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.
In order to spare yourself from getting hurt, it's good to pause before responding. You might be able to tell — perhaps by their tone — that they're just texting because they're bored, lonely, or having a tough time moving on. Same thing if they were super toxic and have always had a way of luring you back in. Nine times out of 10, you'll want to ignore an ex like that, no matter what they say, and continue on your merry way.
But according to Isadora Baum, CHC, a certified health coach, there are times when a relationship that didn't work out in the past 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, whether you've both grown and changed, etc.
So before you consider 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 may be, here are 20 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 your career? Your love life? Your family? The latter is obviously way better.
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 why 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.
But remember, it's up to you how close they can get, so think about how you feel while reading their texts. Are you happy? Annoyed? Intrigued? Mull it over, and go from there.
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 (read: less enthusiastic) vibes.
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
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