How To Deal With A Confusing Ex

Once a romantic connection is severed it is common for the emotional playing field to become littered with manipulation, mind games, insecurity and confusion. But it needn’t be this way, and there are things you can do to get the answers you need (although not those you necessarily want).

If you’re frustrated with an ex who seems to be playing games, it’s time to make it easier on ourselves by forcing a measure of clarity.

Demand Actions Over Words

Words require no real investment, and as such can lead to resentment, over-analysis and confusion. If you are on the receiving end of crumbs, it’s time to demand the whole loaf by only ever reading into action.

Yes, this is certainly far easier said than done (no pun intended) due to our innate pattern-seeking human traits, but it will pay to become conscious about just how easy it is to promise the world in order to keep someone around, but then shy away from actually doing anything about it.

While an “I miss you” may be interpreted by you as a sign that they wish to reconcile, it may simply be a moment of weakness that does not herald an opportunity for reconciliation. If you want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes demand an investment and see how the cookie crumbles. If they continue to stall take it as a sign that they are not as certain of their emotions are they seem to profess.

Stick To Your Guns

Most manipulative contact from exs (from anger and insults to submission and apology) aims at eliciting a response from you. Why is this so effective? It allows them to bait out your intention without risking rejection.

If their contact spurs you to continuously seek clarity, they will continue to play this emotional charade because you are unwittingly giving them what they need (your attention), saving them from having to fight their own demons.

It is important therefore to not give a confusing ex this opening, and to remain transparent and honest (but firm) no matter what kind of contact is thrown at you. Should their attempts at shaking your emotional foundations fail, they will be compelled to either let go or up the ante. Don’t play the game.

Give It Time

Time is by far your greatest ally when it comes to deciphering intent. Here are a few reasons why:

  • An ex who continues to contact after a significant amount of time is showing that it was more than just a pang of regret or loneliness.
  • Time will detox breakup insecurity, making long-term contact more sincere and believable than trauma-induced tirades.
  • Time will continue to bolster your own security and clarify your romantic expectations.
  • Familiarity often breeds contempt with regards to attraction.
  • It will make any attempt at reconciliation far more objective and realistic.

The heart-thumping fear attached to the passage of time is obviously that a confused ex will simply lose interest and walk away. Understandably so, but it begs the question; if all it took was a little time and space for them to pack their bags and walk away, how deep were their emotions to begin with?

2 Comments How To Deal With A Confusing Ex

  1. Richard

    Hi there, i’ve been reading your articles and I find them really helpful..

    I’m dealing with something similar right now.. My ex girlfriend broke up with me two months ago and we stopped communicating. (maybe a couple of messages regarding her mother’s health).
    Thing is she started texting me all out of the blue, and now she’s treating me as if we were in our first stage when we first met. She’s texting me daily and the other day she said she missed me… Yesterday we met in person and everything went just fine. But I didn’t get the courage to ask her why she’s texting me and talking to me again, I mean, what are her Intentions…

    1. James NelmondoJames Nelmondo

      Hi Richard!

      The question here isn’t whether she misses you, it’s why. Despite the attention the risk here is that it is insecurity (rather than objective reason and genuine romantic desire) that is fuelling the proceedings.

      Regardless, you have her attention — which is a good thing regarding reconciliation anyway. There is only one way to know how deep the rabbit hole goes, and that is by slowing down. Asking her directly might initially seem like a surefire way to know what’s going on, but it never usually is.

      Chances are, this close to a breakup, her feelings are changing by the day, and haven’t had time to settle onto a definitive answer. She might be madly in love with you right now, but should that insecurity be removed (reconciliation) so might her desire to reconcile.

      I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, I just thought it was worth keeping in mind. In fact, there is much to be optimistic about. But if you take it slowly, you’ll get the answer you need one way or the other (it’ll give her the time to emotionally stabilize).

      I’d say keep moving forward slowly, but don’t get carried away :)

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