How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship   Recently updated !

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re being kind and loving in a relationship, or if a man is using you. How do you protect yourself from being walked all over — especially when you’re in love? Love is blind; you can’t see as clearly and you’re less able to make rational, level-headed decisions.

That’s what I’m here for! To help you make decisions that help you blossom and flourish into who God created you to be. These tips are inspired by a reader who couldn’t find the strength to leave a manipulative man. She says:

“Some married men are extremely manipulative with vulnerable women, and will keep using you until they’ve had enough,” says a reader on How to Break Your Addiction to a Toxic Relationship. “Most women (like me) will stay in affairs with men, not finding the strength to leave until the cold hard truth hits home. Or, something shocking and heartbreaking happens – and the men don’t chase you. It saddens me that so many amazing women on this blog (She Blossoms) are still being manipulated. They stay in affairs for months and years, waiting for the man to commit. Instead, they should focus on their own lives so they aren’t being used in relationships with men.”

First, how do you know if you’re being used? Being in a relationship involves lots of giving and sacrifice, and the “give and take” isn’t always equal.

Second, how do you put your rational mind above your normal, natural desire for love?  Let’s see if we can uncover a few ways to guard your heart without protecting yourself from falling in love.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

These five “Blossom Tips” are divided into categories: spiritual, heart, soul, body and brain. This will give you a holistic approach to protecting yourself in a relationship with the wrong man. Warning: just because I’m all about blossoming doesn’t mean I only offer roses. Indeed, this article may have a few thorns attached.

1. Grow your spiritual strength

It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus. When you have a strong, vibrant relationship with Him, you won’t find yourself feeling desperate and needy for a man’s love. Spiritual strength offers a source of peace, joy and freedom that worldly problems can’t touch.

If your strength and self-image is based on your relationship with Jesus, you won’t keep struggling to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. You’ll have a strong, firm foundation of faith that will see you through the most difficult relationships…and even the saddest breakups. The “secret” is to build a relationship with Jesus first, and allow your other relationships to fall naturally from your spiritual strength.

2. Learn how to see past blind love 

Not only is love blind, it’s also deaf, dumb and often mute! This means you overlook relationship problems others may see, you believe lies or half-truths you’d otherwise catch, and you don’t speak up for yourself when you’re being mistreated. Learning how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship involves being aware of your tendency to make mistakes and overlook bad behavior when you’re in love. 

Here’s how to know if you’re being used by a man: you can’t tell your friends and family about the relationship or how he treats you. Whenever you have to keep someone’s behavior or words a secret, you know you’re being used. If you can’t be honest with your loved ones about your relationship, then you’re in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship.

If you know you’re blinded by love, read 6 Reasons You’re Stuck in an Unhealthy Relationship.

3. Find a relationship you don’t have to hide

You can protect yourself by relying on the strength and smarts of people you trust. This is hard. First, you have to share the honest truth about how you are being treated in your relationship. Hopefully you can talk to someone in person; it’s more difficult and real to share the truth face-to-face. 

Second, you need to be willing to change. Maybe you need healing in some aspect of your life. Why are you prone to being used by men in relationships? What are you looking for that you’re not getting? When was your last healthy relationship, and what happened with it? Dig into yourself. Look for the answers, and you’ll find them. These truths will help you heal.

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4. Challenge yourself to rise above your emotions

Here’s how to put your rational mind above your natural desire for love: stop living out of your emotions. Yes, you love him. Yes, he’s manipulative and controlling, perhaps even narcissistic. Or, he’s simply leading you on because he’s not interested in committing to you. Yes, he’s using you in this relationship, and you’re struggling to protect yourself. It’s all true.

Now that you know the truth, you need to stop following your emotions. You aren’t a child; you are a grown woman who has power, intelligence, and choice. You can rise above your feelings, and start living a life you’re proud of. 

Don’t let him control you by continuing to use you. This isn’t his problem; it’s yours. You are more powerful and strong than you think! 

5. Decide how you want to be treated – and accept no less

Sometimes we shift the blame to men instead of taking responsibility for own choices and actions. Whether you’re walking with God or not, for example, you know that having an affair with a married man is destructive. Deep down (or maybe not so deep at all) you know he’s using you in this relationship. You know it isn’t right, and you know you’d be destroyed if your husband was in an intimate relationship with another woman.

How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a RelationshipSo, why aren’t you using your brains to protect yourself from “being used in a relationship”? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your actions? Because you’re in love. You yearn for a romantic relationship, and you’re attracted to this man. You’re allowing yourself to be manipulated — and you’re following your emotions.

It’s normal to be interested in men who aren’t available. The problem arises when you ignore your values, vows and beliefs. You turn away from your convictions and self-respect, you find yourself vulnerable to the whims and choices of others — including men who will use you in relationships. 

You have the power to change your life. Don’t give that power to a man who will use you.

What do you think? Your comments – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t lecture you on how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. Now’s your chance to respond.

You have a source of wisdom that goes far above me, and you’ll listen to His voice when you’re ready. Then, your faith will give you the strength and courage you need to walk into the next season of your life. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from being used, and you’ll blossom into the woman God created you to be.

You’ve already started.


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19 thoughts on “How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

  • lara

    Hi Felk,
    I am posting here at the top so that the conversation does not get buried below as we switch pages for this forum. Felk as usual, I think you are very perceptive. Yes I thought “Beauty and the Beast Backwards” was a strong insight too. It just popped into my mind. I could also think about a car crash backwards but that is a little too extreme (for my tastes) even though it might be appropriate.
    I have to say that if my MM is sincere about leaving his W and his family for me, he needs to man up and show me in a more mature and responsible way. Not all these continuing games. I am tired of them. If he is leaving his marriage (but not necessarily for me) and he simply needs a shoulder to cry on for support and sympathy then he better look elsewhere because I need my own shoulder/s to cry on too. (Thus I am here on this blog)

    I am sure he is rather shell-shocked by my recent behavior but the way I look at it is this: I am worth it! (This growing self-esteem is coming from this blog and all these discussions between ourselves and I am finally realizing, that as far down as my self esteem has fallen, I CAN help it get back up again!) I feel more and more: I am worth it and moreover I matter too!

    So the way back up from my chronic low self esteem with him and elsewhere in my life does NOT include my groveling to him or commiserating with him over his failed marriage. Long ago I offered and re-offered to love him for life if he left her. He knew how I felt for many years but did nothing. He wanted me to “understand” his situation….he wanted me to love him but leave him alone to be married. Very machismo. Alpha male type. He had to “do the right/honorable thing” etc. But for me his choices felt selfish obviously. I put up with the situation and tried to understand his logic, but I could always feel in my gut it was NOT good for me. (Emotionally/Psychologically/Spiritually as a woman.). But I was a single mother raising kids so I thought it might be the best for everyone concerned to have this secret relationship. Damn I was WRONG. But now I have to forgive me.

    I love when Laurie says we need to find a love relationship we do not have to HIDE. Yes a thousand times because our friends’ and families’ perceptions are needed when it comes to our lovers husbands etc. I did not think so when I met my exMM. Now I see my rebellion came at a cost to me. Too damn “expensive”!

    For a long while, I never asked him to understand my life. My needs wants dreams ambitions etc. Now I am forcing him to take a look at my perceptions, my needs, my problems too. My kids are grown and have left the house. I am older and wiser. But honestly, I doubt he is in this for the long term. I think he loves and loved all my adulation of him, not the real ME. I could be wrong and of course I would love to be wrong! Ih he loved and wanted the real me, wouldn’t that be wonderful?
    But somehow I doubt it.

    I know you say your MM likes control. As do you. And I of course can not tell if your MM (or you) are narc’s or not although I was told by my therapist that narcissists are one extreme and empaths are the other extreme and most people are somewhere in between. But when you say he “expressed feelings and closeness on his terms. Like, he will be hesitant to reciprocate feelings or warmth when I express through e-mail, even though at times he’ll surprise me by sending something that’s expressive.” YES I too have experienced this! My ex MM sent me the beautiful “Dove” gif not long ago, remember? with the outstretched hands saying I could rely on him for anything I needed? But then when I texted him to say my relative who I am very close to is near the end of her life, he disappeared totally. Even though he knows all about this relationship and how I feel. She has since passed and where is he? MIA of course. A huge SIGH……

    I do think your exMM is being good about talking to you about the break-up when you need it and this is very brave of him. And it shows character. But is he also trying to simply hang on and stay connected? He seems more or less consistent in his decision to break up with you. But not if he is still telling you he still loves you because then, what are you supposed to do with that knowledge? Especially when you work together? Perhaps he wants to say it to you because he still feels it, but then how can you leave? Perhaps I am too black and white, but if a man said he loved me I would truly be moved to understand and I would have to stick around to find out more….

    No as you say, and I agree, my exMM has not been very fair or kind to me these past months. And he has not said “I love you” because he is too careful for that. Too calculated. But I do think he probably does love me. I think he can not admit it maybe even to himself however. Like I said he is a classic narc, and his emotional make-up is not “normal”.

    Felk, if you appear to be “willing” to your exMM you might be in this for a long long long time to come. I do not say this to judge. I only say this from my experience and to warn you. Whenever I appear “willing” my exMM of course hangs on a tiny bit. The flame is easily re-ignited. The situation continues on a “slow burn” back burner type of thing…..But I understand totally your not wanting to let go.

    You are right I am no longer waiting. I gave that up a while ago. I am also far far less addicted to the highs and lows and all the drama of this relationship. And far less addicted to HIM as some kind of Higher Power in my life. He is not the HP!

    But for the time being I have to admit am still rather emotionally vulnerable as long as he is within feet of my house. I am very shocked at the intensity of the feelings between us even though we are NOT being sexual. I had calculated that without sex he would run but I was wrong. Our little drama still goes on….This is why it is clearer to me that we did in fact have a substantial relationship together, not just an on again off again 20 year “fling”.
    But as long as he acts in the uncaring, immature, and selfish way he is acting now I still want OUT! I have truly had enough. Hugs Lara xxx000

  • lara

    Dear Laurie, Thank you for your most recent article. I was very comforted by it. The steps you mention right true with me and these actions would indeed make a person far less likely to allow her/himself to be used. I do have a question about your words in Number 1. You say: “It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus.” What do you mean when you say even the devil believes? And what is the difference between believing in Jesus (or in my case a Higher Power) and having a relationship with Him (It?). Thank you Kindly. Lara xoxo

  • Shelley

    Hi Laura. I’m a believer and it is hard to meet good men. Is it okay to look at the online dating sites?

    I’m tired of meeting men that are not invested. My only love should be my Heavenly Father. I need to put my trust in Jesus. I am 50 years old and tired of being alone so I do pray the Lord helps me overcome that loneliness.

    Thank you for all that you do


    • Laurie Post author

      Hi Shelley, thank you for being here – and for sharing your thoughts!

      Yes, it’s definitely hard to meet good men, especially since not many single men seem to go to church. They’re not as social, which makes them hard to connect with.

      I personally have no problem with online dating websites, but you have to feel comfortable with them. I can’t tell you what’s right for you….but I do have a couple questions for you.
      Why are you hesitating to use online dating sites? What is holding you back?
      What do you think has stoped you from being in a long-term relationship? It sounds like you’ve met a few men…what has stopped you from building relationships?
      Are you driven by fear and anxiety, or by confidence and trust that God will lead you forward and take care of you?

      You don’t necessarily have to answer me here (but I’d love to hear from you again!). I’m just encouraging you to think through your own reasons, experience, and thoughts. It’s important for you to have insight and self-knowledge — and for you to know yourself.

      And, here’s an article that might give you some ideas 🙂
      How to Find a Good Man and Live Happily Ever After

      With His love,

  • Lois

    Yesterday was a tough day and weakened it is so hard when you work with MM. He was coming out of his office and we bumped into each other. I couldn’t even look at him and looked away. Then, I ended up texting him later and told him that it was really hard keeping distance. Almost immediately, he replied yes it is really hard. I apologized like a dummy for texting and told him that I was really trying. He said he knew. Later in the evening the sunset was beautiful and texted him to go outside and look. It’s something that everyone knows about I’m a nature lover. He replied again very quickly. I replied and then he replied again but this time he asked if I knew about someone at works dad who had to be hospitalized. I didn’t reply because I felt like it was opening that door to much and really did want to. I regretted texting him and wasn’t going to weaken. I just cant do it anymore. It was nice to know he was struggling but this is what he wanted. Although I did weaken and contact him, I felt more in control because I didn’t allow myself to get sucked back in. I maybe over thinking his motives but his quick responses and eagerness to continue the conversation by asking if I knew about our coworkers dad just seemed like he wanted to continue texting. I do regret my weakness but made me realize even more that I don’t want to go back into relationship…honestly some of me would love to but the biggest part of me wants to run and keep running far far away from him. Thanks for listening!

    • Felk

      Lois, there will be so many tough days early on. I know all too well the temptation to send a quick text or email, even when work-related, just because you want that connection with him still. It’s only been a few days. Of course, the temptation will be very great, and don’t beat yourself up for “weakening.” You’re a human person with human person feelings. And so is he, and that’s what you’re seeing in his response. As I’ve said before, this will be hard on him, too, even if you can’t tell sometimes. But, I do caution you not to over-think his motives. His motives are as you suspect… he misses you and is hurting, too. But, he wants the relationship to be over and he isn’t saying otherwise. When my MM ended our relationship, he sent me a text two days later. Just a joke, and it made my brain so happy. And then a week later, he sent another text. And my MM rarely initiates texts, so, like you, I started thinking about the motives. Wondering why he was suddenly acting differently and initiating texts, and, of course, hoping that he was regretting ending our relationship. But, no. He was just reaching out a little for that connection that we find it hard to let go of when the relationship ends, but he did not want to get back together. I read into so much early on. How he’d try to extend conversation with me at work. A look he’d give me in the hallway. Him telling me that he’d like to talk (about us). But it’s all just him trying to get through the break-up as best he can. Try to be very careful not to read into these things. Hope is brutal through the break up. Your MM will do all sorts of things, because he misses you and he is hurting, to reach out or try to get time with you. But, it does not mean he wants to be back in the relationship unless he explicitly says it (and then, even if he says it, you have to be careful). Remember, when my MM and I had sex three months ago? This was four months after the break-up, and I was pretty surprised that he wanted that closeness. It didn’t make me think we were getting back together, but it made me think something. It made me hopeful for something, and I ended up hurting all over again when, in reality, it was just him missing me and wanting some closeness as he dealt with the pain of breaking up (and seeing each other all the time at work). It was not cruel or selfish of him (or, if it was selfish, I was selfish, too). I wanted to have sex with him, too. But, it did make me hope a little bit, and it did cause me a lot of sadness again. In the beginning, I found that reaching out was a double-edged sword. I desperately wanted connection with my MM, but, after I got it, I was reminded of how we were over and it hurt all over again. I am doing much better now, but it’s taken a lot of time and a lot of distance (and commitment to the distance, especially on his part). However, I still am vulnerable. I still can read into things. I still put a little too much meaning into everything. I still care a little too much. But, it’s getting better.

      The sadness you feel now will end soon enough (although it may take months), but the pain you felt over and over again during the relationship will not go away if you stay in a relationship with a man who does not want to make you a priority. His guilt will continue to make you feel used and disposable. I know it’s not an existence you want so just keep reminding yourself of that. And, of course, keep trying not to contact him. Distance is the best way to heal.

  • Felk

    Lara, replying over here to your comment about your MM calling you. He just won’t stop, huh? You knew this would happen, though. He can tell you’re done. He can tell you’re moving on and he’s desperate. He’s telling you about his failing marriage not only looking for support from you (as you’ve given so many times in the past) but he’s also looking to hear that you still want him. It is so very selfish. (And how selfish and entitled of him to continue to get in contact with you in sneaky ways, after you have clearly tried not to allow contact.) Also, so great for you to tell him to take his time and not to rush. I know how that was genuine (and good) advice, but I also know how important that was that you genuinely felt that advice.

    And running into him on the street the next day had to be kind of hard, especially seeing no warmth in his eyes when he saw you, but I’m glad you got to see him for who he is. He is, of course, having a hard time with the break-up, too, and he’s having a hard time dealing with the mess of a marriage that either leads one to have an affair or is caused by one having an affair. But, you’re right… it’s his mess now. You can walk away. You have walked away.

    • lara

      Felk I really appreciate your words here. SO much!
      Yes he is totally predictable and he won’t stop. But now he has. Predictable too. My saying “Take your time” (figuring out his marriage problems and how/when to leave) is the kind thing I would say to anyone close to me and it just popped out of my mouth as the right thing to say. I was being unselfish and considerate of his family in that statement as I know 3 other lives hang in the balance: 2 grown children and his wife.

      But that is not how he heard it. At all. He heard it as a rejection. I knew this by his reaction the next day when I saw him on the street. He acted like he wanted to avoid me. It was painful because I knew I had been kind to him on the telephone. So I thought he would have been warmer. This was the moment I really saw his narcissism full blown. It was not a pretty picture. At all.

      Since he did not hear me the night before jump right back in the relationship with me like I would have in the old days after such a huge revelation on his part, he was icy on the street. I was supposed to follow his signal. Follow his lead. This was shocking to me as I quickly realized that any normal married man in this situation would have been only too grateful to hear “take your time” from his extra marital lover. I was blown away actually. When I saw his reaction on the street I knew he had mentioned words about leaving his marriage to me not necessarily because he meant them.

      Instead he wanted those words to get me to take him back. Specifically to have sex with him. That was the goal of the words. And then he would go MIA. Again. And leave me devastated again. He has been using me for sex. Ugh.

      Luckily for me, 90 days of more or less No Contact with him and constant contact on this blog and the spell has been broken because my addiction is weaker than it used to be! So I was acting calmly and sanely, not driven by my addiction. Even though he is still clearly addicted to me wanting HIM!

      I doubt he even means the words about things being so bad at home he needed to “do something.” I do believe things could be bad at home. But he runs around holding her hand and trying to please her and act in public like they are such a great couple. And many people think they ARE the golden couple; that’s how good they are at this game or whatever it is. Actually this man is full of crap. When the addiction gets weaker I can see reality much more clearly.

      It is very sad for me now to see how manipulative he is and how predictable. I did not realize how far he would go in getting me WANT him (a.k.a have sex with him). But I finally realized he needs my approval and desire THAT BAD. Yup totally addicted still but not to me per se. To my desire for him. To the supply of FUEL I provide him as a narcissist.

      All this time I thought he was acting with some kind of sincerity but alas I do not think he was. I am calling this new revelation “Beauty and the Beast Backwards”. It is painful and sad to me but not because I miss him and want to be back with him. But rather because the man I thought he was does not even exist. It is going to take me some time to process this. But not only will I keep walking away. Now I am not going to spend so much time looking back. Forward is the only direction for me now. Hugs Lara xx00

      • Felk

        Lara, I first must say that I love “Beauty and the Beast Backwards.” The handsome man is revealed as a beast inside. Perfect. I think your read on what happened last week is right. I think your ex-MM wanted you to respond quite differently to his e-mail and phone call. I think he wanted you to be happy that he was considering leaving his W, and, in the least, I think he wanted you to suggest getting together to talk about it. I think he wanted to know that you were still waiting for him. And, yes, he probably wanted sex again. Maybe he is sincere about wanting to leave his W, but it’s too little too late. And it’s exactly as you said, he should take the time to consider this decision on his own. He doesn’t just get to drop into your life when he feels like it, but that’s what he did and that’s what a lot of our MM do, I know. My MM isn’t a narcissist as you describe with your MM (or, as I’ve said, if he is a little, so am I), but my MM does like control (as do I) and it frustrates me a bit how he has, through this break-up, expressed feelings and closeness on his terms. Like, he will be hesitant to reciprocate feelings or warmth when I express through e-mail, even though at times he’ll surprise me by sending something that’s expressive. Maybe I’m misreading a bit and seeing it as being on his terms when it’s really just both of us expressing when we feel something. That is probably more fair. Though I do know he likes control and I do think it’s more on his terms than mine, I should be fair and say that he has been pretty good through this break-up with talking about it all when I need to. And he’s been responsive (even if not as warmly as I wanted) to e-mails I’ve sent with my feelings and questions about it all. And he’s been plenty warm, showing that he’s trying to handle all of this with care. And I guess I say all of that to talk myself through my situation, as usual, and to say that, yeah, your ex-MM did not seem as fair or kind in recent months.

        I’m sure you know it’s still not the last you’ve heard from him. But it sounds like you’re in a good place now to be clear with him that you’re no longer waiting. I strive to get to that point. My MM knows that I’m still willing. I’m not really waiting, but I’m willing and he knows that. Problem is, he’s holding on, too. Things continue to get much better for me, but the holding on is still prolonging vulnerability and periods of sadness/anxiety. I guess it is just the case that this will take more time. That’s always the hard honesty.

  • Felk

    Lois, I saw your message about how it was hard getting the response from your MM. You wondered why he even bothered responding. My guess is kindness and to put down in words that it was best to have distance between the two of you. I don’t know if he’s trying to get you to respond. You may feel that way because you want to respond or you hope that he wants you to respond. You’ve asked for distance. He’s replied that distance is a good idea, so it’s probably best to now just enact that distance. What else is there to respond at this point?

    • Lois

      Hey, Felk. I don’t know if he had hidden motives or wishful thinking on my part. There is a part of me that hangs on to the high of being with him. After weakening yesterday, I walked away from it feeling he was struggling too. Honestly, he lies and manipulates so much he may not really feel that way but he made me feel he is struggling. So it was comforting. I regretted texting him and felt he wanted to chat more but I didn’t which was a big step for me. Like I said, his actions may not really have any meaning but how quickly he responded to my text and wanting to chat by talking about a coworker dad it just seemed like he was wanting to continue our conversation. I didn’t do allow myself to get sucked back in. We shall see. I’m off today and have no desire to have any contact with him. Whew there’s a very small part of me hanging on but nothing like it used to be.

      • lara

        Lois you are doing so well. Stay strong! I know how hard it is. I have been there. But you too can put together some good days, free of your struggle with him, and I promise, despite how hard this is, you will start to see a small light at the end of the tunnel. When you see it FOLLOW it! And don’t take your eyes off of it! Hugs Lara xxx000

  • Faith in the Future

    Thank you kub, Lara and Felk for your thoughts. I’ve been thinking about what you have said a lot over the last couple of days.
    Lara – you are right, he isn’t ready to leave his wife despite what he says. If he was he wouldn’t have taken three years about it. And yes, our behaviour has become entrenched – we follow a pattern – me pulling away because nothing has changed, him pursuing me and telling me he wants to sort it out, us ending up back where we were, me realising we are back where we were and then repeating all over again…
    Felk – yes you are absolutely right I haven’t given up hope. That’s my biggest problem. At the back of my mind I’m still expecting one day he will come knocking on my door telling me how much he loves me and he has left his wife because he can’t stand to be without me a minute longer… ridiculous. I need to accept it is over and there is no hope. It’s been nearly 4 weeks since I contacted him and already I do feel a bit calmer. I miss him but I don’t miss the drama or having the same conversation about us over and over again.
    I have been doing some meditation every day from an app on my phone and one thing that it said that I thought was really good was that we are not our thoughts- our thoughts will come and go and change over time, they are like clouds and we should watch them drift away. I like this idea – sometimes I can get really bogged down in my thoughts but to be able to detach myself from them makes me feel more positive that I will one day be free from them. I saw a photo of myself from a few years ago – before I started this affair and realised I am in fact the same person – it’s just my thoughts that have changed. And they will change again. It may be slowly and it may take time but they will change.
    I don’t intend to contact him again. If he does contact me my plan is to tell him I am blocking him totally and the reasons why. Unless I decide to block him first – I will think about this some more.
    Hugs to all and thank you for your support xxx

    • FW

      Hi Faith in the future, I don’t know all your story but the few lines I have read reminds me of what I went through a couple of years back, I was in it 3.5 years. I don’t know your situation but just wanted to point out, or maybe clarify, open eyes or ask you a few questions (as at the time I should have asked myself, as it’s clear now he would have treat me the same).

      But first thing – many have have asked ‘not sure what I’ll do if he contacts me’ – you do NOTHING. This is the emotional bridge we must get over. It’s just a text or a missed call, we do not need to respond, doing so will get you no where. 21st gadgets are a pain but brilliant too! But no – no response needed!
      My ex MM tried to Hoover (or kept popping up under comments FB, I deleted my account) for about 6 months, it killed me, there is no quick healing but you are always healing and you are always moving forward.
      There was a leaving party booked for a colleague at work, a friend of his, MM no longer worked there – but was invited. Had this awful feeling he would definitely make the effort to go because he knew I would. Found out the second he was asked he’d booked a hotel. Had to be honest with his friends that as he was going, I couldn’t. These were very close friends of his and one rented my spare room – how awkward, it was their leaving do!
      I said I am so sorry and I know I should be going as they are also my dear friends, but as something so terribly bad happened, it’s best we don’t see each other.
      One of the guys told him (wasn’t happy about this but they were baffled as everyone thought we were best friends – the MM had lost his job 6 mths previous as contracts were ended). 3 days later…low and behold, after No Contact for 6 months, I get an email to 2 of my email addresses!!!
      I couldn’t believe it!! I was shaking (read at work) shocked and upset. Was the usual hoovering ‘hoping to see you and catch up, Chris said you’re not coming because of me and if I’m honest I’m disappointed, I hope I can change your mind, you’re the most amazing girl I’ve ever met blah blah blah you don’t have to reply, maybe you closed these accounts down as part of pulling away’ – last part was being manipulative to make me reply! hahaha 6 mths on I had educated myself fully on controlling narcissists, I saw straight through him but still upsetting as I have emotions and he could still get to me.

      This email put me into a spin of confusion, I was with someone else for 3 months but even 6 months after 3. 5 years it was raw – it’s raw because an affair with a controlling lying manipulator (don’t think your MMs aren’t anything else – otherwise you wouldn’t be here) is the most exhausting, confusing and devastating timewasting experience ever. I spent all afternoon frantically texting friends – in short, I didn’t need to do anything – NO need to respond- no nothing. I have never blocked him (I deleted the app we chatted on but he can email etc) and I don’t need to reply. This is where your emotions come in – don’t make something out of nothing as this is what the MMs have manufacturerd- a text if just that, regardless of content. Ignore it, delete it. I felt so much better ignoring the email, think I just put it in my ‘stuff’ folder! What can I say? My friends and family think I’m amazing thank you, I don’t need a cheater to try to boost my ego, I will never allow a MM or he was an attached man with 2 kids to boost my ego, there is nothing boosting about it. Disgusting.

      So when they contact you after No Contact – Do nothing, there is nothing to do. Don’t let them Hoover you back in as that’s all their doing. Don’t think otherwise – this is not the fairytale love story they have tried to make you think it is the world will be on awe of!

      Also, I was going to ask – as I realise this now and should have done when reading these websites whilst still seeing him. If he messes you AND his wife around for 3 years, if he did leave, what makes you think he won’t treat you badly? What you see now IS the person he is, the man cheating on the wife, lying to her, messing you about – hurting both of you is this man – why do you want him? It’s a funny idea of love I can tell you! Love is a wonderful feeling, not pain, lies and affairs. And when they are affairs, they go on for such minimal time people aren’t messes around and the MM does the right thing.
      You’re doing amazingly, start loving your life for YOU, and stop living for someone who only has his best interests at heart, you deserve to love you – lots! If he contacts – ignore it – no explanation needed, the man has no respect for anyone! Much love x

      • Faith in the Future

        Hi FW,
        Thanks so much for your words- it’s just what I needed to hear. You are right, why would I want a man who is ok with cheating on his wife for years on end? I would never be able to trust him because I know what he is capable of.
        I will continue to take this one day at a time , some are harder than others but every day is a step closer to getting over this horrible situation for good. It really is the only way. I’m so glad you are in such a strong place and have moved on with your life. I have so much to be grateful for in life – kids, family, friends. I really shouldn’t waste any more time thinking about someone who never really wanted to be part of it.
        Hugs xxx

        • FW

          Hi Faith in the future, FW stands for Forever Waiting, but changed it to FW as I had stopped that but the time I started paying here September 2016! Thought I’d mention that, looks a bit like ‘M’ or something from James Bond 🙂

          Yes you are very right – the trust. However, men do go onto be faithful, but as mentioned; these are the ones that have left within weeks and months, certainly not years. This knowledge hasn’t been just one I’ve read about countless times but witnessed through friends and family. My brothers gf left her husband, she genuinely was unhappy with for my brother within weeks of meeting him – they are together 15 years later and 2 kids. My friends brother has just married who he says is the love of his life, he met her whilst married, 10 years 3 kids – very unhappy again and the last thing he thought he’d do, I think within 2-3 mths he left as no way would be stretch out an affair. 5 years later and this Easter they got married and have a 3 year old. Neither are going to guarentee life time happiness but they did the right thing.

          My ex MM knew this but made countless excuses about his business, I could see where he was coming from as was and is a joint business and home etc, it’s the same old same now, but if money rules over love and biggest excuse – why wpuld I want him? The goalposts are constantly moved and we are blinded to this.

          So I feel it’s more than trust, they are manipulative liars during the affair, as you say how can we trust if we were to go with them (my ex MM loved twisting that on me saying how could he trust me?!?! I LEFT my ex boyfriend for him…..2.5 years later he still hasn’t left his partner, they twist everything!) they would also control lots in the relationship and treat you badly. I can’t imagine how exhausting it is for his gf of 15 years (as ex MM isn’t married) – as he is hard faced and controlling, he is a Narc and he is mean – mind games, control, all nothing less than emotional abuse – he said he’d ignore her for days if she did something wrong, that used to upset me as that’s awful passive aggressive behaviour, at the time I didn’t realise I was ‘in love’ with a guy who was and is a nasty piece of work! That poor lady that lives with him. He is an emotional abuser – any guy or girl that drags out affairs for a long during is just messing with your emotions and that is utterly unforgivable.

          Give yourself time, lots of time. I don’t have kids or family around me but like you took one day at a time. It probably took me (although we’re all different) 8 months + to feel OK again but it took his friends leaving my work place and leaving the flat we rented and movong aroubd the corner. Yes been with a new guy but the scars of the affair which was nothing but abusing my trust and empathic nature were still healing.

          So it’s all time and will get better day by werk by month. I still get angry now, I sometimes wake up in utter disbelief I out my whole life in hold, including IVF treatment, my childbearing years, for 3 years for him – and left my ex for him!! then I calm down again and remember how long it took to get here and the first 3-6 months of no contact hard, how the first Xmas not texting him and trying to move on without him left a hole. But, the hole was always there. He had his life, 100%, he cried he couldn’t live without me but he always could – he never came running as I was just the accessorie. Despite the bull he spoke for 3 years or more. I was surplus to requirements by then, so he just left it – glad I decided to as well! Much love and stay strong, don’t let him manipulate, don’t feel sorry for someone who has his whole life. Xx

        • Felk

          Hi Faith in the future, Like FW says, the trust is really difficult in affairs because not only is your MM, by definition, in a relationship with another person but he’s also shown that he is willing to cheat on a very important person in his life. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I think that people who are willing to cheat are “cheaters.” What I mean is that this isn’t a one-time thing. Sure, it may be, if no opportunity arises again, but, generally, I think that people who cheat just have a different personality such that they are typically open to cheating again. And that makes trust very hard in affairs. It makes it hard when you’re in the affair… think of all the insecurity we feel in the affair… and it would make it hard if your MM were to leave his W and want to be with you. And, think about it, this trust issue usually exists for both people in the affair and that makes it doubly hard. Two people with trust issues in a relationship does not bode well. I know my MM had jealousy in our relationship. He hid it well, but when it reared its head, it was ugly. Of course, when he was jealous, he responded with coldness and anger. When I was jealous, I responded with desperation and clinginess. Thankfully, it didn’t happen a lot for us, but I think that jealousy was one of the factors that ended our relationship. Of course, there were many factors with one of them being that he was worried he was ruining his marriage, but another factor seemed to be that he was finding it harder to be away from me and picture my H doing the things with me that he wanted to do. But I know that had we ever left our marriages for each other (which I don’t think we were close to doing… I know I didn’t want to), I would have always had a nagging jealousy when he was out at night without me. And that’s miserable in a relationship. Right now, I have near zero jealousy in my marriage and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I STILL do have a little of this jealousy with my MM, even though we’re trying to break up, and it causes me setbacks in my healing. Sorry if I went on a bit of a rant, but jealousy has been on my mind this weekend since I was feeling some this week (and I think he was, too).

          As for your last sentence about not wasting any more time on someone who doesn’t want to be a part of your life… really good advice. It’s a hard honesty that I’m trying to get to, but as my MM continues to show signs that he wants distance from me (even though his signals are mixed and he continues to tell me he’s in love with me and that he wants to keep spending time with me) I need to pay attention to his signals of distance that he is trying to remove himself from my life and I need to stop wasting time thinking about this. That is my goal (and I’m getting there).

      • lara

        FW You are like a breath of fresh air to my ears! Thank you for your poignant and sometimes hilarious description of life with a narc. I agree in spades! A narc is no walk in the grass, Mine is emotionally manipulative as all get out and wants me to sympathize with him as he is so unhappily married but still can not bring himself to say “I love you” to me. I now regret I ever responded to the stupid “White Dove” gif (hoover) of this man. He knows how to use false hope like a pro. I have 90 days away from him and using all kinds of support systems and tricks to stay clear of him but I fell for his “white dove” trick. I have read somewhere that after a narc tries to hoover a few times and gets no response they will stop doing this. Do you think this is true? I wonder if mine will continue? I fear the answer is “yes” as I did not ignore him recently when I got that gif. UGH. Lara xo

    • lara

      Faith in the Future I know your story so well . The repeat patterns. The entrenched patterns. The lack of movement. In the end when you lose hope you will let go totally. But this thing called “hope”keeps us waiting and stuck. It is a curse I think. I hope for your sake that he has not connected you, and that you can still move forward. As you can read from my story the re-contacts are just more pain as far as I am concerned. Somewhere I read we should block all the avenues of contact because “no contact means no new hurts”. How true that is in affairs! Love Lara xoxo