Is your ex stringing you along? Unfortunately, that’s what some exes do best. You may be on a that retractable bungee cord when you’re separated or divorced and the ex is pulling your chain. Either way, you’re the one getting played.
What is the Bungee Cord Phenomenon?
The bungee cord phenomenon—let’s call it “BCP” for fun—is a particularly diabolical tactic used by the wiliest of women. It’s worse than being on a string. When your ex has you on a string, at least you know where you stand. You know how long the string is, and how to keep your distance. But when you’re on that retractable cord, you have no idea where you are. Sometimes you’re up close and personal, like it was when you were a couple. The next minute, you’re flung far away into oblivion. You don’t know how far the bungee cord is going to stretch, what direction you’re going in, or when the cord might snap you right back into your ex’s grasp. The only thing you know for certain is that it’s painful to be snapped back and forth like that. It hurts when she pulls you in and worse when she flings you back out. It’s like going through your breakup over and over again.
Your ex uses the bungee cord phenomenon almost like a strategic military maneuver. She wants you to think you have all the freedom in the world. You innocently stretch away, not realizing that the cord is still attached. There’s a growing distance between you and your ex that feels healthy. You start to think maybe you can actually heal. Maybe you really are going to be able to make a life without her.
Your ex may even tell you during this time that she’s happy for you that you’re moving on with your life. She tells you that she just wants the best for you, she always has. This feels good. Who wants to have a woman mad at them? Not you. You comfort yourself at night knowing that your ex is not plotting against you. “She’s actually on my side!” you think.
Then, things get weird. Your ex hears a rumor that you’re getting close to someone else. It’s true, you have been dating someone you met at a party. This new girl is terrific, and you can see yourself starting a new life with her someday.
Suddenly, your ex calls you up out of the blue. “Can I see you?” she implores. “I need you.” Innocent lamb that you are, you go. You speed to her place and your ex is all over you as soon as you get through the door. “I never should have let you go,” she cries. “Do you still have feelings for me?”
Oh yeah, you do, and those feelings are creeping up right now. The two of you have awesome makeup sex. You decide it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to get back with your ex than to try and forge a new relationship with the new girlfriend, so you give her the bad news over text. The breakup doesn’t go well, but who cares? You’re back with your ex, and after a while things feel familiar and comfortable all over again. You may even give up your apartment and move back in.
Suddenly, things get a little too familiar. Your ex (now your current) is turning back into her old self. It feels like she freaking hates you, man. She’s constantly bitching at you and putting you down. Nothing you try to do to fix it is working.
Then one day, POW. She snaps on your on a bungee cord and sends you hurling. She screams“Get out!. I never want to see you again!” Off you go, back into oblivion, before you even realize what happened. All you know is, you feel like crap again. And confused. Very confused.
This next part is going to sound familiar, too. Just when you start to recover from the bungee cord experience, just when you’re starting to heal again, just when you’re starting to date again, you get that phone call….”Can I see you?”….and the whole cycle repeats itself. The question is, are you gonna go?
How To Get Off the Bungee Cord
First off, no one else is going to get you off the bungee cord. You’re going to have to gather the strength to do it yourself. Here’s how.
First, realize that maybe you don’t know your ex like you thought you did. If she can play you like this, clearly she’s able to manipulate you without your knowledge. So admit that you can’t read her.
Second, realize that people don’t change overnight. There were reasons why you two didn’t work out, and those reasons are still there. If it didn’t work the last two times you got snapped back, it’s not going to work the next time. Or the next.
Third—and this is a tough one—your ex is not on your side, despite what she’s led you to believe. She may say she wants you to find another love. She may even think she means it. But when it actually happens, it’s another story. Especially if you find love before she does. The only people who may be on your side is everyone in the world who isn’t your ex. (Plus your ex’s girlfriends. It’s highly doubtful they’re rooting for you, either.)
Now, the next time you start feeling that bungee cord pulling you back into your ex’s grip, resist. Run in the opposite direction. Run, not walk. In fact, run into your new girl’s arms. Tell her exactly what’s happening. Because if she’s savvy, she’ll be able to see right through your ex’s tactics, and there’s no way she’ll take it lightly. Your new girl can be a huge help in getting off the bungee cord.
Finally, work on your self-esteem. Because at the end of the day, you need to think highly enough of yourself to know you don’t deserve the bungee cord treatment. You deserve to be with someone who respects you and the decisions you make. And your decision is to move on with your life. This is true even if you were the one who got dumped. That’s right. Even “dumpees” get to decide to quit bad relationships and pursue healthy ones.
So do that. Quit the ex. And by the way, who cares if she’s mad at you? You aren’t here to please her. That’s the other thing you have to realize. Be okay with her sulking over your new relationship. And then, don’t give another thought to it. Because it isn’t worth it.
The thing is, your life is too short and precious to be manipulated by someone who doesn’t respect you. How long are you going to allow your ex to sabotage your efforts at healing through the breakup; to sabotage your new love relationships?
You know the last time your ex did that to you? Make damn sure that was the last time.
” – that could be very interesting as many women out there may not want their guy but they also don’t want anyone else to have them either. Just had a friend go through that issue – and the issue is not over yet.
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One minute you’re leading a blissful married life (not!), and the next you’re officially “separated.” What the hell is that supposed to mean, exactly? Is it like a Ross and Rachael break where anything goes, but not really? What are the rules to being separated? More importantly, what are the pitfalls? You need to learn the Separation Skills Every Guy Needs to know.
Every Couple Does Separation Differently
Separation means different things to different people. If you’re like most men, though, most of the rules of your separation will be dictated by your spouse, even if the separation was originally your idea. So, the first order of business, after collecting your things from off the front lawn, is to sit down with her and figure out how you’re going to do this. There’s no right way or wrong way to do a separation, so technically everything’s on the table.
Respect Her Privacy
Separation skills every guy needs include respecting your spouse’s privacy. That means no skulking in your car down the street, staking out the house to see what she’s up to. If she wants to have guests over, that’s her prerogative, even if you are still paying the mortgage. If she wants to have “adult sleepovers,” that’s her choice, too, as much as that might pain you to realize.
- Respecting her privacy means no checking the call log on the landline account or cell phone bill. (Really, you’ll be a lot happier if you don’t do that, anyway.)
- Don’t drive past her work to see if her car’s in the parking lot.
- Don’t interrogate her co-workers and friends when you “accidentally” bump into them at the grocery store.
If you question whether something you’re thinking of doing is an invasion of her privacy, the answer is likely YES. Consider how you would feel if she did that same thing to you.
Don’t Use Your House Keys
Assuming you’re the one who got kicked out of the family home, try to retain a set of the house keys. If you promise not to use them unless it’s an emergency, you’ll probably be able to negotiate this for yourself. Once you’ve made the agreement, don’t renege on it. Ringing the doorbell to be allowed entry into your own house is going to take some getting used to. But if you go barging in using your keys, you may find them taken away. Worse, your spouse may change the locks or decide she needs to take out a restraining order on you, which you’ll want to avoid at all costs. The more space you give your spouse during your separation, the better things will turn out for you.
Until your divorce is finalized (and really, after that, too), avoid badmouthing your spouse. The less you talk to people about your relationship, the better. That includes your drinking buddies, your coworkers and that cute little number who lives next door in your new apartment building. The thing is, whatever you say could be used against you in the divorce proceedings. And what you say is likely to be inflammatory and possibly libelous. Yes, chances are slim that her lawyer will be able to dig up witnesses that say you made drunken threats. But play it safe. If you need to let out some steam, confide in your paid therapist, who is sworn to confidentiality.
Lay Off Social Media
Speaking of comments, you might want to disable your social media accounts, at least until the divorce is final. Social media becomes a torture platform when you’re separated. Do you really want to see pictures of your estranged spouse with another guy? Or read all the sympathetic comments from her friends (that used to be your friends), telling her she’s better off? You’ve got better things to do than check her relationship status. The best part of disabling your social media accounts is that you won’t be able to leave comments on her page that you’ll regret later.
Put Your Ducks in a Row
During a separation, there’s a chance that you and your estranged spouse will get back together. That would be great. Maybe. But on the off chance that things continue to go south, this is a great time to put your ducks in a row. You’re in your own place (or in your parent’s basement), and have the time and privacy to make arrangements for a worst case scenario. Don’t think of this as setting things in stone. You’re just putting things in place to make it easier if the relationship moves on to divorce. Here’s a list of what you should plan, depending on your situation:
- Make a shortlist of divorce attorney candidates, based on reputation and known abilities
- Research how to do a DIY divorce in your state
- Organize your finances
- Gather tax records
- Gather business records if you own a business
- Start thinking about how you’d take care of your kids for sole or joint custody (babysitter, sleeping area, extra-curricular activities, etc.)
- Review ownership records (bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, etc.)
- Think about the family pet situation. Would you want the pets? Shared custody?
- Organize contacts (school, sports coaches, in-laws, accountant, spouse’s work, etc.)
- Redo your will, Medical Proxy, Living Will and Power of Attorney
- Review and or change your life insurance beneficiaries
Get on With Your Life
Surprisingly, separation skills every guy needs include learning how to get on with your life. For whatever reason, guys often take separation and divorce harder than women. If you aren’t careful, you could let your life stall while you’re in this sort of limbo state, wondering how the rest of your relationships are going to pan out. Don’t let that happen. It’s more important now than ever to keep things moving along in your life. Keep in motion whatever projects and plans you had going on before the separation. If you can’t continue with a certain plan because it involved your estranged spouse, come up with an alternate plan. Don’t go into “waiting mode.” Keep moving forward. If you do that, you’ll be in a much healthier position to deal with whatever comes next as far as your relationship.
No one expects you to be a perfect angel if you and your wife have separated and are legitimately on the road to divorce. The temptation to date might be too strong to resist. You’ll have to decide for yourself if dating is something you should do while you’re technically still married, but also technically separated. But the separation skills every guy needs to know include understanding the dangers of dating while separated. Carefully consider the potential ramifications of your actions. You could accidentally impregnate the other woman. You could jeopardize any chances you ever had for reconciliation with your estranged spouse. Your dating activities could be used against you during the divorce if you live in a ‘Divorce Fault’ state. Your spouse might resent you exposing your kids to your girlfriend. You might develop deep feelings for another, which would cloud your feelings about your marriage. Your girlfriend could develop a dangerous jealousy of your estranged spouse. Any number of scenarios are possible. If you must date, be cautious about it. Consider the risks as well as the rewards.
Learn to Take Care of Yourself
Marriage can be a comfortable place. You may have become used to having many things done for you, like laundry, cooking, cleaning or social obligations. If so, you’ll have to learn to take care of yourself. Even if you end up getting back together with your estranged spouse, you’ll be better off in the long run learning more basic life skills. If you do, you’ll be a lot less inclined to rush into another marriage for all the wrong reasons, just so you’ll have someone to take care of you.
Separation Skills Every Guy Needs
These separation skills every guy needs will help you to navigate the rocky road of separation. Occasionally, you may find yourself in a very dark place emotionally. Remind yourself that this situation is temporary. Being separated is trying for anyone, so give yourself credit for getting through it as best as you can.
Many people will tell you that it’s healthy and mature to remain friends with your ex. Not everyone can do so. But being friends with your ex has some big downsides. In reality, it’s best to remain cordial – but don’t be friends with your ex.
You Won’t Be Motivated to Make New Friends
If you were lucky enough to have a spouse that was also your best friend, you both may feel even more inclined to hold onto that friendship after you divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s better to make a complete break so that you feel a void. You won’t be motivated to cultivate new friendships if you hang onto an old one, even if it’s a bad fit. If you feel like you no longer have a best friend, you’ll be more likely to get out there and make new friends, which is ultimately what you need to do after a divorce.
Don’t Deprive Yourself of Being Alone
After something as awful as a divorce, it’s very therapeutic to take time to be alone. Even after those first few dreadful days, you’ll need to spend time exploring who you are as a single man. As part of a couple, it’s easy to get lost. You may have sacrificed a little part of your identity in order to give yourself completely into that relationship with your ex. There’s a unique, individual inside of you, and you need to be alone in order to rediscover who you are and what you really want. If you don’t remain friends with your ex, you won’t deprive yourself of this introspection. Even if you don’t succumb to a physical relationship with your ex, their continual presence in your life as a friend will keep you from exploring your true self, and figuring out what you want the rest of your life to look like.
You May Get Dumped Again
What’s worse than going through a divorce? Going through a second breakup – with the same person. Don’t be friends with your ex and stay emotionally attached to them or you may feel like you have a good, healthy relationship. So, why end it completely? What usually happens though, is that the ex eventually meets someone new. That someone new is not likely to be thrilled that you’re still in the picture, even if it is platonic. In a bid to please that new person, your ex dumps you as a friend. They may even ghost you, with no explanation why they’re no longer speaking to you. Now you have to go through the pain of rejection all over again, which prolongs your own healing process.
You Could Get Manipulated
If your ex is secretly angry about the divorce, or their motives aren’t entirely pure, you could easily get manipulated by remaining friends with him or her. While posing as your friend, they may intentionally give you bad advice, or keep tabs on you for nefarious purposes. They may even try to wreck your chances with another person. Since you trusted your ex during your marriage and you assume their friendship is genuine, you’ll be less likely to pick up on their actions until it’s too late.
The Perception of Yourself Stays the Same
Everyone you encounter has a certain perception of you, and they use that perception on which to base their interactions with you. For instance, your mother might still see you as a child (even though you’re a grown man), and talk to you as though you don’t know what you’re doing. You can’t do much about a doting parent, but you can do something about the way your ex perceives you. If your ex saw you as something less than who you are, underestimated your potential, or never really “got” you, it’s not doing you any good to continue that relationship in any form, friends or not. You won’t be able to alter their perception of you, and it’s not worth it to try. Worse, their unflattering image of you may stop you from realizing your own true self worth.
You Might Jeopardize Future Romantic Relationships
If you’ve started to move on with a romantic relationship but are still clinging to your ex as a friend, you may unwittingly jeopardize your new romance. Just as your ex’s new romantic partner won’t like you hanging around, neither will your new lover. And the more you try to defend your ex by explaining that you’re just friends, the more likely your new paramour will be to take a walk.
Don’t Be Friends with Your Ex
True friends are there for you when you need them. If you stay friends with your ex, you may start to feel entitled to ask for favors. That includes times when you may need help moving your stuff, a small loan to cover the rent, dog sitting duties, or even a ride home after a night of excess drinking. While it’s fine to ask a regular friend for small favors, asking your ex may come back to haunt you. You never want to feel beholden to an ex. If they begin to feel resentful, they could lash out against you or leave you hanging when you really need help.
One of You Might Want Something….More
If you enjoyed a healthy sexual relationship while you were married, there’s a chance that attraction will continue after the divorce. By remaining friends with your ex, you open up the possibility that your ex could begin harboring a desire to get back together, at least physically. If you don’t want to unintentionally lead your ex on, then ‘t be friends with your ex. The same goes for you, too. If your ex’s allure is like a drug to you, it’s time to cut the cord – cold turkey.
Reality is, the buddy-buddy relationship with your ex probably isn’t what you think it is. It’s not so much a friendship but a crutch. Divorce is tough, and staying friends makes it all easier, like pulling off a bandage slowly. While you both deserve credit for getting past your differences to remain friends, in the long term it’s not the healthiest situation for either of you.
Don’t be friends with your ex. What’s best for both of you is to be cordial and polite, but distant. There’s a difference between being friends and just knowing someone. Think of your ex as a close acquaintance. It’s healthy to stay on speaking terms, especially if there are kids involved, but don’t go out of your way to initiate communication unless it’s necessary. In this way, you’ll be able to figure out what needs to be negotiated between you without sabotaging each other’s lives or preventing one another from moving on. Be willing to let go for the greater good – for both of you.