If there’s still a part of you that keeps hoping for your ex to come back, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Although each situation is unique, there are some signs that might mean your ex is trying to get closer to you.
Here are 30+ signs your ex will eventually come back, as discussed by experts.
Psychologist | Founder, NYC THERAPY + WELLNESS
They feel incomplete on their own
Ideally, people feel whole and complete within themselves, but sometimes people approach relationships with the idea that they’re incomplete without someone else. If your ex isn’t someone who feels whole on their own, they’ll look to others to fill that space.
Due to the sensation of discomfort that this perceived void causes, this personality type may be inclined to re-enter a relationship quickly.
No sense of boundaries
Does your ex have difficulty with boundaries? If you were with someone who had a difficult time respecting emotional and physical boundaries, then they’re more likely to try to elbow their way in and come back to you.
A person with a healthy sense of boundaries may feel like coming back but ultimately has the inner resources and ability to self-soothe, which stops them from acting on impulse.
Someone who has difficulty with boundaries will be more inclined to reach out like an addict looking for a quick dopamine hit.
Is your ex able to move through life on their own? Did they display codependent tendencies? Similar to feeling incomplete, codependent individuals have difficulty seeing themselves outside of the context of a relationship.
Related: How to Break Codependency Habits
Too much nostalgia
Is your ex nostalgic? Do they look back on the relationship with a certain romantic or nostalgic quality? Many times people look back with feelings of longing and sadness instead of with gratitude and appreciation.
The goal is to look back and see the important lessons the relationship provided. If someone’s not able to do that, they’re likely overly nostalgic and may be inclined to return.
Your ex can’t self soothe on their own
Part of being an adult and psychologically mature is the ability to self-soothe. If your ex is not able to self-soothe in creative ways beyond being dependent on someone else, then they might have a hard time being able to function on their own.
They have a history of gas-lighting
This is often a hallmark of abusive relationships. One minute your partner is wild about you and the next minute they’re being unkind and critical. These contradictory messages and behaviors can be very confusing.
Sometimes an ex will keep re-emerging or try to keep you bound to them by gaslighting. It’s disorienting because it challenges your perception of reality.
When it comes to exes, it can feel like a no-win situation of being both broken up, yet with this person at the same time.
Your ex idealized you
If your ex has an idealized or romanticized image of you then they’re more likely to reach out. You’re held in high regard and labeled “the one that got away” in their relationship narrative. This mindset may lead them to feel worried or anxious that they won’t be able to find anyone else like you.
Inability to deal with heartbreak
Any breakup is going to require dealing with loss and moving through the stages of grief. If your ex isn’t able to fully let go and use the lessons they learned from the relationship to move on then they’re likely to circle back.
They can’t stand being alone
Now, where we’re experiencing a form of forced isolation it can be especially difficult to tolerate feelings of loneliness. Your ex may be likely to reach out if they were known to have difficulty coping with these feelings.
Self-involvement was their M.O.
Was your ex someone who only thought about themselves and their own needs? An ex-partner who has narcissistic qualities may have difficulty empathizing with, or putting themselves in the shoes of their former partner.
It may not occur to them that it could be unfair or even harmful to reach back out. Being respectful of boundaries is a healthy reaction during a breakup, even though it’s tough. Someone who is more grandiose or narcissistic might be more likely to return.
Considering getting back with your ex?
Follow this quick self-assessment before you make a decision.
- Evaluate the quality of energy. Always ask yourself about the quality of the energy of the reach out. Is this person reaching out with good intentions and emotional maturity?
If you feel like if the answer is no, then you really want to be mindful of what that means to you.
- Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to get back with this person who is, after all, your ex for a reason? There was probably a valid reason why the relationship ended. Of course, there is always the opportunity to grow and repair, and every situation is unique.
The question you should ask yourself is, “Are we really going to rise above and do better the next time around?” Or is this simply falling back into something familiar, which is different, and a type of regression.
- Take responsibility for your behavior. Are you the person that keeps re-emerging or crossing boundaries, trying to get back with your ex?
It may feel like your ex is constantly trying to get back with you, but as long as you keep responding you’re part of the problem. Take responsibility for your involvement as an enabler or perpetrator of the behavior.
- Close the chapter. Oftentimes our exes keep re-emerging in our lives for the simple reason that we let them. Don’t be a co-conspirator by keeping something alive that you know is better off ending.
As cliché as it sounds, “It’s Called a Breakup Because it’s Broken” is a fabulous book dedicated entirely to this topic. Ask yourself why you keep letting broken things re-enter your life and commit to closing the last chapter for good.
Coping with heartbreak and the emotional fallout of a breakup
Remember to have some compassion for yourself. It’s okay to be a little forgiving. Become gently curious with yourself about why you’re in this cycle or why your ex is in this cycle.
Heartbreak is difficult work. If you’re struggling, be patient with yourself and give yourself time to deal with the emotional fallout. Part of that may mean forgiving yourself or the other person. Everyone processes loss differently and it’s natural to have a hard time letting go.
Amidst all of this, remember your key takeaways. For instance, it’s important to remember that if people keep showing you who they are, you should believe them. This can be very difficult for people to accept when someone’s words don’t match their behaviors.
Practice compassion towards yourself and your ex and focus on the lessons you learned from the relationship. Carry these lessons into your future relationships.
How therapy can help
Learning to be whole and complete on your own is crucial to developing healthy relationships. Therapy can help individuals who struggle with codependency learn to differentiate themselves by identifying and exploring unhealthy patterns in their past relationships.
For example, someone with codependent tendencies may even find themselves in a pattern of being chronically single or chronically breaking up. Over time this cycle becomes problematic but maybe we weren’t fully aware of how we were contributing to it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, those who are counter-dependent may constantly push any type of relationship away. Therapy is a great space to reflect on these different patterns and how you might be attracting or deflecting certain types of relationships in your life.
Simply being curious about your own earlier life experiences with other love objects is a great place to start.
Clinical Psychologist | Author, Joy from Fear
Research shows that relationships tend to start up again when an ex does not find a suitable new partner, feels as if the relationship still has potential, or if the external benefits (e.g., financial security) of the relationship are an issue.
As such, it’s truly interesting that many signs that an ex will return are based upon these factors. Some subtle and overt signs that an ex may eventually return include:
- Continued communication from an ex geared toward maintaining a friendship;
- Expressions of feeling lonely or isolated (e.g., “The more I’m without you, the more I realize how much I miss being with you.”)
- An unwillingness to retrieve all personal items that might have been left behind.
- Continued connection with your family members or friends.
- Remembering significant occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Communications indicating that other relationships have been less than ideal.
- Continued following/commentary on social media.
You got the feeling that your ex might be looking for the ways to come back, and you are on the quest for the signs to confirm that they want to come back. So here are a few signs that might help you:
Increased social interaction
When all of a sudden, your ex sends a friend request to you on your social media that surely is surprising, but it also means that they want to have a comeback, and this is their first step to it.
Then they start liking your post and compliment on your every picture. Their sneak peek attitude is a hint that they want to come back.
If you guys are still in touch through calls and text messages and you start to notice that they respond to you back more frequently.
Their frequent responses are a sign that they still love you even after the breakup and that they cannot stop thinking about you.
They talk about you more often
If you get to know from your friends that your ex talked to them and mention your name more often, then it is for sure that they still love you and remember the things they experienced with you.
If they talk to your friends and ask about you, you could say that they want you back but are trying to gather the clues whether you are still single or dating someone else.
The longer texts
When you ask for something on a text, and they answer with longer texts, which means they want the conversation to last longer. You text them for just 3 to 4 words, and in response, you get a long reply as if they’re going to ask you more and more so the conversation never ends.
Their response shows that they are persistent and want to make you feel that they wish for a comeback.
Dating Expert, Dating Relationships Advice
They keep their communication lines open
One sign that your ex still has plans to come back is when they keep an open communication line with you. This means that they are not yet ready or even hesitant about pulling that last thread of connection with you.
If this is the case, you can expect some hi’s or hello’s in the coming days; even a drunk text or two!
They act jealous
This is a sure sign that your ex is not yet emotionally over you. If they openly act jealous and ask you about the people you’ve been spending your time with after the breakup, then they want you to know that you still matter to them.
They keep you updated
Their first instinct is to tell you every notable thing that has happened to them, including their latest romantic escapades.
If this happens, it is clear that your ex either wants to make you feel jealous or gauge your reaction because getting back together is still an option for them.
Managing Editor, Her Norm
Congratulate you on your professional achievements
If your ex congratulates you on your professional achievements, whether online or face-to-face, it means he or she is still interested in you. An effort to reach out to you after breakup indicates they are teetering on the edge of considering patching up with you.
Gradually prolonging the conversation
Ideally, a person having no interest in you should not involve in-depth and intensifying communications with you.
If your ex has started sending you messages randomly and has gradually started prolonging the conversation as well, then it is a sign they want to come back. At first, they would send messages that tended to be shorter by nature, but gradually they would increase the duration of conversations.
Sharing tangible things
Your ex would find ways to keep coming back to you in different ways, and one of them is by requesting to get back an item that they claim they need.
For example, they would not ask for an online document but the tangible things like a laptop so that they would get a chance to talk to you again.
Signs your ex will eventually come back are usually nearly billboard size. One example might be their continued attentiveness, outreach, or even an excuse driven need to update you about something.
Those who continually need you to reply to something such as a text or email are also likely to come back. Even those who bad mouth you usually are feeling a lack of control, and likely desire to still be with you.
Once someone is done for good, they rarely interact much. The exception to these rules might be found when two people have mutually agreed to separate even though they have built a lasting friendship based on mutual respect.
Relationship Expert, Dating Pilot
There are certain behaviors that an ex-partner will engage in that will leave their former partner wondering whether they are trying to re-kindle old flames. But, because everyone processes a breakup differently, it can make it hard to decipher the true intentions of an ex-partner.
While there is a lot of subtleties in certain behaviors, there are other behaviors that people who want to get back with their former partner engage in that typically signal they want to get back together again.
Check the intent of the conversations
The type of conversations that an ex-partner has with their former partner can serve as a big indicator as to what their intentions are with the relationship.
For example, if an ex-partner calls just to see how you are doing but nothing else stems from the conversation, then they probably really wanted to know how you were doing.
If, however, they begin reminiscing about the good times that the two had shared in the past or if they express regret of no longer being together, then these can be indicators that they want to come back into a relationship.
Constant pursuing and communication with the ex-partner
Constantly pursuing a former partner can also serve as an indicator that they are trying to come back. This can be “coincidently” bumping into their exes or even as boldly as asking to hang out.
Constant communication can also serve as an indicator; whether it’s through texts, phone calls, social media, etc. A person who typically is looking to get back with their ex will try to contact them frequently along with having conversations that show they miss their former relationship.
Editor & Content Ambassador, Romantific
You can never be sure if your ex will come back or not. You can assume by the clues you’re seeing, but it does not guarantee it will happen. So how can we tell that there’s a possibility that our ex will come back? Let me share two signs with you:
Keeping the communication open
If you’re done with your relationship, you might choose to forget about it and move on without any memories from him/her.
If your ex keeps sending you text messages or reaching out to you through social media without any important matters to talk about, your ex might still be finding a second chance for your relationship but just afraid to tell you directly.
Getting in touch with your family and friends
If a person is still interested in winning you back, he/she will find ways to get some news about you. He/she might use your friends or family to ask your whereabouts and doing this will also keep his/her relationship with people close to you intact until these people become bridges for the comeback.
First, it is important to decipher whether you want your ex back in your life or if you are simply bored. Oftentimes, we feel that the void our ex filled, can only be filled by them, but we need to take a step back and remember why they are our ex.
Rather than spending time idealizing that person, think about other ways we can feel whole again. That void can be filled with a new hobby, a deeper connection with your friends and family, or a deeper connection with yourself.
Funnily enough, once you have filled that void yourself, is typically when you will get the message from your ex that you were desperately yearning for before.