Any girl would admit:
There’s nothing more confusing than trying to understand your ex during a breakup.
I mean, if you can’t understand what’s going through his head when you were still with him, how much more will you know when you’re fresh off a breakup?
He’s hot one minute and cold the next. And you can’t decide whether to hold onto the hope of getting back together or to start moving on.
The good news is, his confusing, all-over-the-place behavior might be a sign that he wants you back.
So let’s decode what he’s really trying to say. In this guide, we’ll discuss the signs your ex wants you back (but just can’t admit it) and what to do about it.
First, there’s one important thing to remember:
You deserve to have a stable, secure, and healthy relationship with someone who genuinely loves you.
Before you entertain any ideas of getting back together with your ex, you need to determine if it’s really what you want and that you’re not going back to a relationship that was toxic and unhealthy to begin with.
I get it. When you love someone, you believe the best in them. You idealize their flaws and sometimes justify the wrong things about the relationship. It’s so hard to admit that someone you love is not good for you.
But you should know that you don’t deserve to be in a relationship that is no longer making you happy. Even if you love someone, and even if they may love you back, if it’s not healthy and it affects your wellbeing, happiness, and growth, a breakup might be the best thing that can happen.
However, if you think that there’s a chance that you can build a loving, honest, and healthy relationship with your ex, then it’s worth giving a try. But you need to be realistic. There’s a good reason why you broke up in the first place.
You just have to think long and hard if reconciliation is the best thing for you both.
Now let’s get into it. Does your ex want you back?
If you’re the one who broke up, there’s a good chance he wants you back
You’ll be surprised to know that while women tend to experience more severe and immediate pain after a breakup, men take a longer time to fully move on from it.
According to a 2015 study from the University of Birmingham, men have a completely different process of moving on from women. They came to this conclusion after interviewing more than 6,000 broken-hearted people around the world.
One interesting finding is that many men actually don’t fully recover from a breakup.
The study’s lead author, Craig Morris says:
“The man will likely feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it ‘sinks in’ that he must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what he has lost-or worse still, come to the realization that the loss is irreplaceable.”
And that feeling of loss is magnified if they were blindsided by the breakup.
Psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman explains why:
“I have always had a theory that is related to males traditionally being the pursuers. They like the pursuit and seem to place more value (at least initially) on a woman that is beyond their reach. When she ends the relationship, this rejection could hit his confidence and self-esteem hard.”
So if you’re the one who called it quits, there’s a higher chance your ex wants to have you back. It could be hard to read him because he’s torn between trying to salvage his pride and wanting to get back together.
10 genuine signs he wants you back but can’t admit it
Here are 10 genuine signs he absolutely doesn’t want to let you go:
1. He still stays in touch
If he wants to move on with his life, why is he still communicating with you?
I’m not talking about a text message here and there. I’m talking about full-blown conversations late at night asking you the details of your day.
Initiating and keeping contact is a big sign that someone doesn’t want to let you go.
True, it can be hard to immediately stop communicating right after a breakup. When I broke up with my ex, we kept talking and crying together for a whole week after. I mean, this is someone I shared a huge part of my life with. It’s like severing a limb.
But in the natural way of things, communication should trail off as time goes by. You’ll start drifting away. If months have passed and he’s still regularly keeping tabs on you, it’s because he still wants you in his life.
2. He’s drunk dialing/texting you
Has he called you in the middle of the night drunk? Have you woken up to his confusing drunk texts in the morning?
Drunk texting is a huge, flashing sign that your ex is not over you.
A 2011 study shows that intoxicated people really do mean what they say during drunk calls/text messages.
Researchers believe that alcohol becomes a social lubricant, making people say what they really mean. They explain:
“This motive meant that people drunk dialed because they had more confidence, had more courage, could express themselves better, and felt less accountability for their actions.”
So don’t discount those drunk dials just yet.
3. He’s all over the place
Breakups hurt. For real.
Science shows that when we go through a bad breakup, our brains react as if it’s experiencing drug withdrawal. That’s because when we’re in love, we get addicted to the “high” feeling it gives.
Your ex is all over the place because he’s literally in withdrawal from you. He still craves the feeling of being together and he can’t process it right. One minute he seems like he’s getting over you. And then it hits him how much he still loves you.
According to licensed clinical psychologist Suzanne Lachmann:
“When the breakup occurs, you might go through periods of relief, even calmness, and then one day feel like you’re hit by a ton of bricks.”
He’s confused. But this confusion is because he still wants to be with you.
4. He still spends time with your family and friends
He still talks to your parents. He’s going out of his way to help out one of your friends. Maybe he still even attends family get-togethers.
It may seem like it’s nothing to you. Or you may justify it as friendly behavior. But no matter how you put it, he does these things because he wants to show you that you are still important to him.
He just doesn’t want to let go of his ties to your life and this is his way of doing that.
5. His body language still says “I want you”
Body language never lies. He wants you back if he’s still giving you the “I want you” vibe.
That means: intense eye contact, accidental or deliberate touching, or mirroring.
One telling indicator to watch out for is an “open” body language.
Body language expert Maryann Karinch explains:
“Another reaction — one that suggests some degree of comfort with a person as well as the desire to connect — is open body language. Open body language involves leaving the front of your body ‘unprotected’ by arms or holding a phone or a glass of whatever you’re drinking in front of you, for example. This could also be called invitational body language, and it’s the body language of trust.”
You’ve been with him for some time. You should be able to know some meaning behind his body language.
6. He acts awkwardly around you
Take note, there’s a fine line between being awkward because he’s done you wrong and feeling guilty about it and being awkward because he wants you back.
You can tell the difference between someone who avoids you at all costs and someone who is acting awkwardly but wants to talk or be with you anyway.
You know your ex. They’re someone who should be completely comfortable being around you. But he’s suddenly acting like he doesn’t know what to say. He’s suddenly nervous or embarrassed around you.
Relationship expert and counselor David Bennet says:
“When you know he’s not normally awkward but he’s being awkward and can’t seem to formulate sentences around you, this could be a sign of interest.”
7. He likes going down memory lane
If he can’t stop talking about the one time you had a deep conversation under the night sky, it might be a sign he’s finally realizing the mistake he made.
Guys aren’t really the sentimental types. And I’m not saying that they don’t appreciate the memories they share with us. It’s just that they don’t really express nostalgia the way that we do.
So if he keeps talking about the times you made him feel good and the meaningful moments you shared together, it’s his way of expressing how much you really mean to him.
8. He keeps asking people about you
You here about him asking people stuff about you. Whenever he bumps into one of your mutual friends, he somehow stirs the conversation toward you.
Maybe he’s not even casual about it. He is genuinely concerned about you but just shy to ask you himself. He checks on your friends and family to ask how you’re doing.
There might be two reasons why:
He just genuinely wants to know that you’re doing okay. Or maybe he wants to know if there’s still a chance of reconciliation or if you’re already seeing someone else.
9. His social media posts exhibit sadness or loss
A lot of us use social media to express ourselves. And your ex is no different.
For some reason, he can’t talk to you directly. So he’s expressing himself through a different channel. It’s normal. Maybe you even do it yourself.
According to experts, people do this to feel good. Sharing how we feel triggers a “reward” pattern in our brains. Additionally, we share on social media to connect to people we have a hard time connecting to.
His social media posts just show what he doesn’t have the confidence to say outright. Besides, you’re not completely oblivious. You know that he’s been posting a lot of sad quotes about pain or loss because that’s the way he feels about your breakup.
10. He’s making the effort to change for the better
Personally, I think this is the most meaningful sign that someone wants you back.
In life, we often need “wake up” calls to help us realize our mistakes and realign our priorities. And a breakup is one giant wake up call.
It’s so easy to take someone for granted in a relationship, especially if you’ve been together long enough. You get comfortable and somehow, in the middle of everyday life, you forget just how valuable someone is.
Maybe your ex lost his way and forgot just how important he means to you. A lesser person would simply give up and move on. But someone who truly loves you will take action.
He’s showing that he understands the things he did wrong. He’s taking accountability for his part of the break-up.
Most importantly, he’s taking action. He can’t take back the things he did or didn’t do. But he’s taking steps to do better by you.
Honestly, there’s nothing that says “I want you in my life back” more than a man who is willing to admit his flaws and become better because he can’t imagine his life without you.
Still, the best way to know is to communicate
Honestly, we can go around and around these convincing signs he wants you back. But you still won’t be completely right.
If you really want to know if he wants to work things out with you, there’s one simple but foolproof way:
I know how much it takes to open yourself up and be vulnerable with someone. Especially if it’s the very person who hurt you. Your sense of self-preservation will stop you from showing any weakness.
But life is too short to spend time overthinking someone else’s actions. Just ask him. You’ll have your answer straight away. If he wants to be with you and you want the same thing, then you can start rebuilding your relationship. If not, then at least you know where to stand.
What to do if he wants you back
You’re absolutely sure he wants you back. What do you do? How will you come up with the right decision?
It can get confusing. You were just wrapping your mind around losing this person. And now there’s a possibility of a second chance?
Let’s see what steps the experts have for you.
Step 1. Talk about it
You can’t make a good decision without having an open and honest talk with your ex. No matter what you do, try not to make the mistake of getting back together without laying everything out in the open.
According to relationship expert Rachel Sussman:
“The couple has to have a really good talk. They have to have a true understanding of the narrative of what broke them up. They should be on the same page about that narrative, and they should be on the same page about what needs to change.”
You both need to be on the same page if your relationship has another chance of working.
Step 2. Check-in with yourself
Do you want a second shot with him? Or do you feel that it’s really time to move on?
You need to think long and hard if you still want to build a life with him. And it’s important that you realize it now.
Clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Randi Gunther explains:
“If well-intentioned and caring people can, without guilt or blame, recognize the symptoms that tell them that they need to let go, they can end their relationship without resentment or feelings of wasted time. If couples stay too long in a relationship that can’t get better, they risk losing the opportunity to cherish the lessons they have learned together.”
But if you really believe in your heart that you both deserve a second shot…
Step 3. Give each other space
You’re both on the same page. You are willing to go through the hard process of rebuilding trust and intimacy. You want to get back together.
So give each other space.
Hear me out. It’s hard to really determine what’s best for both of you if you continue to be so wound up with each other. There are underlying issues here, issues that hurt you both. And no matter how much you want to be together immediately, you need some time apart to figure things out.
You can’t do that if you’re still so enmeshed with each other. So how do you proceed?
According to psychotherapist and codependency expert Sharon Martin, you need to establish clear boundaries. She explains:
“Boundaries provide a physical or emotional space between you and someone else. This space allows for self-expression, self-care, and mutual respect. If boundaries are weak, we risk being taken advantage of, abused, and disrespected.”
I’m a firm believer that you can’t cultivate healthy and loving relationships with anyone if you can’t build a good relationship with yourself.
Being in a relationship with someone is a beautiful experience. But if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in it.
You probably broke up because deep inside, you just don’t feel like you’re someone who is “whole” anymore. And regardless of whether or not you want to get back together, you need to fix your own issues before you can move forward, as a couple or separate individuals.
If after a reasonable amount of time apart, you realize that you can make it work, you’ll come out a stronger couple. And if you choose not to continue together, you’ll have security over the fact that you did everything you could.
My last piece of advice:
Everything in life becomes easier when you know your worth—especially the quality of your relationships.
He might want you back. He might not care any less.
But do you know one thing he or any other man can ever change?
Your sense of self-worth. Your belief that you are deserving of genuine love.
No matter where you go in life, if you know who you are and you know what you can offer, you will never tolerate relationships that make you feel less. You will automatically remove yourself from any situation where you are not wanted and appreciated.
So whatever happens from here on out, whatever you decide, know this:
You will find the love that you deserve as long as you never settle for anything less.
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