Does My Ex Want Me Back? 4 Signs He Still Loves You After Your Breakup

Photo: unsplash / Arun Sharma
Does My Ex Want Me Back? 4 Signs He Still Loves You After Your Breakup
Love, Heartbreak

People going through a breakup often ask me, "Does my ex want me back? Does he still love me? But, if he really wants me back, why doesn't he grovel? Why doesn't he try to prove his love? He hurt me so much and all I really want is to know that it’s for real this time."

Frankly, when your ex is hanging around, it's easy to wonder what they're trying to do. You might not be sure if they really want you or they are looking for a quick ego boost.

The truth is, dramatic scenes where someone’s ex swoops in, breathlessly admits their undying love, and then the couple ride off into the sunset together are incredibly rare.

Like so many things in life, the expectation doesn’t often live up to reality.

The "grand gesture" is often not that grand. When an ex wants you back, the signs he loves you post-breakup are more likely to look like a whimper rather than a roar.

RELATED: If Your Ex Does These 11 Things, It Means That He Still Has It Bad For You

Your ex might have prayed day and night that you’ll call for the last 52 days. They might have constructed a shrine in your honor. They might be consulting their tarot readers and using love spells.

But, when they return, most often it's so different than what you expect — it puts your relationship into a weird, awkward limbo-zone.

The reason why this happens lies in the twin forces of ego and a concept called cognitive dissonance.

According to Simply Psychology, "cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance."

Basically, what someone thinks or believes doesn’t line up with their actions and they feel awful about it until it's resolved. This internal struggle usually manifests as extreme self-sabotage until the person gets it sorted out.

For the sake of argument, say your ex broke up with you but then they slowly decide that they can’t live without you.

They will naturally try to make their actions line up with their beliefs — until the pain is too great. For a while, they will stay broken up and not be ready to try to get back together since their actions match their past beliefs.

They don’t want to go back on their word ("I want to break up"), even though they might end up doing so down the road.

The situation will bother them until they decide on what to do, one way or another. But, the seeds of doubt have to take root before any that can happen. Hesitation, missteps, and behavior that doesn't make sense ensues.

Rejection represents a huge risk to the ego. It’s a rare person who can put themselves out there and accomplish a grand gesture because the fear of rejection stifles all but their most feeble attempts.

If they just reached out a little bit (the one-off call or text) and didn’t swing for the fences (going whole-hog grand gesture), they can tell themselves that their ex just wasn’t into getting back together instead of "I never even tried."

Deciding on whether your ex might want you back is a little like reading a foreign language with no translation.

RELATED: 8 Clear Signs Your Ex Regrets Losing You (And Really Wants You Back)

Since an ex who wants you back is likely to do the opposite of what you expect, here are 4 signs he still loves you and wants you back.

1. They maintain non-essential contact

If you have a child or business together, it stands to reason that you and your ex would remain in contact but this can remain very business-like.

In a relationship, when someone is sticking around and trying to keep the connection open, they often fear that if they let you go entirely, you’ll be gone for good.

That means their opportunity to be with you will really die forever, even if the breakup was their idea. So, they’ll suggest little activities and say cute things like, "Oh, hey, I saw this thing that reminded me of you."

2. They have emotional outbursts

Having any feelings at all toward you is a lot better than having no feelings, at all.

If they feel hurt or angry enough to bother confronting you, that is actually a good sign. In the words of Elie Wiesel, "The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference."

3. They keep explaining the breakup

If someone can’t stand you, they aren’t going to repeatedly try to tell you what went wrong. Instead, they will make the breakup speech and try their hardest to never see you again.

Someone who still cares will often keep returning to re-hash what went wrong. This can be a way to sate their guilt, but it can also mean that they are trying to reconcile through the back door, often completely confusing you in the process.

4. They share their self-improvement plans with you

Has your ex started losing weight, gotten a tan, and started playing that sport you mentioned wanting to try? Better yet, do they seem intent on sharing it with you?

Often in an effort to right the wrongs of a failed relationship, an ex will try to change all of the things that their ex didn’t like about them. It’s an attempt to fit into a mold that they imagine the other person would be more approving of.

When an ex is flaunting all of the amazing changes they made in their life, they are trying to reclaim a bit of their self-esteem and show off.

Both of these mean that they still care about what you think of them.

Now that you know the signs your ex wants you back, it's time to make the decision on whether dating them again is worth it or not.

RELATED: If Your Ex Does These 7 Things, He's Still Not Over You And Wants You Back

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Elizabeth Stone is an author, relationship coach, and founder of Attract The One. If you feel like your man losing interest in you or your relationship feels stale and disconnected, get to the bottom of it with your free copy of Why Men Lose Interest and free daily email series.

This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.