I’m sure you need no help from me in coming up with reasons why your ex is back in contact after months of the silent treatment.
Our problem isn’t creatively “what-ifing” every scenario, or bouncing remote possibilities around. We certainly need no encouragement there. No, the problem is understanding which scenario is most likely.
First: Possible Reasons Why Guy Come Back After Months
His Rebound Relationship… Rebounded
The key here is recognizing that when we’re talking about an ex coming back after months of radio silence, something important has probably happened to them.
One of these things is the collapse of a rebound relationship which was initiated as a way of getting over you (and not as the shiny new adventure it was advertised as).
The reason this is common is that it usually takes a few months to realize that this new relationship is parasitic, and beyond attempting to fill the void left from a previous breakup (you), there’s nothing substantial going on. And now they’re back. At least for now.
The Grass Wasn’t Actually Greener
Similar to the rebound, but in a more general sense. It turns out that swinging from one relationship branch to the next to avoid pain, without addressing core issues, just means crashing into the same problems over, and over.
It looks like their new branch may have snapped. Perhaps they need an upper, and your familiarity, history, and affection now seem like an easy win when compared to the barren wasteland they are in.
Or perhaps they genuinely do miss you. The only way to tell the difference will be to see how they react to taking baby steps forward. As always, action over words.
He’s Feeling The Whiplash Of Guilt
Breakups can bring out the worst in us to force us to make changes we’d never normally have the stomach to make. For this reason, there’s a good chance you were treated uncharacteristically roughly during the breakup.
A few months down the line, as emotions calm and objectivity once again prevails, so too might a sense of guilt at having treated you the way they did. They may continue to care for you despite having broken up. And with that will come a tidal wave of guilt.
He Wants You Back. Yes, In That Sense.
Months apart will mean that your relationship scorecard has been filled out in full.
He will have had time to compare, reflect and taste life without you. The results are now in, and the only conclusion he can draw is that breaking up was a costly mistake.
Yes, it happens. And if his appearance and demeanor is thoroughly confusing you, there’s a chance it’s happening to you (more on the likelihood of this further down). Welcome to the world of mixed messages and mind games, signs we still have a lot to lose.
If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my lifeOscar Wilde
He Misses Your Friendship
He wants you back. Or rather, he wants his friend back.
Depending on how your peace of mind is holding up, this may or may not be a relief. After all, you have invested so much in each other that parting ways completely might seem like a horrible waste.
However, it goes without saying that opening the floodgates of communication, and using “friendship” as a way of harboring romantic hopes without risking rejection is a bad idea. And I don’t feel that saying 90% of breakups will leave the emotional scales tipping lopsidedly is an exaggeration.
In short, most of the time I feel like wanting to stay friends is just a way to keep all our options open while we test other things. A backup plan, if you will. But then I’m quite cynical, so make of that what you will.
Second: How To Tell Which Reason Is Most Likely
The manner in which you are contacted, along with the message that is communicated, are both clues to making sense of his actions.
Firstly, let’s divide up his intent into romantic or platonic.
Signs He Misses You Romantically
I’m going to risk generalizing here, but because I can’t know your personal history and context it’s the only shot I have. So forgive me in advance.
- He is impulsive; in turns fearless and fragile. Tough and self-pitying.
- He alternates between being hot and cold. Close and distant, affectionate then callous.
- He brings up the past. Sometimes directly offering explanations for things you’ve long since buried or come to terms with.
- He keeps the communication open-ended. So there’s always a reason to keep it going.
- Most of his communication won’t have a point, because being direct means risking pain and rejection. You can expect him to “feel you out” before digging in.
- He seems driven by emotion more than logic.
- You have his attention. Regardless of the front he puts up, he will reply.
- He will attempt to escalate contact from the impersonal (emails and text) to the personal (let’s skype!).
Signs He Wants Something Else
An ex boyfriend who wants something specific will be (we can hope) well aware that communication might complicate things unnecessarily, and will, therefore:
- Be direct and have a believable reason to talk.
- Avoid talking about the past, unless this is specifically about addressing guilt.
- Be in control of his emotions. Messages will tend to be concise and devoid of anger, resentment and other signs romantic emotions are still in play.
- Be careful to not let communication spiral towards talk of reconciliation or commitment.
- Be friendly and warm, because he is no longer risking his peace of mind (and therefore his defensive barriers have come down).
It goes without saying that this list is devoid of personal context, which is of utmost importance when judging situations of the heart. Use these points as springboards not as absolute truths.
Narrowing The Reasons Down Further
Once we have a rough idea of what his romantic intentions are, we are in a position to guess, more specifically, what he’s up to.
If you think he’s looking for romance, you might want to figure out how serious it is, or if he’s just in a bad place and needs affection. The way to test this is to demand action. To demand small, simple, fragments of commitment.
- Ask to meet for a face to face.
- Start building the foundations of a routine together (for instance, skype on thursday evenings).
- Ask him for a favor that actually involves a minimum of focus and effort (only if it is actually something you need, not as a game).
In short, start piecing the framework for a relationship together slowly (very slowly) and see how he reacts. An ex who is looking for sex or affection (without the commitment) will balk at making even the most minute of changes to their existing routine.
Third: Forcing Clarity
No matter how confusing things get, remember that you have the tools to force clarity. Sometimes just realizing that you have control over this aspect of your relationship is liberating.
Let me just say that I strongly urge you to avoid mind games and other gimmicks, even if your ex boyfriend seems hellbent on playing games. Not because it’s rude or immoral (who am I to judge), but because they don’t work.
I get it, playing games feels safer, because we’re not being direct and also feeding false hope, but nine times out of ten these scripts end in resentment and disaster.
Forcing clarity takes courage. It means valuing yourself. It means loving yourself. It means reprioritizing your relationship with your needs at the forefront. That is the breakup battle to be won if you want peace. because it is a victory that doesn’t depend on a particular outcome. You win no matter what.