woman sitting on a wall waiting by Mr Big on SXC

A few months ago, I spent 45 very long minutes circling over Heathrow airport waiting for a slot to open up so that we could land. It’s very irritating and yet I realise that like many people, in the past I’ve been trapped in a holding pattern waiting around for that slot to open up so I can take up what I feel is my rightful spot in the relationship I envision.

Every day I read comments, emails and Facebook postings that are code for:

“I’m still waiting for you”

“I’m waiting for you to make up your mind about me”

“I’ll be right here waiting for you if you ever decide you want me”

“I’m waiting for you to spontaneously combust into being available/commitment ready/a better person/to leave your spouse or partner”.

And in particular “I know you think you can do better, but when you find out that you can’t, I’m here waiting for you”.

Here’s the thing: Waiting around for someone to make up their mind about you, to dignify you with contact, a relationship, decency, a change of self or whatever, devalues you. If you’ve been living your life in limbo waiting around, you’re breaking a fundamental personal boundary that will erode at your self-esteem.

It’s like buying a lottery ticket every Wednesday and Saturday and waiting in week after week for your numbers to come up. When people tell you you should come out, do something different, not play the numbers this week, you decline because you’re scared that the one time that you don’t is the one time that you’ll win. Your rationale is that life will begin once you win the lottery so you’ve invested yourself in the fantasy. Sometimes you win three or four numbers but you never hit the jackpot. One day you realise that you’ve literally wasted your life gambling on some seriously long odds. You thought the risk would be worth the reward but you end up regretting putting all of your eggs in a basket without a base…

If you’re waiting around for someone, you’re waiting for your numbers to come up. Unfortunately the fact that you have to wait in itself demonstrates that there isn’t enough or anything going on right now.

You’ve decided that this is what you want irrespective of any treatment and what them not being in a relationship with you now actually indicates, and this is incredibly dangerous, especially when they’re off living their merry life and you’re sitting there dutifully waiting or living the half life in pseudo relationships waiting for them to come back so you can race off into the sunset.

I heard from a reader who has broken off three engagements to three different men to go back to someone who has broken off their relationship and their engagement three times. If you can leave three relationships to go back to someone that’s flakier than a bad case of eczema, this in itself shows you were never really invested because you were passing time waiting for the one you really want to come back.

Here’s the thing: If you wait around for someone, let them boomerang in and out of your life, move onto new partners, and treat you like a ‘less than’ person, do you think they think:

“Wow, what a loyal, loving person they are.”


“They can’t be that great if they’ll put up with me treating them like this and rejecting the relationship and them time and again”.

Let me assure you that waiting around isn’t a sign of loyalty and love – it’s a sign of denial, avoidance, and low self-esteem.

Waiting around says “I don’t consider myself a valuable, worthwhile enough person to go and live my life without this person who doesn’t actually want me or the relationship I want with them. I’d rather fanny away my life and time that I don’t value hoping they’ll see the light because I don’t believe I can do better plus I’d rather avoid feeling ‘full’ rejection at any costs”.

Waiting around says “I have nothing better to do with my time”.

Waiting says “You’re free to reject me and come and go whenever they you like”.

Waiting says “I’m an option for you whenever you feel like it”.

When you convey that you’re a fallback option to whip out of their back pocket on a rainy day, that they’re able to contact you and pick up where they left off without much hassle, and you continue to believe in and keep them on a pedestal no matter what, you’ve communicated all the wrong things about yourself.

It’s much easier to convey that you’re a valuable, worthwhile person through action – sitting around, going through the motions of life, and selling yourself short don’t do that. Having a line, knowing the line, accepting that they can’t give you what you want and having more faith and confidence in you rather than them and living your life does communicate it.

I’ve also recently heard from people tying themselves up in knots waiting for someone they’ve just met to call – go out! Stop waiting around! You’re not in a relationship! Why would you remove yourself off the market, mentally and figuratively and bet on so much potential with someone who said they were going to call you?

How can you have so much invested in nothing more than an expression of interest?

You deserve better than waiting around for someone and while some people will be brazen enough to ask you to wait, often these are decisions you make off your own back because you’re ignoring vital information, have decided you know better and prefer your fantasy.

Waiting means avoiding experiencing a ‘fail fail‘ or a ‘rejection rejection’. The longer you wait, the crappier you feel and the harder it is to stop waiting because you then reason that so much time has passed that to stop waiting now would be waste of all the previous time spent waiting and you feel like you’ve invested too much to stop.

While it will hurt to stop waiting, it’ll hurt a damn sight less than if you continue waiting and refuse to accept reality. You’re better than being the person that they come back to after exhausting all other options. Don’t let them ‘settle’ for you after they discover that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Why would you wait for them to sort themselves out with an ex?

You’re better than waiting to be chosen – in healthy relationships, you mutually choose each other and get on with it.

Waiting around is disrespectful and anyone who does expect you to wait for them is saying “I don’t love or care about you enough to value you and not marginalise you in a half life waiting for me. I’m afraid that if I let you go, I might change my mind and I won’t have the option of you so I’d rather have you wait. Just in case.”

Stop waiting around. It’s like gambling with your life. That fear that they’ll spontaneously combust into a better person in a better relationship with someone else is misplaced because just like fear mean it’s not happening, waiting around means it (the relationship) isn’t happening either.

Remember, while you’re waiting around, it means you’re unavailable for an available relationship.

Your thoughts?

Image source: Mr Big SXC

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238 Responses to Why You’re Better Than Waiting Around For Someone To Make Up Their Mind or to Spontaneously Combust into Being Available

  1. Natasha says:

    Amen sister. I don’t know if it’s my upcoming 30th bday, the fact that I have a couple of friends getting married, or I finally saw sense, but on my last go-around with my ex-AC (when he insulted me, pulled a Houdini after promising the stars and then told me it was all my fault, but he still wanted me to be “a part of” his life and a friend. Whew.)…that door didn’t get shut, it got slammed! I can’t get back the time I wasted (I met him a few weeks shy of my 25th bday), I can do everything to make NOW count. I’m still mad at myself for wasting so much time, but at least it’s galvanized me to stay on the BS Diet :)

    • Karina says:

      Natasha, we’re on the same boat. I met mine at he same time as yours and I just turned 30! Wow…getting into this site has realy helped me see I am not alone and it is comforting to read about so many strong women as well.

      • Natasha says:

        Karina, so true! Until I found this site I thought I was the only woman on earth dealing with this and it’s so nice to know that there are many awesome ladies who have been, there done that and come out on the other side as better people :) When I read your comment, I was like, “You too?!” I didn’t even realize how long this had gone on for, until I said to a friend, “It’s been the same bs since, like, 2006.” it was an Oh. My. God. What. Am. I. Doing. Moment!

  2. simone71 says:

    I ve been waiting for this man…..and waiting……he changed his phone number…..two times he cancelled a trip to meet me……over and over again i felt so stupid waiting and longing to look in his eyes……i did NC…..he wrote IMs now and then through a friend till i said close this account please because it hurt me to hear things like he misses me……then he called out of the blue.We talked. ….all good memories came up….i was on a high…..till i asked : will you go back to your ex? he said yes…….well that definetely the last pain he caused me. I wonder a lot about myself. I wonder why i could call sthg.like that love. Funny…..i honestly thought i loved this man.But thats not the case.My guess is….when i think of my childhood i felt rejected a lot.I wanted to be loved for who i was.But in a way i had to be a goid girl to be “loved”…….I am thinking that i didnt define the word LOVE right. Maybe i thought i need to beg for love…..i need to make myself little only not to make him sad or leaving me.
    I think the definition of love. …that exactky the point.
    Love is something very great.You gotta lovee someone for who he really is.You gotta love yourself too for who you are. I mean real love deep inside of us…….we all have it there inside of us.
    Noone can tell me he loves a person that treats them like shit…..disrespectfull.
    I think we all know when it is NOT love. We are just too scared to admit for whatever reason.
    We are humans and so unique and so wortfull.
    Please listen to your gut….your inner child and feel when its wrong and unhealthy.Dont wait and settle for pain like some masochists.
    We all deserve respect and loyality and love.
    Dont fool yourself and wait for a man that just blows hot for selfish reasons.
    You are all worthfull……never forget this.
    Tears in my eyes writing this…….i forgot my worth with this selfish guy but now i see clearly because i listen to my heart again without pink glasses on.
    Sorry my english. ….I am from germany but ad i see here all hearts talk the same language.

  3. Susan says:

    Brilliant – as always – and perfect timing for me…..Thanks x

  4. Leigh says:

    “Waiting around for someone to make up their mind about you, to dignify you with contact, a relationship, decency, a change of self or whatever, devalues you. If you’ve been living your life in limbo waiting around, you’re breaking a fundamental personal boundary that will erode at your self-esteem.”

    The exMM did exactly that to me, too. After blowing hot he went cold and wouldn’t dignify me with contact, wanting me to chase him. It worked, by then I was so devalued that I broke my own boundary by allowing him the pleasure of constantly rejecting me to increase his manly “strength” boost his ego and thereby shattering my self-respect.

    He didn’t even grant me any level of decency at our last meeting. If he did that to me now I would use his balls as a trophy.

    I was avoiding the obvious. He didn’t love, respect or care for me, his wife, his family or himself. The only way he could empower himself was to be and to continue to be abusive.

    I opted out of that cycle because I’m actually worth more than crumbs. To remain in a situation that devalued me ruined my perception (self and outer) and led me to make many mistakes as I made myself vulnerable by giving him the pleasure enforcing my beliefs about myself at the time

    I don’t feel anything for him now and I hope for his sake he stays away from me, forever because these are the type of people that you wouldn’t pee on even if they were on fire or were a free toilet in the middle of Piccadilly Circus.

  5. Flower White says:

    Ladies need to say: F you -don’t let the doorknob hit you. More and more, that is what we need to say to Mr. Wrongs as soon as possible.

    Ladies need to stop WASTING precocious youth waiting for an emotional doorknob to turn your way! You will not be in your 20’s forever. You will regret waiting for an assclown. He’s not so special. STOP wasting your life on unsuitable men-men are like buses another one is going to come along!

    Ladies need to know: IF he wants you YOU will feel LOVED. Anything else is nonsense.

    Ladies need to put self number one stop allowing your romantic life to ruin all aspects of your life dump Mr.Wrongs quicker!

    • Natasha says:

      Flower, you sound just like my Mom haha! Her favorite line is, “Don’t waste your good years.” I waited until I was 29 to take it heart, but better late than never on this one.

      • Brenda says:

        I dunno, For a long time I thought time was wasted too ” I’m 43″ – But the fact is I wasn’t ready anyhow, I knew nothing of what makes a healthy and normal relationship, even sought counseling but I was so at the wrong place I wasn’t soaking in a damn thing.

        I don’t think anything was wasted anymore, Because when you suffer hard and long, when you go without eating for a long time the food just taste that much better when you do eat.

        This is no longer just about having any guy – It’s about being content with or without one around. But if one is going to be around he should be adding something to my life, Not just taking from it selfishly. ” Give and take with healthy boundaries. “

        • Flower White says:

          @Natasha thanks for the compliment! I now listen to my Mom!

          @Brenda I ‘m glad we agree.

          Yes I do believe women WASTE good time waiting wondering suffering over assclowns.

          Teens and young ladies please read everything you can here- heed Nat’s wise words, save yourself grief- your generation should learn from our mistakes. Men come and go peace of mind is forever.

          • EllyB says:

            I’m over 30 too, and while it is true that you shouldn’t waste a single second of your life waiting around for an AC/EUM, I don’t buy into that story of the “best years” anymore. I used to believe my “best years” were when I “looked best” (although frankly, I look better now than in my early twenties) or when I was the most “fertile” in a biological sense. BS. The best years are the ones in which you feel best, not the ones in which others consider you the most “attractive” or “desirable”. This has nothing to do with age (unless age comes with significant physical pain, of course).

          • Natasha says:

            Agreed EllyB! For me, one of the wonderful things about being almost 30 is that I really care less what people think and I’m much more focused on what makes me happy than running around trying to please everyone and their mailman. I wouldn’t trade 29 for 22 for anything. Some of my mother’s sayings are very 1950’s, but she’d be saying the same thing to me if I was 109 😉

        • Natasha says:

          I like that Brenda! The time I think of as “wasted” was the time I spent feeling badly about myself and not working on it/the time I spent blaming myself for someone else’s crappy behavior. I’m in the same boat, i.e. even if I met the greatest guy ever in that time, I wouldn’t have really been ready for it. I also couldn’t agree more that any man who’s in the picture should be giving, not just taking!

          • Jennie says:

            Yes! You are all so right. This is a great thread. I do think it’s important not to be hard on ourselves for “wasting” time. As you’ve all said, if you weren’t ready, you weren’t ready, and you were just doing what you thought was normal based on who you were at the time. No reason to feel badly about it since you’ve progressed so much now!

            Also, I looked like total crap in my early 20s.

          • Natasha says:

            Jennie, I always say I’m so glad I didn’t meet the love of my life when I was 25, because I would have screwed that right up!
            p.s. My two favorite things in my early 20’s (I’m 29 now) were tanning beds and cigarettes, talk about looking like crap! OY.

    • D-spondentchwan says:

      Hey everyone I really enjoyed reading this post. Unfortunately my AC was my best friend for 7 years (nice guy kinda guy who seemed to have morals. consistently kind)… chased me down for years, calling me everyday, facebook at night, emails, gifts poems etc., When he finally sucseeded in making me fall for him he changed just like that into a manipulative control obsessed freak. Changing his mind… professing his undying love behind closed doors. Kissing me in public buyin valentines gifts etc then denying to his friends that he did it. because he suddenly noticed my skin colour (duh!). Trying to downgrade me into friends with benefits (he cant decide his feelings!!!)to which I said no. Was really emotionally physically abusive towards me over the dumbest stuff like because a (girl)friend came over to cook me pasta.In the end told me on the phone we don’t know each other and never to speak to him again. a week later he said I misunderstood what he said about not talking hes just trying to keep away from me thats all. Then harasses me via facebook when I’m tryin NC saying I’m fake because of not speaking to him when he told me not to. I can’t stop beating myself up for not walking away. But his behaviour was out of the blue and knocked my confidence as he managed to convince nearly 20 of our mutal friends to be against me.He would not give me the title of his girlfriend but manages to make out that I’ve broken up[with him on his facebook wall along with writing guilt trip poems and songs! Ive never had a relashionship just a couple of AC’s who pursued me and decide its a joke before things materialise. Hes 26 so am I. I was so scared to walk I’m so glad I’m finally free of him. Never waste your time with an A%$ clown. If something doesnt feel right trust your instincts. A lesson learned…

  6. Jennie says:

    Amen. But even if these guys do come ’round eventually, they’re almost certainly still the unavailable clowns they always were. That’s why it’s so important to get on with life.

  7. Mango says:

    My EUM and I have a long history together. We were both in love with each other, although, sadly, not at the same time. He pursued me intensely, and I was an EUF. Then I fell in love with him, but after waiting for me, he understandably moved on, so we became friends, knowing (thinking?) we always had a special connection. We didn’t keep in touch while he was married; too painful for me, so I moved on.

    14 years later we got rec0nnected through the magic (???) of Facebook. It was as though no time had passed. We talked for 4 1/2 hours the first time, and stll had more to talk about. I felt I was his rock, or one of them, during his divorce. I felt we were getting to know each other again, and were developing a really nice friendship. We, it seemed, had a mutual respect, care, and love for each other.

    When the divorce was final, he let loose on expressing affection that seemed as though he had been holding in it. He said he was scared of relationships, due to his bad marriage. He told me he was crazy about me, but was scared to be in a relationship right then. Since this was ‘the one that got away’, I waited. And waited. And our once frequent communication became stilted and halted and quite awkward. And I wanted answers.

    He hit the fast forward to let’s be best buddies again button, and I got got frustrated, feeling as though my feelings had been pushed aside. He didn’t want to be accountable, I now realize.

    Anyway, blah blah blah………

    There’s more, but the bottom line is, I am absolutely crushed that our communication is now so terrible. And I am gob-smacked at how this whole thing turned upside down. I finally told him how deeply hurt I felt, that felt I’d been used. He said, “Sorry for everything”. I’m thinking this is pretty lame, no? I wanted more.

    I just don’t know how to respond, if it all. I’ve been NC for only a week. I sometimes feel so angry with him, and the whole “why not me” ( he started seeing someone else; they’ve since broken up). Also, we live 3000 miles apart. He wanted so badly so see me last summer, offered several times, but I didn’t want him to see the weight I’d gained. Lame, I know.

    I also have compassion for him as a wounded soul, who just doesn’t know how to communicate his feelings well. This doesn’t mean he gets another free pass. I need/want/deserve people who are going to be able to step up to the plate when things get messy. I know I need to move on. I just wish had heeded the red flags so we could at least be friends now. He’s been in my heart for so long….it’s so hard to let go.

    Thanks for listening. This has been weighing heavy on my heart for awhile.

    • Flower White says:

      @Mango you MUST let him go. Read EVERYTHING here, Nat is very wise the torture you describe is ridiculous.

      I refuse to waste many words on your situation as it’s simple: NC, period. Move. On. You can do it, you must!

      • Mango says:

        FlowerWhite, thanks for your feedback. I don’t feel tortured at all. More just deeply sad. And yes, Natalie is super wise; I’m fairly new to the site, and am soaking up the posts like a sponge.

        Thank you for your feedback.

    • grace says:

      he’s not that wounded. he had a wife, then he had you as a crutch while he got divorced, then he started seeing someone else. He’s got you on layaway now while he explores other options.
      i’m struggling to see why you feel sorry for him. he’s had three women pandering to him. i suggest you tell this story to a man -your brother, dad, uncle, whoever and get their take on it!

      • Mango says:

        Good points, Grace. He was a great friend to me for awhile. And just to be clear, I no longer have any desire to be in a relationship with him; I haven’t for awhile. I suppose because of our long history (spanned over 24 years), I’m struggling to remove him completely from my life, and am trying to navigate the terrain of maintaining our friendship. He really has been there for me many times. I think perhaps he over estimated his capacity for his feelings for me, and is now trying to reclaim our friendship, which I think is important to him.

        He is a good guy, definitely not an AC. He’s shared with me how he felt beaten down in his marriage, that he never felt he was good enough, always a disappointment. He’s scared of relationships (his words), and feels broken. I don’t know, I have compassion for the guy.

        Maybe it’s too soon to try and be friends? Or maybe I do need to let go of him completely? I just can’t imagine him not in my life.

        Excellent suggestion to run this by a male! No uncle, brother, or uncle I could talk to though. Hmmm…. I do have a couple of friends I might feel comfortable running this by.

        Thanks for your input, Grace. I’ve always found good advice in your posts, even if it was directed to someone else.

        • Magnolia says:

          “He is a good guy, definitely not an AC. He’s shared with me how he felt beaten down in his marriage, that he never felt he was good enough, always a disappointment.”

          I don’t know. A lot of ACs and MMs use that kind of talk because they know women often are suckers for a guy-who-can-talk-about-his-hurt. This guy you describe doesn’t sound like much of a prize to me.

          A colleague of mine has a habit of complaining about his gf – I can see how it would work – it’s hard not to say, oh, I’m sorry to hear that, tell me about it, can I help? He says it in this sighing sort of voice as though he’s so beaten down.

          But it rings hollow with me now, after dating two ACs in a row who reeled me in with the same sob stories.

          • Mango says:

            Yes, I can understand where ‘some’ men are like this. I’ve known my guy for a long time; he most definitely is pretty sensitive, and not an AC. EU, yes.

      • Mango says:

        Ahahaha… I just read your response to Bri, Grace:

        “When a man says he’s not ready for commitment YOU might think he’s being considerate of your feelings but what he’s actually saying (though he may not be conscious of it) is “I like you. I’d like to have fun with you. But do not expect anymore than that. If you do, it’s your problem cos I’ve warned you. I’m a good guy don’t you know.” If he really cared about your feelings he would stop charming you when he’s “not ready for commitment”.”

        ….and, he DID stop ‘charming’ me when he realized I was getting sucked in, due to my loneliness and low self-esteem. It has just taken me months to finally see that. Hence, the wishing I had done things differently, so we could enjoy our friendship.

  8. blueberry girl says:

    Leigh, I relate so much to what you are saying. My exMM treated me horrendously~ disappeared for weeks at a time, didn’t answer texts, ran the relationship totally on his terms, said hurtful, mean things, then cut contact with a half-assed excuse so he could run around looking for my replacement on the internet. His PPM Whine was that his wife hated him, no sex, blah, blah, blah…duh, but of course! It hurts to be rejected but I keep going back to Natalie’s wise words that WE are rejecting THEM: their inability to love, to care, to communicate, to be needed, to do the right thing and make a decision to be with the lover or the wife, not BOTH!
    I can’t say I don’t feel anything for him, but I’m keeping it real, knocking him off his pedestal, choosing me because loving him meant I hated myself and no person on the planet (Jake Gyllenhaal, maybe jk) is worth that…

    • Leigh says:

      I was in sporadic contact with him for almost three years. Then in October last year we saw each other again after he invited me to lunch. He pressed the reset button and I refused his sexual advances. His ego was hurt and he manipulated the situation and said “I don’t want to disrespect you.” One of the last words he said to me was “Be nice” I should have slapped his face there and then.

      One week after our meeting I cut him off, totally. I’ve been NC since October last year and the perspective I’ve gained is tremendous.

      It wasn’t love. Love isn’t cruel, manipulating, hurtful or deceitful. I don’t expect him to be in touch because he is so far up his own arse he honestly believes his own self centered publicity.

      The exMM also complained about the lack of sex his wife gave to him but that he also slept with her when she offered it to him. It is a classic poor me approach.

      I went through many emotions: Anger, Hatred, disgust, sorrow, heartache, sadness, numbness and nothingness. When I got through that I was able to talk to myself with a clear head.

      “Loving him meant I hated myself” Exactly! Why hate yourself? But I totally relate, I was disgusted with my own behaviour.

      Hang in there with NC :)

    • EmLAW says:

      Right there with you too! Keeping a journal is key….I looked back at mine and noticed that at this same time last year I was unhappy with the same things….so I asked myself why should I devote any more time to waiting around? Although his words always say otherwise…. apparently they are empty words!!

  9. Jo says:

    This is so apt for me right now!

    Mine’s more situationally unavailable than emotionally (although emotionally too, because of the situation) but I still feel like I’m waiting for something that was hypothetically going to happen, but realistically never will.

    I was clearing out my old emails the other day, and found some from other men who I was crazy about but either weren’t interested or were emotionally unavailable.

    3 different men, all of whom I didn’t think I’d get over, and now none of whom I’d be remotely interested in if they came knocking on my door. Their emails were filled with things that irritated me (and I’m sure they must have irritated me then) and I can only assume that the only reason I was interested in them is because there wasn’t a relationship on the cards.

    The logic part of my brain says that it’s the same with this guy, that I KNOW I’m overlooking the things that I don’t like about him, but that somehow thinking about him is safer than taking a risk on a real relationship.

    I was with the same man from when I was 19 until I was 30, and 2 and a half years out of that relationship, I still haven’t been properly in a relationship with anyone.

    Part of me is scared of losing my identity the way I did in my marriage, part of me is addicted to being rejected and confirming that there’s something wrong with me.

    I don’t sit around doing nothing and waiting for someone, I’m starting my own business, I do stand up comedy, I write, I have an active social life, but I’m almost always doing it with ‘what would he think?’ in the back of my mind, like I’m trying to seek approval from someone who’s opinion shouldn’t really matter.

    Knowing all of that is great, and Baggage Reclaim has really helped me realise things I hadn’t been aware of before, but I can’t actually change the way I’m thinking and feeling.

    I guess all I need to do, is make myself feel what I logically know, develop self esteem, deal with the fall out from my marriage, and find a way to move forward with my life.

    Sounds simple enough, I think when I’m done with that, I’ll discover a cure for cancer, and then become an astronaut.

  10. Ria says:

    Some say: if a man (esp. MM) tells you *if onlies*…and describes how bad is his homelife (with his wife who he barely has sex with, or lost attraction, or is ill), and making you WAIT, then in fact, deep down he likes BEING in this situation, against all logics. Wether his homelife really is as bad, as he describes, does not even matter, it is his choice not to change it, because he is too comfortable with it already, also he hates (or scares the responsibility)to face all the drama it creates, when he can have all the buzz and jazz for free outside.
    It reminds me someting funny: its like him being a little kid who wants to play a little, but never leaves the mummy at home, who does all the work and who he depends on. And see – life is comfortable that way for him, and when boy grows up a bit and develops some *hunting skills into practice, that works* – why change it?

    • Minky says:

      Indeed! Men who are that unhappy always have the option to leave and start again. I was in a healthy relationship for six years, which eventually fizzled out and ended amicably (we didn’t have children, so it was less complex than some breakups). I could have stayed there – it was comfortable, i was living with a man who was more like my best friend, there was very little physical stuff going on, but i was treated very well, had a nice house, plenty of emotional and financial security etc. There was nothing stopping me staying there in my comfy little nook and playing the field, getting my needs met elsewhere, moaning about ‘woe is me in a loveless relationship’. But i’m not an assclown and i chose to make the scariest decision of my life and walk away, into the unknown and start again. Best decision i ever made, by far, in retrospect, but i was absolutely terrified at the time. Having people around me asking ‘what the hell are you doing?!’ didn’t help either!

      People with integrity take responsibility for their actions. They do the right thing. Even if they have children, when the relationship ends, it is done with decency and minimal upheaval. These MMs and cheaters have absolutely no spine.

    • JennyLately says:

      Nat, do you have a post or forum from older women who have actually gotten old waiting on their assclown? Voices of actual experience from women over age 50? Might shake some of the younger girls up – to not give their youth, time, or life to these using self-centered men.

  11. Moving on! says:

    Another great post at a perfect time! I was the same.. Waiting around for the MM to leave his wife but it never happened.. After months of telling me he was going to do it once Xmas was over, he starting blowing cold asking me to give him time to clear his head.. This went on for weeks and all I got was ” I just need more time” he then ended it by text saying he didn’t have the balls to to leave which us why he kept me waiting so long.. So I started no contact only for him to come back.. I suppose I was hoping he had changed his mind but then he started his whole hot and cold thing again.. After a weekend of ignoring my calls I decided to leave him to it.. 5 weeks later he cut my phone off that he had bought me on contract.. So I called him to check if this is what had happened and his response was ” well I was waiting to see if I heard u from u” was he wanting me to chase him after ignoring me?! He said that’s just the way he goes.. So when I told him I wasn’t going to run after him as he was obviously just not that interested in me, he started the whole ” I just need time to clear my head again” He said he’d let me know after the weekend and I never heard a thing… I didn’t expect to but yes I was waiting around hoping he would suddenly decide he couldn’t live without me! I didn’t try looking for an answer… I’ve realised through this website that I should not wait around for a bus that has already went on without me! “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”

  12. Bri says:

    There’s a guy I’ve been on a couple of dates with that I’ve had crush on for literally seven years. Now, that’s not to say I’ve been waiting around for him for that long…not at all. He was a grad student professor when I was in college and I was totally smitten, and it just so happens that a couple of months ago we started talking on Facebook and have since seen each other.

    This guy is awesome: he’s crazy handsome, funny, charming, brilliant, shares my interests, and we have chemistry; but here’s the thing – he got out of an engagement less than six months ago and while he’s been up front with me that he’s not ready for commitment yet but does like me, I want to avoid being the rebound. I honestly don’t think this is doomed to fail just because of his recent breakup, but how do I know if it has the potential to be something real eventually? And more importantly, what can I do to make that more of a possibility?

    I don’t want to wait around forever on him to be ready, but I’m willing to see where it goes. I recently ended a relationship with a MM for the same reason – I was tired of waiting and accepting the “bread crumbs” when I wanted the whole loaf. I really believe in what you’re saying when you write that it devalues you as a woman when you wait for someone to maybe want you, to maybe give you more than just a piece of them, but what if they’re worth the wait?

    I write about all this stuff on my blog, http://skinnyjeansandall.wordpress.com/, and would love some advice from women out there in similar situations. This blog has been such a crutch for me and really validates that often deserve more than we give ourselves credit for.

    • Ms A says:

      I think he’s told you what you need to know…that he’s not ready. If you want to just have a fling, you are all set. If you want more
      you’ll have to wait but don’t stop living your life or seeing other people because it may not happen. Unfortunately sometimes the timing is off. Other times when they say they don’t want a committed relationship right now they mean they don’t want one with you. Be careful…

    • Fearless says:

      if it’s any help you should re-read what you hav described with a EU spotter’s hat on!

      Here’s the red flags
      1) he *got out of* an engagement less than six months ago
      2) he’s been up front with me that he’s not ready for commitment yet

      “Got out” means ran away.
      “Yet” means never (if I had a pound for every time my EU said “yet” I’d be living in a mansion on Millionare’s Row eating strawberries in my champagne jacuzzi)

      3) “I honestly don’t think this is doomed to fail just because of his recent breakup”. No, because of him.

      Been there. Don’t go there. Good luck,

      • Natasha says:

        “Yet” means never (if I had a pound for every time my EU said “yet” I’d be living in a mansion on Millionare’s Row eating strawberries in my champagne jacuzzi)
        Fearless, that was hysterical! I always say that if I had a dime for every guy who did the “poor ME!”, I’d have a fleet of jets to rival Richard Branson’s by now.

    • grace says:

      I’m very dubious about charming. In fact, for me it’s almost a red flag! I’m quite happy to have a conversation with someone but I don’t need to be “charmed” thanks very much.
      But that may just be me. When a man says he’s not ready for commitment YOU might think he’s being considerate of your feelings but what he’s actually saying (though he may not be conscious of it) is “I like you. I’d like to have fun with you. But do not expect anymore than that. If you do, it’s your problem cos I’ve warned you. I’m a good guy don’t you know.” If he really cared about your feelings he would stop charming you when he’s “not ready for commitment”.
      If you want to make the most of the very small chance that this will work, step right back. It’s a bit manipulative and I wouldn’t put bets on its success, but you have to send the message that you’re not a woman who takes second place. But even better than sending that message is actually BEING the woman who doesn’t take second place.

    • TeaTime says:

      “…while he’s been up front with me that he’s not ready for commitment yet but does like me…”

      That, right there, is what the xAC told me the last time I saw him in person. He also told me he was still recovering from his previous relationship. I thought he was being considerate, and that all I needed to do was be the good girl by his side so that when he was ‘ready’ I’d be there. Uh…NO. What actually happened was that the more I tried to meet his casual needs the further he pushed me away with excuse after excuse until I was left with nothing. My self esteem was shattered and I was nothing but a hollow figure. Looking back on pictures at the time, I look like a zombie!

      Don’t wait around for this guy. Tell him it’s all or nothing. If he’s not ready for a committed relationship, let him toy around with someone else who wants something like that.

    • Magnolia says:

      As a grad student prof myself, I have to say I have never seen an instance where a TA went for an undergrad, or prof for a grad student, where it wasn’t a case of dude being too big a sucky baby for women his own age, who didn’t see him as someone to look up to but rather as a peer.

      As a student myself, I understand the hotness of a brilliant man (have you read all the posts about being blinded by intelligence? now THOSE are brilliant), but when a prof wants to wrap my admiration around his little finger and keep me wide-eyed, I step back.

      And finally, as an older TA prof myself who a couple of years ago had the hottest young guy asking me the most brilliant questions – I really stepped back and asked myself if I wanted to get into something based on his starry-eyed-ness … and my inability to get with someone my own age … I’m glad I didn’t.

  13. Kate says:

    I needed this thump on the head today! I have been in a 9 mo long relationship with a man who treats me like royalty when we’re together and includes me with friends/family so that I feel we have something “real.” However, he disappears for days, and recently went MIA for 3 wks without calling. I WAIT and WAIT.

    I have suspected he is sleeping with others, so I finally asked if we could talk about it. I am on day 3 WAITING for a response- hanging on every text or call hoping it’s him. What AM I doing!? I feel exactly as you described- that fear that I won’t find anyone better. He is SOOO attractive, intelligent, wealthy, and incredibly fun to be with… tough act to leave. But- thanks to you I realize I am worth too much to be treated like this. THANK YOU!

    • Flower White says:

      @Kate: NC asap-you can do it, you MUST.

      • Athenis says:

        Kate, I hope you can stop waiting and move on. Just as I am trying now. Painfully and slowly but I am determined to leave it all before.

        I was also dating this great guy – treated me with respect, funny, successful, understanding… I thought that man I probably nailed the one with him. All was great, the relationship was budding (5 months) but healthy and growing stronger.

        that is until he fell ill and got busy and things will get better in the next month. I let him do his things and dropped him a text to check how he is doing. being busy doesn’t mean that you left earth. no reply from him.

        fine. I waited. and waited for when he said he would be freer. still no news from him but he still updates his facebook. so he is not dead that’s for sure.

        It was a painful period of waiting and damn right about what it will do to your self-esteem. till I decided that I am not going to wait anymore. I needed a closure. I just needed him to say something to say it is over instead of just disappearing like that. like I never ever existed in his life, his life goes on fine and well.

        I asked for an answer. I didn’t get it from him. But I found my answer. A man who couldn’t have the decency to end a relationship proper is not one worth waiting for. And this article is a great reminder for me.

    • PJM says:

      Married? Or gay? Or both?

      You could ask for an explanation and then check up on him. But that would be a waste of your valuable time.

      RUN RUN RUN!

  14. Mango says:

    Oh dear, most important of all, thank you thank you thank you. I need to read this, and other posts, until it is etched into the cerebral cortex of my wonky-ill-functioning-at-the-moment brain.

  15. 19 Years Wiser says:

    I’m waiting now. Waiting, I think, for my ex to change so that we can have that “happily ever after” relationship that I’ve been daydreaming about for forever. But I’ve been waiting for almost 5 years, and things have only gotten worse. We’re only 19 but you would not believe the mess that has come out of this…sometimes people tell me that I’m too young to be going through it, but I didn’t know that dysfunctional relationships had an age limit. I am scared that if I leave now, not only will he suddenly change and start treating the other women or what ever new woman he meets better, but that I’ll lose my true love, my soulmate, “The One.” I’m afraid that he’s the only chance I’ve got at love. With all of the damage that’s been done, I feel as though no man in his right mind will want me–I’m damaged goods.

    I really enjoyed this article and it speaks nothing but the truth. I just wish I had the strength to do what should be done.

    • brokenheartedbabble says:

      Oh no, my dear, he’s not your only chance. YOU are your only chance! You have a lifetime to find “happily ever after” – don’t let your misery now contaminate your future. The “damage” you’ve sustained can be temporary – recreate yourself ! Try to believe that you can be whole and yourself. It can be very difficult to break off with “the one”, but if you’re miserable, maybe he’s not the one you need. Be strong! We’ll help!

    • grace says:

      He’s 19. What are the chances that he will one day meet another woman and marry her? Extremely high. What are your chances that you’ll meet another man and marry him? Just as high. I’m not sure I believe in soulmates but even if there is such a thing, I’m quite sure they don’t mess you around for five years!
      First love is powerful but it’s not your only chance. Otherwise, most of us wouldn’t even have been born.

  16. Kay says:

    @Flower White: “Ladies need to know: IF he wants you YOU will feel LOVED. Anything else is nonsense.”

    Yes, that sums up the essence of another great blog post, all of which have helped me see clearly through the murky situation I’ve been in – where an EUM checks in and “loves me” periodically and then seems to forget about me while he gets engrossed in his various projects – this has been going on and on and on, actually for a couple of years. LOL – who has been the dummy here? (When together we’re so compatible that I truly hoped….) I’m going to keep this quote as a reminder going forward. I have waited and waited and waited for (this love which wasn’t love) to blossom.

    This whole thing gave me an unexpected blow to my self esteem – like internalizing it to be “I’m not good enough or he would love me consistently,” even though I’m normally a person of good self esteem. I am done with BS ‘relationships’, and no longer wish to put myself in this position. You are right, we must value ourselves more than that. Too many men are opportunists and will skillfully play our emotions. An African friend told me that a relationship should be like a “soft pillow”, something comforting, something you can look forward to consistently. I like it.

    • Fearless says:

      “An African friend told me that a relationship should be like a “soft pillow”, something comforting, something you can look forward to consistently. I like it.”

      Love that!!

    • jasmyn says:

      Your situation sounds very much like the one I’ve been in for several years now. We get along famously when we’re together and he always tells me how special I am in his eyes and professes his love for me; yet, when we’re not in one another’s presence he seeme to completely forget about me and has no need for me. Luckily we have not been in a “relationship” for all of these years, and I have been with other men. But I am starting to believe that his presence in my life has definitely held me back from having a ‘real’ and permanent relationship with someone who is truly available. I am feeling the itch to finally move on and finally sever ties with him, but struggling with mixed emotions and not knowing how to actually go through with this . Do i need to have another “talk” or should I just slowly diminsh contact and walk away??

      • grace says:

        Please, no more talk. For several years you’ve had your life on hold for this man, making what looks (to me) like only token gestures to move on. Such gestures involving other men, which can only add to the mess. What’s there to talk about? There’s been ample time to make it work if it was ever going to. The several years of waiting have, only made the relationship even less likely. It’s just a wrecked old thing now that needs to be put out of its misery.
        If you feel the need to be polite, tell him you’ll no longer be having any more contact with him because you’re too busy.

  17. MaryC says:

    After he cheated and left me for her I was stupid enough to hang around for 18months to see if he’d changed his mind. I also had sex with him during that time thinking it would help….WRONG.

    I finally realized thanks to NML that I had no self-esteem, I was in complete denial and in desparate need of a big dose of self-love. I also realized that he was cheating on the woman he cheat on me with with me. How sick was that. I felt bad for her because she never knew about me when they met, he had lied and said he was single and here he was from day one of their relationship cheating on her.

    The one thing Nat has said in alot of posts is “He’s her problem now”. Whenever I’ve felt like contacting him I repeat repeat repeat till the urge goes away.

  18. colororange says:

    Oh the hours and hours I’ve spent waiting on someone. Too many I care to admit to. Which takes me to a topic you’ve touched on some. Since I (and most of us here) seem to “attract” this type of behavior from partners then it says we’re unavailable in some way too, right? At least that is what the Law of Attraction seems to point to. That if I keep being involved with unavailable men or reliving the same old relationship pattern then there is something Iam exuding to attract this. Which worries me since I don’t see me outside of me. I have waited on several men through the years in one way or another. Knowing other women have done it too is a bit comforting but still leaves me with a question mark over my head. What am I doing to bring this to me? And how do I frickin change it?It is agonizing to wait on someone or hope that at some crumb they throw my way that this time it’ll be different. It. Never. Is.

    • leisha says:

      colororange: very simple; you are not “flushing” soon enough. You have the tools now to recognise bad behavior.

    • meagen19 says:

      “Exude”…that’s exactly the term I use when puzzled over what I’m doing wrong. Do/did I “exude” desperation from my pores? Do I smell like it, or does it surround me: a halo -like aura that only men can see (kind of like only dogs can hear high pitched whistles)? I think I’m doing ok, living my boundaries, confident…and then comes Mr. EU. What? How did he find me?! Although, interestingly, I’m attracting fewer than I used to, and the most recent actually faded away. So maybe the halo light is dying.

      • EllyB says:

        I guess the truth is that the world is full of EUM/AC. We can’t avoid running into them, because they are virtually everywhere. After all, most of the commenters here have been somewhat EUW/EUM in the past too.

        The only thing we can do to proctect ourselves is to spot those people and to refuse to interact with them (unless we need something from them other than romance, such as business or a haircut) – or as leisha says, to “flush” as soon as possible.

        I don’t believe in the “EUM magnet” theory anymore. I guess it’s just another way to not acknowledge that we are completely in control of our lives.

      • grace says:

        i think most EUMS (more so than EU women) will give fair warning of who they are. quite often the words “i don’t want a relationship/not looking to commit” etc will actually come out of their mouths even before they’ve had sex with you. if you fail to heed it, you’ve given them permission to muck you about. even if it’s not as obvious as that, there will be red flags quite early on – not calling when they said they will, cancelling plans at last minute, sudden disappearances. if you duck out at that stage, there’s very little harm done, if any.
        the “magnet” is sticking around long after other women would have flushed him.
        also, fallback girls are EXTREMELY addicted to the ZZZ. the number of times i see these men described as “charming” has been an epiphany to me. when i saw an acquaintance give my ex a very cynical look as he tried to flirt with her, i realised that a lot of women DON’T fall for it. wit, charm, flirting, flattery – these are often ways to dress up a lack of substance. even if it it’s harmless these “qualities” are ZERO indication that you’re dealing with someone with serious intentions. i’m sure casanova was very charming!
        you’re already attracting fewer EUMs. i’ve had a couple cross my paths (friends of friends) and while i’ve been sociable , in no way have i encouraged them like i used to. i see the writing on the wall and step away.

        • CC says:

          I just have to chime in in total agreement here. One EUM was amazing on the phone and with his friends. His “charm” so to speak was asking a million questions, in fact I used to joke that he was an interrogator. He would do anything not to have one on one face time and I came to figure out it was because he knew he didn’t really have any substance! Took me a while to get that one but shortly after I actually started asking him… what do you actually do with your free time? No hobbies, no real interests… it was only hanging out with buddies and women I think, and traveling for work. Another red flag. I’m pretty sure he interrogated his way into many a women’s hearts in other states.. but that charm adds up to a whole lot of nothing when you take the covers off. And he knew it.

        • colororange says:

          “the “magnet” is sticking around long after other women would have flushed him.”

          Well put, Grace.

        • meagen19 says:

          “wit, charm, flirting, flattery – these are often ways to dress up a lack of substance.” I finally figured that one out. The latest near-miss EUM, the one I’m NCing at work, is all about the charm flirt and wit. He uses his charm as a sort of learned helplessness – looking sweetly puppy eyed and distressed/perplexed gets him sympathy and his attention fix. It worked on me for a while. But I realized his trick and now he looks distressed because I’m NOT giving him his attention fix!

  19. H says:

    wow thank you so, so much for this natasha! itsfunny how this is such good timing

    ive been hurt so much by men, im seeing this guy at the moment, but i really would love to be with him, but it isnt eally going anywhere, casual sex relationships are so bloody stressful, i feel so jealous if he goes out/gets with other girls but yet wer not together, its so hard when you have feelings for a man, im so hurt because i always want what i cant get……the amazing men i want to be with, dont want the same, they always end up letting me down, and dissapointing me,

    so when you said this “Having a line, knowing the line, accepting that they can’t give you what you want and having more faith and confidence in you rather than them and living your life”…….is like honey to my eyes!!!…….ACCEPTING THAT THEYY CANT GIVE ME WHAT I WANT AND FOCUSING ON ME AND NOT WAISTING ALL MY HOPES ON THEM”………….

  20. Brenda says:

    Right, Done did the waiting game while the guys I was only “Infatuated” with were out getting women pregnant and living with them I’d find out later, Looking back a few times was really my own fault, One felt he was too old and told me so and I was the dumb @ss that waited, He never asked me too actually, Later I found he had bigger issues and I was blessed he did not choose me.

    I need to add this part- ” It was my own expectations of getting something that had me waiting anyhow.” Take away the expectations start to live your own life and sometimes a few of these guys would make good friends without YOU wanting anything romantic at all actually, Then there IS nothing to feel resentful for.

    Most from my past guys were just loony didn’t know what they wanted as long as it was there anyhow, and we had nothing in common even.

    But a few I can say and only a few, really did not want to hurt anyone and were not looking for an ego boost at may expense, I just wasn’t the one and maybe even they knew I deserved better in the case of the older one I found later not only had a drinking problem but was using cocaine, Yeah I was blessed he did’nt choose me – Explains why he was only giving so much, “I’m sure a part of him was wishing he did’nt have those problems,
    becasue I was young, cute, and a good person.”

    I can’t really go on with the “Victim” only mentality, That may have been true when I was young subjected to an abusive step father, But in reality I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture with that narrow of a perspective.

    Don’t just wait yes, But don’t just blame either, makes it much easier to move on and see what you did or did not actually have with these guys, who are yes just *Human Beings* like me and you.

  21. izzybell says:

    I have to remind myself every time that I am tempted to “wait” for my ex, that I don’t know if either of us will still want the other once we’re both truly sorted out (assuming this happens). If we were drawn to each other in part because we’re both unavailable– what will happen if and when this is no longer the case? I wonder if we might find that we’re actually not that compatible once the cat and mouse game has come to an end. This is the place where I worry he will become emotionally healthy and find someone else- because I don’t believe I would be compelling enough to him unless he’s fu*ked up. I hate to think that what brought us together wasn’t really love, but some kind of messy need for control and not-intimacy on both of our parts.

    Part of me thinks through my distorted low self esteem lense that if he comes around in the future and things work out between us that this will prove that I am, in fact, good enough. Luckily, there’s also a competing voice saying I am good enough already, that his decisions/behavior/availability now or in the future have nothing to do with that. If I am able to get to a place where I am happier with myself and my life it won’t matter so much anyway what happens between us.

    • Magnolia says:

      izzy: word. that thought, that if they get their shit together they won’t want me, is a tough one.

      In my case that’s totally true. If my ex ever gets rid of the bad behaviour and embraces what’s good about him, he’ll want to meet someone who meets him at his level in areas important to him, rather than picking someone he can constantly teach, and whose own knowledge is about things he doesn’t care about so he never has to feel threatened.

  22. Jenny says:

    The funny thing I have noticed about the EUMs and ACs is that when they finally do come around or show some glimmer of TLC to me, I realize I am suddenly turned off and never wanted them in the first place. Beneath their smoke and mirrors, these kinds of guys are just losers and menchildren. Pretty boring and pathetic really.

    Ladies, we need to find “real” men, aka men who are available, mature, respectful, and real. No more boys!

    I hope I can stop this nonsense now that I am almost 31 and have yet to be in a healthy relationship with mutual maturity and respect.

    Great web site by the way. I just love it. Therapy for the single girl’s soul…

  23. Elle says:

    This theme of waiting is a good one. But, in my case, I am not waiting for someone, well not someone definable or knowable anyway. But I am waiting for something, like some kind of permission to be in a relationship or a sense that I can now let someone really get to know me, or maybe I am even waiting for me to be honest that my career interests are more enticing to me right now. I don’t know. I feel like I am waiting, and keeping people in a holding bay. No one in particular (though there are several men who want to date me and give me attention etc.), just a sense of ‘Can you – all of you, whoever of you – just wait til I get myself together a bit more?’ I seem to be waiting to acquire this sense of being a self-confident, self-reliant, self-funded adult BEFORE I let anyone in my life or commit to them. I wasn’t really like this before, in my late teens and twenties (when I didn’t think of love or togetherness like this). Since the AC, I have found myself in a curious state of waiting and watching. I can feel myself getting out of it, which is relieving, but it’s still there. I need some booze and hookers. (Not really, I just want to snap myself out of this feeling, so off to go for a walk by the sea! Then to meet pals.)

    • PJM says:

      Or some booze and hookers. Sounds good to me.

      Seriously, go and have some honest-to-goodness fun doing something that YOU really love – anything at all: pottery, skydiving, getting a pedicure, getting a tattoo, planting a tree, buying a dog, running in a marathon. Just as long as it’s something YOU love, and can just go and do.

      I find that this really helps to snap me out of the fidgets, irrits and melancholic purple moo-moos that tend to lurk round the corner if I start dissecting my love life.

    • Magnolia says:

      Elle – this really speaks to me. The other day I realized I was waiting for life to come along and reward me for being good. Or to reward me for growing up. Or for making choices like leaving the AC.

      Then I realized THIS life I’m living right now is my reward. This day, today, when I’m not worrying about who his “meetings” were with during the day, or why his phone is off, or what he meant by that … this worry-free day is my reward.

      This humble life. This modest income. This freedom from ACs. This moment is my reward (or outcome) for every single choice I’ve made. There’s nothing else coming besides the day after this one.

      I still find myself in daydreaming mode sometimes (ie. waiting for my prince to come?) but the more I look around at my life and think, this is it – not with a downer face, but with an awesome face – the more the moment seems like the only place to be. And there’s nothing to wait for, because it’s all ever only what you are ready for right now.

      This is weird because I’m still in recovery, and know that I can be a better person, but the idea that I can have love right now, and have self-esteem right now, while I’m still a work in progress, is mindblowing.

      • leisha says:

        Magnolia, I had chills reading that…so awesome…you are living now…continue on!

      • Minky says:

        That’s beautiful Magnolia – this life is our reward. You’ve really made me smile. :)

  24. runnergirl says:

    Based on the comments, Natalie, as usual you’ve hit a sore spot with a lot of us as usual. I don’t know how you have time for us, your bf, and two kids but it is much appreciated. Hugs to them and to you for all that you do.
    I read your post this morning and thought about it all day. I’m working through the “relationship investigation” guidelines in your book and I’m at a standstill based on this post. I totally get that I was as unavilable as the ex MM which is why I dipped my toes into such an unavailable situation. I was totally unavailable. And there is a but, how did I slip from unavailable to a lady in waiting? Did I, as the OW, become available? It was such a subtle slip. I would have never signed up to wait but in the end I was waiting. I’m trying to retrace where the slip happened so I don’t do it again. How did I end up waiting for him to get his head screwed on straight?
    I’ll never be the OW again. Maybe it is as simple as the “Hokey Pokey” or “Hokey Cokey”. Either they are in or they are out. If they are married, by definition, they are out. Is that right? If they aren’t in, they are out. And nothing I can do or no matter how long I wait, if they aren’t in, they are out? Is that right? Waiting is humilating, degrading, and sucks.

    • Sunshine says:

      runnergirl, if I’m interpreting this correctly, I’d say you’re overanalyzing. The slip happened when you decided to date a MM. you didn’t have firm boundaries in place to begin with, you didn’t have hard and fast standard by which you abided. Know your dealbreakers (No Married Men, for example), set them, and STICK to them, and it won’t happen again.

      • Tulipa says:

        Hi Runnergirl,
        I have thought about your question and I think as soon as you made the decision to go out with a married man, wouldn’t you have been waiting? Everyting would have been according to his timetable since it was him who had clear time to be away from his wife so in lots of ways you were always waiting for something from him.

    • NML says:

      Hey Runnergirl, I’ve been meaning to come back to your comment. I’ve been resting as I have laryngitis – joy!

      From the moment you gave him the time of day, that is where you made the slip. As soon as you knew he was married, it was game over, no credits, take a parachute and jump into a giant bucket of cold, icy water. I’ve been asked many times by OWs where they went wrong – getting involved.

      This isn’t about how you came to be waiting because to be honest, waiting is a byproduct of being with an attached man. You’re waiting even when you don’t know that you are.

      This is about the fact that you got involved even though he *was* married – that’s the slip down a very slippery slope.

      When you don’t back away from a Cheater and engage, even before anything happens, they know there is a strong chance that you are receptive to being involved, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. Some women would think “Married – see ya!” Other women think “Married – well he’s obviously not that happy/wouldn’t be talking to me/finds me irresistible etc and the chemistry is so great that I can’t walk away. I can handle this”.

      Attached is attached is attached.

      • grace says:

        NML, Runner
        And even if he leaves her, it’s not a dream come true . Unless he has a heart of cold stone, he’s going to be feeling guilty and sorry for himself. So you have a whiny man-baby on your hands. If she kicks him out, double whiny baby. If there’s children – agh! Unless SHE has a heart of stone, she’s going to be crying, getting in touch, even manipulating him, yes just like you’ve been. And you’ve no status cos until those divorce papers are signed SHE’S HIS WIFE. You’re nobody in law. My jaw hits the ground shen I hear OW complain that their MM is having sex with his wife. Erm ….
        And, get this, the hypocrite actually disrespects you because you got involved with a MM. So even if he does cut the ties he’ll quite likely bounce about with you, licking his wounds and then … meet another woman! Or, even if does genuinely like you, now he’s got a divorce does he REALLY want to commit to another woman or should he explore his options?
        Yes there are exceptions but should you be the exception I hope a) you can live with your conscience and b) you’re probably not stressing about it, just enjoying the relationship.
        I narrowly escaped an affair with a MM and one of the things that stopped me was knowing it was Her or Me. One of us was going to lose. I couldn’t do it to Her and I sure as Hell couldn’t do it to Me. He’s got a wife – even if she’s a hormonal, menopausal, antisexual bitch on wheels she’s a human being with feelings every bit as valid as yours. He’s gonna have to throw one of you under the bus! It’s no win.

        • PJ says:

          I fully agree with all of the responses, and also wanted to add: Lady in waiting = unavailable. You didn’t go from unavailable to available/waiting for a relationship with someone unavailable. The reason you are willing to engage with a MM/EUM is because it is more appealling and comfortable to you to wait, pine and suffer for a love out of reach than it is to engage with someone you know will be there for/with you. This is the other side of the coin for ‘commitment phobes’, ‘unavailables’ – and a side our eums often flip to when they chase the next woman – even when they chase us, as MIMSS. If we’re not keeping someone who wants us at arm’s length, we’re chasing someone who is keeping us at arm’s length – all a safety buffer from true intimacy and the possibility of true loss.

          • dawn says:

            Any married person or otherwise “attached” person that gets involved in a relationship with another person while still being with the first person is NOT a healthy person to be in a relationship with. You being involved with a “attached” person shows that you have some work to do on yourself, stop avoiding it and stop going back to these types of relationships. Why? because anyone that would treat the person they married with so much disrespect has their own issues they need to deal with before they could ever be in a mind frame wherein they are even able to be in a relationship. And you need to figure out why you have the attitude that cheating is ok. Whether you are the other woman or the wife you have to ask yourself why are you tolerating this kind of nonsense in the first place? Take a long hard look at what “hooks” you into a relationship with someone who cheats and start working on removing them. If you are the wife ask yourself why your willing to go against yourself and your values to keep someone around that has shown you that he doesn’t respect you. Don’t make excuses, rationalize or minimize their before and don’t ever think it’s your fault, or that you can “fix” the relationship or him. Once you know about the cheating don’t keep yourself in denial and stop hoping that this guy is going to go back to who he was before he cheated on you. Stop wondering how did we get to this point now where he’s decided to cheat. Thing is he was always the type of person that would cheat. He cheated because he is the kind of person that would cheat on you I don’t care what “reasons” he gives you for doing what he did, bottom line is he has no morals in this regard and doesn’t value the relationship or you. Yes, the cheater values the financial security and stability that it provides, but they don’t value it on any deeper level. They are treating it and you like a business deal, wherein if they play the role they will get what they want from you. There attitude being that they will do what they want behind your back and “what she don’t know won’t hurt her”. They are using your feelings for them to get what they want. You didn’t think he was a cheater or what I call a “false partner” because you missed the signs or didn’t pay attention to the “red flags” or you did suspect and ignored it and married him anyway, if so…

      • runnergirl says:

        Well isn’t that simple! Thank you all. Face plant on my computer as Grace once said. Dear lord, I feel like such a knucklehead. You are so right Natalie about him knowing I’d be receptive because I engaged as opposed to running. He spent a lot of time fishing and I took the bait everytime, ignoring the advice of my friends, because I could handle it. Minky and Tulipa, I spent some time writing my boundaries and NO MARRIED/ATTACHED MEN is number 1 on my list. I’ve already had to enforce it with a cyberspace returning childhood sweetheart who was “happily married with three children and was not a stalker”. You are so right. I was always waiting but didn’t realize it.

        Grace, the senario of him leaving his wife doesn’t sound pretty. He was supposedly “waiting” until the last kid left for college this summer and he suspected that she was “waiting” to leave as well, if you can believe anything that comes out of a Cheater’s mouth. We haven’t been involved since before xmas so I don’t know what is going on and, of course, its none of my business. After almost 6 months of not waiting around for him, I don’t want to be the exception anymore. Good for you avoiding the affair and choosing you. It sure is a ton easier to take the parachute and jump than it is to slip down the slippery slope. Hind sight, indeed.

        Natalie, I hope you feel better soon.

        • Magnolia says:

          Did you always know he was married? Because watching this dude here operate, who knows how long he would have “waited” to tell me he was living with someone. In the meantime, he tried many times to take our post-meeting conversation down a shared woe-is-me path … maybe so once I bit, and he busted out the “I’m married, but woe is me” … I would already feel as though he knew my hurts, and has shown care about them, etc. So now my turn to be sympathetic.

          Now that I have met this dude’s partner, he has instantly switched to including (when she is not there, of course) little comments that oh-so-subtly indicate that she is a controlling bitch. Oh, and, after hearing that I got invited to write for an American mag, making little digs at me!

          The point I’m trying to make is that they seem to play a little waiting game, too – waiting to make sure you’re hooked before busting out the behaviour that they want you to put up with, and the demands that you now wait for (on) them.

          And that their early sympathizing with us is only a ploy to try to ensure that you won’t call them on their behaviour: they sympathized with everything that YOU can’t seem to get a handle on, so now you can sympathize with their inability to get their attached asses out of their woeful relationships.

          • runnergirl says:

            Hi Magnolia,

            Yes, I always knew he was married. The affair started long before I realized it with the one on one post-meeting meetings. He waited to be sure I was hooked and I was. He admitted he pursued me but I took the bait instead of running. Truth be told, I was flattered, enjoyed the attention, and ego stroking. And a long the way, there were subtle and no so sublte hints that he was bored at home. Your initial description of the interaction with Poethost sounded very familar. I think you are right about your dude waiting until just the right moment to bust out the GF. Remember what Natalie said: “Now, while it’s not the popular thing to say, most guys don’t want to chit chat with you and talk about all manner of things without having some designs on getting into your knickers, even if you deny it or they deny it. If you felt zsa zsa zu, that in itself tells you that this wasn’t a strictly friendly situation”. That precisely described my situation. It would have been different if it wasn’t for the pesky little detail…a WIFE. It may have been different for you too, except for the pesky little detail…a GF. Your dude decieved you by not revealing the GF. Please take care. It sounds on the outside like you could be in code red territory. Remember, you’ve already mentioned a few red flags besides the GF. Attached is Attached!

          • runnergirl says:

            Oh sorry, I forgot to mention that you are right about sympathizing with their inability to get their attached arses out of their woeful relationships/marriages. That’s how I became a Lady in Waiting and it seems to be a common characteristic of an OW.

  25. AUADDED says:

    Great post. I have just come out of the weirdest relationship. Man pursues relentlessly – followed by I can’t do this ( EUM) – the proceeds to seek me out for 5 weeks after he rejects me. We have been NC for 1 week and as an intelligent, not bad looking, fit, healthy young woman I have to keep talking myself out of “Waiting for him” …. its my age ( soon to be 46) and I waited a long time to meet this one only to find he’s not available. Now he ticked 31 of my 32 requirements. I need to believe there is someone out there who will tick all of them. In my opinion if they dont meet your expectations they simply dont meet your expectations. Week 1 but I suspect by week 4 with NC it will become easier. It does erode your self worth and I am using everything in my power to pull back from the brink. Hang in there girlfriends.

    • j d says:

      I am willing to ‘settle’ at this point of my life, also. I don’t have 32 requirements (fortunately) but I used to hope to get 90% of what I wanted in a person. Now I would settle for 70%, and dropping. If I get to 50% I will give up and stay single. Is that sad, or smart?

      P.S. I am male.

      • Minky says:

        Not sure i totally get the whole ‘requirements’ thing. The one ‘requirement’ i have (aside from being attracted the the guy, which i think goes without saying) is that the person be a genuinely decent human being with a similar outlook on life to mine. The rest, to me, is entirely negotiable.

        • j d says:

          That was three requirements, by my count. I bet if you stopped and thought you would find more.

          • grace says:

            jd, AU
            i think it’s important to judge a person on their merits, rather than tick them off against a checklist. even if they get 96% (like AU’s case) they could still be a waste of time. or the person could score only 10% and still be the one. there’s a danger of the checklist blinding you to the person. it’s like the argument against testing very young children academically – they can jump through the hoops, or fail to, but it’s missing the point of who they are and what they can actually achieve. or it’s like saying “i’m not going to see that film, i hate thrillers/rom coms/ kevin bacon” but it could be something you’d really like.
            mind you, there’s one point i’ll never budge on. he must be single!

  26. Tulipa says:

    I’m good at the waiting game, played most my life waiting for my dad to get in touch (the original eum in my life) not that he ever did and when we did finally have contact it was because I reached out first. It hurt so much to know that he went on with his life was happy and admitted to never seeking me out.
    It is the same in past relationships I have wasted valuable time not working on me and just waiting around for my turn at the table again all the while they have been going on with their lives not thinking of me till their options run out.

    This article says so much to me I don’t know how to express it all. It shows I have a lot of work to do on myself.
    Let me assure you that waiting around isn’t a sign of loyalty and love – it’s a sign of denial, avoidance, and low self-esteem.

    How very true and if you are waiting around like I did for exeum for six months knowing I was an option I spent all that time we weren’t speaking literally just biding my time. This time I am working on me though progress is slow I want to be more than someone’s option and live my life.

    It was also very telling in the relationship that I was always prepared to wait around always available ready to spring into action according to his tiimetable very unhealthy too.

  27. Rainbow Brite says:

    Such great timing, Nat. I was talking to a guy about a month ago then *poof* he vanished. And resurfaced a couple of days ago via a voicemail left on my phone, he acknowledged the fact that we haven’t talked in a while, that he has been busy, that if I have the chance tocall him back.

    Umm, no.

    I’ve deleted his number from my phone a couple of weeks after not hearing from him. See, I recognized that he was just not interested and was so ok with it and was actually surprised to hear from him again. Pre-BR, I would’ve called him back right away, thinking it’s not nice to not return phonecalls. No exceptions. I would’ve overanalyzed everything, wasting my days away thinking of what I should do/say to win him over. That Rainbow Brite is slowly fading away. Thanks to you!

    • Used says:

      Very likely he has many many women he is juggling. Like pizzas!

      Based on how he thought that it was O.K. for him to leave you a message, and that you would call him, he obviously thinks that you will feel lucky that he called. What he did is unbelievable, period, but ESPECIALLY outrageous if you guys were in regular contact before he disappeared. It is one thing to do a disapearing act, but such acts are usually done after dates and the phone calls that were answered live that preceded the dates. For him to leave a message after a disappearing act is really bad. And especially bad if this is the first such act.

      This world is a crazy place.

  28. simone71 says:

    Isnt if funny. While we are writing about our reflections and wonder why they behave like that.
    We try to explain. We try to understand.All we want is to understand so our brains can tell our hearts that we have to move on.
    In all this growing i wonder what these exMMs
    or UEMs or however you want to call them……i wonder what they do?
    I think LOL mine plays victim and sacrafices our love…….lol……well they dont realize what their real reasons were that they let us down in such cruel and painfull ways.Some are behaving like narcissts.Selfish without empathy for us that suffer.
    Its on us to change and to realize and its on us to live that reality.
    Hm……gotta turnn off the radio lol…..Richard Marx is singing Waiting For You…….No i wont wait anymore…..surely not. I am worth true feelings and true commitment.
    We all are worth persons and friendships of persons that respect our souls.
    Be patient with your grieve ladies.

  29. tpl says:

    its helpful to read all these posts, thank you. I see myself is so many, and am currently trying to ‘do’ NC. Please, does anyone have any advice about how to do this when you work with someone and see them most days in quite a social work situation? i can’t afford the ebook at the moment. although i think i’m still doing the NC with the hope that he’ll come back (eye roll). Thank you.

    • meagen19 says:

      it’s tough in a workplace, I won’t lie. I’ve developed a very formal- bordering -on -icy demeanor with a colleague. But it’s walking a line when I’m in a meeting with others and him – if I treat him formally (when previously he and I had a -professionally- warm and friendly relationship) I feel a need to be cool toward everyone else because I don’t want my bias to be so blatently observable. But then I wonder if my other colleagues think I’ve become a total bitch. I don’t think there as an instant, one fits all answer to workplace NC. In my case I guess I’ll have to, for a while, live with looking like a bitch.

      • grace says:

        I don’t think colleagues will care. In the real world not everyone is going to like everyone else equally. I doubt they will notice, and if they do, they’ll be thinking about something else in five minutes time. If they’re STILL interested, it’s kinda pathetic!

        • meagen19 says:

          funny you should say that- just yesterday one of those colleagues said “you don’t seem yoursef lately”. (Here) they do notice. Maybe it depends on the relalationship you already have with them. Which can make workplace NC a bit delicate. But I’m straying off topic…

  30. Alison says:

    Your posts are so true and make complete sense. I just wish it was as easy as it sounds!

  31. cass says:

    Oh wow! I can’t believe the topic of this post, i was thinking of emailing you when i got home tonight. I am not ‘Waiting’ my ex (about 14 years ago) messaged me on facebook on Friday night, he wanted to meet up for a drink this week. I haven’t heard from this guy, in about 14 years he stole from me and walked out on my son and i, clearing out the house. Now i thought that this guy was the love of my life, my soul mate and that i would never find anyone as wonderful as him (yeah cos someone who steals from you is the perfect man) so I said no thank you, i am not interested, i didn’t need to be mean, i was politehand just said no. Because i know i am worth so much more.
    Thank you for helping me to see that i am a beautiful person and deserve to be treated as such

    • PJM says:

      Oh Facebook, how MUCH you have to answer for!

      I got rid of my Facebook account because I found that ex’s and former school classmates seemed to think it gave them a licence to contact me. I couldn’t stand most of the classmates even when I knew them, and I certainly don’t know them any more. And as for the ex’s … they just seemed to want to brag about how great their lives were now. I let one through the net, but that was a good lesson – never again.

      There’s a lot to be said for just hitting the delete button, both mentally and physically. (OR, for having a Facebook page with a really colourful false identity known only to your besties)

      • Natasha says:

        PJM, I too have found that there is nothing an assclown loves more than Facebook. In fact, the only person I’ve ever blocked on there is a former assclown! That block button is a Godsend – it’s like Witness Protection.

        • EllyB says:

          Oh yeah, Facebook and the like… Those comments in here recently made me “purge” my list of contacts and bookmarked people in social networks. I was particularly shocked about how many people among my “bookmarks” had treated me badly. There were former school bullies (!), EUM/AC/MM with whom I had brief affairs or just a flirt as well as former coworkers who had repeatedly tried to discourage me.

          Apparently, the only reason why I kept an eye on them online was to figure out how they were doing in life, hoping I would do better than them and hoping THEY might see how well I did. Oh my, what a waste of time!

  32. SoulUnderConstruction says:

    My pathetic story was “presented” in the comments from a previous post.
    After debating and thinking,etc I finally told him that I can not tolerate the virtual situation where we speak at his time, following his rules, that continuing would be a lack of respect toward myself so I choose and I believe that it’s best not to communicate. (this time I chose for myself instead of letting him choose as I did for the last months)
    2 weeks ago he was making plans about a weekend with me, last week he was talking about meeting and having drinks…and after I told him my ending line…his was ” I very well understand, I am really sorry for this,etc” The guy told me the same lines I used to write when I was 100% EU….what hurts is how stupid/blind/naive I could have been for the last months..being aware and recognizing all the red flags and keep coping, hoping and dreaming about and yes, it hurts like hell the part with WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN…IF ONLY.
    Thank you very much for all your previous comments!

    • grace says:

      Hurrah, no more waiting! Doesn’t that feel better? Waiting not only makes us unavailable for another relationship, it’s makes us unavailable for ourselves. You can’t live your life fully with commitment to your friends, job, home, family etc when you’re waiting for some mythical beast to turn up (who won’t).

      • SoulUnderConstruction says:

        Grace, thank you for your words!
        I feel calm and peaceful…but it hurts so much…I cry for what could have been IF he was available, for being naive and trusting him.
        For the last weeks he mentioned that we should meet,he was making plans (after few months when there weren’t any mental plans)…but I took his reaction this morning as….”I will never ever meet you in person”. He said ” I am sorry. I understand more than you can believe and I don’t want to make you sad. It would be a pitty.Despite you saying this, I still care”.
        My translation: I am sorry that I am not able to make you (pathetically) happy, I understant that it’s frustrating but I don”t plan to change it.No worries, I have no bad feelings for you (why should I bother, I have a full list of naive and doormat fans who chase me and crave my attention)
        I do feel good because at least I step out with decency and some dignity.
        And I appreciate that he didn’t present any arguments…it would have been too….lame.

        • NML says:

          SoulUnderConstruction, I’m glad you have shut down this madness. His reaction is very telling. This is all mind fuckery to him. He’s not looking for anything real. However, I want to add some perspective to your upset:

          Getting upset about what could have been if only this and that is like:

          Being upset about getting 3 or 4 numbers instead of 5 or 6 on the lottery.

          Regretting not getting tickets for the London Olympics in the lottery and remaining upset for a long time.

          Going onto Who Wants To a Millionaire and acting like you went in with a million and when you only get 32k, crying that you ‘lost’ 968k.

          You never had this man. Yes you can mourn the loss of the dream but the key is not to carry on like you had *him* to lose in the first place.

          • SoulUnderConstruction says:

            Thank you Natalie for your kind words despite the madness and the ridiculous situation!
            I fully agree with you and I very well know that I haven’t had him.
            I have a bunch of “WHY” but it does not matter anymore
            and is good that I don’t have to worry about him contacting me again because the magic is gone so he will look for a new toy.
            Apparently, in February I was more of an option than now…he justified, tried to convince me not to stop talking to him,etc. Probably my behavior of being always there, nice, warm, funny, playful, positive…was too much for him to deal with in real world.
            It hurts, but being the one who choose it’s priceless, especially when you decide for yourself.

  33. Terri says:

    As my emotionally healthy mother, sisters and friends tell me: we (women who love EUM) are TOO NICE to the men and not nice enough to ourselves! Yes it feels great when they run back once you walk away but you’ve got remember the pain of when they flick the switch off again (they always do)!
    Bottom line is: women who love themselves and know how to put their own needs first, run a mile when they encounter a MM, AC or EUM. They don’t try to work at it, convince him of their worth or wait around for him to see how great they are. They know they are great in their own right so they marry men who love them and don’t waste their time on bullshit. I have never known how to be like them, it’s like I misses that incredibly important lesson growing up and instead put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. I have no been involved with three men who have “loved me” but couldn’t commit for one reason or another whilst so many lovely men passed me by because I wasn’t interested! The lesson here: without self love and self esteem, the rollercoaster will continue! I’m going to become the woman I deserve to be

  34. Arlena Anger says:

    I’ve come to revisit this wonderful site.

    As healing and light bulb moments happen obviously in turns and leaps, the wisdom and accurate observations post after post sunk/sink in over time – like putting in a stronger and stronger bulb shedding better and better light – and I’m really glad to realise I’ve made some progress. Thank you, NML

    So far, I caught a funny “waiting” moment, as there was that guy who asked me out and after two dates in drip feed style I got all vital information: he’s divorced, got two kids, lives with a girl-friend and has a five-year-old kid with her, things are messed (no info there) but he is ready to cheat on her – trying his luck with me, because he got “an inkling” about me, as he put it. Translation: Obviously I had forgotten to unscrew that piece of doormat on my forehead with “WELCOME”. As advanced NML educated student I easily did the math and left him being.

    Nevertheless he called and left a message on my answer machine that due to business he would call in two weeks. Hmmm, though the tone clearly stated “I try elsewhere, might be easier, but in case…” and left a kiss.

    I got it same second but nonetheless I was rather excited and looking forward for his call just to tell him “Natty style” that “There won’t be a another date” and in case I had to explain I was prepared to proudly announce “I think you are not in the position to date – at least I am not THAT woman” in clear-cut tones. I was already feeding from the glee in advance…

    You might guess the disaster: He didn’t call. Sort of – I miss the call and catch me “waiting” just for the fun to dismiss him.

    These old patterns have some amazing survival drive to twist and morph even to fit into a rewiring and recovering brain 😉

  35. Crystalclear says:

    Ahhh sweet words Nat. Just the nudge i needed to keep up NC. Went to 1st birthday party Sunday and happily bounced five interrogations of singledom, my no kid status and one marriage proposal. Four comments of how happy and well I looked….why? Cause I not waiting at the effing bus stop to nowhere anymore! only thing I am looking forward to is ignoring the next lame message 😮

  36. Laters says:

    Never make someone your priority whilst they’re making you their option…….. – says it all really!

  37. Crystalclear says:

    Runner girl where do u live? Think we could polish off a big fat bottle of wine comparing notes! Ha. Sounds all too familiar……I’ve lost faith in the saying good things come to those who wait. I learnt the hard way that ‘patience’ is a game for one person only……aloooooooone.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey Crystal, I’m on the West coast. When I discovered this site, I was struck by how similar all our stories are. When its happening, it feels like your situation is unique but its not. Reading Natalie’s book was a real eye opener too. I probably should have gotten a clue that I was “waiting” when he sent me the song “Patience” by Guns & Roses. My brain must have been on holiday. I feel like such a smuck. However, it does feel good not waiting at the effing bus stop to nowhere anymore. Living in limboland was exhausting. A big fat bottle of wine while comparing notes sounds delightful. Good luck with NC.

      Ladies, how do I get that silly little Hokey Pokey song out of my head? I’ve been humming it for 2 days now!

      • PJM says:

        Runnergirl – try humming the theme from ‘Bonanza’. It usually clears out an annoying song, but doesn’t stick around to annoy you after that.

        It’s like mental psyllium husk …

      • Magnolia says:

        Bwwwhaaaaattt????? “Patience”!? You’ve got to be effing kidding.

        Too funny.

  38. gallie says:

    This post is so true!

    I never thought of myself as the ‘waiting’ type, till I told the current EUM that I would… at that time, I thought there was a chance.. the waiting lasted two weeks. I’m an impatient sod anyway lol. So, per the text ‘conversation’ last week, he said it would be unfair for him to ask me to wait for him & being the big girl I am, I said nope it wouldn’t & we don’t have a commitment so why bother. I told him he has til (uly 1st to ‘make up his mind’. You’re prolly thinking, why??? Because I wanted to have NC & to debug myself. So, when July 1st gets here regardlesss of what he says, I’ll already be done with the assclown emotionally. But yes, waiting is a sign of weakness when there is no commitment…real commitment. Its like dangling off a roof waiting for Superman & all you get is Clark Kent..

  39. simone71 says:

    @ crystal
    Good things come to those who wait?
    yes that may be true……but maybe it just seemed so good in our illusions but in reality it was not. Possible?

    It was said here that not all are ACs with bad intensions.
    But i think its not about the intensions. At the end it counts how they leave us behind…..with what feelings .
    Whether with or without intensions……does it really matter?

  40. Ria says:

    I have been thinking the chain about our self esteem flaw, that let those AC types to *spell us* with their charm and reel in whenever they want to. Most common, that l came to think of, was that when l was being *quilty my own of AC situation* l had this idea, that he is really a man who can appreciate a real beauty, and a quality woman, however, in his presence l felt that l have miles and miles to reach that level, and then, when l can, actually, work so hard, and meet HIS standards and be good enough, sun will finally get on the sky, he accepts me fully and he will be cooking OUR dinner in OUR kitchen, lol. And having that as a standard to win an AC heart, isnt easy to change.
    However, l remember one of a cool situations. I dated this smokin hot guy once long time ago, who had, serious AC manners. I walked out and 3 years later, when l accidently met him – he had become very fat and kind of lost his *mojo.*

  41. Lauren H. says:

    LOL, this was so funny and right on time, my MR. EU was WAITING for his ex to come back to him for over a year, meantime, he was keeping time with me. I knew he wasnt over her so I was WAITING for him to become AVAILABLE, while I was really unavailable myself because I wasnt over the emotional HORROR of my last relationship and I was waiting to feel better and he was “safe”, it was a wait/wait/wait situation.

    Well when he finally chose me, she decided she wanted him back and I was DROPPED but he still wanted me to wait or at least be side chick because they were working on building back their relationship bc they were not “sure” and planned to marry “someday”. What a joke. Well I am off the table and moved on because he never really did choose me and I realized that I never really did choose him. Not in for the boomerang anymore. Its hard but its summer in the city and there are men abound! Wait for a bus, wait for a train, wait for your turn in the market but NEVER wait for a wo/man.

  42. Sandra81 says:

    Dear Baggage Reclaim friends,
    Here I am again, after a long period of absence. :-) That is because I’ve felt much more peaceful lately, having been geographically far from my ex for several weeks. Actually, I realized that the “waiting around” process has started to fade for me. I stopped putting my eggs in one basket. Apart from the fact that at the moment I’m in my home city, busy with some family committments, there is also a new person in sight. It’s a guy I met in February on a trip abroad, we became good friends, kept in contact, and 3 weeks ago I went to an event in Sicily, where he is from. By seeing him again, I realized that my feelings for him are somehow heading in a different direction. And he also did some gestures that proved that chivalry is not dead. 😛 Whilst driving me to the airport, he asked me to come back this summer, stay for one week and stay at his place. Well, I would never turn down the invitation because of my ex or anything like that! Whatever happens, whether friendship will grow to something more or not, I’m definitely interested to see how things go, at least! I think he is a worthy guy! 😉

  43. EmLAW says:

    I waited for a year and 1/2 and never ever will I wait again. Looking back on it… it was totally wasted time….why was I waiting around for someone who was treating me like an option? if they don’t care enough about you to treat you with respect and value they don’t deserve your time mostly they should never ever get any benefits without having to give anything in return. Never wait around for someone to make their mind up about you…someone who truly cares about you will leave no doubt in your mind how they feel. Most of all….don’t be pathetic just because “you think you love them”…. if they really cared about you they wouldn’t be treating you this way. Lessons I would never have learned without you wonderful people and BR!

  44. Cinderella says:

    This is so true! And once I finally have realized it, I don’t wait anymore – and feel much better about myself in the process.
    Someone who is genuinely interested will never ask you to wait.
    And anyone who is on the fence or undecided or not ready for any reason – that’s the same as telling you that you aren’t someone they truly care about, nor will they.

  45. Raquel says:

    Yay, I made the decision after finally hitting that last straw that some “stubborn and caring” people NEED!! Barf! lols…. I am now 9 days NC, and I honestly don’t miss the bugger one bit! As a matter of fact I feel completely relieved, and ready for a new road;) Don’t get me wrong, it’s so lonely some days, and I miss what I thought I had.. but in time I know it will all be much better. PS we were together for 2 years…

    • Fearless says:

      This is a great post Natalie – I like the part about trusting yourself – NOT HIM, having faith in yourself. Funny, because I have been telling myself that very mantra every day now for weeks – “trust in you (my name)”.

      I think we have to pay very close attention to how our lack of self worth is really driving our own (waiting) behaviour in the EU/AC relationship – you know you should expect more – but you don’t *feel* it, you know you deserve better than this – but you don’t *feel* it, you know you shouldn’t be waiting around for this guy, but you don’t FEEL it.

      Every man and his dog could tell me I deserved better and I could agree – but I did not feel it. I did not make very much progress until I, myself, I started to really feel it – to believe it. I had no idea until I read Nat’s blogs that I was waiting around mostly for validation from this guy. This idea was all very new to me. I couldn’t bear his cold turns and would always break and contact him for what I now know to be ‘validation’. It’s been a long road – but when I got to grips with how my need for validation was driving my own behaviour, recognised why I was waiting and what I was waiting for, I finally stopped needing or seeking his validation – I saw it as pathetic of me and just kept reminding myself that I am what and who I am regardless of what he thinks of me and I do not need his approval or his affirmations of my personal worth – that remains the same, with or without him or his approval. Get this, and you have won half the battle.

      Next is to truly get what is driving his behaviour… you really need to connect what you are reading about EU/AC with your guy – you need to see that all this EU analysis is not just intellectualising, not just something to moan and grumble about but that this IS who he is and that you have been deluded and have been deluding yourself – once you really get it, really see that you are nothing more than an OPTION for this guy – that he is NOT SERIOUS in any way about you then you will not want to wait around…you will not wnat to be anybody’s option and you will know that you’d be just as well waiting at a bus stop for nothing but a wave from the window as the bus goes trundling past. (and you wave back just in case next time he feels like getting off the bus to spend five minutes of his precious time with you – he’s not waiting for anyone or anything – least of all you.

      I used to grumble about where my epiphany is – some of you may remember… I think I “get it” now. I get him and I get me. I have been a fool and he has been a selfish self-serving arsewipe.

      • grace says:

        Yep, you got your epiphany. The problem now is that you can’t watch TV or a film again, or read a book without shouting out “EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE!!”
        It makes for good drama but that’s all it’s good for!

        • Elle says:

          I had been wondering how you were going, Fearless! Good to hear from you. (And I totally agree about the knowing versus feeling, and then actually doing something about the knowing. There comes a point where there is no more to know, and only stuff to act on. This change also means that new ideas, outlooks and people can make their way in. )

          • Fearless says:

            Thanks Grace and Elle – and everyone here – for your support. I appreciate! :)

        • TeaTime says:

          “The problem now is that you can’t watch TV or a film again, or read a book without shouting out “EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE!!””

          haha grace that is exactly what I do now!! I’ve found my taste in music has even changed because of some of the lyrics about all these EUMs. Shows how much society plays a part in making us believe these losers are likeable!

          • grace says:

            Exactly. Adele sings one of her latest songs beautifully:

            I heard that you’re settled down
            That you found a girl
            And you’re married now

            I heard that your dreams came true.
            Guess she gave you things
            I didn’t give to you

            I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited …

            Moving, gorgeous voice and I’m yelling “LEAVE YOUR MARRIED EX ALONE!”

          • EllyB says:

            TeaTime: Yeah, that’s because they make for good drama and therefore “sell” well. Most filmmakers and bestseller writers don’t want to teach us valuable lessons. They are after our attention and our money, just like EUM and AC. Of course, we can let them entertain us anyway, as long as we are able to shrug those stories off as soon as we leave the cinema or close the book.

            I think the phrase “Don’t try this at home” applies here too.

          • meagen19 says:

            I’m with you on this one- especially those damn movies on the Hallmark channel. Until I started reading this site and getting a grip on myself I never realized how false and manipulative a lot of movies and TV shows are when it comes to portraying relationships or at least relationship outcomes (al la Carrie and Big, to beat the S&TC horse to death). I watch these shows with open eyes now and wonder if all my life they subliminally played a role in how I approached relationships.

      • CC says:

        I was thinking about how to comment on this because this article really speaks volumes about how I really beat myself up about wasted years (ages 33-40 to be exact) on EUMs. Some really important years in terms of kids. But can I really say its wasted if I hadn’t learned my lessons (and they were banging me on the head)?? What kind of relationship would I have ended up in anyways? Probably not a very good one nor one I could have handled maturely being so emotionally out of control. But everyone here has made points that cover my thoughts, Fearless your comment really spoke to me because it took a while of pain and withdrawl and studying and therapy for me to really FEEL it in my bones what it means to have self esteem. To know now how freakin easy it is to see this dodgy behaviour and mixed messages. Its as plain as day. And yes Grace… due to this it screams out at me and its very hard to relate that to friends who aren’t there yet, they think I’m a big hard ass. I see the stuff they are going through and I just want to help but everyone can only learn in their own time when they are ready. I have to learn to relinquish trying to make my friends see this stuff. It’s a difficult line for me.

        • Fearless says:

          I agree. I may wish I had come to these realisations years ago and I have blamed my Mr EU for robbing me of the chance for a bona fide relationship, but until I learned these lessons – any relationship I was going to have was going to be ‘messy’… so, actually, it could have been much worse for me… I learned from it a lesson I badly needed to learn and I feel more like a whole autonomous person and not a ‘lady in waiting’!

        • Minky says:

          I used to think my friend, who has really healthy self esteem and a great approach to relationships and ACs, was a ‘hard ass’ (or arse) as well! I thought she was very harsh and prided myself on giving idiot men a second chance, men which should have been ‘deleted’ per her expert and spot on advice. Can you believe it!? Priding myself on being a total muppet!? Now she and i talk about men and are in total agreement, which is very reasurring to me!

      • Magnolia says:

        Great point about “waiting” to be validated when you don’t yet realize that validation is what you’re looking for and that it comes from you. Until that sinks in, we’re waiting a looonnnnnnng time trying to get water from a dry well as says NML …

  46. ICanDoBetter says:

    If this is off-topic, I apologize, but it makes me think of the “waiting” I did while I was in relationships. People can keep you waiting in many ways, and I guess I wonder where is the line between being understanding and just being taken advantage of? The last guy I dated seemed to live in his own time zone. Oh, he was very good at calling to keep me updated on the status of his arrival, but it was always delayed. So, I spent a lot of time waiting on him when we would see each other. He was always charming, friendly, and apologetic, and always late, sometimes hours later than he would promise. Again, I was constantly updated by a phone call, so he SEEMED considerate, but it drove me crazy, and I began to feel like my time was not important to him. We didn’t date that long, but even in the beginning I wondered how such a dynamic would play out in a long-term relationship. How would we ever go to events where we had to be there on time? Would I end up going alone, and maybe he would show up later, or maybe not make it all? Apparently, this was non-negotiable, because the one time I did bring it up, he responded by breaking up with me.

    • Cam says:

      I think anytime you are in a relationship and the response to something that is causing you pain is that “it is non-negotiable” and grounds for a breakup, then that is not healthy for you. I was in a similar situation and the reality was that the relationship was higher on my priority list than it was for him. That is an imbalance that just does not work. I think being understanding within your boundaries is important. If you have to be so understanding that you are feeling put-out, then something is wrong.

  47. Lori says:

    I’m on day 4 of NC. We were together 3 years then 3 months ago he dumped me but we’ve been on/off every other week since. He’s asked out my co-workers and friends. I suspect he dumps me for a week to take a chance with other women then he’ll come back (usually if he thinks other guys might be interested in me) spouting marriage and kids and a bright, shiny future.
    Last week we went to his parents and had a great time then the next day he was telling me how much he hates me. Disappeared on Thursday, resurfaced Friday but when I wouldn’t break my plans with friends to be with him he deleted me on Facebook and stopped talking to me. This is probably the 10th time he’s deleted me.
    I haven’t messaged him or felt the need to talk to him which is a first. I think I’ve been living in ‘Suck It and See’ mode for a couple months. I’m letting myself cry and let my emotions out but I don’t want to emote to him. Before I’d be begging and pleading for him to answer and give me another chance, that’s how twisted around I was.
    He usually has his FB set to private (my profile has always been public but I changed it to private when he deleted me) but yesterday he did an FB ‘poke’ and made his profile public then came into the place I work. I didn’t see him but he had a friend of mine wait on him so of course she told me he came in.
    I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he starts wondering why I’m not taking the bait and contacting him. I’m really hoping I’m strong enough to not respond if he messages me. My whole point though is I’m tired of waiting for him to decide to love me, to give me the relationship fantasy, and for him to be a loyal, loving partner.
    He’s a classic assclown/EU and I know he doesn’t love or value me. I’ve put myself through a lot of pain and I don’t want to go through anymore for him.

    • EmLAW says:

      We care deeply – trust me I may be one of worst for falling for a MM with soooo many red flags but still it is very hard to break away. What I did, that really worked wonders, was to start grieving the loss of the relationship and leaving him while he is still playing his stupid games with you….use his hot and cold, lazy, low contact communication to your advantage. You will experience several weeks of hell. But, he ended it after the three years and three months – what he is doing now is just disrespectful and devaluing to you. It literally took me months but now I am enjoying the no contact and I literally haven’t cried in weeks. It sucks but we deserve so much better!! Keep telling yourself (altough it hurts at first) that if he really cared about you he would leave not doubt in your mind.

      • Fearless says:

        “What I did, that really worked wonders, was to start grieving the loss of the relationship and leaving him while he is still playing his stupid games with you….use his hot and cold, lazy, low contact communication to your advantage.”

        I can relate to that – My Mr EU walked out of my house after an argument last August (no argument, really… he just got the sniff of maybe having to have a serious talk and so, true to form, he grabbed his jacket like there was a fire and sprinted out the door). I knew I had had enough of his crap. I didn’t contact him. He didn’t contact me. I found BR and read some books and it helped me begin to ‘see’.

        I lasted it out fairly well.. but the odd text started up month later… he invited me on a w’end and I refused. I held out. Waiting, really, for him, or for some strength, but I regretted not having the advantage of all my new found awareness when I had been ‘in it’, so to speak. I fell of the wagon eventually… but briefly… but long enough, as you say, to watch him in action and all the while knowing I had all but left the building; It was as clear as day – same shit different day – he had no spontaneous combustion, in fact, I’d say, he didn’t even think he had to raise the temperature anymore – he was worse than ever. There’s nothing brings it all home to you like knowing, having the awareness, the insight, and watching it in action right in front of your face. When you get what is motivating them, there is no mistaking it. It was, I suppose, a “suck it and see” scenario, and it was an eye opener. I have now left the building – but this time I’ve taken my bags with me!

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Fearless and Em,

          Fearless, I remember your post about the “argument” last August. I remember wondering, why in the world would somebody dismiss you so readily? Dear god, it is truly his loss, not yours. When I fell off the wagon, I got in trouble because I didn’t agree to meet him on a moments notice like I used to do. I did actually have other plans but honestly what was going through my head was Natalie’s book and the articles and comments I’ve read on this blog. I was so stunned to actually see what I’d read, I couldn’t respond with much more than a sputter. Apparently, I managed to sputter NO. It was like watching him read out of a play book and I had already read it, we we both spontaneously combusted. This was the same shit but a very different day. I was no longer waiting.

          Hang in there Em and keep saying or sputtering NO! My exMM sure didn’t take kindly to NO. I’ve packed my OW baggage and left the building. Nice visual Fearless. NO more contact. NO more waiting for him or any other EUM/AC/MM that blows my way. NO more Hokey Pokey. Next guy will have to put both feet in before I shake anything all about. Oh, how I love the word NO. May I say it again…NO!

          • Fearless says:

            Thanks Runner! (I think my Mr EU knows, on some level, that it is his loss – he just does not *feel* it!). And yes, yes, yes, it is like they are reading the dialogue of a character (the archetypal fool) from a play that you have read a thousand times… it’s like, in the name of God!! Change the bloody record! – and who died and made you king of the world?!

            hee hee! You go for it Runner! Run for your life!

            • NML says:

              The difficulty is Fearless that when we are involved in something for a significant period of time, mentally, it feels like so much time has passed that to admit that there’s *no* chance of getting what you intended is to admit that you’ve made a mistake. The longer any shred of turning this ship around is held onto, is the more invested, whereas letting go and emphatically drawing a line under it, *does* hurt, but the progress to moving on is far quicker. Any shred of hope is enough hope to keep you there. Sometimes we think that the more time that passes is when they suddenly ‘get it’ – as you’ve discovered, he hasn’t. Odds are that when someone has shown you who they are for 10 years, you’d need to put in another 10 years to see if they can be different. I know someone who was involved with a guy like this – it took 35 years in total and he only changed *then* because a number of dramatic events befell him.

              The sad thing is that it’s *us* that make them the Kings of the World. You’re bound to think highly of yourself when someone will hang in there for without you extending yourself. He’s just not that special.

              • Fearless says:

                Thanks Natalie. You are right, of course. I always knew that myself, really – I would even say to my one confident that I’d be damned if I’m leaving with nothing (que Anne Robinson a la ‘the weakest link’).

                I knew from the first week that there was something ‘off’ with him; I always knew; I was very good at ‘putting it aside’ – denial – but only for a few months at a time and then I’d go ballistic and we’d be ‘off’ again until I calmed down and behaved myself!! I have known for years it was going nowhere; at times I didn’t care that it wasn’t; I would just rather have had him in my life ‘his way’ than not at all. I didn’t know if I wanted him there all the time! I think the trouble (partly) with me was/is that I just never, ever identified clearly for myself what it was/is that I want from my life and from my relationships with men… part of me would have died with my legs up if he had turned up with his bags and a diamond ring; I may well have been the one heading for the hills in that event! So I would really need to admit that I stayed in the relationship (partly) because I didn’t know what I myself really wanted from it or from any other one.
                Enough of me for one day!

    • grace says:

      You could always block him, that’s how I saw off the MM. Life’s too short to wait for a poke.

    • jupiter says:

      Hi Lori,

      I’ve done the waiting game.

      From the bottom of my heart, I’m telling you to hold on to this little strength you’ve found and let it grow by remaining no contact.

      Be strong. I wish you luck.

  48. josie says:

    Thanks Natalie for a great post I think its amazing so many of us have slipped into this “waiting” so reassuring to know it wasn’t just me. I waited around for my ex to “change” for many years its taken your website and a lotta self control to break the pattern. I guess with these men you see they have a way of really keeping you hooked, looking back, although hindsight is a great thing, I really wish I hadn’t wasted the time I did, it was a slow realisation for me that actually nothing I was doing, how much fun I was how much I was supportive and loving how much of the blame for the breakup I was taking and at one point thinking it was I who should change!! Of course it takes two to tango and yes Ive acknowledge my faults but the AC was getting me to almost lose my personality to accommodate the fantasy i.e when I became a docile, accepting, doormat and even then he may or may not choose to come back into the relationship. I hate to admit this to myself now but love does funny things to your brain, these attachments we form which are so very unhealthy take their toll thats for sure but with support you can break free. If I ever feel that “waiting” feeling coming up with anyone for that matter I cut it fast like you say we haven’t got all the time in the world and if they really wanted to be with us they would be – end of.

  49. Lucyd_in_the_sky says:

    I’d been recently talking to this chap, with whom I had an affinity with. Checking each other out for about two weeks on Skype, before fixing a date to physically meet (he lives about 150 miles from me, and although meeting asap is usually de rigueur, I usually go through a (subtle) phone screening for good measures (how very poetic).

    The more we talked to each other, the more I became hopeful and excited. A fly on the wall could hear these two very mature, and emotionally sound people. No fast forwarding, soapy junk, or fantasy-building bullshit. He even told me that after splitting with his ex, he didn’t engage with anyone for a long period, even though opportunities presented themselves, as he knew they’d be rebounds, that he didn’t feel that he was ’emotionally available’, and that, for the first time in his life, he really valued and appreciated his time alone. DING DING DONG!! Yeeeeeeeeeehah! At that point, I was almost running to the door, one shoe missing, BR signs (not $) for eyes, to snatch the elusive golden nugget Natalie’s been talking about all those years.. Then stopped. Is this another bad joke? Is this guy for real? Oh I know. He’s been reading BR for months, and skillfully playing the music I so wish to hear.. My newly fitted b(R)espoke radar’s a tad paranoid you see, adjusting itself among the rest of my EU/AC-damaged cells.

    A few days ago, I cut him off, quite abruptly. As abruptly as the bombshell he dropped on my lap. The bugger tells me that he smoked about two joints a day (more with friends at weekends. Yeah, and probably more if one his toes suddenly starts hurting). DESPITE being super clear about no smoking, reasonable alcohol, drugs, a healthy lifestyle etc. It took him about 10 minutes to drop the damn thing, almost stuttering.. With me going: You killed someone?? What is it??? You’re gay?? You indulge in BDSM with a Hitler outfit?? WHAT!!!

    Many moons ago, my frail self-esteem would have said.. ‘well it is a problem, but never mind, cause I’m bloody insecure and desperate’. I would have just sat there, and WAITED for his ‘bad habit’, as he called it (talk about denial) to miraculously disappear.. Waited for him to turn into a… non-addict.



    • meagen19 says:

      My reaction to this is mixed- I see your worry about the use of a drug. But I see 2/3 of what you describe him as emotionally aware/healthy. Would it be worth talking to him more to assess the depth of the potential problem before you cut him off? To determine if this is a causal thing or whether it’s opened him up to other drug use (tho this is still scientifically unproven) ? If he smoked only cigarettes (sure killers but also not yet proven to lead to other drug use) and still had the qualities you observed would you have the same reaction?

      • Lucyd_in_the_sky says:

        Hi Meagen,

        I was rambling enough as it was, and so spared some of the details, but since you ask:

        When he first got in touch with me, I made it very early on clear that his smoking was a big no. He was insistent, and went on saying that if it was something that would stop a ‘potentially promising’ relationship, then he knew what he would choose. A few days later, he tells me that he went to the chemist to enquire about nicotine patches, because there was no way in hell, that he’d go on a date smelling of nicotine, turning me off.

        Fast forward to two weeks later, and he drops his pot bomb. I got actually annoyed with him, because he already knew about the nicotine issue very early on. What made him think that pot would be OK?! He told me then, that he would have to think of a way of smoking it without the tobacco, if he stopped smoking. From personal experience, living with a man who stopped smoking tobacco, gradually increasing his pot consumption to 12 (yes, that’s right) joints a day (whilst unemployed, and not doing much to get out unemployed, who would, smoking 12 joints??), leading to the demise of our relationship; I just wasn’t prepared to take that risk again, wait around for years, for things to sort themselves out, as if by magic. Besides, I had already told him that his stopping smoking for a date was too odd. That it had to do it only when HE is ready (I’m an ex-smoker). That he would resent the living day light out of me, on our first date, probably asking the bar man for ten shots of whisky, to relax his urges to.. smoke me.

        I’m slowly, but surely, learning to trust my boundaries. This one was one hell of a test for me, because I really, really ‘sensed’ that this could be my first EVER healthy relationship. We shared so many values (trust, care, respect etc), ethics, political views. And yet, at the same time, it was easy, because smoking now does really really turns me OFF.

        Ps. He chose HIM, also, because when I told him that, no, sorry, the pot is now just too much. He said OK (meaning ‘I can’t go further with compromises’). The pot was obviously non-negotiable.

        • grace says:

          i’m with you. some don’t have a problem with it but i’ve had bad experiences too. and you just know that 2 joints a day is probably three or four, like im in denial about how many handbags i own!
          I couldn’t date a smoker either, unfortunately. It took me ages to give up smoking and I just couldn’t be with someone 24-7 who smokes. I would give in to the temptation. As it is, hardly any of my friends smoke. I’ve had the odd one at a party etc. so I know I can be weak.
          I guess in this, everyone’s boundaries are different and that’s okay.

          • Lucyd_in_the_sky says:

            Grace, yep!

            He got it ‘down to a controllable two a day’.. We know what that means: on good days!

        • meagen19 says:

          ok, so you really thoroughly discussed it, and he was made aware of your boundaries. I can see also how your background living with a potsmoker would make the issue a deal breaker.

        • ICanDoBetter says:

          I can understand your hesitation. I was once married to a pot smoker. The issue for me was that he would get paid at the end of the week, spend a good chunk of his paycheck on pot, then use whatever was left over to pay bills (which was never enough, because he spent too much on pot). It wasn’t the pot so much that I had issue with, but the priority it took. Same could be true with alcohol.
          What I am always wary of is when a guy says he has a habit that he enjoys, but is aware that it could cause issues in a relationship, so he says he would change it if necessary. Like you said, I don’t want to be the focus of their resentment. My last ex-bf had such habit. He would drop it, if asked, then pick it back up if the relationship didn’t work out. I mean, what kind of change is that? I don’t trust it, mostly beccause of my experience with my ex-husband. I asked him to quit several times, and he would, for a few weeks, then start to sneak around until I found out. Then, eventually, he just finally said he would have to find someone who was OK with it.
          I just don’t trust the kind of change where a man says he would do it for a woman. I mean, why not just go ahead and make the changes for himself, and be the kind of man he truly wants to be in the first place? Or, just say up front who he is, and stick to that.

          • Lucyd_in_the_sky says:

            I Can,

            Yep! Yep! If anything, it reveals ‘contortionist’ tendencies to fit new situations, which is manipulative behaviour. Something, that some of us have been guilty of, in the name of … love. Love is not about ‘bettering’ yourself for ANYONE, but you.

  50. annied says:

    Okay … okay… That was written for me :( I wasted a lot of time. Not sure what I want to do now. Heh, besides work on my low self-esteem. But you are right, it does get lower and lower the longer you stay in it.

    It is weird how over time he did change in a way and I held on to those changes with a death grip. But the changes were – um, not right? I mean, at the beginning of our “fling” he was mean as hell to me – just nasty and verbally abusive. But we were seeing each other often and communicating a lot.

    Then over time and many break-ups and complaining by me, he did get nicer – not so mean. But we also did not see each other as much and communicated less than ever. I’m not sure what was happeneing there. It was like he was behaving because he wanted me to see him as “the nice guy” he always said he was – and I laughed at … but I stayed.

    Ugh. I hope I can finally do this. This is insane.

    • NML says:

      Annied, you and I go back a long way. A looooong way. There’s no disputing that he’s a dicksplash, but the key issue is you not him. You are committed to him like a dog with a bone. You ‘hope’ you’ll see the light instead of saying ‘F this for a game of soldiers, I *will* be strong no matter what’. What do you think is going to happen? That one day he’ll relent out of sheer exhaustion? Are you afraid someone will get a fraction of a percent better?

      You’re like a bailiff hunting down your debt. You think he owes you a relationship because you chose to stay. He doesn’t and the fact is that you deserve better than forcing your love on him and refusing to leave. You’re obviously avoiding something you perceive to be worse than letting him go.

      You have a greater purpose in life Annied. This man doesn’t define you. You will never know what you can do and who you can be if you never try because you’re too busy pissing your life away on this man. Let go. Feel the pain.

      • new me says:

        “You’re obviously avoiding something you perceive to be worse than letting him go.”

        There it is, in black and white. It has taken me six months of real soul searching and work to realize that all the time and energy I wasted on trying to figure out my assclown was just my way of not wanting to look at myself. I waited. I hoped. I tried to change. I tried to convince him we would be happy. What a waste.

        I hope the time comes for you when you can see that the focus needs to be on you, not him.

      • Fearless says:

        “You’re like a bailiff hunting down your debt. You think he owes you a relationship because you chose to stay.”

        OMG…that is a pearl of wisdom, Natalie…that was me to a tee.

  51. better_tomorrow says:

    one salient characteristic of most men – they go for what they want unswervingly and overtly.

    So if they’re not going for “it” (you), you should not stand around waiting for “it” (him). It does not prove anything admirable about us to be waiters without a cause (or a clue).

    I wasted my twenties and a fair chunk of my thirties but I learned. And I found out along the way that breakups have better outcomes (for me) if they stay broken – crisp clean breaks.

  52. Happy Girl says:

    Good stuff! I’ve had my fair share of assclowns in the past expecting me to be a loyal dog while they got their sh*t together, and would come to find out later that they were doing anything but. And have any of you ladies ever had a guy that you weren’t interested in wait around for you? That happened to me a couple of times, and it put an enormous amount of pressure on me, to the point where I was pretty much physically repulsed. One guy bugged me for years to go out with him, and would follow me around until I was drunk to try to make out with me, thinking that would “get me”. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes I would, because I was…drunk. But mostly it was just annoying. I finally went on an official date with him, (after he called me 3 times and I caved into ill-advised advice from family and friends to quit being so “bitchy” and “picky”) told him he was a nice guy, but it just wasn’t going to work and used the excuse that he lived in another country to soften the blow. One month later he QUIT HIS JOB AND MOVED….and is still unemployed. This was a decent looking guy, nice guy who will make someone else a great boyfriend. But for me, it just wasn’t there. And the fact that he uprooted his entire life and didn’t want to date anyone else (so his friends told me) to try to be with me did NOT make want to be with him. It made me want to avoid him. Forever. THAT put me in a tailspin, but in a good way. It was like having a carnival fun house mirror help up to my face. I’d never done anything that drastic, but I know I had been guilty in the past of not taking a hint from other guys, thinking I knew better, wondering if I had this or took that kind of job, hoping they would come around if they just got to know me, trying to manipulate times to be together, etc. NEVER again after that. Don’t be that girl. Live your best life for yourself, and the person who belongs it will get there on his own!!!

  53. runnergirl says:

    Oh, I’m so excited. I’m not going to be waiting around this 4th of July for the ex mm to slot me into his busy schedule. My daughter texted and called and wants me to come to the East Coast. I’m booked on a flight and into a cool hotel 2 miles from her apt. Apparently, it is the only hotel with a roof top pool. I wouldn’t expect anything less from my kid. I’m skipping around the house with glee…I’m not waiting for him to slot me into his busy schedule. Is there a song about how we AREN’T waiting? I’m not waiting. I wish I were a poet and could make words and the emotions go together. Thank you Natalie. I’m not waiting. How liberating. Thank you.

    • Minky says:

      Good for you! It is really liberating when you don’t wait for someone, when you take control of your own life and stick two fingers up at things that have been holding you back.

      ‘I’m coming out’ by Dianna Ross is a really good song to listen to in this kind of mood. More about ‘doing’ than ‘not waiting’, but the gist is the same. :) Have a great 4th of July!

    • Leigh says:


      Isn’t it great not waiting? I feel your happiness. Hope you have a wonderful time!


  54. Kelly says:

    My ex boyfriend of just a month and a half long relationship (though I guess we were involved for about 2 and a half total), also my first relationshipt, is still contacting me periodically after four months of being broken up, albeit from the safety of his computer screen. he’s so concerned with being “amicable”; but only in text or chat, certainly not in person where instead of saying hello he pouts. when he asked to be friends in a text sent to me at 3am following a college party we both attended, I initially stuck to NC but broke a week later and told him he had the option of coming back when he wanted a relationship or staying away. That was a month ago, and he’s contacted me so often since, once I finally went totally NC and he didn’t get a weekly confrontation or chat or something or other. It’s confusing to me, because I still obviously have feelings for him, and I tried to make that clear, hoping that in the least it would scare him off from contacting me with mixed messages, but he chatted me to compliment my haircut and called about whether I owned flip flops with owls on them (stuff was given back months ago) and texted about a dvd i needed to come get even though he’d had it for three months by then and I’d forgotten about it. It’s really difficult, I have been relying on “feelings,” unfortunately, hoping maybe these are small signs he’ll come back. I need to realize he won’t respect me if he knows I’m waiting around. It will help me in any and every event to just see what happens with the new guy I’ve been talking to this summer, to go out more, to stop thinking of him every single second and get off Facebook instead of hovering on chat hoping the next time he gets on he’ll talk to me again.
    It’s also difficult because he is the first and currently only person with whom I have unequaled banter any time we talk. So every time he talks to me and starts off on some funny tangent and I have to hold myself back from “lol”ing in conversation, I remember how much I miss him. But I have to stop waiting for him. It’s only hurting me and honestly I’ve never felt so horrible as I have since this all began. If he would’ve just left me alone I might’ve been over him by now but what with his “am I allowed to ask how you are” and other such messages I am weakened yet again.
    As usual, your articles help me immensely in trying to…

    • grace says:

      You’re not “lol”ing very much now though. All this witty banter stuff is worthless. Tell him to get lost. His jerking you around post-relationship is already longer than the actual relationship. Sounds like this is what he wanted all along, some no-strings ego-stroking.
      Don’t wait for him to do the right thing for you. He’s already proven he can’t. Do it for yourself. Stop waiting for him.
      And careful with new guy. New relationships that overlap previous relationships tend not to work out. In my experience, they’ve been even worse than the relationship I was running from.

  55. Cam says:

    Thanks NML for a great post. I think the thing that struck me most was that waiting around made me feel very devalued. And when I place all of my plans and hopes (and need for validation) on the actions/nonactions of another person, it just is not good. I am so much stronger with every day and having the ability to say “pass” to a new opportunity that is not what I want, well, that is a really good feeling. I am complete just as I am and being in a relationship is not the only defining attribute of my life. Taking control of my life (and frequent readings of BR) is important – instead of “what can I do for him” – it is now “what next steps are there for me” and “does this fit into my current plans for my life”.

    I have gotten to the point that I can say to myself about my EUM – “I wish him well – just stay over there, away from me.”

  56. Minky says:

    I think taking control and ending things was a real problem for me in the past and, although i was waiting for him to be a better person, i was also *waiting* for him to end it. I would much rather have been passive. I was definitely guilty of thinking ‘if he doesn’t want to be with me, why doesn’t he end it!?’. I didn’t want to take responsibility and be accountable, i would much rather have been swept up by the tide and been powerless. I didn’t have faith enough in myself to believe that, if i made the choice to walk away, it was definitely the right choice. I would second guess and doubt and think i’d made a mistake. That’s how i ended up back with the ex EUM after ending things and getting dumped by email for my trouble! The funny thing was that, when that happened, i thought ‘right, NOW i’m done’. Why didn’t i think that before, when i had ended things?!

    I think it’s not just about waiting for them to be a better person, i think a lot of us wait for them to take control of the situation, to ‘put us out of our misery’, to give us closure after the fact. There is a whole lot of waiting going on! A lot of women out there who are waiting for the guy to make the situation clear, to give closure, to say goodbye, to finally commit. Why are we so scared to walk away and then STAY away? Walking away is only half the battle, having the strength to STAY away is even tougher in my opinion. You get the initial high of going NC – that ‘Yay, i’ve taken control! Up yours assclown!’ feeling, but *keeping* the faith and sticking to your decision, reassuring *yourself* that you are right, giving yourself closure, convincing yourself that he won’t change and that you are NOT missing out – that to me is the hardest part. Sorry if i’ve gone off topic!

    • meagen19 says:

      “think a lot of us wait for them to take control of the situation, to ‘put us out of our misery’, to give us closure after the fact…..to make the situation clear, to give closure, to say goodbye”

      That was me exactly. And after all the hell my ex EUMs put me thru, in a way dumping me was the best thing (read: wake up call) they ever did for me.

    • ICanDoBetter says:

      I’m guilty of doing this same thing. While I was dating the ex-bf, towards the end, he started acting inconsiderate, disrespectful, inconsistent, and just plain like he really didn’t care. I accused him a few times of doing it to get ME to break up with HIM. Of course, he denied it, then ultimately broke up with me. But I gave all the power to him. It was like, as long as his unacceptable behavior didn’t mean he wanted to end things, then I was staying, and waiting for things to get better. Sad, but true.

      • Minky says:

        I hate it when guys act all cold and distant to get you to break up with them! But then again i have been guilty of doing the same thing myself, just not deliberately. When i was in the above mentioned 6 yr healthy relationship and wanted to leave, i did get very cold and distant and sometimes a bit cruel, because, again, i didn’t want to take responsibility and end it. I even wished – how effed up is this – that he would cheat on me or something, so that i would have an ‘excuse’ to leave!! I really shake my head and go crimson with shame at the way i flaked out on responsibility like that. Eventually i did leave, but not before acting like a bit of a twat!

        I wonder whether it’s a generational thing (early 30s) or whether it’s the way society is nowadays that people just don’t take responsibility for themselves and pass the buck, or expect someone else to come in and fix everything, either by sorting things out, or by ‘changing’. I call it ‘fairy godmother syndrome’ and have been thinking about this on my own journey.

        • meagen19 says:

          in my case “passing the buck” was due to pure and desperate cowardness at the thought of losing something oh so good but that I KNEW was oh so bad

    • Fearless says:

      I couldn’r agree with you more. What you describe is precisely my experience of the situation… we are waiting for lots of different things – yes, waiting for him to end it; we feel that would be his responsibility since he is the one who doesn’t want it to work; we want it to work so we stay, waiting for him to do something about it all. It was a light bulb moment for me when I realised that it was not up to him to end it; he didn’t have a problem with the situation – I did – so it was actually up to me to end it. Sounds daft – but I am a daftie – and this was a revelation to me!

      So to all the ladies in waiting… hovering in the recesses of the privvy chamber, waiting at His Majesty’s pleasure until you be required to attend upon Him… it’s time to take your leave, perchance!

      • Minky says:

        Fearless – great to have you back. I thought of you often and wondered how you were getting on. Your empowering advice really helped me when i first found BR (10 months ago now – where has the time gone!?)

        “I realised that it was not up to him to end it; he didn’t have a problem with the situation – I did – so it was actually up to me to end it.”

        Yes! Definitely! I had this ephiphany too! I also had the realisation that, when embarking on a new relationship, i shouldn’t just worry about what they think of me, or whether i am meeting their needs, if they like me and want to be with me, i should also be considering whether I want to be with *them*, whether they are meeting *my* needs! I feel a little foolish that it’s taken me so long to learn what should be pretty common sense, but hey, at least i’m learning now. :)

  57. Diana says:

    runnergirl, the songs from the movie “Waiting to Exhale” come to mind. Those songs are all about letting that “bad” man go.

    Kelly, for you the song “You Just Keep Me Hanging On”. He wants your around but only at his convenience and to stroke his ego.

    I’m in a NC zone. I’m not counting the days because that makes me think too much of our last contact. My online emotional affair is very painful for me and so I am trying hard to stay away from emails and his website. Still planning to not send that Father’s Day card (need strength). He did contact me to wish me “God’s blessings” (what was that all about?-I didn’t reply) Planning to spend the weekend with my husband and discuss how I have been feeling. Wish me luck in communicating my pain (I won’t tell him about my EU man of course, but just about us). And I’ve read more about emotional affairs and they are hard to break. I hope I stay strong

    • EmLAW says:

      Mine was as emotional as an affair can get and I so appreciate what you are experiencing because I am living it as we speak. It is really hard to break away – especially since they can tell when we are and try to pull us back! I realized that I needed the emotional and he needed the sex and not so much of the emotional. He was willing to fake the emotional stuff to get the sex. Stay strong you are not alone that’s for sure. You are not an option that he can have without any effort.

      • Diana says:

        I didn’t see your comment. So you understand this emotiona affair too? It’s awful. I think if was sex, I would understand. But to only communicate via text and emails and forums. How crazy is that! They can say all the right things that your husband or real guy says but they are not there emotionally really. Only words. Whatever is missing in me, I need to deal with and get that emotional “fix” from my husband or recognize I didn’t marry the right guy.

        • EmLAW says:

          I would love to hear more Diana! Its a totaly person addiction but loosing the cell phone and not being at his beckon call really helped a lot. That’s lazy communication we are way better than a two second text or email.

    • runnergirl says:


      Good for you in deciding to go NC with the online guy and good luck with your husband. Sometimes when I’m struggling with not breaking NC, I come here and read instead of emailing him. Cyberspace is a pain. There are a lot of us, unfortunately, in the same boat. You can do it because you are worth it. Also, have you read Natalie’s books? They really helped me.

      Thank you for the song suggestions. I’m going to watch “Waiting to Exhale”, again. Good luck to you.

    • cavewoman says:

      re: Father’s Day card; I’m here to really, really urge you NOT to send it!!! You’ll see I’ve thought this over already before…LOL. As with all excuses to break NC, focus on the urge, rather than act on it.

      He’s not the father of your child/children — so the occasion really does not justify contact any more than a regular day. Put yourself in his shoes. Would it make your Father’s Day more special for feeling like the world is celebrating your parenting efforts — or would it be more likely to cause you to be reminded of some past affair? What the heck does that have to do with Father’s Day?! But you don’t really need me to tell you about switching perspectives… You said it yourself: “He did contact me to wish me “God’s blessings” (what was that all about?”

      Good luck, stay strong!

  58. pam says:

    Thought I was there ,but fell off the wagon again recently. The only joy this time round is, I know his behavior so well it’s predicable and no surprise.
    One surprise for me though, is that I have learnt …
    If I don’t call him- I don’t need to go into upset mode because his phone goes to voice mail , and my call’s not returned . Score one- nil in my favour
    If I don’t sms him – I don’t need to wonder if he will reply or get feel upset if doesn’t .Score two- in my favour
    If I don’t give my heart – he doesn’t have it to break .Score three -still in my favour
    No opportunity for him to win a marathon in running, if I’m not chasing . Score four in my favor.
    His ego isn’t going to cost my resspect , because I won’t pay it.
    Score five in my favour -him still zero.
    I could list many more examples , I want to add , I’m not seeing this as a relationship game participant looking to win , nor as a way to win his attention ..I’m just acknowldging that no contact makes me a winner…. in this journey called life.

  59. simone71 says:

    there was a comment from a woman where she wrote that the EUM finally said he would never ever see her in real and that he is sorry he is hurting her with this……
    LOL in his face
    same story here…….i was with him for three years talking up to four times a day on the phone……..chatting …….my thoughts were all about him…..
    he did let me down very often and in many cruel and mean ways…..
    but i felt always this HOPE that one day he will change and will NEED to see me and will WANT to take the chance ……
    hm……at least seeing me…….
    however…….i changed my phone number today so he finally cant get in and out of my life anymore when he wishes to
    i wonder why we women build these fairytales in our minds with prince charming that will safe us……..
    we hope we wait we wish we long for and we dont wanna see those big big red flags
    i dunno why so many intelligent special women on here are selling themselves under their real worth
    i have the hope we can see clearly …..every day more with NC

    ty Nat for this site

    • cavewoman says:

      I even hesitate to ask for more info, but perhaps I really need to know, even if it’s painful it might be helpful as well… my affair with the EUA was 95% over the phone. My friends know of him as ‘the phone guy’ — not LD, as he lived in a city less than 45 mins from me and he would come to my city for errands many times without making plans to see me. He also spent more time talking to me than it takes to take me out on a date including commute time. It was obvious after some time that he preferred to conduct it exclusively over the phone… he claimed he was too busy… but it didn’t add up and it baffled me endlessly. I know so much detail about him that I doubt there was another woman (after all, all he did was talk about himself, for hours on end…) I couldn’t fit the whole situation into any category… is there a category? a label that describes this and shows I’m not the only one to be suckered into such a setup? is there a theory to explain specifically this dynamic?

      • CC says:

        Hi cavewoman, yes I can relate. It might as well been an LDR but guys like this are looking for the ego stroke. I used to get confused by them not actually wanting the physical shag but EU has its many forms. I know many people that text and call all the time but when it comes to face time all of a sudden there’s an excuse. The phone is an easy way to get an ego stroke and keep the intimacy barrier in tact.

  60. Dawn says:

    Help:( My EUM has made contact after 6 months. Just when I think Im finally getting it all together and moving on. He starts contacting me again. I made the mistake of returning a text after a couple of weeks of ignoring. We ended up seeing each other and well…. one thing led to another:( I am freaking out…… all the obsessing I thought was in the past has reared its ugly head again. He says he has changed and realized he missed me and is sorry for treating me so bad. My heart says maybe he has finally changed but my head says…its another trick to get me to stoke his ego and give it up. He seemed different like maybe….but from everything I have read these guys just dont change their stripes. He is one of those AC’s that has a collection of female barnicles attached. I’m sure they are still there. I feel like maybe by giving me a romantic date and gettin it in he probably thinks we are ok (why wouldnt he). I wish I could flip a switch and cut him off. I have no control in regards to him.

    • Natasha says:

      Dawn, I know exactly how you feel. I was in an almost identical situation – i.e. he popped up after five months NC telling me he felt badly about how he treated me, how he was a new man, how everything was going to be different, etc. In my case, he hadn’t changed one bit – he was bs-ing about wanting a relationship and thought he was being a great guy for dignifying me with a “nicer” version of what was essentially a booty call/ego stroke. I would say go very slow and have your boundaries very firmly in place. Keep a close eye out for any passive-aggressive undermining of stuff he’s now promising! In any event, if he is in fact still a twit, you totally DO have control – you did it for six months and you can do it again if you have to! *Hugs*

    • cavewoman says:

      Aw Dawn — really? Too little, too late! Six months in, he realizes he misses you? Honestly, let’s be realistic, he went on his merry way for six months! How badly could he have missed you? What the? He can shove it. You are worth way more.

      It’s never too late to regain control. If I ever slip up, please tell me the same. You have the power to stop this backsliding right here right now. What happened doesn’t have to mean any more than you make it out to mean. You do NOT want the obsessing. You know how much better off you are without him.

      Right now, click reply to this, and give us a list of at least 5 seriously awful things YOU DO NOT MISS about your past with him. Patterns, habits, character traits are better than isolated events… but anything that makes your stomach churn qualifies. Keep the list handy. (Shoot, I misplaced mine, but I know it filled both sides of a sheet of paper.) Then make plans to do something really nice for yourself in the next few days, a true treat — as a reward for getting back on the wagon.

      You can do it!!!

  61. Lovely says:

    Brilliant! Three years ago when an ex of mine left me I determined–at the age of 40– that I would no longer WAIT anymore, not for him, nor anyone else. I finally decided I would make good use of my single life. And I’ve gotta tell ya…it was the one of the best times of my life. WHen you’re not waiting, you’re living in the now. WHen you’re not waiting, you’re experiencing life on life’s terms. It’s a brilliant feeling.

    At times, I will “kill time” waiting for my current bf to come home from work. But I try to snap out of that mindset and allow a more organic flow of time and experience to happen between us. I know this isn’t exactly the “waiting” you are referring to, but I am a recovering love addict. I know very well the waiting you’re talking about, but have finally seen the light! However, even after 3 years of a wonderful recovery, there’s still trace elements of the need to WAIT. 😉 Good job in educating people on this! And you’re an awesome writer too.

  62. Judy says:

    I wasted five years of my life as a fallback option. Even though I had my “Enough” moment two years ago, there are still days when I am angry at him and myself for the five years I lost. I’m working to get past the anger, but it’s hard.

    During those five years, I was emotionally unavailable myself, waiting around someone who would never love me back. I watched friends move on to more serious relationships and get married, while I stayed stalled. I wish I could do it all over, but I can’t.

    Now, I’m just trying to get over my anger at all that wasted time and move on. I live in a very rural/suburban area, very hard for dating in your early 30s. Men are either totally afraid of commitment, baby daddies/recovering from their divorce, or seem very close-minded about the world. It’s been a struggle, reminding me of my bitterness regarding the time I wasted. I try not to feel so down, but after a recent breakup from another committphobe guy; I can’t help it.

    • CC says:

      Judy, keep reading and working on the reasons why you are/were EU and it will get easier. Anger will turn to understanding/acceptance. And EU behaviours will be standing out to you like alarm bells. Commitmentphobes will come knocking and you can look out your peephole at the joker and laugh, not even opening the door. We all have the ability to break this chain and become available ourselves allowing healthy people and relationships into our lives. Just by reading this site you are making more steps than most would ever do for self introspection… so congratulations and stick with it!

  63. Cat says:

    -Please help me, was I fast forwarded? Do I contact? NC? EMU? I dated my guy casually last year for about 3 months and discovered he was a month out of an engagement when we first went out. I asked him if he thought he was ready to date. Long story short he ended it after disappearing for two weeks and then saying that he wasnt developing the feelings he thought he should be. I was fine with that as we didn’t speak often and I dating was sporadic (the dates themselves were great).

    We had no contact for the year and then ran into each other at Starbucks. He asked for another chance and then pushed for us to be boyfriend girlfriend since “we had already tried the dating thing.”
    When he asked, I hesitated but finally agreed, we talked about what that meant (spending weekends together, how we should approach each other about making plans with our friends etc.) He told me he would try to stay emotionally availible and not pull away after two weeks. I asked him about that and he said he was kidding but sometimes when things get close, families mingling, hanging out with kids, etc he tends to pull away.
    2 months went by and everything was great. No “I love yous” but lots of time building the relationship getting to know each other, doing sweet guy things like fixing the car or surprising me with tickets to a show. For his job he had to go out of state for a month to train. The weekend before he decided to make a garden for me in my backyard, spent time with my daughter, came up with a plan to rearrange my living room and disclosed all of his financial info (including somethings he was struggling with).
    Leading up to his going out of town he became more distant. On the day he was leaving I txt him and asked if everything was okay saying I had noticed he was taking my calls or responding to txt’s and got a txt back saying, “yeah, just busy. Do we have to talk everyday?” I didnt respond. 6 hours later I txt to confirm our date, asking if we were still on for that evening. He wrote back, ‘I don’t think so it’s getting late and I am still hanging out with my kids.” I said ‘ok, have a great trip glad you got to spend time with your kids as an early father’s day present.:)”
    It has been 4 days now and I have heard nothing…..I havent reached out to him. When we dated last time I randomly txt him after a couple of weeks of no contact and he wrote back, “Are you…

    • grace says:

      Abort mission. The “kids” excuse is a classic ruse. I love children and I would date a man with children but it’s pretty low to use them as an excuse for crap behaviour. He’s fast forwarded you somewhat but it looks like he has been consistently …. inconsistent. I think you fast-warded yourself. Four days without a word? Your next words to him should be along the lines of “Get lost and stop wasting my time you flip-flapping user” (or something more dignified if you prefer).

    • CC says:

      Disrespectful behavior Cat. Stand up for yourself now. It’s a big red flip flapping flag.

  64. Diana says:

    runnergirl and cavewoman,

    Thank you for your encouragements. I think I might get Nat’s book. I was hoping to kick this need by myself, but some minutes (I don’t count the days, I change too much) I feel like I need to have that fix. And yes, sending a Father’s Day card would remind me of him and the pain. And then I would wait for a “thank you” from him that would probably make me happy for a sec and want to respond. I don’t even know how I became so attached, I thought I was cured of this pattern. But no matter, ending is what is most important. So, I’ll bite my nails and keep off his website and not look at my email (I had a special email address just for him). Pathetic I know. :(

  65. Sharon says:

    Good post NML. Thanks for your site. I have been reading it for years now and it has given me the courge to walk away many times before. I have always fallen back and he knows that/says that, so when I say I am done he doesn’t take it seriously. I am still waiting though. I shall read this daily and perhaps it will give me the courage to walk away from the MM. He wants to see me this weekend and I have held off/been too busy, for 3 weeks now. I have told him that I can not feel this way or do this anymore. I know it will make no difference if I don’t see him, he will never leave her. I know that at this point I need to do this for myself. I think I need a 12 step program for love.

  66. Sharon says:

    @ JennyLately/ FOR THE YOUNGER WOMEN OUT THERE;I am one of those woman. I am 53, my daughter is off to college in 2 months and he is still with his wife. Ten years off and on we have gone. I started seeing him when I was married, left my husband 6 years ago (not for him-for me) and have had other relationships. I always end back with him.
    I say to the younger women, please head the advise here. PLEASE, wasting time at 19? 29? You have your whole life ahead of you. I am 53 now and I see men my age dating younger woman-your age. It sucks but I hope out there in the world there is a man for me who will treat me with respect and who I will love too. Go to therapy now! Work out those issues NOW!

    • EllyB says:

      Sharon: Yeah, quite a few women my age (early thirties) date guys in their fifties. When I was younger, I used to think: OMG, this means my time is running out! Will I have to date a guy 20 years older if I “fail” to snatch one my age up before 30? What if I’m 50 and guys my age want someone 20 years younger?

      This is BS. I don’t know what drives all those guys who date much younger women, but I’m sure in most cases it’s nothing healthy (sex is one thing, but a serious relationship???). I guess many of them are AC/EUM who resort to younger women because they seem easier to manipulate. Plus, it’s nice to know there is somebody young who is going to take care of you once you get old (and who will in all likelihood die lonely herself).

      I think it’s much better to be single than to end up with a guy like this. It’s worth waiting and looking for the decent ones, no matter what age we are. After all, being single isn’t that bad either.

      I’m not saying all relationships with 20 years age gap are bad. But I’ve seen many which seemed disfunctional.

    • Fearless says:

      I don’t profess to know much about the details, but just going by the two comments above of yours that I have read I feel I need to comment about one thing that seems to work (for me) in this ‘waiting game’ is to understand that this man DOES NOT CARE about how this entrenched relationship is affecting you, your life or your future. He will do it anyway. You need to get this – that YOU are responsible for caring about you – not him. The last thing you should be waiting for is for him to care about how all of this is affecting you and to do something about it for you. It’s working well enough *for him*! You can tell him till the cows come home – you can tell him till you both die if you like – that you cannot do this anymore or feel like this anymore – he does not really care – it is YOU who has to care.

      And telling him you can’t do this anymore and then continuing to do it is to be the woman who talks too much but does nothing. He is not paying any attention to what you say about not being able to do it anymore – why would he, when you say one thing and do another? Either you are in or you are out. You (like me) need to get to grips with your situation – he is not ‘in’ – you are ‘in’, and you are ‘in’ all by yourself; you are riding solo expecting someone who is not on the horse to take over the reins. If you want someone to care that you can’t feel this way or do this anymore, you had better start caring – yourself. Realise you are on your own in the caring about you stakes… I have started to see that and it has helped me no end.

      I am my only hope. And your only hope is you.
      Good luck to you.

  67. Poppy says:

    Thank you for this post, NML, and the rest of the site – I only discovered it the other day. My epiphany came long ago and I’ve been looking for answers for some time but only now am I breaking up with my EUM after 3 years of crumbs. God this hurts :o( Anyway, off to the break-up section with me… thanks again.

  68. Crazybaby says:

    I’ve been playing the waiting game for three and a half years. We were working together for most of it, which was my ‘justification’ for why it wasn’t progressing, but four months ago the company went bust. I was apprehensive to see how this would change his behaviour towards me. At first he was seeing me much more regularly, constantly texting to ask if I was okay, and even gave me money to help me out. The cynical side of me wondered if he feared losing me now he wasn’t seeing me on a daily basis, and was upping the ante to make sure I was still interested. This last month he seems to have ‘relaxed’ back into his old ways a bit, not contacting me as often (and I have resisted contacting him first), and been a little bit disrespectful – moody and teasingly critical, taking it for granted he can pop round for sex, etc.. I’m aware of my own self esteem and rejection issues, and have started thinking hard about his behaviour, and looking for ways to change the dynamics and see what effect it has on him. We used to mainly text, so I’ve started calling instead of replying by text. It seems to be working and he’s calling more. I’ve also been pulling him up more when I’m not happy with how he treats me. He’s not a bad man, just doesn’t make much effort and I make it way too easy for him. That’s something I’m changing too, but I find it hard because I do still want it to ‘blossom’. I compare his behaviour to that of my friends and say to myself “how would I react if a friend did that?” and use that as my guide. The big question when you’re not sure how much of an EUM he is is how long do you wait? I’m seeing this as a transitional phase, and have told myself I’ll wait til our fourth anniversary. I do live my own life in the meantime, and look out for other men, but I’m one of those people who really craves love, affection, and companionship. My previous relationships have all been emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically abusive, which makes me fearful of the frying pan/fire scenario. My current man is far more of a Man than his predecessors, which is why I think I find it hard to walk away. Judgement suspended for now… Am I doing the right thing?

    • Fearless says:


      reading your comment reminds me of excatly how my own mind worked with my Mr EU…I waited for it to ‘blossom’… (I went through periods of clarity – often – and I would not see him during those times – but I always reverted back to ‘denial’ – to comfortable);

      I found justifications for everything, like ‘this is better than nothing’, ‘I am not putting my life on hold anyway’ (but actually I was, I see that now), ‘if I just hang in there it’s bound to all come good’ and ‘I’ll give it until…next whatever’. Giving it until next whenever is always extended to the next whenever…and the next whenever… Nat is absolutely correct – the more you invest, the more you think you still need to invest to make good on your investment and to avoid admitting that the whole thing is a big mistake for you; you become like a dog with a bone and the whole thing, so long as you do it, is devaluing *you* and eroding your seense of self worth, so the more you wait to have yourself validate etc… it’s a terrible vicious circle and we need to just opt out.

      I would say, you should go back and read Nat’s blog here – over and over until you see yourself in it. You seem to be doing this bit (as I was):

      “I’ll be right here waiting for you if you ever decide you want me”


      “I’m waiting for you to spontaneously combust into being available and commitment ready”

      There’s one thing I read of Nat’s just recently that really hit a big chord with me, which I now can’t find, but it was something like this: You shouldn’t wait around for a relationship that, if it was going to happen, would be happening *NOW*. Why is the relationship not happening *now*? Why are these men “stalling”? They are not stalling – we juts like to imagine that is what it is. They are simply not offering us the relationship we want – he is not stalling – this is it, Crazybaby, this IS the relationship; this is as good as it gets. Trust me. I have come to see clearly that there is no-one ‘stalling’ in my EU involvement except for ME! And the only person stalling in yours is *you*

      Good luck.

    • grace says:

      you’re falling into the trap of making his limited contribution about you. as fearless says, this is it. it doesn’t matter if you pull him up, or not. if you are clingy. or not. if you manipulate him. or don’t. he will always bring the relationship back to the status quo that HE is happy with. Ultimately, he has that power because you care deeply and he … doesn’t. What kind of effed up situation is that?
      yes, it’s been three and a half years, which seems significant but in your gut you know it’s NOT significant.
      Think of it this way. You have an employee who frequently turns up late and skips home early. Some days they don’t even bother turning up at all. They say they will turn stuff in, and they don’t. How many chances do you give them? But you’ve already paid them x amount of salary. And they’re not as bad as the previous employee. And they have so much potential!
      Just fire him already.

      • Fearless says:

        Yes, Grace, thanks for reminder…I did it all…and got nothing but pain and frustration – of an intensity I never imagined existed; crazybaby, with these guys you may as well stand outside in the cold every night and howl at the moon. Seriously.

  69. LostEnergy says:

    Am I waiting??
    There’s a really cute guy, who pays me loads of attention & flirts and compliments me etc etc. So were friends. He is seeing a girl but says when he moves into his own place that he’ll invite me over and we spoke about going out into the town he’s moving into together. Now I really like him, want to continue the freindship -and whilst I would like more, I’m not going to get initimate with this guy as he has a girl. However I’m also thinking its maybe *not* a good idea to go out with him for the evening either or go to his new place -even as friends. Coz: A) I would like more (but it’s not realistic atm and I dont want to be a post ex emotional airbaig for him either). B) It’s not fair to his gf surely? – Which potentially make him a bit of an a/c…
    Please help me with some advice here ladies :-)

    • Fearless says:

      Lost Energy,
      I think you are answering your own question here:

      A) I would like more (but it’s not realistic atm and I dont want to be a post ex emotional airbaig for him either).
      B) It’s not fair to his gf surely? – Which potentially make him a bit of an a/c

      If he wants to be “friends” with you tell him to invite the girlfriend along for your evenings out – and you can all be friends thegither! I bet that’d go down like a lead balloon.

      • LostEnergy says:

        Hi Fearless,
        Thanks for your reply,
        I’d love to see his face if I suggested bringing his girlfriend too 😀 lol.
        Yes I guess my doubts are all relevant, probably just another case of me wanting to keep the rose coloured glasses on and feel flattered by the attention of a guy I like.
        Definitely best to keep out of the new pad, night out territory I think. Thanks for the back up, was needed before I let myself get carried away in the wrong direction.

  70. Tonkin says:

    Hi Nat/Ladies,

    It’s uplifting reading the post and related comments. ..

    I’m also stuck in a waiting situation. We’ve broken up for 3 months. During these times, he’s has been the one who called and suggested lunch/dinner. We met and talked and shared and it always feels like the connection is still there. Needless to say, I’m still deeply, madly , truly in love with him and have been wishing we could get back together from day 1 after the breakup. Through the meetings and talks, he admits that he still loves me but is not ready for a commited relationship/getting back together because he wanna make sure that we are meant for each other and wanna wait for a sign from God that i’m the one. He suggests we keep communicating/meeting once a week to see how things and feelings go, yet at the same time saying we should not expect anything, should be open to life, etc … It hurts and it’s unfair for me, I KNOW it, but my heart cannot do what my mind tells me to do. I miss him every waking hour. I ache for him and long for him every minute of my day and night. I can’t stop loving him and hoping. The hope is so fragile yet so strong. I’ve tried all the things suggested to get over a breakup but I find it so hard to really move on mentally. I find no interest in anything I do. I can’t sleep and eat well. I know I need to love myself more. But how can I move on when he’s everywhere in my heart, in my mind. I feel helpless without him. I need a strong dose of self-love and self-esteem boost. Please share with me how you ladies move on and fight the pain, the longiness and the need for him. Please share with me how you find joy in daily activities and life again. I don’t want to get counselling and be on medication…. I know that I have to move on, stop HOPING and waiting, but so far it’s soo hard to do… Please show me how and what to do.

    • leisha says:

      After realising that I wasn’t EVER likely to get my needs met I went sheer NC…I did let him know it. It isn’t EVER easy to let go of one your heart loves…but your self-love is essential as well. IF you go No Contact you will miss the man, you will question yourself, you will go through rough times…but it gets better. Clarity and peace come. Anger comes but lessens. You realise after awhile that you did learn some things, you did love, you didn’t have the relationship that you want, and you develop the boundaries and tools needed for the rest of your life. You can love someone from a distance. There are no guarantees in love…but I would definately advise to stick to your own decisions regarding wanting a commitment and not settling for crumbs which is how I’m perceiving your guy’s “offer”…it won’t allow you what you want and it won’t allow you closure and it won’t free you to pursue what you do want…set him free and free yourself. Experience the pain, read the posts and comments on this site. Order “The No-Contact Rule”, subscribe to her mailings, order Nat’s other books. Learn about you. It does get better but to have the eventual freedom of the result you must go through the process. It hurts but heals.

    • grace says:

      You’ve got to stop seeing him. Ideally break off all contact. Definitely no sex.
      I missed my ex IN MY SLEEP but did get over it eventually. It took over three years even though I didn’t see him. Even the occasional text or looking on FB was enough to set me back. I had to go on medication and get counselling. I’d hate for anyone else to go through the same and if there is no let up I suggest you do see a doctor.
      You do have to cut contact, there’s no getting around that.

  71. Sharon says:

    Thank you Fearless and NML. “that YOU are responsible for caring about you” and you are right. My therapist has been telling me this for 6 months now. You are also right Fearless that he will never get it. Why should he. He has the best of both worlds, his cake and he’s eating it too and all this things NML has said and I have repeated to him ( even gave am an article she wrote once!). LOL
    Although he feels bad that I am sad and want more–it not enough. He cannot see what I sacrifice. He is so confident. Friday night after I posed that comment I sat at a cafe across from a party I wanted to be at. He was there since it was for someone he worked with and I told him I didn’t want to go due to the drama and because it was his work friends and some family. I sat there thinking-I am the one sacraficing. I became so depressed sitting there and when I text him didn’t respond. I had already told him that I was unhappy and hadn’t seen him for 3 weeks. All these little things contributed to me ending things on SAt night.
    NML is right, there is a lot of time invested and we do have something,whatever it is, special between us. What has kept me here is the belief that I will not find anyone else that makes me feel this way.
    I am 53, I have been told I am beautiful and I am intellegent and have a great job. I own my own home and have a daugher going off to a state University with high honors in 2 months. I have my whole life ahead of me with very little holding me back now. If I am alone, then so let it be.
    I have boundries with other men but not with MM, probably because of the TIME factor like NML has said. I feel there are no avaialble men that I want to date in my little town in upstate NY. I see them dating younger woman, although I look 10 yrs younger. He loves me but nothing is going to change. I know this but he loves himself much more and told him he should start shoping for my replacement now. He said no one can replace me. hahaha
    When I went no contact with him last year for 7 months he did, and it was one of the wivies outside his wife’s network of friends. (I am the only one who knows this bomshell but I will not tell-I am above that) When we started talking again it only took 2 months before he was in my bed again. And by Christmas I was “in” again. And this is they way it has cycled for 10 years now. Sick I am. I know in 2 to 4 weeks he…

    • leisha says:

      You can do better. You must. He is a heel. Let him go. Heal yourself. Expand your sights outside of your present environment…there are many unattached men…check on the dating websites once you are healed and check out men from all over…look in the pond of the world and get out of the mud-puddle you’ve been bathing in. Don’t waste anymore of your precious time…the sooner you really let go the sooner you will fly free. Read Nat’s books and take this time to walk towards the rest of your life without being part of a jack-ass’s entourage; he is SO not worth it. He is married. Let him go.

    • Fearless says:

      Do you imagine that if he could just *SEE* how crap this situation and all this waiting is for you that he will (hey presto!) do something about it? He won’t. You are not telling him anything he does not already know, or anything he is even very interested in – all he hears is ‘complaints’; the MM knows what the situation is better than OW does; it is the OW who playing blind man’s buff with these guys (you will see that in time)

      And why are you trying to enlighten him, anyway? Is your own judgement not good enough for you? Why do you need him to ‘agree’? – You already know that the situation is crap FOR YOU. It is not crap for him – that is the point here. You are two seperate people. Your experience is not his experience. Your ‘sacrifices’ are not his sacrifices. Your needs are not his needs. Your misery is not his misery. He is having his cake and eat it; he likes the status quo.

      The problem here Sharon (and I sympathise; I was in similar mindset) is not that he doesn’t understand how frustated you are, it’s that you don’t understand that it is not his problem. It is yours.

      Sharon, you said, “What has kept me here is the belief that I will not find anyone else that makes me feel this way”. Let’s hope not?

      Good luck

      • Fearless says:

        sorry to push in again (but I’m on a roll!) – but Sharon, see this that you say: “NML is right, there is a lot of time invested and we do have something…special between us.” The whole point is that your invested time in him is a *mistake* – a terrible mistake – you may not see it – yet, but you will, eventually.

        He is not an honest man in a bad situation – you need to get that -there’s no such thing as an ‘honest cheater’. He’s been lying to his wife and to you for years – that’s the nature of what you are involved with. And the more you invest the less you want to admit to yourself that it is not that special, that in fact you are *wrong* about him and the relationship – wrong to have invested in him and wrong to stay invested.

        Thanks to Nat I think I actually see that now – though I took my time! But *I was wrong*! And the highest leap I needed to take to get there was to finally admit to myself that my Mr EU is not the man I thought (or hoped or wanted) him to be. I was wrong about him and I sooooo did not want to be wrong – that was my worst case scenario, so I buried it, and it surfaced, and I buried it.,,and I waited and I hoped and I waited… for him to show me I wasn’t wrong. But he can’t do that, because I was wrong. And I know I am getting it because for the first time – ever -in ten years – I have lost all desire to ‘explain’ anything to him at all, to make him inderstand or to even engage with him… what’s to say? Nuffin’

        • runnergirl says:

          Sharon & Fearless,

          Thank you for your posts. Sharon, our stats track. 52, involved with MM for 2 years, daughter off to college, and my whole life ahead of me.

          Sheesh Fearless, you are so spot on. I am in awe. He was not miserable. I was miserable. I was trying to convince him of how miserable it was for me but, of course, he couldn’t hear me because it wasn’t miserable for him. Sharon, they are having their cake and eating it too. Why would they be miserable?

          Fearless, thank you. I’m getting it. We were separate people with separate needs. His needs were met; mine weren’t and no amount of waiting or talking would ever remedy that fact. It was like trying to submerge a giant beach ball in a swimming pool. It kept popping up no matter how I tried and waited. I was simply plain wrong. I made a huge mistake in becoming involved with a MM. Shoot, shoot, shoot. He had to have been lying to me too…that is so hard to accept. No such thing as an honest cheat! I’m glad you are on a roll Fearless, your post smacked me upside the head. Hugs to you Sharon. This sucks big time.

          • EmLAW says:

            You are not alone in making the MM mistake! I am currently working out of an insane situation with one as we speak. MM needs are getting met – and they could care how it effects you. Been there done that…they feel sorry that we are hurting but they don’t do anything to change anything. The truth hurts…if they truely cared about us they would be with us and they would do everything in their power to show us 24/7 – they don’t! They will throw us crumbs, future fake, blow hot and cold all to keep us on the line so they can keep having their cake and eating it too! You need to disengage…it may be a slow process but move away from them and the drama they create. It was very very hard for me but the simple fact that I wasn’t crying at my desk daily was a good clue I was doing the best thing for me. We have to be the ones to get out of these situations. Read and post on BR every day. It helps soooo much.

          • Fearless says:

            Runnergirl (glad to be of any help), Emlaw

            Seems this topic has caught my interest. Until you go NC, you don’t see the wood for the trees. My Mr EU is not married – but all sameprinciples apply. I did have a ‘thing’ with an MM 15 yrs ago (me EU? Yes, I think so! Am at least now aware of it). I know exactly where you are all coming from. When you are in the middle of it with MM you have moved in lock stock and barrel to your new home – in cloud cuckoo land!

            We cannot grasp the reality that our involvement with MM is NOT different from all the other “sordid” little affairs that everyone else is having. Yours IS that sordid little affair. You can love him, pine for him, wait for him all you want for as long as you want – it will not change the fact that he is Mr Wrong! And you are Mrs Head-in-the-Clouds. You are not some “special” mistress involved with a “special” married man – you are just plain ‘the mistress’ and he is just plain ‘married man’.

            This is not a part-time supply contract until such times as the full-time promoted position becomes available! You accepted the terms and conditions and now you want to complain to the Union and up the terms of your contract! The arrangement you have now (or had) is the whole shabbang! This is as good as it gets. If it was anything more than that it would *be* more than that – *right now*. (I think all of this applies to EU involvement too – you are not alone!)

            If you want a new full-time promoted contract YOU have to resign this one first (and then get a new job with a different company!).

            Also… the MM has put himself in an impossible ‘Don Juan’ position: He is a bastard no matter what he does now. He can never be the good guy here. And also in terms of you: if he stays away from you he is being “cruel”to you; if he continues the affair he is being “cruel” to you.

            The whole sad sorry scenario is a ‘head’s you win, tails you lose’. For everyone. Your mistake was placing the bet! So get your money off the table before you lose some more.

            EmLaw: “they feel sorry that we are hurting but they don’t do anything to change anything”. Why would they?? YOU are responsible for changing a situation that is hurtful to YOU. Not him. You have to see that, should you choose to do so, you have to OWN your own decision to continue to invest in an MM (or EU for that matter)…

          • Fearless says:

            sorry… one more itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny wee comment then I shut up on this..

            Of course, earlier, I meant to say it’s a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ scenario. It’s lose or lose all round.

            EmLaw, there’s always the “light bulb moment” with the MM (and the EU) thing that:

            “if he loved me he would not sit back, do nothing and allow my unhappiness to continue. Ergo, he doesn’t love me” (reaction: It’s all a lie!! Argghh..OMG!!)

            There may well be a truth in that, but when we come up with it we are quick to throw it at him, time and time again, so he he can prove we are wrong (of course he doesn’t, cos we are not wrong). Now that we have thought of this, we like to think we have gained some new ‘insight’ – had a light bulb moment – got some new clarity. But we havn’t. Cos we have not yet recognised the crux of our difficulty, which is:

            “If I loved me I would not sit back, do nothing and allow my unhappiness to continue. Ergo, I do not love me”

            Thanks to Nat’s blog’s about self validation and self worth – when I started to get that I had to love me, recognise my own value as an independent given and learn not to seek or depend on validation from the EU (or any oother external source) but to recognise how and when to validate myself – the floodlights came on. (I don’t say I have cracked it, but I know what my problem is – so now I can fix it).

  72. Darren Miller says:

    Hey Natalie, I love your posts, especially this post. It reminds me of a time when I was seeing a girl, we had an open relationship and I thought we were both on the same page, I guess not.

    At the time she was happy with the fact both of us were seeing other people. However, it all changed when she started getting feelings towards me, and she asked me the devastating question ‘would you want to make it more serious?’

    To be honest, I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to be a one woman man. Her actions afterwards were interesting to watch but also confusing. She was happy to wait for me until I changed my mind. In my opinion this was real confidence. Deep down she really believed I would choose her over any other girl. On the other hand, she was also really worried that I was still talking to other girls, I see this as fear.

    Love should be selective, whether you choose to go for that person or not. However, you need to remember that a few eggs will get broken on the way and if you are on the receiving end, you need to be decisive, Even if you can’t make the choice, it has to be made.

    • grace says:

      For what it’s worth, she wasn’t happy waiting . It’s not a sign of confidence to compete with other women for a man’s attention, it’s a sign of extremely low self-esteem. You were right on the “fear” part though, I expect she was scared.
      Still, interesting to get the “other side’s” viewpoint. Lots of women wonder what men in this situation are thinking. Ladies, if he doesn’t have a clue it’s hurting you, don’t expect him to do “get it” and stop. It’s up to you to help yourself. (Of course, if you are happy to stick around waiting to be chosen, by all means do so. Let me know how it goes).

  73. Haley says:

    This guy has been iffy with me from the start and have known him for a year now. We were seeing each other but I finally had it after he went MIA every now and then. I sent him a message just finally finally getting everything off my chest and he called me to explain himself? I don’t know why I even answered. I told him that all I ever wanted was to be around him and to be 100% myself around him, but I never felt I could be myself because he would only want to talk or hang out when it was convenient for him because he was so “busy” all the time and that he was going through a lot of “shit” and didn’t know how to handle it or something.
    On the phone he said he doesn’t completely know what he wants, it doesn’t matter because he’s moving for him job in a few months, he’s still going through stuff, he told me he didn’t like how when we did go out i didn’t speak to any of his friends. so i said well excuse me, none of your friends spoke to me, why was i designated to start up with everyone? He knows I’m shy and his friends were mingling amongst themselves…they barely said shit to anyone not mention i hadn’t seen him in almost a month at that point, so was I supposed to feel really comfortable?
    So he was like, “yeah i get it”
    I said to him that everything I had to say was in the message and all I ever wanted was to be myself and to go out and enjoy myself, but you were always busy it was at your convenience to see me.
    how was i supposed to feel? like i could be myself when i felt he didn’t care?
    so he half-heartedly agreed, said something like “sorry it had to end this way”
    like what is that? it’s like he has no responsibility for anything, there is nothing wrong with me
    he doesn’t even know what he wants
    i was like ” i dont know what you wanted from me if you knew this about me that you didn’t like”
    he’s like “well i’d be lying if i said i didn’t like you sort of”
    At the end of the conversation I’m just annoyed because I feel like he said there was something wrong with me. I told him that I wanted nothing from him. He didn’t make the effort and has made me feel like i wasn’t good enough. What is that bullshit?

    • Minky says:

      Hey Hayley,

      Well done for cutting this wishy-washy plonker off!

      What is that all about, you ask: well, he is lazy and only interested in himself, his problems, his work, his life, him him him him him. There’s no room for anyone else! End of story.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about what his motivations are, it sounds like he’d be a truly rubbish boyfriend to *anyone*. “well i’d be lying if i said i didn’t like you sort of”!? what the hell is that?! You deserve way better than that!!

      The bottom line is that this is a guy who is not willing to make an effort with anyone. He’s too wrapped up in his own life. He wants companionship when it suits him and doesn’t want to have to consider anyone else in the interim. He is a total waste of time. And he knows it! Hence his reaction: “sorry it had to end this way”. I am sure his ego is also dented – no one likes to be dumped. No one likes to hear some uncomfortable home truths. He’s playing it cool, acting like it doesn’t mean anything to him.

      You have to think about you now. This guy has never thought about you and your wellbeing or feelings, so don’t waste another second thinking about him. Let him get on with his life and find another fallback girl if he needs company. You deserve a lot better than half-arsed effort. HUGS!!

      • Haley says:

        Thank you, I just don’t understand why he felt the need to tell me about how I was “too quiet” or whatever when I did come out with his friends which happened twice during the whole “relationship.” It’s as if he doesn’t have any responsibility for his actions. I feel like I put forth all the effort and he was hoping I would be his answer to everything? I’m more confused and hurt than anything by those words.

    • grace says:

      for what it’s worth, i don’t seen anything in this conversation that suggests he thinks there’s something wrong with you. i hazard that maybe you think that about yourself, especially if you keep throwing yourself into a situation where you keep getting hurt. if i had a family heirloom that meant a lot to me, i wouldn’t keep chucking it into the fire, or leaving it in the middle of the road, i’d look after it.
      Fundamentally, looking after yourself means removing yourself from these crappy situations.
      You’re annoyed that he won’t change and give you what you want. But why should he?

      • Haley says:

        I don’t want anything from him and I don’t want him to change. He is who he is. I’m annoyed because he threw that comment out there as if to deflect the responsibility of the situation onto me because I called him out on his own bullsh*t. At the end of the day I know there is nothing wrong with me and I did nothing wrong except perhaps letting the situation progress as far as it has. It is a life lesson that I will always remember. I don’t even understand the point of the conversation as to why he called in the first place.

        • grace says:

          Ah, he contacted you because you emailed him. All contact with them tends to backfire. That’s why I’ve cut em all off. Even blocked them from facebook. Don’t look back. Whenever I’ve let them back in, they’ve been even worse! Every contact with them, even when you think you’re making an incisive point or barely doing anything, leads them to think that you’re still interested. Your ex thought you were interested in his opinion and called to tell you about it. The only thing that gets through to them is your unbudging silence.

        • Minky says:

          The reason why he’s acting like an irrisponsible berk is because: he is one! The reason why he’s listing all your flaws to you is because you had just done the exact same thing to him. It’s childish behaviour and the fact that you don’t understand it is a GOOD thing – it’s means you’re too good for that nonsense and would never behave in such an idiotic way.

          Focus on moving on and leaving him behind. Analysing his motives is not going to benefit you in any way.

          • Haley says:

            Thank you both for your advice, you’re both right. I need to move on and leave the loser behind. He isn’t worth anything anymore. It’s time to focus on myself and my happiness :)

    • Fearless says:

      That bullshit Haley was Mr Emotionally Unavailable (classic case!). If you hadn’t been completely confused and bewildered by this guy there’d be something wrong with you. There isn’t. Yay!

      • Haley says:

        I just hope that despite the message I sent and from speaking to him on the phone he got the message that I want nothing more to do with him or hear from him. The last thing I want is for him to think I want anything to do with him.

  74. Disney says:

    I’m new to this site and I’m so glad that I found it. I have found myself in a situation with someone who thinks that it is ok to ” boomerang” in and out of my life. I’m lucky that the interaction between me and this man has been limited in time and exposure –thank ya jesus !! But, after 3 weeks of dating..I began to get the feeling that he was unable to emotionally connect and I have found that he bears the characteristics of an EUM. ( only texts, not affectionate at all, not close to friends, somewhat a momma’s boy, 44 yrs old never married, no kids)– a commitment-phobic man !! Well, after the 5th date I realized he was “emotionally retarded” and ran !! But, for some odd reason I texted him… WTF?? He answered back but let me know he had plans ( i didnt even ask), but what made me stop talking to him was.. I had to go to the hospital for tests and this EUM didnt text me to say good luck or are you ok ?? After4 days, he texted me …still no acknowledgement of my hospital appt –just asking me what was I up to ?? He had sent 2 messages like that and I realized that he really DOESNT want to know..so i told him nothing… now 3 weeks later he TEXTED me that things went perashaped and it was his fault and he enjoyed going out with me and he hoped that I would consider going out to listen to gigs with him again. I responded ( DAMN) that he didnt seem into me so I backed off but if he heard of a gig..to give me a ring ( WTF?) Guess what.. a text message the next day asking me to a gig (short notice) I had plans so I said no… he texted me last nite telling me that the gig was good and I wouldve enjoyed it and he hoped another time would suit for us to go out. I deleted the message but I really want to respond or should I just start the no contact rule…. Why in the world did I respond full well knowing that he not emotionally available???

    • Minky says:

      Don’t respond. This guy is a waste of time. He is doing your head in already and it has only been 5/6 weeks?! Don’t worry about hurting his feelings, if he’s emotionally retarded it won’t bother him for very long. He can find another gig buddy.

      Think of it as a self defense manouvre – you’re removing yourself from a situation which will not benefit you in any way and will ultimately frustrate and annoy you.

      • Disney says:

        Thank you Minky….
        Ya know what really burns me up is that 3 weeks of the 6 weeks he didnt contact me ( and I didnt contact him either) … WTF!!
        ( pulling my hair) And on the first date my gut told me to not see him again.. that is the one thing that I still struggle with.. I am blessed with great intuition but I ignore it at times when I cannot make sense of my feeling.. its like I need to prove my intution correct or something.. I am growing in confidence that when my gut tells me to stay away from a man ..even though I cant put my finger on why..that I should just do it !! It seems that the common thread going through the posts that I have read is that we ( women) feel something is off but ignore it and end up showing these assclowns that we have no pride or self-esteem. I was lucky growing up around male cousins and I used to listen to them a talk about girls and how they would walk over a nice guy to chase down an ass and that made them not respect woman too much. And here I am giving my precious time to someone who is an ASS.. We women really need to re-define what a nice guy is … those Mills and Boons novels and rom-coms have prepetuate an idea that an EUM can be loved enough by a woman to come out of it….NOT TRUE and pretty arrogant of us to think we can love someone enough to two “fix” their crap.

    • grace says:

      cut your losses and run. it only get worse. yes, you texted him, but don’t let that commit you to a text relationship. i had one of those last year, it did my head in!
      this guy is interested in you in the way that he is interested in a playstation, his cd collection or a dvd – as entertainment/something to do. don’t respond anymore. i’m not sure i would call it NC, there was nothing going on. let it die.

      • Disney says:

        thanks for the feedback..sometimes I just need to hear that i’m not crazy !! Unfortunately, I have allowed a man to string me along (7 yrs) before and leaving that relationship was the most painful thing I have had to do. I am not trying to repeat the mistakes of the past.
        And frankly, i’m too long in the tooth and I have no patience for the game playing. I went out on a date with a guy that point blank admitted to me the horrid, horrid stuff that he has done to woman ..( including leaving on an island b4 an impended storm…all because she annoyed him, and having a child with a married woman who when I asked how he felt about it replied ” it has nothing to do with me”) needless to say..there wasnt a 2nd date.. At first I thought he told me that stuff out of some kind of connection with me now I know through reading this site that he was just CYA so that when he treated me badly he could say ” i told you I was an ass” !! (sigh) Where do these men come from ??? grrrrr

  75. Shane says:

    Forward ever, backward never. Thanks Nat.

  76. Nics says:

    This is my first time commenting but I love this blog it has been so helpful. I was with my ex EUM for 5 1/2 years. The first 2 were great, but after that things steadily went downhill until he basically had a quarter life crisis (we are 26 now) and he broke up with me and immediately started “casually” sleeping with another woman. He has emotional issues/depression and I stood by waiting for him to get help. Truth is he doesn’t truly want to help himself, he just wanted me to wait around and be his shoulder to cry on while he didn’t have to commit to anything. I thought if I waited and was patient enough, eventually the drinking, the selfishness, the lack of respect, the flakiness, his fear of commitment would all just dissolve. Eventually he would grow into the man I had created in my mind that did not exist. It was never the man he showed me. Now I am just trying to figure out how to completely remove someone from my life who has caused so much hurt, but still considers me “his best friend” and the “only one he can talk to or cry in front of” about his emotional issues. I think my lack of self esteem causes me to crave his validation. I enjoy feeling ‘needed’ by him. But it also feels like crap because it is one-sided. It’s just hard when he is incredibly persistent and adament about how he doesn’t want to lose me and that he is convinced ‘one day’ when the ‘timing is right’ we will be together and get married blah blah blah. I just can’t be that girl who waits for his timing to be right. I need to choose me, right now!

    Thanks, sorry if this was too long, but it feels good to write it out sometimes…

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.