A reader writes in:

Hey Pat — I’d like some advice on an ex girlfriend. I’m an INTP and enneagram type 5 if that may help.

Personally, I don’t have much trouble getting girls or having sex with them but my ex (only girl I have been a relationship with in the last 5 years and the only girl I’ve ever said I love you too) keeps coming back into my life. After we broke up the first time, I fucked it up. She came back a year later and I screwed it up again. Two years later, she comes back but she’s still living with her ex who supposedly she was not with anymore. We saw each other for a couple months but she just wanted to be friends with benefits… 2019 came along and we both have tried to rekindle our relationship but didn’t do so until about this last November… we’ve been seeing each other and she has expressed her feelings for me but she works way too much, has school and her ex is somewhat still in her life so a relationship is not ideal or would be realistic… at the time I live with my parents and don’t even have a job right now and she has expressed that’s an issue on why she wouldn’t date me but she was very angry with me when she expressed this.

Every single time we see each other the feelings we get become stronger and stronger. The butterflies and the attraction is still there and only feel more intense. Her and I are just “friends” but in person we treat each other as if we’re married… recently she told me during sex that “everytime your inside me I want to tell you I love you” and I told her, “you don’t just say stuff like that to say it” and she said “yeah I know” she kept telling me how much she loved me throughout sex. Anyways, we end up getting done and just talking and I ask her to hangout next weekend to which she tells me she’s going on a trip with her ex for 5 days to go skiing and I’m like wtf? 

She explains to me that she’s not intimate with him anymore and doesn’t even kiss him and she’s only going because they planned the trip 6 months ago and she never got insurance to get her money back…. I believe her but I’m obviously naturally skeptical… I guess what I’m asking is what should I do? I do love her and I can see myself being with her forever.. tbh. We both express how we don’t have this connection with anyone else and that it feels right to be with one another… she’s on my mind all the time and idk if that’s healthy. And her being on this trip currently and being distant with me when it comes to text is unsettling. As of right now she’s somewhat frustrated with me because I keep asking her questions and wanting to get more clarity about the situation at hand. (INTP) she tells me that she doesn’t want to explain anything anymore, etc… I just idk. My gut feeling tells me that she’s telling the truth but I’m beyond terrified that she may be using me.

Ah man, I hate getting questions like this. Gotta be the guy who pops the fantasy bubble.

But I gotta say the truth:

There is a 100% chance if she is not already hooking up with her ex, that she is attention farming him and playing the two of them off each other.

What she is doing to this guy is GIRL GAME. In other words, MANIPULATION.

Indeed, it was obvious from the first lines of the email when the guy multiple times expressed how he “screwed it up.” I don’t need to know the details of this to know he is in the mental framework that this girl is perfect — and that there are “totally understandable” reasons why she doesn’t want to be with him right now. AKA — she can do whatever she wants and it’s OK, she doesn’t want to commit because of stuff going on with me, it’s my fault, yeah it’s a bit weird that she’s living with and going on vacations with her ex but I trust her.


Look, I am saying all of this from a position of love. But because this is a very emotionally charged situation, it needs to be TOUGH love.

When a woman is telling you how she loves you and needs you, but won’t be with you, ghosts you, and spends a lot of time with her ex… she is playing you.

What she loves is having her cake and eating it too. She is enjoying the freedom to be intimate with two different guys, and to get both of them to be in love with her.

It is not about YOU so much as what you give her.

My advice is to end it IMMEDIATELY and tell her to fuck off. Because I know as a fact exactly what she is doing it. I have not only seen it scores of times, but I have personally experienced it.

But will he listen?

Probably not fully, which I understand. When you are in deep like this, you can’t just “jump out” of the quick sand.

My practical recommendation is thus for him to keep this awareness as he continues to interact with her. To allow the possibility at least that this is all a fantasy. Women like this are dangerous. We always like to think they are “different.” That what they are telling us is real.

It’s not.

The intensity of the feelings is a product of fantasy. And when we confuse fantasy for reality we get hurt.

Anyway.I’d be happy to help out more, and go into more details. To act as a “lifeguard” of sorts for this guy.

But that’s what coaching is for.

If you’ve got similar issues you want to be guided through, apply here: www.patstedman.com/application

– Pat