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 and get the blood pumping.
In this article my prime goal will be to offer you a handpicked list of reasons I believe an ex would call, and how to gauge what their intention is based on these signs.
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.
Remember that despite your relationship problems, you represent a comfort zone and a source of validation.
An ex who contacts you out of the blue with mixed messages and crumbs is usually trying to bait a reaction out of you, so they can tell what you think about them without asking directly (and risking rejection and pain).
The grass wasn’t greener
It rarely 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.
Don’t play emotional ping pong or engage in pointless communication. There’s a chance that once they get what they want (usually validation) they will disappear back into the blue.
If you want to reconcile keep the conversation focused and avoid the chit-chat.
They want to reconcile
The hallmark of an ex who cares and wishes to reconcile is an ex 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.
Consistency and routine and the anti-climatic foundations of reconcilation. If you are skeptical of their sudden change of heart, drag it out and see. Time is your friend.
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.
If your ex avoids all attempts to steer the conversation to your romantic past, or relationship mistakes, take it as a sign they fear losing you as a reference point in their lives rather than a partner.
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.
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. Don’t get sucked in needlessly and insist on absolute transparency.
They Want Friends With Benefits
You have a sexual history, and know each other inside out. This raises an attractive possibility for an ex who is looking for some stress-free intimacy.
Sometimes contact from out of the blue is an attempt to gauge whether there is a chance you are interested in resurrecting the carnal side of the relationship, without the commitment that comes with it.
If you can separate your feelings from your desires, by all means go for it. However, don’t try and use casual sex as a way to rekindle something bigger, because it won’t work.
They Still Care
Occasionally there’s nothing nefarious or sneaky about an ex contacting you unexpectedly.
If your relationship with your ex fostered a strong friendship, despite the collapse of the romantic side of things, there’s a strong possibility you remain an important part of your ex’s life.
Context is important here. Some relationships begin on a bedrock of companionship and care that a breakup simply cannot break. If you are sure that is the case with you then perhaps that’s exactly what it is.
But don’t feel in a hurry to rekindle a friendship if you don’t feel that your feelings are stable enough yet. If your ex is still thinking of you, and cares enough to reach out, there’s no rush. Reach emotional stability first, they will understand why you need your space and time.
The Bottomline About Out Of The Blue Contact
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 them, and will therefore initiate contact with a neutral sounding message in order to gauge your feelings.
The result? Confusion.
It’s really up to you to decide where it goes from here. If you are genuinely curious regarding their newfound attention, talking about sweet nothings will only reinforce this confusion and communication may dwindle or cease as a result (which may not be a bad thing).
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.