by recognizing what it truly was. I was trying to reason with and prove my love to selfish women with the expectation that they would validate me, when there was no chance of them being persuaded of my value. You helped me see that I was bringing all the true value to these relationships (trust, caring, honesty, communication), but it was wasted on bad people. Now that I have realized that I am valuable because I am capable of contributing these worthwhile characteristics to a health relationship and have the power to end unhealthy ones of my own accord, my self-esteem has skyrocketed. Thank you so much.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Welcome. What a wonderful testimonial. All the best and stay on the path you’re on.

      • Cyrano says:

        Thank you. I’m doing my best to learn and grow. I go back to these posts and articles every time I feel like I’m weak or slipping.

  14. espresso says:

    I have problems with people offering unsolicited and often unwanted/uncalled for advice. I will often ask people in my circle of trust for their opinion on things to do with how I have responded or how I might respond. But otherwise I think this is a red flag. If I hurt somebody then I would expect them to tell me about it and that would be okay.
    I have been hanging out a bit with a long time friend who is an artist and was my drawing teacher for a number of years…we have a good relationship in that world and I enjoy spending time with him.
    Since my separation we have morphed into spending more time together, had lunch a few times, I visit his studio and he makes tea and we talk. He listens attentively to what I am going through and I listen to him talk primarily about his health issues which he is handling with intelligence and grace. And I had to consider…to what extent was I using him as a fall back person to spend time with ….when I am not looking for any type of relationship right now. So I have backed off a bit on that.
    But what has bothered me a few times is that after we meet and have a good conversation he seems compelled to send me a lengthy email telling me about how I should approach things…how I should NOT move to a city with one of my kids, and how I should stop discussing my family with him so much (which is funny because I hardly do this at all except that my grandson had emergency surgery last week and I talked about that), and how I need to do this and that. First of all, while I value his advice in many realms..the guy has never been married, has not had many long term relationships in his life, acknowledges he has emotional issues (which is working on in practical ways – not with me) and I expect doesn’t like kids. So I am thinking ….am I too hypervigilant now in my quest to be respected and not be around an ac or a man whose problems “I take on” NO MORE OF THAT. Or should I just ignore what is irritating me, make note of it and if it continues…just let things slide. Do I talk to him about it…well I just don’t think I am up to “fixing somebody” and actually even “processing it.” I actually want a more complete package – something I don’t have to work on so hard or would rather spend time tout seul. I find that I have MUCH more awareness but am still questioning my judgement and how to act sometimes.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Looking at your present situation and all the turmoil you have so recently been through, I don’t think you want to spend much time with a person with whom you have to tiptoe around, watch what you talk about, etc. Now is the time for you to be with those that promote your comfort and vice versa. It’s self-protection,self-care time, especially after you’ve “lost your way” for awhile in your unfulfilling marriage. And it’s not being selfish, just practical. He may be a close friend but may not meet your needs at this sensitive time for you. I think sometimes, depending on what is going on in our lives we have to assess the quality of our friendships what we get from them and what we’re able to give, and spend extended time with more humor prone, uplifting people. That’s just my opinion.

  15. Emerlydeyez says:

    This is perfect timing for me. I too have in the past swung from being passive, to being direct, and sometimes it feels almost aggressive, because I am so used to taking care of other people’s feelings.
    I have finally ended this court thing with an ex AC, that I had to get a permanent restraining, and no contact order, because even though the judge ordered him to have no contact with me, he still broke the court order. So now if he contacts me he goes to jail. But it was hard to stand up for myself because even though I was the victim, I felt revictimized, and had to prove he was an ass, to the courts!
    So I have been dating for the past several months, and have flushed many guys after one date, because they tell me what I should do, in my house, without me asking for their advice, I have had some future fakers, flush, and I have had men tell me that I am “fiercely independent” LOL, because I set some healthy boundaries. I have learned so much on BR. That I’m not going to bust my boundaries any more for some guy. I have joined a health club, a learn to dance meet up, and have been out hiking every weekend, going to concerts even if it is by myself. I am not making finding a man the focal point of my life. And it’s helping me know who I am and the dating is helping me figure out what I want. Yep I have my moments of doubt, but I journal about it! It helps me sort out the feelings and thoughts! Thank you BR

  16. ReadyForChange says:

    Hi everybody. First of all, thanks to Natalie and all the contributors to this blog, it’s been such an amazing and mind-opening read in the last few months!

    The more I read these posts and reflect on them, not only the more I can identify with the situations portrayed but also – and with some pain – the more I realize that at 42 years of age I have so much still to learn and grow emotionally!

    After a broken marriage, I thought I had healed by facing the pain on my own and taking on a lot (for instance going back to university for a doctorate while working at the same time). A year later I thought I was ready to start meeting people again. I ended up in a LDR with a much younger guy who was obviously EU for a year. Not having had enough, a couple of months after a sudden breakup and disappearance on his side, I got hooked online by another guy. Extremely charming, intelligent, imaginative, etc. etc. and MASSIVE red flags which I ignored because in a short time I was totally captivated and dependent on him for a ‘high’. I pushed and pushed to meet in real life (he kept cancelling, meanwhile reassuring me of his interest, talking as if we were already together, etc.). We eventually met and he seemed so taken, I was ‘everything he’d been looking for’, etc. etc. Then he started pulling away. Hot and cold. All of the signs that Natalie describes so well… it went on for three months. I kept saying, ‘if you are not in this for a relationship, just say so’. Of course this was always met with indignation. I kept calling him on his shady behaviour, but I was still there. At the same time he would say things like ‘I don’t know if I’m ready for a relationship, but I want to try with you’. He even introduced me to the concept of fem-domination, this fantasy world of his where he wanted women – the better sex as he called it – to be dominant and powerful. He encouraged me to get in touch with my dominant, demanding side… he described himself as a feminist… what I did not realize (even if it was before my very eyes) was that this was just a sexual fantasy, and it aroused him talking about it on skype. I don’t want to bore you with too many details, in the end he told me I was just ‘an occasional online sexual release’, and also ‘I thought I could control you’. He disappeared after a text where he said ‘sorry if I upset you. I was selfish’. This was 2 months ago, and I haven’t heard from him since (he even removed me from his skype contacts, and went back on the dating site where we had met). I’m still upset by the whole thing, trying to make sense of what happened, and how I could let my radar be clogged so easily. At times I feel shame at being such a fool. But I’m finding this blog so insightful, I hope I’m slowly starting to emerge. Thanks again.

  17. Cyrano says:

    Dear Ready,
    I don’t know if this helps, but before reading these posts, I found the hardest part for me was trying to reconcile the other person’s actions with their words. As NML has pointed out, looking at their actions and how it makes you feel in your gut should take priority every time. ACs are very good at confusing you with their words. Examining how their actions make you feel and trust yourself. I flipped the situation around with my latest Ex-GF so that instead of feeling used and betrayed, I saw it almost as a clinical experiment in identifying and dumping an AC. She provided very clear examples of manipulation and other red flags that I now know I can identify, so it has become an excellent and empowering learning experience rather than another failed relationship and blow to my self esteem.

    • ReadyForChange says:

      Dear Cyrano, thank you for your comment. You are definititely right on the necessity to take the mis-match between words and action as a very clear sign that something is off.

      It’s good to hear that you feel you have learnt something of value from your experience with an unavailable person.
      Even though I suspect I’ve always been attracted to EU men, the last guy was the first of this kind I’ve encountered. He seems like a text-book example of a narcissist, with all the red flags including an intensity and charisma which are neither normal nor sustainable. I hope I too will learn something from it. For now, unfortunately, my self esteem has been highly affected, to the point that I’ve even let myself down to a certain extent, gaining weight, etc. (almost trying to unconsciously sabotage my ability to attract a partner… it’s weird).

  18. espresso says:

    Tabitha – thanks for your feedback…I know this person has had lots of complaints about her. I need to remember that it is all about her. I am pretty emotionally fried so I am letting her get to me lately. Good practice I guess lol

  19. Cyrano says:

    Its not weird, it’s just emotional pain. Reading all the different articles and posts help a lot in understanding what happened and coming to grips with it, but it takes time. For me its been around two months (briefly got back together thinking things might change)to reach the point where I am not bitter, appreciate that I learned a lot that I would not have otherwise, and these people’s lack of character and moral principles are not a reflection of our lack of worth. If anything, it is the opposite. These ACs prey on people that are trusting, kind, caring, and otherwise decent because it gives them the openings to sink there hooks in. If you were as soulless as them, they would not be interested in you.

  20. espresso says:

    Cyrano…I agree that acs are very good at confusing you with their words. They are also very ambiguous which always gives them an out. I have argued so much in the past with my ex who would mention things and then let them float in the air. This would force me into self questionning and feeling needy because I needed to confirm things all the time…this doesn’t apply to people with NC but now I send everything important by email. It works…pretty well.

    I remember a few years ago my daughter and I were being picked up by my ex after a meeting. I have a really really good memory and am well organized and I plan ahead. So he turned up late and then berated us for being in the wrong place to meet. I immediately became confused and a bit bewildered, thinking I had made a mistake, but not being sure and then feeling badly. My daughter took me aside later and said it was him who was wrong. And this happened all the time. This was a guy who never said he was wrong..about anything. Too bad my daughter didn’t speak up at the time. It is almost impossible to pin these guys down.

    • Cyrano says:

      I had comparable experiences, and realized that this was a huge red flag because it represents them placing 100% of the responsibility for the relationship on you, all the while undermining your confidence. They can do no wrong, so it must be you with the problem… I think it is a clear indication, as NML says, that they have at most a toe in the relationship because they want no responsibility.

  21. […] Why it’s time to stop telling people what they want to hear (or what we *think* they want to h… […]

  22. MaryW says:

    I’m in this awkward spot where I can’t tell a person to bugger off.
    In the spirit of professional networking, I was talking to a man at dinner, after a regional meeting (not just me and him but about 20 people and I happened to be seated next to him). I was happily chatting away, thinking nothing of it because he’s married with children. I’d never met him before and he seemed funny and entertaining. No problems.
    Forward to leaving the restaurant and he and his colleague offered to share a cab to the station.

    I already had some gut feelings but my (female) colleague brushed my concerns aside. She knows him much better than me. This was my first meeting with him. At the station, his colleague went off in another direction and it was just me and him. We were still having a interesting chat about work related things so when he suggested another drink, instead of saying NO I said yes and we looked for a bar that was still serving. After a while I realised how ridiculous it was and said I was off to catch my train. I should have said no to shared taxi, and definite no to one more drink.

    Saying goodnight he gave me his contact details because earlier on we’d discussed me visiting his department because I’m trying to develop the departure where I work.

    So I contact him and get emails back signed with a kiss (x). I checked with colleagues. This is not his default signature. I halted contact when it broached in unnecessary/ flirty.

    Emails started again this week, starting with a 3-way conversation including my colleague. He then veered into emailing me separately and adding a kiss (x) to his name, asking about having supper together.

    Rather than just saying no to supper I postponed any decisive decision saying I’d let him know nearer the time. FFS why didn’t I have the balls to say “NO”.

    Worse yet, he asked if I was going to an out of town conference next week and I replied that my colleague and I are going. Lo and behold he’s coming too (at the supper he’d said quite clearly that he wasn’t able to go).

    I feel a bit panic stricken. At what point can I learn to say a firm NO. I am either passive or passive aggressive. But never or rarely normal assertive. I’m dreading this sleaze ball MM being inappropriate at the conference.

    Therapist said it’s my needy self looking for validation. I just wish I could tell him to back off in a calm, reasonable manner but I know I’m going to go to default passive mode.

    • Nigella says:


      It has been a while since I signed into BR. I hoped you were doing well. I am sorry to hear of the unnecessary stress you are understandably feeling because of Mr. Sleazeball – seems like he is trying to shoehorn himself into your life. Surely, he has sniffed your niceness. But you are not an easy target – you deserve much better attention in your life. For people of his sort, I tap into my feelings of contempt to protect myself. If I were you, I would tell myself: “This sleazeball is not fit to tie my shoelaces let alone claim more of my time and energy. I will not let him shoehorn himself into my schedule at the conference.”

      I understand it is easier said than done. But perhaps as an antidote to “dreading” what *he* might do at the conference, you could focus intently on things *you* could do to make it a success for yourself. The more sense of security and success you create for yourself – the more validation you provide to yourself through your beliefs, efforts, and results – the less likely you are to be an easy prey for Mr. Sleazeball and all his ilk.

      I understand why you are feeling upset at yourself for not saying “No” to the earlier interactions with him. Unfortunately, he did not come with “Mr. Sleazeball” tagged on his forehead. So please cut yourself some slack. Think of the conference as an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone, to correct your missteps, to form new skills and patterns in protecting your time, mind, and body from those that are undeserving of you.

      I am not sure how helpful your therapist is being in this scenario. Getting at your deeper fears, needs, limiting beliefs might help. I am not sure if all scenarios can be boiled down to your need for validation. Unfortunately, now and then, I also catch myself worrying about what others might be thinking, saying, or doing to ruin my reputation that I try to protect the way a Griffin guards gold. However, at the end of the day, it is futile to fall into this trap of worrying and feeling anxious – cliched as it might sound, it is best to focus on oneself and forget about trying to control others. Setting clear priorities, goals, and standards has been helping me stay on tract and stay in touch with my feelings.

      I wish the best for you. No one can worm his way into your life without your permission – you and I can learn to say “No”.

    • JustHer says:

      Hi Mary,

      What a sinister story and reminiscent of so many of ours. I think that you’ve done well to spot that this is wrong before getting swept up in any sort of sexual encounter with the MM.

      Stay strong and make sure you do NOT engage no matter what (which it sounds like you’re resolved to not do anyway!).

      It’s not even professional to email with a kiss at the end and it a low, desperate attempt on his side.

      I have also often cancelled multiple times on someone because I felt it would be mean to say no, but honestly this guy is in the wrong and you should not be afraid to stand up for yourself!

      Good luck at the conference! :)

      • MaryW says:

        Hi Nigella,

        Thanks for your reply and it’s nice to read a response from you :). I hope you’ve been well.

        I like what you say: “at the end of the day, it is futile to fall into this trap of worrying and feeling anxious – cliched as it might sound, it is best to focus on oneself and forget about trying to control others”.

        You’re so right. There are lots of things I can concentrate on to make the conference a success rather than something I’m dreading. I need to consider him as an annoying fly buzzing around me, nothing more.

        Thanks for your words. I think I’ll re-read your response a few times before the conference! He is not shoe-horning himself in to my life, which has been so much more peaceful up until this point.


        Yes it feels sinister. Ugh, he makes me shudder. If he makes a move, don’t worry I will stand up for myself, somehow. Just not quite sure how to word it.

        I have done the same with cancelling. I think that depending on what happens at the conference, I won’t be visiting his department at all so the issue of going to dinner afterwards will be a moot point.

  23. MaryW says:

    (Pressed send to quickly) I’m concerned about what he’s going to say or do at this conference.

    Doing my best to have a drama-free life and he pops up and I can’t assert my boundaries :(

    • Iain says:

      Hi MaryW

      This sounds a rather invidious situation. I know from my own experiences that my default mode in an awkward situation would have been people-pleasing or avoiding in the hope that the awkward situation would resolve itself of its own accord. Inevitably, my critical inner voice would pipe up later on saying ‘that was stupid, you let x walk all over you – you should have done such and such ‘, leading to a rather ashamed feeling for not doing such and such.

      I know it’s not easy changing the mindset of a lifetime, but on the occasions I’ve tried asserting my needs, it causes a much better feeling than the shamed-based feeling arising from avoiding or people-pleasing.

      Your own needs are as important as anyone else’s and you have a right to a drama-free life if that’s what you wish. This chap’s behaviour seems inappropriate and I think you’d be perfectly within your rights to email him to say something along the lines of ‘Dear Chap I think it would be inappropriate for us to have supper together and I also would be grateful if you stopped signing off your emails to me with an ‘x’ as I think that’s inappropriate for a purely professional relationship’.

      How he reacts is his issue, not yours and an email like the above would at least give you something concrete on record should you need to refer to it in the future.

      Good luck and remember: progress not perfection!


      • MaryW says:

        Hi Iain

        Thanks for replying. And thanks for the book you recommended a few months ago – I read it and a lot of it made sense. I hope you are well.

        This is a weird situation. I am getting much, much better at asserting my needs with in other situations, mostly at work. I can assert myself with creeps who approach me at the pub or on the train, but with this guy, I’m finding it hard because he works in the same field (which is very small) and I’m going to keep bumping into him at meetings. So what I’m finding hard is getting the balance right when I give him the brush off.

        So far, my plan is to avoid being alone with him at the conference. I told my female colleague about the emails, and how I feel. She’s coming to the conference too and will keep an eye out for me (now I sound like a child!). But is this avoiding him (and his last email) avoiding dealing with the situation? Or being sensible?

        I suppose I hope he’ll get the message without there being an ‘incident’ that requires confrontation. And then find someone else to hit on.

        My therapist suggested pretty much the same email to him as you have. But the conversation has dwindled off, and he’d removed the kiss from his signature in the last email too so I am a bit afraid that if I write anything to him he’ll say I’m overreacting.

        In future I need to give myself at least half a day before responding to anything! The people pleaser in me thinks I must respond as soon as possible, and that response is when I’m in default mode, not progress mode.

        Thanks Iain :)

        • Tinkerbell says:


          Hmmm. Emailing, imo, is not the best way to handle him. There’s always lots of room for interpretation, although I’m sure you would be very direct. If he approaches you just tell him to “beat it”. Since you feel sure that will happen I would plan ahead of time what to say to him in person in the utmost professional and diplomatic manner. As you’ve indicated, this is quite difficult for you. But you have to start learning how to take care of yourself, first, so that you don’t find yourself in this type of sticky situation. Saying “No” does not make you a bad person. Think of it as empowering YOU. Remember. HE IS MARRIED. He’s not good for you and shouldn’t even be an issue. And, since you don’t even know him well, don’t worry about what he thinks, or how you look. He just doesn’t matter. OK?

          • MaryW says:

            Tinkerbell the only way in which he matters, or that makes it an issue, is that we work in the same field. A very small field, and I’m looking for a new job. I don’t want this guy bad mouthing me to other people out of vindictiveness. This is why it’s not so simple as telling him to beat it. Mind you he probably tries it on with so many women that he’s used to being swatted away. I don’t know.

            Honestly, I do know that a married man isn’t good for me. I’m so fed up about this that I don’t even want to go to the flipping conference. Then I feel childish and weak for letting this upset me.

            • Wiser says:

              Mary W, No one has that kind of power over your life or your job or your prospects or anything else. No one. This is an illusion that keeps us all fearful. If you treat him respectfully, pleasantly, saying your “no’s” with a smile, keeping your distance, making it clear that you are not interested (but not shaming him or belittling him in the process) there will be no reason for him to be angry with you or vindictive.

              Sounds like all you need is a little practice coming up with something benign but firm to say to him. Can you do some role-playing with a girl friend? Imagine him suggesting something inappropriate and you responding with “I’m sorry, but no I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.” Or with a smile,”I just don’t think that’s a good idea.”

              Again, this guy is not that special, important or powerful. He’s just some married dude on a fishing expedition, which already puts him in a scumbag category. Not someone whose opinion you need to cultivate or care about.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              I’m sorry for you Mary, and I wasn’t trying to simplify or minimize your issue. And, believe me, I know I don’t know it all. Right now, I’m on such a mission to uncomplicate my own life so this may inadvertently come out in my posting. I understand what you’re saying. The only point I would make here is that unless he holds the cards or can significantly impact your getting another job, please don’t attach much importance to what he can do to you. You are absolutely in the right to reject him and he is absolutely in the wrong to be putting you in that position. We really have little control over what other people say about us. Really. And any new potential boss would be grossly unprofessional if he were to judge you on the basis of anything he heard. You know yourself the interview carries tremendous weight and you’d probably make a very good impression. Try not to worry about Mr. MM. Any unflattering comments he were to make about you should be suspect.

              • MaryW says:

                Thank you so much, Wiser and Tink. I can’t express how helpful it is to get other people’s opinions, thoughts and suggestions with no judgements attached (though the judgements come from me, largely – I’m work in progress).

                I’m strengthening myself for whatever happens (or rather doesn’t happen) with this MM. I’m getting more confident about dealing with this thanks to all the helpful, caring people here :)

                Tink, I know you comment because you care, so whatever you write, I always appreciate and it’s always helpful. And I agree wholeheartedly with your mission to make your life as uncomplicated as possible – me too! I sincerely hope all is well with you and yours x

                • Tinkerbell says:


                  Thank you for those kind words. I’m really doing fairly well since I instituted a friendly NC for awhile. I’ve dealt with the issue for over a year and there’s been no change. My feelings have remained intense, so I feel it’s time for me to really put myself first now and get on with the rest of my life which has taken a backseat all this time. He understands that we will remain close and that our friendship will be resumed after I’ve given myself time to revise my mindset. Fortunately, I am very strong in being able to do that. My sense of self-preservation has never diminished even during my darkest days. He’s a wonderful person and his problem is very sad. But it’s like this if he were to jump off a cliff would I follow him? No! My life has to go on.

                  • MaryW says:

                    I wasn’t sure what was happening with you and your friend – I haven’t been here as much as before (getting on with my life post Mr Messiah!)so I missed any developments.

                    Sorry that it got to NC stage, but I agree that you must put yourself first. A whole year of intense/ frustrated feelings is utterly exhausting. You need a break.

                    Thanks for being here! :)

                    • Tinkerbell says:

                      Thanks Mary,

                      I can tell he’s eager for me to resume the attention, having called me the very next day after my decision, but I’m trying to hold out as long as I can. I’d say 3 months is good. The only thing is,this can be a double-edged sword. LOL!

                      I remember about Mr. Messiah. How are you REALLY doing? Can I help? xx

    • Allison says:


      I would start by not responding to any emails he sends directly.

      Also, do not allow any alone time with this guy, he won’t pull anything with a colleague around.

      • MaryW says:

        Thanks Allison,

        Yes, in the absence of having a backbone this is pretty much what I’ve decided. I didn’t reply to his last email which said “see you at the conference”. My senior colleague can deal with any work related correspondence, and anything sent directly to me that’s signed with a kiss or busts boundaries will go unanswered.

        I plan to keep a low profile. And not be alone with him. Because I can’t face confrontation (with anyone) yet, and can’t seem to formulate a diplomatic brush off. I had a minor confrontation with a good friend this evening (she overstepped a boundary, talking about my somewhat troubled family dynamics at an inappropriate time) and now I’m upset about that.

        I just feel exasperated, no furious, that this smarmy git got the impression that it was ok to start flirting with me. And furious with myself for apparently giving off signals – though the flip side to that is that he probably tries it on with every female in sight.

        PMS really isn’t helping :(

        I’m boring even myself now so I’ll shut up. Thanks Allison, Tink, Iain, JustHer and Nigella x

        • Allison says:

          Mary W,

          Sweetie, I’m certain you were not giving off signals. Please do not internalize. These creeps do not need any motivation to do what they do, as you can blatantly tell them you’re not interested, and they will continue to pursue. They love the chase. EGO!!!!!

          Just stay away from this fool, and he will soon find a new target.

          Enjoy the conference!!!

          • MaryW says:

            Thank you Allison, that does make me feel better.

            My therapist was going with the idea that I give off clingy/ needy vibes that attract the wrong sort, which has been true in the past, but I really question whether it’s really the case in this situation because I wouldn’t touch any MM with a ten-foot barge pole, and romance with anyone is the last thing on my mind at the mo.

            I will do my best to enjoy the conference – thank you! :)

  24. Beth says:

    Not only did I used to be guilty of telling other people what they wanted to hear, I used to pretend to like certain things because I thought it would make my ex-assclown more interested in me.
    It’s so good to know I’m not alone in GETTING AWAY from these ‘clowns!

    Love Ourselves More – A Journey in Self-Confidence

  25. Peanut says:

    Timely. As always.

    Surround yourself with people who aim to live in, revere, and adhere to the truth.

    Seriously, good quality people will like, respect and appreciate you more when you speak from an honest place.

    All the others? Let them fall by the wayside. Engaging is a waste of time. In the absence of honesty, nothing worthwhile can happen.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Amen, Peanut.

      Also @ Beth. Hopefully, you’ve learned that pretending to like certain things in order to have more in common with him is bound to fail. In my case, he and I are both fanatics about basketball. He is also fanatical about football. I hate it. It would be silly and very phony of me to pretend to have the same passion or to even have the slightest interest in football when I DON’T, just to promote more harmony. Sooner or later the truth will be revealed as it should be.

  26. shattered says:

    I’m feeling angry with myself today. last night I ran into the ex AC at a concert. He was there with a young woman (new victim?) and I was on my own because my friend I was due to meet there texted to say she couldn’t make it as her son had had a car accident. AC looked surprised to see me but introduced me to the new girl and said I was ‘a good friend’. He got her seated and came over to talk saying we should meet up for a meal. And I didn’t say all the things I’ve been dying to say to him for months since I went NC. WHY??? I should have said the way he treated me was despicable. He left the new girl at the interval and brought me a drink! There were lots of people around so I just said thank you and walked away. He then invited me to sit with them. I didn’t of course. At the end, his parting words were ‘I’ll phone you’. Does he really think that I’m OK with being downgraded to a ‘good friend’ Why couldn’t I tell him a few home truths? It was humiliating as I got into my car to go home alone, the two of them were in the car next to mine. I’m still seething with myself for not saying all the things I planned to if I ever saw him again and that’s why its set me back. I was doing fine until last night. I almost hope I do run into him again so I can tell him what I really think of him. Sorry for the rant, just having a bad day!

    • FX says:

      shattered, I feel your pain and you need to cut yourself a lot of slack. You were in a very difficult situation and handled it the best you could. I think you did a fine job, btw!

      The thing is, I don’t believe anything you or I can say to someone with so little conscience or shame will make a darn bit of difference. It just makes us look like we’re stuck or crazy and they are better adjusted for having moved on.

      After over a year of NC, I recently exchanged a few texts with ex AC. Ugh. What was I thinking after being on BR all this time?!! I had this thought to play him a bit to see if he would admit to what I knew but he didn’t know I knew… His uber polite and kind texts and invitations to dinner pissed me off more than if he had been rude. I did get an “I’m sorry…” followed by “that you hate me so much.” Not, of course, any hint of apology for doing hateful things! Fueled by a flashback, anger and wine, I sent one final coarse text that was absolutely not part of my plan! I do think it may keep him from attempting contact again, though… Which is the best outcome because I could feel myself again becoming a “woman who thinks and talks too much” after walking the walk of No Contact for over 14 months.

      The gist is that there is no way to get closure, even the score, etc. I believe if someone actually has the ability to empathize and feel remorse, he/she would not have behaved and continue to act as these ACs do.

    • 22goingon23 says:

      “And I didn’t say all the things I’ve been dying to say to him for months since I went NC. WHY??? I should have said the way he treated me was despicable.”

      Nah – wouldn’t that have been what he was expecting? For what it’s worth, I feel how you handled it at the time was the best thing you could have ‘said’ to him – I’m inclined to think many would aspire to be so nonchalant, indifferent to their AC ex in same situation (likely in hindsight, after eruption of an embarrassing scene, having done as you suggest you should have and ex-AC seeing an opportunity to publicly humiliate).

      As for the car park thing at the end – while I appreciate it’s all too easy to feel as if we’re ‘Nigel No Mates’ when out on our own, I wish it wasn’t the case – I loathe the stigma attached to going out alone.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      It’s a very good thing that you handled yourself the way you did. It would have been disastrous, particularly for YOU, if you chose that time to tell him off. That was not the time or the place. And while he was on at the concert with the new “victim”? Hell no. You would have made a fool out of yourself. Don’t wish for the opportunity to express your hurt to him. It didn’t really matter to him then, and it certainly won’t matter now. He’s moved on. You should be moved on, also.

  27. firegirl says:

    As a 42 year old lawyer on speed dial to the CEO of a major multi national, you’d think I’d have more good sense. When it comes to men, we are all hopeful, conditioned and fighting 100,000 years of evolution. I have been a follower of Baggage Reclaim for almost 2 years – from the end of my marriage. Having recovered from an abusive relationship, bounced back, had a few dates, been admired, felt love again, accepted rejection, I offer this perspective: stop analysing. A man is biologically designed to spread his seed far and wide. Women are designed for other reasons. Stop analysing. Men do not think the way women do. If you want one, it is more than wondering what they are thinking. Live your life. Raise your children. Travel. Remember that dinosaurs ruled the earth for more than a hundred million years. Mankind is a blip. A remarkable blip. Don’t get your boobs enlarged. If you feel good as a size 12 or 14 or 16, be that. We will never understand men. They will never understand us. In the words of a Tammy Wynette song “after all he’s just a man”. It’s admirable to seek core values, set boundaries. That works with other women…and at work. If you want a man, the bottom mine is to remember – after all he’s just a man. They have many more rungs to climb on the evolutionary ladder. Be yourself. You’re a blip. Be a happy blip.

    • Mymble says:

      I don’t know if I agree. This sounds like the “women are from Venus” and “it’s all evolutionary”. I believe that men and women have much more in common than we are led to believe, and also there is a spectrum of behaviour in both sexes. Some men are promiscuous, so are some women. Quite a lot, actually. If you view all men as apes, dinosaurs, and sexual predators you do them and yourself a big disservice.

      • grace says:

        The experiment is being run in the western world which is largely secular, polygamy is not permitted and most women are able to support themselves. The level of promiscuity is the same. Men can’t be promiscuous on their own!

        • Teddie says:

          I think Mymble is making the same point, promiscuity is not gender-specific, for every promiscuous male there are receptive promiscuous females, why else would there be sperm-competition?!

          • Cyrano says:

            Teddie, Grace; I’m sorry but I have to disagree here. One person being promiscuous does not correlate with the other person being promiscuous. One person of either sex can be hooking up or shagging several others at the same time without the others knowing this, while each of the others think they are in a serious, monogamous relationship. The people being cheated on are not promiscuous through association. Promiscuity is also a lax attitude towards sex, and not everyone enters a sexual relationship with that attitude. One partner can feel strongly about the emotional aspect while the other treats it like a notch on a belt or bedpost without being upfront about it. Thus the term assclown.

            • Teddie says:

              Like it or not, but humans evolved in an atmosphere of promiscuity, in a nutshell here: “We may prefer to regard our species as being blissfully monogamous, but the truth is that, historically, at least some degree of fooling around has been our modus operandi for at least as long we’ve been on two legs.” The whole article is here:

              • Cyrano says:

                But historically we also would club each other to death for limited resources, and yet we don’t regard this as acceptable behavior. Being ‘civilized’ is based on the idea of rising above basic animal instincts. There is also much literature regarding the importance of monogamy in investing time and resources in raising children.

            • grace says:

              I don’t automatically associate promiscuity with cheating but with having lots of partners, either at the same time or serially. By many standards
              I was promiscuous and I couldn’t really argue with that, not that I care too.

              • Cyrano says:

                My question would be whether your partners knew they were one of many, or did you and them just not care. In the first instance I would say you were cheating on them because they could not make an informed decision about investing emotionally in you, and in the second, I would say you proved my point about having a lax attitude with little emotional connection between the act and your feelings or intimacy with the people you were engaging with.
                In either case, an important question is how did it make your partners feel because most of the articles and posts are about people here becoming involved with someone only to find out the other person was only in the relationship casually.

  28. suzy says:

    firegirl. yeah, sure whatever works for you. but, perhaps for some there is an underlying desire to take some risks, get vulnerable, and have a go at getting a relationship, Sure, boundaries, core values are a big part of ensuring some kinda result. But risks are needed, because I don’t want a relationship with a dinosaur, I want a relationship with a man.
    My mantra used to be (and still is to some extent): men are 7 year old boys. try working out the problems with this in mind. I was talking to my 20 year old daughter and her girlfriend who are both having b/f trouble, and when I suggested the 7 year old hypothesis, you know, their responses to their issues were different, and it worked!
    As for AC and MM and EU, 7 year old boy mantra can only can go so far, then its FLUSH.
    I think you did great. You kept your heart and head in NC. You didn’t expose yourself. He wants to live in his BS world, where he is the good guy, the nice guy, where he doesn’t have to face the reality that what he does is wrong, disrespectful, uncaring, unloving. So of course he is going to talk crap. Let him stay there. You, are different and you have feelings and different values. Someone on baggage reclaim, mentioned before about how it hurts all over again when you run into an ex. So true. NTL talks about putting your hand back in the fire..(guess what!? you get burnt!) Its weird how a slight contact, reconnection, can pull you rushing back to all those heart pumping, gut-wrenching feelings. Regardless of how far you have moved on, grown and repaired. Scary. But hey ho, you are safe. No you didn’t say what you thought you wanted to say, but your words would be wasted, blown away into the wind. You’ve said it here. We hear you. We understand. have a bad day here, you will heal so well…
    love to all safely here on BR. xx

  29. Cyrano says:

    Sorry Firegirl,
    I take offense at the description and implications. I also disagree with the analogy to a 7 year old boy. If those are the types of men you are attacking or surrounding yourself with, such that you feel it constitutes out entire population, you need to look at yourself as well. Why do you engage with immature men that meet your expectations of that stereotype? Just like choosing EUMs because you are unavailable or protective to some extent, their immaturity may be reflecting some about you.
    I am not controlled by my brain stem alone and never have been. Each adult person is responsible for developing their own character and choosing their own actions. If they choose to act like immature ACs, they are ACs not 7 year olds from Mars. I’m not “just a man,” but a man in the sense Ayn Rand described being human… striving to be more. And I’m not alone. You might have to look a little harder though.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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