Before we even begin to caress possible reasons why your ex has decided to ignore you, it bears remembering that silence is an answer.
The problem with being ignored is that we are going to go ahead and assume the worst.
- They hate us.
- They’ve unilaterally cut us out of their lives.
- They’ve found someone new.
- They’ve blocked or removed us from their list of contacts.
- They aren’t well.
Just because any of these reasons are a mathematical possibility does not automatically mean they are true. However, unless we are able to drop the insecurity and over-analysis, as far as our broken psyche is concerned, they may as well all be true. Ouch.
Silence is above all else an answer to the burning question of what do I do now? And now you have your answer; you have planted the seeds, it’s time to square your shoulders towards a new dawn and march on. It just so happens that this, irrespective of their intention, is the winning answer anyhow (more on this later).
Having said that, and not without an awkward sense of irony, I will now outline a typical list of reasons that an ex will use ignore you, and what to do to maximize your chances of exiting the oubliette of silence (should you so wish).
Reasons you ex is ignoring you
They still love you
If I don’t play hard to get, how will I ever know whether or not you respect me?
Love doesn’t always equate happiness, and consequently, many breakups feature the separation of two people who continue to care deeply about each other beyond the relationship’s official expiry date.
In such cases, remaining in contact can be extremely difficult for the dumper because it will weaken their resolve and renew guilt and remorse. In an effort to detox and become more objective about the breakup, many dumpers may opt to set a strict, self-imposed no contact routine in order to safeguard their own healing. In this case it really isn’t about you, it’s about them.
In this counter-intuitive example, had they loved you any less they would answer the phone.
What to do: Nothing. Give them the time they need. Once the emotional turbulence has settled, and they have regained their balance, they may choose to contact you.
Is this my case?: Your ex will usually give you advanced warning of no contact before collapsing communication. If you were warned at the outset that they needed time, this example might be yours to keep.
They’re playing games
Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.
If the breakup was traumatic, manipulation and mind-games are common ways of attempting to restore broken self-esteem at your expense.
Unfortunately, the Internet is awash with idiocy when it comes to using mind-games as reconciliation tools. Most relationship websites, in an urge to sell sub-par products to traumatized individuals will advocate going “no contact” as a way of getting your ex back.
On the surface no contact seems to work (as you no doubt know yourself due to the fact that you are reading this article) because it starves the ex in question of affection — leaving them prey to their own insecurity. Because of this, there is a chance they will reach out in order to feel better (but not because they genuinely want to reconcile).
This emotional house of cards will fall sooner or later should you call their bluff (by refusing to play the game and moving on). The key realization here is this; anger, feigned or otherwise, is a sign they still care. If they didn’t care about you they wouldn’t bother playing games. They’d be on the first train out of the station.
What to do: Call their bluff and put yourself first. They know how to get in touch with you.
Is this my case?: Was your breakup traumatic? Did their emotions oscillate wildly, from the apologetic to the incensed? If they are/were prone to using emotions as a bargaining tool, ignoring you this way is part of the playbook.
They’ve moved on (genuinely)
While time will ease the pain, being pro-active is the nail in grief’s coffin. Moving on for many is a literal process and not a figurative one. A forced march towards salvation.
Cutting ties with the past is one way of acting upon this desire to move on cleanly. Unfortunately, while their intent is not that of offending you, the action often does, because we have no way of accessing their intent. This is why it is imperative to not allow our subconscious mind to juggle potential reasons why they have now decided to ignore us. It will tend to assume the worst, even if the opposite is fundamentally true.
What to do: Respect their decision to move on.
Is this my case?: Judging your ex’s temperament and character is the only real way to be sure. If they are motivated, disciplined and pro-active individuals there is a chance they are cutting ties in an effort to move on.
They feel suffocated
Love should not cause suffocation and death if it is truly love. Don’t bundle someone into an uncomfortable cage just because you want to ensure their safety in your life. The bird knows where it belongs, and will never fly to a wrong nest.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Breakups usually lead to a game of cat and mouse, where the dumpee inadvertently suffocates the dumper in an effort to curb the pain.
If reaching out is taken too far, ignoring you may be an easy way for them to avoid their own discomfort or side-step a brimming state of confusion.
Right or wrong are irrelevant here. While you (or they) might feel entitled to answer, none may be forthcoming. Using logic and reason as a way to temper feelings rarely pans out the way we want it to.
What to do: Ease off the contact and/or resentment. Keep the lines of communication open and allow them to initiate should they wish to. Should the radio silence continue, attempt to contact them in a few weeks time.
Is this my case?: This is the simplest case to diagnose. An ex who does not want to hear from you will let you know (subtly or otherwise). If your gut tells you you’ve gone too far in pursuing their attention, you probably have.
They have other priorities right now
If your ex acts like they doesn’t care then maybe it isn’t about you.
They may retain feelings but be swept away by the rapid shift in priorities that breakups lead to.
In this case it the ignoring isn’t purposeful, but rather a direct consequence of life outside of your connection thundering at the door.
Before burning your bridges because you feel sidelined, make sure the distance isn’t a direct consequence of something else. If you have no way of knowing, then all you have is time. Once the their existential waters settle and they have time to process life more clearly you’ll have your answer one way or another.
What to do: Give them the time necessary to wrap their heads around their new lives. This is necessary even if reconciling ends up occurring. If you had something truly special time should work in your favor.
Is this my case?: It can be hard to tell if they have shut us out. You can either wait it out or start moving forwards yourself. If you can do both, do them.
Most cases involving being ignored should prompt the same response from us. We can only (at least outwardly) heed their decision for space. To plow forward in anger, resentment or entitlement will only destroy whatever connection is left. It may not be morally right, but it is what it is.
By giving silence the thumbs up we are demonstrating interior strength as well as the ability to respect their decision. If the situation is salvageable it will be due to these two qualities. Additionally, silence will also catalyze our own healing once we are able to contain the need to over-analyze their intention. Every curse is a blessing in disguise — you can quote me on that!
With every passing day, denied the chance of having our feelings constantly validated by them, we become stronger — and our chances at long-term reconciliation grow. Familiarity, as they say, is contempt.