Question: Why is my ex being so nice to me all of a sudden when she didn’t care about my feelings when we were together; and was at times mean?
Now she’s being so unbelievably sweet and caring. I know she wants me back but I am very wary and can not bring myself to believe what she says after some things that happened in the past. It is so painful and hard when someone you invested so much time in hurts you. I’m torn between wanting to try to make this work and thinking that she’s saying and doing things just to get me back. I keep thinking that once we get back together; things will go back to what they used to be. Am I reacting from the past instead of focusing on the future?
Yangki’s Answer: I think you are thinking very, very clearly, and it’s good that you are. They say the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. So you have every reason to be wary.
It’s possible that your ex being too nice to you all of a sudden is simply her feeling guilty for the way she acted towards you in the past. It’s also possible that because your ex wants you back; she is making an effort to show you she has changed since the breakup: from the uncaring and mean person you knew to someone who genuinely cares about you.
I’ve worked with men and women who really have made some changes; and become different and better than the person their ex broke up with. So may be the break up really affected your ex and she really has changed but only time will tell. The reason I say “only time will tell” is because for some people, these changes are superficial and only temporal; until they get an ex back.
If your ex’s “being too nice to you all of a sudden” instead of making you feel “good’, makes you feel really uncomfortable, there’s a name for it. Toxic niceness.
Toxic niceness is a manipulative tactic insecure, controlling and devious people use to get what they want. If you are insecure yourself and can easily be manipulated; you may find yourself in the complete control of a narcissist manipulator.
The person using toxic niceness can’t come up straight and ask you for what they want. They know that if they do, they’ll be turned down. So they first butter you up with “niceness” because compliments and flattery appeal to the ego. The ego wants to feel special, toxic nice people know it; and use it to get what they want.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel “special” in some way or other, but if the compliments seem a little over the top, or if after you say “thank you” to one compliment, more keep coming and you start feeling like someone “wants something”, you are right. They do, and using toxic niceness to manipulate you.
Like with all mind games, the best antidote for toxic niceness is telling the person directly that you know what they are trying to do; and don’t like it. Of course, they’ll try and deny it; and most narcissists will even fake anger and try to point the finger back at you. But calling them out will make them think twice before trying toxic niceness on you again.
My suggestion is for you to:
1) Hold off on getting back together until you’ve sorted out your feelings; on your own. This is an opportunity to think about what it is you want; and for you and negotiate your wants and needs. But if in your gut you strongly believe that you don’t feel about her the same you felt when you were first attracted to her; then you need to re-evaluate your relationship and decide if this is what you really want.
2) Have a thorough discussion with her on how things will be different; if at all you get back together. Make sure that her understanding of what “try again” means matches yours. If it seems that all she wants is just get back together instead of working at the relationship; that should make you even more wary.
3) If you do decide in the end to go back together; make this a gradual process, one foot in at a time. No need to rush into anything. If you feel like your ex is rushing you; it’s most likely that she’s afraid you’ll discover or find out something that’ll make you change your mind about getting back together. If it’s all about her and what she wants, be rest assured, nothing has changed.