It’s pretty naive to assume that when a romantic relationship ends, all feelings of love and care go straight out the window. Our emotions don’t really work like that; they can linger or even return over time.
On the other side of it, we all know how difficult even staying friends with an ex can be. When there’s history or unresolved feelings, a friendship with an ex can be a pretty turbulent one.
That is precisely why a change in behavior, sudden contact, or signs your ex is testing you can make you think they might be interested again, especially if you haven’t remained BFFs post-split.
Friendship can't excuse the out-of-the-blue contact. Their unexpected appearance in your phone is making you suspect they want more than just a catch-up.
I mean, why else would they be hitting you up out of the blue to ask what you’re up to? Why would they suddenly appear at the same bar you just posted on your story, looking all spruced up? It doesn’t sound like a coincidence to me.
Exes who are lost in the void of time just don't do things like that without reason. Sometimes it's downright strange and you want answers, or it feels too good to be true that they've re-emerged in your life and you need to be certain.
Things to know
- Signs that your ex is becoming interested again include them being overly nostalgic, bringing up memories from your relationship together, and trying to get you thinking about your past relationship.
- Another sign that your ex may be interested in you again is if they open up about their love life, potentially trying to make you jealous or lure you into a rebound relationship.
- Pay attention to the context of the conversations with your ex, if they're discussing their love life but adding that their rebounds ‘aren’t as good as you’ they’re probably still into you and want to make you jealous by drawing attention to their ‘other options.’
So, maybe you still have some romantic feelings toward your former flame and want to find out if they’re still interested before you make a move. Or you might want to be sure about their intentions so you can let them down easy.
Either way, I’m here to break down the 6 subtle signs a former partner is interested... again and wants their ex back:
- They’re Being Overly Nostalgic
- They Open Up About Their Love Life
- They Ask Around About You
- They Keep You Added On Social Media
- They Bring Up How You Hurt Them
- Watch Their Body Language
- The Takeaway
They’re Being Overly Nostalgic
This one can be a little awkward if you’re not on the same page as them. A huge and very clear sign that your ex is interested in you again is if they repeatedly bring up memories from your relationship together.
It could look like reminiscing on cute dates, bringing up inside jokes with a little ‘wink-wink, remember this' undertone, or even sending you photographs of the two of you together.
The intent here is clear. They want to get you thinking about your past relationship, create a feeling of sadness over how those times are gone, and draw attention to the positives of the relationship.
Essentially, they’re trying to get your attention on them and your history. The end goal is that you’ll hopefully miss those good times, see how adorable you look together, and take them back.
They Open Up About Their Love Life
This one might seem a little odd, but hear me out.
The only reasons an ex would talk to you about their new relationships, recent breakups, or love life woes would be to either make you jealous or try and lure you into a rebound relationship. Either way, they’re interested in some capacity.
Even if you’re friends with your ex, it’s pretty much an unwritten rule that you refrain from discussing your current love life. C’mon, it’s just a bit of a weird thing to do. If they’re breaking that social taboo, chances are they’re doing it for a reason.
Trying to make you jealous is a pretty clear sign that they’re still into you, at least a little. Talking about the three-day sex bender they had with a slew of different people is a cheap (but often effective) shot at making you feel weirdly insecure and jealous.
By telling you this information, they can watch your reactions and see if you might still have feelings for them. The tables turn when you figure out what they're doing: it becomes clear they're only sussing you out because they're interested themselves.
While they may well just be playing mind games and trying to make you jealous purely for their ego, there’s still a pretty equal chance they’re doing it because they’re into you.
Look at the context of the whole conversation. If they’re discussing their love life but adding that their rebounds ‘aren’t as good as you,’ they’re probably still into you and want to draw attention to their ‘other options.’ The same goes for asking about your love life, shit-talking their current flings, and frequently referencing your shared past.
If they’re keeping a heavy focus on their flings, speaking in a ‘bragging’ tone, and making no references to you or your past relationship together, it’s safe to assume they may just be trying to make you jealous for the sake of it. But I mean, you’re still on the brain, right?
Another thing to watch out for is them talking to you about problems, a hard time they’re having with their new partner, or coming to you to vent about their most recent breakup. They may be on the lookout for a rebound relationship and see you, their ex, as an easy and low-effort lay.
Telling you about difficulties with their new partner or suddenly dumping the details of a breakup on you could be a way of luring you into a mixture of jealousy and sympathy.
Generally, people prefer not to divulge information about their current or recent relationships with their ex. If they are doing that and it seems to be coming from a place of heartbreak (unless you are friends), it’s safe to assume they’re looking for an easy fallback option.
They Ask Around About You
Curiosity about an ex is super common after a breakup. You shared your life with that person, and now you have no idea what they’re up to. It’s a weird feeling.
But see, most people refrain from explicitly asking around about their ex. It can come off a little stalker-ish. It’s pretty well understood that if you’re asking about someone, it’s going to get back to them.
No self-respecting ex is going to willingly put their curiosity on display and risk the embarrassment of it getting back to you... unless their unresolved feelings are massively clouding their judgment. They might ask your mutual friends what your relationship status is or ask about a potential partner lurking in the back of one of your photos.
Your ex may go as far as to constantly find different ways to bother your shared friends about who you’re seeing, how you’re doing, and what you’re up to. If they were close with any of your family members, they may well be consistently finding a way to bring you up in conversation, and sneak themselves some juicy information about your dating life.
The bottom line of it is, feeling like there's unfinished business or unresolved feelings with an ex can drive people to abandon all healthy boundaries and just go shamelessly rogue in their quest for information, closure, and hope for a rekindling.
If your former flame is regularly asking about you, they're thinking about you and that's not a subtle sign that they’re still interested; it’s a downright obvious sign.
They Keep You Added On Social Media
Generally, relationships end with at least some degree of negative emotions toward one another. It’s not all the time, but it’s definitely true in most cases, even if it’s just sadness or gloom about the breakup.
For this exact reason, banishing your ex from your social media is the standard first move after a split. It’s either too painful, annoying, or rage-inducing to constantly see their face pop up on your phone like a stomach-wrenching jump-scare.
If your ex keeps you around on all their apps, there’s a fairly decent chance they’re keeping tabs on you or want you to keep tabs on them. Social media is an all-access pass to your dating life, relationship status, mood, and what you had for lunch three weeks ago on Wednesday.
If they’re hoping for a reunion, they’ll sure as hell want to make sure they’re getting live updates on who you’re banging and where you’re hanging. Hurting their own feelings and stalking from a distance is like the first play in a longing ex’s handbook.
By keeping you around on social media, they’re throwing out the no-contact rule and practically forcing you to see pictures, videos, and their entire life on your screen on a regular basis.
By taunting you with snippets of their life, cute new haircuts, and fancy days out, they’re trying to ensure you’re thinking (or worrying) about them.
Oh, you had a good day not crying under your blanket about the breakup? Boom. Your ex-girlfriend just had drinks with that girl she told you not to worry about.
Been four months since you split, and you’re doing great? Bam. Your ex-boyfriend just got that fade that makes you melt.
Of course, there is no real way to physically prove their intentions of keeping you added on their social media accounts. But certainly, be wary of the ex that doesn't immediately block you.
Be wary of the ex that unblocks you after a suspicious amount of time. You don’t need a dating expert to put two and two together; I have more faith in you than that!
They Bring Up How You Hurt Them
Talking about the hurts, betrayals, and pain your partner caused you is usually reserved for conversations during a relationship or shortly after it ends.
People eventually move on from pain caused by a former partner, and even if they don’t: much of the population would be too proud to bring up the past months or even years down the line.
If your ex is bringing up ways that you hurt them during the relationship, it shows that they still might value your apology and, therefore, care about your presence in their life.
When a person hates someone else for something they did, an apology is generally worthless. They won’t seek it, they won’t hint at it, and they certainly won’t open up a line of communication to talk about it.
An ex coming to you to work through past issues is a fairly obvious sign that they’re open to letting you right your wrongs and give you a second chance.
Remember to use a little initiative with these conversations, though. If your ex-girlfriend is sending you 4 am texts about how much you messed with her self-esteem by cheating on her, there’s a good chance she’s just getting it off her chest and isn’t actually interested again.
If your ex-boyfriend is calmly explaining how that one thing you did made him feel upset, and how you could’ve handled things differently, then it’s safe to say he cares about your growth as a person and the part you play in his life. Clearly, he wants you to stay a part of it and is trying to help you to do that by setting healthy boundaries.
People set healthy boundaries and communicate their feelings with people they want to remain in their lives. If they didn’t care about you, or absolutely despised you, they wouldn’t bother.
Watch Their Body Language
Hanging out with your ex violates all the standard no-contact rules of breakups established millions of years ago when Mrs. Cavewoman moved seven boulders away from Mr. Caveman so they wouldn’t see each other at the local fire pit.
Whatever reason you have for seeing your ex in real life, be it with mutual friends or catch-up drinks, keep a close eye on their body language.
Especially things like:
- Consistent eye contact
- Physical contact - touching you frequently, resting against you, standing close to you
- Smiling excessively
- Fiddling with their hair or clothes
- Open posture angled toward you
Body language is the way we outwardly show our thoughts and feelings, and it’s an ever-apparent expression of our true intentions without us even realizing it.
These behaviors are all common with romantic feelings, bonding, sexual feelings and even nervousness.
If your ex is displaying these body language behaviors when you’re secretly meeting up for coffee and telling your friends you’re at work (I know what you’re up to), then it’s a pretty clear sign they still have some sort of unresolved interest in you.
When figuring out if an ex is still interested in you, my advice would be to always be careful about breaking up and getting back together with someone.
Remember that the relationship ended for a reason. Lust, jealousy, unfinished business, and unresolved feelings are all sneaky temptations that try and pull you back into a relationship that you’ve likely outgrown.
That being said, there are exceptions.
If you or your former partner have taken the time to grow and change, but find that you’re still two complementary souls, going for round two may not be the worst mistake you’ll ever make. It could even be a beautiful story of reconnection.
It's always tricky wondering "will he come back?" There’s usually an extra layer of pride and complicated history to wade through before you get a straight answer.
Knowing what signs to look for can certainly help weed out the genuinely love-afflicted from the mind game players.
Whether you want to know how they feel before you ask to get back together, or you wish to sus out the situation so you can let them down easily, being able to analyze your ex’s behavior is a valuable tool.
Nobody should walk blindly into an ex-centric dilemma with no idea what they’re looking for. It pays off to have knowledge from your very own, slightly opinionated relationship coach (me!).
But when all's said and done, and you’ve spent hours analyzing your ex’s behavior to the brink of insanity, the best way is to ask them how they feel. Figuring out how someone feels is the foreplay, but communication is the main event. You won’t know for sure until you put on your big boy pants and ask!
Get yourself a good guess of whatever loving, longing, or stalker-ish thoughts are running through their head, and use that information to have an actual conversation about where they’re at. You got this, communication is always key!