Red Responds: Is She Playing Games?

DaVida in Baker writes:

My ex and I broke up almost a year ago, and she ran off and married someone she’d only known for a month. Since then she and I have told one another that we are still in love, and she has even admitted that she felt that she made a mistake by marrying the other person.

Even though she has left, she keeps in touch with my kids – well mostly my daughter, since my son is still kind of mad about how things went down. She sometimes tells me she still loves me, but part of me feels that she is just doing so to get money – well, I felt that way in the beginning. I’ve stopped giving her money and food, and they have moved across the country. She admits that the move was her husband’s decision: he would really prefer that she not have anything to do with me or my kids.

In my mind I think it is completely over, but I also feel that if she didn’t love us she wouldn’t go through occasional fights just to still be a part of our lives. About a week ago she told my daughter that she will be back, that she just wants to make sure that she will be able to take care of us and so forth. When I talked about leaving the state where I am presently residing, she started to go on and on about how I was taking the kids away from her.

Now I know game or smooth talk when I hear it, but I really need to know if all of this is a game. Is she coming back, really? Or would I be a bad person if I just cut her completely out of our lives altogether? I’ve stopped sending her money, but I also know that sometimes people mess things up for themselves with impulsive decisions. So what is really going on? Are my kids and I being played for fools, or does she really love us? Maybe she feels trapped, or has too much pride to admit she messed up. I was born in September of 1972, and she was born in July of 1981.

Dear DaVida,

Your ex is rather confused, and trying to figure out how to find happiness and security. But she really isn’t certain where she wants to be, or who she really wants to be with. This doesn’t mean that she’s gaming you and your kids – she’s just trying to keep all of her options open.

Your ex does care about you and the kids, but she isn’t in love with you. That definitely complicates any reconciliation or reunion for the two of you on a romantic level. She knows she made a mistake by leaving you, and because things went from bad to worse for her in her life, she is hoping that you might consider taking her back. Quite frankly, and I’m sorry to say this, you are her “plan B.”

Your ex does care very much about your kids, and wants to be part of their lives, even though she shows no level of consistency with them. She acts on impulse, and focuses on what she wants and thinks she needs more than she considers how her actions affect your kids.

Cutting your ex out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person – it only makes the statement that you are no longer going to accept her chaotic behavior. Your ex has a lot of things to work out and work through, but you and your kids don’t have to be dragged along for the ride. While your ex may believe her words when she says them, she isn’t doing anything to enforce or support her claims.

Unless and until this changes, the drama is going to continue. Set your boundaries, and enforce them. Waiting for her to come home a more grounded and responsible person is only going to keep you, and your kids, waiting.

Best of luck to you.
Ext. 9226

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