When a relationship ends, you might not expect to hear from your ex again. But there may come a day when they send a text or a well-thought-out email, and, just like that, you're left wondering if it's a sign your ex might want to get back together.
First off, it's good to pause before responding. You might be able to tell — perhaps by their tone — that your ex is reaching out because they're bored, lonely, or having a tough time moving on. If that’s the case, or if they weren’t good for you but always had a way luring you back in, you’re probably better off ignoring them.
But according to Isadora Baum, CHC, a certified health coach, there are times when a prior relationship really can be successful in the future. She says it depends on a lot of factors, including the reason why you broke up, how much time has passed, and whether you've both grown and changed.
If you think there’s potential to rekindle something, keep an eye out for signs that your ex secretly wants you back, but don’t get carried away before having a direct conversation with them. Licensed clinical psychologist Jaclyn Lopez Witmer tells Bustle, “I would encourage [a client] to bring that up with the ex so they can know [definitively] and not continue to wonder and build up something in their mind that isn’t based in reality.” While some signs are easier to read than others, it’s also important to be realistic and discerning about how your ex is behaving.
“Signs can be helpful sometimes, but unless they’re willing to open the door, be vulnerable, and say directly, ‘I want to get back together, how do you feel about that?’ it’s not really worth the person’s time or energy to read into subtle signs too much,” Witmer says.
So before you consider going all Bennifer 2.0 and letting an ex back into your life, think about what led you to break up in the first place and how things might be different now. You may find that your ex is in a different place, has learned from their mistakes, or that you're both willing to do what it takes to be better partners. Whatever the case, it’s never a bad idea to proceed with caution when you examine the signs you’ll get back together.
If you’re finding yourself confused, here are 24 subtle signs they might be interested in rekindling an old romance. If you spot a few of these clues, find time to have a real heart-to-heart with your ex, assess how you feel, and go from there.
1. They're Trying To Get To Know You Again
Not every text from an ex automatically means they want to get back together. They might just be saying hi, or checking in as a friend. But if they keep texting you, and you're picking up relationship-y vibes, it could point to something more.
According to Shlomo Zalman Bregman, a rabbi and matchmaker, look for high-quality communication, including signs they're trying to get to know you again. Is your ex just saying "sup" at 2 a.m., or are they asking about you — like your career or your family? The second option is obviously more promising.
2. They're The One Reaching Out
It's also a good sign if they're the one initiating all the communication, Bregman says, and if they respond to your texts quickly — as it shows they're truly invested.
3. They're Sharing What's Going On In Their Life
In the same vein, if your ex is only texting because they're lonely on a Friday night, or if you're just discussing the weather or current events, it might not mean anything, Bregman says. But if your ex is opening up about their life — and getting personal — then it's possible they're trying to reconnect in a romantic way.
4. They Ask About Your Dating Life
While it's pretty easy to tell if someone is in a relationship by taking a peek at their social media, if your ex is interested in rekindling things, they might keep steering the convo in that direction anyway, Bregman says. So be on the lookout for questions about your dating life, as it's almost always a sign they're trying to see if you're available.
5. They Act Jealous
If your ex just wants to be friends, they won't bat an eye when you mention all the Tinder dates you've gone on recently. Rather, they'll be happy, and might even wish you well.
But if they sound a bit jealous, Bregman says, or if they seem down in the dumps, chances are they still have feelings for you — and were maybe even hoping for a reconciliation.
6. They Share Their Relationship Status
Similarly, if your ex starts telling you that they're single, there's definitely a reason they're going out of their way to say so, Bregman says. If you're interested, take it as your cue to suggest meeting up for coffee to see where things go.
7. They Stay Connected On Social Media
Your ex's social media habits might also give them away, Jonathan Bennett, a relationship counselor, tells Bustle. If they want to get back together, you might catch them liking your photos more often, or viewing your stories again. "It's a sign you're at least on their mind," he says. And if that's the case, it's possible they have lingering feelings, too.
8. They Keep Bringing Up Cute Memories
If your ex is finding ways to talk about happy memories from the past, Bennett says it might be their way of dropping hints. They might even be interested in getting back together, but are afraid of making the first move.
9. They Come Up With Random Excuses To Talk To You
If your ex texts out of the blue to say things like, "wow, eating this awesome pizza and thought of you," or "know of any good Thai restaurants?" it could mean they're searching for ways to speak to you, Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
10. They Try To Make You Jealous
Is your ex posting about their dating life, and is it seemingly directed at you? While not always the case, Jackson says an ex might make a public effort to show they've "moved on" and that they're dating someone new, when in reality they want you back.
In moments like this, consider their maturity level. Mind games and jealousy have no place in a healthy, stable relationship, so if the only way your ex can think to get your attention is by making you jealous, you may be better off moving on.
11. They Ask To Discuss What Happened
On a more positive note, if your ex is interested in discussing what went wrong and why you broke up, it could mean one of two things: Either they're looking for closure, or they're looking for a way to see if it's worth trying again and improving together, Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, a relationship therapist, tells Bustle.
"Maybe they have been working on themselves, want to apologize for their behavior, or just explain what was going on for them at the time," she says. "Either way, their desire to get together to have a discussion about the demise of the relationship opens the door for healing."
12. They Leave Stuff At Your Place
If you broke up a while ago, and your ex still hasn't asked for their favorite hat back, it could mean they've just forgotten — or it could be strategic. "By not picking up all their belongings," Milrad says, "they are leaving the door slightly cracked open by having an excuse to make contact with you in the future."
13. They Take Responsibility
An ex might reach out and take responsibility for their role in your breakup as a way of moving on. But they also might do so if they value you, and don’t want to lose you, Christie Tcharkhoutian MA, MFT, a marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. It'll be up to you suss out their intentions.
14. They Ask Mutual Friends About You
If your ex is curious about how you've been doing and goes to your friends to get the deets, consider it yet another sign they might want to get back together, Tcharkhoutian says. At the very least, you're on their mind. But it could also be their way of testing the waters and seeing if you're available.
15. They Consistently Reach Out
Don't let one text on a random Wednesday take up too much of your brain space. But if an ex starts texting consistently, that's when you'll want to weigh the pros and cons of letting them back into your life — and possibly even dating them again.
That said, in some cases, as therapist Laura Richer, MA, LMHCA, NCMHCE, CHT, tells Bustle, an ex might want to stay in contact because they're hung up on the familiarity. It's often easier, she says, for people to go back to what they're used to — even if it isn't for the best — than it is to let go and move on.
16. They Pretend They Need Help With Something
Again, it's important not to read too deeply into any one sign, or assume your ex wants to get back together just because they reach out. But if yours seems to be blatantly coming up with excuses to see you — saying things like, "Hey, can you help me screw in a lightbulb?" — go ahead and ask what they really want.
17. They Mention Their Relationship Just Ended
Sometimes when a relationship ends, we're forced to take stock of our lives and think about what matters most. And in that moment, your ex might realize what they had with you, and reach out to see where things stand.
18. They Tell You How Well They're Doing
While an ex might come right out with it and profess how much they've grown and changed, they might also do so by dropping subtle hints about how well they've been doing, Dr. Markesha Miller, a licensed psychotherapist, tells Bustle.
"This could indicate their desire to let you know the growth that they have made," she says, "and could insinuate that they are at a place in which they can be a stronger, healthier partner if the relationship were to rekindle."
19. They Keep Showing Up With Their New Partner
It's totally possible to be friends with an ex. And when you are, they might start showing up to group hangouts with their new partner, and it won't feel like a big deal. But if it seems over-the-top, Miller suggests reading between the lines. "Let's face it, we know when someone is going out of their way to prove a point," she says.
20. They're Super Enthusiastic
Let's say you're the one reaching out to say hi, to ask for help, or to check in. Does your ex respond quickly and with enthusiasm? As Chris Seiter, a relationship consultant and breakup specialist tells Bustle, this is often a sign an ex is still interested. Exes who have officially moved on might reply, but you'll notice totally different, more apathetic vibes.
21. They Reach Out To Apologize
If your ex reaches out to make amends and take responsibility for how they hurt you, chances are you’ve been on their mind a lot. Licensed clinical psychologist Jaclyn Lopez Witmer says, “This shows that they’ve been reflecting about how they let you down and want to right the wrong, perhaps by getting back together. There’s accountability with a sincere apology and that can go a long way.”
22. They Maintain A Relationship With Your Family
Staying in contact with your mom or sending “Happy Birthday” texts to your siblings may mean that your ex is grasping at ways to stay connected to you. Maintaining good terms with your family might stem from their desire to remain an active part of your inner circle.
23. They Ask If They Can Share Some Thoughts About The Breakup
According to Lopez Witmer, this may be a good sign. “This shows they care about your feelings, space, and boundaries and want to make sure you’re ready to meet them there too and maybe share some of your own,” she says. Asking for consent before they open a conversation about what happened between the two of you demonstrates that they respect your time and emotional space.
24. They Lean On You For Support
Whether your ex is having a hard time emotionally or they’re dealing with a loss, reaching out to you for comfort or support can mean a host of things — one being that they realize they need you in their life. If they want to get back together, coming to you when they’re vulnerable is a surefire way to re-establish emotional connectivity.
Any one of these signs on its own might not mean much. But if your ex is hoping to get back together, you'll likely notice a pattern. Before you make any sudden moves, however, assess what it would mean to date them again.
As Miller says, "It's important to make sure that you're considering a second chance based upon evidence for a better relationship — and not just your desire for it to work." Because most of the time, where exes are concerned, it really is best to move on.
Isadora Baum, CHC, certified health coach
Shlomo Zalman Bregman, rabbi and matchmaker
Jonathan Bennett, relationship counselor
Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist
Christie Tcharkhoutian MA, MFT, marriage and family therapist
Laura Richer,MA, LMHCA, NCMHCE, CHT, therapist
Dr. Markesha Miller, licensed psychotherapist
Chris Seiter, relationship consultant and breakup specialist
Jaclyn Lopez Witmer, licensed clinical psychologist
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