By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 7th, 2021

The decision to reach out to your ex first or wait for them to reach out is a big one so today we’re going to talk about if your ex wants you to be the one to reach out.

I’m not only going to share whether your ex wants you to reach out but am also going to explain exactly what kind of text message to use if you reach out first.

If you stick around and read this article in it’s entirety not only will you begin to understand why this is such a complicated question but you’ll also learn why I believe the approach I teach is ideal.

Let’s begin!

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Does Your Ex Actually Want You To Reach Out? 

So pretty much everyone who talks about getting exes back or moving on from exes is going to mention the no contact rule at some point and I am no exception. I’ve talked about the no contact rule several times on my website, youtube channel, and even my podcast but here’s a quick idea of what it is for those of you who are new here:

The no contact rule is when you avoid all contact with your ex for a set amount of time (usually 30-45 days), letting them miss you and spending that time on improving your own life.

The no contact rule is one of the most common strategies in the breakup industry because it’s just that effective but there are two questions that everyone has when they first hear about it:

Question 1: Will my ex forget me if I ignore them?

Question 2: Is my ex going to get mad about the fact that they could be reaching out to me but I’m ignoring them?

The answer to the first question is an easy one:

No, your ex will definitely not forget you.

Now, the answer to the second question is slightly more complicated so I’m going to break it down using what I’ve learned from interviewing real people who have gone through this process.

So, let’s assume that you’re doing a no contact rule on your ex – do they want you to reach out after a breakup?

To properly explain that, we need to talk about this concept of “Winning the breakup”.

How The “Winning The Breakup” Mentality Comes Into Play

Throughout my career, I’ve seen men and women try hard to “win” the breakup by basically bending their ex to their will and having them reach out first.

Here’s the thing though, it can often be a “losing” battle.

I polled 98 different people and asked them one question:

How many of you have had an ex reach out to you first when you implemented a no contact rule.

63% of people said their exes did not reach out at all and this is interesting because that would make it sound like your ex probably doesn’t want to talk to you or want you to reach out…

The paradox occurs when you actually talk to our success stories. They’ve used the no contact rule on their ex to the point their ex doesn’t reach out to them and they’re forced to reach out to their ex first.

And when you talk to those people and ask them about that their ex was thinking during the no contact rule the answer is almost always the same:

” I was just waiting for you to reach out first”

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

What does this Mexican standoff over reaching out first tell us?

Well, that your ex does want you to reach out to them and they’re too stubborn to do it first.

Now I know reaching out first can feel like a “failure” but if you really want your ex back, there are no winners and losers. You both want the same thing and it’s totally okay for you to start that first conversation.

But this is where it gets interesting – HOW you reach out to your ex is almost just as important as when you reach out to your ex.

How You Reach Out To Your Ex Is Almost as Important As When You Do

I think we have the when part down.

If you don’t know, it’s basically right after you end a no contact rule with your ex.

Now it can’t just be any random message, definitely not a “hey, what’s up” message because why would anyone reply to that after being ignored?

This message has to be special enough to grab your ex’s attention and make them want to respond to you.

When I started my website ex boyfriend recovery, I didn’t have a lot of data on what worked so we tried a lot of different ideas out.

Some ideas worked; others didn’t but usually, the ideas that did work had major flaws with them because they’d only get short responses without building any foundation for future conversations.

So after lots of stress-testing and observing what worked best for real people who not only got responses but ultimately got their ex’s back we came up with three essential things that you need to include in your first reaching out text message.

But before we get into those I want to address the internal strife you have against reaching out, especially if you’re a female.

For some reason, women always feel like they’re giving up ground if they reach out first and they’ll “lose” the breakup.

Here’s what I always tell them:

It doesn’t matter who reaches out first, what matters is the quality of the conversation, and who ends the conversation.

So don’t see this as a win-lose situation.

You’re simply trying to restart a conversation with your ex.

Who cares if you let them have this one “win”.

Here’s the cool part: if you listen to my advice about exactly how to reach out to your ex first, you’ll win by confusing them and changing their preconceived notions about you.

The three rules of sending the perfect text message when reaching out to your ex first:

  1. Implement a “damsel in distress” text message
  2. Use a “camouflage sentence”
  3. Use the “Benjamin franklin effect”

Let’s dig down deeper.

The Damsel in Distress Text Message

It becomes clear from interviewing success stories that the most effective text message that we’ve ever come up with is the damsel in distress text message because it really taps into your ex’s hero complex.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Usually, the damsel in distress message is not as simple as saying “help me”.

There need to be reasons and hooks into why your ex would even want to help you.

Here’s a great example of a damsel in distress text message idea:

The most recent success story interview that I conducted a week ago was with a woman named Sara. Now Sara came up with a brilliant idea to get help with her taxes. She knew that doing taxes was going to be extremely difficult and that her ex knew a lot more about taxes than she did.

She basically sent him a text message saying,

“Hey do you mind if you could help me in doing these taxes?”

He responds

“Of course, except it would be easier if we jumped on the phone”

There you go!

Not only did she get a really positive response of him agreeing straight away but he even went as far as breaking that barrier of actually talking over the phone.

That is the power of the damsel in distress text message.

Of course this is one of the more perfect examples and it doesn’t always work out this way. Sometimes if you play your cards a little too aggressively your ex will simply say no to whatever you’re asking help for.

But generally speaking, it is the most effective type of text message to use out of no contact. But there is one small problem…you just ignored your ex for thirty days at a minimum so isn’t it just weird to abruptly reach out to them?

That’s where the camouflage sentence comes into play.

The Camouflage Sentence

I would define camouflage as inserting an idea that makes your counterpart doubt their preconceived notions about you

The next obvious question is how do you do that?

How do you insert an idea that breaks the tension?

The number one question someone is going to have when they see a text message from you after they’ve tried to reach out to you multiple times is obviously “why didn’t you respond before?” or “where have you been?”

The best way to respond to this is by giving your ex a legitimate reason why you’re reaching out to them now. Usually that reason is because of an emergency, which really fits into the damsel in distress aspect because damsel and distress situations happen as emergencies.

One of my favorite text messages that almost always works is where you ask for help at work from your ex. I want you to see as I spell out this text message if you can notice the camouflage effect –

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Now obviously the “insert problem” part is going to be unique to you.

That’s where you have to put your thinking cap on and figure out what would be something that you would need his/her help with. But the camouflage comes in to answer the question of “why are you reaching out to me now?”

Well, that’s actually answered in “Hey, since everyone at my work sucks and I don’t feel like ruffling any feathers…”

This one sentence is meant to disarm your ex.

It’s meant to camouflage the reason why you’re reaching out.

This message shows enough urgency and trust in your ex that he would have no choice but to help you out.

There are lots of different ways you can camouflage your text messages but you must do it because it will disarm your ex’s preconceived notions about you. They see that you’re in an emergency and they feel like they have to help you.

Now there’s a reason why this kind of camouflage is so important when reaching out to your ex…

The Benjamin Franklin Effect

Have you ever done a favor for someone only to have them not do a favor for you in return?

In fact, what you find is that you do a favor for them and then they ask you for another favor and you do that one and then you’re just trapped in an endless circle of doing favors without getting anything back – that is the Benjamin franklin effect.

It’s been found that people who do favors first are more likely to do favors for that person again and again and again…and this is embedded within the damsel in distress message.

It’s essentially you asking your ex for a favor and if they do the favor for you they’re more likely to do another one…and another one…and another one.. you get the idea.

That’s when you have them hooked in having a conversation with you.

The first step of starting a conversation after a no contact rule is always the hardest but once that’s done, the floodgates are open for you to have regular conversations with your ex.

That’s why this is the premier first contact text message you should be sending to your ex first.


Your ex definitely wants you to reach out after the no contact rule because he’s probably too stubborn to do it himself.

There is no shame in reaching out and in fact if you reach out with the perfect message and end the conversation first you’re actually gaining an advantage!

Here are the three things to remember for the perfect reach out message:

  1. Try a “damsel in distress” message that taps into your ex’s hero complex by asking for help
  2. Insert a “camouflage sentence” that breaks the ice of why you’re reaching out after so long
  3. Observe the “Benjamin Franklin” effect that dictates that if your ex does you this favor once, they’re more likely to do it again.

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.

14 thoughts on “Does My Ex Want Me To Reach Out?”

  1. Allison

    January 28, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I’ll bore you the details of why my relationship was special. We were together for about 6 months and we fell for each other hard and fast. We were talking about children and buying property together after a few months.
    But it was long distance (SF & LA) which to me isn’t that difficult. 6 months out of the year he moves to a town 4 hours away from me, as a forest firefighter. Working 14 hour days for 2 weeks straight – a relationship would be difficult either way, even if I lived in his hometown. But I didn’t see this as a problem either. I am successful and have the means and time to travel to see him, and I sort of liked that I had my independence too.
    Anyways, he started to get worried about long distance – saying that it was only going to get harder and harder. That he would prefer to be with me every day, and that it’s too emotional and scary to do long distance. But LD is the only way TO BE given his career. He doesn’t have a lot of relationship experience at all, plus he’s 4 years younger than me (27). I was in a 10 year relationship before, and know how it takes work.
    He was extremely open and honest with me. We talked about it in circles for hours, and he said it was a really hard decision for him, and every day he would change his mind about whether or not to end things. This went on for a few weeks, but because I told him I didn’t want to wait around for him to figure it out: we broke up. I figured it would be best to give him some space to think. The break up was amicable, but sad. But I had hight hopes we would work it out in a few weeks or months. We both still have strong feelings for each other but we couldn’t get past his commitment fear given the long distance. He told me maybe he’d be ready in a year or two. When we parted ways, he asked if he could still talk to me sometimes, and I told him I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want him to feel like he could have the best of both worlds (have me around, but not commit). I started NC right away, and completed the 30 days. It was really hard. I know we both missed each other.
    He never reached out – but I’m not surprised because he was probably just respecting me for telling him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk to him. I texted him last night using the “damsel in distress” method, asking him for advice on something he knows a lot about. He responded within 20 minutes, and thoroughly! I was overjoyed, but then I responded with more context about my question, and he didn’t respond. I’m scared that because I didn’t get my chance to “end the conversation first” that I blew it? I was planning to end the conversation as soon as he replied again, but he didn’t. I don’t know what this means exactly, but I feel like if he actually missed me – wouldn’t he take this opportunity to start talking to me right then and there? If he still cares about me, wouldn’t he want to keep talking? I’m confused and frustrated now that maybe NC didn’t work, and that I waited too long. I don’t know what to do next…

  2. Emily

    December 10, 2020 at 12:09 am

    I’ve been going out for this guy for about a month. We had a great connection and did many things together like going to dinners or even play tennis with only my “friends” ( as he didn’t introduced me his). At the beginning, he would chase me and come everywhere I was even to see me an hour. However, after 3/4 weeks going out, I noticed a change in behaviour. He would text less or none with the excuse of being “busy” and wouldn’t plan dates at all. In all of this, I’ve tried to remain calm and give myself rational explanations like “he is really busy” (which may be true in some cases). But I was feeling that something was missing.. Instead of moving forward we were moving backwards. I was opening up and developing feelings for him and he was “pulling away” when at the beginning it was the opposite. He would be there in the dates but I felt like he wasn’t “there emotionally”.

    Thus, I confronted him and told him I didn’t want to hang out with someone that isn’t there 100%. I told him that if he was not longer interested in knowing me, or didn’t like me to be honest about it. I also told him I really liked him and that I wanted to know him better and if he was WILLING to know me better as well. I didn’t ask for a relationship, but I wanted to know if from his side there was my same willingness I guess. The reply I got is the following: “I really like you and we have great time togeheter, but you don’t know that I’ve just came out of 5 years relationship last year. I’m not ready for a relationship and don’t want to make you promises that I cannot keep or build any expectations. This is what I can give you know”. I said ” ok, I didn’t ask you to become my bf, but just if you are willing to get to know me better”. He kept giving me the same answer, I’m not ready and you deserve someone who is etc… So, in sum, he gave up even before starting and broke things off.

    Now, what I am asking myself is: if you are not ready emotionally and you have a block as he said, why would you date someone knew in the first place?. or even make me think you want something serious and then when I confront you, you act scared?

    In all of this, we broke off thing in a very adult way. I said ok, I think you are right to take your time and understand what you want, I know I need someone who is in to know me. He said thank you for your honesty, you deserve better I hope we can be friends even if I know you are a person who cut ties (which i made it clear since day 1).

    I think we had a great connection even though he got “scared of the relationship” and thus would like to get him back. Do you think the NC rule would work in this case? or is it just over and that’s it. Thank you!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      December 23, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      Hi Emily I think no contact could work if you wanted to try and get him back, but if you do I would suggest that you take things a little slower as it seems he wasn’t ready for a relationship so suddenly

  3. Shangel

    November 15, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Hi. So my boyfriend and I dated for a little over 4months and we were extremely compatible, he seemed too happy when with me& whenever he slept over at my place he was at his most peaceful. I suspected he was cheating during August and in October he confessed he had and had broken things off after he realised how serious I was about him. I just couldn’t take the emotional betrayal and dumped him mid October. Tomorrow we will have reached a month broken up& I’ve been NCR since break-up. What baffles me is that about a week into NCR he would view my statuses, then he blocked me on Whatsappand just last week I saw him viewing my whatsapp statuses with his other line while I’m still blocked on his main app number. This confused me but I didn’t break my NC. What does this actually mean?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 19, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Shangel, it just means he is checking up on what you are doing with your life, this is why we talk about being Ungettable and being sure that we show how we are doing great without them around.

  4. Selenia

    November 9, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Thank you Shaunna, I’ll try to find the best message and try, I’m afraid that he’s not gonna be receptive (he doesn’t check my stories and didn’t text me on my birthday, better for me than a cold “happy bday Selenia, have a good day”, but still). So if he ignores me or is cold or distant I’ll wait. Luckily, I’m good keeping the NC, I’ll never be a gnat, but you’re right. Is just that the Being There Method is gonna be hard to play in this situation. I hope that my text, when I feel brave enough to contact, moves something inside him.

  5. Samia

    November 8, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Partner of 12 years left 7 months ago following lockdown argument. Pleaded for several weeks then no contact 21 days. Reached out and very positive response – lots of long flirty texting over several weeks. He frequently initiated. Saw him with another woman and texted how hurt I was. He said just sees me as ‘dear friend’. He then phoned several times a day for couple of weeks. Met up but rowed about woman – he repeated just friends with me. Strained between us for couple weeks so I said let’s meet up to say goodbye. He asked me over – I looked my best – he pleaded to stay friends. I said no. We had brilliant evening despite brief row about woman. I stayed night in same bed but I refused sex as not a couple. He held me tight to him all night. Next morning I said bye and left.

    Went back into no contact – completed 32 days. He didn’t contact me so was intending to leave it. Saw this article and reached out to him yesterday for advice on putting furniture together. Within 20 minutes he rang and said nearly at mine and would help. I wasn’t expecting it so it was OK but I wasn’t smiley and engaging much – and he controlled end. He was here about 20 minutes -finished the furniture and then said he had to go. I thanked him and said bye.

    So what next? How long before contacting again? How can I avoid friendzone? And what about other woman? Unsure what to do and really need advice.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 13, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Samia, so as far as the other woman goes, you ignore the fact she is even in his life and start following the being there method. This is sometimes emotionally difficult and you somewhat are in the friend zone as you need him to think you are not trying to get him back, while driving the other woman insane that his ex is in touch with him. Read more articles that apply to your situation but make sure that you keep in touch with the texting phase.

  6. Mary

    November 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Hi ! My ex currently has a girlfriend (long distance relationship) and we don’t talk anymore but we still follow each other on snapchat… I noticed he left me on his private story (though a mutual friend was removed of it recently). I’m kinda confused about what it might mean…

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Mary, it just means that he did not want that friend to see what he posted.

  7. Selenia

    November 8, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Thank you so much Shaunna! The thing is that he is with her 24/7, in person or by disctance (it’s a LDR but she can’t stand the distance and had him there with her constantly, even if he has to leave the uni). Also, as I said, he stop talkig with 99% of his friends and even stop visiting his family (if he travels, it can only be to visit her) so I’m not gonna be welcome… He’s living in a never ending fantasy and doesn’t seem to miss me. I’ll read more articlesof the blog (I’ve read a few too) but, right no, I don’t know how to talk to him. Also, our last conversation was a “rejection” (I was giving him time, not forcing things, but still, when she appeared and he got into that rebound, a few weeks after he came to me just to flirt and then saying that that part of us was over, in a very condescending way).
    He has changed, or so it seems, I don’t know how to approach to the “new” him, when apparently only her matters.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 8, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Selenia, so you would still reach out at the end of your no contact, and attempt to make conversation to see if he is willing to speak with you – using the messages that Chris suggests in his articles. During the being there method you avoid speaking about his current girlfriend, do not bring her up and if he speaks of her you can acknowledge what he has said and change the subject

  8. Selenia

    November 7, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    I’m in perpetual NC until he reaches, if he does (he’s in another relationship and the girlfriend has isolated him from family and friends and she’s extremely clingy and manipulative). It’s been three months since the last time we talked. He even ignored my birthday. His relationship is toxic, he cut ties with everybody else, even using social media less than ever, and she’s a liar with emotional dependace which manipulates and blackmails him. This should have ended already (it was the most obvious case of rebound) but it gets worse each day.
    I’ve been playing the UG at my best but it doesn’t seem to work (he even stopped watching my snapchat stories). The being there method is impossible in this situation (also, I don’t want to talk to this “new” version of him, I wouldn’t get anything, he’s not receptive).
    For non related things, I would need a break from social media and I was thinking if that would make this worse or better. This break of pattern, not knowing about me, could make him miss me or forget me forever.
    I don’t know what to do.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 8, 2020 at 10:36 am

      Hi Selenia, the Ex recovery program suggests that you reach out to your ex first if you want to get them back. There are articles and videos about the being there method that you would need to become familiar with before you reach out because of the new girlfriend. Remaining in indefinite no contact is not going to get your ex back in this situation as he has a controlling girlfriend it appears.