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Dear Chump Lady, I drunk dialed

Dear Chump Lady,

I was in a six-year relationship with a compulsive liar, so I have really appreciated your articles. We broke up last year. He proposed on my birthday. Unproposed two weeks later saying his parents did not approve. He got married last month. That’s that.

I was wondering whether you could give me some insight on rejection and moving on in general.

Ever since I got out of that relationship, I have actively put myself out there instead of being mopey. If I like someone, I express my interests. Recently, I asked a person out. We went out for dinner. But I got drunk over the weekend with some friends, transformed into an adolescent hormone and drunk called and texted him. Thankfully I did not profess my undying love of less than a few days. However I did make a full display of silliness and stupidity. I sent him an email the next day saying something along the lines of how alcohol makes you do dumb things, an apology and goodbye.

He has not responded. No text. No call. No email. Nothing. He has been furiously tweeting about his work and other stuff so aliens have not abducted him either.

Sigh. I know I have made a complete fool of myself. I accept that. I accept that he does not want me anymore. But I have just been angry at being dismissed so flippantly. He is a journalist and he does not have anything to say? Like seriously…how difficult is it to be polite and say “no worries, see you around”? Just having a hard time dealing with this abrupt systems shutdown. Am I over reacting? I shouldn’t be complaining if I behaved like an idiot? I mean I barely know this person and I guess he really does not give a shit about me. I am making it an ego thing, aren’t I?

Would love to hear if you have something to say to this.

Thank you so much,

New at This

Dear New at This,

Your letter is a cautionary tale of why we need to work on our pickers before we put ourselves out there again. The flip side of I’m going to hole myself up in a bunker with cats and never love again is Hey, you’ll do! I’m going to get drunk and make you love me. These are both pretty awful life strategies.

You invested one whole dinner in this person. Yes, you’re taking it way too personally that he never called you again. He doesn’t owe you an explanation, and in fact, I’d argue he’s reasonably gone no contact on you. Drunken texting is a red flag. He heeded it. His picker didn’t pick you.

And rightly so, because it doesn’t sound like you’re quite ready for prime time. There’s no shame in this, New. None at all. It takes awhile to get your sea legs and be comfortable with being alone. Before you date again, get secure in yourself, heal. That doesn’t mean you have to be “mopey.” It just means you’re learning to be content with your own company.

A chump hazard is needing validation from other people that we’re okay. Needing it too much. Placing an inordinate amount of value on what Mr. One Dinner thinks of us. Clearly you wanted follow up from this guy after the dinner. And you weren’t leaving things to chance, so when you were drinking and your inhibitions were down, you tried to move things forward, goading him into noticing you, answering your texts, flirting with you… anything. To the point that, as you admit, you were later mortified.

If you were healed up and in a better place, you could tell yourself — hey, maybe he’ll call, and maybe he won’t. Whether he calls or doesn’t call is no measure of my worth. Instead of concerning yourself with Does He Like Me?, you’d be asking yourself — do I like HIM? Is he a good fit for ME?

Let’s say you answer yes, I do like him! He checks all my boxes! I do think he’d be a good fit for me. It doesn’t end there. There’s another step you have to master — hand it over to Jesus, New. Give your “what-ifs” to a greater power, the Universe, whatever you believe in. You can’t force these things. You’re going to be okay if he reciprocates your interest, and you’re going to be okay if he doesn’t. Because at the core, you KNOW you’re okay either way. He’s not the final say on your self worth.

Sure, I’m allowing you some disappointment — but this shit cannot rock your world.

You are not ready to date until you can dump and be dumped — and roll with it. You don’t need to self soothe with other people.

And I’ll tell you who is attracted to Am I okay? How may I please you? chumps — narcissists and abusers. They can sniff you out a mile away, sidle up to you, and are more than happy to fill every void with their colossal entitlement. You’ll take the lack of reciprocity because they validate you as a Coupled Person. You’ll buy their bullshit, and not ask the hard questions because you need. You need to please the un-pleasable person. You need to win them over and prove your worth. You’ll buy their self importance because you’re a pleaser who could use a bit of that.

Those jerks will love bomb you, and because you’re hungry — deep down hungry for that validation — you won’t question it as you should. As in, hey you don’t really know me well enough to say those things. Or… aren’t things moving a little fast? Or… I’m not really comfortable with that.

Healthy people don’t put up with narcissist “love.” They dump. They don’t spend six years with a “compulsive liar.”

Before you date, you need to be that healthy person. Examine yourself, your picker, why you invested in a compulsive liar — and then forgive yourself. Build yourself up with other life successes. Surround yourself with friends who get you. Be a better friend yourself. And when you’re strong and assured, (and okay, hesitant and awkward too, because we’re all human) — THEN get out there and date.

My sermon isn’t over.

Don’t ask men out. I know I’ll catch holy hell for writing that, (REVOKE TRACY’S FEMINIST CARD AT ONCE!) but you asked my advice, so I’m giving it to you. Maybe you know exceptions to that rule. I don’t. I know straight women who “win” guys they then have to find jobs for, and apartments, and are rewarded with years of commitment limbo.

I didn’t make the gender rules, I’m just reporting on them. I’m not saying if it’s egalitarian or just. I’m not saying it’s fair that straight men have to take rejection on the chin and ask women out all the time — I’m simply saying Don’t Ask Men Out.

Why? Because IMO instead of coming across as jaunty and self-confident, (which you may well be), you will set the bar low for that man. He won’t have to do much to “win” you, and he will ascribe value accordingly. You’ll be fine to pass the time with, or fuck. Next you’ll find yourself in charge of many other things, because you will fret that If You Don’t Do Them, They Won’t Get Done. Which sadly, often includes pressuring someone for a commitment, as well as doing more than your share of the laundry.

You can dance up to the line. Absolutely show interest. You could say something like “Boy, I like Will Ferrel movies. There’s that new Will Ferrel movie out, have you seen it?” Big cue for him to Take the Next Step. If he doesn’t? Give it to Jesus. He’s not interested.

Look, in my experience, if a guy is interested in you, it doesn’t take a ton of encouragement to get him to bust a move. Share a sandwich. Smile at him sideways. Good guys take INITIATIVE. (Sure, bad guys take the initiative too, but they wave other red flags.)

What kind of men don’t take initiative? Men who aren’t interested in you. This is good to know. Direct your attentions elsewhere. The other men who don’t take initiative are bad men, who are interested in you in a fucked up way. Passive aggressive drips who send mixed signals and are quite content to let you do the heavy lifting on this relationship thing. Cake eaters. Commitment-phobes. You don’t need that.

New, you know what’s really great for your self esteem? To feel secure in someone’s attraction. How do you know they’re attracted to you? They SHOW YOU. In word and deed. They’re consistent.

Do you have some panicky inner fear that no one will ever, ever be attracted to you? Nonsense! Are you a cyclops? (Actually, I think even cyclops find love at There are a bazillion people in this world and you only have to find ONE. He isn’t the dinner guy. Okay. Chill. There will be other men.

Rejection isn’t lethal. It’s one person’s opinion. That’s it. Know your worth. Tattoo it on your forearm. Internalize it. Hum it as a mantra when your bad coffee date doesn’t ask you a single question about yourself. Know your worth. Tell those voices of doom in your head to shut up. Know your worth. You don’t give your love to just anyone. You don’t drunk dial your worth and you don’t midnight text your worth. You KNOW your worth.

Sermon over.

Thanks to all our mighty veterans and service members out there. Happy Veterans Day! Hope you’re all having a well-deserved day off! 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I missed a big part of this answer — DON’T GET DRUNK ON DATES.

    Not a great coping skill for anxiety, and also a big part of this problem. No drinking, no dialing. No mortification. Then it’s just one didn’t-click date.

    • I just watched “The Untouchables” last night: Sean Connery’s character said “Here endeth the lesson”. To which I say “Ramen”!!

  • This is terribly timely for me. I tried dating both very quickly after Cold Slab O’Meat evacuated the MASH unit he made our home and again two years after. The first round was just a giant middle finger to someone who really wasn’t even watching anything I did. He literally never once asked how I was doing. Nothing like trying to fill a gaping hole in your chest with a couple hugs from strangers.

    I pulled another try short two years later when an immediate family member died. It just wasn’t the time. When I realized the person I was dating would have zero desire to be a support system, because he hadn’t even been emotionally available yet in good times, I was done. I knew my energy belonged with my daughter’s grief. And mine.

    Fixing my picker also means this: I don’t even put a contact name in my phone until after a second date. Other people aren’t board games to be played correctly to receive a reward. They have their own likes and preferences and priorities. They can just not be into me. I could be a achmuck. They could be a schmuck. I’m getting really good at telling the difference. Remember,
    Sending No Message is Also a Message of Sorts.

    I’m always going to be a bit wistful that the first date with my ex was magical and were inseparable immediately after. But guess what? Seven years later we don’t even know each other, so that’s not real magic. It’s love bombing.

    It feels great to be free of the ‘Not Enough’ and the ‘Too Much’ feelings!

    You want to pressure me into spending an entire weekend with you a week after meeting? Bisch, ya crazy!

    You don’t get my jokes which are according to my friends hilarious? It’s not meant to be. My Friends are Awesome! You’re nice but it’s not a good fit.

    You use loaning a DVD to me as some sort of attempt too manipulate me into something else, I’ll tell you sweetly I’ve never been a sex worker and have no plans to become one. They have DVDs at the store and library.

    Ya interrupt a day out with daughter with needy texts when I told you my plans? Ya gone!

    You say anything abhorrent to my personal values like ‘No Listen. There are ways that the Jews instigated the Holocaust’ there is NO WAY that won’t be our last conversation.

    You will know your picker is fixed when you know a couple things. Your belief in your foundational awesomeness is unshakable by random fuckwits. You yourself have done the work to not be a random fuckwit. The idea of doing a Organ Grinder Monkey Dance to win somebody sounds like the worst afternoon in the world, and staying home with the Pumpkin Pie you just made is better. ( You’re Awesome, remember?) and rushing into physical intimacy with a near strangerseems like a funny joke. You will also know the Devil by his Lovebombs, and roll thine eyes accordingly.

    You will have reached graduate levels of Picker Fixing when after knowing the bare details about your Chumpening, someone says because you will move forward at light speed, ‘I feel like I’m paying for the sins of those who came before.’

    And you say, ‘Biiiiiiiiisch, I do or don’t do things because I want to. If you rebuild a carburetor the wrong way seven times and the right way once, I’m not going to ask you to put it back together the exact way that I know will generate a fireball. It’s called incorporating a life lesson, and it’s smart. You aren’t paying for anything but your half of dinner. Buh Bye!”

    These are all life skills most Parents teach their kids, btw. I’m a slow learner. But I know my Picker is fixed most of all because the life I have with friends and family is not worth risking again for all the spackle in the world. If someone fits, I’ll know.

    • Luzianna,
      There aren’t enough emojis, gifs, or memes to express how much I love your comments!!!
      Big ups!!!

    • F*ing brilliant! You are what I needed this morning. Thank you for not offering Jesus as as a coping skill here ..

    • Preach, My Sista, Preach! And the choir sang “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” And the church people clapped their hands, stomped their feet and nodded their heads and thanked the Most High for sending a prophet.

    • ” You will know the devil by his lovebombs and roll thine eyes accordingly” is AWESOME.
      Personally I feel like Hannah Gadsby- I identify as tired. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and think “Mmm, dating sounds like fun” but that day is not today. And the thought of having to explain the soap opera of my married life is a big big turn off.

    • My husband and I separated in March and everything was final in September this year. I haven’t felt any urge to date, and in fact have enjoyed being alone and figuring out who I am and what I want to do next. I was married for 24 years and highly valued my marriage, but had to accept that the relationship was no longer acceptable. After the emotional wreck I was for so many months – it feels great to be in my own skin. The problem is more the well meaning loved ones who are eager to see you “get back out there.” I know they want to see me happy – but I am happy now! I love time spent with my daughters, friends, and family – and am not interested in dealing with the dating world right now. Sitting on the couch with my daughters watching old 90’s movies and eating snacks has far more value than any guy could have right now, and someone would need a lot of special qualities to make me consider missing out on that time with them, or quality time with friends. Hearing your comments make me realize that is OK! My life is full as is, and when I am ready I will know!

      • Wanda, yes to YOU! Healing is healthy, being whole is healthy.

        A friend who gave mostly sound advice during my divorce also tried the ‘best way to get over a man is to get under one’ tack with me.

        Nope, guess what? Dating while messed up attracts the messed up. Hopping from Bed to bed isn’t normal for me. How my ex could switch out life partners like Lady Legos I will never know, but that’s just not normal or sane. You stick to your moral and mental compass!

      • I filed for divorce in December 2017, separated in January and divorced the evil one on August 31st after 24 years of marriage. I loved being married. I stopped loving the Evil One after finding out about her 2 year long affair, getting pregnant with his child (lied to me for 16 years that it was mine), etc. I have been focusing on my healing. After my divorce I started dating a great lady who has been divorced 9 years. She is patient as I get my Sea legs under me. I have been out of the dating world for over 24 years. Everyone tells me that I should wait years to start dating as I was married to a covert narcissist. But I believe if the right one comes along I won’t pass her up. I have been happy being single. But I have laid down my boundaries. I do find that there are things I need to work on. I text to much, etc. I am not to scared about dating. I believe in working my way thru my issues.

  • Thank you! You do not know how much I needed this!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was about to start dating again, put up profiles on some dating sites and then realized, I was not ready after 24 hrs into it! I started feeling validation or lack there of from messages from complete strangers… Ugh!
    I have to say my picker is getting much better! I can read through all the b.s. and see a lot of those narcs out there. However, I know I am not ready when I get upset from not getting a return response from a response. So I
    took that shit down, pulled on my big girl pants and went about my day. This morning after working out I come across this gem, that really just came at the right time for me.
    I am almost there, just need a little more time for myself!
    Thank you!!!!!

    • Good for you! I understand the central role of dating websites in the modern age, but you might consider that the basic desire to get on one is a red flag of sorts. Like, you want to date so badly that you’ll throw your personal life on the internet and go through that meat markety type process for a dinner out. I’ll probably get slammed for this opinion, but engaging in that process doesn’t exactly scream “I’m content with myself and an independent, self validating person!” I’d more encourage people to start engaging in extracurricular activities they enjoy, get out into the physical world more, as a means to meet like minded people. In that way you’re servicing yourself, and if a connection comes along, it’s on those terms.

      • I wouldn’t slam you, but respectfully disagree. It’s not a red flag to signal to friends and family that you would like to date again, and smart online dating can be a tool. Some people work from home or on fields where say, I am a lady who likes men and works with mostly ladies. Going to Meet-UPS or Church to meet strangers is not much different. The vetting one would do to confirm that the person is on the up and up is key. In my friend circle, two happy marriages of a decade or more began on dating sites.

        Why would consulting an old fashioned matchmaker be respectable but online is not? It’s just a tool. It’s not a tool for everyone but it doesn’t make anyone desperate or damaged goods. Those who would prefer not to are good too.

      • Dating sites are not my thing and I don’t see myself using one. However, I have two children who use/have used them. One of my children was introduced to a young lady by a mutual friend and she turned out to be a demon from the deepest, murkiest part of hell and Satan himself was her mentor. He met a young lady on a dating app and thus far she has turned out to be lovely. It is early yet, but no one in the family has detected the smell of sulphur on her.

        Young people use technology for almost everything, unfortunately. Dating just happens to be one of those things and doesn’t seem to have as much to do with self-esteem as it does with ease and convenience. Awful people are everywhere – IRL and on dating sites.

        • I hear you. The value I’m taking from your POV is this; you can’t order up Prince or Princess Charming up from the internet like a bag of Bob Evans Biscuits and Gravy! AGREED!

      • Well, hey, I’m “content with myself, independent, and self-validating,” and I actually know how to both in-person date and online date in a respectful, safe, and time-efficient manner. I’m actually quite annoyed with men who use hobby meetups as a backdoor singles group for themselves. Dude, I’m not there to have a meet cute with ya, but way too many men I’ve been encountering at meetups for my outdoor hobby seem to see it that way. It kind of ruins the group for me to have to keep seeing certain guys I’ve rejected romantically. I’d rather they online date where women are on there to date and it’s more formalized. YMMV though.

      • I’m with Luziana on this one. My now-husband and I met online at Christian Mingle. It was a lot of prayer for us before either of us had signed up, and according to the algorithm he and I were not a match. Somehow I showed up as someone to email – he believes his deceased grandmother was an angel at work for that to happen. When I got an email from him online, I showed my Mom and she said, “Grandma would approve.” We took our time getting to know each other, and now we are married. We are opposites in all the ways the algorithm understood, but our values and beliefs regarding commitment and financial matters are the same. We would never have met without that website, because we both had demanding jobs and different interests.

      • A person doesn’t have to reveal too much about themselves on dating sites. They can be selective. Sometimes it does a person good to meet potential partners, just for the sake of getting out and living. As long as you can take a ‘no thanks’. Nothing ventured, nothing gained……

  • Settling for something, anything to validate my worth is how I ended up with Dr. Cheaterpants. I dove straight into a relationship with a ‘nice’ guy when I broke it off with another guy. The other guy was an overt narc (I know now looking back). Very handsome, charismatic, and I found out he was asking every nurse, clerk, resident out.

    Dr. Cheaterpants was a ‘nice’ guy already in the final stages of his divorce–apparently his STBX was a cheater. In all fairness I do believe that was true. But just because he was married to a cheater didn’t mean he wouldn’t be one too. There were a bunch or red flags with nice guy. Massive porn use, going to strip clubs with his friends, non reciprocal relationship that should have hit me upside the head like a tire iron. He was a turd through and through, but I just kept thinking he was this nice, nerdy guy I should be with.

    The last thing I want or need to do at 50 years old now is to jump back into a relationship with a turd. I have a career, my own home, two beautiful kids (college and a senior in high school). I need to fix my picker in all of my relationships. Just because ‘nice & nerdy’ 50 year old Dr. Cheaterpants is a serial cheater and continues with his young 20-something schmoopie (at the time DD14’s asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school) doesn’t in the least reflect on my worth. It only reflects on his.

    I really do love coming here and reading. It’s helped me so much and helped so many others. I wish this advice was around the first time he left for a schmoopie when we were 34 years old. Thank you for continuing to help so many chumps!

    And please pay it forward to future chumps out there and join PATRON!!!

    • “…..doesn’t reflect on my worth. It only reflects on his.”


      People who value themselves don’t hook up with Causal Sex Craigslist advertisers…..!! Putting yourself up as merch on Craigslist…or buying it… points for self-esteem there!!

  • So I was seeing a guy and on Saturday I went to a friends party, knew he was going to be there which was fine, i was going with my circle of friends and I looked pretty smokin’ hot…. and he walked in with an ex-girlfriend and she is using descriptive words like “we” are going to dinner later.
    I gave him a firm look, he shrivelled, and this blog post today is super helpful in helping me fix my picker, thank you. It’s hard. He presents as a nice guy, not pushy, a little bit swit-swoooo (me whistling!) but today I noticed he never asks about my day.
    Thanks for the post, thanks for the original enquiry.

  • Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of DDay and I can’t even imagine going on a date. I am not looking for the right person…..I am focusing on BEING the right person…for me and my daughter. If a man shows up on my front porch in a basket, with a note from God pinned to him, which says “please have coffee with this man”, I MIGHT consider it.

    There is also no dating strangers in my future, ever. My husband feels like a stranger to me; it feels like asking for major trouble to meet strangers on the Internet. (I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery!). I use professional cabs and car services. Call me old fashioned, but my mother told me never to get into a car with strangers and I think Uber and Lyft are just hitchhiking with money.
    If there is ever a next time, I want an introduction (and background checks and top level security clearances).

    • PS…. Chump Lady, thank you also for the “not asking men out” part. Just recently I decided on this, for all the reasons you listed above. Time for me to stand down.

      My definition of “feminism?”

      I decide what is right for me, I define me, not other people or society or culture or tradition.

    • I point blank refuse to use Uber anyway on principle. The company has a poor record on paying tax here in the UK, they employ drivers with little experience or vetting, and they undercut local licenced firms that not only pay their way, but train their drivers.

      In London, taxi drivers have to pass a test called ‘The Knowledge’ – and it can take 3 or 4 years to get to that point. A lot of hard work and investment. And then along comes Uber, who know jack shit, aren’t vetted, don’t pay their way in licences, or in taxes, and put these hard working people out of business.

      • Sorry for the rant. As there are cheaters in relationships, there are corporate cheats too. Amazon is another disgusting company that doesn’t pay tax properly here, trying to undercut local businesses and move into more and more markets (they’ve an objective to move into grocery delivery…) and treats & pays their employees like crap.

        It’s like corporate narcissism to operate in a way that you plunder resources (sales from an overseas economy and labour) but not pay your way – taxes, low salaries and poor working conditions etc.

        • I know I’m off topic. I must be in a rant-y mood today. Sorry. Guess I’m re-focusing on my values now cheater is out of my life!!

  • Great advice. When a woman asks a man she does not appear confident in his eyes, she appears desperate. I know some men will say they appreciate a woman pursuing them…..but they are full of crap. Unless the guy is a total loser, getting drunk on a first date or when first dating is a major turn off. I know some really nice women that are guilty of getting drunk on a first date due to nerves, liquid courage so to speak. Fortunately most of them learned a lesson.

    • And for the same reason – don’t ask a guy out when things have been ambiguous. Eg he asks you out on what is clearly like a date (eg movie and dinner) but then does nothing. Makes no move and does no follow up. That’s a massive red flag. Either he is not interested or throws out nets to see what he can reel in. Or likes female company in almost but not quite relationships. None of this is good news. Do not agree to more dates or quasi dates with him and don’t ask him out. Ambiguity has already been demonstrated by him.

      • So true. If a guy is interested he will follow up with a second date request and so on. When a guy does not follow up that is his way of saying definitely not interested.

  • I guess I’m lucky in that while I do miss male company and intimacy (not necessarily sex), I frankly can’t be bothered right now. I am so very, very happy to be on my own that I’m really not looking. If someone came along – then that’s great, but in any case I will never live with someone again and certainly never get married again. I dated a colleague for 6 years and while we are no longer a couple we occasionally see each other for a drink or the cinema. That’s good enough for me. At least I don’t have to weed out the fuckwits when I’m not looking in the first place. Who knows, the right guy might come along but if he doesn’t that’s fine with me too. I love my freedom-from-fuckwit, independent life!

  • When I started dating again after Cheaters death, I did do a few foolish cringeworthy things but I can now see that they were part of the experience of learning who I was in the big Universe (over sharing and over sharing were my 2 most common mistakes).

    CLs advise is so good, there is not much left but I will pile onto her last warning…

    I know that alcohol is very social and something almost everyone does and almost everyone has their moments of excess (and normally things go fine) which doesnt make you a alcohol abuser, so no harsh judgement here. Im speaking as a nondrinker (mom is demented alcoholic and booze upsets my tummy which will make me throw up on your shoes) and please know for us, we often don’t mention that early on because people tend to way overreact (watch Jim Gaffigans stand up on this sometime, its funny).

    Sometimes we have had bad experiences with us or someone else’s drinking and early in dating, its hard to tell “silly one-off moment” from “signs of deep pathology” …One Dinner Guy might have been beat as a kid by a drunk dad and for him, maybe that is a red flag. You actually sound great and I wish you all the best, as I do to all Chumps, so I only share this as a suggestion to all those who hope to find love to consider putting your sober self out there, Im sure its great and that is probably the version of you that you hope another fab person finds love in.

  • I love the bit about not asking men out. I have friends who have signed up to Tinder and other dating websites and all I can think is “why?”. It holds no appeal for me (no offence meant if thats your thing though) I dont want to do coffee dates and random hook ups etc etc. I dont actually know if I really want to be in a relationship again at all. I wasted all those years (over 25) with my ex, I’m not sure i have time to waste more years on another POS. Im not sure I want to try.

    I like my life in about 95% of the ways I’m living it. I have a couple of sticking points, but mostly its all really nice. NOT perfect but how I want to live it. I’m making my own way. Im not sure Ive got the time or inclination to compromise as coupledom dictates.

    • Exactly this. My friends and family ask about “my love life” and I literally cannot even figure out why someone places so, so much emphasis on being paired up. I liked being married, to a degree. Been called “selfish” and “self centered” for not wanting to CONSTANTLY compromise about EVERY. DAMN. THING. If I don’t feel like doing the dishes tonight or get out of my jammies all weekend? Nobody gets to say a word to me about it.

      These are small things, but small things are indicators of LARGE things to come. I have never, ever met a person that is okay with most of what I choose to do in my personal downtime—so why bother trying to make someone else happy by compromising my own happy?

      The thing about drinking. I am on metformin and alcohol makes me very ill. I don’t feel I need to explain to some guy why I will not drink alcohol. If this guy doesn’t like it? Then there’s the door. Again. A small thing that is an indicator of a larger problem in the future. No respect for my wants and needs. I NEED TO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. The “why” doesn’t matter. What matters is that this schmuck feels I am “less than” or “no fun” because I don’t get hammered and act like an ass.

      OP. I am going to ask gently. Please do not feel this is an attack.

      What if–he asked you out on this date—and you didn’t feel any attraction for him or he did something that you felt was…unacceptable to you—and HE drunk dialed YOU.

      You have no idea what he felt was the problem. If there was one. Men are different–he may have wanted to see if he could get lucky for the night. He may have had nothing better going on. He may have really liked you online but in person…you’re too short/skinny/fat/hair too long/hair too short—he may simply have not felt any spark with you whatsoever.

      This was one. single. dinner. He owes you absolutely zero explanations of why he did not call you.

      What you came across as, if I were in his shoes (and maybe he is just a jerk. it’s not like you knew him an entire lifetime and could safely determine whether he was a jerk or not in real life)—a stalker or mentally unstable.

      I’ve dumped guys for doing just this. One date and they think they can stuff your inbox or demand explanations of your behavior. Uh…NO. When we date for a year? You get to “demand” things of me.

      The thing about your story that struck me is that you really need to be by yourself for awhile. Pairing up…to some people…is the completion of their life—and they cannot seem to live without another person sharing their space.

      I dated a guy many years ago–he was in his mid 40s at the time, so this was no hormonal teenager talking–who responded to my question about sexuality. I wanted to know, since we had been dating about a year, if we were going to stay together til we got old, what he thought about either of us losing the ability/need/want whatever–for sex.

      He stared at me. Literally…just could not find words. It was just such an apocalyptic scenario, he could not even allow the possibility that something could happen to SEX.

      I explained that men often had prostate problems or what have you and sex is a problem for them–or…conversely…sometimes menopausal women don’t feel the need for sex twice a day anymore.

      He said, and I quote, “I would rather kill myself than live like that.” He would choose DEATH over the possibility that one of us would not or could not perform sexual acts twice a day until we’re 80.

      I dumped him. What that statement said to me clearly was “don’t you even dare get old, because I won’t be there to take care of some bed ridden, asexual lump” If I can’t fuck you, you’re useless to me.

      This is a common thing, actually. These are questions you need to KNOW THE ANSWERS TO before you get all hot and bothered about some guy you had dinner with and doesn’t call you back.

      He already told you who he is. He’s a jerk.

      You never even got to the point where you had anything invested—time, effort, money, emotions—he showed you right out of the gate….HE IS A JERK.

      He didn’t even call you to say…”you’re too ____”? = Disrespect. He had the nerve to disrespect you right out of the gate? All done. Buh bye. He didn’t even know you and he is disrespectful. Could you IMAGINE being with this asshole for a few years or decades??

      It’s not you. It’s him. And he showed you. So listen and take heed. If people have to hit you with a 2×4 in order for you to believe them when they tell you something….then that is you. You need to be by yourself, work on why you need constant validation from other people–and guess what…

      you may just find out that the best company you could ever want or need…is your own.

  • You should never expect emotional support from your ex, see how they treated you. Also no sex, your ex may be your child’s parent, you unfortunately have to parent together. Your ex made their choices, they have to live with that.

  • I’m no where near even thinking about dating. I have no desire to be with anyone right now. I miss companionship and having someone to talk with but not enough to pursue dating. My picker is still broke and I haven’t even figured out what I want or need.

    While I believe it letting the man do the asking, that kinda what got me in trouble with the Dickhead. He did the pursuing, the lovebombing which I mistook for sincerity, affection and love. I was in my very early 30s and had decided to let life come to me. To let the man pursue me which was supposed to let me know that he was into me. He did all that and this is where I am today.

    I have learned a few things – recognize lovebombing for what it is, look for reciprocity. The Dickhead never asked me about my day, never asked how I was doing. Heck, the first man that even says, “MissBailey, what did you do at work today” may be getting more than he’s bargaining for. In all seriousness, that’s why my picker is still fucked up. It has no idea what’s real or fake.

    • Same thing with me, MissBailey. I had literally gotten to a point where I was like, well, clearly the people I go after suck, so when the ex showed up lovebombing me, I was like, oh, maybe I should let myself be loved and trust fate. And the awful thing is that I was convinced that this was the right decision because in almost 10 years, he never once said an unkind word or let me down. But I now know that that in itself was a red flag. He of course was not my clone and it was impossible that there were zero friction points between us, but since he never ever said a word about it or talked honestly when I brought things up, I thought I had a miracle on my hands when what I actually had was a Jekyll and Hyde situation waiting to blow. I think the key is that, as the original post mentioned, if lovebombing is going on, there will be OTHER red flags. My guy wanted to spend all his time with me right away, he didn’t have any friends, etc…

  • So much truth in this one. I’m about two years out and have only had a few “dating” experiences, enough to know I don’t want to date. CL is right I will NOT ask a guy out and I do expect them to make effort (which has eleinated most of the guys I have come in contact with). I have plenty of well meaning friends tell me I’m too rigid. I realize the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” hit the nail on the head, if a guy is interested he will make it happen. If you have to cajole, chase, remind, beg then he ain’t that into you. Move on. I am still learning to deal with rejection and have realized when they reject me my first impulse is to TRY HARDER. Ugh. I’m really working to break that cycle as I realize it’s my insecurity and probably that same insecurity is why I had a Bullseye on my head for Cheaterturd. I was easy picking. So for now I’m finding contentment in staying single and maybe once I am healthier it will happen for me.

  • Girl, you need The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. I did them on my exhusband the first time I dated him, and it helped me weed him out, but 2 years later I got back in touch with him (broke Rules). If I had not broken The Rules, I never would have married him and now be getting divorced. The Rules may seem old fashioned, but they are really about boundaries. The new book they have out now they has a text and call back chart, they have ideas for hair and makeup, ideas for how to be super busy and get a life of your own so it’s filled up and you don’t need a guy.

    • I really like ‘It’s Only a F**king Date’ book for guidelines on how to date well. I think you can wisely use the suggestions of ‘The Rules’, but the book itself is intended to teach people how to be really manipulative in dating.

      • I think sometimes too we’ve been love bombed so much, we don’t know what healthy interest looks like, so we figure its disinterest. That make sense?

        • This makes sense to me. The husband would come on so strong, after screwing up usually, with the intense compliments and over the top professions of love.
          Now I’m worried that if a man doesn’t fall all over me like that then he isn’t that in to me. I don’t even know what normal or healthy looks like after 23 years with this weirdo.
          I cant stomach the thought of dating anyone anytime soon.

      • I don’t think so. The Rules book long and short of it is you cannot chase, beg, or try to force a relationship with a guy. A guy has be interested in you and if you try to force it or make it happen he may be with you. It won’t be for the right reasons and when he meets the person he really wants to be with you are toast.

        • Agreed @Gentle Reader! “The Rules” are actually rules you do on yourself, they are not “manipulation” of another person at all. In fact, they are pretty much exactly in line with Tracy’s whole Know Your Worth post here. Which is also not “manipulative” at all. Gosh, that book series upsets a lot of people who don’t grasp this though.

  • Great timing on this post. I feel I rushed into something 6 months after DDay. I heard from an old friend of mine who went thru something just like me and I contacted him. Fast forward a year later and we are living together in another state. I don’t believe I have healed fully because now I see some things I can’t tolerate in the relationship. Texting the ex wife for kid exchange(often), randomly looking at women at bars ( he says he is a people watcher) and rushing me into moving forward with our future together. I do love him and often tell him I don’t think this is something I can tolerate. I dont believe either one of us has healed yet from our past relationship. So, I need some healthy advice. I don’t know what is normal anymore in a relationship. I do express my fears to him that we are going too fast. We communicate everything to each other.He is very loving, kind and wonderful boyfriend despite my relationship fears. I just don’t want to hurt either one of us at this point and staying in the present.

    • SweetChump, you have a big problem. Considering you’ve been in the relationship a year, the red flags you are seeing are HUGE. Expressing your fears that you are going too fast is USELESS, because you keep accepting to go too fast! Loving and kind don’t randomly look at women in bars or rush you forward or make you feel insecure with their contacts w/their ex.

      I have two suggestions;
      – get a really SMART therapist, to help you figure out what you are OK with and what you aren’t, and how to deal. Just tell your partner you have issues from your past to deal with, or whatevs.
      – start figuring out how YOU can live independently, where you are now. Check out rentals, figure out transportation, do a budget. You don’t need to talk to your partner about this stuff, it’s YOUR business. Then seriously consider moving out and dating, while you get to know this guy a LOT better. If he really does love you and is committed to the relationship, he may not love this, but he will go for it. OR plan when and how you can move back to where you know more people and have good work options, and start saving for that. Having a Plan B makes us a lot clearer about Plan A.

      At the very least, do NOT further unite your life w/this guy, for now. If you don’t already have a separate bank account, get one, then keep all your $ separate, pay the bills you are responsible for only. Make sure you are sharing expenses proportional to your incomes. Make sure you have your own savings, both for retirement and for ‘fuck you money’ (look it up!). Make independent friendships, and see them alone. Make sure you are only doing 1/2 of household tasks, and almost NONE of the kid-related tasks when his child is with you. DO NOT EVEN DISCUSS HAVING A CHILD w/HIM. Just say it’s too early for that. And YOU take responsibility for birth control.

      Keep us up to date! I truly hope this relationship works out for you, but the fact he rushed you so much, and the other things that make you uncomfortable, are not good signs for your future. He may not even be a cheater, but he may turn into a selfish asshole.

          • I know what you are saying. My running shoes are here and waiting. I appreciate your feedback. He’s a good man but not for me if I get insecure being around him in social settings. He had the kids this weekend and we went to a friend’s party. He was glued to his phone to arrange kid pick up with the ex. I don’t have much knowledge about co parenting but I felt quite off about it. I value myself and I know I deserve better then that. Feels like I’m in a strange triangle. Thank you for listening. Xo

            • What I worry about is you “saying” he’s a good man when he’s looking at other women when you are out with him. Good men don’t do that. I don’t mean that men (and women) don’t notice attractive people. We all do that, regardless of the gender of the attractive person. But it’s very disrespectful to be “people watching” while you are out with your significant other. I also think it’s a huge red flag that there’s so much contact with the X. And did you move to another state for custody reasons? Was he looking for another income to share expenses so he can pay his child support? I would just look for a job in the state where you prefer to live and get the heck out of there. There is ZERO reason to be “glued to the phone” to arrange pickup. For all you know, it might not even be the X on the other end. Why did his marriage end? Did he cheat? Do you know?

              One thing CL didn’t mention is how often chumps project their own goodness onto their partners. What, exactly, does it mean to “love” him? We get invested in relationships and tell ourselves that it’s love because the other person is willing to date us or move in with us or have a wedding or because we fear we are unloveable and we confuse love-bombing with actual love and commitment.

              • Absolutely. “Nice” guys (or gals) do not ogle other people when they are with you, even if they manage to not be openly lascivious.

                Hannibal Lecher would do this if he was drunk, and I should have run rather than just get angry.

              • Completely agree. I noticed it a couple of times when we went out. He said he notices pretty women, strange outfits, men…. this is completely opposite then me. I notice the person I am with. I believe I do love him, we are alike in so many ways. I’ve known him for over 25 yrs. His wife cheated and got pregnant and he found out 3 yrs ago. He was blindsided. I just feel like I rushed into this love and compromised too much, too fast. If he texts it triggers me because that how I found out my ex was cheating on me. I guess I’m just a hot mess and should have waited to date anyone especially him. Neither one of us deserve to be hurt again but that is what I might just have to do so I can think clearly again. Thank you for the great advice xo

            • I get you have to be in touch for the kids but it seems your boyfriend is more interested in correspondence with his ex rather than waiting to receive a simple text with a time/place for pick up. This is a huge red flag. You have to have an honest conversation with yourself. If his ex-wife decided she wanted him back, what do you think he would do? Some guys do not want to be alone under any circumstances and will bide their time with someone till something (or someone) else pans out. He may not be a bad guy but if he is making any excuse to contact the ex and is blatantly looking at other woman please move on. He’s not for you.

              • “He was glued to his phone to arrange kid pick up with the ex. I don’t have much knowledge about co parenting but I felt quite off about it.“

                Stop ignoring your gut feelings that something is OFF about this guy. Have a look at his phone and see who he is really texting. If you’re gonna trust so blindly like this, ya need to verify. Actually— just RUN and get your own place to live and become self-supporting. That’s the only truly safe way to live.

            • Sweet chump girl you don’t want to listen to your gut. First, you were on the rebound and you contacted him. You continue to make excuses for his bad behavior. He actively sizing up other women in front of you! That is not a,nice guy. Sounds like you moved out of state and away from your support system. He is always talking to his X? Huge red flag. The biggest red flag is he wants to move the relationship quickly . I guarantee it is probably financial. Pretty sure this is not going to turn out well for you. Please make arrangements to get on your own away from him. There is nothing good to come out of this.

            • Even if he is glued to his phone because he is so anxious about his kids (though we suspect he is too entangled with his EX), you still need distance. A parent needs to learn to co-parent post-divorce in a healthy way BEFORE he/she can manage a new adult relationship. It doesn’t sound like your guy has achieved this minimum yet. And his kids need him to manage this as his first priority too!

              Not all red flags are signaling narcissistic cheaters. There are lots of other reasons red flags fly. Your boyfriend can be a good guy and still be a bad choice given where each of you are in your lives right now.

              • If he was chumped? At least, is this what I am to understand? Then “being glued to his phone” could mean he is still doing the Pick Me Dance.

                I wouldn’t automatically jump to “he isn’t really texting the ex”, but I would immediately jump to…You and your Ex have issues and I don’t want to get involved until you resolve them.

                Dated a guy with 4 kids (he had custody bc wife cheated and left them all without a word for 8 months–then reappeared to try and be super mom from 7000 miles away)—and all he did was chastise me for defending those kids and myself from his ex’s continual attempts at controlling our day to day lives. She even called him one evening when he was on a date with me–and the kids were being cared for by their 22 yo oldest sibling at home.

                She demanded that he immediately leave the restaurant and go home. Why? No reason. No emergency. No life threatening issues. She simply didn’t like the fact that he was moving on and out on a date.

                He left. I dumped him the next day.

                Most people over the age of 20 have baggage. It’s how they DEAL with that baggage is what’s important. If Romeo there cannot put the cellphone down? He’s got serious baggage that you either accept….or you jettison.

    • I’m no expert on dating–arguably I hope to never do it again—but I have become a personal expert on gut reading. Your gut is telling you lots of important things, and you are ignoring it. I’m sure there are complicated reasons why you’re ignoring it, but I suspect this is a pattern you are repeating. Also, you’re making excuses for behavior in him you don’t like, and that’s a pretty big red flag.

      Maybe he is a nice guy and kind and all that, and maybe he make you feel good about yourself, but that does not mean he’s for you. At least not right now. It’s possible he would have made a great rebound moment after your betrayal, that having a fling with him wold have done you a bit of good for a minute, but that the rebound went too far.

      Advice: listen to your gut and move out ASAP, take a dating break from him or anyone, and acknowledge that 6 months from a major betrayal is a drop in the bucket of necessary healing time and give yourself actual healing time. You have all the information you need to know that this isn’t working for you, it’s up to you to use that information wisely.

  • OK, Tracy, I’m going to be the one to take away your feminist card!!!

    Perhaps it’s the difference in age but once you are over a certain age (happened to me and all my friends, male and female, married and not married) attitudes change. Let’s say over 60 or above.

    When thoughts about “how many years are left” preface life choices, people develop a “fuck those rules” mentality. It is empowering and freeing.

    Someone doesn’t like your outrageous outfit? Fuck ‘em!
    Hair needs dying but you go out anyway!
    No makeup? Going out anyway!
    Hang gliding is dangerous vs. something I’ve always wanted to do?
    Asking a man out? Seriously????

    At my age, it is rare to have parents alive and the kids are looong gone. Finally free to make my own choices!

    We remember school dress codes and burning bras. We are old enough to remember when women had very little choices beyond which Swanson’s dinner to put in the oven or what day to get your hair set at the beauty parlor (with enough spray for the whole neighborhood).

    Not going back to the days before the pill, contraceptive and ED, when a baby bump was to be hidden, when working outside the home was frowned on, when the wife was responsible for making a lovely meal when her husband brought his boss home for dinner OR when waiting for a man to ask you out was the only option.

    When I date, it doesn’t matter who asks first. I’ve met great guys and I believe I have a healthy picker. I love that there is no longer pressure to get remarried so I’m not alone. Any man who cares about who asks first is NOT the man for me.

    Just a different point of view.

    • I get where you’re coming from Rebecca. I think for me the “they need to ask me out” thing is more about not trying to force a situation where the guys just views me as a placeholder or desperate. I am often guilty of overlooking red flags and just pushing on to prove I’m worthy, and if it’s me that has to make the first move, me that has to keep communication going then it’s probably a bad situation.

      One guy I tried “dating” (it only lasted two dates) where he would only ask me to “hang out” but never actually take me on a date. A well meaning friend tried to tell me the world has changed and things don’t need to be so formal and maybe he doesn’t know “how to date” and I almost bought into it until our second “hang out” where he was blathering on about his ex and how he “courted her hard” in the beginning with dinners and nice dates (he was obviously bitter) but in that moment it clicked for me that he viewed her as “worthy” and I wasn’t worth the trouble and I knew this guy was just not that into me.

      Sounds like you are way ahead of some of us and doing great. It gives me hope.

      • I have not started dating yet. May never. I kinda like my two-cat bunker, at least for now.

        Back when I was a in my late 20’s and not married, I sometimes asked men out. A favorite approach of mine was to get tickets to a sporting event and tell a guy that I had two tickets, did he want to go? If we worked near by, I might ask them to meet for lunch.

        But I never, and I mean never asked a second time.

    • @Rebecca,

      I’m 35 and I feel this. I’ve read all those books to about letting the man chase you, if he wants you he makes a move, ect.

      I’ve found so far in dating it doesn’t seem to gel. I ask, they ask, in reality if it’s not going to work, those things show themselves quickly, and how started it doesn’t matter unless I blindly hold on to it for REASONS. A lot of the guys who have chased me, only wanted booty.

      Like I don’t have agency? That frustrates my women studies education!! Haha! But I agree, if asking a guy out is gonna turn him off to me, he’s not the guy for me.

      But I get CL too, good guys shouldn’t let you get away either.

      • I think the issue is you need evidence for gauging someone’s level of interest:
        *booty call level
        *you are someone to go out with and have sex but not serious level
        *you are comfortable old shoe level/habit dating (it’s easier to date this person than look for a better fit)
        *you are someone who provides lots of goodies (nice dinners, laundry service, help with some project, $$)
        *you are someone who will put up with Xs, wannabes, opposite sex friends always in the picture
        *you are someone that person is CRAZY about, dating with an eye to serious commitment, other parties are not any issue.

        I’m over 60 but I watch a lot of young women pursue men. I’d say the middle ground here would be to include that person in some group activities and see what happens. Not all women are the type to end up with the full-time job and 7/8 of the housework and child-rearing, but I see it enough even among the young to think that one way to gauge a man’s willingness to make an effort to work on a relationship is to see if he can do the asking. And if you ask once, he certainly should take half the effort thereafter.

        • “Not all women are the type to end up with the full-time job and 7/8 of the housework and child-rearing…”

          Married women who fit the above description are the LEAST happy women. Great perspective, @LAJ.

      • Now that I’m dating, I’ve reluctantly come to CL’s conclusion.

        Yes, I’m a feminist, and I’ve done my part in asking guys out. I’ve noticed that in the online dating pool, however, the majority of men I encounter seem to be just fine in letting the woman do all the work. I don’t text back and forth for long without suggesting that we meet. That evaporates half the guys right there — apparently some men are fine with texting forever. If we agree to meet and the man can’t come up with a date, time and place and SHOW UP TO IT, I’m out. No second chances. I don’t care if he’s tired from work, sick, terminally shy, or whatever. If he can’t get himself together, he shouldn’t be in the dating pool.

        When I’ve broken these rules, I’ve gotten hurt. If I text too long before meeting, I’ll develop some emotional excitement and then find out we’re never going to meet in real life. If I let someone reschedule the first date, especially on short notice, they’ll feel just fine about rescheduling dates thereafter. I’ll clear my calendar, only to find out I’m going to be sitting at home that night, which makes me angry. If someone says to me, “let’s get together sometime,” and then never makes a move, they’ll be that way for the entire relationship even if I manage to force one into being. If I ask someone on Tuesday if he wants to do something Friday night and he goes radio silent until Friday afternoon, no thanks.

        Self-absorbed people are overrepresented in the dating pool. It’s tricky to avoid them all. Slapping down nonsense at the beginning is the way to go, though sometimes I get worn out with it and take a break for a while.

    • I remember in high school lamenting that the boys never asked me out and my parents telling me “oh they’re just to shy to do so”. I figured I could solve that problem by asking them out. That didn’t go well. When I lamented again to my parents they said “well, maybe you are just coming on too strong”. It was a frustrating place to be.

      Some thirty years later when my marriage was blowing up my ex told me I needed to be more aggressive. Apparently I didn’t throw myself at him enough after twenty plus years of marriage.

      Sometimes I think there is no right answer.

      • I suspect you are correct. There is no “right” answer. Consequently, we have to be ourselves–“askers” or “waiters” as our personality and expectations demand. Damned if you do or damned if you don’t, so you might as well be damned for doing as you damn please. (Clearly, I have already exceeded my recommended coffee allotment).

    • I agree! A long time ago I asked a guy out to a party. Long story short he became my husband of 20 good years. It’s about HOW you do the asking. Be relaxed and don’t care about the answer. Relationships should start off as friends where either one can suggest going out.

      • I would say there is a little bit of a difference asking or inviting someone to attend a party than say an intimate dinner date. The party invite thing is very casual, lots of people, friends, etc.

    • Agree. To my way of thinking, it’s not the asking out that matters so much, but what transpires after that first date. Maybe the better sentiment is: don’t date anyone who isn’t totally into and showing that through actions and words.

      How that first date comes to pass, to me, is largely irrelevant.

    • I also disagree w CL in this one.

      A lot of this depends upon age and culture. If you are a 45 year old white woman in small-town Texas, absolutely spot on.

      A 45 year old in my circle of friends? Absolutely would be ok for a woman to ask a man out. But not to chase. There’s a difference. One is a confident act. The other is desperate.

      I also have friends in several foreign countries where it is de rigeur for women to ask men out. One Swedish friend thinks we Americans are so behind on our courtship rituals.

      My younger globe trotting friends are also in social sets where women asking men out is the norm.

      I also have friends who are American citizens, but from various indigenous groups where white American gender norms don’t apply.

      I think CL needs to remember that she has a global audience. The gender norms of the US are neither universal nor inevitablle.

      The issue isn’t her feminism, it’s her myopia about the universality of traditional, mainstream American gender norms.

      • Liberal Sweden or the Nordic countries does not equal the rest of the world, obviously. Far from it. Courtships along the traditional gender lines are highly normative in most of South America, Asia, and Africa. So check your own “myopia.”

    • ALl the things you described are how women have changed through the years which is great. CL is exactly right. Men have not changed for the most part. The bottom line is the man has to be attracted to you and has to want you. Of course anyone is free to do the chase. Yes, you can try to force it and make it happen. If his heart was not really into it from the very beginning and you weren’t really what he wanted or he had nothing else going on and you were better than having no one. The day comes and he meets who he really wants to be with you are done.

    • I think you’re making a case that asking out isn’t what defines the relationship, or the behaviour within. I think Tracy is trying to save all the poor chumps who haven’t figured out where those boundaries lie to not storm the gates. I think you’re doing it right, and mightily, and he’ll yes to the ‘Fuck them’ mentality. As long as it’s from the right mindset, glorious.

  • My mom asked my dad to marry her, sort of. Actually she asked “Aren’t you going to ask me to marry you soon?” to which he replied “Well, I was going to wait until your birthday but ok, I’ll marry you”. They are going on 56+ years, they have both been faithful and they are still happy to be together.

    My mom is also an astrophysicist with a phd. from an time when women just went to college to find husbands so she didn’t really fit the mold anyway and my dad loved her for it.

  • Good grief. An awful lot of these responses feel like high school. I’m hoping more get to be like “Attie” – a headspace I’d want my own daughter to emulate. (My daughter did ask her now husband out – for a run – who ARE you people?!? She liked him. She was busy. She ran.)
    I’ll be 70 in a couple of months. And I am surprised at the advice not to ask a man out.
    Instead, I suggest to younger women that they challenge standard social assumptions about dating. The intent doesn’t need to be finding a Relationship. Or finding a good mate. Or DATING.
    I tell younger women to pursue whatever extracurricular interests they may have – and if you find some nice guy in a group activity – of course ask him to join you on a hike. Or Humane Society dog walk. Or sporting event. Just as you would in making any other friend! This is something I’ve observed younger women do that works. Make a friend. See if you find him/her worthy of friendship. No pressure. It’s a throwback approach compared to online dating. But it still seems to work. I really admire younger women who do this. It’s just so healthy. And adult. Like not getting married in your 20s. And having your own 401K. Grownup stuff. If a man is put off by you asking him out? Jumping to the conclusion that your bar is low? How freaking depressing. Is this more of let them do the chasing? Grandma tears here.
    And thank goodness my DIL made the first move. She’s gold.
    But yes to waiting until you can contemplate trusting again. And I think that will apply to any of the new friendships you make. You’ve probably ditched some old ones. Switzerland friends. It takes a bit to trust that you do, in fact, have relationship skills. You DO. My friendships are pretty solid.
    He just wasn’t friendship material. Younger women taught me that. They give me hope for my grandchildren.

    Flirting. Sending signals. Hoping he makes that move. The 20th century wants their strategies back.

    • You are dead wrong. Not to be rude, but I think your advice is really dangerous. Just because there is one anecdote where it worked out ok, that doesn’t make it a good strategy. I wrote a long comment below. But I would say those of us who need to fix our picker, need to be more careful about who we let in.

      Sure, you can ask a guy out for a run but most people are sleeping with each other so fast it would make your head spin and then sliding into a relationship. Part of the not asking is also giving yourself time to get to know the other person. Is he close to family or close friends? What’s his job? If he got divorced, why? I was dating in my 30s, it gets more complicated as you get older because there are a lot of fish is the sea who have been thrown back and you need to find out why.

      I’m glad your daughter got married to a man she asked for a run. I got married to a man I didn’t ask out. There are many ways to find a person to get married, if that’s your goal. But look. I’ve been out in the dating market – recently. I have dated (dated as in dinner/coffee… not slept with) dozens and dozens of men. When I followed this strategy, I dodged lots of bullets. I saw all the red flags. The other way? I just wasn’t picky enough and it caused lots of heartache and wasted time.

      • I hear your struggle. But I would counter that it is what happens AFTER that first date that matters most. It is the boundaries we erect, continually, that matter. Maybe you’re the one to ask him out first, but his interest in you thereafter (and vice versa) can dictate how things move forward.

        I would also argue that someone struggling with fixing their picker should not be dating. You gotta wait until that picker is fixed (or at least significantly fortified) first.

      • Exactly. I agree. “Part of the not asking is also giving yourself time to get to know the other person. Is he close to family or close friends? What’s his job? If he got divorced, why?”

        That’s what I do when I’m making friends. I look for core value matches. Male and female friends. Like you, I would advise waiting until you can trust yourself again.

        And surely – if you approach a relationship as a new friendship – you have a better chance of finding out about their family, friends, work, etc. That’s all I’m saying.

        Not doing that IS dangerous. Of course.

        Looks like you are incorporating this cautious approach into evaluating new relationships.

        My push back is on the courtship ritual – waiting for him to ask as a tool for evaluation. Motivating him to “win” you. Not appearing desperate. Just not my mindset.

        • Again, I think there is a difference between inviting a guy to a party or some activity as you would ask any friend or someone that shares the same interest as opposed to inviting a guy to an intimate dinner or drinks.

    • “Instead, I suggest to younger women that they challenge standard social assumptions about dating. The intent doesn’t need to be finding a Relationship. Or finding a good mate. Or DATING.
      I tell younger women to pursue whatever extracurricular interests they may have – and if you find some nice guy in a group activity – of course ask him to join you on a hike. Or Humane Society dog walk. Or sporting event. Just as you would in making any other friend!”

      This is golden advice. Thank you for the wisdom. I could not agree more.

      It may be an unpopular opinion but I’m no fan of online dating. The sheer fact that one wants to sign up for the sole purpose of going on a date feels “red flaggy” to me. Much better off living your life and doing things in a physical space, and engaging like minded people in that space, then hanging your “please date me sign” up on the internets.

      • I am not a fan of online dating, either. Online dating is how I met ex narcopath, and look how that ended. He still has an active profile on the dating site (my friends still see him trolling) and we laugh at his absolutely lame profile. He lies through the whole thing.

        But, it gives me pause knowing that he is there, a predator, pretending to be a nice guy. And his best friend is also on there, the guy who groped my ass and tried to kiss my neck while everyone laughed, cause that’s “just how he is”….

        So with just those two examples, I give a real side eye to all the other men on there, wondering if they are all the same. I feel that it’s a staggering amount of work to weed through the bullshit of getting knowing them, just to find out they are not who they presented themselves to be.

        It’s been a year and a bit since my final dday. I’ve tried online dating 2 x during that period, and I was on and off within a day each time.

        I realized that my motivation for attempting to date wasn’t because I was truly interested in another man, but I was more interested in pissing off ex narcopath and making him jealous. Those are the wrong reasons.

        Two things struck me with online dating, that really turned me off of it:
        1. It feels like I’m shopping for a human being. I feel shallow for scrolling through pictures trying to determine who I want to chat with. Sometimes people take a shitty picture and have an amazing personality. Am I scrolling past someone who could be awesome because I’m being judgy about their looks? Yuck. I dont want to be that person.

        2. The amount of effort it takes to get to know someone to then go on a date, and because of ex narcopath, my bullshit radar is mach 3000, feels exhausting to me. Going on a date with them is like being a detective to find out a reason to cull them from the list of potential suitors. I feel like I would purposely be searching for the red flags. Almost hyper vigilant. This is taking time away from doing things I actually enjoy, and time away from my kids. So. Another yuck. No thanks.

        I would just like to meet someone organically. And preferably a man that knows someone from my circle, who can vouch for them, and knows a bit of their history and their family, to say a yah or nay.

        Does that make sense?

        But either way, I am content where I am in my life, and am not actively dating.

        One last funny story. The ONE date I went on, i call “the date from hell”, met the guy for coffee at a local coffee shop.

        I pull in first, he pulls in second and is sitting there, grooming himself, in his truck. Embarrassed, I’m watching him comb his hair, check his teeth, so I motion that I am going in.

        I go in, buy a tea, he comes in and is immediately all pissy that I didn’t wait for him.

        We sit and start talking. He says he doesn’t have Facebook, doesn’t watch TV, not in to sports. Ok, what does he do with his time? He’s an environmentalist. Reads about it online. Wait, there’s more.

        Ask him what did he do that day? Oh, he drove his truck 3 hours away to buy a truck cap for the back of his truck. But it’s not the same colour as his truck so he will have to paint it. I ask him will he paint with a paint brush? No, he will use spray paint…

        Ask him his job. He’s a tow truck driver. Everyone at coffee shop knows him, he drinks like 5 coffees a day. I ask him if he has a kick ass reusable coffee mug, (since he’s so in to the environment) he side eyes me like I’m crazy. Nooooo. He just uses their paper cups. 5 a day. Okaaaay.

        Red flags all over the place. But the best is yet to come…

        He asks me: “what is the worst thing you have ever done in your life?”

        You go first, I tell him. “No, I’ll save mine for our next date,” he replies.
        I laugh and tell him that’s awfully presumptuous, and I insist he goes first. He shakes his head no. So I start asking him:
        “Let me guess, then. You killed someone?” No.
        “You hit a granny in the parking lot and left the scene of the crime?” No
        “It’s drugs, isnt it? You sell drugs?”
        “Ok, but what kind of drugs? Like hardcore?”
        Let the excuses begin. Omg. (Side note, my therapist thinks this question on a first date is insane and was mightily relieved I hightailed it out of there).

        Then he asks ME again, the worst thing I ever did. I was still floored but the whole thing, so I rattled off some story about how I failed to pay for a homeless guys sub at subway one time because I was distracted by my kids. He was unimpressed.

        He was also irate that I only work 2 days a week and stated that he presumed I was milking my kids dad for all he was worth!

        This guy was a total nut job and I was out. Oh, look at the time. Gotta run.

        He messaged me an hour later on the dating app asking me for my name, he had already forgotten and then telling me that was the most impressive date he’s ever gone on…
        I immediately deleted the app and have sworn it off.

        • Awesome story. At least you got thru it without incident. The rare times I went on a couple of dates via internet app the guy was a no show, liked my friend I brought with me or smelled like funky, smelly cheese. Life has certainly changed since the 90’s when you met someone thru your circle of friends. Enjoy your free time and reusable coffee mug. Xo

        • Your reply is well articulated reasons #34090 through 99 why I think online dating is not that awesome. “Shopping for humans” is the perfectly disturbing way to put it. And being shopped. I fully understand the limitations on meeting someone in person organically–I know that’s tough. So I get why people turn to online dating. It’s just not for me, at all. AND I would argue it’s not a great tool for chumps because of said risks and because of our emotional baggage.

          • Shopping for humans…exactly. One guy saw my picture and thought I had too much hair. Another guy was looking for someone taller. Another guy told me he only wanted a red head. Good grief. Who has time for this kind of goofiness?!????

            • LOL, right?! Too much hair–WTF?!? We all get enough nit picking in the physical world, I don’t need to outsource that shit to the internets. I got bills to pay and deadlines to meet and a kid to raise. I don’t need no online peeper telling me my nose looks bigger in person than in my profile pic! That said, I know of at least one person who met their perfect match online…but the rest (many many) have endured multiple lessons in self loathing and asshats. No thanks.

    • If the people involved are well adjusted I can’t see how it hurts to be the first one to ask. BUT after the first date if he isn’t actively interested in pursuing the relationship then end it. Don’t continue to be the pursuer.

  • This is great advice. I suggest that anyone who is ready to fix their picker read Love Factually. (Similar advice to the Rules but it’s based on research). I followed all the advice and it is the reason why I’m married today. It helped me weed out the bad guys and be available for the good. The book changed my life. (It’s a fun read too)

    Some of the things I did: I never asked a guy out (for exactly the reasons that Chump Lady mentions). I also never drank on early dates. (I never drank on a job interview and this was an interview for the most important job of my life – my partner). I never texted or called or responded too quickly. I didn’t sleep with anyone until after we were exclusive (I’m both old and young enough so that this was uncommon.) And I would date multiple people. (Note: Dating multiple people is only possible if you are not sleeping with anyone.) I would tell the men I was dating – after a couple of dates that ‘I just want you to know that I’m also dating other people. I’m sure you are too, but I want to be upfront with that. I’m only exclusive with someone after he asks me and if I feel the same way.’ It was so scary to say that the first time but I got practice and it was great. (Guys, she also has advice for you. This part is specific to women) she has worked with people of every age group and situation.

    The result of all of this was that all the men who are used to having women do the work in the relationship fell by the wayside and only truly great people were left standing. People that I would have never seen otherwise. All of the sudden, there was more great people. I just didn’t allow myself to fall in love until I knew it was safe.

    I said no to lots of people. The last one standing was my now-husband. I found my way here trying to find resources for him (and is!) on co-parenting with a narc and found Tracy’s article.

    Hey, if you can leave a chump, you can fix your picker.

  • Really good advice as ever. I met my current partner through a shared interest group (hiking) which allowed us to get to know one another over a period of 5 months with no romance involved, just very slowly getting to know the person as a friend. My ex wife love bombed me and I was so flattered that someone wanted me that I overlooked a lot of red flags. That ended badly 20 years later for the usual reason on this site. Anyway, shared interests allow you to slowly get to know someone without getting too invested. Over that time I suspected that she liked me and eventually I decided to ask her out for lunch. 2 1/2 years later we have bought a house together and are really happy as we are very compatible and have a reciprocal relationship built on friendship, mutual respect and shared values. It was worth waiting for.

    • I met New Guy through a hiking group too. We also got to know each other that way for a few months first. Of course we are nowhere near the point of buying a house together, but still, it’s a comfortable relationship. Anyway, meeting through a meetup group seems like a good way to meet someone because you know you will share at least one interest. It is also a way to meet same sex friends too and generally get out and socialize with like minded people. I definitely recommend meetups for chumps looking to go gain that life.

  • I am not really sure who asked who out first with new guy. We had been messaging through the chat features from the meetup group where we met. Then we switched to text. One day he texted to say “I would like to spend some time with you outside of a group setting”. I had to scratch my head a bit at that one “did he just ask me out?” I decided to assume that he was in his own way (he is very shy) so I gave him a specific time and place we could get together. I guess he let it be known he might like to go on a date and I provided a specific time and location so it was kind of a joint effort. We are still getting together regularly several months later and it is still a similar dynamic. He asks “when are you available to get together this week?” Then I provide a couple of options for time, location and activity. This is then followed by some discussion until we settle on something that works for us both. So far we are both still making an effort to get together 1-3 nights a week.

    • Hey, that sounds nice and great! And low pressure, which is awesome. I hope it works out–whatever that means to you. : )

  • Thank you ChumpLady for this timely post for me.
    I refuse to ask a guy out on a date. I’m 47, been married twice, and with both ex-husbands, I was the more assertive/aggressive one at the start, though it was reciprocated by both. That being said, I’d rather be chased/wooed (not love bombed)
    I’m three years out now, and have been on exactly three dates, maybe four. Except for the first one, the whole time, I observed- how they treated wait staff, eye contact with me, conversation skills, affection shown, etc. The first date post divorce ghosted me because I didn’t give up the sex in my driveway in his truck. It hurt, but I knew it was necessary to show me I wasn’t really ready to date.
    The first year or two post divorce is truly the time not to date. Maybe joining a MeetUp group, a class, support group, church social group (not many churches offer that I’ve found, but I know they’re out there)
    What I learned is to be social, but know your limits- I’m a relative social-Cinderella: I love getting ready, the anticipation of going out with friends, but by 11:00 or midnight, I’m ready to go home. ???????? My friends are used to it. Unless it involves a good band or free booze, I’m home early.
    About 6 months post-divorce, I was on dating site and met a guy. I chased and pushed and threw myself at him. We just didn’t click romantically, but needed each other, as he is a fellow Chump and was about as long post breakup with his wife as I was….He my “practice boyfriend” as I told him- again, I learned a lot from the experience. Gave him stuff, gave up time with my friends to go over to his place, etc. Again, it was less than a year after divorce, so I needed to do it, but I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere but friendship. In the end, I still kick myself in the ass that I out myself through that.

    Everything CL said is totally true. Know your worth. Take the time necessary to heal and recover. Learn. Have patience and faith.

  • Oh my gosh I needed to read that today. The timing is crazy perfect. I’m printing it out to re-read and re-read again and again…

  • Well this column made me feel pretty crummy.

    “… I’m going to hole myself up in a bunker with cats and never love again … These are both pretty awful life strategies.” Really?

    For me, getting to mighty has been getting to be able to live quietly with my dog. That’s a huge achievement, and for me, mighty. I’m a lot older than (Chumplady). Further, I’ve had the delight of developing serious mobility issues in the years since breakup and divorce. So, despite years of talk therapy, EMDR and whatever, the best I can do is make peace with actually being alive, and living with my dog. I live in constant acute physical pain–no tennis, hiking clubs, or even walks for me!

    I feel I’ve done well. I don’t think about suicide anymore (from pain, not mental anguish.) Not everybody needs to be partnered, or wants to be. It’s not a bad life, if you’re strong and if you’re brave. If you can plan for the future, and if you’re honest. Might it be easier with someone else? Yes, but that’s not going to happen. Full stop. It’s damaging to my sense of self esteem to be bombarded with the message that unless I am part of a couple, I have no value.

    I do have value, even without dating…

    • Even some of the younger girls might be happier with their dogs (or cats). It’s easier to have control over your life with a dog, not so sure about cats (don’t get me wrong, I like cats too).

    • I don’t think Chump Lady meant specifically coupling, when referring to staying at home with your pets. Many people are happy being single, not searching for a relationship. Is there a more loyal companion or friend than our pets?
      In my opinion Chump Lady implied being social on some level especially after being discarded is better for our self esteem and overall happiness.

  • I should be better at this ‘dating’ game since I’ve been single many years. Lol. I have this mental ‘three strikes and your out’ thing I do. I know that I’m hypersensitive to red flags so try not to be too harsh on the guys. However, if things happen that I don’t care for….he’s gone. For example…an old boyfriend looked me up recently and we went on a few dates. Right after that… he doesn’t know how computers and/or Facebook works and he was trying to sign up on a dating site and used his FB account to do so and it showed up in his feed. I asked him about that and he said ‘oh, he was just goofing around, didn’t even get all the way signed up, blah blah blah.’ I’m thinking ‘Strike One’…. It didn’t take long for the other two strikes. He wasn’t getting the hint when all of a sudden I was busy every night and weekend and not answering his texts so I told him as kindly as I could to ‘I’m just not that into you.’

    The only real relationship I’ve had since my divorce was with a love bombing liar. I should have seen the red flags there but he was handsome and oh so charming. One of the first things he did was ask me to go out of state with him on a trip. I barely knew him and no way was I going to do that and I remember him acting a little insulted by that. He moved at lightning speed and asked me to marry him three months into the relationship. I realize now that he was working against the clock and wanted to seal the deal before I found out about all the skeletons in his closet. I dodged that bullet.

    I don’t like saying I’m cynical about dating but I just don’t see myself doing much of it unless it’s with someone I know. I tried the Internet dating thing, and OMG. No thank you. Lots of predators and perverts there. I know some Internet success stories so not saying it’s impossible …it’s just not for me.

    In the meantime, I think I’ll just live my fantastic cheater free life.

  • I’m a guy and I read Chump Lady’s advice that a woman should never ask a man out and I probably agree with most of it. I also think they are ALL very good reasons for a man to never ask a woman out either.

    1) I know straight women who “win” guys they then have to find jobs for, and apartments, and are rewarded with years of commitment limbo.
    REPLY: The same thing can be said about men I know who have “won” some woman. They bend over backwards trying to help the woman have a happier life, with them, and the woman ends up leaving him for the first guy that she becomes attracted to, and takes half of his savings with them.

    2) Instead of coming across as jaunty and self-confident, (which you may well be), you will set the bar low for that man.
    REPLY: Men who ask women out don’t come across as jaunty and self-confident, they come across as a man who’s wants a girlfriend and will risk severe humiliation to get one, to which the woman either replies “WTF, as if I would ever even…” or “oh well, if nothing else, I’ll at least get a free meal out of it”.

    3) He won’t have to do much to “win” you, and he will ascribe value accordingly
    REPLY: You don’t think women ascribe a value to a man that has asked them out? If she doesn’t want to go out with the man, the value is zero, and she replies “WTF, as if I would ever even…”. If the value is anything above zero, but she still doesn’t want to go out with him, then the reply is usually “nope, already seeing someone” whether it’s true or not.

    4) You’ll be fine to pass the time with, or fuck
    REPLY: Who doesn’t know a guy who bent over backwards trying to get a girlfriend, and even got as far as having sex with her, only to have her leave for the next guy who she found more attractive? “guys are a dime a dozen” is said a lot more by women than men saying “girls are a dime a dozen”.

    5) Know your worth.
    REPLY: Men asking women out know their worth. It’s zero. You know going in that you have to come up with something pretty impressive to say or do to move that needle even to 0.0001. You also know it goes back to zero if you make even one slip-up, so you basically accept that it will go back to zero and you’ll have to do it all over, probably with someone else.

    My advice to men asking a woman out is the same advice given to WWII bomb crews – “Consider yourself already dead. You’ll make a lot better decisions.”

    Men, don’t ask women out. If you like her, try to figure out something that you can do that would be a nice gesture. I don’t know, hold the door open, offer to run an errand for her, anything. Then WAIT and see if she shows ANY attraction to YOU. If not, move along. It will save you a lot of heartache.

    • Omg, please more men comment on this topic. All the dating advice I read says I can’t ask them out because emasculation, and guys don’t like it. So, I haven’t. Results are the same so far if I wait in my tower braiding my hair.

      • (Speaking as a male chump here): there is really virtually nothing in CL’s argument about the dangers of asking someone out that doesn’t apply to men as well. The only gender-specific ingredient is the assertion that it’s somehow not proper for a woman to ask out a man, which others have already pointed out is very culturally specific. Surely if you’re a single woman interested in dating, you *want* to get the word out that you’re interested in dating! Spreading it around the neighborhood only goes so far: surely the most direct way to show you want to date someone is by *asking that person out*! Being coy about it just makes it more likely misunderstandings will occur.

        I was once introduced to a single woman by a mutual friend; she seemed perfectly nice (and drop-dead gorgeous – this happened at a swimming pool) but I didn’t really have enough time to get to know her. She left with little fanfare, so I figured I hadn’t made much of an impression on her. When I crossed paths with the mutual friend months later I found out that she’d really liked me but didn’t want to come on too strong. She had been hoping I would ask the mutual friend for her number. For context: we aren’t talking about high school here – we’re both college professors in our 40s! If she doesn’t indicate she’s interested, I will respect her enough to assume she knows her own mind and I won’t pursue her.

        As to the men whose masculinity is threatened by being asked out: are those the men you’re interested in dating? If you want someone who will treat you as an equal, help with the housework and cooking, respect your opinions, support your career – I venture to say that package is not going to come with “can’t abide a woman who’d ask him out.”

      • I guess what doesn’t sit well with me is that Chump Lady seems to be saying “Women that ask men out and end up getting rejected have low self worth. Men that ask women out and end up getting rejected have high self worth.”

        To me that sounds like a nice way of saying “Men need to prove to women that they (women) have worth. The only way men can do that is to take on all the risk and humiliation of being rejected.”

        I guess if that’s the case, women should not be surprised that they can’t get a man that they’re attracted to to ask them out. After a few “high self worth” experiences getting rejected, that man may have decided taking the initiative by asking them out is not worth the humiliation.

    • Yes! Why must the man always take the risk and “devalue” himself by initiating the date?

      If we don’t like the system, we should stop playing within it, not perpetuate it.

      Enough with the heteronormative “rules”.

      Personally, as a cis hetero women I will look for enthusiasm, reliability, and reciprocity, and ask out whoever I want.

    • I wondered what the guys perspective would be on all of this. What if the guys also want a woman to be the one making the effort for them first? Then we’ll all just be sitting around waiting for someone to ask us out. Yes we all need to know our worth, but somebody has to take a chance or nothing will ever happen. We just need to know when to back off if the other party isn’t interested and/or know when it’s time to leave a relationship because we aren’t being valued. We also need to remember to value our partners and recognize their worth too. If we can’t do that, then that’s another reason to leave the relationship as respectfully as possible.

      Also, what do you do if you are gay? Who is supposed to make the first move there?

      One last thing. Guys, if you are lucky enough to have a girl ask you on a date, don’t assume that means she wants to sleep with you right away too and don’t get pissy about it if she doesn’t.

      • When interest is really mutual it’s so obvious that things follow logically and smoothly. One person asks out. Some interest is shown on both sides. Plans are made for the next time. Then the other person asks. And so on. Both parties are playing authentically being interested in pursuing something with the other person. They’re not playing evasion. Then it doesn’t matter who asks out. This doesn’t mean the relationship will be great. For me it just means that the relationship is something both people want to try for. They’re not being ambiguous or leading the other person on.

    • A decades long friend of mine (widow-I was an usher at her husbands funeral) was telling me how much she likes to go out to eat, her interests, etc. How she couldn’t go out to eat because she was building a house. I always respected her. So I asked her out to lunch. She told me “that is a date, I don’t date”. Like what? I chuckle at the women on here with their check-lists (which is a HUGE turnoff for most good men). If you are so picky about men, what do YOU have to offer a man? Would you want him to be just as picky about you? It is irritating hearing the woman complain so much about men. Men have to take 100% of the risk. Women don’t. A man has to prove himself over and over again. But do the women here have to do that? NO!!! I am dating a woman who has had patience with me as I am newly divorced. She told me that I have impressed her by how fast I have been recovering post divorce. She remembers how I was as a Human Being before I married the Evil One. The dating world has changed. One woman wanted to know my credit score. My mother (feminist) said “what’s up with women today? It’s (dating) is more like a business transaction then from the heart” So true. But there are still good women out there.

  • I find the view that “men should ask women” heteronormative and dated. It should just be reciprocal regardless the gender. A date extended should be enthusiastically received. (If you are working hard to get the date, move on).

    Example: One may suggest a date, the other books the restaurant. Both take turns paying. Easy peasy reciprocity.

    I did plenty of online dating after my divorce. And if I like someone (I am a cis hetero women) I ask them out. If they say anything but a glowing “yes”, I move on.

    IMO life is too short to play coy or mourn over mismatches. I figured dating is just a numbers game….screen a lot of candidates…meet a lot of people. Don’t stop until you find someone that checks ALL your boxes (have those figured out before you start dating) and reject any with red flags.

    In the meanwhile enjoy being single and becoming exactly who YOU want to be.

    PS I am now in an exclusive
    relationship with a wonderful man (fellow chump) who I made the initial contact with via a dating ap. I may have iniated our first date but he continues (6 months in) to exceed my expectations for a reciprocal relationship.

    If you like them, I say “go ahead and ask them out”. Ignore the heteronormative “rules”. But always watch for reciprocity and initiative.

    • I agree, especially with that laat sentence about asking them out and watching for initiative and reciprocity. I always fell for the guys that came on strong and based my specialness on their interest, which rarely worked out. My best friend suggested I initiate rather than go for the heavy chasers as I have previously. IMO, she was right, and I finally initiated dating a lovely man who I took 3 years getting to know beforehand. He was interested, but didn’t think I was. In fact, I was more attracted to the fact that he didn’t try to hit on me and he waited for me to come to him, out of respect. He has reciprocated ten fold since we took it to the next level. I am very happy with my choice and glad I didn’t flippantly date men who were out for a quick hookup.

  • This reminds me of an incident back in college when I was somewhat naïve about college age guys and the way they think (or don’t). I wanted to go out to a favorite restaurant of mine and wanted some company. I approached a group of friends (men and women) and asked generally if anybody wanted to go with me. Most had plans, but there was one guy who said “sure I’ll go”. We went and had dinner at the restaurant (each paying for our own). Afterwards he got upset when I didn’t want to get cozy saying “But you are the one who asked me out!”. Huh? Not exactly.

  • I too, would love to hear more male opinions on all of this. That being said, I am nothing less than ASTONISHED when I hear women that have been divorced for barely a couple of years say that they are either one, engaged, or two, even worse, remarried. How does anyone heal, fix your picker, address your issues, find someone and get engaged a year or two after a divorce. It boggles my mind!

    • QB, from what I’ve witnessed in life, men get hooked up again almost immediately. Men don’t stay single. I’m kind of old and all the widowers I know are married in no time. My brother in law was married within three months of my sister dying. Women grieve alone and men grieve in the arms of another woman.

      • My grandfather was an exception to this. He had several woman all vying to be the next girlfriend when my grandmother died. He never let it go beyond friends. He loved my grandmother and no other woman was ever goin to be able to replace her in his eyes. When they got married they were one forever as far as he was concerned. Definitely the exception though. My dad loved my mom and has been faithful, but he would probably find another woman pretty quickly if she dies first.

    • I think some people really feel compelled to be coupled–like they derive their worth from it. They can’t be alone. But yea, I agree. I’m always like…but why?!? You have friends and a vibrator, just relax for a minute and enjoy NOT compromising for a man.


    This is brilliant. So many Chumps self-medicate with people post-split, and it’s just out of the frypan and straight into the fire.

    Totally: if you can be happy on your own, you are ready to date. Not otherwise.

    This calls for ruthless honesty, and trusting your gut, and also some kind of therapy or self help to sort out where all that fear comes from.

    I don’t date; I have chosen singleness and the love of a whole community of people instead, and that suits me fine.

    The thought of dating still makes me feel unwell, and why choose unease when you already have wellness, balance and happiness? To me, it feels like settling for second best.

  • This is probably the best thing I have EVER read in regards to my situation (and maybe a lot of ‘us’ chumps). Thank you Tracey I am going to print this out now.

  • Right on! Sound advice. I took 3 years off of dating and hookups and it was the best deciosion ever! Of course I had offers and also unrequited interests, but instead of basing my worth on their interest-whether it was feeling special because they were interested in me or not, I looked at these individuals and their situations, (mostly on the rebound,) and carefully chose dates based on their compatibility with my values. The one that rejected me-I figure it was the Universe’s way of saving me from yet another emotionally unavailable relationship with major incompatibilities. I now find myself in a healthy and loving relationship with a person who I initally had no romantic spark with or was interested in pursuing romance with. We shared a common interest, which blossomed into a genuine friendship, and grew into loving them as a person and before you know it…the chemistry followed, but only after the loving feelings came first. I can honestly say that our bedroom spark is the best I’ve ever had, and not because of drama or push/pull intensity. The spark comes from genuine love and respect. I feel very secure for the first time. We work healthily through conflict and he actually validates my feelings and point of view and tries to accommodate my needs, rather than being dismissing and treating me like I’m creating problems. It’s amazing! Good people who are interested make effort! He helps with my house chores and reciprocates in the little meaningful ways that make a difference. Know your worth and fix your picker and believe that there are good people out there who will love you for you and not what you provide for them!

    • She isn’t really. Not like that. I think it was sensible advice. New Chumps DO go a bit crazy and think that trying new ways of dating is the recipe to filling the aching void left behind by an abuser.

      Guys are relatively uncomplicated; if they like you, they will pursue you. If you are a new female Chump with a broken picker, the kind of men who will pursue you – and you will fall for – will be pretty awful.

      Once you get those boundaries worked on, and you are happy being on your own, the quality of men pursuing you will improve.

      Or you can ask them out, if you really want to. Whatevs. Just don’t go back in the pool till you are content to be on your own.

  • Ohh… I’m male for the record and can empathise with this so much. Six months out of separating from my Ex With Narc Tendencies and met someone cute who started flirting with me and I turned into a hormonal teenager. After largely keeping it under control, we bumped into each other and did a bit of gooey eyes and then next thing I’m emailing about how I noticed she’d had her hair done and it looked lovely, blah blah…

    She backed right off and quite frankly I don’t blame her.

    I think being chumped is like being chucked into the sea. Even if you’ve taken control and shown your Ex the door, the whole world as you know it has been torpedoed. I see now that I was desperately grabbing around for any bit of driftwood – anything to keep me afloat. The good news now is that I can see now that I can tread water on my own. A bit more practice maybe I’ll get swimming and THEN I’ll see what’s about and know I can choose to jump aboard or keep on swimming somewhere else.

  • Ugh. Yes. I did this type of thing just last night… by text… while sober.

    I called one of my friends this evening so she could smack me with a 2X4 a couple of times.

  • New at This.
    CL is exactly right. You must work on yourself first. You admit you stayed with a liar for,6 years. You somehow meet mr. One Dinner and nothing in your letter says or indicates he ever showed any kind of interest or attraction in you from the beginning. You asked him out. He probably had nothing better to do that night. Why not. He makes no contact after that. Again no evidence or any kind of interest in you. You call him up drunk and then keep contacting him and nothing. Through this whole thing he never showed a scantila of interest in you at all. You say “he doesn’t want me anymore”. He never wanted you and he made it quite clear. You are right. He never gave a shot about you but you still want him to call and tell you. No need for him to call and reject you.
    CL is exactly right. You need to heal from your prior relationship and work on yourself. If you don’t you will continue to attract the wrong kind of guys and be in for much heartache.

  • I love you all CN, you are all so honest about your experiences. So very affirming that there are so many of us chumps out there, who are all as mighty as heck! The following is a reflection about dating but also off topic as it morphed into the positive effect of No Contact.
    I’m 22 months out from separation, 5 months post divorce. Australian divorce laws meant I got a very good settlement. Dating holds no interest for me – my children have a mother and father, and I would not willingly introduce another variable into that. I have a lovely home of my own, and I have rediscovered that I am fine with my own company and for the last 15 years of our marriage there was escalating abuse and soul-destroying loneliness so what have I lost?
    For the first time in 25 years, I am not working 24/7 – walking on eggshells for 15 years trying to please the unpleasable, the last 8 or 9 years at almost full time paid work as well as pretty much all of the home making and getting five children through various stages of primary / highschool / tertiary education / part time work, all the while determinedly and desperately spackling until that was all there was left. Why would I even think about risking entry into another relationship?
    I’m 57 and worn out for the moment. Since I left I have sometimes been guilt ridden about leaving because it was hard on the kids, petrified about the unknown future and having less money, trembling at the fear of being lonely and alone, worked in not so good jobs, all the while with a spectre in the background of an unprovoked verbal attack from exh.
    I finally blocked text and email contact with exh as he continued to choose to abuse sporadically by email and text. I realised that needing to be available in some way because we shared custody of a 16 year old was a shibboleth. I arranged for the govt to manage collection of my son’s child support. I set up a shared calendar for me, exh and 16 year old son where all arrangements can be managed. My son has total access so will see everything written on it. it is up to them if they use it or not, but I will be using it. My job there is done.
    Without the spectre of nasty boundary-crushing intrusion into my space by exh suddenly I am suddenly very much relishing floating in my bubble of quiet days, Church, gardening, pottering around my house, reading, a bit of writing, interspersed with visits to and from family and close friends, occasional meetups with people of similar interests or ages (hey I can talk to people easily, I can walk into a room of strangers and start conversation – who knew?) , trying to keep things as simple as possible for my 16 year old as he finishes school.
    The 4 older kids are actually young adults all living independently and doing fine. I don’t have to mediate their relationship with their father. My youngest son who has chosen 50-50 custody is negotiating the minefields and hurts with considerable courage and is blossoming as a young man with insight, honesty and wry wit. I relish the times he is with me. He makes me sing with him and we laugh at stupid things and have deep and meanigfuls and occasional fights, and I have realised that I kept so much of myself hidden for a long time so as not to outshine anyone or rock the boat by asserting my beliefs.
    It’s like a rest cure, such a blessing. It won’t always be like this, but suddenly I am totally ok with whatever happens next. If you let go of stuff you can float free.

  • Hear hear! After a heartbreaking divorce and a 3 year rebound, I have been happily single for 2 years now and still going strong.

  • This letter from “New at This” made me chuckle a little, not only because I’ve been there too, but it reminds me of Lady Antebellum’s song – Need You Now. Worth a listen if you’re not familiar with it.

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