system failure on MS Dos screen

I get a lot of people telling me variations of ‘I don’t understand why my relationship failed! Help!’

This is particularly difficult to comprehend when it seemed like your relationship had so much promise. We can internalise this ‘failure’ and also miss the point of our relationships, and so end up repeating the same patterns in new relationships and wondering what the hell is going on.

Yesterday I talked about how relationships serve to teach us more about ourselves and that we keep getting the same lesson put in front of us until we learn what we need to. I also believe that potentially there are a number of people who could be ‘right’ for you, so you shouldn’t write off yourself or your life if and when a relationship ends.

If you can understand why your relationships haven’t worked out, you can help to minimise some of the causes for future relationships. It’s a bit like increasing your odds…

Relationships don’t work out because we don’t always behave in the most beneficial way for the relationship. We can meet people who are actually potentially ‘right’ for us…and then screw it up. It’s often unintentional and in some cases, it can effectively be sabotage, when you engage in behaviour that brings about a self-fulfilling prophecy that let’s you keep believing the worst. This is a potentially right person but unfortunately the wrong behaviours.

And then…a lot of relationships don’t work out because you’re with the wrong person. Period. It wouldn’t matter if you ran through fire, acted perfect, gave them everything they want, and cartwheeled around naked. The person is wrong for you. It’s likely to be a mix of boundary crossing, blatant red flags, a fundamental inability to meet one another’s needs (or you meet theirs but they don’t meet yours…), a lack of shared values, and being uncommitted, or being committed for the wrong reasons. You’re fundamentally incompatible.

When you’re with the potentially right person, there will be windows of opportunity in the relationship where if both of you acknowledge what is happening to contribute to the issues, you can overcome the issues and move on from them. At these windows of opportunity, the changes will be appreciated and you’re both likely to transcend whatever caused you to falter.

If the windows of opportunity are missed, fatigue sets in and one or both of you will stop believing that the other is capable of action and change. Faith is lost and the behaviours stick, which means the problems get worse. In a lot of relationships like this, one party tries to compensate for the other and ends up being emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically spent. You end up being incompatible.

When you’re with the wrong person and not acknowledging why they are the wrong person because you may be caught up in denial and illusions, you’re effectively flogging a dead horse. In fact, you have your relationship flatlining on the table and you keep trying to pump life into it. You hear faint reassuring beeps and it flatlines again. And lather rinse repeat until you realise what being with the wrong person in the wrong relationship is doing to you.

The consistent issue that a lot of Baggage Reclaim readers find themselves dealing with is that they realise that their version of love is actually counterproductive, not only to the relationship, but also to their sense of self. In fact, in the wider sense, these issues affect many people.

We have misguided ideas about unconditional love. To many, unconditional love means loving without boundaries and loving people regardless, in the hope that they reciprocate. This is a bit like loving with IOU’s. By having little or no boundaries, we communicate to partners that we don’t love, care, trust, and respect ourselves enough.

We love blindly. It’s like being a racehorse dashing off down the track into illusion land. There’s no marrying the reality with the illusion. You start out with one vision based on what you think you’re getting at the beginning, and even though you may get contradictory information that says you need to reassess your decision to love, you continue anyway.

We trust blindly. Much like loving blindly, there is sometimes a naivety about our levels of trust. It’s not about being distrusting, it’s about having a basis for trust, or readjusting how much we trust someone when you get signals that they are not to be trusted. Until then, you’re trusting in them because you’d rather not trust yourself. You also have a responsibility to access the risks and act accordingly.

We don’t communicate effectively. This comes down to believing that communication is all verbal, discussing the nth out of relationships but not being action focused, and not understanding one another’s communication styles and how to get the best out of them. One person is speaking French, the other is speaking Chinese. Each person wants the other to not only speak their language but take on their communication style.

We don’t understand intimacy. Some people think the sexual side is reflective of the intimacy in the relationship. Others can’t seem to cope with intimacy and push it away. Some will believe that intimacy is co-dependency.

We think that people who love us will figure out what we want. This is a bit like setting people impossible tests and expecting them to play Mystic Meg and read your mind. Of course, when they don’t figure out what we want, we get p*ssed off with them and lament their shortcomings. This stems from fundamental beliefs that ‘right’ relationships means that the other person will know what we want, when, and how.

‘If you love me, you’ll know when I’m in pain’

Not only might they not have the skills to cope with your pain, but you may not have even really shown them that you are in pain.

We neglect the relationship. This can be a case of thinking solo rather than realising that you can be a teamplayer and still be an individual.

We can lack in empathy. So many of you have been involved with people who are lacking in empathy. They have an inability to think about anything from any other perspective than theirs. They cannot get in your shoes, and they don’t want to. It’s all about them and even when they say it’s about you, it’s about them. They operate on their terms. If someone cannot empathise, they cannot love, trust, care, or respect you.

We don’t understand compatibility. From a shared love of the great outdoors, to listening to opera music, to reading high brow books, you look for compatibility in your interests but don’t seek compatibility in your values. You end up loving for the wrong reasons and you also fail to see the bigger picture.

We project and dine off illusions. This means that you’re not having real relationships because you’re too focused on what’s in your head, missing out on getting to know the real person. This sets people up for impossible tests that they’ll fail. You’ll also be taken advantage of by the wrong types of people who exploit your tendency to work off illusions.

We expect perfection. If you’ve ever found yourself with someone who basically marked your cards as soon as conflict arose in the relationship, they have a misguided belief that relationships that are ‘right’ for them don’t have conflict and that you shouldn’t have to ‘work’ at it. You may also have unrealistic expectations and believe that soulmates and ‘right’ people are people who say, do, think, and act as you expect 24/7, 365 days of the year. Of course, when they don’t, you can feel it legitimises reasons to opt out or to create drama.

We think that ‘love’ is enough. Ever tried to love someone into loving you? Ever tried to love someone out of their sex/drugs/drink/alcohol addiction? Tend to believe that if you love someone that it should fix the relationship. Love is not enough. If loving someone were enough to make a relationship work, most people wouldn’t have the problems they do. Love doesn’t cancel out the problems and if you don’t understand the type of behaviours that need to accompany love, you’ll be throwing your energy in all the wrong places.

We’re expect others to give us what we should be doing for ourselves. This ranges from looking for people to complete us, being co-dependent, feeling that you have no value on your own, expecting someone to make you feel things that you find impossible to feel for yourself, hating/disliking yourself and wondering why you keep having negative experiences, to making partners the centre of your universe, ditching friends, family, and letting work slide. You can end up making being with someone a vocation. You have no personal security.

Understanding why relationships fail is not to make you miserable; it’s to open your eyes. Relationships need two committed parties with both of their feet in and more often than not, it takes two to tango. One person cannot do all the work, but by the same token, you need to recognise if you have something with reasonable foundations to work with.

By understanding why relationships don’t work, you can understand why relationships do work.

As I’ve said before, relationship insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. You change even one of these things and they impact on everything else like a house of cards, gradually bringing things into a sharper focus so that you can start living the life you say you want to live, attracting and being around the types of people you say you want to be with, and ultimately feeling better about yourself along the way.

Your thoughts?

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43 Responses to Understanding Why Relationships Don’t Always Work Out

  1. sharlena sharlena says:

    we go into these relationships with all this hope and promise and delusions of grandeur really that we get overwhelmed and exhausted to the point of burning ourselves out and feeling like failures early on. I know I myself personally have a big problem with only focusing on the good parts of a guy and ignoring the bad stuff in hopes that the bad stuff can be smoothed out, when really it only gets worse. I tend to go into things very blindly. But having taken my blinders off recently and realized that the guy I was talking to really was an EUM in disguise, by that I mean acted like he understood my feelings, acted as if he was going to be my protector when really he was covering up his own trust issues and all his baggage until it all reached a boiling point. To which i was confused since I only focused on the good stuff since i went in like I always do, blindly. I am definitely in a better place now especially after reading the no contact rule excerpt and cutting off all ties. Makes it a million times easier to move on and focus on myself.

  2. Alika says:

    Natalie, you are spot on again, thank you!!! I am totally agree with you on “Relationships don’t work out because we don’t always behave in the most beneficial way for the relationship. We can meet people who are actually potentially ‘right’ for us…and then screw it up”. I had a date with a new guy one week ago, we had a lovely time. Next day he sent me a “thank you for lovely time text etc”… because of my “misunderstading” of his message, I did actually ruined potentially right relationship by my very cold response. I am too proud to call or text him and explain that I done this unintentionaly, but I think it is too late now. I am fallback girl and probably, will stay this way forever:-(

  3. trinity says:

    Thanks, this is exactly what i needed to read today to put things back into perspective. 10 weeks into NCR all while working with my X and being harrassed with emails and trying to make conversation each week, started to make me feel very confused about things, kinda beaten down. The self blame thing…… like “maybe this is all my fault” after all im constantly being told im immature and childlish simply because i refuse to communicate with him so that i can move forwards and be happy. I started to put things back into perspective the other night and this was the icing on the cake to read this on the way to work to face the dreaded BEAST :) take care everyone :)

  4. Troya says:

    Natalie, your blog is always so spot on!

  5. RES says:

    Natalie, this is such good stuff. I wish I’d have learned this 7 years ago, as I’d have saved myself so much pain. HOWEVER, better late than never. I’ll never waste another minute in an unfulfilling relationship (whether lover, or friend). Life is too damn short, and I am worthy of being loved for who I am. A powerful realization that has impacted my life; enriching it in so many ways. I once wrote that by losing that ability to “love blindly” that I had somehow lost something precious, that somehow I’d become “jaded”… Well, “loving blindly” isn’t “healthy” love, it’s dysfunction, and I no longer “do” dysfunctional. :-) I am so proud of myself. Thanks for all your coaching, Natalie. You’re the BEST!

  6. MaryC says:

    @Alika, I was the fallback girl for almost 2yrs but Sunday will be 100 days of NC for me. Its not too late for you. I have this saying on my computer at home and at work, its by a Susan Coolidge and it helps me through the tough days….

    “Every day is a fresh beginning, Listen my soul to the glad refrain. And, spite of old sorrow and older sinning, and puzzles forcasted and possible pain, Take heart with the day and begin again”.

    @Trinity, All while having to see him at work everyday. You are my hero. Keep hanging in there. You are the “BEAST” slayer.

  7. andrea says:

    i found this blog only today – i wish i had found it 20 odd years ago – you have no idea of how you have woken me from a coma in my denial of my ‘relationships’ – thank you from the bottom of my broken heart!

  8. Moving on in 2010 says:

    Hi again @Trinity!! :) Wow. I think you and I are currently leading parallel lives when it comes to the EUM bothering us at work when we are distancing ourselves from them. Last week, he asked me to lunch. I declined. Then I get a text from him that night asking if I wanted to do dinner over the weekend. He had been constantly asking me out because he noticed that I was very distant and quiet. I was sick on a Friday and had plans on Saturday. He then proceeded to call on Saturday night and asked if I was free on Sunday. Unfortunately, I broke NC and met him for dinner and a movie. When he dropped me off at home, it was the most awkward feeling because all I did was thank him for driving (he was the one that asked me out and didn’t even offer to pay for either activity-I am SO not a golddigger, but I would have appreciated some manners) and told him that I would see him at work the next day. Normally, I would’ve hugged or kissed him, but this time, I just got out of his car. I know he wanted me to ask him inside my home, but I didn’t even offer. It would’ve been the biggest mistake. I wanted to tell him during dinner why I had been so distant, but due to news he had told me about his personal life, there wasn’t a good opportunity to express how I was feeling. So I decided that night to text and tell him that the reason why I was distant was because I was trying to figure out how to be friends with him and not have feelings for him. I told him that it has been incredibly difficult to do this while we work in the same environment. I had expectations that he would answer maturely, but all I got was an insincere “sorry” and some lame joke to smooth things over. Now it’s back to square one of NC and rereading NML’s No Contact Rule book.

  9. de-lightedtobefree says:

    Oh, this has got to be the best post yet! I am bookmarking this one. Thank you.. I love your strong voice!! and it empowers me everyday.

    xx to all

  10. Trinity says:

    @movingonin2010 hi there. I hope your feeling
    ok with what took place last week? I had to
    slightly break the NCR as well. The X’s harrassing
    at work seemed to be escalating and it was causing
    a lot of anxiety for me. I didn’t reply to his txt, emails or
    see him because I didn’t want to be reactive and
    get caught in his drama yet again. I finally decided
    on one email explaining again that I needed to be
    left alone, that I didn’t want a friendship or any polite
    hellos, I told him to find his own coping mechanisms
    just as I’ve had to and to get on with things. To get back at me
    he gave an ultimatium “friends now or you lose my family”
    so no because I didn’t do things on his terms, I’m going through
    another loss. I sent a goodbye to his mum and she never
    responded. Not like her at all so I believe there has been
    lies told about me. It broke my heart and the sheer fact someone
    I loved could do that was hard to take. But I’m over it now. I can’t
    do anything about, I know I have caused no harm and done
    nothing wrong. I can’t control what others do, I can only
    trust in me to do the right things. Everything he does, any
    mean act, emails, harrasing and trying to manipulate reminds
    me and confirms, staying away from him is the right thing.
    Sending that email was a good lesson about NCR also.
    I found that as soon as I opened the lines of comms the flood gates
    opened. I had to sit on my hands to not keep sending emails because
    I still had so many things to say, instead I kept it short and I made sure “I” ended the email trail with “I think we are done here” now that
    I’m over his latest attempts, the family leaving me, being manipulated,
    hurt, confused and exhausted again. I’m free to keep moving on and in fact, he did me a favour because now I have no
    ties to him what so ever and no family baggage that could stop
    me from opening up to my future :)

  11. Trinity says:

    @movingonin2010 by the way, don’t feel
    your back a square 1, just a little blip, a reminder
    maybe as to why your doing the NCR? I felt like I
    had stuffed things up as well with that email, it’s only back
    to square 1 if you keep interacting and throw in the towel.
    Take care, I have 5 days of freedom away from the x at work.
    I’m loving it :) bye for now :)

  12. Wild~Thing says:

    “You also have a responsibility to access the risks and act accordingly.”

    Now that there is the GOSPEL!!

  13. Enlightened says:

    @ Moving on in 2010, what do you consider would have been a mature answer from him?

    With men like this we tend to give them a huge ego stroke when they pester us and we eventually give in (and they get the pay-off that they wanted and are taught and sent the message that if I’m persistent in my pestering she will eventually crack). He pestered you incessantly to go out to dinner but he couldn’t even have the common decency and find the generosity within himself to pay! What does that say?

    Why do we feel we have to ‘justify and give explanations’ to these men about our feelings that on some level they have abused and crushed (and on some level we have let them). We don’t owe them anything! In a lot of situations they forfeited the right to a direct explanation by their own inappropriate behaviour which should have spoken volumes.

    If they are genuinely keen to know the reason then the first thing they would naturally do is sit down, question and look at how their own behaviour and see how it impacted another. If a person is genuinely willing to do that, that can be a more powerful explanation than any we can give to them. It is called soul-searching.

    It is interesting that you didn’t feel that you could actually say what you wanted to because you were listening to ‘his’ personal problems and events. Deja vu! How many of us have been there in that situation too. It can be frustrating.

    However, it is a big ego stroke for anyone to hear ‘I am finding it difficult to get over you’. It’s better, if one has to say anything at all, to say ‘I’ve basically moved on….it’s as simple as that really. Hope you can too’.

    Then immediately commit to ‘yourself’ and take the 1st (baby) step to creating your own happiness by going hardcore No Contact (which you have started…..well done you! :-) ).

    Wishing you only the best because you absolutely deserve it, hon!

  14. MaryC says:

    @movingonin2010 Like @Trinity said just a little blip. I actually started NC end of last June made it through July/Aug but caved for Sept and 1/2 of Oct. Had to start over again too, I could of kicked myself but I now see that those 6 weeks only reinforced my determination. Sometimes one step back is 2 steps forward.

  15. Enlightened says:

    ‘I could of kicked myself but I now see that those 6 weeks only reinforced my determination. Sometimes one step back is 2 steps forward.’


  16. Enlightened says:

    ‘so I believe there has been
    lies told about me. It broke my heart and the sheer fact someone
    I loved could do that was hard to take. But I’m over it now. I can’t
    do anything about, I know I have caused no harm and done
    nothing wrong. I can’t control what others do, I can only
    trust in me to do the right things. Everything he does, any
    mean act, emails, harrasing and trying to manipulate reminds
    me and confirms, staying away from him is the right thing.
    Sending that email was a good lesson about NCR also.
    I found that as soon as I opened the lines of comms the flood gates
    opened. I had to sit on my hands to not keep sending emails because
    I still had so many things to say, instead I kept it short and I made sure “I” ended the email trail with “I think we are done here” now that
    I’m over his latest attempts, the family leaving me, being manipulated,
    hurt, confused and exhausted again. I’m free to keep moving on and in fact, he did me a favour because now I have no
    ties to him what so ever and no family baggage that could stop
    me from opening up to my future :)’

    @Trinity, what you wrote above could have been written about me. It was identical in situation, thought process, ending and how I felt about having no connection with his friends (as opposed to his family who lived abroad) was even good because I had no ties and it stopped me from hearing, wanting to hear, or analysing what anyone said or meant, or witnessing their interactions with me go from all embracing to cautious and distant (at best!) and being upset about his obvious lies/smear campaign, etc. Like you said, it worked out well in fact because I could just finally move on and get on with my life.

    Had I stayed in contact with him or anyone closely connected to him, I would have been involved in perpetual inner or external conflict over something or other.

    No contact is the way to go! Yeeaaaahhhhhh! :-)

  17. Gillian says:

    broke NC rule after day 10, was caught off guard not paying attention…but I’m actually okay. I see things so much more clearer. It helps to listen and pay close attention and stay present. I know although he was responsible for many things, my behavior to those things was soley mine. I can’t blame him for allowing myself to get out of my character. I think if we now know about these EUMs and know that ultiamtely the issue really are us because of our choices, it makes it that much more easy to either deal with them or leave them alone. I’m at a standtill, but I’m present and not wavering from who I am and in the meantime, I’m still doing me – that is the important thing :)

  18. Trinity says:

    @ enlightened. I agree with you, we don’t owe them any explanations at all and it’s spot on to say they essentially lost that right with poor behaviour and lack of empathy. I really struggled with the fact I sent the email, which basically said ” back off, reminder you broke it off with me, stop pestering to be friends” I was very torn between allowing him to keep escalating the pestering a work, making life unbearable or giving him a reminder and warning. See the thing is I feel p*ssed off because he basically manipulated contact out if me through acting and lashing out. I’m still even slightly annoyed at myself but I made a decision and it’s done now. In hindsight though, I should have just ignored, acknowledge that I felt manipulated and moved on. It won’t happen again. However the experience showed me just how much I’d moved on, I mean that one email was an unjoyous experience which was like pulling teeth and painfully annoying looking at his ridiculous responce concerning ” do things on my terms now” and a bare faced lie. Basically I don’t want him near me in any capacity, he is a negative, depressing blood sucking spirit who is reactive to any emotion, emtionally unstable which tells me he is dangerous and bad to have in my life.

  19. Tina T says:

    I agree about needing to look at what you did wrong in the relationship and bringing that knowledge into future relationships. Too often people blame the other person for the break up so they continue to repeat these mistakes over and over again because they never recognize their role in the relationship failing.

    I also think that most people aren’t willing to take your view of there being more than one person who is meant for them. I see people constantly wanting to reconnect with exes rather than moving forward because they do seem stuck on the notion that this is the “only” person for them.
    .-= Tina T´s last blog ..Are “The Rules” Empowering Women or Demeaning Them? =-.

  20. jessica says:

    I found this site amazingly informative. I was recently involved with a guy who was all to recently involved in a long term relationship of 5 years and was engaged with this woman. I didn’t expect anything from the start of our courtship. However, from the very beginning he called me constanly, texted, made planes with me. It was pretty heavy and not from my insistence either. We dated rouphly 3 months and by this past December he volunteered to spend xmas eve and xmas with me! Bought my family gifts..having not met my sisters but only my mother, bought gifts for all of them. After making plans to spend new years eve together with his friends out of state and also have been invited to meet his family…never asked but was invited and spoke to his bothers wife (who I never met) who claimed I was “next inline” in the family…I’m pushed aside and all planes were defunct. He claimed that after speaking with a friend, his friend reminded him how important it was for him to spend time with his family, since as I was told his x never was one to share holidays with his family. SO, after making plans with me…the possibility of meeting his of the greatest honors a person could bestowe on you…he tells me of these new plans and that if I wanted to break-up with me he’d understand lol! WTF ppl? Red flag there. Needless to say, I spent the new years at home. I couldn’t get passed that he would do that. Then I started to notice distancing from him shortly after that.
    Guys, this man made plans and said things to me that I’m only remembering now with estonishment considering the abrupt break-up on his part. Not only that but I’ve invested so much of my heart and soul to his wounded soul that his ex is responsible for. I’ve been patient, compassionate and considerate best to my ability. He told me exactly what I wanted to hear. There were times when I wasn’t sure they were genuine and called him on it only to be met with denial. So now here we are, I’m left with “I hope we can be friends” and yet no real correspondance. I’m stund.
    Oh and if ANYONE could explain this one thing…the man could never get an adequate hard on for intercourse with me…God, know we did try in vain lol. Hell, it took sometime just so he could react to me giving oral. BTW he’s 25 years old lol. Please someone explain that to me.
    Also, as have many other women stated…it’s like he waited for my walls to come down to do this….wtf?

  21. Moving on in 2010 says:

    @Trinity @Enlightened & @MaryC-Hi to all three and thanks for your advice and ecouragement.

    It has been a very difficult road for me over the past 1 1/2 years, as that is how long I’ve been working directly with my ex-EUM. But that is all about to come to an end, as he is moving out of state to be closer to his son (he’ll still be with the company and my department though) at the end of next week.

    So after talking to my therapist this week, I realized I had two choices to face the Ex-EUM situation at work. It was to either a)not send the email and always have that “what-if” in my head or b)send the email as a way of healing. After a lot of thinking, I decided to do b and send the ex-EUM a goodbye letter. I did this is because I finally realized that it was a way to begin to have closure in my life. BUT I had to be sure that the reason why I was writing the email was for me, NOT to get a response out of him because the chances of him sending a response that I want would be slim to none. I know that I didn’t owe him an explanation because he didn’t deserve one, but again, I did it for me. I felt really good about what I wrote. It was very matter-of-fact. Not mean or crazy.

    Yesterday at work, he did not look at me or talk to me, which means he read it. But I know that he talked to one of my ex-friends about it. As of this morning, he took my advice in my email and has not responded. I am hoping that he adheres to that. I hope that this is the beginning of the road to recovery and as @Enlightened said, “Hardcore NC”!!!

  22. MaryC says:

    @Moving on in 2010….You’ve come a long way, you’re going to be ok. I too would like to send an email but I’m not ready yet, hopeful one day I will be. On the other hand knowing him he’d take it as a great big ego massage and remind me that I can’t live without him and he’d see it as me once again caving no matter what it said. In my case I think sticking with “Hardcore NC” is my best bet.

  23. Trinity says:

    @movingon2010. I’m so happy for you that he is leaving. God your so lucky!!! I know my x won’t be leaving anytime soon and all this would be so much easier if he would!!!!! You will probably see a huge improvement in how you feel :)
    take care

  24. Trinity says:

    @Jessica. Hey there, I really can understand how confused and hurt you must be. Read “why some people fake a future with you” it’s another of Nats blogs and it really helped me. Also read the blog about understanding rejection parts 1, 2 and 3. I went through something similar which spanned over 1.5 years. Was handed everything including the family, plans to move out, everything!!!! Huge expectations all mostly set by him to only have them all taken away one by one, including his family. Men like this are easily swayed by other peoples opinions because they have no idea who they are and are reactive with no thought about how his actions have impacted you. It’s selfish, cruel and lacking in empathy. I know how confusing it is to come out the other end but do not internalise and blame yourself or have negative thoughts “not being good enough and so forth” it’s him that’s the problem not you but definetly learn from him and work out what your lesson was from all this so u don’t have to go through it again. The erection thing? I’m not sure but I know my x also suffers anxiety so he was always worried, panicky, emtional and sometimes that would affect if he could get an erection, which is understandable. I find a lot of these guys who are all over the place do suffer from high anxiety amongst other things. It’s like they live in a constant state of distress, drama, emtional imbalance “either all great or insure and all wrong” the going cold and distancing is called blowing hot and cold and it’s really toxic for the person on the recieving end. Nat also wrote a blog called “why do men blow hit and cold” it’s very insightful. I hope I’ve helped slightly, unfortuntly your not alone, this happens more than you could imagine! I actually think these days men are more emotionally unstable then any womens been made out to be !!! Take care :)

  25. Diane E Pinkney says:

    I am enjoying your comments. I think that it is important to ask ourselves why are we doing what we are doing? In other words, before you sent the e-mail to your ex, you asked yourself, am I doing it to get a response from him, but you did it for yourself, the problem with this, is that we need to make sure that we don’t lie to ourselves. Did we really expect him to send a response, in hoping that he would come to “his senses” and “wake up” or do we need to come to our own senses and wake up? Sometimes, it is so hard for us to be honest with ourselves, because of false hope. Wow! Help us Jesus, stop trying to figure this thing out, instead, please Jesus let us rest in you, and go with the flow…………….

  26. de-lightedtobefree says:

    Love your comments Trinity..right on!!

    I went out dancing last night for the first time in more than six months. The people I went out with chose the places and both were filled with memories of him. The first kiss on a balcony many years ago. I arrived scared out of my wits as to how I might feel, but my fears quickly disappeared as I enjoyed the company of my friends. And I danced! A guy came up to me and joined me in quite a few dances, I was trying to make some kind of connection with him. I said ‘you have a sweet smile’, and as the evening wore on I was noting, he didn’t say anything about me, not one compliment, then his moves got closer and he tried to kiss me on the dance floor. I backed him off and said, ‘I don’t know you’, the only thing I had been thinking in my head was, hmmm, maybe I’ll give him my number at the end of the night. We kept on dancing, he tried numorous times to get physical or kiss me and then I really looked at him, I was not attracted to him , but because he had been attracted to me I went was kind of going along . I noted this as well. Then at the end of the evening I caught up with my friends and was getting my coat to leave when he came up to me and grabbed my hand and said ‘we’re going upstairs’, I said what up stairs, he said’ rooms..I said rooms? what do you mean ‘rooms? he said Rooms, we’re going up to have sex’… I quickly pulled my hand back and said ‘what the f… I don’t know you’.. he looked at me with pathetic eyes and said, ‘you know me’. And then I did… yup, here was the abuser, the same guy different face, standing before me. I felt disgusted and said, ‘whats wrong with you, where the ‘f.. are your manners’,.Other people were now staring, so I said louder (so they could hear), whats wrong with the men in this ‘f ‘country, they have no morals!!! I turned to let him have some more but like the snake he was he’d disappeared… I was so angry. Yuk, I was pissed off, but then with my friends laughed about it all the way home..:)

    Today I feel proud that I recognized a creep and called it. Yah!! thank you Natalie. All this training is working in my real life not just in my head. It’s coming through, finally loud and clear I developing a voice !! :)



  27. Trinity says:

    Isn’t relying on someone else to work things out, make it right. Whether that be an EMU or Jesus another way of not accepting responsabilty for your own happiness, growth, ownership, part to play and independance? Only you, your instincts, owning the truth and some fearless hard work along with the confidence in yourself, to know your a great person and believe it and keeping away from someone who doesn’t make you happy, will help you to find happiness. Above all courage and knowing you deserve better. The only person you need to believe in is yourself. Take care :)

  28. Enlightened says:


    @Moving on in 2010, I am so glad that the EUM is moving, as it will help you alot in the ‘getting over him and the experience’ process. Things are definitely in the right direction (goes hand in hand with your name).

    So, embrace that and take absolute pleasure from all the seemingly small but ‘positive’ things…. Whilst you are in hardcore No Contact mode the next thing (and probably the most important step!) is to fill any potentially negative spaces (too much dwelling and thinking about EUM time) in your life with actions of completely ‘PAMPERING’ yourself! :-)

    Do, buy, see things and meet people that enhance that feel good factor. Find out what is going on in your area to see and do, or rediscover other areas, phone up your girlfriends or family members and go out, for a coffee, to a restaurant, to an activity or invite them round for a meal and a movie at home. Get all the scented candals out and the luxury bubble bath, etc…… Concentrate and put your thoughts, caring, love and energy on what is most important and that is YOU actually.

  29. Half Happy Soul says:

    Thank you Natalie for a great post!!!

    Trinity, your comments really helped me, you are right, we have to take a responisbility for our own life and happiness and do not allow these men to spoil our present and future…I was promised so much too, but it was only words, no actions…HE destroyed my self esteem so much, that I started to think that “I am not good enough” and he was like son of God…It is hard to trust men again…
    Hopefully, with the help of this wonderful site, I will feel better…

  30. Half Happy Soul says:

    Thank you Natalie for a great post!!!

    Trinity, your comments really helped me, you are right, we have to take a responisbility for our own life and happiness and do not allow these men to spoil our present and future…I was promised so much too, but it was only words, no actions…HE destroyed my self esteem, that I started to think that “I am not good enough” and he was like son of God…It is hard to trust men again…
    Hopefully, with the help of this wonderful site, I will feel better…

  31. Trinity says:

    @ delighted to be free. Hi there :) sounds like your boundarys crossing instincts are coming up in full alert. It’s pretty cool how you recognized that it was just the same guy different package. I’m going to remember that, it’s like our x coming back with new desinger clothes on :) only same drop kick inside !!! I’ve noticed my boundary stuff is starting to come into focuss as well. That is something new for me and undiscovered but it’s exciting and I can feel it’s going to help change a lit of things for me . I live in Australia and the men are just a idiotic, This blog site really is helping us, thanks Nat :)

  32. Trinity says:

    @ hAlf happy soul. Thanks glad I helped :) I know what you mean about the trust thing. Now that I’m feeling a lot better, not completly healed but stronger, more understanding and unravelled most of the confused mess from my head !!! I’m starting to feel a little bit excited by what the future holds, what all these changes might do or mean? I still swing sometimes back to, how will I trust again, can I go through this again and survive. I won’t be dating for some time yet, I have work to do for me. It’s been 5 months since he left and about 10 weeks of NCR. I’m not healed yet but I’m doing pretty good. My next focus or goal is to stop obsessing about him. It’s pretty hard to do especially when u work with your x :) the thoughts are dying down though :) take care

  33. Jessica says:

    @Trinity, Thank you…I’ll definately be looking up that info. Your advice and this site has really helped shed some light as to WTF this guy was all about. I’ve never encountered someone to his degree as far as the EUM. I was in a relationship with a narcissist for 3 year so you’d think I was stronger and could see past his crap. I guess it’s just easy to believe them or at least want to believe them. It’s just so rediculous cause like most posts here…It was rarely prompted, these promises.

    I’m really stupid right now because I should have gone with my intuition and just let it go and not try and contact him but I did. And much to my anger and disappointment I used a mutual friend (also a guy) of ours advice and I apologized for any part I was responsible for for the outcome of the relationship! I have nothing to apologize for. I’ve learned to call men on there crap when I see and smell it but I guess little boy’s hearts can’t take the honesty. Good example of crap…him talking and boasting about himself constanly! Rarely did was the convo directed toward me and when it was the convo died pretty quickly lol. Yes, that should have been a HUGE red flag, however, me being me, the considerate and compassionate person, saw this as an effort from him to remind himself that he was the worthy and great person his ex failed to nurture. Yeah.

    Now, he’s contacted me and agreed to meet up sometime only after I asked TWICE lol. I’m so inclined to tell him to shove it up the arse! I think I’m simply going to show up looking fabulous, make nice idle chit chat for a half hour then politely inform him I have to leave because I have an engagement elsewhere with someone :-)

  34. Moving on in 2010 says:

    @MaryC, @Trinity-

    Yes, it’s a good feeling to know that this is the last week that the Ex-EUM is in the office. I will still have to see him once a quarter, BUT I can live with that. The time I won’t have to see him is the time I can finally begin the healing process and move toward that happy place in my life that I so badly want. Keep your heads up you two!!!


    I definitely made sure that the reason why I was sending the email was to help me move on. When I think back to all of his lame responses to me over the course of our relationship, I realized that it would never change. That is why I specifically stated in my email to him that I am okay with no response from him. So far, so good. He’s actually not answered. :)

  35. cece says:

    Still in the learning stages of boundary making and respecting – and I recognize that I have two main modes: push away or let you all the way in. With my friends, I let them all the way in …and I mean all the way…I trust completely and love completely. This keeps getting me in trouble cause once my trust is broken – I cut them off end point. Then I start the cycle again. This time, a friend I love dearly hurt me by keeping something from me (dating a girl who was befriending me).
    Now I have to figure out how to redraw boundaries, expectations, and be fair to myself in the process (which is also difficult). Breaking bad relationship patterns is hard work.

  36. GymBunny says:

    Hi! I posted a few weeks ago & rec’d advice from u WONDERFUL, WISE women. I’m back to report that NC HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING. I have not felt so good abt myself in years. I got my swagger back.
    Before I started NC, I went thru an emotional & spiritual inventory. I admitted to myself that I had been living in DENIAL w/an AC. I decided I don’t want to live a life of denial, like my Mom has done in her life, like she’s taught me to do.
    Next, I considered whether or not to tell the EUM that I was done. I went ahead & txtd him before commencing NC because I felt I needed to GET IT OUT. I’ve never gone ape sh@* on him, I’m usually fairly quiet.
    As I tapped on my cell phone writing the txt to him, everything boiled down to a few sentences b/c when I thought abt it, I knew HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING w/me, MANAGING DOWN MY EXPECTATIONS, etc.
    THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but I had been such a ‘good girl,’ hoping he, the big shot executive up in his ivory fkng tower to whom NOBODY EVER tells the truth, would finally reward me w/a walk down the aisle or some such ridiculousness if I showed him how much I genuinely loved him by expecting NOTHING from him.
    I don’t feel weak anymore. I LOVE who I am today :)

    • NML says:

      @sharlena sharlena Acknowledgement goes a loooong way. At the end of the day, focusing, for instance, on the 10% good, doesn’t change the 90% that’s not so good. A person is more than their ‘good points’ – you can’t just compartmentalise them, as you’ve discovered.
      @Alika Why are you so proud? Don’t use this as an excuse to give up on yourself. Feel your way through the fear instead of confirming what you say is not true about yourself. If you don’t want to come across as cold, show that you are warm and admit you made a mistake. Yes it may be too late, but if it is, it’s not because you’re a bad person; it’s because you didn’t think you were worth it to try,
      @Trinity It’s not immature and childish to want to be left alone so you can get over a relationship. It is immature and childish, however, expect someone to sit around being in pain because it suits them – don’t listen to this fool.
      @Troya – Thank you!
      @RES Amen! Loving blindly isn’t something to be proud of – it’s like loving without any responsibility to yourself! I’m very happy for you – enjoy your happiness and cherish it!
      @MaryC Great quote.
      @Andrea No problem at all – that’s what I’m hear. Better late than never!
      @Moving on in 2010 It’s important to remind yourself that you can no longer expect in the way that you used to because if he didn’t meet your expectations in the relationship, he certainly won’t when you’re out of it. You have to ask yourself why you want to explain but as you saw, the result you expected fell short.
      @de-lightedtobefree Thank you! xx
      @Wild~Thing Amen 😉
      @Enlightened Tell it! Exceedingly wise words!
      @Gillian I call this ‘suck it and see’ – you now know that there’s nothing to be curious about so you can now move forward. Bettering than torturing yourself with curiosity.
      @Tina T Excellent points. i think it’s too easy to believe that the ex is the one. It stops us from moving on and being in charge of our own destiny. It’s like writing yourself off.
      @Jessica If he’s a wounded soul not over his ex, it was never going to work. It all got too much for him and he came up with a crap excuse to extricate himself out of it. He probably believed his own words for a while until he realised he couldn’t deliver. It sounds like this guy has a lot on his mind… I think you’re trying to fit a square rather limp peg into a round hole…excuse the pun…
      @Diane E Pinkney Did we really expect him to send a response, in hoping that he would come to “his senses” and “wake up” or do we need to come to our own senses and wake up? – That is brilliant – thank you for sharing your wise words!
      @Half Happy Soul Don’t become full of distrust. Learn to trust yourself by growing your self-esteem by knowing your boundaries and values and making a judgement call on inappropriate situations.
      @Cece You will often find when you start addressing your own emotional needs and respecting yourself through boundaries that there are other people, besides romantic interests, who may not be treating you very well.
      @GymBunny This is great. Keep the faith. Whilst I don’t normally recommend getting in touch to explain, your behaviour was a rapid departure from what he has come to expect from you. Keep looking ahead now.

  37. Trinity says:

    Thank you Nat, your little message made me smile :)
    take care xxx

  38. Natty says:

    I wanted to respond to the post ‘Why women cheat’ but its an old one and I can not post a comment there.
    I have just found this site and look forward to reading your books.
    I am a 23 yeard old female, who has been single since breaking up with a guy in August. Before him I was in a relationship for 3 half years with what would be decirbed as a ‘nice guy’. The relationship was mainly while I was at Uni, I moved further away from him and I even told him that the relationship would probably not work out. But he said he wanted to keep going. I was in love and spent my first year of uni with him and we both failed our first year, because we were attached at the hip. He was supportive, although we struggled for a while with issues about personal space as I found him quite emotionally demanding at times and sensitive. Almost like a traditional role reversal. Then I started to get a wandering eye, being away from him all the time meant it was easy, I slept with a mate, felt guilty then saw my ex a few days later and was amazed at hopw easy it was to forget. I decided what he didnt know wouldnt hurt him…and that i loved him this was just a blip. Then towards the end of my course when i was under immense pressure, caught the mumps, entered and failed a student election, then I meet him. We meet briefly a few times, I could feel his eyes on me instantly. He added me to a social networking site and we started procrastinating together, my boyfriend was busy with his uni work to notice and when I had the mumps he stayed away from me because he could not remember if he’d had a shot or not, when my mother (whom is a emotional vampire, dodgy turbulous relationship) came to see me straight away. This sounds reasonable but I was a little upset, and this made me spend more time online with the new guy.
    Eventually staying in studying all day and night got too much and I decided to go out with my partying friend, we went to the new guys friends rave as he had a hook up and we shared an common interest in a genre of music, (but thinking about it now it just an excuse to see him). I ended up staying at his house, having sex and not leaving until 4pm the next day. Then ‘accidentally’ texting my boyfriend saying I needed to break up with him, (this text was suppose to go to my partying friend).
    What a mess.
    We spoke, my boyfriend got angry, then left me alone, I continued my relationship with ‘him’ by turning up at his a few times quite late, definite booty call behaviour. I started seeking his approval and needed his attention. After a little while I admitted that I was into him more than just ‘sex’ and he said he was to. but he wasnt ready and neither was I. I was facing some issues with my mother and housing problems, so I confined in him. Big mistake. Not only did he take advantage of this, he crushed my self esteem and sent me into the deep depths of depression. Changing his mind and saying that the only way i could be his ‘babe’ was if I stopped rinking, smoking and lost a littel wieght on my stomach as it was ‘unatrtactice’. I responded by telling him to f*ck off, but then changed my mind and literally begged him to take me back and that i would do what he asked. After a week, I knew I was living a lie and broke it off, and this continued for months. We would argue after he would make a comment to put me down, I would let it go, then a few days later bring it up because I could not believe that he said it and aruge with him again.
    He never took me out, did not want me to meet his friends, blasted my friends and family, would never visit me at my home, (we were both broke and looking for work, I ended up working in a nightclub and staying at his at silly times in the morning). The situation played into his hands. My friends had enough of me as everything was about him and the dramas. I started seeing other guys as well chasing something……..
    Then going right back to him, he even hit me once and dragged me up the stairs when I tried to leave his house once. Told me it was ok because I had lied to him. If I said no to sex and I was staying his house he would just keeping trying until I gave in.
    My ex asked for me back a couple of times and i said no? because I though it wouldnt work and I had done too much damage. He now lives with his new girlfriend.
    After all of this this guy told me that the reason he wanted me around was because he liked waking up with me next to him in the morning and the affection was what he wanted. Everything else in the relationship he didnt give a crap about. Towards the end I asked him admit that he never thought of me as anything but an object and that he used me because he was not inerested in developing anythign with me, this week he did and he said sorry. I went from breaking up with him, agreeing in fuck buddy terms, to begging him to be my boyfriend, to cheating on him, to playing his games on him. EVERYTHING.
    Today I will never have contact with him again, the good thing is that there are slim chances of me seeing him so this should be easy. As I have maintained contact since August thorugh the internet and texts.

    Wow that was an essay, but I guess I needed to type that stuff. I am seeing a councellor, who decided I was a saboteur and I know I am on the path to where I want to be….i was severely depressed in early 2009 but im getting there.

  39. Amelka30 says:

    After reading the above post one thought is staying in my mind: being considerate and able to give from both people is the key in this entire relationship puzzle. Empathy is crutial.
    But what is the balance in giving? Is it a man who should give more to the woman at least at the beginning of relationship or is it: I give you as much as you give me?
    In which form do we see true love, affection, care and when does it come – 2 months or 6 months on. As I don’t think it is apparent after 4 dates. Interest in the other person – yes, but care and love – not really, or do you think it is? Should we be able to spot these abilities from day one or does it come with time? This is me being shitlessly scared of maybe making the same mistake again after being for 8 years with Mr Unavailables. The last one – 7 month relationship with a total assclown was my epiphany moment, a wake up call. So I have done a lot of work on myself to deal with all my issues I finally could put a finger on, and this all thanks to this website and Natalie’s book. However I am at times still confused. Yes, I do not trust myself about the men I attract (due to my bad love habbits history) therefore I am quite careful about a person I am seeing now. He is a total opposite to my previous types. But still I have a nagging question- should you expect a man to treat you like a princess straight away from the beginning (obviously you returning the feelings) or should you acknowledge the fact that they too should give you only as much as you give them? And if they do so – is that right, should we expect more from men?

  40. Tiff says:

    I am scared shitless myself. I totally overreacted and told a guy off after he ditched me on the ski slopes. No call or text. I am a cool girl, it was a sweet powder day and i couldn’t keep up. thanks to this website I can stop obsessing about what I did wrong and focus on me.

  41. Dee says:

    I am wondering if anyone else has experienced an intimacy thief, as I like to call my ex assclown. At 40 years of age, he has never had a long term girl friend (longest just over 1 year), never lived with anyone (except his mother – don’t get me started) and has an appalling history with women. I didn’t know alot of this until it was too late. One of the things I have noticed is , with the woman before me and myself, he has been trying something new. Before us, the women would leave, hating him (sometimes hitting him). With me and the one before, he has tried to “stay friends”, literally begging to keep us in his life because he is tired of losing people he cares about. He cannot do relationships (he told me, after 5 months in one) but wants close intimate friendships. Basically, he wanted to freeze the relationship where it was and keep it there but call it a friendship so that he would not be obligated to me in anyway. The last one is “stuck”, big time. She continues to build her life around him but he calls her friend. I have had no contact with this clown for 6 weeks now (thank god) and am well rid of him but it seems he was trying to find “free” intimacy by calling intense close relationships friendships when really they are relationships without obligations. Is it just me or has this been other women’s experience?

    • Allison says:


      This is VERY common! Like you said, these guys are getting the benefits, minus the responsibility.

      You are good to be rid of him. Not only will they make lousy boyfriends, but lousy friends.



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


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