My Ex Says He Misses Me But Acts Hot And Cold

Even when a breakup seems irreconcilable, moving on is rarely a straight-forward¬† process. Dumpers and dumpees will often find themselves crawling across an emotional razor’s edge. On the one side lies a brave new world, on the other, the comfort, care and familiarity of an old routine.

Existing within the confines of this grey-area can give rise to a frustrating amount of mixed signals because of how unstable and raw the feelings involved are. Is missing you a way of paving the road to potential reconciliation? Or is it merely a way of bating a reaction to buffer their fragile self esteem?

This article is my personal take on what to make, and how to deal with the all-too-familiar I miss you from an ex after the romantic doors were seemingly closed.

The anatomy of post-breakup drama

If your ex is loathe to shut the door on communication, even though the decision to breakup as been made, they are usually one (or more) of three things.

  • They wish to keep their options open (the grass may not be greener).
  • They miss your friendship and companionship.
  • They wish to salve their own fragile self-esteem at your expense.

Almost everyone will agree this trinity of intentions are at the basis of an ex’s contact. The problem however, is that I often find that people’s intentions are subject to change. Moving on is not a linear process, and some people are less prone to heed their pride or resolve than others. In short, there is absolutely no guarantee that your ex’s feelings towards you are consistent on a day-to-day basis.

Hot and cold behaviors are frustrating because they make our analysis and control over the situation next to impossible. While there is a possibility your ex is attempting to emotionally manipulate you by playing mind-games, consider also that it is entirely natural to be hot and cold after a traumatic breakup.

Is he playing mind-games?

If your ex says he misses you but acts hot and cold there is a chance that he’s taking you for a ride. If he’s keeping his foot planted in the door, but isn’t letting you in — he might be attempting to keep his options open, thereby making it easier for him to move on at your expense.

There are no rules for differentiating between genuine and artificial hot and cold behavior. But here’s the thing. As far as I’m concerned, and yes this is obviously a personal aside, it should make no difference.

There’s no such thing as a half-way relationship

As far as I’m concerned the only thing that matters is how respectful and honest an individual is. If he genuinely wanted to be with you, he would be (if reconciliation is what you want deep-down), or he would at the very least make his intentions transparent. If he cared for you enough he would not run the risk of playing a mind game that he could potentially lose — if it meant losing you.

Sure, we all make mistakes. But if his pride is greater than his desire to own up to them, is this objectively the kind of person you are willing to accept as a romantic partner?

Secondly, over-analysis can lead to further trauma should our hopes dissolve. Rather than allowing false hope to litter our meandering life path with obstacles, I would personally prefer dealing with absolutes. And this is something I have a complete control over (unlike attempting to suss out his intentions).

Dealing with this hot and cold behavior is something which he has to sort out. It is an internal debate which, out of respect for your own feelings and progression, should be played out internally before contacting you.

Accepting any other scenario is to potentially open the flood gates of projection, manipulation and trauma. Insist on clarity instead, and shoot down any form of behavior which is causing you pain or indecision. Put your needs first, you owe it to yourself!

Images courtesy of ponsulak/

About the author

James Nelmondo

James "the Unknown" Nelmondo is a self-styled relationship enthusiast, former infant, part-time dumper and full-time dumpee.

1 Comment

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  • Hi,

    I’m still confused about what went on with my ex who said he loved me and not too long ago that he wanted to spend his life with me. We’d been having increasing fights and I could tell that he was tired of me so I initiated a breakup (stupid I know but I thought it was hopeless and he said that I would have to initiate it because he couldn’t do it). A week later we were back together and he was willing to give it another chance but said he didn’t think it would work and that he was in full blown depression. I was happy to give him the space he needed, particularly since the break hurt us both, but the following meet ups he initiated felt like he forced himself to see me (he had stress pains in my presence and said he wasn’t into me). But on another amazing date he treated me out and felt entirely like the person he was before. He has more or less said he wasn’t into me anymore but on another occasion called me mon amour again. For a couple weeks we hardly texted and never called when suddenly after a night out his texts changed to be more friendly and inclusive only to peter out again and be cold and moody. All meet ups seemed 100% controlled by him.

    His mood kept swinging. The last date I had with him started tense, then I told him how I felt about a lack of flexibility with seeing each other (he replied he felt bad again), he then lightened and said promising things about how he doesn’t want to feel down with me anymore and brainstormed great sounding future plans with me. He even seemed disappointed when I mentioned how I may be going on a trip for a month (though he said maybe he’ll join me for the 1st week). A few hrs later we had a quiet moment taking in the scenery when he rocked back and forth and said he felt bad again. He was down with me for the rest of the day before brightening up when we saw his friends at a small party. On another occasion he didn’t want to engage while with me but when he saw his friend randomly called out and became more connecting and quickly reached for my hand.

    In the end I broke it off for good the night he shut me out again after most of a day of no interaction again…after it seemed to have been getting better. This time it was because he asked if I wanted to stay at his house after the party that I lightly said ‘not tonight :)’ to and thought he was fine with it at the time. But later he said that I had missed the significance of his inviting me to his house and that it would have been a fresh start for us making things better…this wasn’t communicated at all when he asked. When I called him he didn’t want to talk to me and said he couldn’t handle this and that he was going to bed. He shut me out again and I sent a breakup text the next day I would have preferred to have at least done on the phone if not at all. In it I also asked if he could let me know that he was ok and that I had made the decision because I thought he would also agree it’s for the best of us? He said he was ok and not to worry but even at the end refused to say if he actually wanted it or didn’t. We were friends for 4 years previously and had gone out for 2 years. He said he wanted to remain friends if we broke up but couldn’t make the break up mutual or even engage with me for clarity one way or the other.

    He’d been blowing extremely cold and some hot on me for the last month and I felt like a part-time gf he tolerated only on his own terms. This behaviour also seemed to be only directed at me as as soon as he saw either his or a friend of mine he acted ‘fine’. I don’t know if he was just keeping a foot in the door or if this was his depression…but if he still cared for me he wouldn’t just say ‘I’m feeling down, I can’t help that I hurt you’…would he? I love him and wanted to stand by and support him but I couldn’t if he thought I was poisoning his life and mood. Maybe he didn’t think this but most of his actions and how he interacted with me suggested it. In the end I think he just didn’t want a relationship with me anymore but for some reason he couldn’t just break it off himself. I can’t believe my friend has treated me like this in the end, depression or not. Even though I technically broke up with him it feels like he has broken up with me. I know we were still going out while this was happening but it also felt like we were exs trying to reconcile after the 1st break up which is why I’m posting this here. If you have any insight I’m probably missing it would be greatly appreciated.