Sunday December 21st 2014

What To Do When Your Ex Is Playing Mind Games

A client asked me the other day, “What would you do if your ex was playing mind games?”

The “Love Coach” in me wanted to go straight to “advice mode” but then I remembered that I wasn’t always a love doctor. There was a time in my life when I did some things that were not so “loving”, and I write about this in my Dating Your Ex eBook.

“If your ex is one of those “don’t-care”, too proud to beg or self-confident secure in themselves kind of people, not picking up the phone isn’t going to stop your ex from going to a movie, party or whatever they choose to do.  If you do not pick up the phone or reply to emails, life goes on. They’ll call someone else and go and have a blast!  And the next time they catch you on the phone they will be like “Why didn’t you pick up the phone?” and while you are like “Oh!  He/she missed me” he or she is like “Whatever!”

How do I know all this? Because I know the “act bothered game” like I know the back of my own hand and I played it with the best of them. I remember a few times saying things like “I miss you so much, please don’t do this to me” all the while laughing my heart out imagining how the other person was congratulating himself on the other side of the phone.

One time I had a guy tell me “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” A few days later he started acting like “he was gone.” I had my Love Doctor instincts even back then so I let him do his thing. When he called me after a three weeks AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave) and said we should meet. I showed up and even feigned tears (with one dry eye watching for his reaction). Later I told him, I despised him for thinking his mind games would work.

So whether it’s you initiating the mind games or it’s the other person, it’s important to remember that:

1) It takes two to play that game

We are all vulnerable to being manipulated and being manipulative. I know that now, but back then, my thinking was “Play the Player!” But the more “I played the player” the angrier I got (with myself) because not only was I wasting my time (and blocking love) but I basically was doing the very thing that I resented in the other person.

When tempted to “play” remember that the only person whose time and emotions you waste playing mind games is you.

2)  You’re voluntarily and actively giving away your power to someone else

The illusion of mind games is that the person playing them thinks he/she is smarter than the person he/she is playing – and of course the smarter of the two has the “emotional power”.

But when you allow someone else to affect you so much that you don’t act in alignment with your values, who you are and what you really want, you’ve already lost the “emotional power”. Your emotions will go up and down (and all over the place) depending on how the other person chooses to react or respond. In other words, they “own” you!

3) The power of any mind game lies in the other person not being aware of how and when they’re being played

If you know that your ex is playing mind games with you, the best antidote to mind games is to tell him/her that you know what he/she is trying to do/is up to, you do not like it, do not approve of it and will not encourage it.

A person who truly values a relationship with you (and is mature/emotionally healthy enough to be in a relationship with you) will feel bad and stop the mind games. The other type will just try and find another mind game to play or give up and move on to somebody else.

4) Focus on changing yourself, not the other person

I said in the beginning of this post that we’re all vulnerable to being manipulated and being manipulative. However, some people are more vulnerable than others. That is, they have something about them that mind game players are able to take advantage of/exploit to advance their needs, goals, interests or agenda. It could be fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of not finding someone else, feelings of inadequacy etc.

Since you can’t change someone else and can only change you, it’s up to you to assert your value by taking away whatever it is that makes you more vulnerable to mind games.

5) Mind games never inspire love or create a genuinely loving relationship

Mind games players have one and only one motive, and that is to advance their needs, goals, interests or agenda at the expense of the person being played. Most people are intuitive enough to realize when and how they’re being played and walk away, but even where the mind games “succeed”, the relationship will become troubled over time.

Someone who takes advantage of you and exploits your greatest fears, weaknesses and vulnerabilities does not “value you” (even if they tell you over and over that they love you). Your decision to enter or continue a relationship with someone who is into mind games (the game playing can at times offer some kind of “excitement” and edge to the relationship) should be weighed against the long term effects of the mind game playing – specially if you give in to the “head games” and the other person learns that playing mind games with you works.

In short, refuse to play the game and there will be no game to play.

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

68 Responses to “What To Do When Your Ex Is Playing Mind Games”

  1. Musathegentlesoul says:

    Wow! best one on mind games yet. You’re indeed the best person (woman) to be speaking on this very subject.

    Thank you for sharing your mind so generously.

  2. Viola says:

    This post speaks to my soul. I have read countless articles, posts and books that tells men and women to learn behavior that is not in alignment with their authentic selves. I think we can make things much more complicated than they really are and lose a sense of our identity.

    It’s about time we learned what really matters and what I believe relationships are really about – connecting with people heart to heart.

    Thank you for reminding all us how to love!

  3. Hillhunter1980 says:

    Your whole website is amazing, I love your advice. My ex and I were together for 6 months. The mind games started immediately, and throughout the duration of the relationship it was one mind game after another. I’m ashamed to say we both played with each other’s feelings to obtain the upper-hand. The relationship really never had a chance and I regret it every day. She’s right now in no contact for over a month. It’s just another mind game and I’m just so tired of mind games that I’ve decided to let her go.

    My only consolation is that I learned something from this experience. You stand to gain nor achieve anything meaningful playing mind games.

  4. HowToGetOverYourEx says:

    Can I please copy this post on my “how to get over your ex” support site? Please check it out. I’ve said it and will say it again no contact is a mind game. Many say they’re using it to heal but secretly they’re hoping it’ll make an ex want to come back. I’ve confronted some of them directly and after denying for some time they admit that they want their ex back and hope that no contact will make their ex miss them and want them back. I think they deny because they know it’s wrong but are desperate enough to resort to manipulation. Posting your article on my website will help clarify a few things and help many. Thank you in advance.

  5. Sure! I sent the text version to your email address.

    People who’re saying they’re using no contact to heal but secretly hoping that it’ll get their ex back are playing mind games with themselves, and won’t even admit it.

    Your comment inspired me to write a post about why some people may feel that they have no other option but use no contact. Thanks.

    6 Reasons Why People Use No Contact Get Back Their Ex [But Will Not Admit]

  6. kathleen says:

    you have no idea how much reading this–and the comments–has helped me. thank you so much. such wise words.

  7. I’m glad you found the post useful… :-)
    Thank you for your very kind words.

  8. missezy says:

    Best advice ever. Really needed to read it. I have been stuck in Limbo mindgames with ex forever and it ends today. Thank you so much Love doctor. Can I have a text copy to print and keep by my bedside in case he contacts me again. Really appreciate it. Blessings.

  9. I know what you mean by “limbo”… it just never ends. If you take yourself out of the game, he/she won’t have someone to play with… and will be forced to either “get real” so that you can start to have a “real relationship” or go play with someone else and you can find someone ‘real” to have a “real relationship” with. Either way, it’s for your own best interest down the road.

    I’ll send a text copy to your email address…. and thanks for the “best advice ever”… :-)

  10. Benotee says:

    Those who play mind games are good at spotting people to control. If they feel unable to manipulate someone, they usually give up and move on to somebody else who is more likely to be receptive to the attempted manipulation

  11. Julie says:

    I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. I was mostly in mind game playing for many years. This is the first relationship I’ve had mind game free and what a difference!

  12. Phummy says:

    How do i know when a guy someone is playing mind game with me

  13. The post “5 Common Signs A Man or Woman Is Playing You” answers your question. There are also several related articles at the end of the post you might find useful.

  14. Da Mas says:

    I have this women playing games with me all the time and she is super manipulative. She is good at playing games i should say. She owned me at some point in time. Now i am out of it and do not believe her even if she hints at something happening between the two of us.

    When she does not get the desired response from me now, she starts that brushing my shoulder and touching and strong eye contact if she gets a chance ( which she does not these days ) , adjusting poisture moving back to see expressions etc.

    She has stopped making me jelous or playing mind games for a while now and started doing what i have written above.

    I do not want to fall in her trap once again. What is your suggestion.

  15. Da Mas says:

    Also want to know various reasons why a women would be manipulative ? What do they get out of it ?

  16. Contrary to what you may have read about body language (I get plenty of these “body language reading” comments and questions from people too bought into it, most of whom are inexperienced in the dating/love dynamic), it’s not a precise science. She does this or does that means little if it’s not followed by real loving actions. Anyone can fake body language to get what they want. That’s how most men get fooled. They’re trying to read her body language and she’s playing along knowing exactly what he is trying to look for… Please read my article: Body Language Signals Of Attraction – Why We Get Confused

    Game players – unless something really life-changing happens – rarely quit playing games. For some it’s the only way they know how to get attention, interest or love; for some it’s what they’ve been told men/women react to; and for other’s it’s how they “protect” themselves from getting hurt AGAIN.

    From just what you wrote, it seems this is just a change of tactic in the same game. My advice is, if her body language gestures are not followed by real actions of love, that is, you don’t get the “love-vibe” from her, don’t play along. This is what this post is about – re: how not to fall in the trap of a game player – again!

  17. “Also want to know various reasons why a women would be manipulative ? What do they get out of it?”

    Have you read the “Pick Up Artist” and “seduction community” websites and blogs? Men are as manipulative as women are. Just that being a “man” in any given society, culture etc. means that men play it differently from women, although recently that line is getting blurred as each learn the other’s “game tactics”. Also men and women get different things from playing mind games – attention, sex, monetary gain, ego-boost etc. but the underlying of all these is POWER!

    You might want to read this post: Does He/She Or Doesn’t He/She Love You? [The Guessing Mind Game]

  18. Da Mas says:

    Hi , Thanks for your reply , as i told you earlier i have got rid of her. she is out of my head and i dont care for her anymore. I am a strong headed man. We work together and got to see and interact with each other atleast 3 times a week. I want to give it back to her ( the same shit she had thrown at me) i see that she gets jelous these days and angry too when she does not get a response from me. What do u suggest ( some tips that will work for sure )

  19. I have nothing else to suggest that I haven’t already said in the above post. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, I’m a “LOVE” doctor, that is, I help people looking to create a loving relationship. I don’t give advice/tips on how to take revenge (the exact opposite of love and what love does). In other words, you’re asking for advice from the wrong person.

  20. Pax says:

    Another great article! I’ve noticed for a while that on the internet and in many books much of the advice is on how to play mind games with each other. No wonder relationships between men and women are a chaotic mess. I wish we all would just be open and honest with each other. Be yourself and find someone willing to be “themselves” with you.

  21. blossom says:

    I was with a man for 5 months before he decided to tell me circumstances prevented him from being in a relationship. After treating me like a queen, he now cried and said how he wanted me in his life still, and stupid me I believed it. The guy was such a con he even fooled his friends!!! They thought he was going to propose! Turns out, he really just didn’t want the commitment and started playing games to keep me in his life. My biggest mistake was giving him the benefit of the doubt. Never again will i go against my inner judgment and let a man have that kind of power over my heart. Walk away when it hurts and be real with what is now, not what was.

  22. …or what might be!

    Great insight. Too bad we always see things more clearly after the fact. The real mistakes are not so much those we make but those we don’t learn from. I’m all for following your inner judgement but make sure that “inner judgement” is not one that is “stained” by bad past experiences. He cheated you of love and commitment don’t let this man take more of what he already took from you. Each person is different and there are indeed good men out there… I know because I work with some of them!

  23. Ann says:

    My husband constantly plays mind games–then denies that he does. For instance, tonight I came home with a doll that my niece asked me to make clothes for. He played the movie, “Attack of the Puppet People,” which is about an old man who shrinks life-size people into dolls so she has someone to talk to. My husband is constantly gone and has taken off for half the day on his day off at 5:30 a.m. while I am still sleeping without leaving a note, waking me to tell me he’s leaving, calling me, etc. Whenever a repairman shows up at our house, even if my husband is supposed to be at work, he shows up at home (What is that about??)

  24. Mind games or passive aggressive behaviour… there is definitely something going on in your relationship that both of you seem not to want to deal with head on. Take for example the example you gave… seems like there is a connection between you bringing home the doll and the shrinking of life-size people into dolls. May be he feels shut out and can’t talk to you or may be he feels controlled and feels like a puppet or may be there are some trust issues going on. Whatever it is, playing the movie seems to have been his way of expressing what’s bothering him.

    By the time things get to a spouse constantly taking off at 5:30 a.m. for half the day, something seriously wrong is going on in the relationship. Posting comments on the internet may help a little but may also make things worse because people will project all kinds of stuff and pass that on as “this is what is going on for sure”. Only the two of you know what’s really going on — and there are always 2 sides to every story. Why don’t you two go see a counsellor?

  25. Christina says:

    I recently met someone from an online site who was attractive and we had an awesome first date. We wound up spending an entire day together and he revealed that he felt like I would accept him for who he was if he continued dating me. He voiced how attracted to me he was and then nothing. I waited four days and left a “how’s your week going, ” text and he responded immediately. Then we exchanged a text or two and finally after 2 weeks i sent him a text stating that i thought he was amazing to me and our chemistry seemed so real and I was hurt that he hadn’t called. He again immediately replied, ” You know i really liked you a lot. I am still dating though.” So i am so confused. What else does a guy want? Was it the simple fact that i didn’t let him pursue me?

  26. Different guys want different things… just like different women want different things. From the response of this particular ONE guy re: “You know i really liked you a lot. I am still dating though.” It seems that he got the impression you want something more “serious” and he’s not able to give you what you want because he still wants to date other women. It could be something you said or did or even the vibes you were sending. It could also be that text you sent saying you were hurt that he hadn’t called. Truth is: He had no obligation to call you. The “I am still dating though” is his way of telling you… “it was just a date. It’s not like we’re already an item…”

    I don’t think it has anything to do with you not letting him pursue you. If a guy is really into you, it doesn’t matter to him whether he pursued you or you pursued him, he’s attracted to you, wants you and will do anything to keep you. It’s that simple. If he’s not… he’ll find all kinds of “excuses” to shake you off.

  27. Brad says:

    Hi Yangki, I really love your take on relationship issues especially the game playing. It’s extremely annoying. My gf is into these games I guess from reading advice that this is the best way to win a man’s heart. I’ve considered just ending the relationship but deep inside I know she’s a good person who is listening to bad advice. I want to, as you say in your article, tell her that I know she’s playing these games and I don’t like it. However, I don’t know how to do it in a way that she takes me seriously enough to stop. Any advice/suggestions?

  28. What works for me and has worked for others in your similar circumstances is to focus on the disadvantages inherent in game-playing rather than on the dynamics of her behaviour. People get defensive when they feel their behaviour is being criticized and often times the defensiveness blocks any useful information from getting in. Focusing on what game playing does to a relationship helps get past the defensiveness.

    Give it a try before you walk away. You may be pleasantly surprised… (:

  29. Cassy says:

    I’ve recently started reading your blog and the information you provide has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  30. Ben says:

    I know that my ex is using the No Contact rule on me. I happen to find this out reading comments she left on some blog. After several attempts at contacting her, I did some Google searches on an ex not responding and by pure luck happened to read a comment she had left which detailed our relationship and the breakup. She also mentioned that I had attempted to contact her but she deleted the texts and left my calls to go to the answer machine which she later deleted without playing. She wrote that she will not contact me until I beg her to contact me and then she’ll tell me I should take her back or forget the whole thing. I always knew she played mind games but was not aware she’s capable of being so mean and cruel. What do you think I should do?

  31. You have many choices to choose from. You can choose to 1) give in and beg, 2) call her out on it, 3) play along and make her realize how immature her actions are, 4) ignore her and wait for her to contact you or 5) ignore her and move on with your life.

    Whatever you choose to do, keep in mind that if you give her the impression that her game playing worked, it’ll confirm to her that playing mind games with you works, and she’ll most likely do it again and again. That can mess you up big time — not to mention make it impossible to create a healthy relationship.

  32. Confused&Hurt says:

    My ex is also playing mind games. He calls, texts and flirts with all the time but at the same time says he doesn’t want to get back together. This is confusing me and driving me crazy. He’s hurting me more now than when he broke up with me just doesn’t know when to quit with the hurt. What do I do?

  33. Refuse to play his game… please see how in the post. Crying victim will get you lots of supportive people, but it’s really upto you to do something about your own situation…

  34. Mona says:

    My ex broke up with me over a year ago. 4 months later he contacts me saying he still loves and misses me. I told him I have a new boyfriend but he will not give up. He wants me back and is constantly begging me to take him back. But I also know that he has another girlfriend who he took on vacation to Paris and he has photos of their vacation on his FB. I just don’t know if he loves her since he is still in contact with me, takes me for dinners and buys me things. I feel bad for her but he will not let me go. Why do men play these mind games? Why do they want to confuse and hurt us so much?

  35. Oh Please!!! Women play mind game too… The “why do they want to confuse and hurt us so much” is nonsense. It doesn’t get any support from this woman!

    From what you’ve written you don’t seem to want him to stop. If you really wanted him to stop, you’d have told him to… and changed your number if he refused to stop. None of which you’ve done because there is something you are getting out of him begging you to take him back… perhaps ego boost…!?

    You say you have a new boyfriend, why are you encouraging your ex to take you out and buy you things? Isn’t that playing mind games WITH BOTH MEN? Instead of complaining about your ex’s behaviour, ask yourself why you haven’t done anything to take yourself out of the game.

  36. Vicky says:

    I just found this blog today and I think it should be on Google’s front pages. My ex b/f of 7 years broke up with me for flimsy reasons. For months we tried to get back together but he insisted it was over. But he keeps randomly showing up in places I am at. He says it’s pure coincidence but I’m thinking to myself it can’t be. We’ve had up’s and down we have been through some tough times and really did love each other. So Dec. 23 I asked him if he wants to hang out but he said he had plans but would call me later, call never came. 24th I send him an e-card, never heard back from him. Xmas day I’m hanging out with some friends at a local pub and there he was. He smiled, waved and mouthed, I’ll call you. Nothing. New year’s eve, again he shows up at a party I was in. What’s going on with him? Is he stalking me? I’m so confused.

  37. You haven’t told him you don’t want anything to do with him and have encouraged contact… that takes stalking out of the list. But he’s definitely playing some game… My thinking is this is probably his version of “playing hard to get”… but if you’re not enjoying it, then it’s not “play-ing”… but a mind game he’s playing all by himself.

    If you don’t say something he’s going to think you are having fun and continue showing up like he’s done before. I suggest you tell him you don’t understand what is going on and wish that he could explain it to you. If he wants to talk you’re available to talk but just “bumping” into each other like that is making you very uncomfortable. See how he responds to that…

  38. Kman says:

    I dated a woman for 3 months.The relationship started 3 weeks after she broke up with her ex-husband of 5 years. She told me they tried to get back together but things didn’t work out for them so she just stopped contact with him. But she was not completely honest with me. After I asked her about it tactfully, I never heard from her again for a month. Not a word from her, it was like I never existed. Then out of the blue, she contacted me saying she was ashamed of her behavior and took time to sort out her feelings. She was completely over her ex and wants to be with me and no one else. I don’t know why, but I believe that she only came back to me after he broke up with her. Am I being irrational or is she playing a mind game with me?

  39. It is possible she’s playing you, but it’s also possible she genuinely loves you and felt she had to sort out her feelings before coming to you. Definitely not the wisest way to handle the situation but at the time may be she felt that it was. Also she knows that her behaviour was unacceptable, most game players won’t even acknowledge that.

    The most important thing here is how you feel. If your heart says give it another chance, then follow your heart. The heart is irrational… but it always has a reason that reason itself doesn’t know. Give yourself some time to see if her behaviour matches her words.

  40. DJBJ says:

    Sometimes people play mind games to see if their ex cares especially if in the relationship you cared more about her than she did for you. Not contacting her, ignoring her and acting as if she is not even there will make her see that you don’t care if she comes back or not. Eventually, she’ll start caring because her ego will be affected.

  41. How does that change the fact that she doesn’t care about you as much as you care about her?

    In my experience, if someone is playing mind games to see if I care, more likely than not, I don’t. They sense or know I don’t care but a part of them will just not accept it. It’s called denial.

    The only person you’re fooling is yourself…. and every time you engage someone’s ego, it’s not about love. The ego only knows “self-preservation”, it doesn’t know anything about love.

  42. Frankster says:

    My ex played mind games with me so much that I completely lost my self-esteem and my confidence tanked so badly. When she left me for my best friend, I felt used in the worst possible way. But now she is complaining that he is playing mind games with her. I’m not only glad I did not end up with her, but seeing her treated the way she treated me gives me some satisfaction.

  43. I agree with you that her leaving you was a favour. Now that you know what mind games can do to one’s self-esteem, I hope you will avoid women who play these games. If you suspect she’s playing you, she most likely is.

    Hopefully, she learns a lesson from the experience and stops playing mind games, but I highly doubt it. Most game players don’t even know when they are playing mind games because it’s an intergral part of how they relate to and with people.They can’t help themselves.

  44. immyguru says:

    This article hit it hard for me. I’ve got my ex who is currently playing mental games. I got tired of being told one thing one day and the situation is completely different a few days later and unfortunately started playing the same games to teach him a lesson. I think of my self as pretty decent person but lately I feel I’m losing myself in all these mental games. He has made me so unhappy that I think I’m starting to hate him.

  45. No body has the power to make another unhappy… YOU have made yourself un happy. It is tiring, let alone a losing battle trying to get even with mental game players. Seems to me that this relationship is already too damaged and the motivator here is no longer love but revenge. If you can’t be honest with each other at this point, is this relationship really worth pursuing?

  46. trueseductress says:

    Yangki, I agree with many of the things you say on your blog but I think that sometimes girls want their ex to treasure them and what you are calling mind games is just to reverse him being in control and make him run in circles so that when the two of you finally get back together he will value you because he will fear to lose you again.

  47. You are right. Some girls think like that… but that’s the difference between “girls” and “women”. When you reach a certain emotional age, you know that value and worth is not something others give you but something YOU find within yourself. Making others run around in circles to feel treasured or valued is chasing one’s own tail. I’m not talking about chronological age here, but emotional age. There are some “women” who are old enough to be “women” but emotionally are still “girls”. Same thing with “men” who are still “boys”.

    So while you are right about your observation, it does not change the fact that such strategies undermine the very thing these girls want– a happy, loving, fulfilling lasting relationship.

  48. Sam says:

    I agree with this article. If you take your ex back after they ignored you for weeks, it will most likely make her think its ok to do that. My ex walked off and returned to say sorry, I took her back. We were together 1 month and things were not good again so she started ignoring me making me feel rejected again. I told her I don’t like how she is treating me and she continued ignoring me and no contact etc. I was out with friends one night and met someone else. My ex heard I was seeing this other woman and came back very sweet, texting me constantly and calling me saying she misses me and cares about me. But I know how that would end with her ignoring me again. I told her I was with someone I care about and lately she has been saying all kinds of bad things about me and even called the other woman and telling her all kind of things. I’ve done everything I can to not respond but at what point does one say enough is enough and fire back?

  49. it depends on what you mean by fire back…(:

    You are dealing with a woman cornered by her own mind games. She knows she’s not going to get you back, and it’s driving her crazy that she can’t get you to respond — even an angry response. She’d rather have the two of you fighting and insulting each other than be ignored.

    Don’t give her what she wants. It will only make her do even crazier things to keep herself somehow connected to you. If she gets no “reaction” from you, after a while, she’ll come to terms with the fact that it’s not paying off and give up.

  50. perroveijo says:

    so glad i found this. My ex is playing this game of NC on me. I am older than she is and told her games will no be tolerated since we started a serious relationship. She never got the message and kept paying games. At the beginning it was like a challenge for me, but after a while I got all stressed out. No games people, it is not worth it!

  51. freemaster says:

    Yangki, you have to admit sometimes no contact even if it’s used as a mind game does work. I’ve seen people ignore their ex for a period of time and then their ex contacts them. I’ve done it a few times myself with success. One ex contacted me after 4 weeks of no contact. The one before that contacted me after 3 months, the last one, I contacted her, we spoke for 2 weeks then she decided she wanted to move on. The point is that they did contact me. Isn’t that they whole point of no contact, to get them to contact you?

  52. If all you want is to get your ex to “contact you” (ego-stroking), then you can call that “success”. But if you want YOUR EX BACK, that’s not success because from your own admission, none of these exs are with you now. You can’t say I got my ex back… where is she?

    I’ve said in many of my articles that sometimes mind games do work, but most of the time they backfire. The issue is not do they work or not, the issue is, is it the best way to create and maintain a lasting relationship?

    Relationships run on mind games are conflict-ridden, drama-full and are off-and-on-again. I know some people call that “a relationship”… at the risk of sounding heartless… that’s none of my business. That’s what they want, that’s what they get.

    My focus is on those that want a different kind of relationship dynamic. And facts back me up on this (and you are a good example…lol), if someone plays mind game on you and it works, chances are they’ll play it again and again. It’s just human nature to repeat what brought “success” before, even if it hurts the relationship….

    That’s unless one wants to change that dynamic.

  53. Katie says:

    Wanted to stress the if it feels like a mind game, it probably is. Have an ex who did the silent treatment, withdrawing/barely speaking etc. Currently in “conspicuous absence” mode.

    Give someone the benefit of the doubt once or twice but if in your heart you suspect they’re playing mind games, THEY PROBABLY ARE. Ebook was GREAT!!

  54. Paul says:

    Ever since we broke up over 2mos ago, my ex has been posting love quotes on her Facebook status updates. Most of them are about moving on and loving again. I’ve remained unresponsive so far. So yesterday she posts something about never being more in love this time round. Could she really have met someone that quick and deeply fallen in love? Btw, we were together for 4 years on and off.

  55. Excellent question, Paul. I thought it deserves a more detailed response. Please click here to read response...

  56. schung says:

    My ex sends me mixed signals. He initiates contact but after a week of regular contact he says he doesn’t have feelings for me. I confronted him about and he said if I don’t want him to contact me, then he will not. But after a couple of days I get a text from him as if nothing happened. It’s so hard for me to continue having contact with him. Am I being played?

  57. It’s not just that it’s hard to continue contact with someone who’s acting the way your ex is, it’s hard to have a relationship with the kind of dynamic the two of you have. Looks like this was the pattern in your relationship, and this is just a continuation of it. He does what he wants to do, you complain, he threatens to leave, may be even disappears for a while so it looks like he’s following up on his threat, and you, not wanting to lose him, gives in or lets him off the hook.

    In my opinion, you are as responsible for the toxic dynamic as he is. To change the toxic pattern you’ll have to tell him things can’t go on like this, and refuse to play the game the two of you are playing. Two things will happen, if he is sincerely interested in being with you, he’ll step up to the plate; if he is not, you’ll lose him. Are you ready to take that risk or would you rather just continue playing the game?

  58. schung says:

    You are right. This is a continuation of his games. I’ll wait for the next time he initiates contact and tell him I’m fed up with his games, and not respond anymore. Thank you very much.

  59. The attitude with which you approach the situation will make all the difference. If you want nothing to do with him ever, then telling him you’re fed up with his games and not respond anymore will do it. But if you want a relationship with him, approaching things like it’s all his fault isn’t going to make him want to step up to the plate, even if he is still genuinely interested in you.

    1) Own up to your role in all this
    2) SUGGEST (not ask, demand or threaten) how things can be different
    3) Tell him what you are doing to make it different.

    These steps will not get the two of you back together, but they will help you find out if it’s even worth the time and effort to try to get him back — or just move on.

  60. urbangirl says:

    Most people blame the other person for the failure of the relationship, but guess what? You did things that damaged the relationship too! A bad relationship takes two people just like a good relationship takes two.

  61. fward says:

    This article is spot on. No contact when used to get someone to comply is nothing more than “if you don’t behave the way I want, I will shut you out”. I know it from personal experience with a mother who emotionally abused me for years and still cuts me off whenever I don’t do what she wants me to do.

    The important thing is to set boundaries and not to let someone else manipulate or control you.

  62. Angel says:

    The first guy I dated was a total game player. No matter how I responded, or didn’t respond he would play more mind games. It didn’t matter how mature or kind I was toward him. He just wouldn’t quit. Eventually I started playing the games back because I got so sick and tired of it. I’d hope to teach him a lesson, but it only made things worse and I ended up having to break up with him. I know I’m not perfect but I really did my best in the relationship, where as he treated me like a toy. I suppose I learned a lot from the relationship, but still I was stupid for ever letting it get that far. I should have broken it off within the first 3 months rather than letting it continue for a year and a half. Playing the players game is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

  63. Marie says:

    My ex contacted me after 4 months of no contact. At first it started with just texts inquiring on each other’s lives, then it moved onto flirting. Its so obvious that we are really into each other but he says we can only be just friends. I made a huge mistake of sleeping with him because I wanted to prove to both of us that we were more than just friends. Since then he has backed out. He doesn’t imitate contact anymore and when I call him he seems in a hurry to get off the phone. But then he says a lot of things about how much he cares about me, sometimes I don’t know what is going thought his mind. I have been sitting here trying to decide if I should just call him and tell him I’d like out of this relationship.

  64. Your ex may care a lot about you and even love you but as he said, at this point all he can offer you is “just friends”. Calling him to tell him you want out will not make him any more interested. You either take what he’s able to give you or wants to give you, or you move on. Forcing things to happen just makes them worse.

  65. Janice says:

    I begged for 2 weeks then I left him alone for 6 weeks because it was useless trying to get him back so soon. I then texted him. “Hi, how are you? Long time no speak. He replied after 2 hours, “I’m good and you?” I said I was good too and asked what he was up to? No response. So I waited 2 weeks and texted him again, “You good?”. He responded in less than an hr. “Good. Whats up?”. I told him about things that happened recently and asked him what his week was like. But NO answer. What is he doing? If he doesn’t want me to contact him what doesn’t he say so? And why does he reply then when I follow up he doesn’t answer?

  66. 1) May be he thinks you are playing him and he’s playing you back or, 2) he’s expecting you to pursue him. Try not to wait another two weeks before you contact him again and see if he responds. If he does follow up with another contact etc. If he’s responding then it may just be that he wants to see just how serious you are about staying in contact. If he doesn’t respond…well… you just have to accept that it’s just a game for him.

  67. heartsick says:

    My ex and I have been broken up for 5 months. I was going to propose to her but she broke up with me before I had the chance. I did the begging and all the other stuff you say in your book not to do. In my desperation I proposed to her but she was adamant that she needed to move on with her life. Mid August I get a text from her ” hey what’s up”. I waited 3 days and replied “life is good. what’s up”. No reply. About 10 days later I get another “you must have moved on”. I wait another 3 days and reply “I’m doing the best I can.” Never heard from her. Two weeks later and I get a text from her “if you have a new g/friend I don’t think we should talk anymore”. I replied “I don’t have a g/friend.” Not heard from her again since. It’s been 2 weeks. I am confused and don’t understand why she’s doing this.

  68. I think either she’s trying to get you to chase her or she wants to know that she can still have you if she wants. Either way, it’s not the best place to re-start a healthy relationship. These kind of games if you allow them will continue in the relationship because she’ll have proven to herself that they work. Encouraging her current behaviour is courting another heart-break. If she contacts you again with some pointless text, be direct and tell her you don’t know why she’s sending you these texts and would appreciate if she could be more clear about what is it she expects or wants from you. If she does not step up, refuse to be drawn in her games!

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