Lately, your ex's behavior leaves you with more questions than answers. On the one hand, you're relishing that you're still on their mind. On the other, you're frustrated as it almost feels like they're testing you. Well, maybe they are.
Things to know
- Your ex may be in the contemplation stage so trying to be friends and asking lots of questions is their way of checking to see if you're still interested.
- Pulling a disappearing act by ignoring calls and texts, and then suddenly apologizing, could be a test to see if you care enough to reach out or if you’ll leave things as they are.
- Casually texting you, trying to make you jealous, or checking to see if you've changed are all tests to see if getting back together would be the right decision.
Here's what else you'll need to know if you're going to figure it out:
Reasons Your Ex is Testing You
While the exact reasons you're being tested are only known by your ex, here are a few possibilities:
1. They're in the Contemplation Stage
If there are signs that your ex seems interested again, they might want to get back together. They've been wondering if breaking up was the right thing to do and considering how it would be to have you back in their life.
What your ex is going through is normal. You might even be going through the same thing. In fact, this uncertainty is why 50% of couples tend to get back together after a breakup.
This period of contemplation is crucial as it allows you to re-evaluate the relationship and your role in it. It also gives you a chance to think about the positives and negatives of re-establishing a relationship.
Your ex might be in the contemplation stage. Testing you is their way of determining if getting back together is the right decision. They might want to figure out if it's something you want too.
2. A Fear Of Rejection
Rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain. The psychological stress associated with being rejected by a romantic partner can also lead to physical and mental health problems.
Being rejected by a partner we invested so much into is why we have difficulty moving on from breakups. It's also why we try to avoid rejection at all costs.
Naturally, in post-breakup situations, the urge to avoid rejection is stronger. Your ex may be trying to test the waters with you before making their intentions known too soon and risking rejection.
3. Broken Trust
When relationships break down, trust is lost. Rebuilding that trust is usually a slow and challenging process. Your ex could be working up to trusting you again.
Testing you could be their way of gauging your trustworthiness and easing any concerns they have about getting back together.
Considering that breakups come with a host of mental health issues and a higher risk of illness, it's only natural for your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend to be cautious.
Testing you while they contemplate getting back together is their way of avoiding the trauma of another breakup.
How To Spot If Your Ex Is Testing You
Here are 12 signs your ex is testing you:
Pulling a Disappearing Act
You're waking up to tons of text messages, ignoring hundreds of calls, and coming up with creative ways of dodging your ex. All of a sudden, the obsessive behavior stops. A few days later, you receive a brief apology text from them wishing you the best with life.
While it’s highly probable that they’ve finally decided to move on, your ex could be making use of the no-contact rule.
According to relationship coaches, the no contact rule is based on the premise that giving you time to let go of the negative feelings associated with the breakup will make you more receptive when they contact you again.
Disappearing and ignoring you could also be a test to see if you care enough to reach out or if you’ll leave things as they are.
Casually Texting You
After weeks of radio silence, you get a text from your ex. It’s catchy, and you can’t help but respond. These casual texts become more frequent, and soon you’re texting each other regularly. Texting you could be a low-risk way of figuring out where you stand after the breakup.
Your ex could be testing your interest levels and gauging the likelihood of getting back together. Or your ex could simply be passing the time or testing to see if you’re willing to play their mind games.
If you’ve been casually texting for a while, and your ex never pushes for an in-person meeting or turns down your requests to meet up, you could be dealing with the latter.
Constantly Communicating With You
Studies show that nearly half of the couples who get back together do so under the assumption that their partner is better at communicating.
By constantly calling, texting, or meeting up with you, your ex could be testing if you're better at listening, stating your needs, and asserting your boundaries. If you broke up because of communication issues, constantly communicating with you could be their way of checking if you've been working on your problems.
The other possibility is that your ex is testing if it’s possible to keep you in their orbit. They may want access to you without committing to any kind of relationship.
Asking Lots of Personal Questions
A common reason relationships fail is incompatibility. While you and your ex may have been compatible when you first started dating, the time apart has changed you in different ways.
You may have gone through therapy, changed careers, or dated other people. Breakups often encourage personal growth, which can change how you relate to each other.
If your ex is asking many personal questions, they could be trying to figure out who you are now. It may be an attempt to assess your compatibility before taking things further. If the questioning shifts away from the present and to your future plans, they may be trying to establish how they would fit into your goals.
Again, your ex could be trying to gauge how compatible your future plans are before getting back together.
Trying to Make You Jealous
Has your ex been sharing vague or misleading posts on social media? Are they constantly referring to a possible romantic interest instead of an actual one? If so, they could be testing your reaction to the prospect of losing them.
When used correctly, jealousy is an effective way to get an ex back. According to relationship expert Brad Browning, this strategy must be subtle for it to be effective. Flaunting their new boyfriend or girlfriend isn't exactly subtle.
If they're actually in a new relationship and rubbing it in your face, chances are they're using their rebound relationship to prove that they’re still desirable and attractive. This crafty way of seeking validation is more common in the partner who didn't initiate the breakup.
Research shows that partners in rebound relationships tend to maintain contact with their exes for selfish reasons like vengeance and validation. Your ex may not even be contemplating getting back together. They could just be keeping you around to inflict pain and give their ego a boost.
Showing Off On Social Media
Research shows that those invested in moving on from a breakup are more likely to purge their social media accounts of all evidence of a failed relationship. They also tend to block their exes on all social media platforms to make moving on easier.
People who are more interested in changing their exes' minds are more likely to engage in online impression management. They’re also more likely to keep all evidence (posts and photos) of the relationship intact.
If your ex still has photos of you on all their social media accounts, they may be reluctant to let go of your relationship completely. If they're showing off their new life without you, they're hoping to provoke you into reconsidering the breakup or re-establishing contact with them.
By using these low-risk social media tactics, your ex may be trying to test if you're still interested.
Being Emotionally Vulnerable With You
In a detailed study about why couples get back together, 66% of the participants said they wanted to rekindle a relationship because of the emotional connection they had developed with their partner.
The same study revealed that emotional distance is one of three major relationship killers. By confiding in you or asking for your judgment on important matters, your ex could be trying to determine the strength of your emotional connection.
Are you emotionally invested, or is the emotional distance between you beyond repair?
Another possibility is that your ex may be trying to test if you still care about them. They could be trying to figure out if they can still trust you or rely on you for emotional support. While this could point to your ex wanting to get back together, they may just be struggling with letting go of their attachment to you.
Being emotionally vulnerable with you may be an attempt to fall back into the comfort of the past.
Checking To See If You’ve Changed
A study revealed that people are more likely to want to reconcile with an ex if they feel the said ex has changed for the better.
Changing for the better could mean taking better care of your physical or mental health. It could also be related to better habits and personal growth. By checking to see if you've changed for the better, your ex could be trying to figure out if getting back together would be a good idea.
Perhaps your relationship ended because of serious issues that needed addressing. Checking your progress in those areas could signify that your ex is contemplating getting back together. Before they can even entertain the idea, they'd like to check if you've made the necessary changes.
Have you managed to kick that bad habit that was causing tension in your relationship? Is your reckless spending now under control? Are you seeing a mental healthcare provider for your abandonment issues?
Making Excuses to See You
You're doing your weekly grocery run when your ex bumps into you in the herbal medicine aisle. They start up a conversation, and over the next couple of weeks, this happens a few more times.
Soon, they're inviting you out for coffee under the guise of needing advice. Before you know it, they're swinging by to help you with household tasks or to look for random items they claim to have misplaced.
Making excuses to be in close contact with you is probably your ex's way of testing your willingness to be around them. The more interested you are in rekindling some sort of relationship with them, the more likely you are to entertain their requests.
If it's been months since you broke up, your ex may be trying to establish if there are any lingering feelings between you.
They could even be trying to gauge if you're still attracted to each other or if that special connection you shared still exists.
Wanting to Be Friends
If your ex wants to be friends, they may want to keep tabs on you and your love life. There's a high possibility that they're uncertain about the breakup and holding on just enough to see how things unfold.
Studies show that those who want to remain friends tend to avoid taboo topics like sex or their old relationship. If your ex is constantly making references to the good old days, they may be trying to get you to reminisce on all the memories you made together.
They're testing your reaction to determine the likelihood of re-establishing a romantic connection. Your ex hopes that you’ll realize how good you had it and give the relationship another shot. If you have mutual friends, your ex may simply be trying to keep things civil so that running into each other at the next birthday party isn't such a big deal.
On the other hand, they may want to test if they’d be able to enjoy some of the benefits of being in your life without the pressure of being in an actual relationship. Research shows that ex-partners are more likely to be friends if the breakup was mutual or if they had a good relationship before the split.
If this isn’t the case with you and your ex, they may have ulterior motives for wanting to be 'friends.'
Bringing Up Your Old Relationship
If every interaction ends up being a trip down memory lane, your ex may be trying to figure out how you feel about your old relationship.
Being overly interested in your thoughts about what went wrong is another way to test your interest.
Additionally, if you're being asked hypothetical questions like “Would we have broken up if…?” or “How do you think things would have turned out if…?” They’re probably analyzing your responses to see if getting back together is possible.
Pursuing You But Refusing to Commit
You're going on romantic dates, and every flirty comment makes you question why you broke up in the first place. There's just one little problem. Your ex hasn't made things official yet.
It could be that they need time to see if they can trust you again. By taking things slow, they’d like to figure out a few things and see if giving the relationship a second chance would be a good idea.
They could also be trying to figure out if you’ve made any significant realizations during your time apart. If you hurt them badly, they could be testing how remorseful you are.
They might want to see if you're ready to take responsibility for your role in the breakup. Are you prepared to recognize and acknowledge their pain? Do you have a plan to prevent the behavior this time around?
The Bottom Line
There’s a fine line between testing and playing mind games. Reflect on the nature of your relationship and use your discretion to figure out your ex's true motives.
If your relationship was toxic or your ex has a history of being emotionally abusive and manipulative, they're likely playing mind games. Cease all communication with them and confide in a trusted friend or family member.
You may also want to seek additional information from a mental health professional on dealing with your particular situation. If you believe nothing unsavory is going on and you’d like to get your ex back, passing their tests might work in your favor.
Additionally, interacting with your ex will help you decide if getting back together is a good idea. Before you decide if it is a good idea, you might want to consider the stages of getting back together with an ex.
If you've maxed out your health insurance on therapy and you'd rather not deal with your ex's tests, establish boundaries. Let them know you'd prefer to be left alone and focus on moving on.