By Chris Seiter

Updated on March 21st, 2022

This is a complete guide on figuring out if your ex ever loved you. Specifically I want to answer the question, “how do I know if my past relationship was real?”

Well, after extensive research from our clients I believe there are seven ways to know if your relationship with your ex was legitimate.

  1. The Length And Depth Of The Relationship
  2. Investment Equality Post Breakup
  3. Your Ex Is A Fearful Avoidant
  4. Even Though They Move On They Talk To You More Than The New Person
  5. They Can’t Kick Old Habits Or Patterns
  6. Their Actions Post Breakup Don’t Match Their Words
  7. They Get Super Angry At You During No Contact But Are Super Receptive When The Texting Phase Starts

As always, I don’t expect you to know how any of these seven ways work just yet. That’s what we’re going to focus on next. Let’s start with something super basic.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Way #1: The Length And Depth Of The Relationship

It’s true that not all relationships are created equally. This is especially true when you’re trying to determine if your ex ever loved you.

Can we all agree on the following concept?

A relationship that lasts a week isn’t as powerful as a relationship that lasts 7 years.

That’s really what the length and depth is exploring.

  1. Length = How long was your relationship?
  2. Depth = What was the level of commitment?

The big worry here you’re having is almost existential by nature. You’re worried that your ex never loved you. That your relationship with them was only one sided. It becomes infinitely more difficult when you consider that your ex seemed to be interested during the relationship but does things like this after it,

So, how do you cut through the mixed signals to figure out exactly if they cared?

Well, it’s obvious to say that they cared and it meant something to them if you were together for a long time. However, we’ve found a lot more success in combining relationship length with depth.

Now, when I say depth what do you think I mean?

What was your exes level of commitment?

Were you living together?

Were you engaged?

Were you married?

All of these little things matter for determining if your ex loved you.

Generally speaking the more invested your ex was in your time together the more they care.

Now, speaking of investment.

Way #2: Investment Equality Post Breakup

One of the most common questions my team and I get every single day is,

“How can you know if an ex is interested in you at all after a breakup?”

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

It’s something that kind of stumped us for a bit until we started looking at the tenets of commitment of which there are six.

  1. Satisfaction
  2. Alternatives
  3. Investment
  4. Urgency
  5. Scarcity
  6. Fear of Loss

These six factors have a crucial role in our ability to make commitment decisions.

Yet when psychologists studied them they found that by far one factor reigned supreme, investment.

Even if the overall satisfaction of the relationship was low and your partner thinks they can find someone better than you they’ll still find it difficult to leave if they feel like they’ve invested a lot into the relationship.

In this odd way investment is also connected to the length and depth of the relationship.

After all, relationships require us to invest our most scarce resource, time.

So, if the overall question you’re asking here is, “how do I know if this relationship I had with my ex was real.” I would argue that as long as you got a good level of investment from them then they did love you.

The opposite can also be true though.

If they didn’t really invest a lot into their relationship with you then they’re going to find it a lot easier to “get over you” than the average person.

Way #3: Understanding The Fearful Avoidant Mentality

Yay, it’s everyone’s favorite topic, attachment styles.

I’ve talked a lot about their importance throughout the history of this website. I’ve recorded multiple podcast episodes on them. I’ve even filmed videos on them.

Today we’re going to be hyper focusing on one very specific type of attachment style. It just so happens to be the most common attachment style we see our clients exes have.

So, what is a fearful avoidant?

Imagine for a moment there’s a see-saw. One person on one end of the see-saw represents a fear of being alone. The other person on the other end of the see-saw represents a fear of being too close. Someone with a fearful avoidant attachment style will literally see-saw between these two extremes.

Most of our clients date people like this and have a hard time reconciling why they can be so cold after a relationship is finished. The truth is a little complicated. Usually what happens is the fearful avoidant is caught between that see-saw cycle.

So, what you are perceiving as a lack of interest or care could actually be them giving into the avoidant side. Of course, you know that the anxious behaviors are right around the corner. In fact, I further illustrate this point in my “how to make an avoidant miss you” video below.

Essentially what we’ve found is that a fearful avoidant will go through this period after a breakup where they are happy to cut you out. In fact, they won’t even think twice about it. However, as you move past the breakup their interest in you is suddenly regained.


Because it’s safe to miss you at that point. Also, the see-saw has tipped back over to the anxious side so they show more interest.

Ultimately the question remains though, how does a fearful avoidant feel love?

Well, this may sound odd but the fearful avoidant is going to constantly want to feel like they are in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. This means that every moment you spend together with a fearful avoidant they’re going to have this unrealistic expectation that how they felt during the honeymoon phase should be how they feel all the time.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

This knowledge can really help you understand why they see-saw back and forth between avoidant and anxious behaviors.

  1. When they are in a relationship with you and they aren’t having the best time of their life they start to become avoidant.
  2. When they aren’t in a relationship with you and nostalgia kicks in they begin to grow anxious.

So, if you’re sitting there questioning if your ex loved you during the relationship or if it meant something to them. You really need to consider it from the fearful angle. It’s a complicated answer.

Way #4: They Try To Distract Themselves With Someone New

Let’s stay on this fearful avoidant track for a while since believe it or not, it kind of affects this “way.”

Everyone has their own way of coping with a breakup but one of the most common ways is to avoid the pain you feel during the fallout of a breakup by focusing on someone completely new.

Our research on rebound relationships has actually found this can be an effective coping mechanism which goes against what you’d normally think.

Nevertheless, if you take into account what I said above it does make a bit of sense. The fearful avoidant will feel like every interaction they have with their partner needs to set their soul on fire. When do you feel more “on fire” than during the beginning of a new relationship when the honeymoon period is in effect.

Take a look at what happens to your chemical levels at the beginning of a relationship vs what they look like at the end of one.

Do you see how elevated they are?

Now compare that to what they look like during the middle of a relationship.

While oxytocin and vasopressin can go up look at all the other levels that go down.

  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Seratonin
  • Cortisol

And then there’s the end of a relationship. Look at how crazy this gets.

If you didn’t know “cortisol” is released in response to stress and suppresses your immune system.

This is exactly what a fearful avoidant does not want. They would rather avoid this outcome (pun intended) and the best way to do that subconsciously is to jump into another relationship so they can turn the dial up on all those honeymoon period feelings.

Way #5: They Can’t Kick Old Habits Or Patterns

Every time I write one of these articles I’m always scrolling through our private facebook group for ideas. Anyways, I stumbled across this comment one of our members left and it really struck a cord with me.

“Why does he still think he can call me “babe” like nothing has changed?”

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

It’s a good question.

I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now and one consistent pattern I’ve noticed with exes who still harbor feelings for you is that they have a hard time kicking old habits or patterns.

In other words, it feels like you never even broke up.

Why do people do this?

Well, what I’m about to say is purely speculation and based on my own opinions so take it with a grain of salt but sometimes your ex may want the emotional support a relationship provides while at the same time keeping you at an arms length to maintain their own independence.

It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

Quite the opposite. They valued your relationship so highly that they are willing to continue relying on you for emotional support.

So, what are some habits and patterns to keep an eye out for?

  • Calling you by “pet names”
  • Frequenting the same places you used to frequent
  • Bringing their work problems to you
  • Netflix and chill
  • I think you’re getting the idea

Way #6: Their Actions Post Breakup Don’t Match Their Words

I’ve long been a subscriber to the idea that a persons actions can tell you more about what they’re thinking than their words.

Though I’m not the first to come up with such a revolutionary idea.

I was watching this really interesting video from Jordan Peterson where he talks about this concept,

Carl Jung famously once said, if you can’t figure out what someone is doing or why they’re doing it. Look at the outcome and infer the motivation.

Breakups tend to bring out the worst in people.

It’s a highly emotional moment where we are at our most volatile. We can often say things we don’t mean.

  • “I never loved you.”
  • “I hate you”
  • “I’m never going to love you the way you want me to”
  • “I lost feelings for you”

Most of our clients are unfortunately on the receiving end of these statements. Does that mean their ex means it?


The truth is that time will tell you the answer. You see, with time comes action. Your ex will do things and if you find their doing things to contradict their earlier statements you have just gained insight into their current frame of mind.

Way #7: They Get Angry At You During No Contact And Are Receptive When The Texting Phase Starts

The no contact rule is probably the most universally accepted strategy within the breakup community.

Simply put,

The no contact rule refers to a period of time where you cut off all conceivable communication with an ex after a breakup. The intent of this tactic should NOT be used to make your ex miss you but instead should be used to rebuild your own life so that you outgrow your ex. By doing this, the no contact rule can have the added benefit of making an ex miss you

We’ve seen exes react in all kinds of interesting ways to the no contact rule.

  • Some get so angry that they’ll blow up their phone tantrum style
  • Some don’t react at all
  • Some reach out once and then when they don’t get a response from you they take the hint

Watching how an ex reacts to a no contact rule can give you some insight into how they’re feeling but I think it’s far more interesting to consider the situation in a broader scope. If you’re not familiar with our concept of a value ladder this is your perfect opportunity for an education.

It’s a core tenet of our program.

As a whole the process looks like this.

You’ll notice that after “the no contact rule” you’re supposed to transition to the texting phase.

Well, if your ex is super angry with you during the no contact phase but excited to hear from you and engaging during the texting phase that tells us a lot about them. Using our words vs actions concept.

Your ex tells you with words during no contact how unhappy they are about you “cutting them off.”

Yet when you do reach out to them and begin the texting phase they are,

  • Responsive
  • Engaged
  • And maybe even ask you out

These are all positive actions that tell you that your past relationship still holds sway.

What to Read Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.