Dealing with a Mind-game-playing ex-girlfriend

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female
My husband's ex-girlfriend still plays stupid mind games with him. He does not participate, and just ignores her, or replies in a really neutral manner if there needs be a reply, but this just makes her play more games.

We both dont like being around her, especially he, but she just continues to play mind games. We avoid her as much as we can. we dont invite her anywhere or do anything with her because it is just too awkward. she is the sweetest girl on the outside, REALLY nice person, but deep down she is conniving. I know she doesnt want to be with him, or anything like that, it is just games...but it is anoying.

The thing is we have the some of the same friends and we live in a small town, so we inevitable sometimes see her...

My question is, how should i best deal with this, and how should i act when i am around her, whe she is playing games? Advice
First off, you may think that his ignoring her makes her play more games ... but believe me, if she got some great angry reactions out of him, she'd be FAR happier and really increase her game level playing because it was so rewarding. So as much as you think he's encouraging her, he is probably being as DIScouraging as he could be. The fact that she perseveres is due to her huge focus on him. It could really be far worse if your husband wasn't so wise.

People in essence play mind games because they have nothing better to do and it brings them satisfaction to prove they can still affect someone who has tried to move on. If she had a great new boyfriend and was really happy with him, the last thing she would spend time and attention on is that old ex. If she was happy with her life, she wouldn't waste time thinking up schemes involving an old guy from her past. So it sounds like she's not happy with what she has, she is jealous of what her ex has found in life and wants to both make sure she remains a part of his life and also that she can sort of 'drag you guys down' to her unhappy level. She's jealous because her ex is really happy - so if she makes you guys UNhappy, suddenly she's not as jealous.

I doubt it's that she's evil incarnate. Few people are. But it sounds like she's really in a lot of pain and this is how she has figured out to lessen the pain somewhat. That doesn't excuse it of course. But I doubt she thinks of it as playing mind games. She probably thinks of it as "That jerk ex of mine again! Well I'll show him what it's like ..." or something like that. She thinks he deserves to be unhappy because SHE is unhappy and it's his fault. So she probably feels really justified about it.

Anyway, whatever her reasons, of course she should move on and she shouldn't affect your lives for the rest of eternity. If he has any influence over her at all he might suggest in a gentle and really heart-meant way that she chat with a therapist. If she is for example trying to remind him of what they had together, a romantic night on a lake or something, he could respond, "That was 3 years ago. I've really put those times behind me. It took a lot of work and I had people I could talk to about my feelings. I'm worried about you, that you are still stuck on those old issues. Do you have someone to talk to?" Really, it's in his best interests to help her get more content with her life. So if he tracked down a therapist in the area and dropped gentle hints it could really help all around.

I'm not saying to say "You're crazy! Go get fixed!" and definitely don't do this in public!! You definitely do NOT want to humiliate her, that will have her seeking revenge. But if he's alone with her or she calls him or something, he can show he really does care about her being a happy person now, and is concerned that she is simply not one. He shouldn't get sucked INTO helping, but if each time he mentions that he feels this shows she needs someone to talk to, maybe she will.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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