It’s a dreary Wednesday night and just like that, out of the blue, your ex boyfriend is back in the picture and wants to meet up for a chat. Oh, happy day?
So. Here we are. What does he want? What does it mean? And more importantly, how on earth do I tell?
#1 He Wants Your Body… Language.
Meeting up in person serves two main purposes. The first is that by taking the initiative he is demonstrating that he is willing to sacrifice and negotiate something in order to achieve his goals.
The second is that access to your body language, and not just your words, means gaining valuable insight into what your intentions are.
On a subconscious level, he knows that being close enough to read you, and consequently to be read, means he has a powerful new way to exert influence and drive your personal history in whatever direction he is daydreaming of (more on this later).
This isn’t necessarily a desire to consciously manipulate, it is part of the natural push and pull that body language is. If something matters to you, you will tend to gravitate towards doing it in person for this reason. Because to leave it to words is to leave it to fate. Being physically present means betraying our feelings, which is what actually matters, no matter what words our mouths utter.
If you plan on meeting up with your ex for a chat, make sure you take a refresher on reading body language if you haven’t done so in a while. It will allow you to control the flow of the proceedings more fluidly.
#2 He Wants Your Body… Yes That One
Reconciliation isn’t always the only reason he’s looking for something tangible. And maybe, just maybe, commitment isn’t the only thing he misses.
Be on the lookout for flirtatious signals, even fairly mild ones.
An ex boyfriend who has come to talk about onerous and sobering aspects of reconciling isn’t going to laugh conspiringly or get needlessly touchy-feely. But an ex boyfriend who wants to relive some of your romantic highlights most definitely will.
#3 He Wants To Win You Back
A chance to meet you in person is a chance to really open up on reconciliation and get you to do likewise. It is a chance to finally dispel the doubts that lurk between paragraphs of text.
An ex boyfriend who wants you back in the long term will seek clarity and tend to steer the conversation to matters relating to your past and future together (unlike the present-oriented flirtatious ex who is looking for a little fun).
Winning you back means restoring trust and recreating a sense of co-responsibility (sacrifice and negotiation). Be on the lookout for signs that indicate he is willing to meet you halfway and is willing to take responsibility for the ways things have turned out.
#4 He Wants Closure
While I am convinced that the notion of closure is an unhealthy expectation to have (there is no one thing that will magically close the book on our feelings), it certainly won’t stop us from trying.
Even if the will to reconcile has turned to ash, an ex may well have questions that are burning inside of them. By reaching out they are hoping to put those fires out.
But be warned: This newfound intimacy is about letting go, not getting back together.
Signs your ex is looking for closure are that he drives the conversation consistently towards events in the past. There is no forward-looking conspiracy and optimism, and no real desire to built and evolve your relationship.
#5 He Enjoys Your Company
It bears remembering that sometimes there is no ulterior motive to meeting with an ex, and that it might just be a case of enjoying your company and wanting to hang out. That’s the rationale anyway…
The problem with this is that the meaning of spending this time together is rarely interpreted in the same way and eventually leads to resentment, with one person feeling led on by the other.
Staying friends with an ex is possible, but not probable in the long term. No matter what we convince ourselves of, the fact that we had an intimate, romantic relationship with this person is not something we can just switch off. There is no button we can push to make this transition cleanly.
This distinction tends to alter the notion of friendship just enough to make things awkward. Yes, there’s a reason why you broke up, but there’s also a reason why you fell in love.
Unless you are certain that encouraging the birth of a platonic relationship is exactly what the doctor ordered, I would steer clear of the chit-chat. For the time being at least. Or you might find yourself falling into a trap of your own making.
#6 He Has No Idea
There is another option which many fail to consider when it comes to meeting an ex. Maybe the ex boyfriend in question has absolutely no idea what he wants.
And here’s the bad news: This is far more common than most people think. Most of the people I speak to about their relationships are focused on decoding their ex boyfriend’s intent as if the he was playing an elaborate, manipulative game. But in reality, when I speak to the dumpers themselves, I am often surprised by just how many have no idea what to make of their own feelings.
This back and forth often translates to hot and cold behavior on the part of the dumper. Because this back and forth is exactly what his emotions are doing. It looks confusing to the dumpee, but it’s actually an accurate reflection of what is going on inside his head.
#7 He Is Playing Games
If the hot and cold behavior is not a reflection of his feelings, then it is the sign of an ex playing games to get what he wants.
In this case, meeting you for a talk is a way to exert influence and better use his array of manipulative tools to bend you to his will.
It isn’t always easy to separate a confused ex from one who is using confusion as a weapon. But bear in mind that an ex who is only in contact for their own benefit is not going to display any concrete willingness to sacrifice or invest in you because that would conflict with their stated objective of using you.
If you want to know what he wants from you, ask yourself what he is investing in you. Even just being honest with you regarding their intent is a sign of sacrifice, because opening ourselves up in this way means overriding painful triggers such as rejection and judgment. What is he actually doing to acquire your trust?
An ex who is playing games will rarely open up enough to give you clarity, because doing so would mean making promises they already know they don’t intend to keep.