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Dear Chump Lady, I don’t stand a chance dating

Dear Chump Lady,

I fear I will always be a chump.

Text today to and from girlfriend about her co-worker:

JAD: I’m sorry you have to hear people’s sad stories at work sometimes.

GF: Usually I will vent to Pete or Amanda and I will feel better.

JAD: Is Pete the one that calls me the “Rose Guy?” (Because I have sent her roses twice)

GF: Yes…

JAD: Did Hope (co-worker and friend) date him at one time?

GF: Yep… and he wanted me and probably still does.

JAD: Mmmm.

GF: But no worries, we r best friends and always will be it is an understanding that I have made clear… I did tell him I would marry him in 5 years if we were still single… LOL

GF: R uk?

JAD: I just have different boundaries.

GF: Oops…

GF: Ru saying I don’t?

JAD: Just different.

GF: Meaning?

JAD: We probably should leave this for a talk.

GF: I guess.

There are times when we share so much in common and then something like this will come up that stops me in my tracks.

I know I am probably dating too soon but she has really brought a smile to my face when we’re together.

I unfortunately have love bombed her myself but that is how I am built. I do things for people when they’re on my mind.

I struggle to not fall too quickly but I also don’t want to overthink this as well.

Could use a weigh in on this one.



Dear Justadad,

Never apologize for being a loving boyfriend who does things for people. DO, however, stop being a chump.

It sounds like you sincerely care and you sincerely invested. That’s not love bombing — that’s going too fast. Love bombing is shallow and deceptive. It’s flinging sparkles at new chump targets to ensure kibble supply. (And there are usually many “love bomb” targets at once. Kinda like Dresden.)

You didn’t mention your timeline, so I don’t know what “dating too soon” is in your case, but dating after divorce is not a chronological thing so much as it’s a mental thing. You need a few new picker skills in your arsenal.

a) Deal breakers. This is the big one, Justadad. Know your worth. I say that a lot, but to really have deal breakers you must internalize Know Your Worth. When something is unacceptable (i.e., her goading you into the pick me dance with her co-worker) you need to recognize the boundary violation and enforce that boundary.

Chumps make the super common mistake of believing that saying something is enough. No. It’s a warning shot. It means crap. Enforcing boundaries is about doing.

“I just have different boundaries.” Okay, it’s an “I” statement and therapists like those. You’re telling her you have different values (like you don’t talk about other women as your BFF and how you might marry them in a few years). Showing her you have different values is dumping her. NEXT. Which you’ll be doing at that “talk” you’ll be having.

Character is revealed over time. She just revealed hers, and it sounds like she has revealed some of it before.

There are times when we share so much in common and then something like this will come up that stops me in my tracks.

It stopped you in your tracks? That means get OFF THE TRACKS. There’s a giant train hurdling toward you. #dealbreaker

b) Reciprocity. You describe yourself as doing things for people when they’re on your mind. Is she reciprocating? IS SHE RECIPROCATING? Imagine I am beating you about the head with a wet sock. PAY ATTENTION! Wooing and pursuing and chivalry is all very awesome — but the level of your ardor must be returned. Good people WANT to do for you too. This is the litmus test. If you’ve been chumpy your whole life you might fan those people away. Oh no, I’m fine. Flinty and independent. Let me get that for you… 

Users are FINE with lopsidedness. You do for me! Yea! And do and do and do and do and do, and let me tell you about this other guy who’d like to do for me. Are you upping your game? Because I am REALLY all that. Dance a little harder to prove your worthiness! 


Good people do NOT feel fine with lopsidedness, in relationships or anything else. If you lend a good person your casserole dish, they’re going to return it filled with brownies. That’s how good people roll. Did you do something for me? I need to make that right and do something nice for you.

If you shoo away good people who want to do for you too? The users fill up that vacuum.

Chumps do and do and do and do and IMAGINE that someday, if called upon, the User would do for them too. And then are bitterly disappointed when that day never comes. Good people aren’t waiting for “someday” — they’re there, in real time, returning your level of investment, appreciating you, and DEMONSTRATING it.

There is no short-hand for reciprocity. It’s either there or it’s not.

c) Good instincts. Trust your gut. A new relationship should never make you feel off balance. If you feel compelled to untangle their skein, or make excuses — pay attention. What’s going on here? Just like we learn with cheaters — pay attention to actions over words, and particularly over what you THINK you know about them. Don’t spackle.

Fact is, you might date some perfectly nice but flawed people. Or some really dreadful people. Don’t date until you’re ready to dump and be dumped. I know rejection sucks, but remember, as a chump rejection is your superpower. You’ve live through worse. You can do this.

Look, Justadad, dump her for the text-speak. RU? What is she, 12? Adults form sentences.

You’re a loving, faithful guy — you’re a stock that will always trade highly. Don’t do the pick me dance for ANYONE. EVER. AGAIN.

You have options. And hey, she has a co-worker she can marry in 5 years. We’re all good.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You have learnt the lesson again, and this time you will act on it. If she doesn’t make the face to face, maybe you can text her that you might be available for a catch-up in 5 years time, if you’re not busy, with your awesome life.

  • Yea, the looming “BF who I will marry in 5 years if no one else offers me a better deal” is too much “go ahead and start the pick me dance, faster!!” for me.

    You don’t have to settle for someone who is not willing to be all-in.

    I started dating 6 months after nowdeadcheater left Earth and in some ways it was “too soon” but I learned stuff that I later benefitted from. I acted stupid and made blunders (want to hear of the nice scarf I brought back from England for a fellow I was dating who didnt have time for me when I returned? He did, however have time to update his dating profile. I sent him the scarf in the mail and never saw him again) for a while but that was part of the process…it helped me learn so that I was ready when the REAL ONE came along. Colonel Greatguy and I have been married for 1.5 yrs and are very happy.

    • She’s essentially telling you, “Oh, you’re definitely at the top of my “B” list.”

      Time to walk.

  • JAD – Triangulation is a big RED FLAG – CL and CN has taught us not to ignore these. Sounds like you see the flags (that picker is on the mend), now need the follow through. Good luck – it’s a jungle out there!

  • Not trying to pick on you…but how old are you?

    When I was 20, I jokingly played the “if we’re not married by the time we’re 30, then we’ll get hitched” game with a female friend.

    And looking back, it was a way for me to express how I felt about her without having to “man up” and actually ask her out. I still didn’t have much confidence with actual, real dating.

    But, those kind of “deals” are the deals of children (or immature young adults like I was).

    Either you desire to be with someone, or you don’t. If she wants to be with this dude in 5 years…as some sort of alleged consolation for still being single…then she doesn’t understand what marriage is, what dating is, or (frankly) what being single is.

    Moreover, no woman (or man) should let aomeone regularly make fun of her mate (in this case, calling you the “rose guy”). It’s the same no-no as sharing your marital problems with a member of the opposite sex. It creates a bond between them, putting you in the role of “third party.”

    Moreover, it’s just disrespectful.

    This woman sucks. You’re not dating too soon. You’re just settling for someone who sucks.

    • Agreed! The “Rose Guy” thing… from my experience, that basically means that they are all talking about him like he is obsessed with her. And she is perpetuating that narrative to her co-workers because it raises her stock in their eyes (and probably specifically, the eyes of 5-years-down-the-road-husband). “Look at how obsessed this guy is with me!” leaves the door wide open for other potential suitors to jump in and prove that they are a viable, worthy option. She is not invested in him and never will be.

    • I think more what it implies is that she’s not taking Justadad seriously yet. If it’s a new relationship that may be perfectly fine. “Rose Guy” is indicative of no one around her taking JAD seriously yet either, bc she isn’t giving that impression. Right now JAD seems to be “just this guy I’m seeing.” Poking someone new that you’re dating about attractions you have elsewhere is a mistake I’ve seen (and done) from 20 year olds. It’s also not very nice. Is grew with JC that she sounds extremely young.

      Have you discussed exclusivity in dating? Some people date multiple people at once before deciding to be exclusive. back in the old days this was the difference between dating and “going steady” for lack of a better terms We don’t really have this distinction anymore in modern terms, but it’s still super important to discuss this to know where you stand.

      If youre still interested, taking this opportunity to explain your boundaries, expectations, and definition of monogamy is a good idea before continuing. Some people genuinely see no harm in a little flirting bc they never intend to take it anywhere. It seems like you you definitely do mind and that’s an important boundary. If thing about her are giving you pause, and she doesn’t seem to be treating you badly otherwise, an honest “laying it all out on the table” convo may be in order. IF youre interested in putting in the effort at all. However, you would be totally warranted in deciding you two are incompatible and just breaking it off. It doesn’t seem like you two want the same things or see things the same and that’s enough in its own right.

  • She is pretty clearly telling you that you are plan B and you has better dance pretty or else. This is NOT someone who cares about your feelings. She is testing your boundaries. She sees you as a potential appliance….. In other words possibly useful……..And JAD, she wants you to dance to prove to how useful you can be.

    Justadad, you are worth so much more! You deserve someone who care about you as a person, who honors the person that you are and treats you with kindness, courtesy and respect. Accept nothing less, my friend.

    • Testing boundaries – this was my thought too. GF tossed out the test, and when JAD didn’t reply, she asked if he was ok (I think… I don’t speak child so I am assuming that is what “R uk?” means.) Then when he honored her choices and his own, she put him in the position of defending his statement by mis-characterizing him as saying something negative about her. It really does smell a lot like a chump test.

  • This is timely.
    I’m so far away from having fixed these things but it’s early days for me. I’ve managed to cull quite a few obviously bad friends (or they have done that by disappearing) but I still feel like a toddler trying to drive an articulated lorry when trying to decide who to be close to and how much. I worry about befriending narcs and not recognising healthy friends. I guess the massive betrayal and blindsiding makes you wonder what the hell your gut was up to all those years and learning from hindsight isn’t the same as doing it in practice in the here and now.
    In my mind I’ve taken myself off the board and out of play for a while until a lot more dust has settled. At the moment I feel more comfortable with the thought of no-one getting that close ever again but do realise that these, setting boundary skills, are useful in all relationships not just with a significant other.
    For me it’s all about building up my own self worth and value in my own mind. Finding the grit to say no without flinching and learning how to disappoint people with no guilt attached.
    I’m practising in small ways with my kids and recent friends. Feels like learning a foreign language at the moment but I will become more fluent over time.
    I now know I have a problem too, which feels like a significant change to how I was before. I am aware now how much I ‘settled’ for and the awful consequences of that. Not keen on doing that again. That’s the stick part of the equation- if I get it wrong again, more pain will flow, conversely the carrot is- if I get it mostly right, a much better life for me

    • “For me it’s all about building up my own self worth and value in my own mind. Finding the grit to say no without flinching and learning how to disappoint people with no guilt attached.”

      ^That a million times! YES! I think that’s the key to unchumping ourselves. Learning to say no without flinching and learning to disappoint people without guilt. I’ve realized I have a huge problem with those things and overcoming them is a very important part of my healing process. I’m tiptoeing back into the dating world and I am constantly reminding myself that while being polite, honest and respectful towards others is important to me, it is equally important that I keep my own needs and boundaries in the forefront of my mind when dealing with new relationships. After 30 years of having my self worth ground into the dirt under the heel of my covert narc ex, it isn’t easy to value myself but I’m working on it. I’m five years out from DDay #2 Cap,so if you’ve already learned this valuable lesson you are well ahead of the game.

    • Beautifully stated (and love the imagery of the articulated lorry!).

      I’ve become a hermit since the implosion began. The only people I really care to interact with are my kids. Partly, this is good. Massive amounts of self-assessment and trying to fix the issues that allowed me to stay in spite of the flags are certainly needed. But, partly this isn’t so good — because I think there’s a lot of fear behind the isolation. (As you mentioned … fear of more pain, etc.)

      Learning to trust my own judgment again … it may be a while (but I am intensely determined to get there).

      • GOOD for you! Yeesss! Yk, I was really afraid of being alone too. It was kinda foisted on me unexpectedly when DH died inconveniently in Oct. and I had never spent a winter alone here. My fears were a little more practical as opposed to existential: I would be found in a state of human Popsicle in the vast white world out there that use to be my driveway.

        Free floating fear is so normal when your world has been rocked. Alone is not isolation, it’s not necessarily lonely and “solitude” contains a necessary component to successful peace with your own self: ‘tude.
        And you got the right attitude and solid determination to recalibrate your compass to True North. You’re doing it at this moment-Look at yo bad ass self!! The dividends, interest and capital gains from your Mighty Account are increasing exponentially even though you don’t have the time to look at your Statement at the moment: You’re too busy making it work!

    • Love this. It’s strange, so much of the time while I’m dating I feel like a sane human being, and then I’ll go back and examine some of the things I said or did and.. whoa. Right now I operate on the assumption that everyone I have feelings for is probably a narcissist and potential cheater. It’s hard to know if my gut instincts are right, or if I’m just perpetually paranoid. This morning I was thinking about this and actually had some sort of break through linking my dating preferences to my dad. My dad, narcissist and cheater, was always searching for something else that his relationship with my mom couldn’t provide. Me being his tacit favorite, I thought it was up to me to always be beautiful, reasonable, high achieving, not naggy, and overall accepting of everything that he was. My dad was one of 8 and apparently a sensitive boy who felt pressure from an overbearing narcissistic father and neglected by an overextended, wannabe socialite mother. When I get into relationships they are always with men who felt similar neglect by their seemingly normal parents. My cheater ex husband was an accident baby born when his parents were 42… one of the first stories he told me was of his older brother’s nickname, “the Incan Prince”, while his was “Juice”… because he liked juice. Telling. Anyway my break through was that in my relationship with my dad, there was this Oedipus complex that I was trying to satisfy by getting close to men dealing with similar issues. I feel like it is my role to satisfy that need for validation, and that is the role I am hungry for. So yea.. the fix your picker thing… it’s a long, drawn out building process. For reference I will have my 1 year d-day anniversary the first week in May. I started dating last November. Lots of love to everyone going through it 🙂

      • I’ll clarify: *I started dating last November, and became immediately obsessed with a likely narcissist who never met his father and felt neglected by an overextended single mother and whose preferred form of kibbles is instagram likes and I’ve hung myself up over him for… ugh… what, 5 months now?

        • Rockette, whoa, this is no small realization-at all. So many people are never able to connect these early, first experiences to their current life and Part II, then put them into corrective action. Insight alone is not enough but yes, it’s certainly a genuine “break through” when you recognize these patterns playing out in your adult life. Kudos to you! This kind of introspection will reap benefits for the rest of your life.
          The Shrink Speak for your experience is called “Recapitulation of the Primary Trauma”-and we all do it especially when we come from the kind of background you describe. You is rockin it, Ms. rockette and good for you! See, you’re a lot smarter and a lot more insightful than you ever realized! You flipped the switch on a Mighty and very impressive Lightbulb! Huzza and applause for your abilities to “get it” so “it” stands far less “gotcha” potential now and in the future.

          (OK. I’ll shut up now and stop being a comment hog.)

    • Capricorn, you just put into words my EXACT feelings and where I am right now. I am still in counseling because of this one thing…I am worried that I will repeat this scenario again in the future and I want to be sure my picker is fixed before I even start thinking about dating again (plus I am STILL trying to get divorced). I know that I am making progress simply because I am starting to recognize red flags in other people and relationships and I am getting better with boundaries.

      As I tell people…I am okay with the possibility that I may never be in another romantic relationship. I’m not saying that I will never be open to one again but that my life will be good either way.

      • GetMeFree – isn’t it amazing how we are now spotting narcissistic qualities in others? I’m with you.

    • Amen to all of this. I am even still working on learning how to make platonic friends slowly enough that I can be properly discriminating about who I trust before extending my deepest generosity and heart level vulnerability. This quote of CL’s really spoke to me today:

      Chumps do and do and do and do and IMAGINE that someday, if called upon, the User would do for them too. And then are bitterly disappointed when that day never comes. Good people aren’t waiting for “someday” — they’re there, in real time, returning your level of investment, appreciating you, and DEMONSTRATING it.

  • JAD, I’ve been there, my man.
    First, every married man that’s been unceremoniously dumped on the curb or bailed from a cheater wants to grab the next closest woman that won’t run away fast enough. I don’t know what it is, but it’s what we men in those circumstances want to do. I went through it myself, and luckily for me, several people warned me this would happen. The problem is: your “picker” is broken, you’re just grabbing at anything that will fill a void, and you’re still probably in trauma from her cheating.

    Second, as CL says, consider the ROI you’re getting out of this woman. You sent her flowers twice and she’s still telling you about her backup plan to marry some other guy? Save your money, have some self-respect, and move on with this one. Again, she seems great because she’s filling a void in your heart, and it doesn’t take much to meet that bar. From the sounds of your text-versation, I wouldn’t even bother dumping her, as it sounds like she’s not really your gf; I’d just quit texting her.

    Take my advice, you’re not ready for dating, and you probably won’t for at least several more months. Get used to the fact of enjoying the things you like without someone else’s validation. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. How do you know you’re ready? It’s a paradox. You know you’re ready to be with someone else when you’re comfortable with the idea of being alone.

    • Traveling
      That reminds me of that quote;

      “The best way to be happy with someone is to learn to be happy alone. That way the company will be a matter of choice not necessity.”

      • Capricorn, I love this quote, if I were a tattoo person, I would surely have this on my body somewhere! I did the well, he’s the devil I know, for far too long, then I realized if you keep dancing with the devil, you never leave hell!

        • “if you keep dancing with the devil, you never leave hell”
          That’s awesome! I’m going to remember that one.

    • “It’s a paradox. You know you are ready to be with someone else when you are comfortable being alone.”

      That advice is spot on, TTW!

      • I think that you’re not ready for dating if you are sizing the guy up to be self-centered, ego-stuffed, superior, controlling and a genuine bore.. Too bad the only 2 I ‘dated’ both lied about something I caught them at (fumbling words). Very subtle, unimportant in context, but a total deal breaker for me! I don’t think I’ll ever be ready and I’m fine with that.

    • That’s exactly what I am aiming for. I want to get to a point where I am open to dating but ok with being alone too. Alas, right now I am the opposite. I don’t like the idea of never having a man in my life ever again, but the idea of dating again terrifies me too. I just want to be happy so I can be a better mom for my kids. I know what my goals are, I just don’t know how to get there. Hopefully time will turn it around.

      • Chumpinrecovery
        I’m the opposite. I don’t want another man in my life for the foreseeable future. I’ve never really been single and that’s not unfortunately a reflection of my super hotness but a reflection of my inability to be on my own. After this marriage of 22 years has ended I realised that I have subsumed my needs to those of my family, and even our pets. All I can think now is another man would result in me doing the same. I’m actually enjoying the thought of my freedom and my choices. After a long marriage as a SAHM and three busy boys I am actually embarrassed to say I am looking forward to my empty nest. As my youngest leaves the eldest may be starting his own family so I want to get to my own life before everybody starts needing me again. I’m a quiet introvert and I know very well how to keep myself happy. It’s other people that give me trouble.
        Just as well I don’t want to date, that would not be a great profile!

        • I know what you mean, Capricorn, when you say you made your own needs disappear so that you could meet everyone else’s needs, including the pets.

          You said, “so I want to get to my own life before everybody starts needing me again.”. Take it from me, everybody will always “need” you. Learning that “no” is a complete sentence is just as important as trusting that they suck. You will never get away from your kids needing something or other. Babysit the grandkids or house sit or pet sit, help move or, or, or…….. if you have a lifelong reputation of always being willing to help, you will be asked regularly to meet a need. I’m ahead of you on the age and kids thing (married 29 years, SAHM, homeschooled for 10 years, almost 2 years post divorce, both kids grown, married, and I’m a grandmother.). Learning to gain a life includes getting hobbies, passions, activities, friends, relationships, etc. and being able to say no, I’m busy or sorry, I have another commitment, or that won’t work for me, but here’s what I can offer you… and as you said earlier, NOT feeling any guilt for saying these things and certainly no guilt for doing this things. In other words, giving yourself permission to HAVE A LIFE apart from care taking, meeting needs, being helpful, etc. I know you get this, and I’m still learning too. You have great worth apart from what you can do for someone. Please do not be embarrassed to say you are looking forward to an empty nest. It is normal and healthy.

        • Wanting to be happy so I can be a better mom for my kids does not mean doing more for them it just means being happy so they don’t have to worry about me or have my unhappiness affect them in negative ways. Who wants to be around someone who is unhappy all of the time. Oh, wait, that was STBX. I just don’t want to take his place in the spreading the unhappiness department.

        • I am exactly at this place in my life and suspect I always will be. I spent so much of my adult life doing for others, being the calm in the chaos, while raising children and working at a demanding profession. I made it my responsibility to make sure everyone else’s wants and needs were met. What I wanted and needed always came last.

          I do not regret my choices but, at the same time, I am enjoying my peaceful solitude. I eat what I want, when I want. I work as much or as little as I want. I am the queen of the remote! I do not think it would be fair of me to expect someone else to cater to my whims; I want to cater to my own whims.

          While I remain socially active, I would rather throw myself into a patch of poison ivy than go on a date! I am happier than I have been in many years, but I keep a low profile. Whenever I mention how much I enjoy being alone to other people, I am met with surprise and pity, or an intense effort to set me up with someone’s third cousin, twice removed. Thanks, but no thanks!

          • I get the pity look, too. Or the “you will find someone better” or “there is a guy out there that will be amazing for you”. I think it is part of how our society is wired. People think being happy comes with being paired up.

            • Me too and its becoming incredibly annoying. I have some friends who are long distance and we will have long lovely catch up phone chats, what we are doing, what we are learning, what interesting things are going on in our lives. Every single one of them, at the end of every single phone call, will awkwardly slip in “So are you seeing anyone special”. FFS, if I was that would have come out naturally in the chat. It sometimes feels very much like they are trying to point out my singleness to me and that I should feel bad about it.
              If anyone has any clever come backs I welcome the advice.

              • It is a matter of perspective. They are paired, that’s how they see things. It also says something about their own experience, until they found that someone special. It could be a big wound for them.
                I’ve learned to not take things personally. What people say it’s a reflection of themselves. I think you have good friends. In this case, the best you can do is be assertive and tell them what bothers you.
                In the meantime, a good exercise with ourselves (me included) would be to answer: why this question bothers me?

          • I think the whole never saying no thing is part of what went wrong with STBX. He was the one always doing stuff for others, work, family, volunteering for cub scouts/boy scouts. etc. He gave and never felt he received much back in return (although he certainly got plenty of admiration). He just burned out and decided it was time to think about himself but he took it too far and became a selfish jerk who no longer cares about anyone but himself. What ticks me off is that somehow I got lumped into that category of not giving back and nothing was farther from the truth. I always gave back because I loved him and I didn’t want to be one of the ones taking him for granted. He never noticed, however, because he was too far down in the “pity me I always give and never get back” hole and I just got lumped in with everybody else as a “they don’t appreciate me” offender. I don’t think all of those blow jobs Schmoopie gets are going to be free, however. At some point she is going to want something in return if she isn’t already demanding it. Actually, she already is, she wanted him to leave his wife. I wonder if she knows that I am the one who actually initiated the whole divorce thing?

            • I wonder about that too. Current OW (I learned after discard that there were earlier OWs) demanded he leave the kids and me — he ruined his 25 year relationship with me AND his relationships with his 4 kids, probably forever — all because OW (a 20 year younger “child” still living at home with her daddy, and one who says she hates kids and never wants to have any) was texting him (intercepted by our 4 children) to divorce us and leave us because “divorce does not hurt kids!” WTF????? Wrong bitch — this divorce didn’t hurt our kids, it devastated them! It made them not want to live any longer! It made them so upset that one dropped out of high school and all activities and tried to commit suicide twice and OD’d and was in a lock down psych ward/rehab for months, one started having panic attacks that felt like she was suffrocating, one dropped out of college and didn’t want to live any longer, and one refuses to ever speak Xs name again — he’s literally dead to her and she’s just as angry and bitter 2.5 years after Dday (kids discovered this OW on Christmas!) as she was on Dday.

              This OW has literally cost X over $3 million in real lost costs, and that does not include lost future opportunity costs of being with me (I’m a goose that lays golden eggs – figuratively and literally — hahahaha).

              I’m the one that initiated divorce and fought and battled and carried through all the way through trial. I’m sure that OW either doesn’t know or doesn’t give a shit — she got her moneybag/sugardaddy. Sickening pig. I hope the pox gets her.

    • So true. This right here is the best advice to gauge whether or not you’re ready to date. When you love being single so much and enjoy your life, then you’re ready to date. You’re not dating to fill a void. You date because it will add a dimension to your already amazing life.

      • I am hearing here that dating is a choice. I know now that a lot of the reason I ended up with X was because of such slim pickins. Post college, I was rarely asked out; and when I asked someone out, he often declined.

        I’m used to being alone, but it would be nice to go out to the occasional dinner, or a Red Sox game or to listen to live music or even watch Game of Thrones on TV with a man who was interested in me in the dating sense. I don’t see that happening any time soon unless I want to dive into the online dating scene. I just have never seemed to naturally “attract” any interest from men.

    • Traveling,

      I can say I experienced this on the other end. I went on a few dates with a guy who was fresh out of a long term relationship. He would just look at me this way, I can’t describe it. Like “please make me forget the hurts.” He was sweet and funny, but as I play back the mental tapes, he was seeking validation badly.

      I let him down as gently as I could. I hope he heals and can find peace. If he finds me then, IT’S ON! Until then, still searching.

    • I agree with 99% of this. It’s good advice. As for the other part, “just stop texting her,” this is terrible advice. I’ve never understood why people think this is acceptable behavior. We’re adults, and adults say they’re not interested and move on, even if it’s uncomfortable. “Ghosting” someone because you don’t feel like dealing with it is immature and avoidant.

      • Free Vix —

        It’s okay to just stop texting!!! John Gray (Mars/Venus author) says that men prefer it, considering it less harsh. If you’re not exclusive with a man, at any time, he can stop texting you, no explanations necessary.

        This means that a lady should be dating several men at a time, enjoying the experience, until she thinks she has met a man she might like to spend time with exclusively. Even if she decides this, however, doesn’t mean he has, hence the unnerving aspect of the dating experience.

        • Right, Mr. Gray, because we delicate flowers just aren’t emotionally robust enough for such messy things as honesty. Gosh, where have I heard that concept before? Oh yeah! Cheaters.

    • What an insightful explanation. I have given this dating / fixing the picker / how to know when you’re ready thing SO much thought. Part of me wanted to date right away for many reasons: I married my first boyfriend (serial cheater cheated 100’s of time throughout 21 years of marriage and all the dating, engagement years) and I’m just down right curious and want to have the experience. BUT, now I’m mid-40’s and like a completely inexperienced schoolgirl… probably not super attractive. I have also never been romantically loved. I am middle-aged and no one has truly loved me. That feels sad and lonely. In the very early months after we decided to divorce (the process from discovery to actual legal divorce was 1 1/2 years) I wanted to date or at least attract men purely (I now think) for self-medicating my destroyed ego. I went on a few dates with a colleague from 20+ years ago who apparently always “had a crush” on me. Well, you can guess how that went as I was still not divorced and was pretty much an emotional mess. But part of it will always be found memories… He was very sophisticated knew how to act in a nice restaurant (X always played big shot VP but had terrible manners,) I was properly kissed for the very first time in my life at 43 (X literally licked my face like a dog and I therefore spent all my years thinking I just wasn’t a kiss person…) He was FUN (totally opposite of suck-the-fun-out-of-everything and rage-about-everything X) He sent me texts that were so nice and complemented my cloths, eyes, told me I was funny, beautiful, … literally NO one has done this my entire life. So, I swooned like a schoolgirl being rescued by a prince and THEN learned he really just wanted another fuckBuddy and is a self-proclaimed “perpetual bachelor” with several FB’s at any given time. That really, really hurt and was NOT good timing as I was still in the divorce legal process and mediation. UGH I as even more distraught and rejected and felt completely awful and even more unwanted! So, duh, I figured out that I WAS NOT READY.

      Now it been 6 months past actual divorce legally and I’m thinking about it again. I am loving living alone (with teen 16 YO Daughter) and think daily about how nice it is not to have Snarc doing this and that…. So that seems like a good sign. BUT, I’m scared. Really scared. I know a lot of amazing men from work, my friends’ husbands, etc. so I do not feel that jaded, all men are evil feeling at all. I just feel scared and vulnerable, plus shy and awkward about being so inexperienced. Plus WHERE on earth do you meet middle-aged single people?! I work 3 jobs (yeah I pretty much chewed off my own arm to get out of the mediation and divorce process as he was threatening me and I was terrified of him.) which doesn’t help as far as having much time. I have been forever scared away from on-line dating from the stories I hear repeatedly, I’m not much of a bar girl, I am build like a marathon runner not the curvy, sexy glam type that gets dates from merely grocery shopping…. Seriously where does one meet people?!

      • What an insightful explanation. I have given this dating / fixing the picker / how to know when you’re ready thing SO much thought. Part of me wanted to date right away for many reasons: I married my first boyfriend (serial cheater cheated 100’s of time throughout 21 years of marriage and all the dating, engagement years) and I’m just down right curious and want to have the experience. BUT, now I’m mid-40’s and like a completely inexperienced schoolgirl… probably not super attractive. I have also never been romantically loved. I am middle-aged and no one has truly loved me. That feels sad and lonely. In the very early months after we decided to divorce (the process from discovery to actual legal divorce was 1 1/2 years) I wanted to date or at least attract men purely (I now think) for self-medicating my destroyed ego. I went on a few dates with a colleague from 20+ years ago who apparently always “had a crush” on me. Well, you can guess how that went as I was still not divorced and was pretty much an emotional mess. But part of it will always be found memories… He was very sophisticated knew how to act in a nice restaurant (X always played big shot VP but had terrible manners,) I was properly kissed for the very first time in my life at 43 (X literally licked my face like a dog and I therefore spent all my years thinking I just wasn’t a kiss person…) He was FUN (totally opposite of suck-the-fun-out-of-everything and rage-about-everything X) He sent me texts that were so nice and complemented my cloths, eyes, told me I was funny, beautiful, … literally NO one has done this my entire life. So, I swooned like a schoolgirl being rescued by a prince and THEN learned he really just wanted another fuckBuddy and is a self-proclaimed “perpetual bachelor” with several FB’s at any given time. That really, really hurt and was NOT good timing as I was still in the divorce legal process and mediation. UGH I as even more distraught and rejected and felt completely awful and even more unwanted! So, duh, I figured out that I WAS NOT READY.

        Now it been 6 months past actual divorce legally and I’m thinking about it again. I am loving living alone (with teen 16 YO Daughter) and think daily about how nice it is not to have Snarc doing this and that…. So that seems like a good sign. BUT, I’m scared. Really scared. I know a lot of amazing men from work, my friends’ husbands, etc. so I do not feel that jaded, all men are evil feeling at all. I just feel scared and vulnerable, plus shy and awkward about being so inexperienced. Plus WHERE on earth do you meet middle-aged single people?! I work 3 jobs (yeah I pretty much chewed off my own arm to get out of the mediation and divorce process as he was threatening me and I was terrified of him.) which doesn’t help as far as having much time. I have been forever scared away from on-line dating from the stories I hear repeatedly, I’m not much of a bar girl, I am build like a marathon runner not the curvy, sexy glam type that gets dates from merely grocery shopping…. Seriously where does one meet people?!

        • Good question!! I am in the same boat. Feel ‘fake’ confident but am like a Middle School girl in nervousness AND haven’t had a good kiss ever either! Just slop—-

  • I’m trying to figure out in what context that “wants meeeeeeee!” comment would even be appropriate and I’m stumped. This faux “lol, aren’t I desirable, you better grab me while ya can because my shelf life is expiring and I already have a Plan B lol, lol, lol tee heee.” What is she in 5th grade?! Wadda ya mean ya don’t stand a chance? You most certainly do! You, sir, is MIGHTY. She is at best, flighty. (And that’s being generous because my coffee hit the spot this morning and I’m not feeling my usual extreme curmudgeon self. Just moderately grumpy.) Yk, you don’t have to wait until she hauls out her diamanté selfie stick for the bibtyth time in a hour to discover she’s thinks she’s quite the playa. That’s not flirting, sir: It’s covert extortion. Dance, baby!

    Looks like bait. Smells like bait (gawdloveya, trying to cover the stink with roses) and probably wiggles like bait. Just remember, when ya fish with stink bait all’s your gonna get is bottom feeders, ‘K?
    And unless you wanna go deep sea diving back into the dark depths of misery, DNR. Move on. You’re too sexy, too sophisticated, too worldly, too smart, too accomplished and faarrrr too Mighty to bother with a grade school silly girl. Poor baby, she has to hear other people’s sad stories, oh the suffering, the horror: “Now, let’s talk about me again…”

    Please sir, delete this one. Hear the choo choo whistle? It’s in Surround Sound. And she’s just the type to tie herself to the tracks and demand you save her from her manipulative herself.
    Next contestant on deck. Remember, you’re holding auditions and no one has the right stuff for the part-yet. That doesn’t mean never: It means “better.”

    • Gawd, TundraWoman, your posts always make my day!!! Not only are you spot on with your advice, your super-visualizable stories made me the happy/crazy lady on the subway this morning staring at her phone and busting out laughing 😀 Thank you!!

      • Aw, thanks! Have a great day and hopefully, you get to your destination without an encounter with a dedicated pervert squished up against you and experienced in the world of frotteurism. I kinda miss those days….25 yrs. a widow makes one recall the bad old days when someone on the subway thought you were hot enough or more likely, conveniently located enough to play grab ass with your posterior-My butt got more rubbing than Madame Cleo’s Crystal Ball!

        • I actually haven’t been skeeved on in the subway in quite some time. Sure, I know it’s really For The Best that society is potentially becoming better behaved, but the do-you-think-I’m-pretty part of my brain is now wondering why I ain’t getting any action?

          • (Probably because your Mighty intimidates them-And the end of this story hasn’t been written-yet!)

    • Totally rocking it, Tundra Woman. Man, you are funny today! Everyone needs a friend like you. Tell it like it is, Baby! Don’t hold back. If I ever date or decide to buy a house, can I send you his profile or the real estate ad? You can really cut through the bullshit.

      • Well thanks very much-I am very flattered! Thank you.

        Sure, absotively-ohh, the bad old days of my DIY renovations-men and houses! One of the former needed “rewiring” and I damn near executed myself with/over a hawt electrician. Thereafter, my friends dubbed me “Sparky” and would serenade me with that sappy old song, “Yooouuu light up my liifffee!” One of the latter had a “drop floor” under that “drop ceiling” I wasn’t aware of until I was in an unplanned ambush/free fall from the second floor.

        Yk, just about every day I read here and I’m always reminded of the greatness of everyday people. And you don’t even see it. I cheer for all of you every time you stand up, dust yourselves off and persevere. As my late DH said one night when we were having one of those quiet pillow talks, “Yk TW, sometimes the best thing you can say about a day is you survived it.” Boy, I guess.
        So FWIW, ya got a little old widow broad with a little old orange cat in the middle of gawd and a good road map (what google earth?) country who really cares about you and is rooting you on with your successes and commiserating in your to be expected set-backs.
        Here, sit right down and have some peppermint tea-it’s decaf but I have high test and coffee too. Let’s cry, laugh and just be silly-I have lots of tissues! (Geriatric Trivia: Old people leak, Yk?)

        Have a lovely day!

    • Therapist said the best way to hurt another is to manipulate that person. This woman is a manipulator.

  • Wow. Timely post for me as well. I was in a marriage to a narcopath for 27 years, and have NO experience in finding the “right” one. I have a guy that I like a lot, and he likes me, but I am very inexperienced in how “normal” relationships work. Like. I have NO clue.
    Luckily we can talk things out, and he’s super patient with me.
    As for me, I think the advice from TTW sticks for me:
    “How do you know you’re ready? You know you’re ready when you’re comfortable with the idea of being alone.”
    I’m not quite there yet, but those words are words to live by for me.

    • I just said “comfortable about the idea of being alone” and along comes someone…..Call it a coincidence? I think not. Still I’m super cautious and keeping it light and loose. Companion is the word of the day. A very difficult place to be in–going back to the ~~dating~~ stage at a later age! And after the total destruction of a 35 year marriage. I feel like a teenager-not in a good way. On the forum there have been some great discussions of dating and **sex** at a certain age that I have appreciated.

      • Oh do tell. It’s pretty sad when you go for your annual Spread-n-Dread and quietly ask the nurse practitioner if she has a pediatric speculum (you haven’t vaginally expelled 10 kids and every item described in that “First Day of Christmas” song) she bursts out laughing and screams, “See TW?! I told ya last year, USE IT OR LOOSE IT! HARDY HAR HARRRRRR!”

        And there’s a stuffed standing-room-only Waiting Room featuring all your neighbors on the other side of the plywood “wall.”

  • Justadad, RUN!!!! That is not just joking talk which CL has pointed out for you. I know you haven’t even been divorced 2 years. You’ve joined CN since I have and it’s been 2 years for me in 2 weeks. I have just now stuck my toe in the dating pool. It’s brutal and like all have said, the picker needs to be fixed. If you’re like me, not just the picker but the ejection seat as well. I ended up with X simply because I couldn’t eject her from my life even though my guts were SCREAMING at me to. I have a hard time rejecting someone on a dating site! How crazy is that. Almost asked one out this morning just to be nice since she’s contacted me several times and messaged me she was leaving the site. I was strong and didn’t because I knew we wouldn’t be a good combination. It was hard! Yours is very clear cut. Now, follow CL’s advice and start over and wait until you find one that meets the requirements she listed.
    Thank you CL for this post! I’m going to print it out and actually write this stuff down and follow it.

    • I like that! Meet MY requirements- or get lost! Sounds like a good plan to me.

    • Oh my gosh, thanks for this post Lost! I’m in the exact same boat (sticking my toe in the online dating pool) and having the exact same problem with feeling “mean” if I reject someone who shows interest in me. It’s a really big problem!! I can’t tell you how nice it is to read you have the same issue. At the same time, I make my boundaries very clear in my profile – honesty, respect and trust are key, only interested in monogamy but not necessarily marriage, anyone still in a relationship of any sort needs to pass me by, not interested in long distance relationships, etc. And yet, on a regular basis I get winks, messages or whatever from men who do not fit within those limits. And I feel bad for saying thanks but no thanks?? Ugh. As I said to Capricorn above, it’s an essential part of unchumping ourselves to know our own worth and stick unflinchingly to our boundaries. Better a few minutes of ego bruising for potential partners than another lifetime of misery with the wrong partner.

      • You guys are brave. I just don’t see myself doing the online dating thing. Yikes. Scary business.

        • It is super scary Cashmere, I’m not gonna lie. I have joined and then quickly left numerous dating sites over the past few years because I find the whole process icky. I’m a insecure introvert so “selling” myself to strangers doesn’t come easy. But I just turned 55 and realized that if I don’t want to spend my remaining years alone, I have to step outside my comfort zone. I’m an academic librarian so it’s not like there’s lots (or any) single men my age in my immediate vicinity! So I’m giving it another go. Best case scenario, I come across a fellow chump and we can work through our trust issues together. That would be awesome!

          • 55 is coming very soon for me, too. A fellow chump would be ideal, but the whole marketplace orientation of dating sites gives me the heebie jeebies. I don’t want to be a product! Sigh. But if I ever try, I will be sure to tell of my sordid–and no doubt comically humbling–adventures here.

            Also, I love academic librarians. The main lesson learned in any Bibliography and Research Methods course is that the librarian is your best friend, and needs to be regarded with deep respect and something akin to grateful awe at all times. ❤️?

            • Appreciating librarians? I may just have a crush on you Cashmere. 😉

              I work in the library of a law school and sometimes teach legal research. I try to make the point to the students that there is a wealth of resources in the library that are going untouched by the average student and if they had any sense at all, they would come in (or at the very least, look at the library website with all the research links) and explore the treasure trove of knowledge we have for them. I liken it to a secret weapon. It’s often disheartening how many students think they can just Google and be done. Sigh…

              • I hate how Google has replaced books, Beth.

                A decent student recently ruined a class presentation because Mister forgot to read the main text, went straight to Dr. Google, and copied whatever he found.

                In my comment to him, I showed him the way to the College Library.

          • Heck, I’m 59. Divorced one full year now, he’s been gone almost two. Was married for nearly forty years and Shithead was my one and only in the intimacy department.

            It would be nice to find someone to share dinner, camping, other stuff and maybe even some “Netflix and chill.” But I’m now apparently at that invisible-to-the-opposite-sex age, so aren’t even trying. I’ve joined some Meetup groups and am out doing things I enjoy with them – kayaking Lake Tahoe on Sunday! – but ain’t holding my breath.

            Chalk up the loss of intimacy to one more thing Shithead stole from me that he’s still getting from Senior Slut. Fucker. (Literally!) Sigh.

            • GM, I was in the same boat with my ex fucktard being my one and only. I, for the lack of a better phrase, “hooked up” with a guy I knew from high school who lives in another state. He was in my state over the holidays and we spent a couple of weekends together at my place. It was great! Both of us are single and were not interested in a real relationship with each other. It was just two people enjoying each other’s company in and out of bed and then going their separate ways. The sex was enlightening. I had no idea it could be so much fun. Like NO IDEA! There’s no future to it and we both went into it knowing that. The friends with benefits thing is not something I ever thought would be for me but it turned out to be just what I needed to help me over the lingering self doubts from my marriage. Now I’m ready to find someone to have an actual committed relationship with but we’ll see. Online dating, as I mentioned above, is hard and scary, more so, I think, the older we are.

    • Beth, Thanks for your comments. On-line dating is an experience to say the least. I still haven’t been on a real date. One site subscription expires next week another the next month. I will not be renewing. They’ve been discussed some in the forums and most are having our experience. Being introverts isn’t optimal for us plus being 50 or older adds to the crazy. I’m in favor of a real Chump Nation. Would prefer a tropical island but anywhere would work. This is the most real place i’ve ever been to. There is definitely work involved in my attempting to date. Just like JAD, i’m going to have to be on guard for abuse and use. I’m not supporting someone again. They’ll be partners this time. It’s just so darn hard for me to hurt someone even if it’s best in the long-run. It’s going to be done now and I have a feeling i’m about to have to do it with another on-line interest. Life goes on.

      • Hey Lostntx, would you mind elaborating on your comment, “being 50 or older adds to the crazy” ? In what way? Sorry, but I’m on the verge of dipping my toes into the dating pool, and can use all the tips and advice I can get. What exactly makes online dating brutal? I am a selective extrovert, meaning I mostly enjoy meeting new people and can adapt to any social situation with ease. But some days, I need downtime and alone time.

        • FindingBliss, for me it’s just not like dating when I was younger. It seems like most are window shopping. They look for perfect. The brutal part is how you can just be ignored or strung out as a message partner. I’ve sent many messages that have gotten zero response. I read profiles and tell them why i’m interested. No reply. It’s not just a Hi. Then you have those that message you that clearly don’t pay attention to your profile. For me, smoking is a deal-breaker. I get messages from smokers. I actually reply and let them know. Some get hostile when you say i’m not interested (in a nice way). I hear women have it much worse. It’s just seems to be where the crazies gather. Just be careful and methodical in meeting anyone. Look at the post chump forums for stories from female chumps. A couple have had luck but most have had issues with it. I’m chatting with someone tonight and it may be the last. She acts very interested but when chatting she takes forever to reply. I think she’s chatting with multiple people. The other night I just said goodnight and signed off. Not going to sit around to chat with someone. We haven’t met yet. She sent me a message asking if i was dumping her??? Seems like kibbles are wanted. I’m not doing that. Anyway, give it a try. May work for you and your area. Just select the best one for you. I paid in order to be able to limit my profile being seen. I just don’t want to be bombarded. I’ll contact who i’m interested in. Read the post chump forum and get an idea what you are heading into. Be sure you are ready for rejection, players and weird people.

          • Exactly my view of online dating (and I think there is research evidence now that many dating respondents treat it like product-shopping–everyone is dispensible, and there’s a ‘better’ model just around the corner).

            There are real people on the end of those profiles. That fact gets ignored because of the de-individualization of the medium.

            I know it’s the wave of the future, and has worked very well for some, but I’d rather hammer penny nails into my knuckles than attempt on-line dating.

            • Thank you for the confirmation Tempest! I really value your input! I just ended the on-line chatting with one because it seemed like a pick me dance already. I’m going to just delete that profile tomorrow. I just doesn’t work for me. I’ll go buy some nails to entertain myself tomorrow night!

          • Thanks for your analysis Lost. I understand why you want to get out of it but at the same time, I’m sorry to see you go. I don’t think we’re in the same geographical area so it’s not that I would come across your profile but it’s comforting to know that there are male chumps out there searching too. I’ve even tried putting CN references in my profile to no avail. If anyone ever established a CN colony (I agree with the tropical island locale) I will happily dump my online dating profile and move myself and my six dogs to the colony. 🙂

            • Beth,
              You are welcome to look at my profile. I’m on Zoosk for 7 more days and match about another month. It would be interesting to get feedback from you. Just let me know if you want to look because they are both private now. That just means I have to contact them first so they can see my profile. I’ll change to to public and tell you where to find me. Goodluck on your date!

              • Yes! I would love to look at your profile and you can do the same for me. I’m only on match right now. I got rid of my eh profile. You can leave the info in the forums if that would be more comfortable for you.

  • JAD-I don’t pay much attention to “timelines” when it comes to dating after divorce. I think much like healing, it’s all very personal and different for everyone. I will say that everyone needs some unspecified period of time to heal and to rediscover their self worth, especially when the final act in a marriage is infidelity by your spouse. Your self worth is often decimated by that act and I think it’s very important to practice extreme self care and spend some time alone to re-establish yourself. The reason I think that is because, IMHO, one of the cornerstones of self worth and fixing your picker is trusting your gut AND following through with what it’s telling you.

    I truly believe that even though we have complex reasoning abilities, we also have instincts that serve us well. Unfortunately when we aren’t sure of our self worth we often let our brains and other people talk us out of those instincts.

    Around 1.5 years into my healing process I was starting to feel pretty good and I also started to think I was ready for dating again. I had this episode at work that told me I wasn’t ready. Without getting into too much detail, I had a mentor instruct me to do something that I knew in my gut wasn’t the right procedure. He assured me that he explained it to our boss and she said it was okay. I argued with him and he got a little belligerent and I backed immediately off and told him I’d do it the way he was instructing me. A few weeks later I got a call from our accounting department wanting to know “what my thought process was” when I proceeded the way I did. It wasn’t a very nice voicemail at all and I was so angry because I didn’t listen to my gut. Instead I was the ever polite chump and acquiesced even though I knew it was probably the wrong way.

    At the end of the day, everything turned out alright but it was unnerving because I didn’t trust my instincts even though they were screaming at me. It occurred to me then that if I couldn’t do it in a professional setting, then I probably wasn’t ready to do in a personal setting. From then on it became priority one to work of extreme self care and to listen to my gut when its telling me something is off. I think you need to do the same.

    If you are having trouble enforcing your boundaries, then you may not be ready for anything serious. I don’t think it’s a permanent state of being though. I think it’s a matter of working on enforcing those boundaries in all walks of your life and being comfortable with it.

    Jedi hugs

    • I can relate to that. I always get myself into the most trouble when I listen to other people.

  • Hmmm, the BBF thing with someone who wants to date her. Sounds like they are dating to me. Maybe no sex, but still dating. It’s the oldest play in the book to string someone along, and date them on the downlow. I learned a long time ago that guys who you reject will then want to be ” friends “. One guy asked me out, then when I said no he asked me to do the same thing (dinner) but as ” friends “. It’s still the same damn thing, OK. Just my opinion.

    • I knew a guy in college who wanted to be my BFF. I thought that meant just hanging out no sex. It turns out that to him that meant just have sex no hanging out. We were definitely not on the same wavelength there. Funny how different people interpret things in different ways.

    • My old husbands “BFF” was clearly someone who didn’t want to date him. Ummmm. Wrong.
      Now we’re divorced and they are together.
      Obviously, I fell to the sad droopy bottom angle inside that Karpman triangle. I’m glad it busted and I tumbled out- now they are just two dangling lines.
      This gal doesn’t deserve one more minute of the original posters time. He sounds young, so hopefully he can go out and enjoy life and all it has to offer- and the right one will find him someday.

      • I think that gf and the other guy bff are setting up to be Affair Partners in the future.

        A lot of people who won’t “date” each other in real life will do it on the down low once one or both are in a real relationship. That’s what happened to me. Ex had dated his whore a bit waaaayyy before me, and she was around, he could have dated her instead of me. But no, he has to wait until we are married, with a child, to take up with this whore and vice versa.

        So the gf in this story is starting out with a male bff, so any time they spend together in person or electronicically falls under that protected Friend category. No one needs that, especially if it’s part of the package one month in. Run away and free yourself. If I’d known my ex was going chase whores, I mean have special secret female friends I never would have gotten involved with him. That is fraud.

  • JAD I smell mind games with your new hunny. Be careful friend. Don’t allow yourself to be in competition with hunny’s coworker. Please love yourself enough to be first, foremost and the only one. If not…..wipe the dust off of your feet and move on.

  • I am not at all defending that text… it was a crappy thing to say. That being said, I as the faithful Chump have said some crappy things post marriage dating (not about marrying someone else mind you) which I was called out on and promptly took full responsibility for. I am dating a former (and recently) Chumped person who has a lot of trigger points, and things that seem benign to me set him off. For example: We were playing a game with friends and the question was “who is your celebrity pass?” I answered and he was pissed (his ex cheated with a rockstar). It was only in hindsight that I could see I was being insensitive to his situation. I know the context here is completely different, but dating a chump as a chump, has been really eye opening for me. I didn’t have ill intentions at all, yet he felt that that said something about my character (being faithful for 18 years to a serial cheater does, it says I’m a chump). I am not saying her real life person and a celebrity brought up in a game have any equivalencey (they don’t), I’m just saying, people sometimes say shitty things – me included.

      • We all say and do stupid things. I’m advising to next this one for two reasons — a) it’s not the first red flag and b) it’s a clear directive to JAD to do the pick me dance, which IMO is NEVER acceptable. If you’re dating exclusively, you’re exclusive. This isn’t the hunger games.

        • “If you’re dating exclusively, you’re exclusive. This isn’t the hunger games.”

          I’m going to keep this ready for a good friend, 3 years into her divorce and still NOT divorced, who has let men shit all over her and only recently is putting up boundaries. When they’re unfaithful, she lets them off the hook because it’s LESS unfaithful than her husband was. “It’s not like he’s my HUSBAND; we haven’t made a COMMITMENT.”

          Dude. If he wanted to be faithful, he would be. He wouldn’t send you to VM at 10pm when he was supposed to be there at 8 and has “disappeared.” He wouldn’t make you feel like you have to chase him to be with him. He wouldn’t take you on a camping trip for the weekend and talk about the future, then ghost you for the next 2 weeks… until you invite him over, like a shot in the dark, for an amazing dinner and hope to talk. He wants to eat your food and fuck you, Woman.You want a relationship. Does he, REALLY?

          Now, I can end with “If you’re dating exclusively, you’re exclusive. This isn’t the hunger games.” Thank you.

      • Good reminder–we have to sort out thoughtless errors from deep patterns, and know we are not immune from making those thoughtless mistakes that hurt others. Sigh. All so complicated, isn’t it?

        • Yes, and no.

          I am also dating a Chump, so I understand the need to be sensitive while still listening to your own gut. What is striking, however, is that when you have found a good one (Chump or otherwise), these situations and conversations can be wonderfully healing, informative, and intimacy-building. I’ve had many ah-ha! moments, and quite possibly the most amazing discovery of all was that he is willing to talk deeply and honestly about these things, too (instead of just sweeping them under the rug the way CheaterEx always did!).

          Also, JAD… Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve so much better.

      • I hear you. I have to say, though, that after everything I have been through, as a re-married person, when that joke comes up I always respond that the fantasy of a celebrity pass isn’t really funny to me and I prefer to focus my energy on the commitment I made. I am not saying it has to be a red flag, but I think many people who have been harmed by infidelity have lost the taste for jokes about it. Something to consider.

    • +1
      I also am seeing someone who has been very patiently letting me know when I say or do things that are a bit triggery for him. It has really helped me to be a more sensitive partner to him, which I needed to relearn how to do after all my years with a liar who paid me very little romantic or sexual attention. When the chaos ended, I definitely had some maturing to do in terms of attention seeking for myself.

      I am not saying that JAD’s GF is right for him, but I do think that explaining how her behavior makes him feel would be worthwhile in this case. Even if he moves on, maybe she will learn from it.

      The important thing is her behavior in response to him explaining how her actions make him feel, and whether she is willing to really look at why is doing it. Shes probably a manipulator, but there’s a slim chance she’s a good person who just needs to examine her own motivations.

      JAD, however this plays out, we here all know you deserve to be cherished. Please don’t settle for less.

      • I think that letting her know how her behavior makes him feel would be worthwhile for him not because it will help her learn, but I think it would be a great exercise for him.

        Part of the pick me dance during the marriage was trying our hardest to never upset the timid forest creature cheater. We did everything in our power to never have a want or be upset or do things they didn’t like because were afraid we would scare them off. Our lives revolved around being tuned to trying to make sure that saw what amazing perfect partners we were and how great life was with us.

        I think JAD’s lady friend is definitely trying to make him dance, test some boundaries etc. I bet his ex did the same thing. I bet it would be really hard for him to say “I didn’t appreciate your comments about your back-up plan work friend. It made me very uncomfortable and I’m not really sure what you were hoping to achieve.”

        Then stop… and see what she does. Does she apologize? (I’m so sorry JAD, you’re right, I can see where that is sort of a mean thing to say to someone you are dating.) Does she diminsh (Jeeze I just joking around. You take things too seriously), or does she gaslight (I’m not sure what you are talking about. I’ve told you about how Greg and joke about that all the time). And then see if you can accurately identify which one.

        I have one guy that I have been seeing very casually who I know is not long term material (and I am quite certain he feels the same way), but I keep him around because he’s great to practice these things. One of the things my ExAsshole used to do was complain if I kept him waiting. He would call me names, and pace around while I was doing such time wasting activities as making sure the doors were locked and going to the bathroom. The Guy and I went skiing and we were heading back to pack up and drive home. As we were in the car I specifically said “I’m going need X amount of time to pack up and be ready to go. I have to do my suitcase and my gear bag and deal with a few work things.” It was great practice for me to clearly communicate my need and then just expect him to deal with it, rather than just know he wanted me to go faster and it was my job to make him not mad.

        Something to think about.

  • JAD

    Whoa….you’re grovelling and what’s with “I’m sorry you have to hear people’s sad stories at work”
    And then you top it off with reminding her you’re the guy who sent her roses twice.

    The response you got from her was yeah Pete the coworker wants me bad.

    I’d like to give you shake man, what the hell are you doing. This chick is looney, and you’re showing her you’re a floor mat.

    Dude….you’re picker is way off.

    Dump this dumb chick. If you don’t respect yourself don’t be surprised that’s what you get.

    Go silent on this bimbo and realise that being nice doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

    • Agreed. I would just ghost this one. Really. You can’t reason with a child because they don’t have the ability to reason like an adult. This one is an oversized child. I realize ghosting is extreme, but sometimes diving off the radar and achieving invisibility is the best option to avoid a Drama Detonation. Besides, then she can have a(nother) tale of woe to share with the relationship voyers at work and regain her Allll About Meeeeee plastic crown and cardboard magic wand:
      “Abra cadabra and yaba-doba-do
      It’s allll meeeee! So here’s a turd-and fuck you.”

      • (Oops..”It’s allll *about* me! So here’s a turd-and fuck you.”)

        • JaD please update us with what you do.
          Gf is going to sleep with Pete sooner or later. You’re the Rose Guy. She disrespects you by repeating what Pete said. Pete, her best friend. Tee hee maybe in 5 years Pete. Tee hee hee!

          Ugh. She sounds absolutely draining.

          Don’t let her try to explain it away or make you feel insecure. You have clearly have good values.

      • I disagree that ghosting is the right option here. However much of a low life she might be, don’t be a low life back. If you are breaking up with her let her know but be firm about it so she doesn’t try to drag you back.

        One of my pet peeves back in my college days was when someone would break up with me and not bother to tell me. I turned down dates with other guys when I thought I had a boyfriend and didn’t. It seems like a cowardly way to break up with someone to me. Come to think of it, that’s what STBX did. He was off looking for his next life partner while I thought we were still married. Silly me.

        Break up with the girl, but do it honestly whether she deserves it or not.

        • The difference is that bimbo girlfriend is bragging about her co-worker wanting her so bad and making some dirt of deal 5 years into the future meanwhile chatting him up at the office. She sounds like she’s still in junior high school. Red flag alert.

          I’ll clarify going silent. Break up with her, just say you don’t see a future with her. Don’t get into explaining that she’s a dumb bimbo who needs to grow up. Waste of time and get her to understand her tacky behaviour. Go silent and move on.

          • Nothing screams “Bye Felicia” louder than silence. It’s not only honest, it’s gone.

            *Behavior trumps words any day.* Boundaries aren’t semi permeable membranes: They are concrete reinforced blast walls that protect the occupants from further fuckery. They are self-protection and self-respect IN ACTION. By simply, silently demonstrating “no.”

            And these are not college kids. They’re not married. They are in the preliminary “getting to know you stage” and flagrantly Shit Testing a potential partner is about as manipulative low life as it gets. He sends flowers and she’s sending texts about other guys who allegedly “want” her? Subtlety is not a manipulator’s strong suit: They don’t “do” polite. They think Miss Manners and Emily Post are the quaint detrus of bygone days and don’t apply to them. (Ask me how I know.)

            There is much dignity in silence.

            Ouch, ouch ouch however, in a marriage! NO! Nevah! I am so sorry. That’s awful. Marriage, Infidelity and Ghosting? How are you even functioning?!

        • I completely agree with you Chumpinrecovery! My STBX did the same thing – apparently “our marriage was already over” in his mind, so it was ok to be off “seeking happiness” with OW. Meanwhile I thought we were still married.

          So yes, JAD – have that conversation with her and part ways with dignity and respect. Keep your head up!

        • Please don’t ghost. It’s horrible and is such a mindfuck. I’ve had dates just ghost and it’s so degrading. State yourself clearly and go no contact. She might be a turd, but you have character and basic human decentcy skills.

          • ITA– being ghosted is incredibly hurtful. It doesn’t take much effort to say, “We aren’t a match.” Be honest, and then walk away (or stop texting/calling) with dignity. This woman sounds immature and insensitive, but he doesn’t need to stoop to her level.

        • Completely agreed that ghosting is extremely poor form. I teach my preschooler that we always do the right thing, even when it’s hard and even when we don’t want to do it. The same goes for parting ways. Pull up those big kid pants and do it right, even if you don’t feel like it and even if you think they’re undeserving. Then move on. That’s what character is all about.

      • OMG! Burst out laughing while in a big meeting! Tundra Woman I hope they hire you as a writer/actor/creator of the movie/series Leave a Cheater: Gain a Life.

        • Oh, I am so sucking on that hopium pipe for Tracy on that project! Wouldn’t that be fantastic? And what an Ultimate Smack Down to an ultimate Serial Psychological/Marital Chainsaw Murderer! Who better than CL and CN to expose the ethical and moral bankruptcy of this cohort? Illuminate their tactics etc.? I’d be so thrilled for her and de facto all of CN, horribly chumped decent people who did nothing but give your hearts freely and your word-and kept them. Tracy is a kick ass primo Role Model for The Best Revenge is Living Well. There is real hope for all chumps if you can just hang in there even when you don’t have the confidence to believe in yourself.

          FWIW, I believe in all of you even when you don’t and just can’t-right now. I believe in your competence, your yet unrealized capabilities, resourcefulness, decency and genuinely loving hearts: If there is a more precious gift than this love, I haven’t encountered it. And if you didn’t already possess these qualities and more, being chumped wouldn’t hurt so bad or rock your world right down to bedrock. “Every day is a winding road…I get a little bit closer” to healing your heart and your life even though you may not see it or feel it-just yet. “Tuesday afternoon…I’m just beginning to see that I’m on my way, Those gentle voices I hear explain it all with a sigh…”<or in my case, a sledge hammer 😉

          (BTW, Any news on that, Tracy? None of my business I know. Currently I'm in a state of excited suspense for your project to come to fruition!)

  • These little pacts (if we are both single in 5 years, we will marry each other) are so immature on so many levels. Pete likes your girlfriend and wants to date her. She’s not interested but likes the attention so she agrees to string him along for 5 years, why? Because KIBBLES. She’s making him play the pick me dance. And then she plays it off like a joke with you, so that you will play too. Just, ick!

    This is such a dishonest, junior high thing to even talk about.

    My best friend from childhood was a boy (I’m a girl). We grew up together in our tiny, tiny town (pop. 50), our parents were good friends, and we went to a tiny one-room school together until high school. After he went through a divorce in his late 20s, he tried this pact-making thing with me. It broke my heart that he was hurting so badly that he would suggest such a thing and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings at all. But, I was honest with him. It wasn’t ever gonna happen and I pointed out that he was grasping for something, anything, because he was lonely and hurting and looking for some kind of hope. If I were a dishonest self-centered bitch, I could have strung him along and had him saying, doing and buying all kinds of things for me for years because that’s the kind of guy he is. But even typing that last sentence makes me feel sick.

    Listen to your gut. This is not a safe or emotionally mature woman.

    • Even though I DESPISE the word and the use of the word and even the idea of the word she is friend zoning this guy. She knows he likes her and wants to be with her and she is purposely playing him to get the attention. It’s nice to feel liked. But it’s SO WRONG to use that against someone. Total triangulation and it’s so sick and wrong. The whoremat was doing this right after d-day threatening idiot cheater with either letting her STBX move back in or threatening to move in with one of two fuck buddies she had hanging on from the past. Idiot cheater jumped in as fast as he could and now he’s fat and miserable but he’s the “winner”!

  • JAD,

    The one thing we’re all missing from this is the timeline. How serious is it between you and GF? Have you been on four dates, or fourteen, or forty? What level of commitment do you expect of each other (or have you even had that talk)?

    If the relationship is still young, her ‘joking’ talk about Pete is just that, and your talk with her should focus on how you were chumped, and how that brings up lots of negative associations with you.

    If you’ve been with her a while, well, most of the posts above reflect what that means.

    My guess, though, is that you’re in the intermediate zone between these two places. If you’ve just been on a few dates, this wouldn’t have bothered you enough to write CL. So, where do you stand with her, and where does she stand with you? Are you more committed to the relationship than she is? Find out where she’s at, and let her know where you are. See how she acts going forward. And then let your head make a decision, independent from your heart.

    Finally, let’s do a little thought experiment and reverse the positions of the men. Suppose you had a co-worker that you liked, and were interested in dating. She went out with you a few times, and then stopped, but promised that if you both were single in five years, she’d marry you. What level of commitment and interest does that inspire in you? Is your first thought to just ride out the five years and hope for the best? Because that’s the position Pete is in, if he is really into her, and took her offer seriously.

    It’s also possible that the five year plan is a big joke for both of them, and they have no intention of following through on it, and she brought it up as a joke to you. You, however, found it not so funny, in fact, more the opposite of funny. Did she start your next talk with an apology?

    Like so many things that get posted here, the responders have incomplete information. If the situation is as CL describes above, then you should be very wary. Ask yourself, is this a woman who will do the same thing to you that your X did? Have a serious discussion with her about that. And if she’s not ready for that serious discussion, she’s probably not ready for a serious relationship.

    Good luck with all of it.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • Look, that conversation wasn’t acceptable at any stage of the relationship. She’s triangulating She’s telling co-worker dude — look “Rose Boy” sends me roses. (Kibbles!) And she goads JAD with her “BFF” and marry him someday story.

      NOT okay. First day or 15th.

      • “Like so many things that get posted here, the responders have incomplete information.”

        What most ‘respondents’ have in common is getting fucked over by infidelity. Having a relationship in the aftermath requires being vulnerable and putting yourself out there. This is a huge step for chumps. Giving someone the benefit of doubt in this situation falls short for many reasons. Minimizing our needs is not an option. Trusting our gut is central. Questioning in this case is part of the crazy making that follows mindfuck in my opinion.

        At some point we have to replace ‘trust no one’ with ‘trusting ourselves’.

  • That was desperation on your part and power on hers. This is not a good start to a relationship. It is in line with that old idea that in a relationship one is the pursuer and one the pursed. Don’t believe it. Healthy relationships are between two equals. She is making sure you know who has the power. Somewhere in the flower world there is one that says, “See ya.” and that is the one you should send.

  • JAD, Maybe instead of a girlfriend, it would be better investing in some respectable guy friends. It’s a lonely world after dday and trustworthy, reliable same gender friends can make it bareable. Hang out and just do stuff with them, especially if there’s stuff you like to do but missed out on due to the ex. Catch up on the things you enjoy doing or always wanted to do, but the ex got in the way. Plus you’ll have a built in interview panel that will have your back when you are ready to bring a worthy lady into your life.

  • Dear JustaDad,

    As a mature woman, please let me tell you that “he wants me” is not a phrase or even insinuation any loving woman would EVER suggest to a man she was truly interested in dating. She just told you that she is a collector of men. There will never be enough admiration in her life. She will no doubt brush off her comment as a “joke” and accuse you of being too sensitive. Well, congratulations … you ARE sensitive enough to pick up on a request to pick me dance. You and I are at almost exactly the same place on this chump journey. Believe me, I understand how good it feels to have a new love interest and how awful it feels when that ends for whatever reason. There is nothing to do but take a deep breath and continue on. We chumps can each take some comfort in knowing that there are many of us out there and we are likely to bump into each other some day at the right time and the right place. Hugs.

    • Let me just add that I believe her comments actually were a joke. But that doesn’t make them any less telling. She is still finding a not so subtle way to make you dance harder. And if you have given her roses twice, I am also confident you have told her enough of your story that she would know better than to make such “jokes” to a newly divorced and hurt person. She is not behaving in a caring and kind way and the relationship is new. Imagine how she will behave down the road when she is not trying to be her “best self” … yikes. I don’t need to know one more thing about her to know you deserve so much better.

  • In the boundary talk, I suggest it go something like this:

    Girl: So you did you mean about boundaries? (It will be passive-aggressive and snarky, no matter the appearance of her controlled or inquisitive composure)

    You: Well, I know that it wouldn’t be healthy for my relationship with you, to confide in another woman about it. Especially with a woman who “wants me.” It wouldn’t be kind to make you the third party in our relationship… to make you feel like another woman who wants to be with me has a chance by sharing it with her.

    (And then she’ll go off the rails and get defensive and/or call you something intended to make you feel weak or pervy or neurotic. BUT YOU ARE NOT that person. She will simply be caught, which is likely an unfamiliar feeling, for her, and lash out at you for questioning her boundaries. She may even say that she does NOT confide in him… but revert her back to the “best friend” thing. Discussing relationships is what “best friends” do. Do not allow her to go back on that… she volunteered the information. She did not say he was some office weirdo who continues to crush on her despite being turned down consistently; she said “best friend.” That’s what he is. It will not change, even if she tells you she’ll ignore him. All she’ll do is complain to him and get kibbles from him about how jealous and controlling you are, to “dictate” who you can and cannot be friends with… “emotional abuse!” Avoid this trainwreck of a GIRL.)

    It will end, irreversably, there. DO NOT attempt to untangle the skein for her… she will not see it, *no matter what.* Because she sees herself as a good person and good people only do good things. And anyone who challenges her on that will immediately become a bad person.

    • (Correction, grrrr. lol)

      Girl: “So what did* you mean about boundaries?”

      • ^^^^^yep. And abusers never view themselves as abusers either. Just sayin. Even when there is undisputed documentary evidence, here comes the shuck-n-jive. It’s a game to them, really. The incredible boldness, the demands you treat them like a Princess or Prince with their tender wittle feebwings is an act. Of course they KNOW better: Their disproportionate responses, aka when the punishment doesn’t fit the crime is calculated to get you to back off. The tears, yelling, raging, hair splitting etc. is all Diversion and Distraction tactics.

        As humans we are self-referencing: If we’re good people we unquestioningly expect others to operate by the same or similar morals, ethics and values because we assume they also are decent people. They know that-and take every advantage of it.

  • It would be good to know the timeline here. How long have you been divorced, how long were you separated from your wife before that, how long have you been dating the new girl….etc. That all plays into it, and how you deal with the girlfriend. Though I can’t say getting an invitation to start up a pick me dance is very promising regardless of where you are in a relationship.

    As far as what’s “too soon,” I’m sure everyone’s unique. I’ve only been divorced for a few months and living single for less than a month (but I was in-house separated for a year and a half), and I can tell you I have absolutely ZERO interest in dating or remotely pursuing a relationship. I don’t think I’m capable of it right now and wouldn’t be much fun for another person anyway. Maybe in a year or so.

    But some people I suppose are more ready to jump right back in. I would think the longer you wait, the better you heal (and the more you learn about what you need and want) – so the better your prospects for making a good choice for a partner in the future.

    • It’s a relevant point, healing, Blindside. Ex walked out eight years ago on our 28 year relationship to be with his new love ?,?. I am only now just coming up for air. Two years after Dday, I was still a basket case, alone, fighting for a “fair settlement,” (while ex continued to harass/intimidate me and decimate our finances), juggling work, a house in foreclosure, an impending big move, a search for a new job, my family, and working on healing myself and my children (three beautiful adolescents, who were just as blindsided and devastated as I was). I didn’t have CL/CN then but knew I deserved better than to have been treated so badly. “Who the fuck does this?!?” I was mad, still am, but it has helped me move forward, not like the wind though, more like a…snail. The last thing I wanted was another man. I needed time just to shake all that crap off…and I am still working on me. We also need to grieve. For the fairytale lost, the man I once loved. In the future I know I would enjoy someone who, like me, is engaged, appreciates family, enjoys life, even when it’s difficult. That being said, my best advice for those seeking love is to do what you love, but in real life. Get out there. I’d like to think I will run into my forever, someone like Mr. CL, Nomar (for his wit), DM (just NOT married?), when I am on the islands off the Western coast, or when I am volunteering, or when I am picking up groceries, or when I am working, or going about my daily life. I just don’t see myself meeting someone online….

  • JAD,
    This bitch is a pathetic freak show:

    “GF: Yep… and he wanted me and probably still does.”

    What a clown! How can you read that and not cringe in embarrassment? She is a flaming narcissist. Everyone wants her….she is the bomb. Don’t you know that men are fighting for her like animals in a pit? Her beauty and charm make men nuts. Why doesn’t she have her own reality show?

    Write this back to her:

    The world cannot be deprived of your fabulousness. You are far too awesome to be monogamous. Go out and seek your destiny. JAD

    • “GF: Yep… and he wanted me and probably still does.” JAD- hand this ass hat of a woman over to the coworker who “wants her.” Let her be his misery- not yours.

      • Yes, I agree. She is very impressed with her perception of her desirability and is either intentionally trying to make you feel insecure or is so insensitive so as not to realize how inappropriate this is. She does not sound like a good risk. As others have spotted, she is showing some decent levels of NPD. I would get out, nicely.

  • This is what makes me so scared of ever getting in a serious relationship ever again. In my case the red flags and the feelings in my gut did not come up until many years into our marriage. In my previous relationships I was always been the giver and got very little back. He was the one who was different. He was very attentive to my needs, helpful, generous and completely focused on me. He made me feel so loved. I appreciated all of that and I did give back although it was hard to keep up because he gave so much. I thought I had finally found my prince. I used to call him that all the time. I thought I was being smart when I married him. This lasted until about five years into our marriage (eight years as a couple) and then things started to shift. I remember the first time he did something selfish that didn’t take my feelings into account because it was such a shock and seemed so out of character at the time. From there things started to devolve very slowly so that I would notice things and be bothered by them but it wasn’t enough to make me bail on the marriage because, after all, we all have bad days and he had historically been so good to me. Over time he did less and less and criticized more and more. I blamed myself thinking I just hadn’t done enough reciprocate all he had done for me so I did more and more hoping it would bring back the man I married. Then the betrayal and discard.

    Now, how can I ever trust again knowing that even if things are great in the present they could always fall apart someday and there is nothing I can do to prevent it? How can I fix my picker when my picker needs to be able to read the future? How can I ever be fully vested in another relationship and why would anyone want to be in a relationship with me if I can’t be fully vested because I am too scared? People keep telling me I will find someone who adores me. Yeah, that used to be STBX. He really did adore me once, now he adores someone else. I want to be a good partner again for someone who deserves me but I worry that I am too damaged. I will either end up breaking hearts or have my heart broken again. I don’t want either. That’s when I start to think that just being alone may be the best option.

    • Chumpinrecovery
      Reading your post a few times gave me a few thoughts. When you describe his complete attention on you and doing things for you in the early days almost sounds like medium level sustained love bombing which actually you did notice because he left you feeling like you could not keep up which isn’t what I would describe as reciprocity. I’m wondering if your view of what he was doing for you and being for you was also skewed from you experience of very little reciprocity in your previous relationships.
      When he began to be less invested and withdrew the love bombing you again did notice in your gut what was happening as you upped your giving in response (a non functioning gut instinct would have left you behaving the same as before). Then you found out who he really was.
      IMO your gut instinct is fine and that coupled with your reflective nature and emotional maturity mean that you maybe don’t have to be as scared as you think you should be. You also forget that now you have a deep and abiding knowledge of cheaters, narcs, kibbles, pick me dancing etc which will be sitting there in your head should your heart see something it likes!

      I question how much your STBX adored you versus controlled you through being more attentive than previous partners. I bet you told him a lot how great he was so he didn’t need much to figure out how to keep you available.
      I don’t think you are broken and possible not as damaged as you might feel right now.

      And all of life involves risk. Can’t say we will never be hurt or never be cheated on again but chances are lower now and we know we could get through it again, possibly because we would spot the red flags and leave before it got to that point.

      I for one have spent too much time living on my knees as it were, afraid to fully embrace life because I was always worried about the risks and the ‘what ifs’ . I felt safe in my bubble but that didn’t turn out well. I may as well live fully now. Could not be worse than what I have just been through.

      Hope this wasn’t too preachy or lecture-y!

      • This is the first thing I noticed, also: “When you describe his complete attention on you and doing things for you in the early days almost sounds like medium level sustained love bombing which actually you did notice because he left you feeling like you could not keep up which isn’t what I would describe as reciprocity.”

        Reciprocity should be comfortable. Easy. The other day, Very Kind Man and I were talking about weekend plans. Right now, it’s tough to plan because of where I am in the school year (nothing is busier than the month before graduation). And he has an elderly pet with special needs. But we talk about what’s going on, and if I feel like I’m doing too much of the driving, then I stay home and we rebalance. But all the while, I trust that both of us see reciprocity as the baseline.

        Years ago, a man related to me through marriage wanted to date me, and I accepted a date to his work Christmas party. That opened a flood of efforts to “help” me do things I didn’t want help with. It was just too much.

      • It is possible it was love bombing but, if so, he was not aware of it. I don’t think he ever really loved me but I believe he thought he did when we got married. One thing I have learned from my therapist is how we view the world and make choices differently. I tend to take a long term big picture view. taking past and future and tying them into the present. He tends to react based on his immediate emotions. He can’t remember how he felt yesterday, nor can he imagine how he might feel tomorrow.

        • chumpinrecovery
          IMO people like our cheaters are not ‘aware’ of their behaviour and it’s impact and consequences as we would be. They can be instinctively manipulative as this has become the way that they are in the world focused on short term needs and ways of getting them met. Not saying they don’t know it’s wrong but first and foremost they want people to be tools for the meeting if their needs. Paedophiles are or can be exceptionally charming and manipulative because they need to groom others to get what they want. There is no emotional investment that comes with the charm/caring/love it is a means to an end. They know it is wrong but that is of secondary importance and can be denied, justified or minimised.

    • Chumpinrecovery,

      I feel that way too at times. It’s like not having chocolate for years, and then all of a sudden someone hands you a Hershey bar. Now, Hershey isn’t the most decadent of chocolates, but DAMN, CHOCOLATE! Finally! YES! JACKPOT! BEST EVER!

      So, I can understand it’s hard to tell if all the “niceness” you are experiencing with someone new is genuine, appropriate, sustainable, ect, vs “love bombing.” When you haven’t had someone show you much care in so long, and then someone does, by comparison it seems AMAZING because you’ve been so starved. But I keep reminding myself, no one gets brownie points for being a basic, decent human being. You’re supposed to be that.

  • JAD, you are one of my cohort being that your FTS! Moment is close to mine. There are lots of chumpy habits we have to grow through and giving more than we get, being valued low, and choosing someone sparkly over the real deal are all still with us for a while.

    Practice walking away with this lady.

    you can do it and your picker will improve. All the best, my friend.

  • I needed to hear this. Thank you ……

    b) Reciprocity. You describe yourself as doing things for people when they’re on your mind. Is she reciprocating? IS SHE RECIPROCATING? Imagine I am beating you about the head with a wet sock. PAY ATTENTION! Wooing and pursuing and chivalry is all very awesome — but the level of your ardor must be returned. Good people WANT to do for you too. This is the litmus test. If you’ve been chumpy your whole life you might fan those people away. Oh no, I’m fine. Flinty and independent. Let me get that for you…

    Users are FINE with lopsidedness. You do for me! Yea! And do and do and do and do and do, and let me tell you about this other guy who’d like to do for me. Are you upping your game? Because I am REALLY all that. Dance a little harder to prove your worthiness!

    • One of the hardest things for codependent types to learn is to ACCEPT THINGS FROM OTHERS. If you don’t allow reciprocity, you can’t get intimacy either. Give and take, in equal measure.

      • Radio talk show host drilled something into my head over the years. “Healthy relationships are about reciprocity and mutuality.” This applies to all relationships-friends,family,lovers.

  • I’m sensing a significant age difference between you and GF. Also, it doesn’t sound as if she has kids of her own. She’s taking full advantage of the fact that you are crushing on her and you’re flattered by whatever nugget of hope and attention she provides to you. You’ll never feel completely secure with a woman who is not in the same phase of life with you. This is not a woman who can put herself in the position of being a lower priority than your children. Mature, more selfless women will see that as a positive character trait.

  • “Love bombing is shallow and deceptive.” This does not describe your behavior at all, JAD.

    What to to with those zingers that throw you off balance? I believe you already felt the ground shift with this one by letting her know you have different boundaries. Good for you for recognizing her lack of boundaries. On the one hand she likes the attention of getting roses; on the other it earned you a nick name, “The Rose Guy.” What attracted you to her in the first place? When kindness and heart are met with indifference, its a losing game.

    As chumps we are sensitive first because of what we have been through. Yet we are armed with the awareness of the chump toolbox which is full of expectations from those we date or partner with in the future. Recognizing the familiar patterns we all know in my opinion serves as a protective shield in fixing our pickers, knowing our value, and having the ability to recognize a lack of character.

    This example tells me you are ready to date because you found the dropping off point before further investing your time and energy into someone who does not reciprocate. Perhaps you should examine what you found attractive about this woman in the first place. She appears to be immature, and frankly not very bright.

    • Doingme! Good catch! Choosing someone with a “lack of character”- got us into this boat in the first place. Standing by idly/indifferently while her male coworker calls JAD “the rose guy”- (a backhanded compliment)- shows her colors.

      People with integrity, honesty, decency and a higher moral IQ- are harder to find. But…it’s gotta be worth the wait!

    • And texting is not the best place to ask questions and get answers, other than about logistical issues. Save the deep questions for in-person conversation.

  • My tuition has been so injured by lies, deceit, gas lighting and blame shifting- I wouldn’t date a gold fish at this point in my life. I’d be too afraid it would screw me over behind my back. When/if I can recover my my ability to trust my instincts- I will be dating myself for a long while.

    • on the subject of dating myself,this is what I tell my friends that ask don’t you miss sex?? I say I know my vibrator isn’t cheating and exposing me to STD’s, yeah, I’m good!

      • Charlie..he he he! Not to mention your vibrator won’t be pilfering family funds to spend on OW/hoes.

      • I remember reading something about why cucumbers are better than men. I don’t remember the details but there was something in there about when they go bad you can just throw them out and get a new one.

        • No offense to our male chumps on here. Better to have a real man who won’t go bad than a cucumber.

          • yes, sadly I do forget there are male chumps too, and no offense to them, I would love to find an honest, faithful man who doesn’t spend his days stoned, and his nights drunk, still keeping enough wits about him to set up dating profiles! Yes, Charlie Sheen indeed

  • JAD,

    The good news is you have been out in the world and experienced some dating which is really the only way TO learn and grow. Your awareness is high and that’s why you wrote to CL. I am so curious about your conversation with her. Did her behavior pull you back in (empathy, caring, mortified by her thoughtless behavior) or did it solidify your ideas about breaking up (minimizing, discounting, telling you that you are too sensitive)? Either way, this whole situation is helpful to you in fixing your picker – you are out there learning by experience. I want to fix my picker too – but I am spending all my time with kids, friends and Netflix. That’s where I need to be for now. (I went on one date but was so dismayed by my desperate need to be liked that I shut that down for a while – truly, I was almost tap dancing on the table singing “Do you like me yet? Please like me!) I realize I have to be OK being dumped and dumping before I venture back.

    CN daters, please share stories. (Beth, I loved it when you recounted a weekend you had – I was in awe) No, I’m not ready yet, but your stories really lighten my outlook. Maybe just maybe everything will be ok….
    JAD, be proud that you are out and about and make a good decision for yourself. And tell us how it worked out and how you feel about that!

    • When I first started dating, I almost danced on the table too saying “please!! Do you like me yet!!!??? I’m totally second date, third date worthy! Please don’t ghost!”

      Looking back now, I wasn’t ready. But I didn’t know just how not ready I was until I tried and got out there. So after some rough ones, it took about 6 months and a lot of reflection to be able to dump and be dumped with dignity. I still experience disappointment, but I’m not devistated and my self esteem isn’t riding on date #2.

  • JAD, I feel your confusion, and I mean that in both senses of that phrase. I also felt a little “off” reading the conversation, but it wasn’t until CL and CN gave it a thorough UBT that I saw how awful it really was. It’s bad kiddo, you are not a bad person to cut and run from this, you are a smart person who demonstrates that they value themselves.
    Years and years (possibly a lifetime) of overriding your instincts doesn’t go away overnight, unfortunately. All skills, including discernment of character, take time and practice to develop. I’m not so sure that you aren’t ready to date, perhaps you just need to slow down and develop your dating skill set. Maybe treat dating like training for American Ninja Warrior. You wouldn’t try to run the whole course on Day 1 as a newbie. You would take it piece by piece, as you develop your skills and your confidence in those skills, you start to link them into something “more serious”.
    I’m giving myself this pep talk as well as you, as I also don’t know how to do anything less in a relationship than jump in with two feet. I got into a relationship a few months out from DDay, I did really care for him, but it also salved that “am I really so awful that no one would ever want me?” wound that the discard leaves. I was all in, however, after a few months he began to routinely forget to text me back. And my gut knew that was it, even though my brain kept trying to spackle (he’s so busy! Blah, blah, blah) Thankfully, I thought of CL and listened to my instincts. Your gut knows this is wrong, as demonstrated by you taking the time to send it in to CL, you just have a hard time putting your finger on why. I feel ya. I prescribe more UBT time.
    Meanwhile, learn to follow your instincts, even if your head can’t logic it all out at the time, your gut is still very likely right on target.
    Like many of us here, I find myself to be subconsciously attracted to narcs. But I’m forcibly becoming very conscious of it. I find that I hit a slightly panicky “people pleaser” mode every time I interact with a narc (whether I know them to be one or not). I hate it but find that I can’t yet control the reaction, but I AM aware of it now and what it means, and it’s my red flag to limit my interactions with this person. And THAT I can control. What I’m trying to convey is that if you take the time to listen to yourself, often you will find that if a person makes you feel shitty about yourself, the problem is NOT with YOU. And you should feel zero guilt for choosing who to let into your life, you deserve to invest in yourself (If you don’t, who will?). Wishing you the best.

    • This post has for some reason completely taken over my brain today. I guess this hits at stuff I still need to work on.
      Just to add to my story above, because it’s kinda relevant to your conversation, the guy I dated for a few months WAS actually one of my best friends in high school through college. We dated briefly in college, but it didn’t click and we went back to just friends. When I started to “get serious” with that guy I later married, I eased back on my relationship with my friend, because I knew I still had slightly more than just friends feelings for him. If you are committing to a romantic relationship you must, by the very definition of “commitment”, get out of any others. Aka it was The Right Thing To Do. And I would never, ever have rubbed my relationship with my friend in the face of any guy I was dating. So disrespectful.
      And when my best friend guy and I were dating, after the first time he totally left me hanging in the middle of making plans for the weekend, we had “the talk” where I was planning to break up with him (yeah, look, boundaries!), but he sounded so sincere when he apologized that I didn’t dump him, figured I should give him another chance (yeah…Still chumpy…). It was all good for two weeks, and then the same thing happened again. Though extremely disappointed, I felt ok walking away. I had done my part, he hadn’t. Game over.
      There are other ways of doing things, you don’t have to put up with mind games. I understand​ the lonely feeling, I’ve got it too, but I realize that replacing a crappy relationship with a differently crappy relationship is not progress. Not everyone in the world is compatible with everyone else (wouldn’t that be a weird world?), you need to be able to detach and move on when it’s not working. I like TundraWoman’s analogy of dating being like auditioning, not every applicant will have the qualities you’re looking for, and if you don’t cut them, you will never discover the ones who do.

    • I love this: “Years and years (possibly a lifetime) of overriding your instincts doesn’t go away overnight, unfortunately. All skills, including discernment of character, take time and practice to develop. I’m not so sure that you aren’t ready to date, perhaps you just need to slow down and develop your dating skill set. Maybe treat dating like training for American Ninja Warrior. You wouldn’t try to run the whole course on Day 1 as a newbie. You would take it piece by piece, as you develop your skills and your confidence in those skills, you start to link them into something ‘more serious.’”

    • Yes, you hit it spot on! Often if you feel a pang, like you are disappointing a person, and feel bad about this, it probably means that they are a narc who has asked just that teeny bit too much of you (if you don’t know them so well), or if you know them well enough they have probably grown quite used to making quite outlandish requests of you, in that subtle, manipulative way that makes you the ‘bad guy’ if you enforce a boundary. Being a people pleaser seems to be a major Chump personality trait. It’s okay to want to make people happy, but we assume, as mentioned many times previously, that they are working from the same moral playbook, whereas they are just out for themselves.

  • GF: “He wants me”- everybody “wants me”- including you JAD. I’m highly “wantable.” Yep! Now fight for me……win me over baby. If you don’t….I’m gonna go with him. If you do “win me”…..he still wants me- remember that JAD.

  • JAD,

    My advice is to ghost the bitch. Don’t even bother with meeting up with her to explain your boundaries. She sucks, Move on.

    One good thing about getting crushed by infidelity in a marriage is that you learn to understand and act upon your value, to establish boundaries that dovetail with who you are. In Chump Nation you refine the skills to the nth degree.

    It’s absolutely true that you get to a place where you are 100% comfortable being alone and enjoy your own company.

    Because Chumps evolve so much, the dating scene becomes an absolute bloodbath. It only takes minutes to figure out what kind of person you’re dealing with, and you have to weed through so many to find someone who is involved along the same lines.

    The dating sites suck ass. The pictures are deceptive, they lie about their age and physicality.

    There are a lot of great people out there to date and be in relationships with, however they are interspersed amongst the zombie horde.

    It’s a numbers game and a total pain in the ass.

    • Rickb89

      “Because Chumps evolve so much, the dating scene becomes an absolute bloodbath.”

      Evolved indeed. There are things that do not require a conversation; we just know. Regardless of the timeline when they show themselves it require the strength to know our own value. Values are demonstrated through actions, not words.

  • Dating sites seem narcissistic to me. Full of show offs living in a fantasy world. A fake world. Get out there and show people your real self in the real world.

    • I met my ex in the “real world” long before online dating existed. We were friends before we dated, dated a long time, knew each other’s families, etc, and look how that turned out. Dating sites aren’t perfect by any means but they are the only viable option for a lot of people.

  • JAD, here are some of my truths to help you wade through this. I recall, in my youth, playing games like that to get a response of jealousy. Why did I do this? Was it to confirm my worth? Feed my ego? Was I nibbling for kibbles?! I don’t really know but I wanted to throw it out there. It was already said by some wise person above but I really feel that if she is aware of what you have gone through that her doing that should be a deal breaker simply because you have been through something that has defined you in some way and she either doesn’t get it or doesn’t care.

    Your comment about being sorry she has to listen to her co-workers vent sounded, and please know I don’t mean to sound unkind, pathetic. You are NOT pathetic. While your concern and caring are real, I am not sure that is how it is being received. This is an indicator that she is beneath you.

    Only send flowers to a woman who has demonstrated worthiness of being “The One”. “The One” can only be determined after TIME and EXPERIENCE with a person and never during the beginning of a relationship when hormones and lust tend to control the heart and mind. “The One” would have to have a deep understanding of what you have gone through, be incensed that someone has harmed you so deeply and would NEVER say something so callous as she did. If she has never been a chump, it is more than possible she spoke without thinking but your reaction, and her feelings for your feelings, should have brought her to the obvious conclusion.

    You still have a hole in your soul and no one can fill it but you. I am not sure you are ready to date. If you don’t fill that hole before seeking out another, you are going to stuff the wrong person in it and it will only lead to further heartbreak. You are enough. You are precious. You deserve better.

    • It occurs to me that his female is either young or immature. And telling you that her co-worker calls you “rose guy” is ridiculous and screams of you being devalued in conversation with that co-worker. When someone sends me flowers or anything nice, I either keep the info to myself or name the giver, because if that person is sending flowers, he’s already part of my life and other people know who he is to me.

  • “Tiny Dancer” keeps running through my head after reading this post. She seems shallow and insensitive and must have a giant red flag waving over her head. I suggest you present a batch of cupcakes and a rose before leaving her in the dust. (With a note reminding her to send you an invite to her wedding to Mr. Peter Peter cupcake eater in five years).

  • She may not be disordered but she certainly seems immature and not grounded from within herself. She is not having insight for her or you and the relationship RED FLAG. If she is doing it for attention or to make you see others want her and she is of value, that is immaturity. It is for high school.

    I think after being chumped, you need mature, grounded, level all the while light and willing to go with the flow and enjoy the moment.

    If you don’t listen to your gut and spackle this in anyway, you will only be back here months from now telling a new chump store.

    Is that how you would act, is that how you would this or that? If they do something that clashes with that, LISTEN.

    You could still enjoy dating her but you want to do it detached. Do not emotionally attach to her and you can enjoy her company without commitment. If you can do that, than fine.

  • JAD, there are seven billion people on this planet. She’s not the One.

    She might not be be as awful as a cheater, but why settle?

    You had a good experience with the romance but now she’s shown you that she’s selfish and insensitive. It’s okay to walk away.

    You’re the treasure, here. Don’t give away the treasure.

  • Justadad, I can empathize completely. I’m a chump… I empathize with everyone.

    I’m the “friend” guy who gets used for dinner dates, car repair work, Birthdays/Valentines Days/Christmas Days/Bad Days/Sick Days/Pay Attention to Me days, apartment moving, and home repair work. Their casual asshole “friend” Derrick (Pete – whatever) is the one they call late at night – because he can do that swirly thing with his tongue.

    I’m also the “friend” guy they call when they’re upset because Derrick is an asshole who makes vague non-commitment commitments and never shows up. So chumpy empathetic me shows up at their doorstep with a carton of Hagen-Das and a bottle of their favorite wine to commiserate over asshole Derrick. After I leave, like clockwork, they get that vague text from asshole Derrick at around 1am, “sup” and they invite him over – because he can do that swirly thing with his tongue.

    I’m the guy they take home to meet their moms and dads to demonstrate grown-up responsibility – after they made the mistake earlier-on of introducing asshole Derrick to them and their dads caught him peeing on their azaleas. But their mothers understand Derrick is just a phase – because he can do that swirly thing with his tongue.

    I’m also the guy they finally marry after getting asshole Derrick out of their system; or at least I assumed so. Seven-to-ten years later and as I’m obligated with the job, mortgage, yard maintenance, car payments, insurance, 401ks, kids soccer games – and-so-on – asshole Derrick connects with them on fakebook with his signature vague, “sup”. They agree to meet asshole Derrick (if he can possibly even make it) for coffee to catch up on old times – but mostly because he can do that swirly thing with his tongue.

    • Only if you are dating and/or marrying a shallow loser.

      Did you read CL’s post? Reciprocity! Never hang around a woman who uses you for auto repairs or a shoulder to cry on about “Derrick.” Just as you decry women who use other men waiting for a jackass to make a commitment (or something like that), I would decry men who pine after whiny, dependent narcissistic but good-looking females. None of that happens if we set our picker to “kind person,” “reciprocates in a relationship,” and “willing to date and take it slow.”

      • Yes, that sounds like a willing victim. Why would you allow these women to use you with open eyes and for years? Because you think they are “hot”? Whatever that means in the shallow pool.

        Unfortunately, you would get exactly what you deserve. That is different from a chump being defrauded in marriage/committed relationship. That is just being a perpetual door mat and then whining about it.

  • Not sure where to start. We have been only texting and dating for a little over a month. We were introduced by friends who said “we were perfect for each other.” Texting, talking, and dating has felt so natural with her and I won’t lie that it feels good to be wanted again after a failed 24 year marriage. We enjoy each others company and it seems like we miss each other when I travel for work. I know her esteem has been rattled by her XH and I do take that into consideration when a flag goes up. I know, spackle. Her friend keeps telling me to hang in there because she is scared to death that I am not for real. She told her that she has never met a kind and caring man like me before and she keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. All of us chumps here know what that feels like. I wrote CL because I am trying to weed through red flags or chump phobia. I don’t want to put XW’s BS on her and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. I am old school and my florist knows me by my first name. Maybe roses were a little too much, I don’t know. I’m not following by any playbook. The co-worker triangulation whether intentional or not is a concern for me and I believe it was to see my reaction (we’re still trying to feel each other out). I will make my boundaries clear and where I stand on ho-workers. My divorce was final last week. I know, I know too soon. We still live in the same house that was listed 3 weeks ago. I know, I know. I do know my worth but it really feels good to be wanted again because my self esteem a few months ago was nil. Dropped 40 pounds and I’m still going. Looking better, feeling better and I’m trying to get whole again. The idea of online dating scares the hell out of me. My friend and his wife (her friend) wouldn’t have introduced me to her if they felt she had bad intentions for me. We are both scared to death and stumbling through this. To paraphrase CL “My heart has been forged in a blast furnace” (something like that) and I’m trying to put myself out there for something real. Maybe she is or maybe she isn’t. I will be okay either way. I have already had gone through the hardest thing in my life ever and the biggest crime I could ever do is not try. CN your the best and I thank you for your input that I will keep in mind. CL you have saved my life and have given me hope to try again without fear, just caution. I won’t be door mat, I promise. I just want to hold onto this good feeling that I haven’t felt in a long time just a little longer. #giving it a shot (with caution)

    justadad out.

    • Too soon, indeed. You were married 24 years, divorced a week. She has self-esteem issues. Slow down, if you indeed like this person. You need time to figure out who you are outside of a marriage. She needs to develop confidence that doesn’t require playing games with people. (Hey, I can give her a pass on that, if she was chumped, but the game-playing suggests she isn’t at all ready for a deep relationship.

      Being chumped rocks our security. And for many of us, we were in a relationship in the first place because we didn’t feel OK alone or we didn’t have confidence in our ability to navigate the world. One thing I’ve learned from the betrayal is that I have zero fear about relationships. If someone turns out to be the wrong guy or if he decides that my wanting to stay single is a deal-breaker, then I can say goodbye with no regrets. I don’t worry about being chumped again at all. I would see that coming a mile away and end that relationship before the cheating could start. But it took me a good 2 1/2 years to feel this confident in myself. I’d say there’s no reason why you can’t date this person, but set some limits around the intensity. That has the added bonus of allowing something to unfold slowly and carefully and in a more romantic way (as the jump from “nice to meet ya” to “how does your bra unhook?” an hour later isn’t very romantic, in my view. But I’m old.) If you trust yourself and she trusts herself, you won’t have these problems.

      • justadad – I’m a widowed chump who got severely burned first time out dating after 22 years of marriage. Looking back over our 3 years of dating and living together (lived together for just over 2 years) he did the triangulation thing almost immediately just like you gf – I put it down to him having been cheated on (yeah – don’t believe a word of that now, you should hear the lies he’s told about me), and being insecure. Nope, not insecure – a narcissist. I was way to needy and accommodating, and he seemed like an oasis in the desert and I was just damn thirsty, and then I was in too deep.

        Please go really really slow and don’t get too emotionally invested here – I suspect that it is too soon, but OK if you realise this and understand that you have work to do.

    • Justadad, I get wanting to be wanted. Especially after the epic discard of infidelity. But IMO (and you asked for it) you’re self-medicating with this person. You want some goddamn kibbles for once and they feel good. I GET IT. But it’s been a MONTH. Okay “a little over a month.”

      This is NOT a deep investment. You can put the breaks on. You can invest in a thousand other ways to feel good and TRUST me when I say there will be OTHER people. She’s not your Last Great Hope and you owe those friends ZILCH. “Hey it was nice, but I think it’s too soon. Thanks for thinking of me.” Your personal life is your business.

      I’ll tell you another thing I thought of — she’s not just triangulating with you, and BFF, that BFF is dating her co-worker. She’s undermining another woman’s relationship with that BFF and “I’ll marry you in 5 years” thing. A purported friend of hers. NOT okay.

      Look, I like a tidy ending — don’t get enamored of the narrative — I left a crappy marriage and VOILA I was fixed up by friends and met the ONE and I ran off into rainbows and sunsets…

      Fact is, most of us awkwardly stumble and fall and find our ways after divorce. As. We. Should.

      Also — don’t introduce your kids. (Not sure if that’s happened.) SloooooooooW down, please.

      • Oh and ANOTHER thing — That whole “Gee, I just don’t know if I can trust that you’re REAL and a GOOD GUY schtick?” more pick me dance goading. If she can’t trust actions and dip into the risky dating waters? She isn’t ready either.

        The proper response to a nice man who sends you flowers is, “THANK YOU” and “Hey, are you free next Thursday? I’d love to see you.”

        She can keep her insecurities to HERSELF. They are HER problem — not a gauntlet, not a problem for you to solve, or a thing you need to prove. Fuck that shit.

        • Bulls Eye.
          All that and a bag of chips.

          Just reading about this gal made me want to hurl. We’ve been through enough with weirdos…

          adults who acts bewildered or confused about basic kindness and humane treatment of each other.???

          If you are having to write into CL about this dum dum this early in the game…..the ole picker needs to go in for an overhaul of epic proportions.

          I will in the service bay beside you.

          • ^Exactly. Please, don’t ever allow someone to subtly or not so subtly try to make you responsible for remediating smoke from another fire: You didn’t light that flame and you are not gonna play Smokey the Bear for someone else’s raging forest fire of a previous relationship. We’re all adults. We’ve all been burned at some time or another. My concern is very peeked when an adult female starts a relationship with some rendition of “I’ve just been in a relationship with a partner who done me wrong. I have Trust Issues.” OK, fine. But it’s *her* responsibility to reach down and grab her lady balls like a groan up and deal with it using discretion-instead of using it as bait. And this “he wants me” is more flagrant bait thrown down after stomping on your Pity Button-hard: It’s the one-two White Knight sucker punch test. There will never be “enough” hoops you can jump through to “prove” you’re “not like those other guys.” One does not need to solicit the natural response of Empathy-it’s is not a Pity Fishing Manipulation. And that’s the distinct impression I’m getting, justadad. More decent, fine men than I can count have been so cognizant of their own experience they make great efforts to “accommodate” her pain. Meanwhile, what about your’s? The reciprocity is missing.
            There’s a very different “tone” to an honest, brief (especially this early) declarative sentence or two of the previous relationship(s) failure, not a thinly veiled appeal to your protective instincts in addition to the flagrant childish Jealousy ploy.

            What’s not to miss with you? You’re a decent human being, a true, thoughtful gentleman.
            I just don’t want you to become chum in the predator ocean because your friends think you’re a match made in heaven. You have great gut instincts but the only way we gain confidence in ourselves and our judgement is by exercising those instincts, ‘k? You can find much better prospects than this one: She sounds very….common.
            And you’re not. At all.

        • CL you’re the best. I love the blatant honesty. It’s a bucket of ice water followed by a smack in the face that I need at times. My lawyer, an awesome little spit fire of a woman already read me the riot act. When I had to swear in at court I had to say I do. My lawyer tells her clients they’re not allowed to say those words again for at least 6 months and for me at least a year. I wasn’t sure to be insulted or flattered. Either way I understood what she was implying. I’m a work in progress.

    • JustADad – it’s Sunny here. Let’s do a little visualization exercise. Pretend it’s me you’re chatting with over text. Would I say any of these things? Now imagine Kluless. Or BetterDays. Or Sam. Suppose you were chatting with any of them. Would any of them say these things to you? I can answer that for you. No. The answer is and would always be no. Why? Because all of us Colorado Chumps love you to pieces. We want what’s best for you and not to mess with your heart or your head. People who really love you for you don’t try to triangulate or make you jealous. None of us would ever do that to you. We’re here if you want to chat. I know I can speak for the entire group when I tell you how much we all miss you. Sending you big long-distance hugs & hope one of these days we can all hug you in person when you come back. We believe you’re worth the best and hopefully you’ll feel that in your gut and be able to use that as your compass. XOXOXOs from all of us at Colorado Chump Nation

      • Thanks Sunny. I miss you guys already as well. You gals were like family to me and gave me the courage to try again. Tell the rest of my Colorado peeps “what’s up?” It was hard to come back to Michigan after being in Colorado for 10 months. There’s no mountains! I’ll give guys a shout when I fly in every few months or so. Thanks again.

    • JAD
      I had a really similar situation, fell for a woman a year(ish) after separation and were together 7 months but the red flags kept popping up. I really wanted it to be different and it took some time to come to grips with the fact that it was same shit different day. Ending that relationship and setting my mind firmly on my boundaries was liberating and gave me a sense of strength that I’d not had before.

      This is early days for you and you’re already recognising what your new boundaries are. Now time to act on them. It’s been a month, you don’t owe this person anything, stand up and assert your value.


    • The friends who introduced you do not know her in the same capacity as you. I had two very similar experiences before I met my GF 5 years ago. Two extremely good looking women ( almost up there with me 🙂 ), said things that were right along the same line as you describe. I , immediately, recognized the narcissism and bailed and am so glad I did.

    • It does feel good to be wanted. I concur with that statement. I made the same mistake right after divorce. Friends were giving me the “get back on the horse” speech and I was a bit desperate to prove to myself that all those things Narkles the Clown said about me during the devaluing weren’t true. I dated and kept it honest with the fact I was not capable of committing to anyone and I planned to just date for a bit and not get serious. I dated the All About Me Accountant, the Brokeass Bartender and the Lovebombing Lawyer. It felt good that multiple people found me desirable. My ego was cushioned but as time went on and as I read more her, it was clear these were not morally upstanding citizens, they were game players. The red flags were big and waving at this point and I had to do the difficult thing I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. I had to break it off. It was a skill I had not learned. It made me nauseous.

      Fast forward several months and lots of thinking later, and some therapy for good measure and I did start dating again. I started dating someone I met in my every day life, not from the Internet. I was honest with him up front and he said he was fine taking things slow. So we took things very, very, very slow, lots of outings in public. He was willing to let me take my time and learn to trust him. He understood the whole actions versus words thing. He still does. We’ve been dating for about a year and define the terms of our relationship in conversation. We agreed no secrets or unanswered questions and we talk, a lot. He’s pretty awesome but he didn’t love bomb me or sweep me off my feet. I might have ignored a man like that….until I fixed my picker.

      Keep tinkering JAD, you’ll get that picker fixed!

      • I’m back here for a late read, and the phrase “take my time and learn to trust him” jumps out. One key to JAD’s issue here is that he’s trusting this person on a recommendation from friends, not from getting to know this person, firsthand and over time.

    • You still live with your ex wife and you’re trying to date people? Are you kidding?

      You aren’t comfortable being alone and nor is this woman you’re calling your girlfriend. Grow some balls and live alone for at least a year. Don’t date anyone. Find a way to enjoy your life without pining for someone else to make you feel better. Decent women like men who are self sufficient. Build a good foundation inside yourself and you’ll start to feel like dating is a choice you make, not something you feel like you need to do to make yourself feel better.

      Man up, for fuck’s sake.

  • Maybe, just maybe, this woman is really into him and trying to impress him by leading him to believe she’s quite the catch. Even if this is the reason JAD should dump her for being a mindless twit. More than likely he is dealing with someone that has a personality disorder and this is narcissism 101, making you feel insecure and jealous but also covering themselves by saying I’m not into him, HE’S into me. This is the beginning of a train wreck relationship and JAD needs to back off the dating scene for a bit and do some reflecting.

    • I agree. This is not subtle and is very obviously intended to both inflate herself and to cause some degree of insecurity and/or competitiveness.
      I would have been tempted to respond to her assertion that the guy wanted her ,with some type of response that would relay my bewilderment as to the possible reason why. Like ” Your Kidding. He wanted you vs her?Well, that is one of life’s mysteries, I guess.” etc

  • The best advice ever is go slow. Go slow. If you have to “struggle not to fall too quickly,” you are confusing attraction and maybe infatuation or limerence with something more lasting. Keep reminding yourself that you don’t know this person. And you won’t know her (or any of the other people you date) until you spend a year or more dating and paying attention to how this person operates in the world. That doesn’t even have to be in regard to your relationship; does she reciprocate with friends, relative, colleagues? Does she offer to “go Dutch” or pay for a date to a movie she wants to see more than you do? Do you do all the driving? Pay for all the gasoline? If you send roses, does she do any sweet, unexpected things for you–bring you cookies? How does she treat her parents? her friends? her colleagues? her neighbors? How does she treat clerks in a clothing store? If you want to know if someone is thoughtless, follow him or her through a clothing or shoe store and see if the person leaves a path of “destruction”: clothes carelessly unfolded and tossed aside, marring a pristine display; shoes pulled out of boxes and left everywhere. That’s a person who thinks other people are paid to pick up after him or her.

    What gets us in trouble a lot of the time is wanting the next person we date to be “the one,” so that our lives will be all settled again. Then when we see red flags flying, we too often spackle over what we see because otherwise we have to let this person go.

    • LovedaJackass,

      “Path of destruction” in the clothing store ! LMAO.
      When I was a teenager and shopping with my mother, we walked into a dressing room with clothes all over the place, including the floor. My mother called out to the teenager who had just vacated the space “Aren’t you embarrassed by THIS ?!” pointing to the mess.
      The behavior of an entitled brat…

  • Justadad, your gut is never wrong. CL and everyone here provided good advice and insights, as always.

    I was drained just reading your post and comments. After 4 years, it’s clear that I’m not ready to date, and it’s possible I may never want to date ever. Only time will tell, but I will say that being single is really awesome and a very rewarding experience if you give it a chance. When you take time out for yourself you find out who you really are and what your dealbreakers are. Don’t make your needs small like all of us chumps do.

    So many people like to play games and it’s all such a pain in the ass! She’s playing games with you and she’s having fun at your expense. Enforce those boundaries and fire her if she continues this childish nonsense.

    All the best!

  • I think you may have stumbled upon a pro-tip in the narcissist’s playbook: The Future Marriage Contract: A Little Known Tool for Triangulation and Extra Kibbles.

    My X did exactly the same thing and was sure to let me know about it early in our dating relationship, well enough into the love-bombing phase that I was hooked and did the pick-me dance. It was the same plan, down to the five-year window, with a woman he was friends with in college who clearly liked him more than he liked her.

    Why? Because X is gay and entered into this “contract” so he could continue to avoid the pressures of actually dating this woman but also have a Plan B in case he didn’t manage to find a woman he could bring himself to have sex with and marry in the interim. Unfortunately, that woman was me. Not long after X started bringing me around to meet his college friends, the woman who was Plan B announced her sudden engagement.

    We went to the wedding a couple of months later, where she and X joked about their five-year plan and how wonderful it was that they both found other people at the same time. It didn’t seem all that sincere on her part, but I do hope for her sake the marriage was a happy one and that her husband wasn’t another narcissist or closet case.

  • JAD,
    If you “just want to hold onto this good feeling that I haven’t felt in a long time just a little longer….”

    Here is what you can expect more of:

    “GF: Oops…”

  • Dating is too difficult these days. I never expected to be dating at this time in my life, anyway. Some companionship would be wonderful, but I really do not need to marry again. I am only interested in intimacy with monogamy. I don’t want to meet, eat, and “hook-up”. I want conversation, and humor, and shared experience and common interests, and fun. Sharing, reciprocity, and commitment — I want all those things. I don’t have a timetable exactly, but evidently my expectations take more time than what has become customary in today’s world. I don’t want to eat a meal with someone who does not talk, or who stays on the phone the entire time. I don’t want to pick-me dance. I am old fashioned enough that I prefer that the man who asks me to dance knows how to lead, and I go home with the one who brought me. Maybe I am not designed for modern dating and all the senseless games?

    • Portia –

      I have meals with such a man twice a week. Dinner and breakfast. We talk about everything under the sun. He listens, I listen. We agree, we disagree. He insists and ALWAYS pays for my meal. His humor is keen. I am first, and he wants to know if I am happy. He loved to dance, but can dance no more. He loved to read, but it’s getting harder and harder. He loved a rich physical attraction, but it no longer cooperates with his mind. He was robust and curious about life but now is just curious.

      He understands economics and will talk politics without demeaning either party. I have an opinion and a voice with him. He loaded to the gills. Believes in God and is single. We wants to marry. His wife passed away a year and a half ago.

      He is 32 years OLDER than me.

      I will not marry him. But, damn, I do enjoy every moment with him and will miss him terribly if he goes before me.

      Who would have thought.

      Not anyone I know.

      I don’t need his money, but I will never accept anything less from a companion – ever – again. I am so thankful for that man.

      • A good conversation, courtesy, consideration, polite behavior — sounds like you hit the companion jackpot. Maybe the physical side won’t ever be what it once was, many things pass with age and health, but respect and quality time together — that experience will last as long as at least one of you is alive. Good to know it is still possible. Sometimes I feel men are only interested in a wife appliance, for sex, housekeeping and cooking. Then I hear about a wonderful man like the one you met. It keeps hope alive.

        • Good, Portia. Keep hope alive. Men like this exist. He can’t imagine why a man (or woman) would marry and not want to have companionship with the woman (man) they marry. He doesn’t understand why men (or women) don’t remain single if they want to have sex with other people. We talk openly about male – female relationship without disparaging either gender.

          When I insist on paying for the meal, he will not allow it. I don’t have a problem paying for a meal, but I acquiesce to keep the peace. It is something he wants to do and makes him feel good. And you know what? It makes me feel good, too.

          He understands no two people are 100% compatible. There will always be a disagreement or misunderstanding between people who have been raised differently. He can be a rascal, so can I. Sometimes a little jealous, me too. We are not a perfect match. Yet, we desire to make the other happy.


          What a concept.

          I love it when he is happy and he loves it when I am. I delight in him and he in me.

          Strange. I am 60. THREE fuckers later and I finally get it. Taught by a 92 year old man.

          The other evening he asked, “If we met earlier in life, as young people, would you have married me?”

          I responded, “Yes.”

          He went further, “Would we have had children?”

          I said, “Several”.

          He sighed, “You have a great imagination, Calamity.”

          I sighed, “So do you.”

    • Portia…well said! I wouldn’t even know where to begin to find a date. I have been a loyal wife for 31 years. The whole online dating scene is a trigger for me. My voyeur/pervert/liar husband is on most of the major dating sites parading his dried up old goodies around. God help the poor soul that sends him a wink.

      • Dried up old goodies and a lying pervert are never popular for long. Sounds like he really has NOTHING to offer. Perhaps he will keep himself warm as the years go by — he could always invest in an electric blanket. It is better to be alone than lonely with a cheater.

  • JAD,
    I think your friends mean well. But sometimes friends make innocent mistakes too. You mention in your comment above that “Her friend keeps telling me to hang in there because she is scared to death that I am not for real. She told her that she has never met a kind and caring man like me before…”

    Her friend (your mutual friend) should not have to play the part of a PR agent, spin doctor and pity cheerleader for your GF. I suspect that your GF is enlisting your mutual friend’s help in keeping you invested in the relationship despite red flags and your questions. This is another form of triangulation / social drama.

    Also your GF is trying to convince you through your mutual friend that she has you on some sort of pedestal (“I am not for real, etc.”). This is not a healthy attitude either in a relationship.

    Wishing you wisdom and insight with this situation.

  • I’ve recently started dating. My history, like many Chumps, is that I give more to a relationship than my partner. When I talked with my therapist about this, she suggested that I shouldn’t start out a relationship where I was doing more work than the other person. I’ve put that into practice and I think it has helped me avoid some problems. Here are some examples:

    Date says he’ll contact me after he returns from a trip and doesn’t:
    OldMe – shortly after he’s returned contact him
    NewMe – do nothing. Next?

    Person I know then saw on a dating site tells me he’s not ready to date:
    OldMe – continue being hopeful
    NewMe – said fine. Let me know if you change your mind. Next?

    Person I like is interested in me, but has a big problem with alcohol.
    OldMe – consider a relationship while he’s working on his issues
    NewMe – told him that he needed to work on his issues and be at least six months clear of alcohol before I’d consider dating. I also suggested that he’d probably make bad choices in partners unless he fixed his issues first.

    Date in hot pursuit:
    OldMe – respond immediately and fully
    NewMe – respond tentatively waiting for a little more effort on his part. He’s put effort (more than reciprocal) into the relationship and now we’re fully involved. I’m working to convince him to accept more from me because he is a true giver and needs to learn reciprocity. We’re both enjoying the delight of actually receiving from someone who is trying to give more than the other person.

  • ChumpLady, you’re such a jewel, and your articles are so helpful. This article is right-on!!!

    I’m not dating now, waiting until the divorce is final, or maybe I won’t date, maybe will do something fabulous or cool, or just work and live and relate and play. But anyway.

    I’m experiencing being a chump in the non-dating / romantic realms — or not a chump, not really, my picker is working, and these non-dating assholes are also problematic. Lazy, entitled, manipulative — and the Jesus Freaks say all the right things. For Narcissists, it seems there is a type that is all about securing resources for their Cause (in this case, God).

    Still these holy-rollers will not think twice about throwing you under the bus. They do not mind making you cry. (They smile a little.) Watch out, the faithful are clueless to the modus operandi of the Holy Narcissists. CLUELESS. You try to wise them up on the shenanigans of the self-centered??? You’re going to get it in the nuts. (Or teeth, in my case, since I don’t have nuts.)

    Anyway, there’s plenty in the above article about dating to help me with those Dedicated to Serving (Self) types.

    Thank you so much, dear ChumpLady!!!

    • Speaking of Jesus cheaters. The last time I attended church with my husband (before I threw him out)- his cell phone was loaded with porn and hook up sites. He was also sending my neighbor unwanted lewd texts- as he sang Amazing Grace- with his Bible in hand. Church is a good place for the morally deficient to hide.

    • My xh was caught on Catholic Match while we were married. Wanted to find a Christian woman!
      I’d laugh, if it wasn’t so true.

      He insisted at final BD that I “go along” (lie) with the annulment, because I would benefit from it, too.

  • Justadad,

    Calling you “the rose guy” ? She sounds like an ungrateful b*tch.

    All women who would greatly appreciate being sent flowers period (at work,at home,ever), raise your hand !
    Ghost her…now. You deserve better.

    • To me calling you “the rose guy” also sounds a bit like there are multiple guys hanging around. And none are important enough to have their actual names used. It feels like the discard to me. When I would talk about my husband to my girlfriends I would always use his name. When he was texting the whoremat he called me “wifey” which I used to think was silly fun when he called me wife but now when I see “wifey” I want to go on a stabbing rampage of triggered hatred and burn whatever has the evil word on it ☹️ Maybe I’m looking too deeply into “the rose guy” but it just makes me uncomfortable.

  • GF: Usually I will vent to Pete or Amanda and I will feel better.
    “I must express my suffering to my co-workers. Pete and Amanda show me the sympathy I deserve.”

    GF: Yes…
    “I like to tell Pete when you send me roses because I know he likes me and I like to see the hurt in his eyes. He needs to step up his game if he wants a chance with me.”

    GF: Yep… and he wanted me and probably still does.
    “He wants me and he always has and always will. I am planning to see him when you are busy with your kids. If he comes up with something really special and we already have a date, I can always tell you that I have to sit with a sick friend.”

    GF: But no worries, we r best friends and always will be it is an understanding that I have made clear… I did tell him I would marry him in 5 years if we were still single… LOL
    “If you catch us together or hear anything, remember I told you WE R BEST FRIENDS and that means JUST FRIENDS, If I’m not already married in 5 years and have no prospects and am in bankruptcy, then I might just let him put a ring on it. But I still get to have other friends!! LOL!!!!!”

    GF: R uk?
    “You are not laughing with me about this. You are not saying that it’s okay for me to have friends. You are not saying that you want me exclusively. Have you fallen out of your chair? Are you still breathing?”

    GF: Ru saying I don’t?
    “Are you saying that I am not moral, virtous and saintly? I may have to go vent to my co-workers. THEY get me.”

    GF: Meaning?
    “Are you insinuating there is a problems with me? You can apologize with roses. Send them to work. Pete will be so disturbed!”

    GF: I guess.
    “Well, JAD, you are really being a Debbie Downer now. We can talk at that expensive new restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. But I still get to have friends! LOL!!!!”

    • “Iguess”…. I’ll have to up my manipulative ways and figure something to make you dance harder.
      There’s nothing to work there with JAD. she might be a feel good option right now but it’s going to cost you, pain and finances.

  • One more pearl of wisdom JAD. Going by your name, I take it you are a dad. Exposing our kids to yet another asshole/bad relationship is not healthy for them. Little Miss “I’m desired” doesn’t sound like she’d be a good fit for a man with kids.

    She obviously baits her male coworker by telling him all about the roses you send- Rose boy. She’s a game player (mindfucker). Your kids do not need someone like that in their lives. Kids have no say in what POS of shit their parents bed down with. Please be their advocate- your kids will yours kids forever. Bimbos, mindfuckers, skanks and skeezies will come and go.

  • I would never screw around with someone in work. My Italian grandpa used to say, “don’t shit where you eat.” Pop was right.

  • Aw, Justadad, I can only hope you read and reread all of today’s posts. I know your friends were well-meaning, but they are likely blind or at least in the dark about how their friend interacts in dating relationships. After all, friends don’t usually accompany us on our dates.

    I hope you will not disregard the overwhelming advice of CN to say goodbye to this relationship. Feeling wanted, desirable, sexy, etc. after the soul- kicking, heart-rending pain of infidelity and discard is understandable. Disregarding the sound and experienced advice of hundreds of kindred spirits is not. You are an intelligent man. Please let CN tell you what they see that you don’t. You are spackling

    I believe it was you who recommended the book on attachment styles and said you recognized yourself as the “anxious” style. I hate to say this, but your apparent inability to see what CL and CN are telling you makes me agree that you are self-medicating and self-soothing with this relationship. It is painful to be rejected. To have our love mocked. To have our gifts scorned. I know you are eager to be a giver and a lover once again. But you are skipping over the loving and giving to yourself part. You say you know your worth, but your actions show otherwise. Please, JAD, save yourself future grief and more pain and just slow the heck down and step away from the little lady who needs you to prove your goodness in order to rescue her from her bad memories or low self-esteem. Please visit with the Colorado chumps for a boost to your self-esteem. Keep getting healthy for your own sake. I believe you said your ex told you that you were undesirable. Those words cut deeply and took root in your fears and insecurities. Those words are lies. But you don’t need this GF with her triangulation and insecurities to fix you. Loving yourself and working on your own self will. Please believe that we care about you and want to see you rise up mighty and whole.

    You deserve so much better, JAD. Really.

  • “GF: Yep… and he wanted me and probably still does.

    JAD: Mmmm.

    GF: But no worries, we r best friends and always will be it is an understanding that I have made clear… I did tell him I would marry him in 5 years if we were still single… LOL”

    dude, really?

    she’s your girlfriend and she thinks she’s still single?

    my advice would be to give her what she wants and let her go.

  • JAD,

    Don’t you think it is strange for your girlfriend to be applying cloaked pressure on you by using the “veiled threat” of her BFF “wanting her”? THINK man…and use your brains and not your hormones!

    Are you happy knowing that BFF “wants her” or the fact that she has stated “that she and BFF will ALWAYS be friends”? Even if it bothers YOU? Even if you find out that your new sparkly girlfriend is the one who may have caused BFF and Hope to break up in the past? She DID claim that BFF “wants her” and “always has”…I am sure that your girlfriend is enjoying those illicit kibbles…so, was he still “wanting her” during the time period that he was dating Hope? Do you want this BFF to be included in YOUR life going forward…or secretly behind your back if you should tell your girlfriend that you object? She has made it clear that she and BFF will be friends forever…could THIS be the reason that he and Hope broke up? What does the strength of their relationship come from? Sure would be nice to have a conversation with Hope wouldn’t it?

    No woman (or man) should be clinging to a “friendship” with a person of the opposite sex who “wants her” and “always has”. She is setting you up to accept a “situation” with BFF that is inordinate and dangerous to your emotional well being…I think you know it and that’s why you are here.

    • Tell it like it is, Sweetz. Pete and gf have something going on that JAD does not need to be a party to. Ughhhh.

  • JAD, Chump Lady is right. You’re self-medicating with this girl.

    We’ve all been there.

    After 24 years of marriage, try a timeframe of at least 1 week for every year of marriage before you even THINK about dating again?


    Smarter souls take a month for every year, just to heal.

  • JAD,

    For what its worth…I married a man who continued to call on his ex wife…never with my knowledge of course. I don’t mean talking about anything regarding their already grown kids, (which would have been totally unnecessary conversations anyway)…I mean OUR problems that cropped up in our marriage. He could have gone to his male friends, our Pastor, a counselor, or even on line until we reached a resolution about our issues. But no, he went to her instead which caused way more serious problems than the original issue we had…because each time he did this, he became more and more detached from US and began to fantasize about HER. I felt him pull away more and more with each issue we had over time…not knowing why even though I thought we resolved our problems.

    Then I find out that he had tried to get her to take him back on several occasions during the first four years of our marriage. He thought that if he did the poor sad sausage routine that she would take a man back who was already eyeball deep in another marriage. He underestimated her morals (and her disgust)…she considered these propositions to be adultery of the heart. She was shocked and confused when he’d call her out of the blue to “get her advice”…but she finally woke up and called to warn me, not to hurt me, but to let me know that he had been betraying marital confidences and trust, asking her if there was any hope or chance to have “a future together”, and to let me know what I was dealing with. She culled him out of her life after that…but what if SHE had been vulnerable or had no moral integrity?! What if SHE had considered him to be her “best friend” and “wanted him”?

    All is well that ends well though…he is now gone from my life too.

  • Thanks for the letter and the ‘deconstruction’ Chump Lady.

    You both helped a lot of people with this lesson.

    For me like you JAD, that exchange felt ‘off’ but I couldn’t put my finger on it (and would have probably brushed it off as usual).

    But when Chump Lady pointed out the ‘pick me!’ invitation, the ‘I’m so fabulous’ wrt a flipping co-worker and ‘you don’t measure up to my fabulousness, you are here because the kibbles suit’ ….

    Euw. Yes. REJECT the devaluation and discard. Because that is what it is.

    Thanks, both of you.

  • Flippantly remarking to your boyfriend/girlfriend about marriage pacts with other people is a potential sign that a non-committal multi-partner system may be in use. There are typically 3 positions. Position 1 is the boyfriend/girlfriend. Position 2 is the dream guy/girl, the one they pine for and will never get (but will likely go to whenever they are given a chance). Position 3 is the Back Burner.

    Pete is her Back Burner. She wants you to know she has other options in case you don’t pan out.

  • I just have to put my two cents in here. I got involved with a co-worker as my divorce was going on, and being harassed by my Narcopath STBX.
    This guy was so nice, and we had a close relationship. I felt safe with him, and that he would´t hurt me. He knows all the horrifying details of my divorce, and that I was being harassed.
    Here I am thinking here´s prince charming, until today.
    Where I work is a different division than HQ, but I am on a team of women that is mostly at HQ. Two of these women came to see ME today at work, one I had met before, and one that just started. Both are relatively new, and they wanted to see where I worked.
    As we were going into the division where my boyfriend co-worker works, he came out of his office and fluffed his hair and proceeded to flirt with them both, totally ignoring me in the process.
    One is a lesbian, and the other is getting married next month, mind you.
    Now, I´m there, and can barely contain my loathing and what? A pinch of jealousy? I am NOT a jealous person. But my stomach began to turn and I got very nervous.
    I remembered right then and there something I read here on CN that Tracy wrote:
    “A healthy partner doesn´t behave in ways to invoke jealousy.”
    And then it hit me. Narcopath number two. As I stood there waiting for him to finally shut up, one of them turns to me and says, “Think we need some coffee. Let´s go to your office”.
    And with that, we left the scene.
    When we got into my office one of them said he made “her skin crawl”, and the other (the lesbian) said he looked like an idiot. They gave me their deepest sympathies that I had to work so closely with such a jackass.
    Now, if I can go through the living hell I have been through and STILL land on a narcopath, my picker DEFINITIELY needs to be adjusted.
    So, the moral of the story is, ladies and gents:
    Once you think you´re back on track, and “healing”, your picker can still be in narc mode. I KNOW what I DON´T want in a relationship, but I´ll be damned if I know what I DO want.
    I have no clue what a healthy relationship is with a man, so I think I´ll use my time on ME, and find out what´s good for ME before I get involved with anyone else again.

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