What To Do When He’s Hard To Understand

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bad boyThe Question:

Rori, first off I just want to thank you for all of the information you have put out there to help women. It means so much.

I read your newsletter every week through email. With that said, I wanted your opinion on my situation seeing as you are very wise. Here is my situation.

Three years ago I started personal training with a man who is a fitness personal trainer. At the time, he was married to his wife, a friend of mine from h.s. After h.s, her and I did not remain friends. Long story short, throughout those 3 years I saw him fall out of love with said woman. During the time they were married, he and I flirted, but nothing ever happened…

…I took a break from training in the summer of 2015 and in early 2016 I returned to training with him from feb-august 2016. Our “relationship” had always been a very honest open relationship. We shared everything with one another.

It’s one aspect about our relationship that I love which is that the basis for it is friendship. We most definitely started as friends. When I met him, I wasn’t even interested in him in that way. Anyways, when I came back in Feb of ’16 the dynamic of our relationship changed.

Suddenly he was very flirtatious. He would kiss me like on the shoulder or the cheek and give me hugs. Very affectionate, and I loved seeing him and him me.

I always looked forward to our sessions together.

One night in June during my last relapse (I am a recovering alcoholic, I have almost 4 months sober) (yay! lol) I called him at the end of the night and he offered to come over. I was drunk, I made the first move which I regret, I kissed him. I wouldn’t of done that had I been sober especially after everything I’ve read about men chasing women.

I guess it applies to physical contact too not sure. Anyways, he didn’t resist. Things got a little wild but we didn’t have sex.

(Side note: After that night/relapse he has mentioned that one of his fears is me relapsing again.) ( Another side note,Hes always been very supportive of my struggles w addiction and sobriety) Fast forward to another night in July – I stopped by his gym to give him a massage and things got sexual again, but again no sex.

I didn’t allow it. and he didn’t push it. He got satisfied another way 😉 During this time from Feb-August like I said dynamics between us changed things got flirtatious and they also got more emotional between us. At one point we even considered planning a trip to Europe together.

Finally at the end of August beginning of September everything culminated to me telling him I wasn’t going to train with him anymore. I told him it was because of money and it was, but some of my other truths came out and I told him that I felt like I had to pay to see him and that it wasn’t ok. Mind you he has a very busy schedule.

Basically I got true to myself, I stopped paying for his training which I couldn’t afford and I told him how I really feel. Then I stopped texting him all the time, along with no longer seeing him anymore because I stopped training and all of the sudden HE started to contact me.

All of the sudden he began to initiate contact when previous to this it was always me. Since then he has told me he misses me he wants to see me. He invited me to an n/a meeting one night but it was last minute and I was at work. (He’s a recovering cocaine user and has been clean for the last 3 years, he had a mini relapse in Colombia of all places, lol, in December of 15, but he still considers himself 3 years sober. I don’t argue with him about it.

It’s his sobriety, anyways, So I told him I couldn’t go but that I was free the next two Saturdays. Then one night I went on social media and I saw this girl who I became very suspicious of in regards to him and after that when he initiated contact with me I didn’t answer.

He texted me until finally he called me and I answered. I told him what was bothering me because he asked. It was very difficult to be so honest and vulnerable and I was scared, but I did it. I told him I thought that he was in some secret relationship and all of my suspicions. He laughed a little and immediately clarified.

He was very transparent. He told me about the girl. He knew her from h.s that she did pursue him very strongly but that she’s Mormon so therefore he’s not interested and she’s kind of promiscuous and is in a complicated situation (she has a kid) that he wants nothing to do with. He also told me that he’s not ready for any relationship.

That he’s in a stage in his life where he is scared of picking a path in all areas of his life. Job wise, woman wise. Hes kind of an all or nothing person and that there’s no one else in the picture right now. Hes very focused on his job.

His business is doing very well. We ended the conversation with that we would get together for a meeting.

One week after that conversation, I was hormonal one night (I act impulsively and a little crazy when I am pmsing just to give you a clear idea of the situation) and I texted him about my miserable day at work. I told him I need tlc (normally these days, I wouldn’t initiate contact or say any of this,but like I said I was a little out of my mind on this particular day) and he said well come over and get some tlc and I said, ok if you’re serious I will.

Then there was this back and forth. Like, yes, no, yes no, my therapist told me not to do impulsive last minute things with men because it’s like a sexual relapse. (I am in-between places right now and living with my parents so him coming over wasn’t really an option)( I am also not driving because I’m waiting to have 6mnths sober. He knows this and understands.)

He gets home from 16 hour days exhausted and works early the next day so I said I would take an taxi which I wasn’t too happy about saying in fear of coming across too over eager. The conversation ended with him being like let me plan this and think it through so that I’m not all foggy and impulsive and we will for sure hang out this week. I told him that he wouldn’t follow through with it.

That he would talk to his counselor, he would over analyze it and then back out. He swore up and down that no, he would follow through with HIS plan for hanging out this week. etc etc. Fast forward to this past Saturday, Im thinking ok, he said we would for sure get together this week. He initiated contact with me that Thursday, then Fri comes along I don’t hear a thing from him.

Mind you I know he’s super busy up until relatively late Friday nights, but then Saturday comes along and nothing. No invitation to the Saturday n/a meeting, or to come over. Nothing. Finally at the end of the day I check his Instagram and there’s this picture of him ziplinging with some guy and a girl (I don’t think he is romantically linked to the girl) and I lost it. I had a fit.

I felt so angry, sad, mislead, rejected, disregarded, the whole thing. Underneath the picture he said it was a birthday present from his good friend. I know he’s a people pleaser and that he can’t say no to a birthday invitation and something so fun and I have no problem with him having fun but I felt so disregarded. Didn’t he remember what he told me?

That we would get together this week etc etc. Here is the best part Rori, fast forward to this Monday, today, I had a disagreement with my mother, we’re fine now, lol, and I felt very out of control, again which is when I act out of character and text him first. he said hi back and then HE initiated the topic and said, why didn’t I see you at the meeting this Saturday? in my head I was like, what?

I told him because I was waiting for you to invite me and because I don’t even have an address. Where is it? He was like, I did invite you (he didn’t ever technically invite me it was only mentioned like I mentioned in the part above) he said, you said you could go. I said, we never said this time on this
date so I figured that when you were ready you would let me know. And since then I haven’t gotten an answer.

That was earlier today this afternoon. It was almost like he was mad at me despite the fact that I was the one who was totally left up in the air if my understanding about this is correct. I believe he didn’t respond to the last text that I sent because he doesn’t know what to say.

(Hes normally very responsive) I have no idea if he’s using this whole, why weren’t you at the meeting Saturday thing to save face, or if he genuinely expected me to be there despite never formally inviting me as he had done in the past. He also neglected to mention the fact that HE said we would hang out this week but that he never gave me a time or a date.

I don’t know what to say to him. I know you talk about taking a deep breath, connecting with my gut feeling and telling him how I feel. I don’t know if I should do it in text or in person or how to go about it.

I feel as though I am in an impossible situation because how do I approach this without seeming needy and weak or dramatic and scaring him away. Do I even bring up how I really feel/felt in the first place? Do I let him initiate contact again and if not and I wait for him to do it then how do I go about it when he does? What do I do?

I don’t want to lose the relationship w him because it means a lot to me, but I also don’t want to be some pathetic push over who puts up with any kind of treatment. I have read your writings, but how do i apply them to my situation or to my real life I am not sure. All of this has been very confusing for me.

It’s like hes told me where he stands but then he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He doesn’t want a relationship, but, I miss you, I love you, I want to see you, calling me pet names, inviting me to meetings, let’s hang out let’s not hang out then turns it around and says, why weren’t you at the meeting when this week.

I am SO confused despite it all, I love him so much and despite how it sounds I truly believe he is a good person but I’m at my wit’s end I don’t know how to handle it and it was super frustrating …thank you SO SO much for reading this when I’m sure you have a busy schedule, I know it was very long but I wanted you to have a very thorough understanding of the situation.

Please help! What should I do? Love, Nancy

My Answer:

Dear Nancy, First, I’m so sorry for this experience you’re having – and every moment you describe is something I’ve experienced, and reading your letter made me feel everything I used to feel when I was taking – actually CHASING AFTER – crumbs, like you are, right now.

I know that so many women, including me, have been through this exact kind of situation.

The first step needed here is for me to say this out loud, and for you to hear it as the truth – no matter what you WANT this situation to be.

And that is that this is NOT ANY KIND of relationship. As a recovering alcoholic, I know you know this. (And by the way – Brava for your sobriety!)

You have a “history” with this man – and that’s not the same thing as a relationship.

It’s not possible to have a relationship – even a friendship – with a man who is not in any way, shape or form able to “be” in a relationship.

He is acting (and this does not make him “bad”) like a very young, very self-involved, very conflicted and pulled-in-many-directions man, living from moment-to-moment by the seat of his pants. He doesn’t have “band-width” to even THINK about anyone else – in this case: you.

As weird and painful as any kind of involvement with this kind of man can be – it also can be lovely ! It’s those lovely moments that draw us in.

If we’re not feeling all great about ourselves on a very deep, solid level – a man who really doesn’t have the space and energy to truly care about us can be a very attractive thing! We are all attracted to devil-may-care men.

And the important thing to realize about this is that he’s actually irrelevant to you right now.

If I were to coach you, I’d ask you to focus on yourself this way:

1. Find work you love, that pays you well, and that satisfies your soul. This takes some attention.

2. Circular Date, foster your sobriety, feed your soul, take care of yourself, and find yourself a home (perhaps even with a roommate) you can afford that makes you feel empowered, and gives you the opportunity to really attend to yourself.

3. Stay out of contact with this man. His behavior is erratic, confusing, and feels demeaning to you. Stay away.

4. Hang out with people who pay you attention, straight-out ask for your time and company and make that happen. To do this – simply follow your own desires. Try things – dancing, acting class, lectures, spiritual centers, yoga…

Love, Rori


  1.  #1Ayesha on October 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Oh my god, this reaaaaaaaally spoke to me! I REAAAAAAALLY needed this!
    Rori, I simply LOVE your tone in this message – it’s the TONE I’m trying to take with myself.
    So, I, BROKE AAAAAAALLLL THE RULES (which are designed to protect me), initiated contact with a former fling, totally did 70% of the driving, aaaaaaaaaand now I’m like, shit. why did i do that? So I’m trying to take your tone with myself. Like, “Oh, did you do that, little Ash? Were you feeling lonely? Are you struggling with writing and projecting onto a man? Aww, it’s ok. *kiss* Let’s do some reading now shall we?”
    And then when the anxious/needy me starts feeling rage/anger/resentment/blame/AKA GUUUIIIIIILLLLLLT for having gotten myself into this mess, I’m like “oh look, all these pretty boys and girls on okcupid… wanna have a looksie, here you go!”
    Haha. Ai ai ai.
    This man is SOOOOOOOOOO HOOOT and just pushes aaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll my buttons. He’s like crack for me. And about as nutritious. Commitment averse (of course)! Lots of lovers (OF COURSE)!
    Well I am trying to cultivate radical acceptance of everything, but it’s basically peeling back the layers and finding all this guilt and pain and powerlessness and LACK inside me… just trying to heal the ouch within, one kiss at a time.
    Thank you so much, Rori!

  2.  #2Angela on October 25, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I can do relate to this woman.
    I’ve been there, -am there, kinda.
    But truly it does get better if you can cut off contact , even if it’s uncomfortable.
    I’m the middle Of the obsession with a man like this we feel so shitty about ourselves, less than, not beautiful, -and we idolize this man-whoever he is at the moment.
    And when you go days weeks without investing In him the foggyness in our head clears up, the obsession lessens
    We see a It clear.
    We don’t need to have this man!
    He’s not better or too good for us and we are not less!
    At least that’s what happens to me when I distance myself from this man,
    I see him as any other man, whatever who cares!?
    I don’t want to feel bad with myself, and taking crumbs makes me feel bad,being ignored makes me feel bad, and this man allows me to feel bad with myself; so in the end I use him to feel bad with myself.
    He’s just doing him, he’s not special.
    In no way!
    Just riffing here hahaha.
    To the writer of this letter Hope you find the peace and love you deserve.
    To my own heart I hope I also find peace and love.
    And see this man for who he is, nothing special, nothing I need to have!

  3.  #3Angela on October 25, 2016 at 12:48 am

    What I want to have is me!
    My own back! Love for me!!
    What I want is to have good sex, love, and romance with a good man.
    Not just mind blowing sex with a man that calls me twice a week, a man who is super handsome, super cold to me when it comes to anything else other than sex.
    Hahaha I want good stuff for myself.
    Why do I think this man is the only one in the world who is good at sex, why do I feel his sexyness and beauty is worth my sanity.
    And who knows maybe I’ll find someone sexy as him, only with true love for me.
    That feels so good !
    And all the times I’ve said how I feel , overfunctioned, begged and pleaded for him, cried for him, obsessed about him, got angry with him, sent him drunk texts, desperate texts, lonely texts, the times I was ignored by him, I made mistakes .
    Well I’m not gonna blame me cuz that keeps me from
    Moving forward.
    It’s extremely cringeworthy.
    But I need to forgive myself and move on.
    I want to forgive myself and love myself and let it go.
    Who cares I made mistakes!?
    I felt addicted!
    That’s what addiction does!
    And who cares if he judges me, I guess I really care,but I shouldn’t.
    Only the people who truly love me should matter only their opinion should matter to me.
    I don’t care if he thinks I’m a loser, obsessed, or whatever.
    I got sucked into something not healthy.
    And i guess this is what happens .
    I’m gonna let him go!
    Why cuz I want to love me!
    Cuz I don t need to have him!
    Cuz I want true love!
    Cuz true love is different
    You know when it’s love cuz the man makes you feel good!
    I forgive myself
    I acknowledge that I have only been doing this cuz well it’s my pattern that’s the love I thought I deserve but it’s not true!
    I’m willing to trust roris advice and my own hopeful heart!
    That I can have it all.
    That love isn’t yearning!
    That I deserve love. That’s there’s nothing wrong with me.
    Love will show up if I open my heart to it.

  4.  #4Nancy on October 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Rori, it’s “Nancy.” You’re a beautiful person. Thank you for your words. Although they are difficult to absorb, they help me to refocus and realign my attention. Thank you to all the women who commented and will comment in the future. May we all find peace and love. -Nancy

  5.  #5April Rose on October 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I love your riffing and the beautiful way you express yourself.

    I love Rori’s answer to the letter in this posting. The letter goes on and on, in excruciating detail. And Rori just says it like it is, and cuts through to the essence of the whole thing. Like, girl, you are taking crumbs, and not only accepting them but tying yourself up in knots trying to procure them.

    Phew. I know that story well.
    And how relieved I feel having made the decision not to want crumbs again.
    From now on, I accept only the best for the sweet lady that lives within 🙂

  6.  #6IamHis on November 1, 2016 at 7:39 am

    He was hinting that he wanted a massage, like he just expected me to give him one. He was telling me he was sore and I was like “bummer, sorry” but didn’t move in to fix his pain for him. It made me feel cheap. We are nothing, so why should I?

    How would you all handle a man hinting that he wanted a massage? It didn’t feel good.

  7.  #7IamHis on November 1, 2016 at 8:06 am

    One thing I really want to get a hold on is acting as if a man does not exist if he is not right in front of me. I find this difficult. I am very particular. So, on the rare occasion that I am physically and emotionally attracted to a man, I find myself thinking about him. I’m honestly surprised that I’m attracted to a new guy already. Men feel so dime a dozen to me, and I feel bored with most.

    I don’t know what this “means” about where I am emotionally. Maybe I’m bored because I really am ready for a commitment with the right guy.

    I mean, I’m extremely attracted to this one guy, but I don’t really trust him, and I’ve already heard him say that he’s not looking for anything serious.

    Is this a good sign? Is this knowledge the thing that is keeping me balanced and somewhat bored with him, even though he is extremely good looking?

    Maybe I’m stronger than I thought.

    Maybe there’s hope after all.

    I know he is just as attracted to me. He acts nervous sometimes, and it’s honestly cute.

    But I don’t want to waste my time or energy, and I won’t!

    I honestly feel annoyed even writing about him. Baby steps.

  8.  #8Millie on November 6, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Ladies,

    Feeling a little judgmental of a man right now…. a guy I’m dating is choosing not to vote because he doesn’t feel educated enough. I feel turned off by him saying that, I want to be with an empowered man who takes the initiative to learn the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision about his country’s future. One who is passionate! His choice feels passive, defeatist, and lazy to me. It’s not that he’s not educated, he’s choosing not to learn. Most of the country probably isn’t well versed in politics, but we make choices based off the knowledge we do have access to. I’m concerned his attitude, or indifference will show up in other avenues. He seems to care about certain policies that affect him and takes a slight rebel approach. I feel judgmental.

  9.  #9Dixie on November 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm


    Ohhhhh, I would definitely feel triggered by that, and as you mentioned, I would feel very, very turned off for exactly the reasons you mentioned above.

    It seems like a defeatist attitude, and from my personal experience, it’s much easier for people to be cynical than to take the time to learn and become informed. An man who feels empowered to make a difference is very attractive!

  10.  #10Femininewoman on November 13, 2016 at 8:36 am

    And he is entitled to make his choices. And might be inspired by the action you take

  11.  #11Andrea on November 23, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Hello every goddess and Happy Thanksgiving!!
    I feel so happy to come back home to this site and be surrounded by names I know and those I don’t, all relatable to me, all beautiful expressions of hope and love and wisdom and moment to moment feeling.
    I’m so glad to be back.

  12.  #12Epiphyllum on November 28, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Hi Andrea

    Good to see your name again. Hope life has treated you well, dear beautiful goddess.
    The blog has been so quiet. Miss your energy in it … I feel touched by your passionate heart & have learned a lot from your past experiences.

    Also miss Zara’s wisdom, and Indigo, Victoria and Azure Blu’s wonderful sharing. Hope all goes well magnificent sirens!

  13.  #13Femininewoman on November 28, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Hey Andrea. Great to see your hope. Hope all is well

  14.  #14Andrea on November 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Hi. Thank you ladies for your welcome. I’ve had a lot of changes since last year when I was here. Graduated college, moved back to the big city, and reconnected with the huge support system that is my crazy, humongous, lively and loving Italian family, and got a new job in customer service department with a very big company.

    BUT.. I’m still single. 43, starting life over, my two daughters are growing up and taking care of themselves physically and don’t need me watching over them as much, and I’m certainly ready to be with the love of my life (the rest of my life).

    I’m re-reading Rori’s ebook and excited about starting over in my dating life.
    I feel ready and blessed with my emotional baggage from past relationships pretty healed up, and no lingering strings or ties. I’m a free agent. Hah!!

    Happy holidays all, I’m gonna try and see if I can read the new post and keep in touch with everyone.

  15.  #15Epiphyllum on November 29, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Feel happy for you Andrea… you’ve done well and your new life feels so fresh and full of hope.!

  16.  #16Mel on December 2, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I love the advice and all the comments. I intend to follow it but am wondering how would you not stay in contact with the man if you have children together? I would find it easier to have no contact, but children need to see their father even though he is so in and out of their lives it would feel great to hear your thoughts or suggestions. X

  17.  #17Indigo on December 4, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Hi Andrea! It feels so wonderful to see you here again, you have been very missed.

    Hi Epiphyllum! I don’t recognise your name, did you used to post under a different name?

    I am in a beautiful, settled relationship of 9 months now after many, many heartbreaks, many of which I have spoken about on this blog and some of which I haven’t. And there are several things I can say about calling the right kind of man/relationship into your life. So I hope you don’t mind me throwing my tuppence worth into the ring.

    The first thing I would say is that I think you need to be comfortable/happy alone. I don’t mean in the sense of wanting to be alone or being done with men or any of that nonsense, I just mean in the sense of loving and valuing yourself enough to be self-contained, so that you don’t *need* anyone. If you’re with someone it’s because you want to be. You love yourself enough to be selective and you don’t feel in any way that you need to be around someone who doesn’t feel really good to you.

    Secondly I’d say you really need to be able to see past the superficial in guys. You need to be able to “see” with your heart so to speak. What does your heart say about this person, despite how he may look or appear? Is he kind, is he open and emotionally available, is he caring, does he listen to you and care how you feel… these are the things which are important, not how impressive he might seem as a partner. And this goes beyond just how a man looks or how much money he earns… some women are attracted to men because of their charm or because of the exciting job he has, or because he has the same hobbies or interests… And there’s nothing wrong with these things per se, but ultimately they say nothing about how loving he is, or about his ability to care for you and your needs, and this is what is REALLY important. A man who gives you a fleeting fuzzy feeling is just simply not worth very much on your search for love. I fell for many men who were very good at spinning some pretty words for me, or creating fun experiences. They could flash their big eyes at me and make me feel weak at the knees and that’s about it. They gave me some nice memories but where are they now?

    And that brings me to my third realisation. There has to be compatibility of feelings and desires. If there isn’t you are essentially wasting your time and it is a recipe for heartbreak. You have to want each other the same amount and you have to want the same things. Not you loving him and him being indecisive about his feelings for you. And not you wanting a secure, settled relationship and him just wanting to have fun and keep things casual. And I mean you have to want these things the SAME AMOUNT. He needs to love you at least as much as you love him, and preferably more, and he needs to want to commit to you just as much as you want him to.

    Adult relationships are hard enough without having to question whether the other person really wants to be in one and really loves you. You want a man who adores you and makes you feel safe. Your heart knows where he is, just follow it.

  18.  #18Epiphyllum on December 5, 2016 at 3:56 am

    Yes Indigo, I’ve followed blog for some years and learnt a lot from Rori and inspired by all your beautiful sirens’ wonderful sharing.

    English is not my first language. I only posted very occasionally using other name and this name. Wondering how Zara, Azure Blue and Victoria are doing!

  19.  #19Andrea on December 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Oh thank you Indigo. What a great response. I definitely feel buoyed and rejuvenated by your experiences. I know…. like in thinking mode…. what you’re talking about when it comes to being happy with self. I do feel comfortable being alone in that, I’ve learned I don’t have to compromise when I’m alone. It’s a selfish kind of satisfaction.
    Then I waver into another selfish longing of wanting a man to come along and validate me and rescue me.
    I know I go into that mode and I feel the harm and the pushing love away when it happens.

    I feel more mature in that I am aware of that issue and can feel myself going into that fantasy, overfunctioning, type of “chasing” a man. It’s like trying to catch a run away puppy… the more I chase, the more they run.


  20.  #20Indigo on December 9, 2016 at 8:10 am


    Yeah, we all fall into that trap. That’s why I say it is so important to find a man who doesn’t make you feel insecure or self-doubting. If you can feel relaxed and good, and safe with him MOST of the time, it eliminates most of these struggles.

    Men who blow hot and cold in any way by their very nature make us want validation.