Who NOT to Date

01 Oct 2013

saatchiandtrinnysmall Who’d have thought it? Trinny Woodall (of Trinny and Susannah, “What Not to Wear” fame) is, apparently, giving a public masterclass in Who NOT to Date. – by dating Charles Saatchi, international poster boy for emotionally abusive men 2013, no less. 

What can you say? 

Trinny is younger, thinner, and possibly more widely known, internationally, than Nigella Lawson, the – now – ex-wife, Saatchi was seen ‘playfully’ throttling in a Mayfair restaurant, just a few months ago. Like Nigella, Trinny is an attractive, reasonably high status woman who has the odd issue around self-worth. Unlike Nigella, Trinny has both suffered addictions herself, and been attracted to men with addictions. 

Clearly, Trinny is rather less prescriptive about Who NOT to Date than she is about What Not to Wear. This should beggar belief, given that dressing badly simply makes you, a ‘fashion victim’. Whereas making a bad relationship choice makes you… the victim of all kinds of abuse, and destructive behaviors. 

We’ve probably all done a bit of a “Trinny” at some point – that is, we’ve all overlooked a red flag, or ten. On the other hand, most of us didn’t have the advantage of being able to read about the bad behaviors of a prospective partner in all the leading national daily papers. 

leapbeforeyoulooksmallAs emotionally abused women, most of us have practised the Leap Before You Look strategy: we have, that is, leapt into a relationship before we really looked at what we were leaping into. But had we seen the morning papers, plastered with photos of our prospective partner’s snout, with his hand grasping his then wife’s windpipe, I’d like to think even we would have seen sense. 

Trinny, it seems, is going for broke. 

What do you suppose she is telling herself? 

How about: 

  • He’s so interesting and charming”
  • He has so much to offer”
  • The media got it all out of proportion”
  • We have so much in common”
  • He’s so hurt”
  • Nigella didn’t understand him”
  • I’m sure he’d never do that to me…”
  • I’ve been on my own for so long. Guys like that don’t come along every day.”
  • It’s a risk worth taking”
  • I”f I don’t, I coul regret it for the rest of my life”
  • He’s my soul-mate”
  • He makes me feel so good”
  • I can take care of myself”

Trinny is, I gather, an expert in her field. 

This is NOT her field. At age 49, where relationships are concerned, she is acting like an absolute beginner. 

So, for her, and for general edification, here are a few tips about How NOT to Date: 


Tip #1 The belief that, if you turn this one down, there may never be another man along, is not serving you. Behind every emotionally abusive man there is another emotionally abusive man, or 10, just waiting to try his luck. There’ll always be another emotionally abusive man along – but is that what you want/are prepared to settle for?You need time out from men to discover what you’re truly looking for, and how you’ll know when it materializes. 

Tip #2 If it has a bad relationship history, that means it is bad news. Saatchi has two ex-wives (excluding Nigella) who agree that while he can turn on the charm, he is, also, ill-tempered, and controlling. 

Tip #3 Emotionally abusive men really do change… But not in the way you might like to believe. They change the woman they’re with. That’s easy enough to do, after all. hey know there will always be another younger, slimmer sucker willing to take them on. But why would they bother changing the deep-seated character traits in themselves that they find perfectly justified? 

Tip #4 Rebound relationships are PERFECT for people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own behaviors. That’s why Saatchi has been grown up enough to let the ink dry on the divorce papers before moving on. 

Tip #5 Rebound relationships almost invariably end in tears. The one uncertainty is the time-scale. It could be 3 months, or 10 years. 

Tip #6 If it has a good hard luck story, head for the hills. Fast. Saatchi has managed to create a wonderful hard luck story about betrayal: when the news broke about him grasping Nigella warmly by the windpipe, she didn’t say a word to defend him in public. Beware of anyone who positions themselves as a victim. (This is another reason why you really cannot afford to present yourself as a victim. Yes, you have truly been a victim, but the start of a relationship is no time to share that information. Healthy men aren’t looking for a victim. Toxic men are looking for a victim… to victimize.) 

Tip #7 Don’t be naïve enough to believe that it will be different with you, because you can tame, heal, or love another person into lasting, radical change. If you struggle with this one – and you really need to be honest with yourself here – then try loving a kitten into becoming a guard dog. Or vice versa. 

Tip #8 Don’t listen to a hungry heart. You already know it has a taste for the junk food quick fix. 

Tip #9 It doesn’t matter how rich, glamorous, attractive, sophisticated, or charming an emotional abuser is. The price of being with him is to end up feeling worthless, crazy, humiliated, unlovable, and rejected. 

Tip #10 Do NOT imagine you are too wise, too worldly, too intelligent, or too high up the food chain to become the prey of an emotional abuser. Strong self-worth is the only protection that truly works.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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