(Go back to part 3 here.)
Our next question is from Paul who wonders what has happened now that his ex is hot and cold.
“Hello, Clay and Ex Solution Course members.
My wife just isn’t sticking to the script.
One, last time I wrote, my wife had sent me a belated birthday wish. And two “OKs.” It was concluded that she was in Test Drive (stage of getting back together).
Calibrating her poorly, I wrote a long text. I have not put much hope in getting back with my wife. So it was virtually a long goodbye text but welcoming her if she wanted to return. So she wrote a long letter rehashing the breakup and reinforcing the view that getting back together was unlikely.
She requested occupation of the family home and I moved out. I thought of all the financial implications made me feel sick from Test Drive to Wall of Reactance. I must be Clay’s worst student.
Two, I sent a reply text. Nope, I’m staying put. Running a company, I have too many bills, taxes, and stuff to pay, etcetera. I need to look after my headspace or too much could collapse.
She complained feeling like a gypsy not being in the home.
Three, so today, I gave careful thought. I sat in the residential part of the office, it felt OK. I didn’t feel spooked, thought I could handle it.
So I text my wife and offered her the home on the condition that we have normal conversations. No mention of heavy events. She texted back a little later being very grateful and asked me out for a date with normal conversation.
I used to surf large waves occasionally but that outdid any wave I ever caught. From total despair to a home-run lesson on me proposing a boring date skipped. My wife wants to dine at our favorite restaurant by the sea. I am speechless.
This time I’m going to stay reserved, stay in check. May deepen it a bit here and there.
So Clay, have you ever seen such a fast turnaround? It’s been six weeks of snail’s pace progress following a horror breakup and suddenly, we are on a date by her initiative.
Yeah, Paul. I have seen a turnaround like that before.
So our next question is… [Laughter] I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
But seriously, you guys need to learn to ask the questions that you want to know the answers to.
If you want me to say yes or no to something, ask a yes or no question. If you want me to just give you a simple reply like, “Oh, that’s Riding The Dragon” or something, then ask me a question like that.
If you want me to give you an in-depth answer, then you need to ask me a question that requires an in-depth response.
I’m guessing you probably don’t really want to know if I’ve ever seen such a quick turnaround.
Because I can’t imagine that information is useful to you in any way.
I imagine you really want to know is what is going on here with your ex wife.
And, what I imagine is going on— based of how you have described— is that your ex is moving from Test Drive into Riding The Dragon phase of getting back together.
So you are going to be getting a lot of this hot and cold behavior and whipping back and forth.
It’s not that this was some sort of miraculous turnaround, it’s that the emotional context between you and your wife has started to shift.
The positive emotions have shifted from being predominantly negative, that is to say, 49% or lower positive emotions towards you— towards being predominantly positive.
51% or greater positive emotions toward you is the characteristic thing of the Riding The Dragon stage of getting back together.
That’s one of the reasons why we get this back and forth going on with your ex wife. There is a constant ebb and flow of your ex’s emotional state towards you.
Their positive and negative emotions towards you but you predominantly don’t notice this during the other four stages in the process because there isn’t very much of a discernible difference between your exe feeling 20% positive feelings towards you versus 25% positive feelings. Their feelings are still mostly negative.
When we get towards the 50% positive/negative emotional mark at the Riding The Dragon stage of getting back together, that’s where things start to get a little bit wobbly.
When your ex feels predominately positive emotions towards you, that’s when they are starting to open up and warm up to you. They start to say things like:
“Hey, let’s get together for dinner.”
“It’s great that we can figure out this whole house thing together”
…and other things like that.
But your ex also can backslide pretty easily into the predominately negative side of the equation where it’s 49% or lower positive emotions toward you.
When this happens, your ex might do things like flake out on dates and say things like:
“Oh, it would be better if we just had a phone call and we talked about the details.”
“I think it’d be great if we had a mediator come on this thing.”
“You know actually, now that I think about it, I’m not totally OK with our agreement and blah blah blah.”
And all that sort of thing.
That’s really where I think your ex is at in this whole process of getting back together with your wife.
So don’t attach too much weight to what your ex wife is saying right now.
Instead, attach a lot of weight to her emotional context and where she’s at emotionally.
She’s feeling emotionally confused and she’s probably going to stay that way at least for a little bit until you are able to have high-quality interactions that push her past this sort of wobbling tipping point 50% point.
When she is a good healthy amount on either the positive side or the negative side, you’ll see a little bit more of stabilization in her behavior and that will help you moving forward from here.
I hope this helps you out, Paul. And please keep us updated.
Continue to part 5 here.
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