When you feel like you have little or no choices, it’s because your mentality paints you into a corner where it’s not that you don’t have any options, but that you either don’t like the options that you’re faced with (you don’t feel that you have the choices that you’d prefer), or because you don’t believe in your own capabilities.

We perceive our choices in terms of the limitations we think that we have.

The more limitations we believe we have, the less choices we perceive ourselves to have access to and in fact, the less opportunities we think we’re going to face in the future.

If you think you have ‘flaws’ (don’t we all but lots of people seem to think that being human is a barrier to choice) and that in your eyes it means you can’t be X or do Y and that certain people aren’t going to be interested in you, you’ve just shrunk your options. If you respond to your perceived limits by being with people that reflect your them, you’ll exclude available options and opt yourself into the unavailable dating pool. Next thing, all of your options ‘look’ unavailable.

We can practically prophesise doom for ourselves. Then, because we’re feeling low, we’re saying that we need to stay in the job we’re in even though it’s draining our soul because we think that we’re too old to change or that it would be too hard to get a new qualification or to apply in that field or that there are no jobs out there, end of. Or, we’re saying that a relationship that we’re very unhappy in is ‘as good as it gets’. We already felt that our choices were limited when we got into the relationship; when we look to the future, we think we’ll have even less opportunities than we think we have right now to be in a better relationship so we decide that we’ll continue to invest in our ‘only’ option.

Many people who avoid making decisions do so because they keep thinking about the future and trying to ‘protect’ it by avoiding making decisions or even dodge admitting mistakes for fear of limiting choices in a future that will eventually become the present, which of course they’ll dodge then when it comes around.

Often when faced with having to make a choice, it’s deciding between choosing the path of least resistance (your uncomfortable comfort zone) and change. When you paint yourself into a corner and say that you have no choices or that your only choice is to remain in an uncomfortable comfort zone or pretend you’re making a choice that’s actually a variation of your comfort zone, you’re painting yourself into a corner and removing your options, and a person who doesn’t feel that they have any options is not a happy person. You’re certainly not going to feel like you’re living the life you’re choosing to be in.

Of course it’s also important to remember that not making a choice is a choice in itself.

It’s not about thinking that you have endless options (there are people out there for instance, who treat dating, particularly online dating, like cruising through a people supermarket with a never-ending supply) and that you never have to choose like the commitment resisting and decision dodging amongst us, but removing your options puts you in No Man’s Land. You leave yourself with nowhere to go and as anyone can tell you who has ever sat on the fence of their own life or someone else’s life, that’s a pretty damn uncomfortable place to be in.

You’ll know that there is a BS (bullsh*t) and self-esteem issue when no matter what options are suggested or that you come across, you have an ‘objection’ that essentially keeps you in the same position. “But…. But…. But….” You then feel powerless even though you actually have power. You may even feel hard done by. I have people who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s tell me that they have no choices when it comes to relationships and then I have people in the same age groups tell me or show me that they have choices. What’s the difference? Perspective. Choice. How they feel about themselves, love, and relationships.

When you perceive yourself to have choices even if making some of those choices would mean getting uncomfortable but would ultimately lead to a better position, you’re giving yourself options and helping your self-esteem.

It means having to look beyond the short-term by making decisions that help put you on the path of living your life authentically by respecting your own values and endeavouring to treat you with love, care, trust, and respect each day.

While there are many choices we can make with a ‘goal’ in mind, the choice to treat you well and to keep trying at it doesn’t have a goal or destination in mind – it’s just what you have to do and when you feel consistently good off your own steam, other good things start to happen and your confidence builds, as do your options.

If you keep running you down and telling yourself things that seal off your options it leaves you with no room for a positive outcome and of course that’s only going to remove your hope, which in turn drags down your confidence, which in turn will have you questioning your worth – yep, that’s your self-esteem sliding.

Saying that you have little or no choices is like saying you have little or no power in your own life. If you’re going to, for instance, stay in a relationship, do it because you want to and it’s the positive choice to do so, not because you’re scared of what you might be and do outside of the relationship under your own steam. The funny thing is that when you put some concerted andcontinued effort into truly getting to know and like you, what you do under your own steam can only get better and better.

Your thoughts?


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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216 Responses to Your Perception Of Your Choices Has A Lot To Do With Your Self-Esteem

  1. Sarah says:

    Perfect timing for this post! Thanks Natalie. I started back to school full time in August. I felt I was stuck and couldn’t seem to get out of the mud. I did exactly what you mentioned above. I had to set my path on living authentically! I have lots of work ahead of me, but I no longer feel stuck. It’s a fantastic place to be!!

  2. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie, you are on the very same wave length that I just finished talking about on your previous post. I was talking about feeling fed up with online dating. I knew that I’ve long viewed as a method of last resort for meeting a man who means me well, but at the same time, really is worth my time. But as long as I’ve known the risks and chances of unsuccessful liasons, it never occurred to me that my by my very choice of meeting men exclusively online, it indicates lack of faith in my ability to attract someone worthwhile which in turn stems from low self esteem. I can’t beleive this epifany never occured to me in all these years. Thank you for connecting the dots for me. You are a most amazing person and we are all so fortunate to have you.

  3. selkie says:

    I always felt like I lived on the island of misfit toys and belonged there, and the choice of people in my life reflected this. It hasn’t been until the last two years that I even had a clue I was limiting myself by my own negative, self chopping behavior. I always had this idea in my head that a fixer upper or broken man would love me and accept me more than a good, available man because I really didn’t believe in my own worth. I felt like a good man would surely look at me as lesser, so I jumped in the mud pile with the pigs, thinking I’d find the special hog to fix my life and we would both end up prize pigs. I’ve come a long way in the last two years. I avoid jumping into the pig pen now. It hasn’t been all roses, and I still make mistakes, but I ‘see’ them now and understand them better. Feeling better about myself was a process and didn’t happen overnight. It involved making some difficult changes and relearning some of the same lessons that hadn’t sunk in yet. Undoing 43 years of dysfunctional thinking takes time, but if you keep at it, slowly but surely it happens.

    • grace says:

      I hear you. The new relationship is turning out well. We see each other several times a week. He is always happy to see me, to text me, to call me, to take my calls. We make plans in advance. Our relationship is out in the open. He’s encouraging, kind, warm, affectionate, consistent. Always calm. Has never said a bad word to me. We handled a couple of disagreements with aplomb.
      And now I am really scared that it can’t last. A part of me feels that a loving relationship is not something I can have. Not an optopn. I suppose a childhood of neglect and abuse has something to do with it (you don’t say).
      I actually made him apologise for something that he did to me in a dream (leaving me somewhere and having other girlfriends)! He said to me “Are these your fears? Don’t you know me at all?” A mad bit of me wants to sabotage the whole thing with the crazy.
      On the plus side, I’m not flaking out on him. I acknowledge my feelings without thinking they’re foretelling the future. I do know how to control my anxiety (exercise, good sleep patterns, friendships, getting out and about). Don’t feed the beast.

      • cc says:

        selkie, grace-
        all hail the misfit toys! who are repairing themselves better than new! and wearing their beautiful uniqueness with pride!

        i totally get it. i spent nearly all of my life thinking “marriage, family, happiness, love – no, i’m not allowed. i’m diseased, either ruined or wrong to the core, no one will want me”, thereby realizing my own prophecy. yes, that’s the beast, and if you feed it, it grows.

        but if you create another happy lil animal in you, and feed that, it will grow. its not easy, but yes, it does work.

        gracie- don’t worry too much. you won’t sabotage it with the crazy, you probably *can’t*. what you have with him sounds really good, and even if you get a little nuts from time to time (do these times correspond with PMS? hmmmm… and, by the way, isn’t he human, too?), you’ve come waaaaay too far to really go off the high dive. ‘sides…it sounds like he would catch you.

  4. Jodi says:

    After a few months of making baggage reclaim a part of my daily routine, reading and re-reading Mr Unavailable and The Fallback Girl, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and post something. I am still trying to recover from a 4 year relationship with an EUM whom I am ashamed to say that I still miss very much. It was a drama filled emotional roller coaster that just about destroyed me. To make a very long story short, the connection was instant and passionate, we quickly became serious and then he dropped off suddenly (he was a total Future Faker, Fast Forwarder). For some reason I gave him a second chance because he was so persistent and had emotional baggage (surprise, surprise). We must have broken up and back together at least 8 times in the course of our relationship which included living together for most of that time though he did leave once suddenly and rented his own apartment. The longest we ever were apart was 3 weeks which I used to think meant that he really loved me because he never stayed away for very long – very foolish.
    Anyway – last Christmas we were visiting my family with his two kids, had an argument and he broke up with me and refused to talk to me despite the fact that we were staying with my parents. It was horrible and family was sick of the back and forth of our relationship. I made the decision to leave where we lived in Las Vegas and move back to the East Coast to be with my family. We came back and he was very insistent that I leave our home. I quit my well-paying job, put our dogs in my car and drove 4 days back to the East Coast. That was in February. In March he started begging me to come home. I flew in to visit him in April with plans to move back but once I got there he changed his mind again. You would have thought that would be it, but it started again in May when he told me that he would be willing to move to be with me and have a fresh start and then in July I flew out again. We had a great weekend, I saw the kids, we made plans for him to transfer (this was already in the works) and for me to start looking for jobs in Chicago. I came home and we planned to meet in two weeks in Chicago to start looking at places. Everything was fine for a few days and then one day he didn’t call or text me in the morning and I knew. He then sent me an email that seeing me triggered his commitment issues and that our relationship wasn’t fair and balanced – no kidding.
    I stopped contact with him immediately. A few weeks ago he sent me an excuse email that he missed me that I didn’t respond to and that was it.
    My question is this and I hope it doesn’t sound foolish but HOW do I treat myself with love, care and respect and try to move on? I’m happy to be close to my family who are great but I’m having a hard time finding a good career, I left all of my furniture and things with him, I don’t feel ready to date at all and I just feel very lost and scared. I’m 35, I have an MBA, I work out and eat healthy and have good relationships with my friends and family but I feel empty and I’m terrified that I won’t meet someone, get married and have a family. I’m so ashamed that I miss him so much after how poorly he has treated me. I tried to sign up for Natalie’s self esteem course but it was already full and I’m just having such a hard time getting through the day without crying.

    • Kitty says:

      The term ‘being arsed around’ doesn’t even begin to cover what this jerk put you through. It’s no wonder you are feeling how you are, your life has been uprooted so many times, so many false starts with different plans. I think you’re already treating yourself with love, care, trust and respect because you decided to end the madness and began NC with him. I don’t have a lot of advice to offer because I’m in the early days of NC myself and I do miss my ex as well. At the same time though I can’t deny a certain feeling of calm and relief…do you feel this as well?
      You’re educated, healthy and you have a strong network around you (I’m a bit jealous, I have a terrible relationship with my family and only a handful of friends, all of which live scattered around the country), I think you have all the building blocks for a new life already there and ready to go.

    • Fifi says:

      Hi Jodi
      You did the right thing to move away and the right thing not to respond. From my experience, you will feel empty for a bit, you will feel lost without the emotional obsession with this man, the tightrope walking, but it will settle down and you’ll start to see and look for what will really make you happy – and that’s a number of things. Hold tight, repeat the No Contact mantra and focus on you and your life. Write it all down. I found meditation a terrific way to remind myself that it all will pass and that there is joy in the everyday. He’s rejected you far too often, his emotional issues are all his own and you can’t fix them, nor is it up to you. Time to work out what you really want, and I don’t think that happens from head thinking, it comes from sitting in NC and letting the emotions run their course and just letting the light dawn naturally. Stay strong

    • Flavia says:

      It’s a familiar feeling to most readers of Natalie’s website, myself included.
      What I can say from my experience with unavailable relationships in the past, very similar to yours, is this:
      Have Faith In Yourself. You CAN work through it. Don’t be ashamed of missing him- it’s your feelings, and it’s ok to feel that way after having invested so much into the relationship. Respect your past – it was there to teach you valuable lessons.
      BELIEVE that you are on the right track, keep reading Natalie’s posts, and time will do it’s magic. Believe in you- and you will get through it. :)

    • Fern leaf says:

      Jodie – reading your situation reminds me very much of my own. Please stay strong and dont give up. I too was in an intense relationship with multiple breakups and an ongoing roller coaster of know knowing what would happen next. I was involved with a very angry, self absorbed narcissist who broke me. I finally left in April. I am 38 years old with a good education and succeed at everything at life except relationships with men. I am into my 5th month of being alone and recovering from this shambles which has rocked me. Like you I have been caught up in moments of doubt about what the future holds. I want kids and a family and feel like time is slipping away. Some days I feel downright lonely. But, I have come to realize that it part of what I have go through to make me stronger.

      But, wouldnt you rather choose the stability of getting to know your own self for a while? Nobody is going to fill the emptiness you feel inside of yourself other than you. I know it is so hard, but you need to give yourself time to grieve and focus on yourself for a while. I only really started on this path in the last few weeks. I have started some new craft projects, set up a book club and established some little traditions for myself (e.g. coffee at my favorite cafe with the newspaper on a Sunday). They are just little things, but I am slowly developing some confidence again and starting to think about more things I want to experience and enjoy. A man will not make me happy, only I can do that.

      Stay strong.

      • cc says:

        poor thing, i’m sorry.

        i believe you can keyword this site in order to find other instances of posters asking your question and getting it answered. but dovetailing on what everybody said here…

        treating yourself with love, care, trust and respect means, as fern leaf said, making yourself happy, listening, with empathetic ears, to how you feel and then either comforting yourself (if i can learn to do it effectively, anybody can) or gently, like your own internal good mother, pointing yourself in a direction that is healthier for you. specifically:

        – write a letter to your inner child. i know, let’s all vomit. but i’m serious, make it good, clear, and specific, about how you know how she feels and what you want for her. i’ve been working on myself a VERY long time, but things really accelerated for me after i did that, because it helped me…

        – rebuild trust in my/yourself. this guy jerked you around for 8 years. in which, sorry, you participated (i sort of did the same thing). so, now, you don’t trust yourself. make a list, a very, very specific list, of ways in which you KNOW you’d feel better if you knew you could rely on your own judgment (this will be easy to do after you write the letter), and then work on those things – once you start standing up for yourself, you’ll know you’re on your own side, and your happiness and feelings of self-worth will rise.

        – learn to self-comfort. again, and yes, another round of vomit, i learned to do this after the inner child letter. i hurt SO much over my ex-EUM that i’d dream about him and wake up in agony. so i’d lie in bed and, in my head, talk to myself as if i were my own child (hurl). i’d reassure me, sympathize with me, treat me like i wanted someone (him) to treat me right then, whatever it takes. guess what…it totally works. now i can comfort myself from waking up on the edge of a cliff to surrounded by warm softness. this also promotes self-trust. you CAN take care of you. very well, in fact.

        – invest in you. do something, take a class, take a trip, anything that will add to your life, increase your skills or add a new one, or just do something you always wanted to but never did.

        – date yourself. like fern leaf said, make little rituals, and take yourself out to places you want to go, dress nicely, pull a smile up from the core of you, be proud of your date (you).

        don’t give up, honey. truly.

        • MJ says:

          CC – I love what you wrote. every bit of it. Thank you for this, thank you. I too identify with what we have all gone through… and this was like a little manual to remind me it’s ok to feel sad, to miss him, to forgive myself, to visit with my inner child. LOVE THIS. LOVE YOU FOR WRITING THIS. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    • grace says:

      “I tried to sign up for Natalie’s self esteem course but it was already full” Aw, bless you. I’m sure there will be another.
      “I’m terrified that I won’t meet someone, get married and have a family”. I think that’s worth sitting with for a while. Is it the worst thing in the world to be an educated woman in a western democracy (assuming that’s the case)? Is it so bad to have good relationships with friends and family? Is it terrible that you can afford to eat healthily? Is it awful that you ended a crap relationship?
      The world is your oyster. 35 is the perfect dating age. You could date anyone from age 30 (even younger if he’s mature) to 45 (or older depending on the individual man). You could still have children.
      I’m 47 and don’t have those options but I’m still happy. I guess at heart if I had to be single forever in my comfy flat, with all my nice shoes and clothes, cooking for myself, with all my friends and family, able to afford to pay the mortgage, eat and have vacations – that is more than most people in this world will have.
      But I’ve been seeing someone for a couple of months after six years of singledom. It can happen.
      We were drawn to each other because we are both happy people who contribute to our church and to our families. We have our own interests and hobbies, some of which we share and others not. I don’t think I would be attracted to him if he was miserable with a ton of issues and vice versa.
      You are allowed to mourn and find your feet but the endgame is to build your life, yourself. Not forever be telling yourself you have no options and that the good things you have aren’t enough.

      • Jodi says:

        Thank you to everyone for their advice. To be honest – it helped to just finally right it out and get it out there! I’ve never been a person who kept a journal but it is cathartic to put it in black and white. I know that I made the right decision to leave and I do know that I am better off without him effing with my heart and mind.
        I love the idea from fern to start my own rituals. My mother and I have just started cooking Sunday dinner together which is something I have missed so much from living so far away. We recently started trying new recipes together and I look forward to this each week.
        Another thing I should mention is that my younger sister by 10 years is getting married this Saturday. She became engaged right before Christmas. While I’m glad I was here for all of the wedding preparations, it has been very difficult as well. I’m trying to focus on the positives of this weekend – all of my family is coming into town and I can’t wait to see everyone – but I’m also anxious about the inevitable questions about me being alone. Of course pretty much all of my cousins, including those I used to babysit for, are married.
        Thank you again – it helps so much to know that I am not alone processing this hurt and trying to move forward.

        • Revolution says:

          Hi Jodi,

          Hope this isn’t too little too late, and I do admit to not reading *all* of the responses to your comment, but I just wanted to add my two cents. I am always so touched to read all the comments from the awesome women on this site, but I think sometimes, I just connect with some comments more than others. I, too, am a 35-year old American woman who has been through the gambit with a few ACs and EUMs of my own, and so I especially feel for you. I wanted to share something that has helped me to get through these last 5 months (geez, Fern, I’m on your NC timetable. Was April “Kick Your AC to the Curb” month, or what?!). Anyway, something I found practical: join a club and/or a group of people who are working at doing something SIMPLE and NON-RELATIONSHIP/EMOTIONS-oriented. Along the lines of a zumba class that you attend weekly (my choice), a chess club (if that’s your thing), glass-blowing class, surfing for beginners (I live in Southern California, so everyone and their grandmother surfs!, that kind of thing. I have found, in my own experience, that it is important to have a group of people who you are somewhat unattached to and who know NOTHING of the grief that you’re going through. Sure, it’s equally important to have those go-to friends and family to share your soul and grief with, but it’s so important to have another group like this who just share a simple, common goal that has nothing to do with anything deep or emotional. I have found that when I step into my zumba class, the women in there (it’s an all-women gym) are all smiles and think that I’m the happiest person they’ve ever met. Even after I’ve spent the 45 minutes prior bawling in my car. So I, in effect, “become” that women for the duration of the class. It has helped me to get out of myself, even for those small periods of time. It also helps not to be identified so much by my grief all the time. Does this make sense? I hope so. In any case, I truly hope that all of our comments and well wishes to you help to show that you are less alone than you think, love.

          • Fern leaf says:

            Revolution – thanks for your great ideas about developing new interests. I am inspired from your comments to also do things with new groups who do not know my relationship history. A nice clean slate where thoughts and memories are non existent while I do something fun! Sounds good and I am definitely signing up! My problem is that everyone I know has some connection to my ex and they cant help but tell me little bits of information about his latest movements. Last week I had to quietly tell my close that they need to not discuss him with me if they can help it. It has already helped me considerably.

            • Revolution says:

              Fern Leaf,

              I’m so happy that my little piece of advice has helped you! I’m new to this community (though I’ve been reading for over a year), and so I feel a little bit like the old, hairy guy that lives alone in the woods and only comes to town, surreptitiously, when he needs foodstuffs, and then scurries back to his cave (ever seen the movie “Spitfire Grill”? I’m thinking of the dude in that movie….) Anyway, I digress.

              As for telling your friends that you don’t want to hear all about your ex, I hear ya. I think we all run across that phenomenon. I don’t know why people feel the need to become a PI to your exes and report back to you their every move. Hopefully close friends get the hint, and they will get it if they’re real friends. The rest are just ambulance chasers, and good riddance to them anyway.

              Glad to hear you’re on the mend and moving in a positive direction!

    • dancingqueen says:


      My sympathy is with you, but I am going to tell you how the cow ate the cabbage as my colleague says.

      You are at a fork in a road right now: Do you turn left and commit to loving, trusting, and treating yourself with respect? Or turn right to regret both not being, and being, with someone, for four years, who damn well knew what he was doing and who hurt you and your family with his irresponsible behavior, as well as probably his kids.

      Is this really a choice? There is not another “name” for the road on the right. That road was/is called selfish, crazy and worthless waste of time and energy and the left road is called self-respect, self-belief and self-preservation.

      Lots of women choose the wrong road; you can make the mistake once, but the second, third, fourth, fifth time? You know what you are doing.

      Happiness and faith is a CHOICE. None of us here, who have grown out of our bad relationships via NC, enjoyed the immediate feelings nor always had faith. Faith is a DECISION. But is there really any other way to be happy than to start stepping on the better path?

  5. Gina says:

    This post really resonated with me. My problem is that I tend to be afraid to exercise my options when in an unfulfilling relationship out of fear of being alone. Once I do leave the relationship it is very painfully initially, but after the passing of time and the clarity of hindsight, I feel a whole lot better and stronger. Right now, I am embracing being alone (romantically unattached) and am loving it!!! I am working on me by doing things that make me happy such as: fixing up my little house, engaging in fun activities (I signed up for a fencing class!!), and spending time with friends and family. The future looks so bright, I gotta wear shades!!!

    • Lilia says:

      Have fun with fencing, Gina! I did that last year (couldn´t continue because of my schedule) and it really is a lot of fun.

      Also, you get to learn a lot about yourself: your attitudes to life, your fears, the way you react when there is no way out. It is also interesting to see that all your oponents will have different strategies and personalities. Most times, the oldest fencers are the most agile ones and it is quite a challenge to beat them.

      I realise this is very off topic but I think there is nothing better than fencing to stop waiting around for Prince Charming.

      • Gina says:

        Thanks Lily! I appreciate you sharing your experience and insight about fencing. I am always up for trying new and unique things, so I am looking forward to my first class.

        You are right, I want to fill my life up with interesting and fulfilling hobbies, and with people who uplift me. I need to do me for a while before I even think about getting into another relationship.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Gina, so get the house-fixing! Is there anything better in life than being single and owning your own little home to decorate?!

      • Gina says:

        True that Dancingqueen!! In celebration of my new found peace and EUM free life, I am planning on having a placque place on the fence (instead of my last name, which most people usually do) that reads “House of Peace and Serenity” in Italian:

        “Casa di serenita’ y tranquillita'”

        • dancingqueen says:

          aha! I have been wondering what lovely quote I wanted to paint on the back of my fireplace…might steal it!!!

  6. Lilly says:

    I’m in that place where it’s time to make a choice. I left it until the very last minute, but finally asked him for a much needed reference. I sent him a polite, businesslike email. I expected something similar in return, but was very surprised. He responded almost immediately and said he had respected my decision for time and space, but was happy that I’d finally made contact and he’d often wished that I would contact him. He went on that he would “sing my praises” to anyone requesting a reference. It has set me off in a tailspin of competing emotions. I’m sorry to admit, but part of me wants to choose the path of least resistance and stay in my uncomfortable comfort zone. I want to re-engage. I want to go back there! I know I should keep moving on, but I don’t want to let him go. He is the connection to my baby. This realisation has kept me from responding as I know deep down he can’t stop it hurting. Another part of me wants to use it as an opportunity to get it all out, tell him how painful it’s all been, wish him well then leave it alone or I could simply just ask him why he’d wished that I’d made contact and leave it at that. Maybe he feels guilty for the cruel stuff and wants me to let him off. Another choice is to just ignore it and continue making the change. Why does the last option seem so much harder? I’m going to re-read everything here and try to knock some sense into myself. Can anyone please offer me any advice?

    • G-money says:

      Hi Lilly, I know it seems at this point you have all these choices but are unsure of which one to pick, I think deep down you know which one is the right one – the last one, “ignore it and continue making the change” it’s hard because you know it’s right.
      You are doing this for you and no one else, you said he was cruel,would it be a benefit to you if you were to bring it all up again with him? I believe from reading your post that he was happy to hear from you as it gave him a little off the hook feeling – “oh she contacted me, this isn’t so bad” I gave in when my ex conctacted me on his forth attempt, we did the talk of “what happened” but he wasn’t getting it at all and I was there thinking – “why am I doing this, he’s still the same, he says he knows he hurt me but is not taking any responsiblity for it” so I walked away. I’m still in the very early stages of healing and have a long road ahead of me. Whatever you decide to do, as natalie says as long as you’re acting out of love, care, trust and respect for yourself :)

      • Lilly says:

        G-money, I agree and really suspect that hearing from me lets him off the hook a little. He was exceedingly cruel (he would probably say ‘honest’) when I lost my baby so maybe he does feels a little guilty. It seems from your experience and others here that talking over what happened isn’t worth it. I will wait until my emotions have settled before acting or not and then I will keep those words in mind making sure I’m acting out of love, care, trust and respect for myself. Thank you for taking the time to help me and I wish you lots of strength for the road ahead. I understand how painful and difficult it is to walk away. One day we’ll be looking back at all this realising it was the best thing we did.

    • cc says:

      forgive me for not remembering your story, but if you’re a BR poster i think its safe to say do NOTHING until you get more balance, until the rush of his replying settles down. this is particularly true because of your child and the emotions the whole scenario conjures up. whatever this guy did in the past he DID, and one nice email changes nothing.

      the most important thing is for you to get that recommendation. you must have it in your hot little hand before anything else transpires. please do not act in haste – you don’t want to jeopardize the recommendation and you don’t want to add fuel to the overall fire.

      so, for now, just say “thanks very much, i appreciate it, [then give instructions on how you want the recommendation if you haven’t already]” – that’s IT. nothing more. do not act hastily, there is absolutely no reason to.

      yes, reread all your BR posts. get some more balance. stay in the light!

      • Lilly says:

        cc, thank you so much for replying. Quick run-down – disastrous fantasy ‘relationship’ with MM, also professor and my thesis supervisor at uni, one pregnancy, loss of my beautiful baby boy at five months, lots and lots of pain, emotional cruelty on his behalf, him distancing himself and me going NC almost 3 months ago. I totally agree with your comments and will wait until my emotions have settled before doing anything. It’s ridiculous, I worked myself up into such a state that I actually badly cut my hand (cooking), spent four hours in emergency and had to have stitches today! What am I doing to myself? If that’s not a warning to get some more balance I don’t know what is. I will aim to stay in the light, thank you again for helping.

        • cc says:

          honey, go easy on yourself. all of this is perfectly understandable, your reaction to his email, cutting your hand, all of it. think of how many movies you’ve seen about this stuff, what you’re saying reads just like a script. except this is real life.

          please remember – grief takes TIME – i can’t get this across more seriously. i’ve never lost a child, but i’ve LOST, bigtime, and i KNOW what grieving is and how long it takes to process. and i’m here to tell you – you will not always be so shaky, you will not always feel so vulnerable, it will not always feel like this. but you must give yourself lots and lots and lots and LOTS of time.

          in your reply to learner below, it sounds like you’re already doing everything you should be to take care of yourself, you are moving your life forward as much as anyone who has gone through what you have could be expected to.

          honey, you lost a child, at 5 months, no less, not even right after his birth, so you KNEW him. of course you feel this way. you’re not doing anything wrong – in fact, i think you’re doing everything RIGHT!

          massive, huge, enormous hugs to you. go easy, honey. easy.

    • Learner says:


      If you really need his reference for your PhD application, it is OK that you contacted him in a business-like way. However, I can understand your mixed emotions about his response given all you have been through with this exMM. Can I point out a few things for your consideration?
      1) he is still MARRIED
      2) when you were involved with him, he was not supportive when you lost your baby
      3) he says he “hoped you would make contact” – that sounds lazy and is not the same as him not being able to live without you, leaving his marriage, going for some therapy to increase his emotional availability, and then approaching you for a relationship. It is doubtful he has changed.
      4) you say he is the only connection to your baby. Is that true? YOU are the connection to that baby, along with the memories you have of being pregnant with him and the hopes and dreams you had for his future at the time. I don’t want to seem insensitive, but to me, the exMM was a biological connection only. His lack of support/acknowledgement and lack of mutual grieving was very hurtful to you. Sorry to pry, but I remember you thought of lining up some support for grieving for your baby – were you successful in finding a counsellor?
      5) re-engaging will not give you the fantasy relationship you miss. It has the potential to cause deep, deep hurt.
      6) it is good that he plans to give you an excellent reference, but I strongly urge you to keep things business-like with this man and maintain NC as you have for the last 11 weeks. Being an option for him is not good for your self esteem. You DO have other choices that will be better for YOU in the long run.
      I send you many hugs Lilly, and wish strength for you. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you, and will be here for you whichever way it goes. xoxo

      • cc says:

        oh, god, its THAT guy?!?!?

        lilly! no! everything learner says is spot on, mostly importantly:

        4) YOU are your connection to your baby! he was here, on this plane, and lives on in your heart. you still exist. that’s all the connection you need. feed that connection, not this one, the MM was just an asshole sperm donor who left you and denied your entire experience.

        lilly, you are valid. you are here. your experience is real. do not flush all that because this guy threw you 1/2 a smile, flush HIM instead. his email is not even a crumb. notice (ok, this will hurt, sorry) how the MM can be nice to you when…i can barely make myself type this…when your little angel is already in heaven. talk about convenient.

        lilly, no. you will not go back to evil, ridiculous excuse for a man. i forbid it. i FORBID it.

        stick with you, the work you’ve done, all you’ve learned, all the possibilities you’ve created for yourself. THAT is where your happiness lies.

        • cc says:

          i realize how incendiary that all just sounded, and i need to balance it by reiterating what learner said…

          keep your communication with the MM cool and professional. do not flip the other way, get pissed off, and go off on him. …cool…and professional.

          remember: the most important thing right now is your recommendation. get it from him and skip along. just keep going.

      • Lilly says:

        Dear Learner, I needed that wake up call, thank you. I definitely needed the reference and kept putting off asking because I was scared of the very reaction that I’m experiencing now. I’d prepared myself for a polite, business like response and not a ‘nice’ email expressing some sort of emotion. I suppose it just triggered all the hope that is still, unfortunately, there. However, I won’t be going back to fantasy land and you are 100% right, he is still married, and it is lazy communication. For some reason I seemed to have slipped a little since starting NC. I’m still missing my baby so much. I’m trying to separate my feelings about the baby and him, but it’s so, so difficult. I had all the intention of seeing a therapist, but truly I can hardly bring myself to go anywhere that I don’t absolutely have to. I’ve been reading books and everything I can on line and some of it has helped. I need to get back into my life. I have finally forced myself to fill in all the Uni applications and I have an interview for a job this week. I’m fearful because I’ve lost confidence, but I’m going to try my very best. Learner, thank you so much for being there. I’ve been keeping up with your progress and admire your strength very much. There is hope for me yet! Hugs to you my NC sister.

        • Lily, knowing your situation as I do and as you have shared on here, the best thing you could ever do to honour your very much missed and loved baby, is to stop giving that manipulative, cold man the time of day. Yeah you can get your reference and I suggest sooner rather than later for that, but after everything he’s done both to you and to your boy, he does not deserve anything else. In life or in death, this man was never going to be a decent father. He’s not even a decent man or a decent husband. Your son can be loved and remembered without his input. I know it might feel like you’re fighting for your son to have him recognised by that man, but neither of you need him. You must remember in this that not only have you been through a lot but you are grieving the loss of your son and this relationship. With this comes a myriad of emotions but you will serve you best if you help the emotional side with the action so that the emotional and mental side can gradually catch up. Hugs to you.

            • Lilia says:

              Lilly, your baby boy is part of you – body and soul – don´t ever toy with the idea that you need his biological father to validate him.

              This may sound politically incorrect but the mother-child bond goes much much deeper than the one with the father. So look for support from other women who´ve had or lost a child, this MM will never be able to comfort you.

            • Lilly says:

              Natalie & cc, I cannot believe how powerful some words can be.
              cc – that’s it he did deny my entire experience and I still very much want him to acknowledge it all. My experience was valid, it mattered, my baby died, but he mattered.
              And Natalie, you’ve hit the nail on the head it does feel like I’m fighting to have him recognise my son. It’s as if I can’t let go until he does. That started when he asked me not to mention his name at the baby’s service. At the time that was like having my heart torn out, but I think I’m finally getting it. It wasn’t about me or my little one, it was all about him and who he is. I’m angry with him now. I need to be – it’s difficult for me to get angry, but when I do it always gives me strength to act in a good way. I’m going to muster up all the strength I have left and not reply to that email. I’ve already thanked him in advance for providing a reference. If he has genuine remorse he will contact me again and as Learner and cc reminded me it is lazy communication, just a crumb. For something so important maybe he should ring, but I won’t be holding my breath.
              I cannot thank everyone enough who has responded to me over the last few months. You may never realise just how much you have helped me and what this has meant to me. I hope one day to give back and help someone else. Natalie you have a gift and this site has truly been a blessing.

              • dancingqueen says:

                Lily please get the reference and never speak to him again after; he is poisonous and you don’t deserve to have to deal with him ever again. (( Big hug))

        • Learner says:

          Hi Lilly,

          It is good to hear you have done some research in books and online re: grieving for a baby. I hope, when you are ready, that you are able to find another way of finding support – if not a therapist then perhaps a support group of people who have also experienced this, or those who supported you when you first lost your precious baby. I think you said you had a good friend or sister who was supportive? Would it help to talk to them? I know first-hand that it can take a long time to grieve the loss of a pregnancy. Many years later, I still think of the baby I lost at 12-13 weeks on the anniversary of the loss. You are making wonderful progress with your education and career, and I hope you will also take care of your heart, your feelings, and your “inner child” as cc suggested to another poster.
          I wish you well in your interview also Lilly – you have been through a lot, and you are still moving forward – so much to give yourself credit for! Try your best, as you say, and imagine it going well. Give yourself those affirmations. You have great strength too! And many other wonderful qualities, I’m sure. Will be thinking of you my NC sister – take care of you. Hugs xxoo

  7. sm says:

    Funny this coincides with a revelation I’ve had recently. A random guy I had contact with in my daily activities asked me out. Before I gave an answer I ran a simple background check on him because I felt something was off. Come to find out he’s married and lives in another city. As I was recanting this story to a friend, she wanted to know how I always end up with these guys. And here comes the revelation part; I used to think I had some homing device on me and I was stuck with these losers. But this time because of BR, I told her that there was nothing about me that attracts these guys, that people with bad intentions are out there and it is just my responsibility to stay out of their way. I truly believe now that there is nothing about me that attracts these people, they are just opportunists and are looking for an opening. My only responsibility is to follow my gut instincts and opt out of these situations. Thank you Natalie for all your own revelations and sharing them with the world.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “As I was recanting this story to a friend, she wanted to know how I always end up with these guys”

      She sounds like a chopper..

  8. Learner says:

    “When you perceive yourself to have choices even if making some of those choices would mean getting uncomfortable but would ultimately lead to a better position, you’re giving yourself options and helping your self-esteem.”

    Natalie, it sounds ridiculous, but when I was involved with the exMM, a part of me felt that I had no options but to pursue a relationship with him. I just *had* to have him. Even though he “sat on the fence” with regards to choosing me or not, I kept waiting for him to validate me by becoming my life partner. What a hard landing it was when I finally realized we were actually living in two different realities.
    Thank goodness I found BR, and came to my senses, and took the choice of opting out. It was very much out of my comfort zone to go NC with him, but 11 weeks in, it’s feeling more and more comfortable and positive each day.
    My behaviour and choices have finally started to revolve around what *I* want and need, according to my own values and authentic self (with no regard for what *he* would think). Even with small things, this feels like a victory of sorts. Several weeks ago, I had bought a dress which I thought the ex cheating cheater would love to see me in. Since I opted out of being involved with him, I never really got the motivation to wear it. But today, I wore it to work. It wasn’t done to get any validation – I just wanted to feel good and look good for ME. The end result was receiving several compliments from co-workers – a lovely though unexpected benefit. My focus has finally changed to wondering what *he* would think about things to what my *own* preferences are. It feels so good.
    Slowly but surely, I am coming to realize that I do have many choices and options, which are so much better for me than chasing his sleazy EU arse for 3 years. The dress example may seem “shallow” and insignificant, but for me it feels like small steps to getting my butt off the ex’s fence, and getting on with my own life. And I am smiling more. Happiness IS possible. Thanks for helping to show me that Natalie and wonderful BR people :)

  9. Tonya says:

    I know you wrote this about dating, but I found this to be remarkably on point for my life, period. I own a lot of real estate in the “uncomfortable comfort zone.” Changing my perceptions, during this period in my life, is proving to be an minute-to-minute struggle. I hope I can overcome it. Good article.

  10. cavewoman says:

    Oh Natalie, there is no one in my life to sit on the fence about… which is good. Very good. I’ve not felt more content and relaxed than this for years. But I still feel like I have no options when it comes to relationships. Dating feels like a thankless chore at best, and too hurtful at worst. I want to think I’m above it. I want to think I’m better off spending more time with my kids, or reading a good book, etc. I need no man. Is it just sour grapes? Or am I really better off single, celibate, and not looking? You’ll probably ask: is it out of fear I am choosing not to look. Darn right it is. Fear of losing my equilibrium again. Fear that good single men are pretty much all unavailable for a serious relationship with me: full-time mom of two young children. Fear they’d all prefer to keep their options open, though they clearly don’t mind a certain kind of attention from me. I fear, and experience tells me, that ultimately they’d all rather live the unencumbered single life, or keep looking for a never married, childless woman. (Not necessarily younger than me, just more carefree.) If there are exceptions, how many hours of crap dates would I have to clock to find them, and is that even worth my time, when I am feeling more or less okay with my life as it is?
    Fish without a bicycle — Is this post about me?

    • Revolution says:


      I am a “never married, childless woman” and I run across the same shite men that you do.Though I’m sure there are good guys out there too, because I look at my brother, my friends’ husbands, etc. and they are stand-up AVAILABLE men. Bottom line is that there are men who are lovely and available, and there are men who are classless, unavailable fools. And they’re that way regardless of whether we are childless or we are the old woman who lives in the shoe. Believe that, ’cause it’s true. I’m also pretty attractive to boot, as I’m sure you are too. It really just boils down to not finding the right guy yet. Don’t make it “all about you,” love. Really, it’s not.

      • cavewoman says:

        Thanks Revolution,
        fools they are. It is their loss. I was giving them too much credit here. This ‘I really like you, BUT come to think of it…’ is rather shady business. I just remembered something Nat wrote about unavailables picking partners who are already disqualified (wrong religion, color, age, number of children, party affiliation, wrong shape, wrong size, take your pick) so they have an easy way out. After the novelty wears off, there always seems to be other hypothetical women with seemingly more convenient assortments of qualities and circumstances.

        There’s nothing wrong with having preferences. But honest, honorable people think about what they are looking for in a partner, and they simply will not ask out someone who doesn’t meet their criteria for a relationship to begin with. These guys should not have made moves on me in the first place.
        All the best finding the right one!

    • Lilia says:

      Cavewoman, you could be talking about me.

      Sometimes I wonder if I even want to have a partner again, it seems like so much trouble! And how on earth would you bring someone new into your life when you´re busy with children? My kids stopped feeling welcome at their dads when he started living with his girlfriend (the one he left me for, I found out some years after we separated).
      Perhaps I´m just telling myself I have no options because I don´t want to risk my peaceful life.

      At the moment there is this divorced father of two who only wants to shag me every now and then and surprisingly I find that so convenient! That can´t be healthy, right?

      So now I´m thinking maybe I should let things be. If life/God/the universe wants to throw me a nice healthy relationship some day, it will happen no matter if I´m looking for it or not.

      • cavewoman says:


        can that be healthy? Maybe you’re asking the wrong person, but I’d say it entirely depends on how you feel about that arrangement. I wish I could have sex with someone halfway decent, and not get all tangled up. I can’t. If you can, and you are both on the same page about your arrangement, by all means indulge!

        Your point about bringing someone into the kids’ life and home is very well taken.
        So here’s how the shoe is now on the other foot (see my reply to Revolutionary). We are unavailable to men whom we cannot have around our kids. That means no room for ambiguity with them, even if it means not going on a single date with such a person. Hey, come to think of it I am picky. For good reasons.

        It’s not that we don’t have options. We do have options. Our options are: peaceful life as single head of our family, or peaceful life in a growing relationship with a partner who is willing, able, and fit to join our family. We do not have precious time to waste on the rest of them!

      • grace says:

        I’m raining on your parade but if you’re seeing someone for sex, or whatever, it’s unlikely that you’re available for a genuine relationship. I only met the current beau when I had (gladly) given up all the fallback options.
        I know several single mothers who got married. Husbands love the kids. It can and does happen.
        Yes you’ll be looking for a high calibre man, aren’t we all?
        They’re out there, though maybe not packaged quite as well as we’re used to but its what’s inside that counts.

        • Lilia says:

          Cavewoman and Grace:
          I find this a very difficult problem. I´m not at all the “yay casual relationships”-type, I do get emotionally involved once there is some consistent intimacy and I do long to share my life with another grownup, a real partner.

          The thing is, my experience with the father of my children was pretty bad. There was a lot of friction and conflict between him and my son (he´s the oldest one). My ex openly competed with his own kid for my attention. It was extremely immature of him but there was no way he would behave like a responsible adult, like the father he was supposed to be. He would only bully our son around.
          Meanwhile, he would favor our daughter (this of course wasn´t good for either of our children).
          So in the end it was like I was in charge of three little kids. I couldn´t help seeing him that way (and of course it didn´t help that he wasn´t all that faithful).
          My son had severe academic, health and social problems as a result of the relationship with his father. He only started to calm down once my ex moved out.

          So if this happened with the man who is my childrens father, and loves them more than life itself, how could it be easier with someone from outside?

          I notice I´m very reluctant to even invite guys to my home because I´m so protective of my space and family. But I know this means I´m compartmentalizing my life. I could only be comfortable in a relationship with some male version of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, what are the odds, right?

  11. Revolution says:

    Holy crap. Were you at my aunt’s house today, hovering over the dinner table, listening to me spout on about feeling like I’m worthless and have no options?! Seriously, Nat. This is spooky. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you were pulling a Watergate on me. Thanks for the timely post.

  12. K. says:

    I pretty much do to myself what is described in this article. Not sure how to change it though, its pretty hard to date with your self esteem in-tact when you have an STD (herpes)courtesy of my first AC at age 18 (now 35).

    It was a 4 year relationship..oh I mean relationshit, I left after realising what he had given me. He was pretty much all of the things described on this site. I couldn’t date for 7 years after him, I was destroyed in every sense of the word and isolated myself from everyone.

    I finally found the courage to date again conventionally i.e. meeting people in person, but couldnt deal with the humiliation of revealing my condition. The first person I dated this way was a disaster…he was mean, void of any emotion and I caught him looking at me with disgust, I was shattered all over again.

    Since then I have tried dating on STD sites….crickey…these sites are full of EUMs, ACs, frauds etc etc.

    The latest one was a chopper – that article really helped me by the way Natalie xox. He came to visit me over the New years weekend last year, during that time my father passed away unexpectedly and this ahole was giving me the silent treatment on the day he died. He treated me the worst when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable. He by far has been the worst I have dated yet. I am still trying to get my head together, I feel like my already fragile sense of self has been totally annihilated by this creature.

    I know I am drawing these men into my life because of the way I feel about myself, I feel more damaged after each experience. I know my experiences won’t change until I change how I feel about myself but I feel like the first ahole took all my control away from me and my body, I was so young and niave. I can never forgive him for that and can’t feel ok about myself living with this condition. It has robbed me of any ability to feel like an attractive and desirable women.

    My life now consists of working 7 days per week so I don’t have the time or energy to think too much, also if I didn’t work I would worry that I could spiral into destructive behavours to numb the pain. I have to get up to go to work every day so it keeps me focused. Work has saved my life and is the only area of my life where I can extract self esteem…I have worked my way up to manager and earn a 6 figure salary and I own my own home. I work in healthcare ironically…helping others when I really am in no condition to.

    But with relationships I have no hope anymore, I am too tired and damaged to try again with anyone new for the moment.

    I know I sound negative and just like the people you describe in this article, and I know I am not the only one on the planet with an STD and know I have not coped well at all with it, but I cant move past it.

    • grace says:

      That’s a toughie but I know there are people with all kinds of medical conditions that date, get married and have children. From what I know of herpes, it can be kept under control and with the right precautions it won’t be spread to your partner.
      You need to keep your immune system healthy and that means less stress. Take good care of yourself.
      It’s not life-threatening and people with HIV still form relationships. You’ve been forming relationships – but with the wrong people.
      You can be single, happy, fulfilled, and comfortable. Being single isn’t the problem. The problem is how you see yourself.I was happily single for three years before I met the men (before that I was miserable single, which is the stage you’re at).
      If you stop seeing being single as the problem, men stop being the solution. When they aren’t the solution, you’re free to look for someone genuine, rather than any nutjob for a rainy day.

    • cc says:

      i’m sorry, that’s absolutely terrible. and maybe you’ve tried this, but…are there online blogs, happy, constructive ones, that can give you support? or a local in person support group?

      …i’m afraid i’m not much help. but i know of someone with HIV who found love, so i know that having an incurable condition doesn’t have to stop you. i also know of a guy who is so up front about his herpes that he blogs about it. apparently it hasn’t stopped him, so maybe there’s a more constructive way to think about all this. i nearly dated him but didn’t (it wasn’t the herpes that stopped me, it was the fact that he acted like an AC, so i flushed him, i would totally have gone out with him had he handled himself better). i’m sorry, though.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi K.

      My heart went out to you when I read your post because I can so relate. My one and only that I was married to gave me herpes when we were dating. I was only 20. I don’t blame him for it; he may have even gotten it before or around the time he met me, who knows, but when he found out he had it, he told me. I knew I wanted to be with him, and I stayed and two years later we married.

      What I do blame him for is his inability to remain committed and available in any sense of the word. He was a drug addict but, in addition to that, he was not dedicated in any way to me or our children.

      I divorced him at the 10 year mark and have been alone for the 15 years since.

      I never knew my STD was an issue for me until a year ago when, for the VERY first time, I had grown attracted to someone (with a girlfriend!) who finally shared his feelings with me, telling me he loved me. I told him, too, along with this bit of information about me. He was very supportive, kind, said all the right things. I will remember his kind words forever.

      But there has followed a horrible year. I was so distraught at sharing this that now we are not even close anymore. I was left realizing how absolutely horrible I feel about what I have.

      I never knew I had any shame associated with this condition. It was just never an issue. I was with my husband and, after that, with nobody. So, it was not really on my radar.

      Now, I am with nobody but with all the terrible feelings about myself that must have been inside this whole time.

      I finally shared this with my mom, my sister and my best friend. That has helped a bit.

      I just wanted you to know that I so relate to how you feel. I know others have this and date and feel fine about themselves, but I feel I have this horrible secret and that it would be tricking somebody to date them, get close and then divulge this.

      Regardless, the one piece of advice that was given to me, oddly enough by my ex, is to take Valtrex, the suppressive therapy, even if I am not with anyone. Then, if a year or any length of time goes by without having an occurrence, I can be in a position to say how well I am able to physically manage it.

      Mentally, I think it has helped me to be on this medication because I think it has given me some feeling of power over it and not so much the victim of it. It’s like in this way I am managing it, not the other way around.

      I hope this helps.

      I have received support on this forum and hope I have been able to provide some to you.

      All my best. You are not alone.

    • I've got it too says:

      Had it 27 years!
      Never really been an issue. Had many boyfriends, 2 kids. Haven’t ever passed it on to anyone even my husband of 14 years. It’s a little embarrassing fessing up but hey this is cold sores, just below the waist. I only get one outbreak every year or 2 now and it’s a minor discomfort.
      If you make this into a big deal and act like you’re a leper then others will take their cue and treat you accordingly. If you are factual and unembarrassed – explain what it really is (really minor) and say what measures you will take to prevent passing it on – they will likely
      be okay. No-one has ever dumped me for this.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve Got It – Thanks for replying and I am glad you have a good frame of mind about it and that no one has ever dismissed you because of it. However, saying that most likely all will be okay if the person explaining the condition is unemotional/factual/unembarassed in the telling is just a bit optimistic. It is a very, very loaded situation. Of course it is best to present it factually, but even so, people run. And it does not mean they are bad people, but not everyone agrees that it is as simple as cold sores below the waist. The amount of trama that this can bring to a person about their sexuality can be overwhelming, daunting and defeating. Also, it more than compounds the chances of rejection.

        • I've got it too says:

          I hear what you’re saying, but I have not experienced rejection based on this. Factually, cold sores is exactly what it is. The viruses are almost indistinguishable. In some cases is is HSV1 down below or HSV2 on the face. Some estimates are that 20% of the population have HSV2. You yourself said that the reason your relationship failed was not his
          reaction, but your own feelings about yourself. I do understand – I was devastated when I was first diagnosed, – but you don’t need to carry around a burden of guilt, shame, unworthiness. That’s the problem for you. I accept that there may be men who will “run” but I would question how much they cared for or valued you.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve got it – Everything you say is true, but therein lies the rub. Did nothing evolve because he now knew this about me or did he never intend anything further with me or was it how I felt about myself that pushed him away. And that’s how I wound up on this website. He had a girlfriend the whole time, and I wound up backing off, in general. I was so confused as to whether he intended to be with me instead of her but rejected that notion, or if he was never going to follow through in any way. And there I had divulged this information about myself – too soon, too quickly. So, I did not know if that was the reason nothing further evolved between us, either. So, even tho someone came to me and told me he loved me, I wound up feeling rejected and every reason I could think of was my fault. All those terrible feelings that probably were inside all along bubbled to the surface. And I am having trouble ridding myself of them and of ridding myself of all the blame for this situation not evolving. And that is how I wound up on this site.

            • grace says:

              He had a girlfriend the whole time. Stop right there and don’t pass Go.
              You’re missing the topline information. Like women who have affairs with married men and wonder why he doesn’t call. Doh.
              How can someone with a girlfriend start something with someone else? It says a lot about both of you. Questionable boundaries, morals, commitment, beliefs, values, self-esteem. BOTH of you. I was always carelessly getting involved with men who had a girlfriend, wife, live-in girlfriend. I did usually get the guy but it was a hollow victory. We just went on to have half-hearted, non-intimate relationships, or worse. Because we were both EU.
              You both have to be in it 100%. Maybe not from the first date but pretty early on, with no red flags (eg a girlfriend). You don’t build a house on rocky foundations. It’s not about future faking, it’s committing to genuinely getting to know someone over time without any third party involvement.
              Sometimes, yes, two people meet when they’re already in a relationship. for it to have a fighting chance, the previous relationship has to be ended quickly (exhibit A – Brad Pitt). The longer it goes on, the less likely it is to happen. And if it does happen after a long time, there’s been too much damage to trust.
              You can choose to date only single people. You’re not a sitting target for any bloke who comes along, now matter how “nice” he is.
              “I love you”. Easy to say. Living it is another thing entirely.

              • Anonymous says:

                Thanks, Grace. It would actually be a relief to be able to let up on myself and put this down to him having a girlfriend. I thought he might have been changing his mind about her and that my news was the stumbling block. I would really like to let up on myself and get my good feeling back. Maybe to do that, I just have to read your first sentence about the topline information. He had a girlfriend and still does.
                Thank you for writing.

            • I've got it too says:

              That kind of ambiguous situation is maddening. But – EUMs don’t always behave rationally – and trying to find comprehensible reasons for their behaviour is hopeless. The next post from this has a lot that might be relevant about “making it all about you” (when theres little or no evidence that it is)
              The GF sounds like the bigger problem to me.

              • Anonymous says:

                I’ve got it – Thank you for your responses to me. It is so supportive to hear you describe the situation as ambiguous because I was second guessing myself on that, too. Was I seeing things the way they were? And you are right, trying to figure out the reasons for what went down is simply hopeless. It just keeps me in a spin cycle.

                Nat’s next post about “making it all about you” is indeed very relevant for me. That post helps me in my efforts to let up on myself, to try to stop blaming myself and to try to feel good about myself again.

                Thanks again for your replies to my posts.

  13. Magnolia says:

    So true. Right now I have the option to pack up my things again, though I just got here, and to look for another place and go through another move. Had I acted as though I had options in the first place, I wouldn’t be in this situation now.

    Short version: I chose to move forward with a flip-flapping landlord because I felt I had no options (I was in a rush and strapped for cash). She negotiated one price and agreement with me when I was comparing places in the new town, and as soon as I said yes to her and flew back to my old town, she started changing the terms. I resisted somewhat, but ultimately signed a contract despite my huge misgivings.

    Now her flip-flapping, renegging ways continue and when my colleagues and family, hearing what I am dealing with, wonder why I ever said yes to her, I find myself making the excuse that I felt I had no option. But really, the hassle of NOT going through with the deal six weeks ago would have been LESS than the hassle of fixing this ass-backwards situation now.

    You have options, my friends and family keep saying. My options are: one, break the lease, risk court action, make things difficult for my roommate, run up expenses and disrupt my life in my first term of teaching; or two, sit tight, keep the lease, keep my roommate happy, try to ignore the door/phone when she sends neighbors to spy, “hope” that she continues to honor the contract and doesn’t cut off services she no longer feels like providing, and generally sit with bad vibes. I keep trying for “three”: find a way to appease her while staying where we are.

    In any case, while none of these options are ideal, at least I have the job and enough self-assurance to feel like I am making a choice, and that I can exercise choice. I am also not beating myself up over making the choice that put me here, but I do regret not acting on my own best judgment. I let feeling as though I had no options allow me to accept this situation. A situation that, when I even give a few details to anyone, has people saying “that’s terrible! she can’t do that! are you going to leave?” and me saying, “I know, I know. But now here we are and the term has started and I can’t possibly pick up and move now …”

    The thing I regret most is the amount of drama and stress that this situation causes when I honestly feel I have left off drama-seeking in my life. This drama is completely a result of my lack of assertiveness and – ironically – my trying to hope for the best and smooth out other people’s bad behaviour.

    Life in the new job is rich with challenge and new experiences; my students are great, the topics are fun, and I have had some amazing personal and professional moments. I don’t need this kind of drama to give me the experience of making decisions and being aware of choices! I feel like this year has shown me that I can pay more attention to opportunities to CHOOSE peace of mind and self-care.

    • selkie says:

      Magnolia, I went through hell with my last landlord. I won’t go onto details about the harassment, but living there stressed me out and really affected my life to the point I went to visit a city lawyer specializing in landlord /tenant relations about how to get out. The lawyer told me to keep a journal with dates and details of the things my landlord did. I wrote letters to the landlord addressing my concerns about her unfair behavior and kept copies to prove it. When I finally moved out, I had all the documented proof in my hands if she decided to get legal on me. She didn’t, thank God. Moving out was the BEST thing I ever did. My stress went away and I actually enjoyed coming home. Document everything she does and any communication with her have in writing, so if it does go to court you can prove you are being messed about. Good luck.

      • Magnolia says:

        Thanks Selkie. I do have lots of exchanges in writing, including an early draft of a contract where she attempted a bunch of illegal points. I hope I never need to go through having to use the material.

        I feel a bit like one does just after breaking with an AC; I could list off to you a dozen outrageous things she did. But doing so only reinforces the question of how I got here in the first place. I must have needed a review the Outrageous Principle lesson!

        Now I am free to/forced to go find options!!

        • selkie says:

          Like you, I kind of already knew it might be a mistake to move in, but I went ahead and did it anyway. There were red flags, but I loved the place so I turned a blind eye. What a mistake. But, we are human, and we make mistakes. As long as we we continue to learn. You moved to a brand new place, started a brand new job, with brand new people. A lot of things were changing for you at once, so maybe you could of made a different choice in places to live, but you had a world of change in your lap at once, so give yourself a little slack. It’s a fixable problem. A better place is out there, you’ll find it.

          • wren says:

            I’m in the same position right now. My landlady is a conwoman; she appears to be one of those people who goes through life ripping people off at every opportunity. Because I’m in a crap-paid job right now and this house is a bargain, I feel like I have all these excuses to just wait the current crisis out and ‘hope that it doesn’t happen again’. Which reminds me very much of another relationship I was in. There are actually a lot of similarities. When things go wrong she twists it so it isn’t her fault and tries to make it sound like I’m naive because I’m not used to bailiffs letters turning up and gas company men coming in to my flat (using the toilet, leaving the seat up AND DRINKING MY JUICE!!) so they can turn off the gas because she hasn’t paid the bill. The obvious solution is to move out yet I feel so powerless considering how long it took me to find this flat and the fact I can’t afford to pay any more. However, you always have a choice and I am making a choice by doing nothing. I keep hoping that she’ll ‘miraculously’ stop being a con woman but I know that when this storm passes another will come, because she is just that sort of character that lives in drama all the time. So I need to bite the bullet. This article is telling me exactly what I need to be told. I’m gonna have to leap out of my uncomfortable comfort zone again.

  14. tired says:

    i want to tell you lovely ladies , that there is hope and not to give up or give in. a couple of weeks ago i hit rock bottom my mm ac had once again turned me into a sad , miserable wreck , i went down to see him in his band where the new ow was in tow .He pooped himself didint want a scene sent me away and then had me over his house the nxt day with all the tears and cliches etc etc . somthing nat sent me switched on a light bulb and on the fri i met him , gave him his stuff and basically told him he treated me like dirt , that i dont want crumbs and i felt sorry for him , his shit behaviour is who he is , nothing to do with me . i am know going to go back to college and come of fb as it does me no good , i want to forgetand puttime and space btween us. when i use to think of him i loved him so much and now i feel nothing , pity because his wholle life will and always be based om lies . i wish him well and i choose to forgive not for him but me so i can move on frre of the hurt that came with it .xx get out there and live your beautiful lives they are as good as YOU make them xx

  15. cc says:

    dovetailing on revolution’s watergate…yes, natalie can be spookily on target…

    so, recently i posted here how a health challenge in july and my friends’ unbelievably wonderful responses to it taught me about love and boundaries and what is/not love and what boundaries are supposed to feel like – and it was as if i spontaneously grew boundaries, i could feel, see them sprouting around me, like magic. and for the first time, probably in my life, i settled into my own space and knew what love and trust and respect and care were. and i could breathe.

    the other thing that happened more recently was that, as if a light had been switched on, i could see the limitations i myself have always put on my life, as if they were physical manifestations, why and how i do that, and how needless it is. all of this was without judgment. and i see how i could – just not do that, not impose those limitations. it feels oddly effortless to imagine this. and i find myself thinking different thoughts – do i want to change careers…what would it take to do so…can i lose the weight i don’t need…how do i want to do that…i might never meet a partner…but i don’t feel too sad about that because i know love permeates my life, i know i’m made of love, and i’m sticking with that and who knows…

    its so different, as if, through my illness, something healed. and i’m still screwed-up me, but a much more capable screwed-up me. i don’t see things in terms of impossibility as much, i see them in terms of … air. light.

    but…and this is important…i only feel this way because i have worked so hard on healing, and in the past 8 months, this has included BR. BR has accelerated everything.

    once again: thank you BR. thank you, natalie.

  16. Mel says:

    For Jodi
    I really befell for you. I am on the other side of the world I expect but sending you love. I know the merry-go round that you hop on and off until you are pretty much left standing dazed and confused not knowing which way is up. Not to mention the pain and anxiety that reaches deep into your heart and the only peace you find is while you are asleep. I left EUM and some other words I won’t say recently and feel like a broken shell of a person. I am going to try some of what has been mentioned here about being kind to the inner child and treating myself the way he never did. I hope we see you post again and get stronger. BR helped during many dark nights of being dismissed and ignored. It is good to know wherever you may be others understand this painful place. It feels like the climb out of this hole is huge but the first choice is deciding to climb and not look back. Every choice for you after that is positive and you will have the option of true happiness. Good luck : )

  17. Karina says:

    Booyah! Right on the nail with this one Nat!!! I can so relate as this is something that one of my best friend’s and I have been talking about recently. I have no shame or traditional gender roled stuck in my head and I’ve asked a few guys out recently. They have all said NO! LOL…I was disspointed at first, but now I have to laugh because taking a look back at my choices I’m seeing a pattern and one that I am slowly breaking. Not that the guys are all the same, but that my way of approaching things is stagnant! Time to change my course and maybe that’ll give me a different outcome!

    Thanks for this! Needed to read asap! =)

  18. Tinkerbell says:


    I wrote you on the last post. It’s at the very end, so read it. I am delighted that you have found someone who seems to be right for you after all this time. I almost said “The One”, but avoided the term because It would be fast forwarding and I know you are too smart to do that. I want you to know that you have my very best wishes for your success. I’ve admired you and have wanted to become as strong as smart as you are. You invested many years is taking care of YOU, and now it is paying off. I know you will be just fine and have every confidence in your ability to handle him and your life appropriately.
    Best wishes.

    • grace says:

      The title of this sums of my journey “Your perception of your choices has a lot to do with your self-esteen”.
      In my thirties I ended up married because I couldn’t choose to say “no thanks” when he proposed. I then felt I HAD to commit to the next man (long distance, online – take note) rather than choose to walk away. I didn’t think I had other options. He turned out to be abusive but I couldn’t decide to leave him until a playa came after me. I couldn’t walk away from him until I was in the pit of despair, partly caused by his cheating ways. It was a bad ten years.
      That’s why I keep banging the drum – do something, make a decision for yourself, choose. And do it before it all blows up in your face. We know already what to do.
      I think the very essence of self-esteem is to feel that you’re someone who holds the reins to your life. We’re not helpless.
      I love that last para. of Nat’s. I choose to turn up for this new relationship every day, not because I’m scared to be alone (not at all) but because I like him. I think he knows that, and vice versa. He’s not using me as cushion or FBG. He’s a happy peron.

  19. melinka says:

    I feel stuck in my relationship right now… and yes I feel like I dont have many options, in fact, I am not even interested in having another relationship after finishing this one, is just that the idea of another break-up makes me step back and have second thoughts about it. I am a single mom of two children. I dont want them to see a whole line of man passing in my life, I have had two serious relationships in my life after their father and Im already tired and dissapointed about real love. I dont believe in promises, the magic has gone for me. :( I dont know how long will I stay in this one but after its over I want to be single and enjoy my life and my babies only. Will I meet a real man some day? I dont care anmymore.

  20. xochitlviv says:

    So grateful for this post on my birthday, I was so obsessed with making contact with him all day, last year on my birthday I said the words “I love you” to him and the memories broke the dam and flooded my thoughts most of the day. This man walked away from me and my kids and never looked back, he is great at no contact, he did it to me all the time when we were in a relationship. I hate birthdays. My experiences with birthdays have always been disappointing all through childhood so I just dread them. Plus the whole age issue. Ugh. But I am just super grateful that I had the wherewithal not NOT text or call him, to not reopen wounds and make them worse… “It means having to look beyond the short-term by making decisions that help put you on the path of living your life authentically by respecting your own values and endeavouring to treat you with love, care, trust, and respect each day.”

    • cc says:

      happy birthday, love.

      do something WONderful for you.

      massive hugs

    • Magnolia says:

      xochit: you may already know this, but don’t confuse your man’s disappearing act or silent treatment for the “No Contact” NML talks about here. There is a post about it, but No Contact is about protecting you, and focusing on you, not about abruptly abandoning someone, or using silence to get back at or punish someone, as it seems your guy has done. Good for you for maintaining your own NC. And happy birthday!

  21. Awakened says:

    @ Lily your story deeply angers me..how can a man not be there for the death of his own child? My heart hurts for you. It is men like this that wreak havoc upon women like us. This just reminds me how grateful I really am. I am grateful that God allowed so many assclown’s to Walk; to dissapear; out of my life and especially for the last one that came into my life only to vanish. None of that was from God. The devil brought that into my life because that’s what I attracted. Letting God perfect his work in me so that I will never attract another AC; EUM; etc. I hope that you get to a happy place where you are completely free from all of this. I don’t have kids but I can only imagine there’s no love like a mother’s love for her child. Best wishes and (((Hugs))) to you.

  22. Lucy says:

    This is the story of my life over the past few years. I don’t know why but I am crying a lot because I’ve had to deal with lot and it’s hard not to lose hope. The most difficult thing is that I’ve been so let down by people through my life, that I find it hard to trust anyone. I don’t know how to any more, not even myself. I find myself censoring my feelings or what I have to say because I’m too afraid to expose myself to vulnerability. It’s hard to believe in myself and failures come to me as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hm I don’t know what to do. :(

    • PurpleLily says:

      @ Lucy : I think the only solution is time, just ride the wave for the moment. You dont like how you feel, you dont have to. But you wont think like this everyday. I have a cousin who at 21 has faced her first EUM and she feels exactly the way you do..f*ck at 28, I feel slightly the way you do.

      When someone shatters your trust, you dont know how to trust again. But if you read to NMLs posts, she says that we need to give ourselves enough love and care and respect that we learn to trust OURSELVES to know that we will opt out of painful situations the next time before it gets terrible. Go with that, go knowing that you have learnt and you will commit to trusting and protecting yourself.

      I am sorry you are having a tough day, you will be ok…

  23. Victorious says:

    I am new to this website and it has been a real eye opener. I have been seeing a man since May and at first he pursued me really hard. He couldn’t believe someone like me would go out with him. He had never met anyone like me, never had such a fantastic girlfriend (48, never married) was complimentary, desparate to have sex with me ( I held off for over a month) texted, rang, showered me with attention and affection and kept talking about our future and how wonderful it was all going to be. fast forward to August and suddenly from having sex 3 times a night he has “lost his sex drive” and won’t discuss it. Still calls every day but it feels like a “duty call” won’t make any plans further away than a week and aside from the odd kiss and cuddle when we meet, is not complimentary or affectionate like before. I have tried to finish it three times now, saying we have obviously come to the end of the road, but every time I do, he begs me to give it another go because he still really wants to be in a relationship with me, “please will I stick with him?” Claims he does still really want me. I have caved in so far because I guess I yearn for the relationship we had at the beginning and am kidding myself we can get that back. He refuses to answer any pertinent questions about the relationship and just dodges by saying “i don’t know” or “I will call you tomorrow.” Do other contributors think he is a EUM? If so, how do I find the strength to ditch him and mean it? Many Thanks – I really am desperate!!

    • grace says:

      Yes, he is EU.
      It’s the relationship at the beginning which is the first red flag, even though that’s what you want back:
      heavy pursuit
      desperate for sex
      future talk
      unrealistic talk (how wonderful it will be, he doesn’t know)
      For what it’s worth, I’ve been seeing someone for two months and it’s better every week rather than getting worse. He’s also done none of the things above – these things aren’t necessary to get a relationship off the ground. a relationship should become stronger and deeper the longer you know each other, not fizzle out after a couple of months/years.
      The blowing cold and avoidance is your second red flag. All EUMs pull that stunt.
      And the third? He won’t let you finish with him.
      I get that crazy lust can make a man, or woman, do funny things but don’t imagine you can build a relationship on it. if it lasts more than a year or two that would be very long indeed. I think this has run it’s course. How to fnd the strength to ditch him and mean it? I am very very sorry, but that you have to find for yourself.

      • deedeeinamsterdam says:

        Thank you Grace! Eye opening..Its like you are describing my EUM it was exactly in these 3 stages, except mine wanted to end the relationshp but not the friends (occasionaly with benefits) situation:

        True true true!

        Week 7 of NC..barely holding on to all my power not to contact him, because of the overall feeling better and in a forgiving mood, the /looking for validation feeling.

        I need to remind myself every second that it wont make me feel better to be all nicey nice to him, he will just feel off the hook, and i will feel like a looser again, even though the battle was lost a long time ago.

        How do you stay away from the temptation of contact?? I wanted to add him as friends on FB again after defriending him on NC day one. Its so difficult, but I wont..I just need a reminder of how stupid that would be..


        • grace says:

          you already got the best he has to offer (these EU relationships are very “front loaded”). you weren’t happy with that, so you’ll be even less happy with being his FB “friend”. Don’t be stalking his life on FB, you truly have better things to do.
          And remember, he’ll be thinking “Ha, I know deedee would come round! Chicks always do.”. Don’t give him the satisfaction.

        • Mymble says:

          Dee dee
          This is called the “suck it and see”. There’s posts on it.
          What most people find (me included), is that it’s just the sme old crap if not worse. You imagine that because you are feeling better, you can handle it. Maybe, you can even “make it work”. That mindset comes from imagining that it was something you did that “made” them act as they did. However it wasn’t you then, and nothing you do now will make any difference.
          That’s just the stuff he does.
          That was how it was for me and for most of the people who post here.

          • deedeeinamsterdam says:

            Thank you Grace and Mymble!
            I get so much positive energy and strenght from your words, its unbelievable. This site is the best, I wish one day I could help others just the way you (and NML) have saved me.
            Many hugs! and wishing you a great week with lots of love

    • cc says:

      what he’s doing with you is precisely the reason why he’s 48, never married, never lived with anyone and probably never had a long-term relationship – he’s not capable of one. it doesn’t matter if he’s precisely EU or not, he’s not contributing and won’t even discuss the issues at hand. he’s not working toward anything, he’s not even standing still, and a real relationship progresses, not retreats.

      sorry, honey. flush. i know it will hurt, and if he were willing to discuss it, or had some reasonable explanation for his change, i might think differently, but i wouldn’t want you to hang around waiting for the clock to turn back – this is nearly definitely who he really is.

      moreover – i’m around your age and won’t even date someone who has never been married or in a long-term committed relationship, particularly if they are an only child. even if they are seemingly wonderful people, i have found there’s always something up, something that precludes them from the give and take of a normal relationship, and usually its empathy -they have to have everything their own way and are only willing to make minimal effort. (or they suddenly decide they want to have kids and up and marry someone 20 years younger.)

      • Fearless says:

        I am fifty-ish, never been married and never lived with anyone. But I am one of seven children (does that count?) and I have a daughter of my very own (does that count?)


        • Lilia says:

          Fearless, I think having a daughter (and on your own) is the biggest commitment you can have.

          And I am an only child but I´ve been married, two kids, does that count?

          • cc says:

            fearless, lilia, all-
            YES, those count.

            ok, so i am not misconstrued – what i’m saying is beware the person (and when i say “person” i mean “guy”, but i’m sure its true for women too) who has gotten to be around our age whose longest relationship can be measured not in years but in months. something is UP with that’s person’s fitness, ability, and desire to be in a long-term relationship.

    • Fearless says:

      “He refuses to answer any pertinent questions about the relationship and just dodges by saying “i don’t know” or “I will call you tomorrow.”

      i got that from my ex EUM. If I’d a penny for every time he infuriated me with another ‘I don’t know’ I’d be a rich woman. Yes, your guy is EU. How do you ditch him. Just ignore him. It’s only been since May for goodness sake. I kept mine hanging around for ten years and he still “doesn’t know”! Just cut your losses – he’s a waste of space.

  24. Victorious says:

    Sorry – I meant he is 48, never married. He has never even lived with anyone!!! I am 46 and divorced.

    • grace says:

      Never married is not quite a red flag. I’ve been married, and all it proves is that the most clueless person can make it to a registry office.
      People can change but you need to see evidence of it.

      • cc says:

        grace, victorious-
        to be clear here – what i’m really saying is to be wary of people who have gotten to this point (pushing 50) in their lives without demonstrating the capability of maintaining, and actually wanting to be, a long-term relationship. i have found that its no coincidence, and that they haven’t learned the type of flexibility one needs to have a partnership. this is particularly true of only children, who have never had to accommodate anyone else but themselves.

        but yes, any goose can waddle up the aisle, i did.

  25. idealist horse says:

    as i read your ” It’s Just a Date, Not a Marriage Proposal & 9 Other Thoughts On Dating For The Weekend” .It felt like you can read peoples minds with your experience .so here is my problem.Regarding this person I would like to date he is something like me similar thoughts very much a gentleman and I don’t know why but i feel really happy when i am around him just like a bouncing ball and i haven’t ever been such happy in anyone’s company .but a feeling of you know not being your best strikes me .do you think i should date this person.one of my friends proposed me and there is nothing of such between us so I said no . but to start dating my crush i am just afraid I would make my once upon a time friend jealous and hysterical and with the careers of three of us at a peak any immediate effects will be catastrophic .so relationship advice please.

    • CrumbsNoMore says:

      idealist horse, “with the careers of three of us at a peak any immediate effects will be catastrophic” is your crush whom you’re dating a coworker? and the friend you turned down also a coworker? trying to follow…if so def decide if it’s worth taking the risk of having an office romance. weigh the pros and cons. one good question to ask yourself is have i looked into his background? is he mature? do we seem to share similar values? does he have any obvious addictions? (ex. alcohol abuse,etc.) observe for him for awhile,maybe hang out with him with other friends, ask some mutual friends about him (ask the ones who you know don’t sugarcoat things)before accepting a date or asking him out.

      some guys are the office players and players in general and get their kicks by flirting with no serious intentions ever, just attention collectors… wastes of time and emotion. some relationships with co-workers work out but for most of us (I think the statistic is around 64% according to the last study) they become pain in the rear memories and gossip fodder, nothing else. i had one who flirted with me for months, texted and im’d me nearly everyday, asked me a lot of personal questions about my life and family, occasionally called me, flirted with me when he saw me at work, but never asked me out and turned my invitations to spend time outside work down. i was a freakin ego boost, nothing more to him but didn’t realize it at the time. eventually i switched jobs and he quit answering or initiating contact. man is over 30 years old, yes growing up is optional. i can only imagine if we’d actually gone out how i would have felt. hurt my feelings as it was but i’m better now. many on here have similar stories. good luck and be cautious.

  26. Kerry says:

    Victorious, he sounds just like the guy I wasted two years of my life with. He also said he couldn’t believe I wanted to be with him, he showered me with compliments, affection, etc. He seemed genuine and sincere, as if he was truly overwhelmingly happy with being with me. Within months, he started blowing hot and cold, and establishing the true parameters of the relationship. We went from seeing each other three or four times a week to just sleeping over on weekends, and he stopped with all the affection and gushing talk, soon replaced by putdowns. Every time I tried to dump him, he’d beg and even cry, so I thought he must love me.
    But he didn’t love me. He was just a narcissistic and immature ass who needed a girlfriend around to keep him company, make him feel normal, and stroke his ego. They can’t develop true intimacy or commit to a relationship, so they quickly establish parameters that show you all they are going to give you. It won’t change. What he’s showing you now are his true colours, believe me. A healthy, confident person doesn’t need to keep you at arm’s length and play head games. When I asked him about the future he’d say, “I don’t know what that means,” or “I can’t tell you what the future holds.”
    Move on and don’t waste 2 years like I did. Oh, if I could only go back in time…
    I’m glad you’re questioning his behaviour now, btw. I wish I had BR back then.

    • Victorious says:

      Thanks for replying Kerry. I am sorry you also went through this but at least you are out of it now. It has been such a shock for me – like he just flicked a switch from Mr Wonderful to Mr Emotionally Remote. What really resonates with me from the BR site are the references to “crumbs.” That is how I feel now, like I am just hanging around waiting for any tiny crumb of affection/attention he can be bothered to throw my way, and then being really grateful for it. I am starting to despise myself for it which is why I really do have to finish it. Your remark about your ex EUM needing you to make him feel “normal” also really hit a nerve as I know that because of certain things in his background, my EUM has similar issues and as I am in fact a damn wonderful GF, I give him lots of ego strokes and make him feel all puffed up and wonderful. This was fine when it was a two way street! Thanks again for sharing with me. I am going to try again to finish it tonight.

  27. teachable says:

    Bravo sm!!!!! You are absolutely, 100% CORRECT!!!! Moreover, ppl who make comments like that are in fact insulting you & need to be put right BACK IN THEIR PLACE, EXACTLY the way handled the situation!! YOUR post & win with that one, just made my day!!! GREAT STUFF!!

    • sm says:

      Thank you teachable. Yep for the first time I just saw the situation for what it was and truly felt it had nothing to do with me. I used to feel like the statement she made, but that time it rolled right off. And get this, I didnt even feel ‘chopped’.

  28. teachable says:

    Lily, I am still here snuggled up on the cushions in Cc’s genie bottle watching the proceedings, (thankyou Cc, shares tim tams xx), & I just have to say Learner & Cc nailed it. I’m deeply sorry to hear of the loss of your precious baby. I’ve lost one too, mine in horriffic circumstances, so I understand a little how that feels. PLEASE DO NOT re-engage with that cruel MM. You have been hurt already, beyond belief. Get the reference but don’t dishonor yourself, by signing up for any more pain. Talk to us here at BR instead. I think many of us would be amazed if we truely realised the extent of some of our shared experiences. Xxxxx

  29. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Victorious,
    Welcome to BR. You will learn a lot. To answer your question,”Is he EUM?” Probably.Running hot and cold is one of their worst traits and it is extremely annoying. It’s a head game and you are unable to feel secure about what he feels for you. I’ve recently found that EUM doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is obnoxious. He can be a very nice guy, showing you all the qualities that make you fall for him, but still be EUM. Just take it very SLOWLY. If you care that much, PAY ATTENTION to his behavior. Words are cheap. He will eventually show his true colors. Hopefully, he will show you who he really is sooner rather than later. Nobody is perfect. That’s why I don’t say “Flush”, yet. Take you time and observe his ways, but more importantly scrutinize YOUR own feelings about him and do what is best for YOU.

  30. Tinkerbell says:

    ALSO, Why hasn’t he ever been married?
    That’s at the very least an amber flag, if not a red one. He may be a player, who just doesn’t get too involved and when it’s time to show more commitment, he runs. Tread carefully.

  31. teachable says:

    I have to admit that my choices, mostly in my young years when the stage was set for damage in my life I would never escape due to having had a peadophile/rapists baby (I love the child now, a man, but, for all the abuse it has subjected me to all these years, first from the peadophile & now from my Son) I sit back & wonder, what THE HELL was I THINKING?!!! Clearly, I was a child with ZERO self esteem. This is because it was deliberately abused out of me by sheer brute force, physically, emotionall & later sexually to the point that I didn’t even know or understand what self esteem WAS. This continued until my late teens when I begged for help from anywhere I could. By this time I had been so badly beaten, raped, assaulted & all the rest of it (but survived) and instead learned different ways of ABUSING MYSELF. It was CRAZY. I did not stop banging on doors DESPERATE for HELP until one FINALLY opened. There at the age of 17 began my journey into learning about self esteem & how to LOVE MYSELF. I’m still not great at this nut I’m a hell of a lot better than I once was. I wish with all my heart life had not been such a traumatic path for me but one thing it made me was incredibly resiliant & grateful for basic things like having peace, love, food & shelter because I will never forget what it was like to grow up without them. :)

    • grace says:

      I recommend a self held book called new shoes. Author also has a website called into the light. She’s a counsellor who was sexually abused herself as a child.
      The book is simple, straighforward,and empowering. Again, it’s about reclaiming your right to make choices. Of course those who’ve have had that right taken away from them in the worst way will feel
      they have no choices.
      But I find that I do and hope the same for all of you.
      Ps I wasnt sexually abused as a child but a lot of what she writes rang true for me too.

  32. Victorious says:

    Well, what do I do now ladies? When I tried to have a conversation with him last night about how unhappy I am in the relationship, etc he just said he would call me tomorrow and literally ran off to catch his train. he texted me as usual to say he had got home and thanks for alovely evening (what!!??) and that he would call me today. He hasn’t called and it is late here now. Do I just go straight to NC or do I call him to actually end it “offically?” Bearing in mind I have only been seeing him since May should I just walk away without the “closure?” The 16 year old in me wants to be the one that finishes it rather than letting him think he has ended it by not calling me when he said he would. God now I sound really pathetic. I think he knows I am going to end it and that is why he isn’t calling…………

    • A says:


      Making your decision and sticking to it is the most important thing. He hasn’t called because you wanted to have a talk about the relationship. He does not want to talk about it.

      He isn’t respecting you and so I don’t think you need to be all that concerned about whether you tell him and if you do, how you deliver the message to him. If you want to say something, I would keep it short and to the point, and resolve to cut ties with him after that. You could even send a text along the lines of “This isn’t working for me, goodbye”.

    • Lilia says:

      Victorious, this guy sounds like the EUM I was involved with last year (and who still wont let me off the hook completely). He was (and is) an expert at evasiveness, it´s terribly frustrating. He is 40, never been married nor lived with anyone. I used to justify it but now I think that is definitely a red flag. There was also that hot-cold thing, it drove me crazy and made me so insecure and stressed out I had to take anxiety meds for a while!

      If your guy is the same type, he wont accept your decision of a breakup. My EUM doesn´t want to be in a relationship but he doesn´t want to let go of me as an option either (in case he changes his mind?). So he is constantly pressing the reset button, I sometimes wonder if he is insane.

      My advice would be, if he isn´t open for a discussion about the relationship, just wander off without explanation, just like they do. Then if he pretends nothing´s wrong, tell him you wont see/talk with him again. And try not to waste any more thoughts on him.

    • Fearless says:


      “…and literally ran off to catch his train.”

      Yep. Whenever I wanted to ‘talk’ my ex EUM did that too. Literally. Ran off. Like there was a fire. Saying ‘I’ll talk to you soon’. like that was the script. Weeks later and I still wouldn’t have heard from him. You’re taking me on a trip down memory lane. Ugh. All this guy has got for you is more of the same. Trust me.

      • Mymble says:

        Victorious & fearless
        In order to close the discussion, which was not agreeable to him, the EUM took me to kings X station 30 mins before my train was due. Then legged it, top speed. There was nowhere to sit and i was ill. It was such a slap in the face, I still feel humiliated thinking about it.
        On the theme of trains and EUMs.

  33. Kerry says:

    Victorious, I know exactly what you mean about being grateful for crumbs. I’m so embarrassed (and sad for myself) to look back now and remember how I desperately looked forward to his daily after-work calls, his emails, his texts, our weekly dinner dates, our movie dates. He was consistent. Never a disappearing act. Occasionally, when he was worried he might be losing me, he’d even be nice again. He consistently doled out the crumbs, and I became horribly dependent on them. This kind of treatment does a major number on our self-esteem; it really makes you lose sight of yourself. It’s soul destroying, because you have put all your own needs on the back burner to keep this guy’s crumbs coming your way. Time goes by, and you’re always unfulfilled, always wanting, and never getting anything but a whole lot of nothing.
    Make your needs a priority. Never let someone bust your boundaries and make you feel like a “less than.” If you need a fully committed, full-on relationship, then make sure you get it. Nothing less. For me, that’s my rule, and I’ll never again get sucked into the world of a game-playing ass clown. There are good guys out there. We will attract them when we feel we truly deserve them.
    One thing that Natalie said that really spoke to me was, something like, “Does the survival of the relationship depend on you having no boundaries?” If the answer is yes, you know what you have to do.

  34. PurpleLily says:

    2 weeks. 2nd week of having nightmares about the exEUM. Even in these nightmares, it is the same..he is nice to me, I begin to like him, he is hot and cold, I see him thinking about/wanting to be with other women, he is absolutely passive aggressive to the point of ignoring me, he tries to control what I do…I even have the same physical feelings of pain and anger and sadness that I did. Over and over. Night after night.

    I recognise that I am having a shit year with having had to deal with him and other things affecting my balance at the moment. But Im trying, I am scared of the future, but I am trying to keep my chin up and make the right choices for myself.Choose to learn, choose to hold me gently, choose to try and be happy. And then the nightmares happen and I have to start all over again.

    Has anyone here has such nightmares? Im a bit angry at myself because my mind seems to be having such an intense reaction to ONE weekend with this EUM. I wonder if there is something wrong with me..am I too sensitive..crazy?

    I have been thinking a lot more recently..about the fact that perhaps he has found someone new already, that he feels is “wife” material (he insisted he was looking for a wife and mom material and not a sexual fling. Bah, fell for that, didnt I!). And I am 28 and cant fathom the though of dating yet (3 months NC) and coping with work and family issues.

    Ive running out of resources. This has to get better. I made the RIGHT choice. I got away from him and have kept NC. Why has my self-esteem stopped feeling the positives..what is with these thoughts and nightmares and feeling of doom/gloom?

    Thoughts, anyone?

    • CrumbsNoMore says:


      You’re in the withdrawal period. In my experience, stopping contact with someone you’ve cared for (regardless of whether or not that contact was healthy for you), hurts. You want to reach out to that person, you feel emotional, it’s a freakin rollercoaster ride. Some days you’re mad, other days sad, sometimes both. Some days you feel great and then you’re struck by some random “good” memory and your hands itch for your phone or you feel sad and reach for it but you tell yourself no. I used to type texts addressed to my ex AC/EUM “friend” and save them to drafts and later hours later delete them. I was glad later after reading them again that I did not send them. Some nights I would wake up crying.

      Turning point for me was finding BR, reading the posts, and realizing that yes I wanted to reach back out to him, but he does not care. If he cared he would have kept reaching out to me and also that it wasn’t a healthy relationship so it’s good that he quit contacting me. I eventually got to the point (mind you it took months for me about month three was the turning point for me but everyone’s diff)where I just feel annoyed when a thought about him or memory pops up. I’ve forgiven him and me (for putting up with his crumbs and crap) and no longer want him. I also got more involved in my church and added a new hobby, which helped.

      Things will get better. *HUGS*

    • pinkpanther says:

      My nightmares were bad too. I felt I was doing everything I could in my waking life to get over them and be healthy. But at night, asleep, often I would have horrible nightmares that were all about the relationship. It got so bad I decided the only way to deal with this was to go straight into my unconscious mind via hypnosis. It worked! All the talk therapy I’d done previous never worked, but after one session of hypnosis I was much much better. The nightmares subsided, and I began to love myself more than I had in years. I think the behavioral changes are great, but sometimes you have to go deep within to make changes stick. Hypnosis did wonders for me.

      • Teddie says:

        “Hypnosis did wonders for me.”
        This! Same for me! I’ve totally accomplished self-hypnosis and it is affecting my whole life for the better. Because it gives me command of my relaxation and sleep.

    • Lilia says:

      I´d say listen to what your dreams are trying to tell you. I dreamed a lot about the EUM when I started NC and it helped me get in touch with my gut feelings, and stop the illusions about him.

      Lately he´s been IM-ing me out of the blue, telling me he wants to see me and I notice I start feeling physically sick almost instantly. So I take it as a warning that he is just not good for me, that he is capable of harming me a lot because I´m still very vulnerable.

      I think there is a lapse during NC when you get discouraged and loose the feelings of victory and empowerment. Life seems dull once you get used to not having the EUM-problem to worry about. But ride it through and you´ll notice life will become much nicer than before.

      For now, try to get busy, to focus on things you left behind when you were concerned about the relationship, or maybe things you never got to do. Do not think about this moron getting married, it wont last anyway and you´ll spoil precious moments of your own life.

    • JR says:

      PurpleLily, I understand and yes you are making the right choices and decisions now. I have had recurring dreams myself in my past when i was in a bad relationship. I was married to a EUM and we were together for 12 years. I would dream of him being unreachable by phone, the phone would break, his number was disconnected or that we were living in separate places and I wanted to get to him but couldn’t. My therapist said it was my subconscious telling me I know I’m in a bad situation with someone who is not open or available to me. Luckily the dreams stopped…we got a divorce! Luckily I haven’t dreamt of this recent assclown I’m dealing with — but this is a good reminder that I have lousy taste in men and I better change it before the dreams start again. Maybe you are still processing everything he has done to you and you will be free and clear as your mind is purging this toxic person. Keep up the good work and the NC!

    • cc says:

      nightmares: check. fluctuating self-esteem: check. y’know why? i think its because i’m fine until i imagine him with someone else, someone to whom he gives all the love, care and respect he didn’t give me – once i think of that, i’m sunk – sound familiar?

      so i went back and re-read all the pertinent BR posts on letting go and why do we care if he’s with someone else. they helped, but not all the way, because right now, my problem is not in my head. its in my heart.

      then i had therapy last night. and my shrinker says, “what i want to hear you say to me is that you KNOW that there’s someone out there who is perfect for you and you’ll do whatever it takes to find him. i want you to have confidence. what would it take for you to have confidence?” which totally pissed me off…so i knew she was right.

      so i thought about it…she’s dead on. if i had confidence (different from esteem), i’d:
      – give so much less of a crap about a completely EU guy who treated me two levels just above garbage and then threw us away when i stopped accepting crumbs
      – not wonder so much whether or not he’s found some other emotional cripple to share his depressive life
      – realize there’s no way someone (him) who takes being told he’s “spocky” and “stingy” as compliments, or who responds to love and affection by pulling away or offering limited relationship, would be able to change how selfish he is
      – stop being SO *ANGRY* at myself for letting him walk all over me (i didn’t really, as my BFF keeps pointing out to me, i merely tried to love an unlovable man, but it still feels as if i did)
      – stop second guessing myself and realize the decision i made to get away from him, to put my foot down, to stand up for myself amid his criticism, subtle rejection, and lack of love and affection, even if i sounded like the shrillest of complainers, was the right one
      – wouldn’t feel like i lost something because, really, i didn’t, as he showed me from day 1, despite all his rhetoric to “hang on, be solid and steady” (wait for what? how could i be solid and steady when it was as if he was in a contest with himself to see exactly how little he could give? …i guess he found out, though i’m sure he didn’t see it that way)
      – have faith in myself and wouldn’t waste energy worrying and fretting about him, about whether i’ll meet someone when he probably already has
      – and he wouldn’t continue to live in my subconscious like a thorn in my side, taunting my dreams, both waking and sleeping

      purplelily – try working on confidence. i’ve thought about it for 1/2 a day and i already feel better.

    • PurpleLily says:

      Thank you so much for your advice and your kind thoughts. Im sorry for not responding sooner but I hope you are all well.

      @CrumbsNoMore: Thank you, yes, it feels like a bad roller coaster. I get better and then it starts to hurt again. I dont know what to do…other than hold on and ride the damn coaster. I do wish he contacted me (as you can see, still very vulnerable) but what can he say/do that will be any different? Besides, sometimes I think he just hated me (but intellectually I know its not me, it is his issue).

      @pinkpanther: That is so interesting, Im glad the hypnosis worked for you. I am back to my therapist next week after almost 8 months and will ask him about it.

      @Lilia: Thats how I feel..disempowered and lacking in hope. I miss that feeling of victory and pride when NC started. I still am very vulnerable too, I have felt this vulnerable in years. I dont wish to think of him with someone else…it hurts to think of that. And I dont want to be someone who gets lost in her past.I guess he just isisnt built to appreciate affection, care and kindness. His loss.

      @CC: Oh. My jaws dropped reading your reply. SPOT ON. The moment I think of him with someone else, all hell within. CC, with NC and getting over him and learning from my mistakes + getting told that I might be made redundant at work + family wondering why Im 28 and telling me I should do something about it before I lose my “charm” :( …I seem to have lost a lot of my confidence in life these past 4 months. As I mentioned, Im heading back to the therapist next week but what you therapist told you – EXACTLY where I am. I cant fathom that I might/will actually find someone loving and have a healthy relationship. I dont have the confidence at the moment (probably with everything in life).

      Yes,he was selfish, couldnt care and couldnt cope with me when I did care and respect him. Yes, only an emotional cripple could put up with him. Yes, I am angry at myself for caring about someone who didnt care about me. Yes, I feel I lost something good, but there really is not once ounce of good there in him. And YES, I want all these horrible dreams and negative thoughts to stop. I wait for my positive choice to show positive outcomes.

      “What would it take for me to have confidence?” I truly dont know. But f*ck, Im going to get there no matter what it takes.

      • grace says:

        Don’t be silly, youre just growing into your charm. The thirties is a wonderful decade for women. Signs of ageing are barely visible provided you eat well, exercise, stay out of the sun,dont smoke or drink too much.
        Yet you are developing your own look and character. Youre more financially stable, you’re not a kid anymore.
        Even when I was very young I thought thirties was a good age for women. Michelle of pfeiffer looked better to me in her twenties than her thirties. Softer, less generic, more herself, not that it’s all about looks.
        Don’t panic, it’s not the nursing home for you yet. You still have plenty of choices. But you have to choose them, don’t just drift about telling yourself it’s all hopeless.
        I know there is a subsection of the population that thinks its all over by the time you hit 25/whatever but don’t choose to listen to them.

        • PurpleLily says:

          @ Grace : Thank you Grace. That made me smile…still a while before the stop at the nursing home!

          I do so much of a change (positive) in myself these past years. I like who I am “growing up” to become. But nobody told me becoming an adult was this difficult – suddenly, the reality and people is difficult to cope with. People are deceptive and feed a lot of bulls**t to others. No more ignorance, thus no bliss!

          I do hope my 30s bring a stronger me – I hope I am able to form stronger friendships and relationships and keep the EUs away. I hope to make the right choices and do what I need to do to keep..”growing”.

          Truly appreciate your words, made me feel..no so old indeed!

  35. Kerry says:

    Victorious, this is such a classic move on his part. When I’d push the relationship talk with the ex AC, he would always brush me off, and get off the phone, go silent, run away. That was my punishment for being pushy. And then when I finally did dump him, I never heard from him again. There was no closure, but these guys don’t give closure. And what could possibly be said anyway? His actions speak volumes. I maintained NC and it’s been 14 months. I’m so much happier now that I’m free of him. I too thought I needed closure, but turns out I didn’t.
    Think of it this way: he knows what’s coming and he’s fled. You’ve basically already dumped him. Silence is way more powerful than any kind of follow up. And the best revenge is a life well lived. :)

  36. Tinkerbell says:

    Well, Victorious, looks like the ahole is showing his true colors earlier rather than later. All the better for you, because you can save yourself a lot of aggravation, heartbreak and TIME. Drop it, honey. As our brilliant mentor Natalie would say “He just isn’t that special”. You don’t need to be twisting yourself into knots while he can’t find his head because it’s up his bum. You’re better than that, and deserving of someone better than he is. He knows he’s full of s**t, and your putting up with it will only get you a kick in the butt. Certainly no respect. DO NOT CONTACT HIM. It’s not necessary for you to tell him about himself or explain anything. Don’t worry about him having the first opportunity to end it. You are overthinking the situation. By your ignoring him and refusing to reach out anymore, you are showing him that you are just as through with him as he may be with you. It’s MUTUAL! Actions speak louder than words. Contacting him is just showing that you’re uncertain and that you want him to talk you into giving him another chance. DON’T!!! I am currently going through the same thing with an ahole who suddenly upped and disappeared. And, you know what? I’ll be damned if I’m going to call him. He did me a favor. Get tough, girl. You’ll be fine without him and you’ll meet someone better. But more importantly you’ll have YOU, self-esteem intact.

  37. runnergirl says:

    Hey Natalie, I didn’t get to sign up for your self-esteem course, it was full…frown face. I hope there will be another one soon. Boy did I have myself painted in a corner with limited options in the past. I do remember thinking “this is better than nothing”. Yikes. The online dating scene is wacky. It does kind of feel like cruising through a people supermarket. However, with all your advice and the comments of the wise BR folks, I have started to recognize that I have options and I get to choose. Just recently had a date with a #7 guy (my type). Tall, dark, handsome, tennis player, golfer, great, great shape with dreamy blue eyes, gorgeous hair, and great jeans. Immediate connection. When the waitress finally got our drink order, he ordered an ice tea and then launches into how he had a drinking/drug problem. No problem cos I’m thinking how gorgeous he must look on the tennis court. He wants me to know about his past now rather than wait until after I fall in love with him. Huh? End of the evening rolls around and we make plans to meet for dinner on his birthday.(I declined his offer to meet at his house before dinner following my “No Stranger’s Houses” boundary.) He called to make sure I got home okay and proceeds to tell me he’s done with the online dating scene as he wants to date me exclusively. The dreamer fog cracks loudly. I had already made plans with another guy before I met him. That wasn’t acceptable to him. Huh? I didn’t have a say in whether I wanted to date him exclusively? Things got tense and we agree to talk when we meet for dinner. He doesn’t show for dinner. After waiting 20 mins (birthday card in tow), I text to see if he’s running late and he responds that since I didn’t call to wish him a happy birthday, he figured I wasn’t interested. I respond WOW. He responds with a smiley face. End of. While I don’t want to proceed as though I have endless options, I didn’t know Mr. Dreamy after a 3 hour date. But I do now! Thanks Natalie and ladies.”…what you do under your own steam can only get better and better”. I like my self-steam.

    • Sunshine says:

      WOW is right.
      Wow. Just wow.
      What a friggin twit.
      I just want to laugh and laugh I feel so happy that you didn’t get past date 1 with that guy.
      I love your writing style and I love reading about your dating adventures, when is the book coming out ? 😉

      • runnergirl says:

        Thanks so much Sunshine. I’m not sure it is my adventures in dating rather my adventures in BRing! I have to admit, I did feel that momentary little dreamer tingle, “oh he likes me” which was quickly replaced with, wait, isn’t dating exclusively a mutual decision? Do I like him? There were several other very darkly amber flags. The insistence on exclusivity after three hours and the house invite were red. Topline: It’s been important for me to learn to listen even through the dreamer fog and to learn that I have a choice. Flusheroo! Thanks Nat and BR.

        • Tania says:

          launches into how he had a drinking/drug problem…He wants me to know about his past now rather than wait until after I fall in love with him.

          Ha! That also happened to me in the past. And I fell for it!! Now I see it for what it is: a red flag. When people tell you too much barely five seconds after meeting you, that means they’re not really confident things will progress. It’s a form of self-sabotage. Do you tell all your secrets to a stranger you cross in the street? No.

          Thank God you dodged that bullet!!!

      • Fearless says:

        “I love your writing style and I love reading about your dating adventures, when is the book coming out ?’

        Yes! Me too!

    • selkie says:

      He sounds like a control freak to me. When you didn’t do what he wanted he responded by just not showing up ( immature and rude ). Then the smiley face? Smug little drama king. All after one date. yes, WOW, sums it up. Flush flush flush.

    • I just got to read your comment properly Runner and actually howled laughing – what kinda crack is he smoking? Great on paper, sort of, but not much in reality. Talk about Fast Forwarding. I mean, I happen to know you’re fabulous but for him to be like this after three hours together is excessive. What it certainly isn’t is flattering.

      I forgot to say as well – be thankful that he showed himself as soon as he did. Flush!

    • Late Bloomer says:

      Runner – WOW, because this is so chocked full. Is this guy for real? Or the bigger question – how did you manage to keep a straight face? And he stood you up for dinner because you didn’t call him earlier in the day (but were thoughtfull enough to even get him a card)?

      One guy awhile back “managed” me by text. He got mad at me because he didn’t like “the tone” of one of my texts.

      I’m also enjoying reading your dating / BRing adventures. I honestly think you have crossed to the other side. Meet you there shortly!

    • tracy says:

      The announcement of his drug/drinking problem would have had me asking for the check ASAP. I’ve tried so many times to be ‘supportive’ or ‘understanding’ for these fellows and very often get emotionally beat down by these guys…a combo of neediness and their wanting control. Sounds like you encountered both with this guy. Standing you up on a date? What a loser!

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you Natalie, Tania, Fearless, Tracy, Selkie, and Late Bloomer. The reinforcement is very helpful as I can be a bit wobbly particularly with a #7 guy which is why I didn’t ask for the check ASAP after he detailed his drinking/drug problem. I certainly will next time. Important lesson learned. HIS little drama saga continued today with a text message…wait for it… apologizing, begging for a 2nd chance, “just wanted to feel appreciated” which he didn’t have in his past relationship (which includes a 7yro sans wife), and ended with “pretty please with sugar on top”! One of the dark ambers was a spidey feeling he wasn’t over his ex and/or was still lugging around a box of ex rocks. Trust those spidey senses. Mr. Tennis Dude, overestimated his mojo, overestimated my interest, and underestimated my self-steam, thanks to you all. Pre-BR, before I realized I HAD A CHOICE!!!,I can see how easy it could be/used to be to get sucked into HIS drama and back on the roller coaster. I wanted to respond (I won’t) with some AC tips. For example, you’ll have to blow hottier longer than 3 hours before you pull a Houdini, no matter how hot you may look on a tennis court. Thanks all, my perception of my choices has changed. I have choices, skippity do dah, skippity deh. Great post Nat. So uplifting.

        • runnergirl says:

          Well, looks like I’ve got to call my service provider and block the dude. He just called and left a long voice mail apologizing and still begging for a second chance because “his behavior was so out of character”. Yeah right! According to his voice mail, “relationships have their ups and downs and it can get rocky but we can work it out because relationships require ommunication”. Err…relationship? We had a 3 hour date! I allowed him to put his arm around me, he loved my hair and asked to touch it, and we hugged good-bye. That’s it in terms of physical contact. I see totally what you mean Nat when you gently tell us not to make assumptions. It’s a date not a relationship or a marriage proposal. Oh, seeing it from the flip side is interesting. This guy needs BR, AA, and a good therapist big time! Thank god I already know how to block.
          I can’t write a book because Natalie has already written the book so I would be plagiarizing!

          • Magnolia says:

            What’s a #7 guy?

            • Fearless says:

              I’m assuming it means the seventh guy runner has recently gone on a date with – guy number seven.

              • runnergirl says:

                Hi Magnolia and Fearless,
                A #7 guy refers to the post “It’s Just a Date, Not a Marriage Proposal…” where Nat suggests that if you don’t want to have sex early in the dating process, don’t put yourself in that position (excuse the pun). I use it as a metaphor for “my type”. Mags, I hope your landlord situ is okay?
                Oh Fearless, good for you. I hope things go nicely for you. I know you’ll have your BR ears on and your self e-steam in tow. Good luck and remember, it’s just a date!
                I blocked the tosser.

                • Fearless says:

                  Ah, I see runner.

                  “I blocked the tosser”

                  Ha! Quite right. Exercising our choices is very empowering indeed. The guy treated you very shoddily then realised you are not the woman who was going to tolerate it. If you’d given him a second chance you would have been the woman who was going to tolerate it, that’s the message he would have taken from it and so he would have treated you shoddily again… and again. I am so with Nat on the ‘don’t give anyone the chance to reject you twice’- wise advice. My ex EUM rejected me seven hundred thousand, three hundred and ninety-two times! Cripes.

                • Fearless says:

                  After having my lunch date yesterday (date set up via a reputable internet dating site), I now find myself struggling with the choice of to see him again or not to see him again and wondering whether my ambivalence is lack of self esteem, some red/amber flags, I am being to picky or just my usual ambivalent incapable of making a decision. Also, I’m wondering if I’m over analyzing – I’m struggling with what it is that I am thinking that I can actually trust and act on, so I seem to be on the fence – again!

                  He seemed nice enough. Attractive enough. Roughly his story (or version of it) goes that his wife left him for a returning childhood sweetheart about 8/9 years ago leaving him to raise their two children on his own (they are now 14 and 17 yrs.) He is plainly a committed father (good point). He also has a toddler from a previous relationship who lives with its mother. According to him this woman ‘turned out to be a nutter’. He had sold his house to live with her in her home with his children and when things went sour he left with nothing basically and had to start again. He has fought this woman through the courts to get access to his toddler son. The mother of his teenage children accused him in the divorce court of mental and physical abuse, which he strenuously denies and has often demanded a retraction from her. The courts weren’t interested in whose fault it was but he was fuming at these accusations. (so, I suppose his point is that she is a nutter too!) Red flag? My two exes are nutters!
                  During a conversation on our date about why we were on internet dating, I pointed to him that I would like to meet someone but am also quite happy on my own (as I’m very accustomed to it). When he left me he said that he hoped he hadn’t got a parking ticket as e may have gone over his time for his paid ticket to park. later that day after our lunch date i get a text from him: “no ticket when i got to my car so that makes it a good day. Oh and meeting you! What do you think? Are you happier on your own?”

                  And I’m thinking ‘happier on my own’ as opposed to what exactly? I only met you two hours ago! ‘What do I think?’ I don’t effing know yet! Jeez.

                  I showed the text to my sister and she agreed with me that it was an odd thing to ask after one lunch date; she said she thought it must be a joke. I don’t think so. Took me a while to think how t respond to such big question via a text mesage! So i juts said I enjoyed his company; it was early days; I’d be happy to see him again.

                  I’m now wishing I hadn’t said that, as, having thought it over more, I’m not sure I want to see him again. He has text me back last night asking when would be good for me (bearing in mind he has his toddler every second Sunday). I haven’t answered him yet. I’m thinking there’s a few flags here and also he has a lot of baggage (not sure I want to get involved in all of that) also, and this may be trivial and possibly unfair and unimportant, but he’s not as educated as me and is quite working class (am I a snob!!?). I am doubting myself that these things are supposed to matter but I can’t help noticing them. Sheesh. Choices, choices… what to say to him now (by text!!! Argh)… is it over-analysing? Self doubt? Ambivalence? EU-ness!? Is it me? Is it him? Do I even care! (I don’t think I care enough) What is my problem? Can I back track and tell (text!) him I changed my mind? Have I changed my mind? I don’t even know that!

                  • grace says:

                    We all have baggage at our age, it’s whether we’ve dealt with it. Too late now, but I wouldn’t discuss exes on a first date. In fact, the man and I only began talking about that after eight weeks or so. Even then I spared the details. It was so long ago and I didn’t spend thousands in therapy to still keep going on about it.
                    See him again if he’s worth the benefit of the doubt. You can’t be sure of anything after a first date unless he was an absolute total idiot. I’m not sure he was. A second date isn’t a big deal.
                    an observation – when I told the man I would be very happy to Be single for the rest of my life he said “oh dear”. Such a statement can be easily perceived as “I’m not interested” or as a challenge. I guess a man or woman would like to feel there’s a fighting chance and you’re not a hurdle to overcome.
                    I’m afraid it’s completely up to you whether you see him again!

                    • Fearless says:

                      Grace thank you so much for your comment.

                      “You can’t be sure of anything after a first date unless he was an absolute total idiot.”

                      This is exactly my own thoughts! His question by text (!) two hours after a first meeting: ‘are you still happier on your own?’ made me baulk – I took it as an awful lot of weight to throw at me after a two hour walk around a garden, some tea and sandwiches. Before I got that text I was certain I would be perfectly willing to see him again despite the baggage and the other stuff for exactly the reason you say – he wasn’t a total idiot.

                      Your take on him asking that question I hadn’t thought of, so thanks. Yep, it’s up to me; I want to make the right choices now – for the right reasons and I don’t want *me* to be the problem! I agree – I don’t like hearing about the exes (I never mentioned any of mine other than passing benign comments and only because he asked.) I don’t get why first dates can’t be about *doing* something together – like enjoying the botanical gardens! I think we get to know eachother better by *doing* or enjoying things together rather than sitting on a bench surrounded by beautiful flowers listening to someone telling me why he thinks his marriage didn’t work. I don’t effing care! And no, like you, I didn’t go through two years of trying to ‘get better’ to end up talking to a guy I just met about the effing ex EUM – I want to forget about him.

                    • Snowboard says:

                      “In fact, the man and I only began talking about that after eight weeks or so. Even then I spared the details.”

                      This is great, Grace. While of course eventually you may want to talk to him about your troubling past relationships (ie, in a year or so), I agree that a budding love can really only bare so much discussion of the past. This is you and the man’s time to be together and build a new start for both of you, rather than lingering in the past.

                  • Fearless says:

                    Let me also say that I have no issue with ‘working class’. I am not from the privileged classes! And I don’t see myself as better than anyone else at all… it’s just I note (with this guy) a difference in attitude/what we would appreciate in life and getting out of life… the kind of ‘difference’ that makes me think that the things I like, get pleasure from and want to aspire to and learn about would not be the same as this guy (My ex EUM btw was from a background of quite dire poverty – for me it’s not about the background or class per se at all – my father was dirt poor as a child! But about the person’s attitudes to life, aspirations, ambitions, desire for learning new things and taking things in etc…

                    For example, it was me who suggested the meeting place for our lunch date: the city Botanical Gardens. He told me that although he had lived in our city all his life, he had never been to the Botanical Gardens which sits in one of the most lovely and popular areas of the city. Okay. No problem with that really. But he seemed utterly disinterested in the surroundings. He asked at one point at a cross-roads in the pathway why I had stopped and I said because I was looking at the signposts to see which might be the most interesting path to take and suggested the “rose gardens” as the way to go next, as that might be nice to see. He couldn’t have given a monkey’s feck about what interesting things there may be to see (and he’d never been there before). He made no comment about this wonderful historical site with it’s Victorian glasshouse house (which I may have wanted to walk through out of interest!) and I couldn’t help thinking, what a difference in interestedness from the ex EUM – we would have been chatting constantly about what we were seeing around us. This guy may as well have been blind to his surroundings, and that’s kind of what I mean about ‘difference’.

                    Forgive me Natalie. I know I’m way off course of your article now. I don’t want to paint myself as some snooty cow. I’m really not.

                  • Snowboard says:

                    “What do you think? Are you happier on your own?”

                    I’ve had guys text me similar things to this after first dates, and I always felt uncomfortable about it. But then I would feel bad, because I would just think, “Well, he is just awkward, doesn’t know how to handle the dating phase.” But then it would always turn out I was right in the first place. This kind of comment functions as a form of pressure.

                    While you mention a couple good points about this man (attractive, nice, committed father), I see too many bright yellow flags (obviously esp. the complaints of abuse) to justify a second date in my opinion. My suspicion is there is someone much better out there for you. If you do see him again though, heed the bright yellow flags, meaning proceed with caution. :) Good luck, Fearless!

                  • Snowboard says:

                    P.S. I meant to add, in any case, I’m proud of you for getting out there and trying to meet someone, Fearless!!

                    • Fearless says:

                      Thank you Snowboard! Appreciate your comment so much!
                      “This kind of comment functions as a form of pressure.”

                      Yes. Whatever the intention was “pressure” was exactly the result for me.

                      I too have a feeling there is someone better out there for me, or at least that I can hope for something/someone more suitable for me. Two teenagers and a toddler? And acrimonious relationships with the two mothers? I’m too tired for all of that!

                  • Sunshine says:


                    I’m pretty sure you can trust your gut on this one.

                    I always go back to Natalie’s description of her first date with her husband.

                    “On our first date, I was VERY CALM. We had a brilliant time. There was no antsy feeling or crazy butterflies and in fact I felt very peaceful and at ease. I was relieved.”

                    There is something off about the guy which is why you’re mind is going nuts trying to figure things out already.

                    For me, struggling to decide is in and of itself a big bright red flag. Don’t you want someone who puts you at ease and it feels good and natural to go out with again?

                    • Fearless says:

                      very helpful comment. Thank you so much for taking the trouble.

                      “For me, struggling to decide is in and of itself a big bright red flag. Don’t you want someone who puts you at ease and it feels good and natural to go out with again?”

                      Yes. Yes. Yes! I do. I do. I do!

                      Indecision equals red flag. Good one! I can go with that idea.

                  • runnergirl says:

                    Yea for you Fearless. Congratulations! Those are all the questions I’ve had after meeting somebody for a hot minute. Mind you, I’m no dating guru as you know but here’s how I’m thinking based on what you’ve written. First,absolutely you can change you mind. It’s your mind. The only thing running through my mind on a first date is whether I want to see the guy again for a second date, in a public place. And a second date is still not a relationship or a marriage proposal! Second, I’m not really keen on discussing ex’s on a first date. That usually turns me off ASAP, particularly if he describes the ex’s as nutters. Just me though.
                    Third, toddlers and teens, every other weekend? Fourth, you had to hear about divorce court twice and allegations of mental/physical abuse? Yikes. That would be a ton of baggage and drama for me for a first date. I’ve endured similar divorce court first dates and I didn’t go on a second. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun. Hearing about divorce court just isn’t that fun for me.

                    • runnergirl says:

                      Fifth, there does sound like there’s some legitimate baggage. Although he may have had a case of verbal diarrhea, he’s given you a ton of info. You have choices. Process the info and act based on what is best for YOU. I’ve had the same niggly feeling and didn’t accept a second date. Seventh, regarding the edmacation thingy, yeah, it’s been an issue for me, still is. I can’t figure that one out yet. I’m thinking it wouldn’t make a difference if there wasn’t so much other yuck?

                    • runnergirl says:

                      Eighth (this will appear out of order if Nat allows it), I think all your questions are wonderful. Don’t you wish you would have asked all these questions before getting involved with the exEUM? Ninth, if you decide that you aren’t up for a second date, text him and say nope. If you are up for a second date, I’d call him. I don’t text, unless I want lazy communication too. Tenth, this guy isn’t the last chance saloon. Trust me, after 100 days online and probably 30 dates or meet ups or whatever, guys have the same issues we do. Fearless, you have a ton of options. Try a first date with another guy? Back flipping track now if you have doubts. But remember, dating is a discovery phase. If you decide on seeing him again, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll be wearing white on your wedding day. BTW, did you share anything about you or was it all about him?

                    • Fearless says:

                      “Hearing about divorce court just isn’t that fun for me.”

                      Yes! I would have preferred to talk about the *things* rather than exes. we passed this old, smallish victorian building which I noticed was signposted ‘the half penny house’ – he was blabbing on about some old problem and I found myself distracted trying to read a notice telling me what the ‘half-penny house’ had been used for. I’d rather talk about old buildings than old problems!

                      Just to be clear: his teenagers live with him (mother barely sees them any more); toddler lives with a ex live-in partner.

                      am v glad of your comments runner! cheers.

                    • Fearless says:

                      re edumacational:
                      “I’m thinking it wouldn’t make a difference if there wasn’t so much other yuck?”
                      Yep. That’s what I’m thinking.

                    • Fearless says:


                      The texting is already annoying me! The most I would do is suggest that he phones me but I wouldn’t be phoning him at this stage. When we decided on-line to have a meet-up, he sent me his mobile number. I texted him on that number suggesting that he called me to set up the date, which he did.

                      Last night I texted him back saying it’d be better if he suggested a time for another date as I am more flexible. I did also say that although I would not mind seeing him again I did have some reservations about our compatibility in the long term but that I’d be happy to get to know him better. (I’m now not sure about that but I felt I had better give him an answer to his text asking me to suggest a day for a second date.) I really don’t want to be ignorant to people by not answering messages within a reasonable time – on the other hand, he could call me on the phone! I think he’s a bit cowardly in that respect (like me!). I think he’d be dead happy if I phoned him – but I’m not gonna.

                      Yes, the chat was mostly about him. In my experience, some men think that they are getting along so well with me, that I am so easy to talk to and all so easy going and funny… and they think they have met someone they have really hit it off with and who they might really, really like… when actually who they have met is merely a woman who is polite, has good social skills, who listens and who will respond appropriately, who is sensitive to making them feel comfortable and at their ease. They don’t actually know sometimes how much work I am putting into it – or what I am actually thinking (I suspect you are like that too runner) and they are shocked when I don’t want to see them again, as they thought things were going so swimmingly; and I suspect they think I have been disingenuous, which I haven’t – I’ve just been personable!

                      Anyway, he texted me back this morning. Twice. First one mainly points out that he has noticed I am indecisive! (so he is astute then! lol.) and saying that if we enjoyed each others company then that’s a good start (agreed! He’s parroting what I said to him in response to his ‘are you still happy being on your own?’ text). Second text came just five minutes ago: “it’s a far from perfect world but you might enjoy spending some time with me while waiting for that perfect match to come along. I hope so.”

                      Sheesh, is he offering to be my fall back guy?! Pft. That’ll be a first! He’s just digging deeper holes for himself.

                      I would see other dates, runner, gladly, but I’m not getting the offers. I have turned two guys down for dates (they were no-go-ers) and others that I would date don’t respond to my ‘icebreakers’. I’m not worried though about any of this – it’s not a problem, really. I’m just learning new stuff about myself and in the spirit of Nat’s article am interested in the choices aspect here, and its relation to my self-esteem and EU-ness, and trying to unravel in my mind what it is that’s going on with me – is my not being able to handle choice-making here a lack of self-esteem, that I think I owe a ‘one date guy’ something – is it him? is it me? This is the thrust of my postings about this.

                      Point is, I’m not trying to create a drama about one stupid date and whether to see him again or not. I either will or I won’t; it’s not a big deal. I’m just curious about the process of my decision making, why that is a problem, and where it’s coming from (internal or external?)

                      I don’t want to disrespect Natalie by hogging her blog on the subject of my one lunch date!! Yes, I wanted some feed back, and will say thanks to all who took the trouble to post something for me to think about. And thanks v much to Natalie for allowing me this space. I realise I have an issue with dealing with ‘choices’ and I need to figure that out.

                  • Teddie says:

                    Fearless, if you think a second date will cancel out your second-guessing your own radars, go for it, you can surely handle a date, you’re fearless after all! Way better than sitting and questioning your own judgement. IMO, going by your post, you’ve seen and heard enough already. And, it does look like he’s got a lot of baggage, nuts or not.
                    You also don’t know how many dates he’s got lined up by the reputable agency. I’m sure he’s not spending his time over-analysing your responses.

                    • Fearless says:


                      “I’m sure he’s not spending his time over-analysing your responses.”

                      I think maybe he is! I hear you though! Thanks.

                  • Lilia says:

                    Fearless, there´s some things it seems you´re uncomfortable with, simply because you mention them.

                    First, this guy going on about his exes – and talking badly about them. That in itself is pretty awkward, more so on a first date.

                    Then, this text – and why can´t guys just call?

                    Also, I don´t think it´s snobbish to notice he´s less educated than you, it´s being real. You´re not in a film getting to know a young Marlon Brando who is so hot your hormones take over your brain so you emotionally abandon your cultured sister Vivien Leigh.
                    That just doesn´t happen in real life.

                    So I´d think, if those topics are important enough for you to mention, perhaps it´s your gut telling you to at least wait a while before taking any decision.

                    • Fearless says:


                      Thanks. I think in order to make the best choices that promote our self-esteem we need to focus on the top-line data – maybe I’m not picking up on it clearly enough in this instance. What exactly is the top-line data here is something for me to think about.

                  • cc says:

                    my two cents: this guy shouldn’t even be dating at all. he’s not ready, not dealt with all his marriage crap. has no idea what it is to be on one’s own – that’s why he asked you that question. he has a LOT of stuff to sift through. and is likely to jump right into a rebound relationship because he hasn’t learned how to stand being on his own.

                    i feel bad for the poor guy. he doesn’t know his butt from a banana right now.

                    so i’d say its fine if you’ve flushed him since he’s not ready anyway. if you haven’t flushed him, whatever you decide (remember, you are free to opt in or out), he doesn’t sound bad, just a mess, so be gentle, he’s a noobie.

                    if i may – what you were grappling with in this situation is not knowing how to interpret the info he was giving you. but your instincts were correct, something was making you back away. so its not your EU-ness, its that he’s not ready. its, please don’t be offended, your inexperience. which incidentally is also drawing you into more drama than you need.

                    he’s not a bad guy, i think. he’s just coming of a marriage and doesn’t know how to handle himself. he probably can’t offer real relationship right now, if that’s what you’re looking for. which, unfortunately, makes him walking biohazard for the uninitiated.

                    i’d let him down easy.

                    • Fearless says:


                      your comment is interesting to me on many levels (and yes, please do pass me whatever you think – I like to hear even the controversial stuff!).

                      That he doesn’t know his arse from a banana made me laugh out loud! He’s not just out of a marriage. That ended many years ago. His relationship with the mother of his toddler went to shit when she was pregnant (cos she went nutty him!?), which must have been about 2/3 years ago. So I don’t think he is re-bounding, but I do agree that he’s looking to be with someone more desperately than I am and he’s lacking confidence, i think, though he also seemed the type to take offense way too readily.

                      I don’t know what gives you the impression I am inexperienced. I’m 51 years old and have been dealing with men all my life (I’ve had plenty of experience of them intimately, sexually and otherwise). I’ve never lived with one – that’s all. I’m not exactly a blushing virgin – far from it!

                      What I am new at is trying to date men post BR and post epic and horrendously painful EUM experience, so I am new at trying to date with a smarter BR head on. Pre BR I wouldn’t ever be internet dating at all and if I’d met this guy in bar or such like, I probably would not have even considered a date (probably because of something stupid like I didn’t like his shoes!). What I’m trying to do is question my old behaviours – to consider men I may never have considered before (cos my old behaviour led me into some very poor choices!), what I suspect I have done is try to give someone the benefit of the doubt that I would have previously written off. What I’m forgetting is that sometimes I did have (even accidentally) perfectly good reasons for writing someone off!
                      You said I should “let him down easy”… Ooops! (too late he’s all offended – and shocked, as I knew he would be cos he thought things were going spiffingly – I knew they weren’t.

                      Thanks for your comment cc. I appreciate it.

          • Fearless says:

            Runner OMG! What a tosser. Interesting, a three hour dinner date equals a relationship! Shame he didn’t think that communication is important when he left you sitting by yourself waiting for him to (not) show up for date number 2 or when he thought a sarcastic smiley face text was effort communication. You have a lot more self control than I do as I would have (wrongly) responded to him with much of what I’ve just written. You are so right that he underestimated you on all counts and over-estimated what he had to offer! Good for you, runner. Keep going; I have a feeling you are going to meet someone really nice. BTW, I have a lunch date tomorrow – yes, with a man! Sheesh. And yes, I will be exercising my choices and acting under my self-e-steam!

            • Fearless says:

              “And yes, I will be exercising my choices and acting under my self-e-steam!”

              Err… can I retract that?!

              Seems I am acting under ambivalent EU-ness. I hope it doesn’t last! I think my gut is saying “flush” already. But I’m also wary of being too hasty. This guy plainly liked me and I’m wondering if in all my EU glory that it is exactly this which is putting me off. This is an interesting experience for me. My EU-ness has always had me attracted to men that I have had to fight for (love for the EU has got to be painful and unattainable, right?); if I am going to get back on the dating saddle how can I be sure if feeling ‘put off’ by a man is down to his show of interest which will be written off by my EU-ness or down to proper and justifiable reasons for me being ‘put off’.

              This may make for an interesting article at some point Natalie. For those who want to get over life-long EU-ness: Is he a “flush” or am I just not that interested because he is showing interest in me? How to tell the difference.

              • Sunshine says:


                You’re in danger girl!
                Do you REALLY believe if you hit the flush handle on this guy with all of this baggage that you are flushing The Love of Your Life?
                Think about it.
                Are you really trying to be the next nutter ex?
                What are you afraid of losing if you hit the “next” button?

                • Fearless says:

                  Hi Sunshine,

                  I hit the flush handle about an hour ago! I’m not afraid to do that or anything else. Just musing over how I tell the difference between my EU-ness and real external factors that are genuinely asking to be flushed! Your comment are v helpful. Thanks. Yep, I’m sure I’m the nutter one lunch date already’. After I flushed him he texted me back that he thought we were on the same page but apparently not even in the same book! And too much fault finding for one lunch date, says he!

                  So, I’m now a fault finder who doesn’t know where the right page is! Pft.

                  • cc says:

                    ah, i clearly jumped to conclusions. how he was handling himself seemed so fresh off the marriage boat. or maybe we pass around stricter “how to behave on a date” rules in the US …we’re always trying waaay too hard to prove our fitness in every way over here.

                    my “inexperience” suggestion wasn’t so much an age reference as exactly what you said – road testing a new persona and still getting the feel of it.

                    i actually think your gut is better tuned than you think it is. you were just trying to find identifiable, describable evidence to explain why you reacted to him the way you did. but i think the reaction was probably dead on.

                    so…maybe…if it helps…both trust your gut instincts and also go slowly to verify what you’re instinct is telling you so you can satisfy your head. there’s no rush to make a decision either way on any given person if you’re feeling a bit on the fence.

                    • cc says:

                      *your not you’re

                    • Fearless says:

                      Thanks cc. Yes, I think I just felt ‘rushed’, like having agreed to see him a second time (two times!) just wasn’t enough for him. I have no clue what else he was wanting me to say (or to give to him) and I’m not bothered by text messages really for quick messages of the ‘what time’s good for you?’ nature but I was beginning to feel quite stressed by his text msgs, which seemed to me to be expecting me to respond to questions/statements which would demand a lot of words/thought/explanation, which I felt was really unfair and also put me in the position of “having” to type long text msgs in response to his one or two liners, like “what do you think?” and “are you happy on your own?”. I mean, that kind of stuff demands more then a yes or no answer, so I was feeling pressured to type great swathes of explanations into my i-phone, which made me want to tell him to eff off! Then when i tell him to forget it i get told off for finding too much fault! (btw, after I told him to forget it basically, i also said that I wished him all the best, and his response ended with “I won’t return the compliment” Pah. Like I care a toss.

                      Bottom line for me though was too much baggage. And this would have been the killer anyway, regardless of the rest. He would really have had to have had something more appealing to counteract all that baggage, and he didn’t.

                      Well, all that was a wasted Saturday afternoon – and some! Sorry for all the fuss here! A lesson has been learned.

                    • runnergirl says:

                      Hey Fearless,
                      No fuss, at least for me. I learned a lot from your comments and all of the responses so thank you all. As for the waste of time, may I suggest that it may have been time very well spent. You saw that you had choices and got to refine what it is you are looking for in a relationship, not a particular man. You didn’t paint yourself into a corner. Additionally, you got to think about how much baggage is too much. Is there something that counteracts the baggage? Since we are all going to have some baggage, you got to experience what it’s like when someone is carrying around the box-o-rocks. You got the opportunity to consider things like young kids, texting, pressure, edumaction, and nutter exs. Such factors involve important choices. So what if you needed time to consider these factors and didn’t jump to his time-table. You decided when you decided. Sometimes, I simply don’t respond until I’ve decided. All of my experiences and BR have helped me to recognize, I have a ton of choices, albeit not endless. You even have a choice WHEN to respond and HOW!
                      PS. I think he was fishing for an ego stroke and when you didn’t, he responded with an insult. Flusheroo and next!

        • selkie says:


          This guy is a hot mess. Be careful of him, he sounds a little scary actually. Run for the hills! Even though this guy is laughable, I’m sorry that you had to meet yet another toad. I have to say, you inspire me to get back on the dating horse. Not because of the men you met so far, but how lovely you are handling yourself around them. Your self esteem rocks.

        • cc says:

          “you’ll have to blow hottier longer than 3 hours before you pull a Houdini, no matter how hot you may look…” – heeeeeeeeee. go runner!!

    • sm says:

      Runner eww thank goodness you dodged that bullet. A guy I met on a dating website once wanted me to commit to dating only him on our second phone conversation, we hadnt even met yet. It scared the heck out of me and I ended the conversation. That was years back, I certainly wish some of the other eu’s behavior had scared me. I commend you on having the energy to put into internet dating, I just cant bring myself to do it again..yet.

  38. Victorious says:

    Thanks so much. Kerry your EUM sounds just like mine. He was consistent too, called every day, never stood me up, but never made plans more than a week or so ahead unless it was something HE wanted me to accompany him to. But you are so right, waiting for the crumbs became a huge issue. Oh wow, he out his arm around me and hugged me, he does like me after all. Maybe he will even end up fancying me enough to have sex with me again? Ugh! I am so sad for myself that I went through that. Anyway, I decided to call him last night and I finished it. Didn’t do a huge post mortem ( what’s the point, he won’t change) just said I felt I was going out with a different man to the one I first dated and I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of the relationship. He said the last thing he wanted was for me to be unhappy. He knew the issue was with him but he just couldn’t explain what it was. He said I was lovely and he always had a great time when he was with me. I didn’t make any pathetic “let’s still be friends” offers, although he did say, “let’s keep in touch.” I have a feeling he won’t keep in touch though as I think he knows that I know he is an EUM. Thanks so much to BR. I probably would have limped along in this relationship for at least a year without all the invaluable insights/experiences and support from this site. I am sad but the constant feeling of anxiety has gone.

    • cc says:

      victory, victorious! good for you!! and i’m very happy for you that you feel freed and that the anxiety is gone. now, if i may, even if he does keep in touch, go NC.

      congratulations, again!

      • Victorious says:

        Cheers CC. His mate called me re a matter I am helping him with professionally and I stupidly didn’t tell him we had split. he then asked me to pass on fairly important message to him. I will just text the info explaining what happened and ignore any reply I get ( probably won’t get one anyway) and ask him to make sure his friends know the score to avoid reoccurrence. This is so much harder than I thought. Although I have made a “Big List Of Marks Many Faults” which has (so far) 23 items on it, starting with “Small Dick – very”

        • cc says:

          AH!! i see you made your list already, good….(laughs evilly)!

          hang in there, really.

          • Victorious says:

            The list was fun!
            Tight with money.
            Didn’t invite me to his brothers wedding.
            Drives mini – see Dick comment.
            Cocaine user (this seems to be a recurrent theme with EUM?)
            Anyway, I still don’t know whether to text him passing on the message. It would be childish and nasty of me not to and the friend will think I am very odd not to have passed it on but I was trying to do NC and don’t want to fall at the first fence……

            • cc says:

              goodness, quite the list.

              call/write the friend back and say he/she will unfortunately need to deliver their own message. not your gig anymore.

              • Victorious says:

                I am sooo proud of myself. managed to stay NC despite temptation. If his friends slag me off for not passing on the message ( unlikely really) then so what? I stayed NC and feel really good about it. Thanks so much to everyone who has been supportive and to Natalie for this BRILLIANT site.

  39. teachable says:

    I understand Grace. I’ve done a lot of therapy over the years, to heal the wounds, including abuse specific therapy. I learned that I DID have choices & mostly as an adult, I’ve chosen well. Not perfectly by a long shot & many mistakes have been made along the way, however, most of them only once, meaning I learnt from them & moved to the next lesson. The biggest lesson for me of all though, is loving myself. I’m so incredibly hard on myself. It’s astounding. I expect myself to perform at the highest levels, even at times when I am under great duress, due to illness for example. I’m not very good at nurturing myself because I was never nurtured. So I have never quite known how to to do it. I do try. I do things like burn soothing oils (the main thing I can manage atm) or buy a book & lose myself in my analytical mind which is as sharp as a steel trap & where I am most comfortable. Occassionally, if money allows (not often atm) I shout myself a massage & last week, lo & behold I got a proper hair cut & color, not just a $20 trim like I normally would with a $10 home dye. It cost $110. Finances are very tight because I’m not working atm due to serious chronic long term illness but I thought, it’s ok, I can afford to choose to get my hair done properly, just this once & the sky won’t fall in. And it hasn’t. There are much bigger choices here for me to contend with but if I think about them too much I soon become overwhelmed ie should I sell the house, what I am going to do abt the prbs I’m facing re possibly timing out of my degree at uni due to illness etc. As such I keep things focused on just each day for now. I’m too ill to take on much more & if that is the best I can manage, I’ve decided, that is completely ok. I will look for the site you mention. Thankyou.

  40. teachable says:

    Dancing queen. I can confirm. Nothing is better than being single, owning yr own home & then being able to decorate it! Especially when you know only too well what it was once like to not have a home at all!!! :)))

  41. teachable says:

    Yes. Also agree that the new terminology of chopper to describe the friend who commented, ‘why do you always end up with these guys’ is very apt. In this context I think it fit’s really well to describe ppl we didn’t have a name for previously. I like it!

  42. Lavender says:

    I haven’t posted on this site for a while, but I have been reading. I used to post all the time and this site really helped me to realise that I was in an abusive relationship or non relationship as the case would be. This post really struck me because I have really bad self esteem. After four years of an on off thing with this guy I finally instigated no contact effectively for almost one year. I tried several times before, but this was the first time I followed through. I was so over him and realised how horrible he had been to me. So after the one year of no contact I found out we would be going to the same wedding and I didn’t want it to be awkward for my me so I emailed before hand to say look a lot of time has past lets be friends. He said great see you at the wedding. In the end I couldn’t go as I had an emergency at work. I emailed once again after that but he didn’t respond. Now it’s six months later and I am suddenly thinking about him every day, composing emails to him to catch up, but I haven’t sent them. I don’t want to get back together with him, but I miss him as my friend a lot. That seems nice, but he was horrible to me, he was abusive and would give me the silent treatment whenever he wasn’t happy, he repeatedly criticised my clothes, hair, education, my job, my family, me, everything. He would always put me down and didn’t care about my well being at all. So why did my self esteem get so good that I could go no contact for a year and no I’m suddenly wanting to contact him again?

  43. grace says:

    You broke NC, he ignored you, you don’t like it. Or you’re bored, it’s your hormones. Or it’s the time of year. Or month. Or you didn’t meet anyone else. Or, or, or ..
    I know what it isn’t. it’s not a sign that you should get back with him in any way, shape or form.
    Watch out, I got back in touch with an ex after a full year of NC and we ended up flippin married. I didn’t even like him!
    Don’t think about it that much. It’s not worth it. You get better stuff to do.

    • Lavender says:

      Thank you Grace for your advice, I really need it right now. You’re probably right that I just don’t like that he didn’t care that I was in touch again. I guess I am someone who wants to be liked and I don’t understand why he hates me so much just for who I am.

      • It’s funny Lavender but your response in this comment is the subject of the post that will go up later. You are over-receiving feedback – you have judged yourself on his actions, drawn a shady conclusion and you are not using consideration of any other possibilities, perspective or just your flat out experience of him.

        How does him not getting in touch equate to him hating you?

        You did no contact for a *year* and you *obviously* don’t hate him.

        You are the one who got in touch with him but you have a hidden agenda. You got in touch about an event with a view to smoothing things over even though it wasn’t necessary. Fair enough though but you didn’t go. You did not have an arrangement with this man and he has his own life that he’s been leading for a year. The event is over – if you had a different idea of what this reconnection was going to lead to, it should have been communicated.

        Also what you actually asked him to do, was for you both to be friendly, which is different to *actually* being friends – many people do not realise that the former is what most shady exes are aiming for, not a bonafide friendship.

        And then here’s the kicker – I have a looooong memory and this man is not your friend and this was an abusive relationship. You getting in touch with him have him an opt out and a clean slate. Leave.It.Be.

        This man does not hate you – he may have got the idea that you’ll welcome him if and when he strikes again and I hope that you will leave this alone and put your energy into healing *you*. If you still want this man’s friendship and validation, you have some more work to do. Well done to a year – keep going. The year is not a waste – make good on what you’ve started.

        • Lavender says:

          Thank you so so much Nat for responding and for giving me the encouragement and advice that I needed. You’re right about just leaving it be. No contact really helped me with this situation. I didn’t think it would, but I really felt more empowered every day. Thank you. :)

          • runnergirl says:

            Lavender, I remember your comments too as you were going through the throws of awareness. Hopefully you’ve read Nat’s most excellent post on abusive choppers. Plug chopper in the search box and read Nat’s amazing spot on analysis of abusers. It is the absolute best description of verbal/emotional abuse ever. Read all of the amazing comments of women who have been abused, physically, verbally, and emotionally. Assuming that anything that was written strikes a chord, STAY CLEAR, VERY, VERY CLEAR OF HIM. I work in the same building with my ex-abuser/chopper and had vivid nightmares 10 years later after reading Nat’s post and the comments. I saw him a few days later and is all I could picture was a giant hatchet above his head. Blank your abuser. You have choices. You really do. You really, really have choices. Trust me because I didn’t think I did.

            • Lavender says:

              Hi runnergirl,

              I just had a read of the chopper article and of all the ones I’ve read that most accurately describes him. So accurate it’s scary. Thank you! :)

  44. lo j says:

    Ah Grace!! You’ve gone from “the man” to “current beau”. I like! (Been waiting to see what was next … “crush” “ex-crush” “the man” “current beau” …

  45. jasmine says:

    ladies, i broke non contact…but my story now will be a huge help to those now who are struggling and want to give the assclown another go..please nooooooooooo

    so, back in june, i reach a point where i decide to send assclown a ‘where the hell are you’ text..(he disappeared back in Feb and then started dating a 19yr old..he’s 27..and im 30. anyway, he calls me straight away, we chat and tells me that he will contact me after ramadan..so he did and he was very very apologetic on the phone to the point he sounded very emotional. truly.! he tells me he owes me dinner.

    therefore about 3 weeks ago he takes me to dinner, treats me like a gentleman. tells me he wants meaningful relationships. wants to start slow. no sex initially. doesnt know how he feels about me. wants to spend time with me. walks me to my car, hugs me. tells me to remind him about coming to my sisters house(i was house sitting) i invited him over to relax in the spa on sunday from 2 weeks

    anyway, i then think, wow, he has changed. so i send him a reminder text about spa day 2 weeks later. he tells me, he might be able to come on the saturday as well, then asks “arent i on my period?? i think WTF anyway, he doesnt show. come sunday, me as a moron,i wait and then finally send a “were you ever coming’ text about 9pm. he sends me back..”i have people over. give me time”…so by then, im pissed. he does come over. we talk, flirt, have coffee. (spa wasnt working) and i test him by leading him to the bedroom. he literally starts kissing me. takes his clothes off at one stage.i tell him, lets just lay down and talk. so it was awkward..he doesnt want to talk. wants to have sex. then he picks himself up, goes to the lounge room and gives me the “i can’t do committed relationships at the moment, only casual. he does mention, lets do it for old times sake ! but when i say no, he says,i dont want to use you. thats all i can offer. by then im thinking WTF, what happened to all the sweet talking u did weeks prior. anyway, thats what he feels. he goes…but then i realise i have my cd;s in his car and want them back

    last sunday we meet up for me to pick up my cds. i tell him lets meet 8pm. he says no, he has to pick up his mum from somewhere. he says between 9-10pm. i say, not late as i dont feel comfortable. anyway, he doesnt bother contacting me until i send a ‘im waiting, i want my cd’s. text at 10pm. the asshole was sitting in the cafe and forgot about the fact that i was supposed to come over to grab my stuff!! when i arrive, he gets up and proceeds to go to his car. i ask for a coffee. meanwhile we sit, he ignores me mostly…was using his fone (probably texting a girl which is why he forgot)he tells me that he wants to focus on study, not women. he’s full of BS, coz i see him on a dating site the next day.

    moral of the story, he’s an ass..he’s the textbook definition of an ass. im soo glad i didnt sleep with him. i acted mature , left on a good note.

    i was the second choice when his relationship ended. he wanted sex and wanted to see if i was free. thats what i have determined. so he put on this act to wheel me in.

    but of course i have saved sooo many angry text messages of things i want to say to him. but i save and stop myself.

    now, im thinking WOW, he screwed with my mind for 3 weeks. lies on the first date that he didnt have sex since me. when i find out he was having unprotected sex with that girl. (he claims they had a health check)

    so i was mindf**ked, very badly. my brain was so sore for 3 weeks. now i thankfully am going to put this well behind me..this is a warning to everyone.

    • Revolution says:

      Hi Jasmine,

      You live, you learn. Please don’t be ashamed; you did better than most, and a lot of us would have done the same. He’s not a man, he’s a boy. A narcissist boy at that. He’s all kinds of wrong, and there ARE rights out there. Don’t judge good men, or yourself, harshly because of this learning experience. You sound like a smart woman. Go on with your bad self and leave him to the 19-year old who will hopefully grow up with BR in a few years and end up kicking his creepy ass to the curb like the rest of us beautiful women have learned to do with our ACs.

      • jasmine says:

        THANKS REVOLUTION. i cannot believed what had occurred within the space of 3 weeks. im absolutely shocked. i mean i forgive people. it was many months after and people do change…clearly not him. he sounded sincere on the phone. i’ve learnt part of my lesson since feb, in terms of not having sex with a man without being in a relationship. and i won’t. he’s a complete nut case. and wow, im still shocked at this whole episode.

    • Little Star says:

      Jasmine, glad that you finally realised it is not worth it to get back to AC. These guys would say or do anything if they want to have sex with us…AND thanks God that you did not allow him to use you:-) Way to go! IF he ever contacts you, please do not answer him, he does not deserve you!!! His lost, what a loser… (((Hugs)))

    • Bhoot says:

      Hi, Jasmine,

      You mentioned in your post that your ex said he would contact you after Ramadan? I would assume that means he is a Muslim? If that is true, then it might explain why he was sounding emotional and apologetic during Ramadan but did an about face shortly after it was over. Ramadan is an extremely trying time for any Muslim and it tends to bring out the extremes in them in every way. Unfortunately, some men who practice Islam will be the perfect Muslim during the holy month and then revert back to their “regular” behaviors after Ramadan is over. Some men are just jerks and when those types practice a firm faith-based religion like Islam, then they will use it to their advantage.
      The guy sounds like a real crude idiot regardless of his religion and it’s a good thing you’re moving forward. :)

      • jasmine says:

        thanks little star..yeah, he was putting on a show. much agreed bhoot,he is muslim. but i knew he was in a relationship when i contacted him and later when he called me after seeing me after ramadan for dinner..

        if a man is in a relationship as he was, why would he be calling me for ‘dinner’.???..he wanted to know that i was still wanting him and still playing the field. . now that he saw me, he can go back to being a jerk and ignoring me. i know his pattern. be all apologetic. anyway. im over the bullshit.

  46. Kerry says:

    Victorious, Congratulations. You’ve certainly lived up to your name. You should be so proud that you figured out the AC you were dealing with and kicked his butt to the curb. I’m envious. I wish I’d had the insight to do the same instead of spending 2+ years with the guy. And after I dumped him, he found another girl and began the cycle all over again. That’s when it really sank in that I was being used and all his begging and tears meant nothing. Be glad you spared yourself the pain and the time it takes to recover from a long-term “relationship” (can’t quite call it that) with these guys.
    You just established your boundaries and barred an AC from attempting to wreak havoc on your life! You are a woman with healthy self-esteem! Soon you’ll be doing the “I-just-dodged-a-bullet” dance. Way to go!

    • Victorious says:

      Thanks again to everyone. I was sad yesterday but today has been dreadful. Very tearful – can’t stop thinking about him. Obsessing really. Fantasising about him contacting me and saying how much he has missed me and wants me back and it all being fantastic this time round. Really pathetic. I am wasting practically all my time thinking about him and he probably hasn’t thought of me once. GRRRR!!!!!

      • cc says:

        easy, victorious-
        welcome to NC. the beginning sucks. then it gets better. then it gets worse. then it gets better again, and generally levels out.

        just let yourself feel what you feel. journal, cry, write, exercise, talk to friends, do stuff, stay home when you want to, get out of the house when you can. generally be gentle with you, don’t judge the crazy crap that’s running through your head, that’s all normal. oh, and make a list of the shittiest things he ever did so you don’t get tempted and so you can unconfuse yourself when you get tied up in knots.

        above all, maintain NC!

        you can do it. you’re not alone. stay on your own side – that’s where we are.
        massive hugs.

        • Victorious says:

          There are now 33 items on the list. Why would I want to get back with someone with 33 faults? Why indeed? On reading (rabidly) Natalies back catalogue I can see oh so clearly now that the major issue for me has been lack of boundaries. I just didn’t have any. I would be embarrassed to tell you. Oh, Ok then. I waited 7 weeks before having sex with him because I had been out of relationships for 2 years and wanted to be sure/careful. So, bythe time we got to doing it I was horny as hell. So when he insisted on unprotected sex saying condoms were for teenagers, I was so desparate for him I just agreed. So ashamed. When he was always late I never complained, When we always did what he wanted to do on dates I never complained, I was so keen to be the easy going girlfriend sent from heaven above I turned into a doormat. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

          • cc says:

            i’ll say it again – and this is so clearly advice i should take myself – easy, easy, easy. its understandable that you feel this way now, but don’t pick on yourself.

            before, you didn’t know, now you do. beofre you didn’t see, now you do. we all have those moments of horror when we realize how we were playing right into the AC/EUM’s hands -but its ok, you’re human, you’re learning.

            and nothing you did or didn’t do made him any better or lesser a person – he was a 33-fault having jerk all on his own. had he not been him, he wouldn’t have treated you like that. but he wasn’t and he didn’t. his loss.

            we all want love and companionship. sometimes that makes us do dumb things. but now you are wiser. so don’t beat yourself up.

            really. its ok.

  47. teachable says:

    Understand sm & congrats again. I would phrase that last sentenced as ‘get put down’ but know what you mean. I’m a martial artist so to me getting ‘chopped’ is a whole other thing! LOL :)

    Otherwise, a reminder to pls excuse appalling grammar & spelling folks. I post on my IPhone with TINY writing & wear glasses. Thus, I tend to not correct before sending due to terrible eye strain.

  48. lo j says:

    @ Fearless … but who’s counting?! Ahhh… been there. 😉

  49. Marie says:

    Hi guys,
    I haven’t posted for a while – I started to get ‘close’ to my ex again – we have been on and off for 2.5 years and recently we have talked everyday (via txt) mostly intiated by him – I obviously still had my doubts etc but thought that maybe things were getting better and he had finally realised etc. However he started to go really distant and got really angry over nothing freezing me out – after a couple of days I looked on his fb and an ex from years ago who he went out with for about a month before she got wise and ended it had written on his fb and he sad about meeting up – I felt so worthless and jealous so I text him and said that I had obviously misread things and I wasm’t what he wanted – he got mad and told m to f**ck off and he didn’t need my me me me’s all the time as he had fu**ked his life up – I asked what he meant but he said it was none of my business and that he didn’t know how to tell his family (mum, Dad and Sister) let alone me! – he still continued to write to the girl to 11pm that evening – then last Tuesday I text him as I am moving and just said that I had met my new house mate and think we will get on – he replied with ‘good because you are going to hate me’ – I asked what he meant but he didn’t reply and I haven’t spoke to him since – I just keep obsessing about it and thinking has he met someone else – has he got someone pregnant?! I am beside myself

    • JR says:

      As hard as it is Marie, try to let it go. Don’t text him again. The ball is in his court to tell you the F he meant, what he’s up to and what is going on. I know it’s hard and the obsession is so tough on those of us in this situation wondering waiting and worrying…just know you are not alone in your struggles. I’ve been so close in breaking contact several times in the last few days…hell the last few hours…but I haven’t. Every moment right now is milestone. Hang in there!

    • grace says:

      Please don’t overvalue the texting. The man and I text a lot. However, we also see each other at least twice a week and save our serious conversations for those times. I could not conduct this relationship or progress it via text.
      You and the ex do not have a relationship. You text. I’ve had text relationships with men before and I can tell you that for them its just a bit of fun. It does not have the significance you attach to it. they put as much value on it as they do tetris or space invaders.its just a laugh. don’t put your life on hold because of it.
      just because he initiates doesn’t make it more valuable. it means you’re on the back foot. it’s at his convenience. he gets to choose, you get to respond. big deal. i know “they” talk about men doing the chasing. im not sure i believe in that but if i did i would consider “chasing” to be asking you out, paying for dates, wanting to please you by helping you with stuff around the house, caring what your family think of him (yes, the man does those things freely) – not sending stupid texts while pissing about with other women. no-one should consider that to be any kind of effort.
      Your choice here is to engage or not engage. There isn’t a third choice where he magically transforms into the perfect boyfriend. He can’t put on the table what he doesn’t have.

  50. Kerry says:

    Marie, the best thing you can do for yourself is NC immediately and forever. There’s no point in engaging with this loser. You can and will do better. Put him behind you NOW. I promise that you will be glad you did.
    Victorious, I know all about the shame and embarrassment of wasting time on an AC. The good news is, we got out! Let’s not waste another minute of our precious lives even thinking about these losers!
    Onward and upward, girls.

  51. Sandra dixon says:

    Self esteem – that elusive concept for which a lack of can be the ruin of many. I love Natalie’s articles, although I sometimes disagree with what she says.

    Self esteem for me is completely different to self confidence. I am successful in all of my life’s endevours (yes I know I am lucky, but I also work hard and play hard which gives me a fantastic life for which I am grateful and happy for) – with the exception of a close relationship of course – which is why I read Natalie’s thoughts and the responses.

    One thing Natalie HASN’T addressed (apologies if she has and I’ve missed it) is how to deal with things when YOU are the assclown? When I read about some of the assclown’s behaviour – I see myself! Emotionally unavailable (too busy having fun with my hobbies, and working hard to pay for them), wanting one thing but saying another (for instance deep down I want committment – a family with children and mutual love support and trust, I would love the fairytale ending of happy ever after… but then I see the stats for divorce, and see my own disaterous realtionship past and think “its not worth the heartache, never mind the financial mess afterwards” – so instead I make out I am an island, a free spirit, committed to no-one but having fun). SO in a way I am the committment phobe and I choose people who are also committment phobes (cos they don’t put pressure on you) – and then it goes wrong for both of us.

    Improving self esteem for me is still elusive (3 different counsellors intermittently over 5 years). I now have great insight into my ‘problem’ – for what that is worth. I am my own worst critic, I know that. It is this self critisism in the past that has driven my success with work, hobbies and friends. I have used it to better myself, by viewing my mistakes as lessons. But that technique sure doesnt work for me in relationships. I critisize those I get very close to for things I knew existed before I got close to them! I put the other person down which is not nice…. females can be assclowns too!

    I’m at the point where I am thinking “what is the point”? I would be more successful if I gave up my dream of a relationship which leads to a ‘family life’, I would be able to pursue those dreams and fantasies which do not sit side by side with a relationship (sudden travel plans to far flung places to volunteer for instance).

    I have been accused in past relationships of being ‘extreme’ or ‘black and white’ – but my friends tell me I am very non judgemental and accepting of others, and good at seeing other points of view. My conclusion? I think I may be a Jeckyl and Hyde – and in which case the world will be a much better place if I pursue my happiness elsewhere and keep clear of relationships.

    .. Good work Natalie, please keep writing.

    Best wishes

    • grace says:

      Get Mr U and the FBG. Read the part on Miss Independent.
      I also enjoy “Getting to Commitment”by Steven Cater. It’s not about persuading someone to marry you with wily tricks or by being a “better” woman/man, it’s aboutthe necessity of taking a risk, realising that commitment IS scary and how to deal with that fear, how to take things slowly and appropriately (without taking an eternity to make up your mind),and about realising that you have a choice in how you behave. You had a part to play in your relationship past and will have a part to play in your relationship future. But hopefully a more positive, mindful part, rather than chasing an EUM around the block.
      I’m coming into month three with the man. It’s going well and, yes, it IS scary. There isn’t a happy-ever-after bingo moment. We learn new stuff about each other every week. And I’m sure that we will every year, if it gets to that stage.
      A relationship doesnt suddenly descend on you when you meet the “right” man. The two of you build it together. It takes trust, patience, willingess, understanding, wisdom, honesty, truth, flexibility. That’s way more demanding than just texting some bloke or chasing after a playa you see less than once a week. But it’s more rewarding and worthwhile. And, yes, it does come with the built-in demands for change. You may have to give up your single lifestyle, the selfish evenings and weekends, your bacholerette apartment, financial freedom.
      Fear of commitment = fear of choosing. YOu can’t choose to have everything. No-one has everything. You have to choose and that means giving stuff up. It goes with the territory.
      PS Lots of couples travel together to farflung places. And, to be honest, HOW MUCH time do you actually spend in these places? Is two or three weeks a year worth not having a loving partner for the whole 365 days.

  52. Fearless says:

    For the record: Fearless made her choice and feels a whole lot better! It’s quite empowering to just take charge of making the decision no matter what the decision is – it’s the making it that’s important. Thanks to BR I am starting to see that it’s the ‘no decision’ that’s the problem as opposed to what the decision should be. Yay.

    I texted (for the last time) my ‘one lunch date man’ back with roughly this response: I’m not waiting for anything; ‘there’s nothing for me to be decisive about at this point other than whether to see you for a second date. I had already decided I could do that and I told you so. Twice. Yet there still seems to be an issue, so I am now going to undecide. Too much intensity after just one lunch date and all communicated by text; I’d like to meet a man who prefers to pick up a phone to discuss things if that’s what he wants me to do. Lets’ leave it at that. Wish you good luck etc etc…

    It just occurred to me that I’d already told him twice that I would see him again: after the date he texted asking what I think and am I still happy to be on my own (wtf?) I told him I’d be happy to meet him again. He texted asking me to set a time. I texted telling him as he’s less flexible to set a date and that I’d be happy to meet him again but can’t say anything more than that at this point.

    What the hell more did he want from me? I mean surely it should just be, I enjoyed our date, do you want to meet up again? Yes I do. Or. No I don’t. Surely that is the only decision to be made at this point, And I made it for him In the affirmative. Twice. Yet he still texted on with his joke: “I used to be indecisive but now I’m not sure. That could be you”. Then another text: “I hope you will spend time with me while you wait for your perfect match to come along”. Jeez.

    it’s nice to be nice, but the cynical side of Fearless just decided ‘na, go text someone else with this childish nonsense”.

    I think he was trying and genuinely liked me but i also think he was going to be a dreamer and a fast forwarder – he needed to take my first answer and slow the roll – and pick up the phone if he had big “relationship” questions to ask me. it was all about his ego I think. He was fishing for me to tell him something (that he was special?) that I was not remotely ready to tell him or anyone else.

    I hope I wasn’t cruel. But I did feel a bit like this: you think want to hear it? And you want to hear it by text msg? Well, here it is then. And we both know that’s not what you wanted to hear. But you asked, so there’s your answer. You could have had your second date set up two days ago but you had to have your ego stroked first. Sorry. Not my job.

    • Fearless says:


      Thanks for your comment (on the previous page) regarding my recent “trouble” (lol!) and what I have learned about my choices and recognising them. Yes, I did learn that I have plenty of choices and if I keep my self esteem in tow and drama meter on low (which I need to work on, I suspect!) I can recognise what these choices actually are and refuse to be rushed and boxed into a corner by some ego-stroke seeking box-o-rocks (lol! Love that one). I am so glad you agree that he was looking for an ego stroke and insulted me when he didn’t get one; it became obvious to me that this was his problem, so I then knew exactly what to do. I don’t think he realised that was what he was doing – he wanted to know that I had really liked him (fallen for him, even!) and I couldn’t tell him that as I didn’t even know him yet! I will take your good advice and am glad to receive it! Am so glad you are learning so much too – you are further along the that curve than me – and you apply your learning with conscious precision (or that at least is your goal); I think I’m still a tad hap-dash haphazard!

  53. wren says:

    I have been meaning to comment also on this; that I was in a position just over a year ago when I felt I had no choices and was trapped in an unhappy situation. I was living with my Mr Unavailable/Mr AC, in his house and in a different country, and didn’t have enough money to strike out on my own. I convinced myself that these circumstances were a trap that meant I couldn’t leave him. But, it wasn’t true, because all it took was for me to make that step off the ‘cliff’ and supportive, fresh new ground formed beneath my feet each step of the way. Yes it was hard – I left him, left my home, left my friends, left the country, left my job, all in one day. Next day I was sleeping on my sister’s couch in another new country, (in London, incidentally) with no job, house, friends, boyfriend, familiar surroundings, or life as I knew it. Yet I built my new life from the ground up and over the last year have experienced greater happiness than I’ve ever known.

    Basically, I want to share this because whatever your situation, even if you have to give up your whole life and start a new one in order to cut out an unhealthy relationship, you are never truly trapped and there is always a way out. You can make as many excuses as you want but in the end, the only thing that’s stopping you is your mindset. I’m living proof that life does go on after the great leap in to the unknown. I hope that any and all of you still ‘voluntarily trapped’ in a painful situation will have the courage to make the leap, and be amazed by the kaleidoscope of possibilities that that unfold when you do :)

    • ferncat says:

      Wow wren, that is an incredible story of bravery to me! I am contemplating turning my life completely upside down and have been almost paralysed by fear of change, but I can’t ‘sit on the fence of my life’ for ever, although finally plucking up the courage to make the decision is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But hearing how someone else has done it and come out the other side is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing that!

  54. Tyla says:

    @ Jodi

    This is a bit late, just catching up on some older posts here. Boy do I relate BIG TIME to what you wrote! I spent 6 yrs with an EUM, was dicked around all 6 yrs. I’ve been out a couple of years now (left him). I haven’t even had a date! I’m 35 as well, and feel exactly how you feel. I’m scared I’m going to be alone forever and won’t have the things I want so much for myself, particularly marriage. I feel the more I want this, the further I am from attaining it. And everyone around me is committed and if they’re not, they’re at least dating – I haven’t even been able to manage that! I feel like the pickings out there are SO slim! The only guy I’ve met thus far turned out to be a total douche bag and displayed classic signs of being EU. So I relate 100% to how you feel. I don’t think my mind set helps, feeling I’ll be alone forever. However, when you’ve been dicked around in relationships you’re whole life and see these jerks moving on while you struggle to just find a decent date – how are you not supposed to feel frustrated/scared/empty?! Hang in there. You’re not alone. I hope you find what you’re looking for, never settle or compromise your values xo

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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.