It is quite common for your ex to play mind games with you after your breakup. Some people do it on purpose. But, there are also exceptions. It is possible that some of them might not be even aware that they are making you feel like they are playing mind games with you.
First, let’s talk about what mind game is.
Mind games are defined as actions or statements intended to undermine or mislead or confuse someone else to often gain advantage for oneself.
In other words, people who play mind games are trying to manipulate you psychologically to get what they want.
It can happen in workplace, family or relationships. Most often, people do it to their romantic partners. And, both men and women are guilty of such manipulative behaviors.
Here, we will examine the various possible reasons why your ex is playing mind games with you.
Your Ex Wants To Gain Control
One of the top reasons for playing mind games is to feel in control. After breakup, your ex might experience a loss of control. In particular, if your ex is a controlling or egoistic person, he or she will probably use mind games to gain back control.
Why is that so?
Because when your ex thinks that he or she can affect you emotionally and get you to do what he or she wants, it makes your ex feel good and also gives your ex a great sense of power over you.
Often, the desire for control stems from insecurity. Did you ever notice that when you finally decide to go no contact, your ex would start texting you or calling you out of blue to send you mixed signals?
The reason your ex acts this way is because your ex feels that you might be getting over him or her and moving on from the breakup. And your ex doesn’t want to lose the emotional influence he or she has over you.
For example, one of my clients made the mistake of begging and pleading after her ex boyfriend broke up with her. He would tell her to just move on.
However, when she eventually decided to cut all contact with her ex, her ex boyfriend texted her soon after to tell her that he missed her. They talked all day. Then, all of a sudden, her ex boyfriend started to ignore her again.
Your Ex Fears Getting Rejected
Another reason why your ex might be playing mind games with you is that he or she wants to get back together with you but is afraid of getting rejected.
To be fair, we all fear rejection. It is a very common human weakness. To avoid getting rejected, your ex might send you mixed signals to test your reaction and gauge his or her chances of reconciliation.
For example, when you asked your ex about possibility of reconciliation in the future, your ex told you firmly that he or she doesn’t see you two getting back together.
Then, some time later, your ex might start to regret the decision to break up. He or she would text you to check on you and see if you still have feelings for him or her. You could also find your ex making all sort of excuses to meet up with you.
So, it is likely that your ex might realize that he or she made the mistake leaving you and actually wants you back. However, your ex’s defense mechanism tells him or her not to be upfront about it because your ex is not sure whether you feel the same way.
Your Ex Wants Sex
It is typical of ex boyfriends to use mind games to get what they are after – sex. This is by far the most immoral agenda for playing mind games. I have had a lot of clients who fell into this kind of trap and ended up getting their heart broken again and again.
In this case, your ex boyfriend probably knows very well that you are still hung up on him. So, he is certain that if he tells you he misses you and asks you to hang out either at his or your place, you would unhesitantly say yes. Then, one thing led to another. Before you know it, you would be spending the night with him.
You wanting your ex back desperately puts yourself at risk of being easily taken advantage of . This is because your emotions would cloud your judgement and you would believe whatever your ex boyfriend says.
How do you tell that your ex boyfriend is just using mind tricks to sleep with you?
First, your ex boyfriend would suddenly start showing interest and saying sweet things. You two would talk all night and laugh together. He would compliment you and cuddle with you and kiss you. All of it would make you feel like he was falling in love with you again.
But when you bring up your relationship and ask your ex if you two should give it another try, your ex boyfriend would not give you a positive answer or completely avoid answering your question.
Another red flag would be that your ex boyfriend become distant and cold (maybe even disappear) after sex.
So, if your ex boyfriend is just trying to hook up with you without any intention of getting into a serious relationship, it is only wise of you to tell him firmly that you are not interested in being friends with benefits and ask him to stop messing with your mind.
Your Ex Just Wants To Keep You Around
Sometimes, your ex might not be sure about what he or she really wants. It is likely that your ex still has feelings for you but your ex doesn’t want to commit to a relationship with you for the time being.
However, letting you go and letting you move on is not what your ex wants either because your ex still wants to keep you in his or her life in case he or she wants to take you back in the future.
So, what your ex might do is to give you false hope and string you along. When you talk to your ex about getting back together, he or she would either avoid the question or be very vague in his or her answers.
For example, I had a client whose ex boyfriend is in a new long distance relationship with another girl but still contacts my client a few times a week. Her ex boyfriend would flirt with her and say things like buying a house together or get married in a joking manner. However, when my client confronts him if he wants to get back together, he never gave her a definite answer.
This only makes her feel confused and powerless.
First of all, she unknowingly hands over control to her ex boyfriend by accepting the way he is treating her.
Secondly, she puts herself in a vulnerable position to get hurt again by believing in the false hopes her ex boyfriend is feeding her.
Your Ex Wants To Take Revenge
If your ex boyfriend or girlfriend is a revengeful person, it is possible that he or she will try to play mind game to get back at you for hurting him or her.
Breakups are painful, whether you are the dumper or the dumpee. It is possible that your ex might feel anger and resentment towards you and want you to feel the same pain that he or she is experiencing now.
For example, your ex might start working out and make himself or herself look attractive and confident. He or she might even post photos of having fun nights with other friends because your ex knows that you will definitely see those photos.What your ex is trying to do is to make you feel that it is your loss to break up with them.
What kinds of mind games do they play?
1. Hot and Cold
The most common type of mind games is what I call ”playing hot and cold”.
Did you find your ex acting friendly and nice one minute and then becoming cold and distant the next?
Did your ex tell you he or she misses you only to ignore you afterwards?
Did your ex suddenly stop responding to your text or calls after he or she reached out to you first?
Did your ex ask you to hang out together and even set a date but cancel on you last minute without giving any explanation?
These are just some of the typical behaviors you might observe from a hot and cold ex.
They could be doing it for a number of reasons:
- Your ex was just having a moment of weakness and then regretted contacting you because he or she realized that it was not a good idea
- Your ex was feeling lonely after the breakup and he or she is not yet used to being single and alone
- Your ex wanted to feel wanted and loved because he or she was emotionally dependent on you throughout the relationship
”My ex girlfriend just contacted me a couple days ago after no contact for over a month. When we were texting, she would send smiley faces and would want to know about me. We ended up meeting up that night, and we caught up and watched a movie.
The next day, I texted her and thanked her for coming over and catching up. She replied, ”I figured since we both weren’t doing anything.”
I then texted her a couple days later asking how she was feeling because she had let me know that she was sick and not feeling to well. I never got a response.
I just don’t understand how one day she was super friendly and happy towards me, then all of the sudden the next day she goes cold and doesn’t show any emotion. ”
How do you deal with this?
Your ex is doing this to keep you around without having to commit to anything. When you find your ex is playing with your feelings this way, choosing not to play their games and demanding unambiguity from your ex is your best option.
You need to know that any mind game takes two people to play. Don’t waste your time and energy on guessing and over-analysing what your ex is thinking. Just be straight with your ex that you don’t like these mind games and ask them to stop doing it.
2. Your Ex Trying To Get Intimate
Your ex might try to get intimate with you, especially when he or she is not seeing anyone new yet. Loneliness and boredom might be the reason why they miss the intimacy with you.
In their mind, wanting to get intimate with you is not equal to wanting to get back with you. However, you might mistake their words and action for wanting you back and giving the relationship another try.
It is very easy to believe the sweet things your ex says, especially when you still have feelings for them. Words are cheap. One way to determine if they are just taking advantage of you is to see whether their action is aligned with their words.
Did they show less interest and contact you less frequently after they have slept with you?
Did they still go on dates with other people after they told you that they were not ready to jump into another relationship?
Did their attitude take a 180 degree turn and ask you to stop contacting them after you gave in to their sexual requests?
Did they suggest to be friends with benefits?
These are the clear signs that your ex just wants to use you to satisfy their sexual needs.
” We broke up 3 weeks ago after 2 years dating. Last night, he called me and wanted to hang out as friends. I still like him, so I said ok. But when we had dinner, he began to tell me how he misses me and how he doesn’t feel like having another relationship because the breakup is still raw and he can’t start a new one.
It brought me all the memories and I was very sad. He invited me to his new house and we ended up sleeping together after he told me he wants to take a break from the dating because he keeps thinking about me.
But this morning, he said to me he will continue to date the new girls until he finds one he really likes. When I asked why he said he would take a break from the dating, he said he didn’t mean that, he said he wants me to date, and he wants to live his own life and I live mine, but we can keep having fun.”
How do you deal with this?
First of all, when your ex boyfriend is trying to sleep with you, don’t give in and don’t let your ex have what he wants. You will only end up getting hurt and regret having sex with them afterwards.
To prevent it from happening to you, you need to avoid putting yourself in a situation where your ex is likely to make sexual advances to you. For example, you should avoid meeting your ex at his place or your place alone.
3. Showing Off Their New Relationship
This is one of the classic examples of mind games played by ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend after breakup. They would purposely dangle their new relationship right in front of your face, be it telling you how happy they are with their new partner or how wonderful their new partner is.
What are they trying to achieve by shoving their new found happiness down your throat?
Are they trying to make you upset and jealous?
Or, are they trying to prove to you that they are happier without you?
First of all, what you see on the surface might not be the whole picture. No relationship is perfect. Your ex’s new relationship is no exception.
Also, it is possible that your ex is exaggerating or even feigning happiness to make you feel down.
Regardless of your ex’s objective, what is obvious is that showing off their new relationship is their way of dealing with their own insecurity.
”My ex boyfriend and I broke up six months ago. I hadn’t seen him for three months when he texted me asking if I still had some of things. I replied that I did, and asked when he would like to pick them up.
He then proceeded to tell me all about his new girlfriend he’s living and working with in a town an hour away and how he wants her around all the time and he is so happy.
I am trying to be happy for him, but I can’t help being a little jealous that he wants to spend all his time with her and wants to marry her. I had to practically beg him to spend time with me instead of his friends when we were dating. ”
What do you do in this situation?
If you know that your ex is showing off their new relationship to get a reaction out of you, you need to keep your cool and refrain from showing jealousy. If you do display jealousy, that is only going to feed your ex’s ego and that is what your ex wants.
If your ex cannot stop bringing up his or her new relationship, you are better off cutting contact with him or her for a while to protect yourself and also help you heal from the breakup.