Why Your Emotionally Unavailable Ex Might Be Stringing You Along — And How To Stop The Confusion

Photo: by Maryia Plashchynskaya from pexels
Why Your Emotionally Unavailable Ex Might Be Stringing You Along — And How To Stop The Confusion

Is your ex stringing you along? Sometimes it can feel that way, but what is the truth?

Could your emotionally unavailable ex be intentionally stringing you along as a backup or a “Plan B” in case their single life isn’t working out the way they want it to? Perhaps.

But there's also the chance that yes, they love you and after the breakup, you both realized mistakes were made.

If you're wondering how to get your ex back — or if it's even a good idea to start dating your ex again, considering their history of emotional unavailability — then it's important to know if you're being strung along unfairly.

RELATED: 11 Signs He's An Emotionally Unavailable Man That Can't — And Won't — Commit

Are they stringing you along, or is it something else?

You were in a relationship with your ex, so you should have a good sense of their personality and what they are capable of doing.

Still, there are some important signs to pay attention to.

During your time together, have you seen them manipulate people? Have you seen them use others? Have you seen them lack empathy?

If you’ve seen them do this, then it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they might be doing this with you.

But if your ex was an honest and genuinely decent person, then it is unlikely that they are going to have a dramatic personality shift that will cause them to start using you this way.

What is more likely is that your ex is trying to move their own life forward in some way.

And this may or may not look like what you are hoping for in spending time together with them.

If you want to get back together, but that’s not what they want, they may not be intentionally stringing you along (unless they are going out of their way to give you false hope).

The truth is that they are probably confused.

They don’t know what they want.

And so they are flip-flopping all over the place.

You can’t expect someone in that frame of mind to be steering you toward a great relationship outcome.

After all, they barely even know what they want themselves.

Don’t let a confused person steer your relationship. Just like you shouldn’t let someone who has no idea where they are going drive you somewhere in their car.

RELATED: If These 8 Things Describe Him, He's Emotionally Unavailable For A Relationship

Your ex is likely to stay in their state of confusion until something causes them to move out of that state and make a decision.

So, what is going to cause them to get closer to you and stop being so confused?

You have to give them more positive experiences with you.

The more positive experiences they have with you, the more they are going to stop feeling confused around you and the more likely they are going to want to commit to you again.

You must decrease the negative experiences they have with you, and you must increase the positive experiences in order to pull them through to the other side of the confusion they're feeling.

There are two types of emotional unavailability.

If your ex is a normal person, then they were probably emotionally available before and during your relationship.

After a breakup, it's completely normal for someone to become at least temporarily emotionally unavailable.

After all, breakups are intense emotional experiences, and it takes some time to cope with those emotions and heal.

However, if your ex was more of a long-term emotionally unavailable person, then they would have been unavailable before you met, during your time together, and, of course, after your breakup as well.

This long-term sort of emotional unavailability can be indicative of bigger issues that a person may be dealing with in their lives.

But the important thing is that you have to be able and willing to accept your ex the way that they are without needing them to be someone or something that they are not.

Can people change?


Do people change?

Only when they're ready to.

And if your ex isn’t ready to change, then I don’t want you holding your breath for them to eventually do that, especially when it may take years or even decades.

The main thing here is that your ex is likely not intentionally stringing you along.

Rather, they are probably just confused and doing their best.

Your feelings and emotions may inadvertently get hurt in the process, but it’s not intentional. At least, in most cases.

And the best way you can change your situation is to help fuel the dynamic with more positive emotions and remove any negative emotional experiences that the two of you have.

This will help your ex through the dark forest of confusion that they may be lost in.

RELATED: 5 Heartbreaking Signs The Guy You Love Doesn't Care About You

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Clay Andrews is a dating & relationship coach and co-founder of Modern Love & Advanced Relational.