You dumped your ex for being dramatic, narcissistic and possibly downright histrionic, but unfortunately the drama didn't stop after your relationship ended. Dealing with your drama-addicted ex in the wrong way can result in a vicious cycle and mean even more drama for you and your current partner. If your ex loves drama, chances are that your relationship may become more tumultuous before calming down and petering out, but if you are consistent in your responses, you can minimize the drama that your ex brings to your life and your current relationship.
Think Before You Speak
Knowing what to say when your ex confronts you about various issues can help you circumvent dramatic games she plans on playing. Have answers prepared for questions such as "Why can't we get back together," or "What went wrong?" Your answers should be direct and to the point. Be consistent in your responses, interactions and reactions to your drama-loving ex to squash her attempts to ruin your life.
Those who thrive on drama tend to push boundaries and will use this tactic at every turn. Clearly state your message to your ex, explaining what you do, or do not, expect of him and your relationship now that you are no longer dating. If you asked your ex not to call you, don't answer when he does. If you've expressed that you'd like him to stop texting you, don't text him back.
Be the Bigger Person
Drama-addicted individuals may try to push your buttons or pull at your heart-strings to elicit an emotional response. Whether your ex is attempting to lure you away from your new partner or trying to rub salt in an old wound, avoid her trap by ignoring button-pushing behavior. Your ex may result to name-calling, slandering your current partner or threatening to reveal secrets from your relationship to friends and family. Don't play into your ex's hand by giving her more attention than she deserves, which may result in her continuing to seek the attention that she craves.
Examine Your Behavior
There are two sides to every story, so although it may be easy to place all the blame on your crazy, drama-addicted ex, consider also how much your behavior contributes to his. If you are sending messages to your ex that you are still interested in him by texting late at night or trying to hook up when your current partner is not around, then you should not be surprised by his clingy, dramatic behavior. For each behavior that you wish your ex would change, think about your role in the relationship and what you can do to stop that cycle of behavior.
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- Current Directions in Psychological Science: Person Perception and Personality Pathology
- American Psychological Association: Mixing Oil and Water
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Perceived Relational Stability in On-Again/Off-Again Relationships
- The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada: Romantic Relationship Breakups: Why Do They Happen and What Can We Learn from Them?
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.