[Hey, guys! Before I start this article, I just want to put a disclaimer out there, since I’ll be writing in my own perspective and what I’d personally do in this situation. So, with that said, I am not Chris Seiter. My name is Janell, a guest writer and active member of EGR’s sister group, Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, giving you the female perspective on this topic. So, without further ado, here is the article…]
Before we start, I want you to imagine one of the most popular Charlie Brown comic strip ever.
You know the one.
The three-panel one!
Charlie Brown is seen running in the first panel, gearing up for something. In the second panel, Lucy (a total brat that I never really liked in the first place), yanks a football away from Charlie Brown just as he’s about to kick it.
In the last panel, Charlie Brown is lying on his back, miserable that he let Lucy manipulate him into thinking that this time, just this time, she was going to actually let him have what he wants.
To kick the damn ball.
Does this scenario ring a bell in your head?
Having something dangled or placed in front of you, eagerly making you want it – only to have it be yanked out from in front of you in the end?
If not, let me make the correlation for you: It is you and your ex.
You are Charlie Brown, gearing up, preparing for your ex to come back into your life after spending so much regaining her trust, her friendship, everything you missed about her. Lucy, as you probably guessed, is your ex, pulling away the thing you’re yearning for.
So what is the football representing?
Your relationship, of course! The football is your relationship and the string that’s attached to it. Once you’re close enough to kick…SWOOP! She pulls it right from under you, leaving you on the ground, wondering what happened.
Why do women do this?
Why do they show you something that you want, knowing you can’t have it, taunt you with it, and then never give it to you right away or at all?
Why does anyone do it?
There are a lot of motives for it, to be honest. Everyone is different, as is every situation. But lucky for you, I’ve narrowed these motives down to a few just to help you understand why your ex is stringing you along.
As I said, I am a woman, so I am here to provide you with the female perspective. So, let me say this: I’ve had experience with this – the stringing along nonsense. But, I want to tell you that I have never strung anyone along. At least, I don’t think.
Man…I hope I haven’t!
That wouldn’t be great… I have, however been strung along, and that stuff hurts. I definitely know what it’s like to be Charlie Brown, kicking the air instead of a football.
Being strung along starts off like any courtship would – with a little light flirting and getting to know each other. Compliments are made, basic dating information is swapped, and trust is usually gained by the end of this stage.
Once it is gained, the stringing-along begins to get comfortable and probably thinks that not much needs to be done because the poor person on the other end of the string is compliant enough to do what the other says.
So, the strung-along is compliant, the stringing-along is comfortable, and the person who benefits from this arrangement clearly is the stringing-along.
Why? Because they get everything they want without really giving anything in return.
And the saddest thing is that the strung-along doesn’t mind getting nothing in return because they’re just happy to be with the stringing-along. They don’t even know they’re being strung along and probably don’t expect much because of that. They just wait patiently, hoping for the full-blown commitment they think will come, but never does even though they’ve been promised it will.
If this sounds familiar, then you’ve probably either been the strung-along or the stringing-along. If you read this and it’s making you angry because you’re not just realizing you’re the strung along, then you have a right to be. Like I said, I know what it feels like to be strung along.
But…on the other end of the spectrum, though, if it were me stringing some poor man along, I’m going to let you know now that I’d probably do it for these reasons:
- I’m using you
- I’m getting revenge on you
- I’m confused about my own feelings
- I have someone else I’m talking to, and I’m just keeping you on my hook
- I’m protecting myself first to see how you truly feel about me
With that said, I’ll give you an explanation of each reason and what you can do if you think you’re in this situation.
Here’s another disclaimer: Women can be mean. I’m sure most of you men have experienced it with other women you’ve encountered or dated. I know it because even though I’m all for women helping women, there are some females out there that don’t give a damn about anyone else and their feelings. Hate to break it to you, gents, but some of those mean women might be your ex.
How, you might ask?
If your ex is stringing you along, she is probably using you – and that’s classic mean girl behavior. I know it’s probably hard to face that fact, but come on, man! Look at it right in the eye.
You’re doing things for her – fixing the lock on her door, changing her oil, picking her up from work. Even something as simple as calling her up while she drives home from work at night so she’s not lonely is a sign of her using you. But what do you get? NOTHING. If you’re giving more than you’re getting, and it’s all one-sided – I hate to break it to you, bro, but you’re getting the short end of the string (I say string because you’re being strung along, get it?)
What she is doing with the string she’s pulling you along with is assuring that she is benefitting mostly from this arrangement.
She either has little regard for your feelings or none at all because she’s probably not thinking about how you feel.
If your ex-girlfriend is anything like the malicious side of me, she would get you to trust her enough by toying with your emotions before she starts asking for favors.
She probably figures that while she is getting all that she wants from you, you’re still getting what you want from her if she flirts with you for a little bit, calls you a cutie, maybe even sneaks in a few hugs that last longer than they should.
Maybe your ex isn’t using you.
Maybe Your ex could be stringing you along because somehow, she feels hurt and betrayed, so naturally she’s gonna want revenge.
Like I said, women can be mean. We can be meaner, especially after we’ve been hurt.
So, if you’ve hurt your ex during your relationship, during the breakup, or post-breakup, she’s already setting down her revenge traps for you by stringing you along.
If you think about it, it’s a pretty easy revenge plan:
Step 1. Make him start to like me again
Step 2. Make sure he trusts me enough to open up to me, share his feelings – make him vulnerable
Step 3. Play him like a fool
Step 4. Dump him after stringing him along for a while (optional)
It’s such an easy revenge plan because it requires minimal work. Let’s say I’m your ex, all right? You’ve broken up with me for whatever reason and I’ve been pissed about it. But now you’re coming around and saying that you want me back. What am I going to do?
I’m gonna make sure I can use the hell out of you so that I can possibly inflict the same amount of pain on you as you’ve done to me. What did you do, you might ask? YOU PLAYED WITH MY EMOTIONS. So now I get to play with yours.
It’s that simple.
Confused About Feelings
If your girl isn’t the vengeful type, then she’ll string you along for other, less malicious reasons. From this section on, we’ll discuss all those reasons. This one in particular is because she’s probably confused about the feelings she’s having for you.
How is she confused?
Does she not know how you feel?
Haven’t you conveyed your feelings?
Well, yes. But women are notoriously known to not know what guys really mean. Just like how you’re trying to dissect everything she is saying and doing toward you, she’s doing the same with you. She isn’t sure about what you really want – especially if you were the one who initiated the break up.
If you were the one who broke up with her and all of sudden you’re breaking your back to get her back, you best bet she’d be confused! I know I would be if my ex all of a sudden decided that he wants me back. And you best bet I’d string him along until I know what his motives are.
Now, if it was the opposite – she broke up with you – she could be confused as to what she really wants at this point. Does she want you back? Can she live without you? She is probably weighing this and other factors (I’ll get to that in a bit…) while she’s pulling that string, my good sir. It definitely isn’t a good position to be in for either of you, but I think we can agree that you have the shorter end of the string again in this case.
So, how can you un-confuse her? Honestly, the most obvious and simplest approach is to talk it out with her. Tell her how you feel and then ask her how she feels. If you’re both vibing on the same page, then things should turn up for you and you’ll probably end up getting back together with your ex.
If she gives you the wishy-washy,
“Uh…Well, I…I mean, the thing is…”
Then, you have your answer right there.
Yes, it absolutely sucks but I think it’s better to cut your losses than to be strung along.
Like I mentioned in the last section, your ex is probably stringing you along because she’s confused about her feelings for you and other factors – like your feelings for her, where she is in her life, and sometimes (the sucky times), it’s because there’s another guy.
There’s a good chance you’re being strung along by your ex because she’s trying to sort her feelings out for you and another guy – one she probably met while you two were broken up. How I Met Your Mother coined this tactic as “The Hook”.
I’m usually surrounded by men who’ve seen that show and use it as their dating guide, so I usually don’t have to explain the premise of the show or the episode. But in case you’re one of the few who haven’t seen it, I’ll explain.
In an episode appropriately titled Hooked, the main character, Ted, is seeing a girl who he is interested in, but who returns little feelings and affection to him. Why? Because she’s got him on her hook. She tells him things he wants to hear, which make him think he has a chance, but she always turns him down. But at the end of the episode, Ted realizes that that girl is put on her own hook by her own ex-boyfriend.
So, my point in this is that you’re probably put on the hook while your ex gets to date other guys, but all the while has you on the hook because you’re a safety. She knows you’re still interested in her, so if things go south with Mr. Right Now, then she can always run back to you.
What can you do now? Again, be direct with her. Tell her that you’re all in or she’s going to have to hook someone else. It may feel good to be with her for that moment, but it wouldn’t be fair to you to be on the hook like that. So, talk it over with her, see if you can get to a middle ground with her, and if things are good, try to work them out.
Protects Herself Before She Wrecks Herself
For this last scenario, let’s pretend I’m your ex again. Let’s also say that you were the one who broke up with me. Now, let’s say that told me that you want me back. How do you think I’d react?
- Pleased, willing to take you back in a heartbeat
- Hesitant, but willing to take you back in a heartbeat
- Super reluctant, will take things super slow and see where it goes
- HELL NO. Just no.
If you said the first two options, you probably don’t need this article. The last option was for my own kicks, but it tends to be an option. The actual answer I’m looking for is C, because most women most likely choose that option.
Why? Wouldn’t I, your ex, want you back right away? Well, duh. But the thing is, if you were the one who broke up with me and you wanted to get back together, I’d more than likely keep you at an arm’s length at first. I’d do this because you hurt me and there’s a good chance that it could happen again. So now, I’m gonna string you along until I know you’re 100% committed to me again before I even think about cutting that string and open myself up to you again.
Let’s face it – some men can be fickle. Yeah, sure, some women are, as well. I won’t argue you on that. But when it comes to dating, you can’t deny that women are typically more committed to the relationship than men are. So, your ex could be stringing you along to see how you truly feel about her before she gives herself back to you completely.
Because remember how the old saying goes: Fool her once, shame on you. Fool her twice, shame on her. And she doesn’t want to be shamed again.
While these situations do not reach the many reasons why women string men along, they’re all almost possible. Women can be very emotional, let’s not forget. While most of us try to be rational in handling breakups, getting back together, and events in between, a lot of the times, it’s easier for us to just say “Eff it!” and get caught up in doing irrational things, like stringing exes along. We all have our motivations for doing the things we do, just like you men have your reasons for breaking up or stringing women along as well.
In any case of stringing along, it’s best to evaluate the relationship up until this point. You can do this while implementing No Contact. Think about if the relationship is worth saving or if you should just let it go. If it is salvageable and you honestly think it is, then reach out to your ex and have an honest conversation with her about everything.
Have that discussion with your ex and be direct. Let her know that stringing you along isn’t cool and that you would like to work things out with her. I cannot stress it enough to be direct and honest with her because that gets you better results than playing mind games with each other.
If either revenge or just using you is your ex’s motivation for stringing you along, hit her with the No Contact. It would be a good thing for both of you. She won’t be able to manipulate you, and you in turn can take that time to evaluate your relationship with her. Think about things like, “Do I want to be with someone who is going to play with me like that?” Because let me tell you – once a girl knows how to play you, she’ll play you, boy.
Being strung along isn’t the best. It’s not even a real relationship. So don’t allow your ex to pull the string. Remember that a relationship involves two people. So instead of allowing yourself to be strung along, get her to drop that string and grab your hand instead so you’re both walking at the same pace.
(This article was written by Janell)