Signs Your Ex Is Trying To Get Your Attention

Are they suddenly in contact and acting a little strange? Do they keep popping up in random places and smiling at you like they didn't wreck your life a few months ago?  

If so, your ex might be trying to get your attention.

Things to know

  • Your ex is blowing hot and cold, making meaningful conversation one minute and then being detached and silent the next. This could be an attempt to gauge your reaction or to not come on too strong.
  • They're making excuses to drop by, whether it be to drop off your stuff, or to see you with mutual friends, or even stopping by your workplace unannounced.
  • Your ex seems to be stalking you online, showing up at places you frequently go to and making an effort to show you that they've changed.

In this post, we'll explore what could be motivating your ex, how to spot their attention-seeking behaviour, and also what to do about it.

Why Is Your Ex Trying To Get Your Attention?

If you’re wondering why your ex is trying to get your attention, here are a few possible reasons:

1. They’re bitter

Your ex might be bitter about the relationship. If you initiated the breakup, they might blame you for giving up or taking the easy way out.

If you broke their trust or cheated on them, they might harbor strong resentment towards you. Similarly, if they initiated the breakup, they might be bitter that you seem to be getting on just fine without them.

2. They’re a narcissist

If your ex is a narcissist, trying to get your attention is their way of getting back into your life. Even if you’re no longer together, a narcissistic ex will want to hang around and cause harm.

They’ll want to stay on your radar and play mind games with you. From gaslighting to playing the victim to seeking revenge, a narcissist's reign of terror knows no bounds. Much like they did when you were dating, they’re looking to control you.

3. They miss you

Have you ever wondered, "Does my ex think about me?" Chances are, your ex has wondered the same thing too. Unless they have amnesia, they think about you. The deep attachments associated with romantic relationships can take months, sometimes years, to fully move on from.

If you and your ex were together for a long time, you might have relied on each other for companionship and emotional support. They could be having difficulty moving on and missing the intimacy you once shared.

4. They want you back

Perhaps time apart has allowed your ex to reflect on your relationship. They might have a better understanding of the issues that led to the breakup.

It’s also entirely possible that they feel remorse for how things turned out, and they’re ready to take responsibility for their actions. Maybe they want to give the relationship a second chance.

Perhaps the high of being single and unattached has worn off, and your ex realizes that breaking up was a terrible mistake. Getting your attention might be an attempt to get you back.

5. They have ulterior motives

Your ex might be lonely and seeking attention from a familiar source. Staying in touch with you could be a coping mechanism. They might be bored and looking for you to meet their emotional needs.

Your ex might be planning to keep you in the background if things with their new partner don’t work out.

Exes tend to have different reasons for wanting to remain in a former partner’s life. Not all of them may be entirely genuine. It’s not uncommon for some people to keep their exes around for selfish reasons. Your ex may have an ulterior motive for trying to get your attention.

7 Signs They Want Your Attention

7 signs that your ex is trying to get your attention are:

1. Blowing hot and cold

You’re picking up the pieces of your life when out of the blue, you receive a text message from your ex.

Against your better judgment, you can’t help but fall into the familiar comfort of texting them. Then it happens. Your ex starts to withdraw, leaving you sad and confused. And so, the cycle begins. One minute they’re making meaningful conversation, and the next, they seem bored and detached.

There's nothing but radio silence for days, only for them to pop up a few weeks later as if nothing happened. Blowing hot and cold might be a misguided attempt to not come on too strong or risk scaring you off. They might not want to appear too desperate, or they could simply be trying to gauge your reaction.

While their motives may be unclear, their whiplash-inducing tactics clearly show that they’re trying to get your attention.

2. Making excuses to drop by

Your ex might offer to drop off your stuff. If they’ve got to pick up their stuff, they might do so in drips and drabs. They'll draw out the entire process and use it as an excuse to keep seeing you.

They might drop by with mutual friends. They might even stop by your workplace unannounced. There seems to be no end to your ex’s weird excuses to see you. These are all clear signs that your ex wants your attention.

3. Stalking you

Bumping into them once or twice may be a coincidence. If it starts to happen every day, then they might be doing it deliberately.

Your ex knows your schedule. They know your favorite place to get coffee or when you do your daily workout. They even know when you walk your dog. This is one of those not-so-subtle signs that they're trying to get your attention.

4. Sudden changes in how they treat you

Is your ex suddenly chirpy and upbeat around you? Are they super flirty? Perhaps your ex-boyfriend compliments you all the time or goes out of his way to help you.

Maybe your ex-girlfriend goes from calling you every day to 'check in' to suddenly using the no-contact rule on you. If there’s a recent change in how they treat you, they’re trying to get your attention.

5. Behaving out of character

It’s common to undergo slight personality changes after a breakup. The occasional rough patch post-split is to be expected – it’s usually when we make our most cringe-worthy decisions.

Is your ex suddenly behaving out of character? Have they adopted destructive habits? If they’re making a spate of reckless decisions, they might be trying to get your attention.

6. Faking illness

If they're in and out of the hospital and the facts don't add up, they might be faking illness to get your attention. While this is certainly extreme, it’s not beyond a toxic ex to do this. Their attempts to garner sympathy from you could be a consequence of their toxic nature.

Contrastingly, their strange behavior could signify a serious mental condition known as Factitious Disorder. Like most people with Factitious Disorder, your ex is hoping to get emotional support and attention through faking an illness or injury.

The exact cause of the condition remains unknown. But, experts believe that it may be caused by grief, trauma, and other psychological factors.

7. Making changes you asked for

You might have asked your ex to attend therapy for their anger issues. You may have even begged them to get their mental health checked by a clinical psychologist.

Perhaps their spending habits were out of control, and you encouraged them to seek professional help. Sadly, they never did, and that led to the breakup.

Now, months later, your ex proudly lets you know that they’re attending therapy and addressing these issues. You can be sure that if your ex is making the changes you asked for and telling you about it, they’re trying to get your attention.

Signs Your Ex Is Using Social Media To Get Your Attention

We spend a considerable amount of time on social media. If your ex happens to be doing these things online, they might be trying to get you to take notice.

1. They've unblocked you

Like your real-life connection, your digital relationship was severed when you broke up. Your ex purged you from their profiles and blocked you everywhere.

If you suddenly receive a friend request from them or discover that they have unblocked you, they may be trying to get your attention.

2. Overcompensating

On social media, your ex seems to be living their best life. You’re kicking up dust over being single and too damaged to mingle. Yet, they’re out there making new experiences with mutual friends.

To top it off, every second post is a glowing selfie showing off their new look or the latest addition to their wardrobe. If your ex is engaging in this type of behavior, they might be hoping you’ll take notice.

3. Flaunting their dating life

Whether it's openly flirting with old friends online or flaunting their latest rebound relationship, every post seems specifically tailored to grab your attention.

Your ex might constantly share photos of themselves with their rebound. They might show off every little detail about this new person. If your ex's love life is the theme of all their posts, they might be trying to get your attention.

4. Oversharing

While it’s normal for people to use social media to share their experiences, your ex seems to be oversharing.

Is your ex making frequent, overly personal posts? Are they making references to situations and experiences that only you would know or understand? If their posts are becoming increasingly specific, chances are, your ex wants you to take notice.

5. Trying to get a rise out of you

Your ex constantly shares posts about their new relationship and how their new partner is the best thing to ever happen to them.

Using memes or quotes, they paint you out to be the twisted ex they’re glad to be rid of. If your ex is resorting to such underhanded behavior online, they’re clearly bitter and trying to get you riled up.

6. Sharing things you’re interested in

They always made fun of your interest in astrology, and now they’re posting daily horoscopes. They couldn’t have been bothered about your love for architecture, but now they’re sharing links to the all coolest buildings.

If their social media posts reflect a sudden interest in your hobbies or passions, consider this a clear sign that they’re trying to get your attention.

7. Stalking you online

Like clockwork, notifications across all the social media platforms you’re on come flooding in. It’s barely been a minute since you shared your latest posts, and your ex has already liked and commented on all of them.

Does your ex take their stalking a step further and make a point of reacting to some of your old content? You can be sure of one thing: they definitely want your attention.

8. Messaging you on dating apps

Your online dating profile is looking great, and you’re feeling confident about your prospects—that is, until your ex messages you.

Finding you on one dating app could be a pure coincidence. But, if you notice that your ex is actively seeking you out and messaging you on several online dating platforms, they’re trying to get your attention.

What to Do If Your Ex Is Trying To Get Your Attention

You have three options. Let’s break them down.

1. Confront them

Instead of trying to figure out the meaning behind all their mixed signals, you could confront them. Asking your ex about their true intentions will save you a lot of guesswork.

Once you know their intentions, you can make an informed decision. If they want to get back together, you can reflect on whether that's a good idea. If they want to be friends, you can decide if you want them back in your life. If they’re being petty and playing mind games, you’ll know to walk away before your self-esteem and mental health suffer.

2. Ignore them

If you escaped a toxic situation, it’s in your best interests to ignore your ex’s attempts to get your attention.

A manipulative or abusive ex may be looking for a way back into your life. Don’t let their behavior rile you up or lure you into initiating contact with them. If your ex is a narcissist, don’t engage them at all. Doing so might expose you to a whole new cycle of abuse.

The bottom line is if you’re doing so much better and you’d rather not revisit your previous relationship, ignore them.

3. Mirror them

If your ex’s behavior is a welcome development, and you'd be happy to get back with your ex, you can do a few things to let them know they have your attention.

If your ex is texting you regularly, match their efforts and see where that takes you. If your ex is serious about getting back together, your interactions will be meaningful and probably lead to meeting in person.

Flirting is an obvious sign that they want to rekindle a romantic relationship with you. If you feel the same way, flirt back and let the attraction grow.

If your ex genuinely wants to get back together with you, there’s a pretty good chance that your old relationship will come up in conversation. Take that as an opportunity to ask each other important questions.

You’ve got to figure out how things went wrong in the first place. Then, you've got to establish what you can do to make things work this time around.

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