40 Signs Your Ex Is Pretending to Be Over You (With Expert Insights)

The end of a relationship can be a rollercoaster of emotions, but nothing is more confusing than an ex who sends mixed signals.

One minute, they’re telling everyone how much better off they are without you, and the next, they’re showing up at your favorite coffee shop or sliding into your DMs like nothing’s changed.

So, how can you tell if your ex is truly over you or just putting on a show? I’ll walk you through some telltale signs that might help you read between the lines. Keep reading to find out!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you're struggling with a breakup or experiencing emotional distress, please seek help from a qualified therapist or counselor.

Table of Contents

They Send You Mixed Signals

One day, they’re all warm and friendly, and the next, it’s as if you’re strangers all over again. This is a classic sign that your ex might not be as over you as they claim.

What this looks like: They might text you out of the blue with a “Hey, how’s it going?” only to ghost you for a week after you replied to their text. Or perhaps they’ll like your photos on social media, send you a few flirty emojis, and then act distant when you see each other in person.

It’s confusing, right? Mixed signals are often a sign that someone is experiencing internal conflict about their feelings. When emotions are involved, our actions can sometimes betray our words.

They’re Overly Interested in Your Love Life

If they’re asking around or fishing for information during conversations or through your mutual friends, it’s not just casual curiosity — it could be a sign that they’re still invested.

Something to keep in mind: Notice their tone or reaction when you talk about possibly dating someone new. Are they probing for details? Or do they get that sour look on their face?

They Get Jealous When You Mention Someone New

Now, let’s talk about the green-eyed monster — jealousy.

An ex who’s pretending to be done with you should, theoretically, be indifferent about the new person who just took you out for coffee. However, if the mere mention of someone new gets under their skin, and they get that twinkle of jealousy in their eye, it can be quite telling.

Here’s an example: You casually drop into conversation that you have plans with a new friend, and suddenly your ex’s mood shifts.

They might:

  • Change the subject abruptly.
  • Make a passive-aggressive comment.
  • Try to downplay your excitement.

They Try to Make You Jealous

Isn’t it peculiar when your ex starts parading their new life or new “interests” the moment you’re within earshot? Suddenly, they have exciting stories to tell, sprinkled with mentions of mysterious new friends, or they’re flashing that concert ticket for a show you both loved.

It feels like they’re putting on a show with the sole purpose of getting a reaction out of you.

This doesn’t just happen in person, either. Their social media might become a stage for their performance. You know, sudden posts about how incredibly “fun” their life has become.

What’s going on here is relatively simple: they may want to see if they still have a certain power over your emotions.

They’re Still Affectionate Toward You

When your ex greets you with a hug that’s just a little too long or their hand ‘accidentally’ brushes against yours, you can’t help but raise an eyebrow. Affection is a language that we often reserve for people close to our hearts, so if your ex is still showing this kind of warmth, it muddies the water quite a bit.

Consider these subtle moments:

  • Their hugs linger, feeling a bit more intimate than friendly.
  • They find excuses for physical contact, like a touch on the arm or a pat on the back.
  • Their tone softens when they talk to you, perhaps dipping into those familiar, tender inflections you used to hear when you were together.

They Keep in Touch Regularly

Now, the fact that your ex stays in regular contact might not seem unusual at first, especially if you’ve decided to remain friends. But if they’re the first to send you a message on holidays or major life events, even months or years after your break up, then it’s worth taking a second look.

Regular check-ins under the guise of friendly catch-ups, especially if they always seem to remember the small details about your life, can suggest something more.

Keeping in touch regularly, especially with messages that feel more personal than platonic, can be another indicator. It’s a blend of habit and hope — on one hand, they’re used to having you around, and on the other, they might be hoping for a little spark to rekindle what was lost.

"When they genuinely want to know what you are up to these days and how you are doing, they are not just being polite and friendly. That is real, burning curiosity to get the more inside scoop about you."

— Celia Schweyer | Dating Expert, Dating Scout 

They “Accidentally” Run Into You

What are the odds, right? You’re out grabbing a coffee, and the next thing you know, your ex is there. “What a coincidence!” they exclaim, but you can’t help feeling it’s a little too convenient.

If these accidental encounters happen more often than the occasional genuine run-in, it suggests they’re keeping tabs on your whereabouts.

Exes who pop up at your favorite places or seem to appear whenever you’re out with friends are giving you a clear signal: they’re looking for ways to be around you without the commitment of making plans.

They Reminisce About Your Relationship

Walks down memory lane can be sweet, but when your ex is the one initiating them, it can also be a bit confusing. Do they frequently bring up that trip you took together or the inside jokes you shared? It’s as if they’re reliving the highlights of your relationship.

  • “Remember when we…”
  • “I’ll never forget the time that we…”
  • “That was so much fun when we…”

It’s like they’re subtly reminding you of the good times in hopes that you, too, might start romanticizing the past.

They Constantly Talk About the Past

Sticking with the theme of yesteryears, an ex who can’t seem to step out of the time machine might mean that they’re stuck in the ‘what was’ rather than navigating the ‘what is.’

If your conversations are peppered with references to past events, accomplishments, or even struggles that you both shared, take it as a sign that they’re not ready to let go.

They Get Emotional When Discussing Your Relationship

Is it just reminiscing, or is there more to the story when your ex talks about the relationship and gets all misty-eyed? An emotional response can surprise both of you, especially if it comes out of nowhere during a supposedly casual conversation.

Emotions don’t lie; they tend to sneak up on us and reveal our true feelings. If your ex gets visibly upset, defensive, or even melancholic when touching on the topic of your past relationship, it’s a giant waving flag that they’re not over it.

They Make Excuses to See You

When your ex comes up with the most creative reasons just to spend some time with you, it’s more likely because they’re looking for any opportunity to see you.

I need your advice on something or I thought you might want your sweater back seem like harmless reasons at first, but if they’re making a habit out of it, there’s probably something more behind their actions.

When someone is over a relationship, they don’t usually go looking for ways to insert themselves back into their ex’s daily life — unless they hope for a reunion.

They Show Up at Places They Know You’ll Be

Remember when we talked about those seemingly accidental run-ins? Well, taking it up a notch, your ex might just start turning up at events or venues where they know you’ll be. As if by magic, they’re there at your favorite weekend hangout, or they’re suddenly interested in the yoga class you’ve been going to for months.

This isn’t just about bumping into you by chance. It’s a calculated decision to be in your orbit.

Sure, they mingle and chat with others, but there’s an unmistakable pattern of being where you are. It’s like an unspoken invitation to acknowledge their presence — an invite you didn’t send, but they RSVP’d to anyway. It’s an intentional move to stay visible in your life.

They Find Reasons to Ask for Your Help or Advice

It’s a tale as old as time — your ex suddenly needs your expertise or perspective on an issue they’re facing. Can you help me figure this out? or I really need your advice on this are lines that become more common than you’d expect from someone who should be moving on.

Seeking your counsel can be their way of saying, “You’re still important to me.” Remember, if they were over you, they’d likely turn to others first rather than the person they once shared a pillow with.

They Drunk-Call or Drunk-Text You

Ah, the infamous drunk dial or text — a moment of uninhibited truth-telling. When that late-night call or message comes in from your ex, slurred words and confessions spilling out, it’s a sign that they’ve still got you on their mind; alcohol just turned down their filter.

Here’s what this could look like:

  • “I miss us…”
  • “You know, you’re really hard to get over.”
  • Or even just a muddled “Heyyy” sent at an ungodly hour.

It might be easy to dismiss this as just drunk ramblings, but in vino veritas, as the saying goes — the truth comes out with wine. Or, in this case, whatever their choice of spirits. Their real feelings are peeking through, no matter how much they try to play it off as a drunk mistake.

They Comment on Your Social Media Posts

You post, they comment. You share, they react. On the surface, it’s normal social media interaction. But when you tally up who’s consistently engaging with your online presence, you might notice your ex seems to have a front-row seat to your digital life.

And they aren’t just passive spectators; they’re interacting: They’re leaving comments that hark back to memories only the two of you share or responding with inside jokes that remind you of the bond you had.

Their digital breadcrumbs are a trail leading back to their lingering attachment to you.

They React Strongly to Your Posts About Moving On

Now, here’s where things get interesting. You post something about turning a new leaf, maybe a selfie that spells ‘fresh start,’ or you allude to being ready for new love. Who’s lightning-quick to hit the like button or leave a telling comment? That’s right, your ex.

Whether it’s a heart reaction (which, come on, feels a bit off), or a comment that’s playfully cynical, it’s apparent they’ve got an eye on your progress.

Watch for:

  • Immediate responses to any hints of you moving forward.
  • Likes and comments on posts that suggest changes in your personal life.
  • Reaction emojis that don’t always match the sentiment of your post.

They Flirt With You

The playful banter, the suggestive remarks, or that classic charm that used to sweep you off your feet — if your ex is still throwing these flirtatious vibes your way, it’s not just friendly chatter.

Flirting is a dance of connection, and if they’re leading you onto the dance floor, there’s a good chance they have more than friendship on their mind. Observing this kind of behavior is crucial because they might be testing the waters to see if there’s still a spark between you two.

They Keep Bringing Up Inside Jokes

Inside jokes are like a secret language for two people who’ve shared time together, a connection that doesn’t just fade away with a breakup.

If your ex is regularly referencing those inside jokes that no one else would understand, it’s a clear signal they’re reaching for that special bond you once had.

  • They might slip in a joke from your past in the middle of a conversation.
  • A text message might include that one-liner that always made you laugh when you were together.

They Apologize for Past Mistakes

Now, taking responsibility for past actions is a big step toward personal growth, but it can also be a strategic step toward reopening closed doors. If your ex is constantly revisiting old wounds and delivering apologies, we should consider why.

Not just, “I’m sorry for what happened,” but a heartfelt, I regret how things went down between us. These apologies can be their way of expressing remorse, sure, but also a signal that they’re seeking redemption or even a second chance.

They Won’t Give Back Your Stuff (or Pick Up Theirs)

So, your favorite book has been gathering dust at your ex’s place for months, or maybe your hoodie has become their new favorite loungewear. Whether they don’t return your calls when you want your stuff back, or they’re dodging the topic altogether, there’s a message in the silence.

Personal belongings linked to an ex can take on a symbolic value, becoming like keepsakes that remind them of the relationship. Holding onto these items could mean they’re not quite ready to let go of the connection they represent.

"You’ll know your ex is faking it when they won’t give you back your things even after the breakup. Instead of voluntarily returning them, your ex asks you to come by and take it on your own.

They may say otherwise, but somehow, they think you’ll come back for these things. They think that you coming back physically to take your stuff might create an opening for a conversation and ultimately, a reconciliation." 

— Celia Schweyer | Dating Expert, Dating Scout 

They Keep Your Gifts and Mementos

The teddy bear from your first Valentine’s Day together, the ticket stubs from concerts, or the plethora of couple photos — they still have all of these. You’d think someone who’s over a relationship might clear out these reminders, but if your ex has turned their space into a personal museum of your relationship, that’s a telling sign.

These objects stir up memories, after all.

  • Personal notes and cards are still on display.
  • They wear the watch or jewelry you gifted them on significant dates.
  • Photos with you still feature in their living spaces.

They Ask Mutual Friends About You

If your mutual friends hint that your ex is (frequently) asking about you, consider the intention behind their curiosity. It’s one thing for an ex to casually catch up on mutual acquaintances, and it’s another to actively mine for details about what’s going on in your life.

And remember: it’s not just a one-off; it’s a pattern. They’re piecing together a picture of your life without them, maybe figuring out how they could fit back into it.

They Make Sudden Changes in Their Appearance or Behavior

The post-breakup transformation can hit in different ways. Maybe they’ve adopted a brand-new style, hit the gym like never before, or picked up a hobby you always talked about but never did together.

While this change can be good and entirely self-motivated, sometimes these sudden shifts occur as a silent message to an ex saying, “Look what you’re missing,” especially if they seem to align with your tastes or the feedback you gave while you were still together.

  • Have they made changes they know you would have liked?
  • Are these changes showcased in ways that ensure you notice?
The key is to observe without jumping to conclusions — change can be a sign of someone moving on and investing in themselves, yet it can also be a silent signal, an unspoken nudge for you to take notice.

They Try to Maintain a Connection Through Shared Interests

Isn’t it interesting when your ex starts showing up at the book club you introduced them to or suddenly takes a serious interest in the baking classes you love? Keeping up with shared hobbies can also be about preserving a thread that connects your lives.

This doesn’t just occur with hobbies, though:

  • They might continue to follow and engage with your favorite bands or shows.
  • You’ll find them contributing to group chats related to shared interests.
  • They seem to maintain or even intensify their participation in activities you once enjoyed together.

They Show Off Their New “Person” (and Make Sure You’re Aware of It)

Have you noticed your ex is not just dating someone new, but also making a public display of their newfound happiness? If you’re hearing about their oh-so-amazing romantic escapades through the grapevine or social media more than seems necessary, it might not be just about them enjoying their new relationship.

Here’s what it can look like:

  • They might ‘accidentally’ mention how incredible their new partner is while talking to you.
  • Social media posts about their outings together suddenly become more frequent and visible to you.
  • There is a particular emphasis on the qualities you know they valued in your relationship.
"This is classic showmanship of a bitter ex. They want to show you that you have been replaced—that you can easily be replaced! Especially during a party or a gathering where both of you are invited and your ex has arm candy and seems to flail his or her arm candy around." 

— Celia Schweyer | Dating Expert, Dating Scout 

They Move on Right Away Into a New Relationship

The speed at which someone enters a new relationship after a breakup can be quite telling. If your ex has hopped into another partnership quicker than you can say “rebound,” it may raise some questions about their emotional state:

  • Was this new person already in the picture before the breakup?
  • Does their rapid commitment seem a bit out of character or like a distraction tactic?
  • Are they using this relationship as a way to mask the pain of your breakup?

While moving on is a healthy step forward, it becomes questionable when it’s immediate and seems like an attempt to fill the void they claim doesn’t exist.

"When the ex-moves on right away it’s more based on trying to cause you jealousy or is a revenge tactic and neither of these approaches will work because at the end of the day, the new relationship usually makes your ex miserable and they want you back more, which only makes them look needy and crazy which makes you want them less!" 

— Dr. Sherrie Campbell | Clinical Psychologist | Author, But It’s Your Family: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath

They Say They Are Over You—Excessively

Does your ex keep iterating that they’re over you, almost to the point where it becomes their mantra? If they’re constantly asserting how over you they are, whether in conversation or on social media, take a moment to think about what they’re trying to prove and to whom.

  • A simple “I’m doing well” is normal, but a persistent “I’ve never been better!” can feel forced.
  • They might frequently bring up how they’re not affected by the breakup anymore.
  • You could also notice them emphasizing their happiness in your presence or through shared acquaintances.

Keep in mind: When someone is genuinely over a relationship, they usually don’t feel the need to broadcast it.

"When it comes to one sign that your ex may be pretending to be over you, the one big red flag I often see is that they state they are over you, excessively. A lot of times if they have a need to say that they are over you often, that is a clear sign they are trying to convince themselves that it is true versus it actually being true."

— Laura F. Dabney, M.D. | Psychotherapist

They Overdo ‘Moving On’

Moving on is an act of balance; it’s a gradual process of finding new footing. However, if your ex’s moving-on phase feels more Oscar-worthy than a genuine life transition, take it as a sign.

What this could look like:

  • Their social media stories are a non-stop parade of wild nights out and new “adventures.”
  • Subtle (or not so subtle) hints drop about how utterly free they feel now.
  • They seem to be ticking off a checklist of what they think life should look like post-breakup, but it doesn’t quite fit who you know them to be.

When They’re Around You, It’s All Puppy Dog Eyes

Those sad, soulful eyes that say a lot more than words ever could. If every time your ex sees you, they give you “the look,” it could be quite revealing.

It’s hard to fake genuine emotion, and those puppy dog eyes are usually brimming with unspoken feelings. Whether it’s during a casual meeting or if you spot them in a crowd, that longing gaze is them communicating their feelings without saying a word.

They Keep Their Old Routine

Ever noticed how your ex still frequents the coffee shop where you two had your Sunday morning dates? Or maybe they continue to jog at the park where you both used to go for your evening run.

Here’s the thing: Habits can be hard to break, but it’s also possible that these routines are kept because they’re hoping to run into you, or at the very least, to keep some of the past alive in their daily life.

They Send You Long Messages

When your phone dings and you find yourself scrolling through a novel from your ex, it’s an unmistakable sign. These long-winded messages are often filled with emotions and sometimes unresolved issues that spill over.

These messages can range from letting you know how their day went to pouring out feelings they can’t seem to hold back. They might even hit you up with detailed recounts of memories you share or thoughts about ‘what could have been.’

They Always Want to Talk About the Breakup

Breakups are tough, and talking things through can be part of the healing process. But if your ex brings up the breakup every chance they get, consider why they’re fixating on the past instead of looking forward.

When someone is genuinely trying to move on, they tend to avoid dwelling on the breakup and focus on building a new normal.

Their Moods Are Up and Down

Have you noticed your ex’s mood seems as predictable as a roller coaster ride? One minute they’re on top of the world, and the next, they’re down in the dumps. Mood swings like these could indicate they’re struggling with the emotional aftermath of your breakup.

Emotional turbulence is common post-breakup, but when it’s excessive, it might mean they haven’t fully processed the end of your relationship.

They Start Behaving Out of Character

It’s one thing to grow and change after a relationship ends; it’s another to become a person barely recognizable. If your ex is suddenly into new things that are a far cry from their old self or they’re making decisions that seem out of left field, it could be a sign.

  • They might take up hobbies or habits they previously had no interest in.
  • Perhaps they’re spending time with a new group that doesn’t quite match their personality at all.

This shift could be them trying to assert their new identity post-breakup, but it might also be a cry for attention.

They Blame You for the Breakup

If your ex keeps pointing the finger at you for why things ended, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. They could be saying things like:

  • “You were always too busy.”
  • “You never really understood me.”

Accusations like these might be their way of not dealing with their part in the breakup.

What’s the real deal here: Blaming you over and over is like they’re trying to convince themselves as much as they are trying to convince you. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but this kind of blame game is a sign they’re stuck in the past and possibly not over what happened between you two.

Their New Partner Has an Intense Hatred for You

It’s a strange feeling when someone you haven’t really met seems to have a whole story about you. If your ex’s new beau is throwing daggers from their eyes every time you’re around, you might wonder what tales they’ve been told.

But think about it – if your ex was truly over you, would there be any reason for their partner to feel such animosity?

Intense emotions like these often come from a place informed by what your ex has said or how they’ve acted – and that might mean your ex is still hung up on the relationship.

They’re Sabotaging You

Let’s be real: sabotage is out there on the extreme end, but it happens. If your ex is trying to throw a wrench in your life – be it spreading rumors or trying to turn your friends against you – it’s a clear sign of something more than just ill will.

Why would they go to such lengths? It’s often because they’re looking for a reaction, any kind of connection, even if it’s a negative one. Sometimes, making trouble is a twisted way of trying to stay relevant in your life.

Making Sure That the Whole Internet Knows They’re Single

If your ex is blasting their single life online, it might feel like they’re trying a little too hard to show they’ve moved on.

From status updates to stories with #SingleLife, it seems their feed has a singular theme: being without a partner and loving it. But, then again, if they were genuinely enjoying the solo ride, they probably wouldn’t feel the need to constantly advertise it.

"You see, your ex may be testing the waters to check if you'll react and reach out. They may pretend they're over you by loudly declaring their singlehood, but a part of them knows they'll always be available should you send a DM." 

— Celia Schweyer | Dating Expert, Dating Scout 

They Delete You as A Contact or Block You on Social Media

When your ex scrubs you from their phone or social apps, it’s an action that shouts, “Let’s be strangers.” It’s an outright deletion of the connection you once shared:

  • Their name no longer shows up in your chat history.
  • They’ve hit the “unfriend” or “unfollow” button on all platforms.

While it might be a move towards creating boundaries, it’s also a pretty definitive statement that can be emotionally loaded and hint that they’re struggling with the breakup more than they want to admit.

They Remove Your Couple Photos

While scrolling through your socials, you notice something missing – all those pictures of you and your ex together have vanished.

It’s like a virtual history rewrite: That holiday you took? Gone. Your anniversary dinner? Nowhere to be seen.

People often purge these memories as a way to move forward, but sometimes it’s also because looking back is a little too painful. If those pictures disappear suspiciously fast, it may be a sign they’re trying to erase the feelings as much as the photos.

They Use Social Media as a Weapon

Last but not least, let’s talk about when an ex turns the digital realm into their battleground. Using social media as a weapon is, frankly, pretty low. It’s like they’re out there trying to get to you without having to confront you in person.

Here’s what that might look like:

  • Subtweets or vague posts that seem directly linked to inside information about your relationship.
  • Pictures designed to provoke, like strategically showing they’re having fun without you or hanging out with people they know will get under your skin.
  • Likes and comments on posts from people you’re not cool with.

This behavior is more about them than you. It shows they’re still caught up in the drama and, perhaps, still caught up on you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an ex move on but still have feelings for you?

Yes, it’s possible for an ex to start a new chapter in their life but still harbor unresolved feelings for you. Moving on doesn’t immediately erase the history or emotions shared between two people.

What if my ex wants to be friends right after the breakup?

It’s generally recommended to take a period of no contact after a breakup to allow both parties to heal. If your ex insists on being friends immediately, it might indicate they’re struggling with the loss of the relationship and looking to keep you in their life in some capacity.

How long does it typically take someone to get over an ex?

There is no set timeline for getting over an ex, as it varies greatly depending on the individual and the depth of the relationship. Healing is a personal journey and can be affected by one’s ability to process emotions, the presence of a supportive network, and the adoption of healthy coping mechanisms.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, trying to figure out if your ex is pretending to be over you can be a tricky and emotionally exhausting process. It’s important to remember that their actions and behaviors are a reflection of their own journey and not a definitive statement about your worth or the relationship you shared.

Rather than getting caught up in decoding their every move, focus on your own healing and growth.

Surround yourself with supportive people, engage in activities that bring you joy, and give yourself permission to feel all the emotions that come with a breakup. Trust that with time and self-care, you’ll gain the clarity and strength to move forward, regardless of your ex’s true feelings.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author

Leah is a creative soul with a passion for telling stories that matter. As an editor and writer at UpJourney, she channels her natural curiosity and imagination into thought-provoking articles and inspiring content. She is also a registered nurse dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact.

In her free time, she indulges her artistic side as a hobbyist photographer, capturing the world's beauty one shot at a time. You can also find her in a poor-lit room playing her favorite video games or in a corner somewhere, reading and immersing herself in the rich worlds of fantasy and dark academia.

At home, Leah is surrounded by love and laughter, living peacefully with her partner and their three adorable shih tzus.