Don’t Pay It Forward

how to forgive menGranted, it sucks to get burned. You trusted someone, and they let you down.

Maybe they cheated on you. Maybe they lied. Maybe they didn’t follow-through on a really important promise.

It hurts.

The temptation when that happens is to allow the experience to carry over to the next dating encounter we have. That’s never a good thing.

The disappointment you feel when someone you’re interested in lets you down can be profound. Even if it’s a small thing, that kind of pain lingers.

And when it’s something big, like a full-on cheating situation, it can leave you bitter and angry with the opposite sex for months or even years.

A well-known quote comes to mind: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Of course, you’re no fool. You’re smart enough to avoid repeating the same mistake. If one of your mistakes was trusting someone who wasn’t worthy of your trust, you’re savvy enough to learn from it.

And really, that’s smart, provided you remember did you wrong.

In other words, don’t make your new man pay for the mistakes of the other guy.

The moment you decide that all men are guilty until proven innocent, you start to push away subtly the kind of man who really is trust worthy. The suspicion and lack of trust you bring to future dating relationships will hurt those relationships before they even get started.

While it certainly isn’t fair that you’ve been lied to or cheated on, it’s no more fair to treat the innocent like they’re guilty.

Yes, it’s tough to go out on a limb and trust someone after you’ve been burned. It feels vulnerable and uncomfortable. But dragging your baggage from a previous relationship into the next one doesn’t help you at all. In fact, it will almost always hurt you.

When someone lets you down, take the time to assess what went wrong. Learn what you can from it, but then make a conscious decision to look for the best in people again. Doing so will not prevent you from noticing red flags.

how to forgive menDeal with the very real pain and disappointment you feel, and then make a conscious decision to not pay it forward.

Don’t punish the next person for the mistakes of the last one. It’s a very common mistake that can make a perfectly lovely woman less attractive to the right man when you finally meet him.

Always on your side,


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23 thoughts on “Don’t Pay It Forward

  1. Miserable said:

    I want to believe it is possible to trust and love once again. Ive been so betrayed and lied to its broken me down to the core, I’m so dissapointed in myself for allowing this to happen to me! I cant even trust my own instincts ! How could I not know he was manipulating me, when I first came out of denial it was like waking up from a coma, not knowing what happened to me! How could I not see it? All the wrong he has done to me!?! How could I be sooo wrapped up in him that I basicaly neglected my own children?? Like texting him some pathetic reply was really worth my time? Theres no way I can even try to get out there and try again! Like going to a meat market with 100,000 to choose from and only one is the good one, the rest will poison you and your family. Would you risk picking the wrong one again when you barely survived the last rotten festering slab of meat you chose? I know its a weird analogy but thats just how I feel. I’m pretty sure theres no magic cure for me, I feel like Im not even me anymore, like I’ve turned into this cold hearted, judgemental, overly suspicious person . Downright paranoid sometimes. I have gotten angry cause a guy complimented me, cause I figured it was a lie, just to get laid, I dont trust anyone, not even my own self how did I let this happen ? and how do I fix myself? How do I protect my kids from doing what ai have done??

    • James Bauer said:

      That does sound, miserable. I think I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say we believe in you and we will trust you to emerge from your defensive stance in your own time when it feels right to you.

      Right now, the part of you that stands up for your need to feel safe, secure, and in control is rallying for control over other aspects of your personality…such as those that like to be creative, adventurous, living toward growth and connection, etc. So it makes perfect sense given what you’ve been through recently.

      You are not broken. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite. You are having the reaction healthy, sane people have when they have just escaped by the skin of their teeth from a really bad situation.

      Time will bring new perspectives. There is no rush. We’ll be here when you’re ready…and we’ll be rooting for you along the way.


  2. JJ said:

    James, I was in a long term committed relationship for 16 years. It was also a creative relationship, a musical partnership, if you will. I’m not sure what happened but it certainly caught me by surprise. Infidelity with someone half our age who used to work for us. Everything I believed in and worked for, the future and the present just fell apart. And I still don’t think I’ve quite recovered from the trauma, 15 months on. We still work together and it’s not been easy. The creative circle is a tight knit one, it’s been awfully hard to hang on to friendships the way they once were. It’s like Nick Cave said in a recent documentary about emotional trauma, “What happens when an event occurs that is so catastrophic that you just change? You change from the known person to an unknown person. So that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you recognize the person that you were, but the person inside the skin is a different person.”

    I’m seeing someone new and I want this relationship to work but somehow, I just don’t believe in myself anymore, my ability to keep something good going. I still feel failure and a total loss of self and understanding. So how does one move forward from something that has changed the entire face of everything I know and all that’s constituted who I am for the last decade and a half?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi JJ. First of all, let me just say that I am very sorry for the emotional trauma you have lived through because of your partner’s infidelity. I wish you had never experienced his failure in the relationship in that horrible way.

      Let me also affirm the good that you chose to embrace by loving another person. You created something beautiful by loving him, even though he failed you. The good cannot be erased. You embraced what is good, which is the only sensible choice. We can’t live in fear of being hurt, or else we fail to participate in creating as much good as we possibly can.

      Trauma causes reactions. We react to pain and emotional hurt. But don’t let those reactions define you. Choose this day whom you will become. Do not fall prey to the belief that the trauma is in control. Do not reject your power to choose your destiny as you pick yourself up off the floor and once again look to the horizon.

      You are a creator. Embrace that destiny.


  3. Veronica said:

    This guy pursued me for almost 6mo when I was dating someone else. Telling me he was a better man for me and my 4 boys. I finally gave into all his promises since my relationship with the other guy clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Only to date new guy for 4 months and he falls into a depression. it all start when he moved back into his old home he lived with ex wife, working from home and then our new relationship all in the same mo. He finally pushed me away in September and I have been by his side as a friend encouraging him anyway possible, all he says is that I am an Amazing woman n he Loves me, doesn’t want to continue hurting me. December he seeked counseling, but stopped cause he couldn’t afford he after a mo. I helped somewhat, but he has shut down again. Now only wanting my friendship.. I know he loves me and tells me I am the ONLY person he Trust yet I feel him so distant and cold at times.. I have started to move on, but wonder if he is worth me to continue waiting. He is my best friend and we connect on so many levels till all this started.. Not sure if this relates to the book

  4. Anonymous said:

    how do you deal with a mutual friend when married who has a crush?

  5. Amy said:

    James, I met a man late last year and he initiates contact with me frequently and on a daily basis. We do date one another and both love each other. Last week he told me he “cherishes me, truly cherishes me”. He is a CEO of a multi million dollar international company, father of 4 and stage 4 cancer survivor. He is amazing and very busy. A couple of weeks ago he told me he truly needed to see me and spend some time with me and asked how my Wednesday and Thursday of the following week looked. We communicated all week and that Monday I felt like he sent me a feeler email text asking if my week was shaping up. Needless to say, he didn’t ask me out for Wednesday or Thursday as I had assumed. I was so upset that I cried. My question is should I bring it up and let him know it made me feel deminnished or is it too late since this happend a couple of weeks ago? Also, should I ever pay it forward and initiate contact once in a while or is that a turn off to men? He is very much a manly man, yet so sensitive as well. Is it true men are afraid of rejection? He hasn’t brought up seeing me since that incident.
    Thank you.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Amy. In a situation like this you need more information. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people and we have come up with all kinds of theories about what went wrong and what could have happened, only to later discover there was something else that happened that we had never thought of. There are many reasons why he may have become too busy or unable to follow through with his intention of spending some time with you that week.

      You owe it to him (and yourself) to ask him what happened. In the process of asking, it will be implied that it wasn’t a pleasant experience for you, so there’s no need to go out of your way to tell him that you did not like being ignored after all that build up.

  6. Goodness said:

    Thanks James this is timely, but what can I do if it is my guy who has carried his past to our relationship and is hurting me.Can it end some day or! Because whatever we talk will end up with comments like you have unsettled me what you said reminded me of her disappointment. Even just songs that she liked and I like can destroy our moment! Please tell me how positively I can handle

    • James Bauer said:

      Sometimes a mere question can “turn on” someone’s motivation to change a problem they were ignoring. For example, “Do you feel your past relationship is holding us back in some ways? Almost like the old relationship is controlling this one?” This may activate his courage to make a plan to address the issue.

      • Goodness said:

        Thanks James, I have tried this and he keeps saying I am throwing it in his face and that she used to do the same sometimes he acts abnormal. He is very kind and supportive but I feel victimised for all I say in our chats. But he keeps assuring me that he is mine and I am his no matter what happens between us. I feel demoralised when most of our chats end in disagreements. Do you think I should believe his words and not actions or!?

      • Goodness said:

        Just to let you know we lived together for a yearand half and now I travelled so we are at a distance but our relationship clocks 3 years in July. He is the one who supports me financially.

      • James Bauer said:

        When someone responds with nonsense, you don’t have to participate or bow to his attempt to blame you for his own behavior. Ask for what you want, which is simply an actual response rather than blame. Be strong. Be firm. Otherwise it’s not wroth it. He is not treating you right.

      • Goodness said:

        Thank you very much James, your advise has always got me going and I believe we are steadily growing as I apply your wise techniques.stay blessed

  7. Elizabeth said:

    I am having a hard time finding the faq’s on the website. I wanted to k own How to approach My boyfriend on How to tell him that i dont like him hanging around his Friend Who is a girl that clearly likes him. He and her often go out and eat together, eventhough he says he is not attracted to her, he has blown me off of our plans because this friend is with him. She is very quick to make plans with him since she lives close to his work and he either doesn’t wanna say no to her, or can’t say no to her. I want to value myself and tell him that I can’t deal with that and I am not afraid of him saying he would rather be with her. How can I tell him using your respect method to have him say that he would rather be with me than her??

    • James Bauer said:

      Good question, Elizabeth. What have you come up with so far?

      • Elizabeth said:

        Well, I am confused because I want to show him respect and give him his space, however, he doesn’t text back and I texted him today and he responded so the i invited him somewhere without bringing any issues up and he didn’t respond. I have a feeling he has been busy with the friend. I can’t even get him to commit to see me so I can tell him that “I sense that we r not growing as a couple and that I feel like I am not a priority and his friend seems to have his calendar full leaving no room for me. Maybe I should just bow down gracefully”i was gonna buy the “he’s not complicated book” but I am gonna go broke and end up still not knowing what to do.

      • Elizabeth said:

        Is it better if I just go to his house and tell him that and see if he chases me? I have never been able to do that to any man. It is usually a ‘stop talking or texting situation’ and have not stood up to these men. Again, should I come to the conclusion that maybe he was not the one? Or wait for him to invite me out? Or tell him all this through text?

      • James Bauer said:

        From what you’ve shared here it seems he is not taking his relationship with you seriously. If this is an exclusive relationship you have both committed to, it may be time to simply communicate to him that you see he is no longer interested in the exclusive relationship. You could leave it to him to refute this, but based on his recent actions he may agree with you. It’s better to have clarity and know where he really stands even though such a message may accelerate the end of your relationship. On the other hand, it may wake him up so he realizes the need to show you what he feels for you.

      • Elizabeth said:

        Than you so much!! I have just been sucked into this belief where he told me that he is not intrested in his friend and that he pulls away because he is afraid of getting hurt because he thinks I am the one. Then he pulls this whole bible verse thing. He starts quoting verses from the bible. One is the first carethians ch13 on how love should be faith trust, to forgive and I find myself doubtfull but at the same time longing for him to be telling the truth. I told him that I respected his time, but I would like to discuss some bounderies b4 this goes further. He agreed. There is no way of knowing I he is telling me the truth, but I thought it would most likely be true about the pulling away, I just don’t know if men actually admit to pulling away because they are scared. He has shared intimate things with me that make me wonder, is he being over trusting to fool me, or does he trust me to tell me these things? Yes, I have trust issues due to my history. I think I will read your book again and read the other one I just purchased about he loves me but he is too busy. 🙂

  8. unicor said:

    So how can you trust again is the question?
    How to know the new person is really being honest?
    After 23 years of believing some one I found out a bunch of lying and cheating he did and I was totally not aware. I trusted him. So how to trust another man??

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