No matter how long it’s been, no matter how it ended, or how emotionally detached you are, an ex contacting out of the blue is a surefire way to arouse suspicion.
In this article my prime goal will be to conjure a handpicked ensemble of reasons I believe an ex would call, and how to gauge what their intention is (and obviously what I would then do about it — but hey — that’s just me).
How long has it been?
The term “out of the blue” evokes a scenario where you are contacted after a lengthy period of time. Long enough, in theory, for emotional stability to have allowed you both to have shelved the past and moved on. I say this because I feel that a mere couple of weeks (or months) of stringent no contact doesn’t qualify.
If the emotional dust from your breakup has yet to settle, the reasons for contact are virtually encyclopedic, and getting to the heart of their contact is often an exercise in false hope, resentment and over-analysis.
- They are having trouble moving on – An ex who rekindles light-hearted contact, without apparent rhyme or reason, might be struggling with the idea of you moving on without him.
- The grass wasn’t greener – It never really is. Look out for overly apologetic hot and cold behavior. Accepting that we have made a terrible mistake can be a hard pill to digest. Because of this, an ex might decide to scapegoat their guilt on you in an attempt to make it easier to move on.
- They wish to genuinely reconcile – The hallmark of an ex who cares and wishes to reconcile is a guy who is willing to be consistent and take small steps towards reconciliation. Be wary of impulsive declarations of undying regret and love. Passion is borne of need, and our perceived emotional needs can change extremely rapidly in a breakup scenario.
- They fear losing you as a friend – Consistency here is also key, although the tone will almost always be light-hearted rather than introspective and backward thinking. In these cases contact will almost always end with an open-window scenario, where you are left with the decision to reciprocate contact.
- They need to ask you a favor – Either you are dealing with an extremely insecure individual who is terrified of declaring their vulnerability, or they simply need a favor. Most of the time it’s the latter.
- And on…
The bottom-line is this; if a copious amount of time has not passed, it is always important to take contact with a grain of salt, as emotions are unstable and likely to fluctuate on a daily basis.
Resist the urge to over-analyze and treat mixed messages or hot and cold behavior with the attention they deserve — none. Don’t get sucked in and insist on absolute transparency.
Rise of the living dead
If you are surprised by the contact, but remain more curious than jittery, the contact really is out of the blue. The problem with deciphering contact from an long-lost ex is that time will have changed you both. He will have no idea how you feel about him, and will therefore initiate contact with a neutral sounding message in order to gauge your feelings. The result? Abject confusion.
It’s really up to you to decide where it goes from here. If you are genuinely curious regarding his attentions, talking about sweet nothings will only reinforce his confusion and communication may dwindle or cease as a result (which may not be a bad thing). In any case, there are really only a handful of reasons why an ex might reach out after such a long stretch of time.
One common reason is that they care about you very much and want to know you’re doing alright. This kind of contact is usually a one-off rather than the promise of resurrecting a contact schedule. This is particularly true if you no longer have any acquaintances in common. Of course, they may also masquerade as a long-lost platonic soul-mate in order to dig for information regarding your current relationship status. If your ex has a history of being less than transparent with his intentions, post-breakup communication can be a game of emotional Russian roulette where every answer provokes more questions.
If you know they know how you are doing, their initial “what’s up” is usually a smokescreen to gauge your reaction. Reasons may vary from the innocent to the murky. But in most cases an ex who thinks about you after such a long period of time, and has gathered the courage and will necessary to initiate contact (thus braving the prospect of rejection), still has strong feelings towards you — regardless of what those feelings are.
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