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Author Topic: Why did my ex do this?  (Read 680 times)
Nuitari
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« on: June 13, 2016, 06:44:15 PM »

I've read a lot from members here about being "ghosted." I never experienced this from my ex (I think it would have been better for me if I had). Instead, what I got was the opposite. My ex seemed to become even more needy and clingy after the relationship ended, to the point where I began to feel suffocated. It seemed that she always needed me for something. Sometimes it was just to talk when she was feeling lonely or stressed out (we weren't allowed to talk about my problems, like how terrible she made me feel, only hers.) Sometimes she would ask a favor of me that required that we meet in person. The favor usually turned out to be something extremely trivial, leaving me wondering why we even had to meet. I always got the feeling that it wasn't about the "favors" at all, but the face to face contact. She was with someone else, and was adamant that we had no future together, but was insistent on maintaining close contact. Why? Has anyone else experienced this?

Now here where it gets weird. I finally had enough and sent her a long email telling her how she was making me feel. Here is part of her response... .

"I am very sorry for all the pain I have caused. You are right, I have been very selfish recently. I have completely forgotten about other people's feelings and emotions. I have been under a lot of stress because of my upcoming test. Even though this is not an excuse, but please try to forgive me for taking advantage of your generosity. It is true that I have asked a lot of you and I will try to do my very best to lift that burden off your shoulders. Thank you very much for all your help, I truly appreciate that. I wish you could feel better and it seems that leaving you completely alone would be the best option for you. If I could make your life happier, I definitely would, but instead I have brought pain and destruction to your life. I am so sorry."

Reading this removed a huge weight from my shoulders. I finally felt free. She acknowledge my feelings and apologized for everything. It was exactly what I needed. I felt like I had the closure I had been looking for. I felt like I could finally move on. A couple of weeks go by, and she calls me like she doesn't even remember writing that. She called me to tell me how her admission to dental school test went. Then she asked me if I could meet with her in person so that I can help her fill out grad school applications!  It was like she wanted to keep me involved in every aspect of her life, even though we weren't in a relationship. This story was just one of many attempts on my part to end things with her in a cordial way, and they all had similar results.

Can anyone shed some light on what was driving this behavior?  
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vortex of confusion
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 07:15:29 PM »

I think part of what drives this behavior is the need to hold on to some kind of fantasy. I don't think that my stbx has really accepted that things are over and done. I don't think he understands the gravity of what he has done.

I am really struggling with something similar with my stbx. He knows that he has caused me pain yet it seems that when he comes over one of two things happen. He and I don't get along because he seems to completely forget that I am his soon to be ex wife. He will tell me about his love interests along with everything else that is going on with his life. I get irritated and upset and snotty because I do NOT want to hear about this stuff. What person in their right mind thinks that it is okay to tell an ex about this kind of stuff? What kind of person would be confused about why I might not be nicey McNice pants when he is telling me that kind of stuff?

The other extreme is that he will come over and act like nothing ever happened. He will be all sweet and wonderful and helpful. It is like he has no clue that I am hurt or that I really truly do NOT want to be in a relationship with him. We have 4 kids, a house, and a bunch of other shared stuff so he does come over and I do ask him to do stuff that helps/benefits the kids.

What reason do you have for doing those things for her? Do you have kids together? It seems weird to ask an ex for help if there is nothing that is keeping you tied together, like kids or business or finances. Instead of wondering why she tries to keep you involved, it might be more helpful to ask yourself why you keep saying yes. Why do you keep going back for more?

I had to ask myself that question. He would come over and tell me a bunch of stuff. I would get upset afterwards and vent to friends. I think I really frustrated my friends because I kept saying the same things over: "Why does he keep doing these things to me?" Um, I was letting him. I was inviting him over to see the kids and was not instituting clear boundaries. I would sit there and listen to this crap and then wonder why he kept doing it.

I think he might have actually gotten a clue NOT to talk about some things to me. It took me flipping out on him to get him to hear that I do NOT want to be a part of his life outside of the kids.
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Larmoyant
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 08:25:47 PM »

I’ve experienced this too. Call me cynical, but in my case I believe he wanted to keep me around until he’d properly secured my replacement at which point he would have flaunted her and discarded me without even looking back.

Immediately after I ended it he sought out other women whilst at the same time wanting to resolve our issues. That went downhill the moment I found out he was seeing someone else. He then wanted to be friends. Wanted to hang out and just have fun, no doubt that would have included sex too. I wasn’t going to risk more of my emotional well-being by agreeing to be friends with him. How can you go from apparent undying love and commitment and offer of marriage to ‘only friends’ in such a short space of time. There was no consideration either of how him dating others would hurt me.

The break up, just like the relationship, was all about meeting his needs and his needs only. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s too simple, but I don’t think he wanted to be alone and was content to use me until someone else filled the role.

Sorry, if I sound bitter. I don't think I am, just realistic and badly hurt.
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steelwork
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2016, 11:00:19 PM »

I've read a lot from members here about being "ghosted." I never experienced this from my ex (I think it would have been better for me if I had). Instead, what I got was the opposite.

In the times when we were "off," he leaned on me constantly for help with his writing, moral support, complaining about his health, his job, his ex wife, and above all his childhood trauma. This all changed once he replaced me. In the end he ghosted, so don't rule that out either.
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Nuitari
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 09:34:51 AM »

Thanks for your replies. It does sound like your experiences mirror my own. My ex had gotten back together with her husband, but couldn't seem to accept that we couldn't be as close anymore. She couldn't accept boundaries.

I think part of what drives this behavior is the need to hold on to some kind of fantasy. I don't think that my stbx has really accepted that things are over and done.

I don't think this is it. She seemed completely over me as a romantic partner and had moved on from that. But for some reason, she still needed me in her life. I know this is going to sound weird, but it often seemed like I was playing the role of a parent to her. Any time she had a problem, any time she was feeling low, she wanted to cry on my shoulder. I was the first person she would run to for help or advice. Not her husband, or anyone else. I was at the top of the list. She always looked to me to make things right and console her when she was depressed, which was often.

Excerpt
What reason do you have for doing those things for her? Do you have kids together? It seems weird to ask an ex for help if there is nothing that is keeping you tied together, like kids or business or finances. Instead of wondering why she tries to keep you involved, it might be more helpful to ask yourself why you keep saying yes. Why do you keep going back for more?

No, we don't have any ties. That's what made the whole thing so weird. I guess the reason I had such a hard time refusing her is because she seemed to rely on me so much, and I felt like I would be abandoning her. Again, in a weird way I think she saw me as a parent. She would build me up to be her knight in shining armor, and I didn't want to let her down.

Now, though, when I look back, I suspect that it was just about the attention I gave her. She's very emotionally needy. She's like a small child who wants a parent to carry her through life. I don't know why she singled me out for this role. I would like to believe that she saw something "special" in me, but part of me wonders if it was only because the husband wasn't putting up with her crap and indulging her the way I did.

What puzzled me most of all, and still does, were her seemingly genuine acknowledgements of her clinginess and the problems it was creating, and her assurances that she will stop this behavior, only to later resurface like nothing had happened. It was like a pathology with her. During the relationship, I took this clinginess to be a product of her strong feelings for me. But now I see that it was something else. There were deeper issues at work.

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C.Stein
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 09:48:47 AM »

What puzzled me most of all, and still does, were her seemingly genuine acknowledgements of her clinginess and the problems it was creating, and her assurances that she will stop this behavior, only to later resurface like nothing had happened. It was like a pathology with her.

It is easy to speak a "truth" without any real conviction.  Give that some thought.
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gotbushels
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 10:50:35 AM »

Hi Nuitari 

A couple of weeks go by, and she calls me like she doesn't even remember writing that.

BPs sometimes aren't able to rely on some memories to define their identity. It may cause either forgetting or unusual perceptions of when things occur or both. Therefore, your thoughts here seem to be resting ground that is either nonexistent or time-travelling or both. I'd avoid dwelling upon it--instead consider how it affects you:)

It's quite fun to be on this disappearing time-travelling mountain. To allay your curiosity for the time being, you can look at possible motives to be:

1) She's repeating to disregard your sundry "one of many attempts" "to end things with her";

2) She's repeating to put you back into bed with her; and

3) She's repeating what seems to work to her.

It's nicely worded. It'd probably work if it has before. B+ for effort. But--this all doesn't matter as the ground has just ceased to exist.
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schwing
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 02:29:18 PM »

Hi Nuitari,

Your ex is currently with someone else but you don't know how secure that relationship is.  As I understand it, if she were completely enmeshed with her current SO then she would have "ghosted" you (does that mean treat you like you don't exist?).  But what if her current SO is actually maintaining appropriate boundaries with her?  Maybe he is keeping his distance so that he can better assess her disposition -- you know, like smart dating?

Well if he is keeping her distant, and she is dealing with her disordered fear of abandonment -- she needs to find an outlet especially if she wants to hide her less acceptable behavior from him.  These is where you might come in.  As long as she has someone to run to (i.e. someone who would be with her *if*/*when* she needs him) then she can avoid feeling abandoned by her current SO.  This might be why some people with BPD (pwBPD) try to sustain "open" relationships where they can run to another partner as soon as their disordered feelings overwhelm them with the current partner.

As I see it, she wrote you that letter perhaps out of fear of abandonment.  If she didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, then she could probably sense that you would cut things off.  She wrote she would "try to do [her] very best to life that burden off your shoulders... " but when it comes down to it, her emotional needs will always trump yours.  So long as you allow her needs to take precedence over yours, then she will continue to do what she wants.  And maybe this behavior will continue.  Unless/until her current SO finally gives in and falls in love with her or she finds someone else to enmesh with.


Reading this removed a huge weight from my shoulders. I finally felt free. She acknowledge my feelings and apologized for everything. It was exactly what I needed. I felt like I had the closure I had been looking for. I felt like I could finally move on.

If only her actions would match her words.  But that's the rub.  You cannot depend upon what they say... .you can only act accordingly to their actions.  And if she is acting in a manner than does not work for you, then don't allow her to act this way any more. 

Best wishes,

Schwing
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vortex of confusion
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2016, 05:07:42 PM »

Thanks for your replies. It does sound like your experiences mirror my own. My ex had gotten back together with her husband, but couldn't seem to accept that we couldn't be as close anymore. She couldn't accept boundaries.

Was her husband okay with this? My stbx has a horrible time with accepting boundaries. That makes it really difficult for me to enforce them. It took me flipping my lid to get him to back off of some things. I know him well enough to know that over time, my flipping out and setting boundaries will be forgotten and he will slowly work his way back to telling me stuff, etc. It is up to me figure out what I want and then make it happen.

Excerpt
I don't think this is it. She seemed completely over me as a romantic partner and had moved on from that. But for some reason, she still needed me in her life. I know this is going to sound weird, but it often seemed like I was playing the role of a parent to her. Any time she had a problem, any time she was feeling low, she wanted to cry on my shoulder. I was the first person she would run to for help or advice. Not her husband, or anyone else. I was at the top of the list. She always looked to me to make things right and console her when she was depressed, which was often.

This makes me think of something else that I have also noticed with stbx. He tries to tell me things that a guy probably wouldn't even tell a best friend or even a parent let alone a stbx wife. I was describing this to somebody and it was pointed out that it might be that he sees me as an extension of himself rather than as an independent and autonomous person. That made a lot of sense to me and it really fit some of his behaviors.

Excerpt
What puzzled me most of all, and still does, were her seemingly genuine acknowledgements of her clinginess and the problems it was creating, and her assurances that she will stop this behavior, only to later resurface like nothing had happened. It was like a pathology with her. During the relationship, I took this clinginess to be a product of her strong feelings for me. But now I see that it was something else. There were deeper issues at work.

I don't think clinginess is a result of strong feelings for a person. I think clinginess is more about strong feelings of insecurity. From my own personal experience, I know that there are times when I have been clingy in relationships. Most of the time, it was when I was feeling unsure of the relationship or something else in my life. I could pinpoint a specific reason for why I was feeling insecure.

My kids provide the best example for this. When they are feeling out of sorts or I haven't been at my best, that is when they get the most clingy. They need a place where they can check in and get back to a place of normalcy. I think occasional clinginess is okay. It is when it is constant that it becomes a problem. My stbx was terribly clingy. If I didn't respond to his emails and texts immediately, he would freak out. He could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted while I felt like I was expected to be there whenever he wanted/needed me.

He is so much like a little kid. He would do his own thing and ignore me. If he decided that he wanted/needed me and I was busy with something else, he would get all freaky and clingy. It felt almost like taking a toddler to the playground. He wanders off to play and gets distracted. If he looks up and doesn't see mom immediately, he panics, runs to mom, and starts clinging to her for reassurance.
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vortex of confusion
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2016, 05:24:40 PM »

Well if he is keeping her distant, and she is dealing with her disordered fear of abandonment -- she needs to find an outlet especially if she wants to hide her less acceptable behavior from him.  These is where you might come in.  As long as she has someone to run to (i.e. someone who would be with her *if*/*when* she needs him) then she can avoid feeling abandoned by her current SO.  This might be why some people with BPD (pwBPD) try to sustain "open" relationships where they can run to another partner as soon as their disordered feelings overwhelm them with the current partner.

This totally hits the nail on the head. When I originally went to my stbx 3 years ago to tell him that things needed to change and that I needed more from the relationship, his solution to it was "let's see other people". The problem with that is he didn't treat me very nicely. Instead of addressing any of the stuff that was going on between us, he would put all of his energy in chasing others. I can usually tell when he has somebody that he is chasing. He not only tells me about it but he turns into a jerk. It is like he has to dump all of his negative crap on me so that he can be nicey McNice pants to whatever woman he is chasing. He seems to think that he is completely off the hook because I am seeing someone else. Um, no, having somebody else does NOT erase the problems. It does NOT erase the pain or the hurt. It isn't a get out of jail free card. It is making my current relationship more difficult because I am having to do some serious work on myself. He acts almost like nothing happened even though we had been together for 18 years and have 4 kids.

Excerpt
As I see it, she wrote you that letter perhaps out of fear of abandonment.  If she didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, then she could probably sense that you would cut things off.  She wrote she would "try to do [her] very best to life that burden off your shoulders... " but when it comes down to it, her emotional needs will always trump yours.  So long as you allow her needs to take precedence over yours, then she will continue to do what she wants.  And maybe this behavior will continue.  Unless/until her current SO finally gives in and falls in love with her or she finds someone else to enmesh with.

Yep, I can't tell you the number of times that stbx has written me emails or love letters telling me everything that I wanted to hear. He could tell me everything that I wanted to hear and then some. When I found these forums, I was so confused because I was listening to his words and ignoring his actions. He would acknowledge his crappy behavior. He would tell me that he was going to change. Blah, blah, blah. . .I bought it hook, line, and sinker ever time. Nothing changed until I decided that I didn't want to put up with it any more. Even then, it is difficult because I have to break a pattern of interaction that has been pretty well established.

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