15 obvious signs your ex is testing you (and how to handle it)

If you’ve just broken up, and your ex is still interested in you, then he’s going to try to test you—to figure out how you feel about him and how far he can push you.

It might be childish, but hurt makes fools out of people.

Sometimes he might try to impress, and at other times he might try to offend. But if he’s trying to test you, you can be sure that he isn’t quite over you.

In this article, I will give you obvious signs your ex is testing you and what you should do.


Your ex would say something or do something that they know would trigger you emotionally to get a reaction—any kind of reaction.

There are many reasons why your ex wants to test you, but let’s just narrow them down to three possibilities.

1) Your ex is a bit of a psychopath.

Let’s say you broke up with your ex even if you still love them.

They might say something derogatory or infuriating when you’re around to “test” if you will react to them.

It will give them satisfaction to know that you’re affected because—as crazy as it sounds—the ex thinks that if you still give any reaction, you still have feelings for them.

Your ex wants to torture you to just elicit any kind of reaction. For your ex, you crying or you lashing out in anger means there’s still a chance you can be together.

Watch out. Maybe your ex still truly loves you but chances are their pride was just hurt that you initiated the break-up, and they’d manipulate you and torture you until they think you got what you deserve for breaking their heart.

2) Your ex still genuinely loves you.

The obvious and most common reason your ex is testing you is that they want you back. They wouldn’t bother paying attention to you if they’ve truly moved on.

Maybe they dumped you and realized they were just being impulsive, and now they’re too shy to admit that they really made a huge mistake.

Maybe they pushed you away so you’ll profess your love for them because they’re insecure.

Maybe you broke up with them but a part of them thinks you’re really meant for each other, but they won’t force you to get back together because they respect your decision.

Ultimately, they want to know if you still have feelings for them.

If they gather enough signs that you do, this will give them the courage to pursue you once again and convince you that your love deserves another round.

3) Your ex wants to know if you’re worthy of their love this time around.

This usually applies when you’ve committed something awful in your relationship—like cheating.

If your ex knows that you’re still in love with them, they will test you so they’d know that they can rely on you IF they decide to get back together with you…that you’re willing to do everything just to have them back and not commit the same mistakes.

They want to know that you’re a changed person because deep inside they really still want you but they would not consider getting back together unless you’ve repented long enough.


1) Your ex ignores you.

You broke up on good terms so you’re surprised that they’re giving you the cold shoulder—nay, they’re treating you like you don’t exist at all!

They won’t answer your questions as if they didn’t hear anything. They won’t even look you in the eye. It’s quite insulting, really.

What’s happening here?

It’s possible that as time passed, your ex realized that they really can’t be friends with you or when the break up finally sank in, they realized that they actually hate you (and probably because they still love you).

Your ex wants you to know the consequences of your decision. If you’re the one who initiated the break up, your ex doesn’t want you to get what you want. They want to tell you that if you don’t want the whole package, you won’t have anything at all.

2) Your ex blocks you then unblocks you then adds you again.

Your ex wants to get over you, but it’s just impossible for them at the moment. At the same time, it’s possibly their desperate attempt to catch your attention.

When your ex unfriends and blocks you, it feels like they’re rejecting you…and it could hurt a little even if you’re the one who initiated the break up.

This is what your ex wants you to feel—that they’re not wrapped around your fingers…except that they’d betray themselves by adding you again. 

3) Your ex posts photos that are meaningful to your relationship.

You had a grand time in Italy last summer. Your ex didn’t post photos of that trip when you’re still together. But now that you’re broken up? Vacation photos galore!

Of course, your ex won’t post a photo with your faces together during the trip. That would be too obvious and desperate. He’d just post a photo of a gondola, for example.

Your ex does this so you’ll remember the good times. They want to know if you’ll like the photo and message them. Because if you do, that means—at least to them—that there’s still a chance you can be together again.

4) Your ex won’t give you back your stuff.

You left your books and special edition DVDs over at your ex’s, and when you ask your ex to have it delivered to your apartment, they just ignore you.

They don’t want to cooperate because they still want to keep them as a reminder of you. They also want to use those things as a way for the two of you to still connect.

Your ex wants to test you by how badly you really want to get your things. If you’re taking your time getting your stuff, a part of your ex is hopeful that you’re not really that serious about the break up.

5) Your ex befriends your friends…and uses them as spies.

Your ex wasn’t really close to your friends, but now they’re messaging each other and they even hang out once in a while.

What is happening?

Your ex wants to let you know that you’re really meant to be together. After all, if your friends love them, then it’s possible you two should make a good couple this time around.

Your ex, of course, also wants to see how you react.

If it makes you a little happy, then their hopes of you getting together increases, if you’re repulsed by what they’re doing, then it means you’re really hurt or you really don’t want to be together anymore.

6) Your ex fakes an emergency just to see if you’ll be there to the rescue.

This move is rather pathetic and it’s used by a lot of exes…but that’s because it usually works if both people are still in love with each other. However, it backfires when the dumper is totally over the dumpee.

They’ll call you in the middle of the night to tell you that there’s someone lurking in their apartment. They’ll message you to say they think they’re having a stroke and they’re now rushing to the ER.

By telling you they’re in a life and death situation, they want to know if you still care for them and how much.

They hope you’d drop anything you’re doing just to rush to them and comfort them…and then maybe you’ll live happily ever after.

7) Your ex says something that could infuriate you.

You hate it when people comment on your hairstyle, and your ex knows that. Now they’ve made it their mission to do exactly that every time

Your ex knows how much you hate Trump, and you know that back when you were together your ex was of the same mind. But now they’re out there praising the man right in your face!

This is intentional.

Your ex wants you to get mad—furious, even. They’re testing your limits, trying to see how far they can push you while at the same time hoping that you’ll confront them so that they can clean up any lingering issues in your relationship.

8) Your ex says something that could make you blush.

Your ex would definitely want to know if you still have feelings for them and usually, the best way to do that is by being ultra sweet.

Let’s say they’re not usually expressive with their affection when you’re still together. Now, they’d say things that could beat Pablo Neruda and Don Juan!

If they sense that their words affect you in a positive way, they’d know for sure that you’re still in love with them.

Now, be careful. It doesn’t mean that if they’re doing this that they want you back. It’s possible that they’re just doing it for their ego—to know that they still “got it” then drop you like you dropped them.

9) Your ex tells you some secrets.

You were very intimate when you’re still together. You didn’t keep secrets.

In fact, it’s what you liked about your relationship.

And now your ex is sharing you a brand-new secret—something they have never shared before.

Your ex is doing this to reestablish your closeness. They think it could make you remember why you’re good together and sharing secrets creates some sort of instant intimacy which is what your ex is striving for.

This is their way of resuscitating your relationship—like one last electric shock to the heart, hoping it would trigger you to feel like you’re a couple again.

10) Your ex makes you jealous.

This trigger is probably the oldest trick in the book…and that’s because it’s really triggering!

Sometimes, even if we don’t have feelings for our exes anymore, if we see them with someone new, we hold our breath for 10 seconds.

So then…your ex would parade a new date in town or post a photo like they’re in love with someone new.

What makes this obvious that they’re doing it on purpose is when they do it too soon after the break up (considering your ex didn’t cheat on you). Another giveaway is that they’d look at your reaction like they expect you to blow your steam and dash off crying.

11) Your ex gives you gifts (but makes it seem casual).

Your ex would act like you’re not broken up at all.

It’s your birthday and they sent you a special package. You posted about being sick and wowza, there’s food delivered to your doorstep sent from your very caring ex.

If your ex isn’t naturally caring, then of course they’re testing you.

Your ex wants you to feel new feelings—that they’re much better than before.

Your ex also wants to keep acting like you’re still together (and that it’s no biggie). It’s their way to test if you want to get back to the old ways…to push your boundaries until you’re slowly back to being a couple without being officially a couple again.

12) Your ex asks for your advice—especially when it comes to dates.

This is somewhat similar to your ex making you jealous except that your ex wants to know what you really think of your relationship.

Of course, they’re a wise ex because by pretending that they’re already interested in someone else, they don’t put themselves in a vulnerable spot.

Your ex will ask you in a “friendly” way whether or not a new date is worth pursuing. They’d describe in detail what they like and don’t like about them, hoping that it will trigger you to give them advice to stay away from said person.

That’s what they want to hear, really—that you don’t approve of them dating someone new. But at the same time, they want to see your reaction, if you look totally fine or a little bit affected.

If you’re still in love with your ex and you want to be together again, don’t fake an approval. You’ll just be shooing them away for good.

13) Your ex plays hot and cold.

You just can’t make heads or tails out of your ex. They would act super cuddly, concerned, and warm one moment and then cold, aloof, and even hostile the next.

It’s almost like they’re a hormonal teenager who just can’t make up their mind, and it’s driving you mad.

But that’s exactly the point.

The ex wants you to get mad, and wants to know exactly how you would react to them being so coy. Perhaps he’s hoping that you might admit that you still want them and that what they’re doing is hurting you.

14) Your ex will show you how much they’ve changed for you.

Something your ex might do instead of playing hot and cold is to show off just how much they’ve changed, and they’ll try to make you know it’s for your sake.

And you will know, because it’ll become readily obvious that they’re trying a bit too hard.

If you had issues with them being too cheap or not paying attention to the way they dress, then you might see them whip out the designer bags and luxury perfumes. It’s quite pathetic, really.

If you had complained about them never coming to your defense, he’ll start white knighting you even though you’ve broken up.

15) Your ex shows you they’re the happiest they’ve been. 

“The best revenge is a life lived well”, so goes the saying.

And your ex certainly is trying to make it seem like he’s living his best life.

You might see your ex posting photos of them in vacation spots abroad, making posts that make it seem like they’re celebrating being single and free.

It’s almost as if they’re insinuating that you’re the one who’s been holding them back from enjoying life!

But of course, the reason they do this is because they want you to know what you’re missing out on.


So now that you’ve figured out the signs that your ex is trying to test you, it’s time for you to think about what you want to do.

Do you want to get back with them, or would you rather see them out of your life? Perhaps you simply want to be friends.

Here are some things you can do:


It’s not that simple if you want him back.

Sure, they might already be interested in you—why else would he be testing you?—but mutual interest is not enough to get you back together.

But if you want to encourage them to get back together with you, here’s one thing you should do: reignite their passion for you.

Thankfully, in trying to test your boundaries and your reactions, he has already proven that he still has some interest in you.

All you need to do now is to have him be honest with said interest. And I know exactly how you can do that.

I learned about this from Brad Browning, who has helped thousands of men and women get their exes back. He goes by the moniker of “the relationship geek”, for good reason.

In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again. And trust me, they work.

His program is not cheesy or cringe-inducing. His tips are so subtle and smooth it almost feels like you’re not making any “move” at all!

No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.

Here’s a link to his free video again. If you really want your ex back, this video will help you do this.


Maybe you’re still fixing yourself up, or maybe you know he still needs to grow up a bit more. For one reason or another, you know you just can’t be in a relationship with him right now.

But you still love him, and this leaves you at a loss. Thankfully, there’s something you can do in the meantime.

Step 1: Distance yourself for a while (and tell him nicely)

You will need some space to get your thoughts in order. But don’t just disappear on him—that will give him the wrong idea. Instead, tell him that you need some space, and tell him the reasons why.

Be upfront and clear, but polite. Try to make it seem like you’re blaming him, or you want him to feel bad.

Step 2: Think about what you truly want.

Once you’ve had some space, take the time to sort through your feelings and what you truly want between you and him.

Do you think the two of you can work your issues out, or do you think that your relationship will be toxic even though you love each other?

Take all the time you need. Reflection is something that shouldn’t be rushed.

Step 3: Move on if you think you think it just won’t work out.

It would be great if only love was all you needed to make relationships work out. Sadly, that’s not the case.

If you just can’t see the two of you working out—maybe because your core beliefs or personality traits clash, or even circumstances outside of your control, then you’ll just have to let go of him and try to move on.

After all, there are other fish in the sea and he’s not as irreplaceable as he might seem.

Step 4: Meet other people.

Speaking of other fish in the sea, going out and meeting people will help you expand your horizons.

You may learn that something you’ve taken for granted in him is actually rare to see in others—or, conversely, you may find that he has issues that most others don’t.

And maybe you might just find someone better than him too. Someone who won’t play games with you and test your patience for whatever reason.

Step 5: Be friends with your ex only if you think you can genuinely do it.

Moving on doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut him off, of course. If you think you can continue being friends, then feel free to let him back into your life.

Just keep in mind that he might keep on doing the same things he has done before, like testing your boundaries or trying to play mind games with you. Be ready to tell him off should he keep doing so, and to let him go if he insists.


But on the other hand, having your ex in your life might just be the last thing you want. Maybe your relationship was abusive, and him testing your limits is him continuing to be abusive to you even after your break-up.

This is arguably easier to do than trying to re-establish ties with him but it’s not without its own difficulties.

Step 1: Cut off all contact with him.

One of the first things you should do is to cut off all contact with him. Block him on social media and delete his number from your phone.

If your ex is the kind of person who might gossip to your friends to get at you, then you might want to warn them beforehand in case he tries to turn them against you.

And should you get evidence that he’s trying to smear you online, don’t be afraid to unblock him, report, and then block him again.

Step 2: Change your schedule a little.

One way you can avoid him is by changing up where and when you go in your day to day life.

For example, you can try hanging out at a different bar or shop at different stores after your workdays, or maybe you can go there during Sundays instead of Saturdays.

While it isn’t perfect, it’ll help make it more frustrating for him to follow you around and “bump” into you by chance.

Step 3: Set clear boundaries if you can’t avoid him in real life.

If you can’t avoid him in real life and moving away is not an option (not that it is one for most people in the first place) then try to set boundaries the next time you meet him.

Try to make it clear what he can’t do around you. For example, you might want to let him know that you won’t tolerate him getting all sour when he sees you dating someone new.


In this article, we explored the main signs your ex is teasing you, his reasons why, and then glossed over what you might want to do.

We only barely touched on what you might want to do if you want your ex back, sadly. It’s a complex topic, and it’d require us to white a whole novella’s worth of advice to give it justice. It’s not easy.

That’s why I suggest taking the advice of a relationship coach if you have the time.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences.

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like getting an ex back. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

How do I know?

Well, I’ve been in your shoes before. I was in limbo with my ex for a while until I got the guidance from the folks over at Relationship Hero. They gave me psychologically-backed techniques to trigger an ex to want you back!

I was blown away by how sensible and practical they were…and of course, their methods really work.

Give them a try. In just a few minutes, you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

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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 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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