17 signs your ex is miserable (and still cares for you)

Break-ups suck. No matter how bad or toxic the relationship was at the end, there’s no getting around the fact that officially breaking up with someone you once loved more than life itself is a severely painful endeavor.

But sooner or later, we all eventually get over even the worst breakups.

But what about your ex?

You might still care about him, and you don’t want him to be drowning in misery, mourning the end of the relationship.

How can you tell if your ex is miserable or not, and whether or not he still has feelings for you?

Here we discuss 17 clear and obvious signs that your ex is miserable, and still obviously has feelings for you.

1) He says he’s miserable

There’s no doubt about it: your ex is miserable simply because he openly talks about it. It seems like the only thing he can talk about is your breakup.

He tells his friends and family, and if he’s really miserable, he might even openly tell you.

He’s stuck at the bottom of a pit where nothing really matters anymore, not even his own pride.

He doesn’t really care if people know how miserable he is. He’s wrapped up in his bubble of hurt and vulnerability to even care.

He’s like a black hole that is constantly trying to let people know just how unhappy he is with his current situation.

In some ways, this openness might be his way of trying to get back to you.

By being open and honest about his feelings, he might be trying to get you to sympathize with him and give him another shot.

2) He contacts you when he’s drunk

Does your ex text you in the middle of the night or leave you a dozen voicemails telling you how much he misses you?

Whether it’s a simple “hey, thinking of you” or a full-blown confession of his love through voicemails, your ex not only misses you but is obviously using alcohol and whatever other substance to get over you.

This momentary lapse in judgment when he’s too drunk or high to care is all the proof you need to show that he’s still not over you. In his most vulnerable state, his subconscious betrays him and tries to express how he truly feels.

And as if that isn’t revealing enough, the fact that he repeatedly does this means that you’re constantly on his mind.

He’s clearly not over you, and even if he says he does and insists that the drunken texts are calls are nothing, the fact that he does it at all is enough proof that he’s obviously still trying to get over the breakup.

3) He’s gained or lost weight

People’s weight fluctuates normally — that’s just part of growing old and being human.

But if your ex has gained or lost a significant amount of weight following your break up, with no other external circumstances that could have contributed to this very obvious change, there’s a good chance that the breakup is the reason why his weight has changed.

You notice that your ex has lost or gained weight, and not in a good way.

He might be using food as a coping mechanism or might be too depressed to even think about eating.

In either case, it’s obvious he’s developed unhealthy habits: he might be skipping meals altogether or binge eating to satisfy that dose of serotonin from the body.

4) He’s always getting into fights

Breakups can turn us into a shadow of our former selves. Even the most gentle people can become rash and antagonistic when dealing with loss and pain.

His head is so fixated on his emotions and inner turmoil that he doesn’t really process things the same way. Even the slightest nudge is enough to rile him up and get him going.

The sad part is that your ex might not even be aware of this shift in behavior.

Masked as a plain annoyance, his brute behavior could be his subconscious’ way of processing his emotions and letting go of tension.

He’s constantly on edge about you (even if he doesn’t know it) and he ends up taking it out on friends and maybe even complete strangers.

Even his friends don’t recognize who he’s become.

He’s so caught up in his own head that he’s become callous and uncaring towards others, even those who are closest to him. You don’t have to be a genius to see that your ex is obviously lashing out, whether he knows it or not.

5) He’s usually drunk or high

People get drunk when they want to forget — this isn’t really news.

A couple of beers here and there might just be what your ex needs to get over a difficult patch, loosen up, and move on with their life again.

There’s drinking every now and then, and then there’s being drunk or high every single minute of every day.

If you constantly hear stories about him doing crazy things or see his seemingly endless posts on social media about his sudden proclivity for the party life, it could be the biggest sign that he’s still not over you.

Not only is he not over you but he also needs to be under the influence of something all the time to even feel the slightest bit normal.

He’s clinging on to the high or the drunkenness to get through his day.

Instead of facing his feelings and processing his emotions in a healthy way, he’s hiding behind bottles of alcohol and drugs to dampen whatever inner turmoil he’s experiencing.

6) He talks badly about your new romances

Bitterness is a clear sign that your ex is miserable over losing you. Exes that are over you typically wouldn’t care or even be happy about you finding new love.

They might even get together and ask you about it just to be friendly and keep things on good terms.

But if your ex seems hellbent on talking about how bad your new relationship is or gossiping behind your back and convincing people that it won’t work out, it’s a clear sign that he’s projecting his own feelings onto the relationship.

He’s obviously still hung up with the relationship so he can’t help but make fun of your new partner or belittle your newfound happiness.

There’s no point reconciling with this kind of ex. Until he learns to let go, every single interaction you have with him will be colored by bitterness.

7) He talks badly about you

Another painfully obvious sign is if he’s bad-mouthing you to literally everyone you know.

It’s not just your new relationships that he disapproves of: he makes sure that you and everyone you know is aware of just how much he doesn’t like you.

Badmouthing might mean that you’re on his mind, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s looking to get back to you.

If anything, you’re living in his head rent-free and he has a personal agenda to make you look bad in front of everyone you know.

From trash talk behind your back to subtle posts that are obviously pointed towards you on social media, your ex will stop at nothing to let the world know how miserable you made him feel.

He can’t get over you and he also can’t get back at you so he’s resorted to acting like a victim and making everyone think you were the bad guy in the relationship.

8) He can’t stop rebounding

Your ex has gone on a dating spree, jumping from one girl to the next.

In the span of your breakup, he’s already seen a couple of girls, slept with a bunch of strangers, while you’re still trying to heal from the relationship.

This sign might sound a little ironic at first. After all, why would he start dating people if he’s simply not over you?

The fact that he’s jumping from person to person is a clear indicator that he’s not happy with the single life.

Guys don’t always know when they’re trying to mask their emotions for something else.

In his head, he might be absolutely convinced that playing the field is his way of getting over you.

Ultimately, it’s him trying to desperately replace the void that you’ve left and fill his time with someone else now that you’re gone.

9) He’s become a hermit

No one really knows what your ex has been up to because he has disappeared from the face of the earth.

He doesn’t go out, he doesn’t talk to anyone, he doesn’t do anything at all.

There’s no other way around it: your ex has become a hermit.

Your ex might be the suffer in silence type but there’s no denying that he’s totally withdrawn from the world around him.

It’s likely that he’s feeling vulnerable and too overwhelmed to possibly deal with anything else in his life so he’s holed up in his cave.

No one knows how he’s doing or what he’s been up to — the only information you can get from his friends is that he hasn’t been outside much.

The fact that your ex has completely isolated himself from the world is a pretty clear sign that he’s hurting from the relationship.

He’s in a complete state of self-preservation where he likely doesn’t want to deal with anything that might remind him of you

10) He stopped trying for himself

There might be no one more familiar with your ex’s intimate dreams and life goals than you.

These were things you two talked about and shared, with the idea perhaps that you would achieve those goals together.

But now your ex has stopped working towards any grander goals, and it seems like everything he does is meant to please himself in the here and now.

He parties all the time, drinks and smokes and does drugs, and doesn’t care about his career, his education, or anything else.

Your ex might think he’s living the best life he can, but you know that he’s drowning himself in immediate gratification because deep inside, he’s more miserable than he’s ever been.

And the worst part? A path like this can only end in disaster. If he doesn’t pick himself up and retake control of his life, he might never be “himself” again.

11) He stalks you on social media

Is your ex a constant presence on your social media? If so, then he’s almost guaranteed to be having a bad time.

He’s always one of the first people to view your updates and stories, and he might even be constantly engaging you on social media with likes and witty comments. If this is the case, it’s likely that you two ended amicably, agreeing to stay as friends even after the break-up.

But the problem? He’s clearly not over you. He only agreed to “stay as friends” so he could try to win your heart back, no matter how clear you tried to make it that you’re over him.

And if you block him, he might end up involving your mutual friends, asking them about you and screenshotting your latest posts.

You’re living rent-free in his head, but the last thing he wants to do is evict you.

12) He’s making excuses to see you

Breaking up with a partner isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you were together for a long while.

Parts of your lives are inevitably now intertwined — you have the same friends, you go to the same gym, maybe you even work in the same place.

There will always be areas where your two circles will come together, forcing you two to meet.

But for some reason, it feels like those unavoidable coincidences are happening more often than they should.

You might be having a night out with your friends, and for some reason, he happens to be there.

Maybe he even forces meetings with you, with excuses like, “I need to come over to wait for a package at your address”, or, “I think I left something at your place”, or even, “I promised to fix your sink; let me come over and do that.”

Your ex still wants you, badly, and you not being his is tearing him apart.

13) He keeps asking about you

You hear it through the grapevine constantly. He’s been asking your mutual friends about what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been, or if you’ve been out with anyone.

He asks about your feelings, your general mood, and if you’ve said anything about him.

He still wants to be as involved in your life as he was when you two were together. While some may find this endearing and romantic, it’s more likely to come off as creepy.

It’s a sure sign of long-lasting misery because you’re obviously still one of the most important things in his mind, and he’s making no effort at all to cut you out of it.

14) His friends ask you to check in on him

His friends know you more than you do, especially now that you two are no longer a thing.

Whatever he’s feeling now that you’re gone, there’s no one likelier to know it than his closest buddies.

So if you ever get a text or call from one of them asking you to maybe check in on him and see how he’s been, then that means things are seriously going bad for your ex.

Think about it: his friends want to stay loyal to him, but they also don’t want to see him suffer.

Contacting you would be one of the last things they would want to do because they don’t want to make him feel like they’ve betrayed him behind his back.

But they also know that you’re the only person in the world who could kick him out of his funk, and if you could only give him at least a quick chat, that would make his day (if not his entire week).

15) He’s jealous when you’re with other guys

He can’t stand it whenever he knows you’re out with another guy.

Whether you’re on a one-on-one date with a new potential boyfriend, or even just out partying or chilling with a group of friends, if your ex knows about it, there’s sure to be some fallout in one way or another.

Why? It could be one of two reasons:

There’s still a significant part of him secretly hoping that you two will wind up back together because he thinks you were “meant to be” and this breakup is just a hiccup

He doesn’t want you to “win”, meaning he feels miserable about the end of the relationship and he can’t stand that you’re not feeling equally miserable

The best thing you can do is just tell him to back off and keep living your life the way you want. You cut him off for a reason, and the last thing he can do now that you’re no longer together is telling you what you can do.

16) He’s always trying to prove that he’s over it

Ever since you and your ex broke up, his social media behavior has radically changed. Whereas he might have rarely ever posted on Instagram or Facebook before, he now updates his accounts several times a day.

He’s suddenly become extremely keen on sharing just how much fun he’s having — out with the boys, or out on vacation, or even if he’s just having a blast by himself.

So what’s this all about? Has his personality done a 180 overnight, coincidentally just as soon as you left him? Not likely.

Your ex wants you to know that he’s having a great time without you, but we all know that as soon as the pics and vids have been posted, he’s back to aggressively stalking you, wondering why you aren’t viewing his Stories.

17) He makes sure that you know he’s dating someone else

If your ex has moved on with his life and gotten over his relationship with you, then great, good for him.

But if he’s using every avenue possible to make sure that you’re aware of it — and the fact that he’s having an amazing time — then it’s probably not nearly as good as he’s pretending it is.

Is he constantly posting about his dates on social media?

Has he told all your mutual friends about her, about how amazing and fun and beautiful she is?

Has he said that she’s better than “his ex” (you)? If he had truly moved on, then he wouldn’t be so concerned over your awareness of his new relationship; he’d just be hoping the best for you and getting on with his life.

The simple truth is, regardless of whether or not he has any feelings for his ex, he obviously still has feelings for you, and that alone is enough to keep him in some state of misery.

Your Ex is Miserable: Now What?

In one way or another, you’ve confirmed that your ex is miserable. So what do you do now? Do you talk to him and try to coax him out of his mystery? Or do you let sleeping dogs lie?

This depends on a number of things like how you ended the relationship and what might be best for him.

If he’s miserable and healing, it’s probably better to let him sort things out on his own. Having you around is only going to keep wounds fresh. Instead of learning to stand on his own two feet, he might fall back into depending on you.

If he’s clearly bitter and resentful about the breakup, no amount of coaxing is probably going to get him to change his mind about you.

Give him the space he needs to process his own emotions, regardless of whether he was the dumper or the dumpee.

Ultimately, it’s important to realize that you no longer have an obligation to each other and that you need to learn to be without each other. The best thing to do is to move forward with your own life.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook.

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