The relationship is dead and your breakup is threatening your sanity.
Something deep within you, something not quite conscious, is stirring. A sixth-sense of sorts tells you the games aren’t over yet. And you know what else? You’re probably right. Even though it isn’t always a good sign you can still patch things up.
The ashes are still warm. But are they warm enough?
This guide is my opinion at uncovering ten timeless signs your ex is pretending to be over you, and what that says about your chances at reconciling (if that’s what you want).
1. Your Ex Reacts Emotionally
Let’s start with the most obvious sign. A real classic.
Your ex frowns and huffs their way into separation, claiming to have moved onto something better. But then, just when you thought you’d seen the last rays of sunshine dance off their backs, they have a meltdown on Facebook when they see a picture of you with someone else.
Does that sound like being over you?
That’s right. Not by a long shot.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want you back. So, what’s going on here?
Separation is more than just romantic detachment. It means that an entire universe of reference points has collapsed, and along with it, their comfort zone.
Even partners that were abused have reported missing their exes, not because there was something in that relationship to cherish, but because if you spend enough time doing something, it becomes all you know. And losing it, despite the pain it caused, means having to rebuild from scratch.
There’s always going to be something to miss, but that doesn’t necessarily justify repairing the relationship.
If your ex reacts emotionally or heatedly, it is a sign they still care enough to lose their self control. Just make sure their outburst isn’t justified by anger (if you lied about them, for instance, their emotional outburst isn’t just a touch of jealousy, it’s cold-blooded, self-righteous fury).
2. Your Ex Responds Quickly To Contact
Actions, more so than words, are an indicator of how our exes feel in a post-breakup scenario.
It doesn’t take much to press a like button or post an ambiguous status message designed to catch the attention of an ex, but picking up the phone in a timely fashion means something tangible.
It means they respect you enough to value your time. And it also means you are still a priority.
At this point you’re probably scanning the message to see how much effort they took to compile it. But honestly, if you still have their attention and you want to reconcile, playing mind games by sending mixed messages, bait and crumbs is surefire way to turn your exes good will into enduring silence.
Use your current well of respect and strong connection to communicate your feelings directly. Do it before that connection closes because playing minds games with you has become too confusing and painful to sustain.
Nobody can play ping-pong with their hopes and dreams for long.
3. Your Ex Is In A Rebound Relationship
The over-the-top happiness. The manic-depressive episodes. The ridiculously swift rush to commitment. The social media rampage. And a cast of grim-looking friends and family, looking on in shock and concern.
These are the quintessential signs of a rebound relationship. A relationship in name only, because your ex’s new partner may as well be a tree stump. It isn’t about them. The rebound’s purpose is only a rather self-centered (but understandable) attempt by your ex’s brain to fill that hole that appeared in their soul once you broke up.
But what does that mean for us in the meantime?
Your ex’s new fling may well collapse sooner rather than later, but we can’t hang around and wait. The rule of thumb when it comes to getting over an ex and moving on is to take things at face value. Moving on means moving on. Literally.
If your ex’s romantic crunch teaches them something, or reveals something about their feelings for you, it will be up to them to let you know. And if they can’t bring themselves to do it, despite what they feel, what does that tell you about the depth of those feelings?
Would it stop you?
4. Your Ex Acts Hot And Cold
An ex that is acting hot and cold is not necessarily playing mind games. These feelings can be a direct translation of their internal struggle to move on. Some days they may feel drawn to the past, and others to the future.
Given this indecision, it is also likely that their actions have the effect of keeping you in play. Stopping you from moving on just in case they get a case of dumper’s remorse.
If you find that your healing and progress is constantly compromised by an ex who has no idea what they want, I would suggest limiting contact and enforcing a no-nonsense communication regime.
Remember that despite the games, you have the power to enforce clarity. Don’t take the bait.
5. Your Ex Is Sending You Mixed Messages
This is not quite the same as hot and cold behavior. While acting hot and cold is the result of an emotional fluctuation, mixed messages are usually a form of willful manipulation, and therefore cold.
Mixed messages are designed to destabilize you, so that you answer the questions your ex wants to ask without them having to risk doing so.
If they send you a picture of their new dog doing cartwheels immediately after a breakup, it is usually a way for them to gauge, by how quickly you respond and the tone of your message, what you think of them.
I’m sure we’ve all been left confused by an ex who reaches out to us out of the blue and then disappears once you reach back. Chances are they needed something from you (validation, attention or support) and your answer satisfied that need. Sometimes just knowing you still care is enough for an ex to feel safe enough to get by for the time being (while browsing green pastures).
It isn’t a pretty scenario, but it is what it is. We need what we need.
The only way to avoid these kinds of games is to stop playing. If your ex can’t get “what they need” from you in this way, they will be forced to do so directly. Cut the chit-chat if you’re serious about patching things up.
6. Your Ex Keeps Telling You They Are Over It
Some people feel the need to “win” the breakup. But here’s the thing, people who have moved on don’t feel the need to compete with an ex in this way. Moving on means leaving that sort of race behind.
Anyone who is reminding you that they’re now over it, without you prompting the question, is just telling you they’re still in it. And it hurts.
Imagine a young child walking up to you and yelling “I didn’t take the cookie!”. What would you immediately gather from this outburst?
That’s right. They did in fact take the cookie.
The one counterpoint to all this is if they are forced to keep telling you they are over it because you keep asking. In that case it really is a distance-creating message and it’s time to take a step back.
7. Your Ex Keeps Talking To Your Friends
Context is key here.
What was their relationship like with these friends during the relationship?
If your ex seems to talk to them more now, it may be an indirect way of letting you know they still exist. And a shifty way of putting their foot in the door of your moving on before you can shut it.
If instead your ex’s interactions are similar to how they were pre-breakup, chances are there’s little to read into here.
Mutual acquaintances can be a source of confusion in a breakup scenario, I would take every message that filters through the friend chain with a grain of salt. It’s usually just a game of chinese whispers that will end up bringing you down.
8. Your Ex’s Body Language Indicates Interest
I won’t go into detail about decoding body language in this article. It’s long enough as it is! But I would definitely suggest brushing up on the basics if you haven’t already.
To the left is a personal recommendation of mine if you are as interested in body language as I am.
If not, any free reputable online guide will prove invaluable and eye-opening to the body language layman.
In many ways body language is a better way to gauge emotions than speech, simply because at its core, body language is designed to communicate our feelings.
So, if you get the chance, go ahead and meet that ex for a coffee. Even if the resulting answer is a hard “no”. At least you’ll have the advantage of seeing that rejection with your own eyes, and therefore believe it (making moving on a little easier, if more painful in the short-term).
9. Your Ex Is Being Mean
What’s worse than getting your ex to hate you? I’ll tell you what is worse: Silence.
There’s nothing worse than being ignored by someone we love. Which means that in some cases, an ex who is pretending to be over you, but isn’t, will usually conclude that bad press is better than no press.
So, if your ex is suddenly being mean to you, and you’re certain that you’ve done little to earn yourself this hatred, it may be a sign they are trying to keep the connection alive by any means necessary. Afterall, if you they make you angry, it is a way to keep you thinking about them.
Anything is better than dreaded silence to an ex who isn’t quite over it yet.
10. Your Ex Has Blocked You On Social Media
Don’t confuse being blocked on Facebook with a sign an ex no longer cares. In most cases they will block you because seeing a highlight reel of you moving on is too painful to handle.
If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t need to take action!
The only case where the reverse is true is if you have been abusing the social media channel to bombard them with contact against their wishes. If they asked you to back off, but you didn’t heed their advice, a block might be their only way to get some peace of mind while online.
If the block was unexpected, chances are they did it to safeguard their own emotions going forward, and blocking you was a sign that they care deeply rather than they don’t care at all.