The main problem with many articles written on the same topic strewn around the Internet is that they tend to deal with absolutes.
For instance, some articles will claim that the resurgence of contact is a solid indication that your ex wants to keep their foot in the door, others claim the opposite and urge dumpees to be wary of being friend-zoned or risk being used as a self-confidence boost on behalf of the dumper.
As far as I’m concerned, actions need to be weighed against your breakup and relationship history and not simply based on some grand universal constant of grief. Context is everything.
Don’t forget that you have a far better understanding of the person in question than any self-proclaimed relationship expert!
Having said that, and not without a sense of awkward irony, I wanted to give the subject a personal shot because I do feel that according to my own experiences there have been several patterns that lead to a chance at reconciliation.
Without further ado, I present you my very own compilation of signs your ex wants you back.
They’re Playing Games
If your ex is playing games it means they still have something invested in you. It also means that being direct may be too painful, and so rolling the dice is a way of getting you to expose your feelings first, rather than risking theirs.
Typical examples of post-breakup shenanigans include “no contact” or cutting an ex off with some artificial alone time. If you feel you are being forcibly cut off, maybe you are. Especially if they play hot and cold, and occasionally dart back in the picture after disappearing and make sure you don’t inadvertently move on.
The end goal of this manipulation is for you to show your hand first. If they manage to get you to choke on your insecurity and betray your feelings, they don’t have to risk theirs. It’s as childish as it sounds, but since when are emotions fair?
The best way to test whether or not their back and forth is genuine is simply to ignore it. Stop feeding the aimless and confusing mixed messages and they will stop. Well — eventually.
E-Mails Just Don’t Cut It Anymore
While contact of any kind when initiated by the dumper is usually good news (but not necessarily regarding reconciliation), my opinion is that the sheer volume of contact is less important than it’s quality.
If your ex truly misses you there will come a point where they will want to escalate the contact to a more personal level, to get a better feel for the situation.
This means that if you’re currently shooting emails back and forth, they may ask you to switch to an online chat, or if you’re texting, they’ll ask if they can call. With interest, contact will naturally escalate.
If you are interested in the possibility of reconciliation and the offer to escalate to a more personal platform emerges, make sure you keep contact concise and to the point, at least for the time being or mixed messages and crumbs will tear your communication apart over time.
I’m not urging you to keep it concise because it sounds nice, the reason why is simple: Rebuilding trust is a delicate affair, and by keeping it terse, at least until a measure of trust has been achieved, means reducing the chance that insecurity can inject its venom into an already frail connection.
If we allow emotion to dominate the conversation, we risk misinterpretation. And even if there is an underlying desire to reconcile, the house of cards collapses under the weight of its own resentment and confusion.
Because They Tell You So
Perhaps the most overlooked sign that an ex misses you is the fact that they tell you so directly.
It is natural to second-guess and over-analyze a simple “I miss you” and due to the fact that trust may have bottomed-out, you are absolutely right in being skeptical.
However, the post-breakup wasteland is often a game of cat (dumpee) and mouse (dumper), where the mouse will look to pull away, and establish distance and emotional clarity rather than muddle the waters. This is particularly true if they truly did love you at some point (and you’d know if they did).
The fact that they are now seeking to pull you closer together is a sign that they miss you at some level. But be advised that reconciling may not be on the agenda.
They may wish to alleviate guilt, re-integrate your friendship in their life, or simply wish to remind you that you were special to them and satisfy a personal need for closure.
Always take contact at face value, and be transparent in your reactions. If they say they miss talking to you, it’s a cue for you to open up. If you’re going to do it, do it with a smile and a sense of humor and show them how strong, independent and considerate a catch you are.
You’re History Pal
Exs who have little to no interest in reconciling will turn their back on the past and take decisive steps towards a new future of their choosing.
This does not mean that they don’t want to talk to you (they might still like you and wish to remain platonic friends), but there will be a noticeable shift in priorities.
An ex who is still wondering whether or not they made the right decision will be very conscious of the way they appear to you, however. And regardless of what they say, they will continue to prioritize you and make space for you in their lives.
While they may attempt to impress you by having changed positively (getting in shape, working on character traits that annoyed you), they will not want to run the risk of appearing alien to you. They will want to make sure that as far as you’re concerned, they are an improved version of the person that you fell in love with. This is mostly an unconscious process.
What is the best way to accomplish both at once? Why bring up your good history of course! Not only are they making the conversation more intimate by conspiring with you, but they are also getting the chance to see how you react!
If your ex is laughing about the good times and invites you to share your thoughts, they simply don’t want to, and more importantly, don’t want you to forget what you had.
Be wary of exes who bring up the negative aspects of your history together. They may be seeking to gain closure at your expense (an often futile practice, I find due to the fact that it will only lead to them resenting their own actions). If the tone is not accusatory, it may be a good sign that your ex wants to mend some fences, but not necessarily that reconciliation is on the menu.
They Are All Over The Place Emotionally
Heightened displays of emotion of any kind are a sign they still care enough to have something invested in you.
The key here is realizing that even negative emotions such as hate and anger are rooted in the same well of care. The only concrete sign of disinterest is indifference, and that can be faked by a manipulative ex.
Anger is our natural defense against pain. So when I say I hate you, it really means “you hurt me.”
If your ex is impulsive, angry, or generally excitable, it is a sign that the emotional undercurrents are still running strongly. But be advised that just because they feel that way now, once their craving has been satiated, the same problems that led to the breakup the first time still remain unless you confront them.