Every so often you’ll get an ex-girlfriend reaching out to ask you for help. This is really common in the first ~6 months after you guys break up.
But, it can happen years later. One of my ex-girlfriend’s wanted my help a few weeks back, even though we broke up almost 2 years ago.
Now you’re probably wondering: did I help her? Of course I did – we ended on good terms, and I’ve long since mourned that breakup. She had a specific request that no one else could help her with.
But should you help your ex?
Personally, I don’t think you should with 1 exception, which I will discuss at the end.
Why does your ex-girlfriend ACTUALLY want your help?
Look, let’s face it. If she’s at least moderately good looking, chances are she can ask just about anyone for help.
They’ll probably help her too, and do a decent job of it.
So why would she ask you, the guy she’s no longer in a relationship with, for help?
The short answer is that it’s in her interest to do so. The guiding principle of human dynamics is that people act in accordance with their own wants and needs.
So, her asking you specifically for help has to do with you, specifically. There’s something she wants from you that she can’t get from someone else.
Of course, what that is depends on the woman and your situation, but her actual reason for reaching out always falls within at least 1 of 3 categories.
- She’s trying to string you along/she wants validation.
- She hasn’t established any deep emotional connections with other men.
- She knows you’re a doormat and will be her bitch/do anything to get her back.
I realize it’s not a rosy picture, but I promise you there is a good side to this!
1: Your ex-girlfriend doesn’t actually want your help. She wants to string you along or get validation.
If you look at her request for help and find yourself thinking:
“What the fuck, she could have asked anyone for this”
Then chances are, she’s just using her request for help as a guise to get validation from you, or even worse, to string you along.
These are usually stupid requests, ranging from interview prep, all the way up to asking for advice on current relationship prospects.
Yeah, you read that right. I’ve seen men get asked by their ex-girlfriends for relationship advice. Sometimes even with the guy she left him for.
One guy I worked with about a year back had his ex text him for help coping after a cat died. I shit you not. The cat in question was her roommate’s.
If I had to estimate, I’d say validation seeking makes up about 70% of the help requests.
If you helped her often during the relationship, she’ll know that asking for help is the way to get to you. I’ve also noticed this as a trend with older men dating younger women.
Ultimately, she’s not doing it because it’s devious, she’s doing it because it works.
Without knowing better, you’ll probably pay her a compliment or two and give her free attention. Plus, she’ll get free help out of it.
It’s a big win for her, but a huge L for you. You’re giving her time and getting nothing in return.
Helping her out will also tell her that she’s got you on the hook, and she can reliably count on you as a backup plan should her current romantic endeavors fail.
Ultimately, it’s a really low risk way for her to get what she wants, and she knows that.
2: She hasn’t established any deep emotional connections with other men, yet.
These requests for help are almost always deal with her secrets and her emotions.
We’re talking about things like: family issues, self-esteem issues, friend issues and similar topics. Usually these are problems that you know she wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to other people about.
Generally, she won’t have very many close relationships in her family or social circle. Otherwise, she’d be talking to them instead of you.
Now, you guys are broken up, but you still have history, and that can be enough to justify asking for your help, even years later.
For some women, especially those who aren’t extremely outgoing, or those who come from tough backgrounds, this history is extremely important.
These women normally have issues with trust, where it can take them years to let other people in. However, once you’re in, you’re in. Even if you’re an ex, and even if she’s currently seeing someone.
Which is why she’ll turn to you when she needs help.
It can be really hard to say no to these, even if you don’t want your ex-girlfriend back.
It’s always seems implied that she doesn’t have any where else to turn, which is enough guilt to make even the roughest and toughest of us capitulate.
I’d say about 10% of all help requests fall into this category, and that’s if I’m being generous.
One thing to note, be careful with automatically classifying her request in this category. Often I see men automatically assume that because it’s emotional, it has to be that she has nowhere else to turn!
However, if you know she has close relationships with her friends and family members, she’s fishing for validation. Exhaust all the other options before you classify her here.
Chances are, she’s not actually as detached as she seems.
3: She knows you’ll bend over backwards for her
If she’s a type A, dominant woman and you were needy and submissive during your relationship, I’d be willing to take the over on her polite “request” for help being more akin to a demand.
This is about 20% of all “help” requests. I wish it were less, but I digress.
If you were weak in the relationship and she wore the pants, you’re more likely to see this happen. Usually these requests for help will either be financial, material, or time related.
For instance, one of my current clients has a woman who’s been using him as a free taxi service because she has no license and doesn’t want to drive.
Even though they’ve been broken up for over 4 months, she still asks him almost every week to drive her around.
And for awhile, he was.
The other angle to this that I’ve noticed is younger women buttering up their older exes and using manipulative sweetness to get what they want.
For instance, the same client also has had this woman repeatedly ask for financial help.
These women know exactly what they’re doing. If you feel like her “request” is more like a demand, it probably is.
You should ALWAYS say no to these requests on principle. Your ex-girlfriend isn’t going to do anything for you, so why should you scratch her back?
Don’t let her push you around and use you.
Make a habit of telling your ex-girlfriend no, or better yet, don’t tell her anything at all.
The truth is, I always recommend saying no to your ex-girlfriend’s favors no matter what. At the end of the day, what you give is always going to be more than what you get.
The breakup angle aside, you only have a limited amount of time every day. Do you really want to give that time to someone who may not be a part of your future?
I sure don’t, and I hope you don’t either.
If she reaches out to you for a favor during your no-contact period, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Your only focus is your own recovery, not hers. Treat her request like any other communication and ignore it.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking I could help an ex. If anything, it just led to me spending several agonizing months watching her get better, only to have her end up dating someone else.
All the favors I did her ultimately lowered her attraction level to me. By supplicating myself, I lowered my value and made myself and my attention easy to get.
And I paid the price for it.
After a relationship ends, you owe her nothing. Especially if she chose to break up with you. What does it say about you as a self-respecting man if you go back to help someone that consciously made the choice to not be with you?
Even if you want her back, you should still say no. It will paint you in a stronger light, especially if you were weak during the relationship.
Part of getting her back, is establishing yourself as a guided and focused man who doesn’t have time for bullshit.
Saying yes to her “favors” says you’re anything but that.
The only “favor” of her’s you should agree to is if she invites herself over to your place, or has a legitimate need of you.
The only exception is if it’s something she actually needs you for (Very Rare)
The ex-girlfriend I was talking about earlier needed a very specific favor from me.
She had left a particularly valuable piece of jewelry with me which didn’t occur to her when we broke up.
She wanted me to send it back to her, which was no problem.
In this case, she had a legitimate reason for reaching out. Her necklace wasn’t getting back to her otherwise.
If your ex has a LEGITIMATE need of a favor, handle it quickly. Don’t use it as an excuse to start talking with her. Robotically address the logistics and go back to no-contact.
Again, we’re prioritizing YOU and YOUR emotional recovery. Not her needs.