Today I’m going to show you 10 little known signs that your ex still cares about you.
In fact, I thought I’d get super specific and only list out signs from our clients who have succeeded in getting their exes back.
So if you want to come to a greater understanding on what real signs that an ex still has feelings for you look like then this is the list for you.
- You Get A Lot Of Mixed Signals
- They bring up small details of previous conversations
- You begin to have more meaningful conversations with them
- They future pace in conversations
- How quickly the respond to your texts
- They move on to someone new but can’t stop talking to you
- You give up on them and they notice
- Your ex grows jealous when you date
- With emotional control on your ex you notice your ex begin to open up
- They go crazy when you set boundaries on sleeping together
Ah, one more thing.
After much consideration I’ve also decided that I’d like to go into specific circumstances with regards to understanding the psychology of an ex and if they care about you.
After I thoroughly explain the big signs that an ex has feelings for you I’d also like to go into the psychology of an ex during specific circumstances and if they care about you.
Sign #1: You get a lot of mixed signals
If you’ve been around Ex Boyfriend Recovery long enough then you’ve definitely heard me talk about this concept of the pendulum swing.
To date, we’ve had over 31,000 men and women come through our programs so we have a lot of first hand feedback on how exes act or what they do when they still care about you.
The funny part about it is that sometimes when we point out the behavioral patterns that we’ve noticed our clients are absolutely floored.
Mixed signals or “being hot and cold” is certainly one of those types of behaviors that we’ve noticed.
First let’s define what mixed signals looks like.
Mixed Signals In This Context = Your ex does something that makes you think they don’t like you anymore and then follows that up by doing something that makes you think they do.
This concept is often called by other names such as “rubber banding” or being “hot” or “cold”, but how does it mean your ex still cares?
Well, mixed signals and feelings are better than all negative feelings!
If your ex is giving you mixed signals, they’re internally warring with themselves because they are not sure how they feel about you or what, if anything, they should do about it. Think of your ex as being on a constant pendulum swing of emotions – going back and forth from “hot” and into you to “cold” and uninterested.
There would be no “hot” moments of them being into you if they did not care at all. So, these mixed signals are definitely a positive sign that your ex still has feelings for you and is conflicted about how to handle them.
Sign #2: They bring up small details of previous conversations.
Have you ever been in a conversation with an ex where things seem to be going well and then they bring up a small detail about a conversation you had a few weeks ago – a detail so minuscule that you don’t even remember it.
Well if this happens to you it’s a sign that they are hanging on to every word you say and you only do that if you genuinely care about the person you’re talking to.
It’s even better if the little detail they bring up has a little bit of a romance charged within it because it means they were specifically thinking about your conversations after the fact.
Sign #3: You begin to have more meaningful conversations with them.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the ex-boyfriend recovery or ex-girlfriend recovery terminology, we have these two concepts called the value ladder and the value chain.
The value ladder is all about the types of conversations that you can have with an ex. You gradually build value in each conversation type until you move on to the next type and have more meaningful conversations.
Steps of the value ladder:
- Text messages: Arguably the easiest type of conversation to start rebuilding your relationship.
- Phone/video calls: This next step allows you to gauge your ex’s tone of voice and body language to add an extra dimension to your conversations.
- In-person interactions:All the value built over texting and calls culminates into actually physically meeting your ex again.
Value chain is basically the same concept as the value ladder but it’s distilled down to specific types of conversations that you can have with your ex.
Steps of the value chain:
- Small talk: The most frequent kind of conversation that you usually have with random strangers who you don’t necessarily know. Think of broad stroke discussion topics such as the weather or the most recent SpaceX launch.
- Storytelling: You usually tell stories to close acquaintances because they have more insight into your personal life. Sure, you could tell a story to a stranger but it’d be really weird and random to do so for no reason.
- Sharing opinions: Sharing opinions is something you only do with close friends because you know they’re not going to defriend or cancel you for having an opinion that may be a bit controversial.
- Virgin ground: Virgin ground is basically where you are telling your ex something that you’ve never told them before and vice versa. They also tell you something that they have not told many other people and these new conversations drive you closer together.
- Sharing feelings: Finally, the most intimate and obvious stage of conversations is sharing feelings. Typical phrases like “I love you” or “I miss you” would fit perfectly in here.
What happens with exes is that usually you get stuck in the first two categories – small talk or storytelling.
It’s difficult to move past those initial stages, but if you do start getting into the higher level, more meaningful conversations, it’s a good sign that your ex is very open and caring about you.
Sign #4: They future pace in conversations.
Future pacing – where you and your ex are having a conversation and you refer to something the two of you would like to do together and they say something like “oh yeah, we’ll do that someday”.
This may also happen if your ex brings up future plans after you’ve talked about them, for example, your ex saying “when we go to Paris, we should…” because they know you have always wanted to go to Paris.
This is such a simple and powerful concept that if you catch your ex doing this it is a 100% positive indicator that they still care about you and can even envision a future with you.
After all, your ex is basically already making mental plans for your future together, but they are just hesitant enough to be vague about the timeline.
Sign #5: How quickly they respond to your texts.
This one is pretty obvious – your ex can take hours, minutes, or even seconds to respond to your text message and I’m sure we all prefer quick replies. Faster replies mean your ex is fully engaged in the conversation and wants to keep talking to you.
The most important thing to remember when judging your ex’s response time is to look for a pattern. If your ex consistently responds quickly, they’re obviously interested in what you have to say.
Sometimes life can get in the way of this as your ex may not respond for hours if they’re working or spending time with their family, etc. Don’t let those lulls make you think your ex doesn’t care about you.
Remember, if the overall trend is consistently quick replies unless it’s a special situation, it is a good sign your ex cares for you.
Sign #6: They move on to someone new but they can’t stop talking to you.
I recently ran a poll in our private Facebook support group asking people what type of situation their breakup fell into. We got responses like long-distance, general break up, or your ex moved on to someone new.
Without a doubt, the second most popular situation we deal with here at exboyfriendrecovery, exgirlfriendrecovery, and the ex recovery program is exes who move on to new people.
Now we have come up with a specific “being there” framework to handle this specific situation, but that’s out of the scope of this article.
Feel free to read our articles or watch our YouTube videos on the “being there” method to learn how to behave around an ex who has moved on to someone new.
If your ex has moved onto someone new but they still rely on you emotionally and can’t stop talking to you, it’s a great indicator that they are not happy in that relationship and they still care about you deeply.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to leave that person.
They’re probably still comparing the new person to you and trying to weigh their best option. The best you can do is learn about and implement the “being there” method to improve your chances.
Sign #7: You give up on them and they notice.
I tell this story all the time and I’m gonna tell it again because I love it and it was the first time I noticed the “moving on without moving on” concept in action.
I started my podcast back in 2015 and we basically had people call into the show and ask me questions. Our second question ever was from a woman who basically said:
“I came to your website about a year ago, I used your stuff and unfortunately it didn’t work. And then I just kind of gave up on wanting my ex back. I moved on, started focusing on my life and that holy trinity of health, wealth relationships you talk about. I started a new business that’s been very successful. So everything was going great and now my ex wants me back. They’re begging for me back; they’re always paying attention to me – what’s going on here?”
If you go through any success story interviews on my YouTube channel you will also notice this common theme of exes coming back after you’ve let go.
People who let go tend to get exes back because their exes are shocked by the fear of missing out.
There are quite a few psychological reasons behind this like attachment theory and plenty of real-life evidence to back it up as well. The bottom line is your ex still cares about you but they need to be reminded of it through regret.
Usually, that regret doesn’t occur until they feel like you’ve let go and moved on. You don’t even have to necessarily move on to someone else, just give up on trying to get them back, and then they will pay attention.
Sign #8: Your ex grows jealous when you go on a date.
Jealousy is one of the simplest ways to determine if your ex still cares about you. If your ex gets to know you were out on a date or they have a suspicion about it, they will probably try to pry some information from you. They might ask you what you were up to last night or who you were hanging out with.
That way, they can get more details without explicitly appearing jealous (even though you can clearly tell what’s happening!)
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go on dates immediately just to make your ex jealous. This might be a controversial take but here’s what we preach:
Do not go out on a date until you truly feel you are ready.
Coach Anna and I had a recent interview where we talked about this concept of how our clients have much better success when they are emotionally ready to go on a date for fun. They don’t necessarily have to be looking for love but they have to be in the right mindset so they’re not leading someone on and they actually have a good time on their date.
So yeah, if your ex is being nosy and jealous about your recent dates, he still cares for you.
Sign #9: After you gain emotional control you notice your ex begins to open up.
I had to dig down super deep within the private Facebook support group to find this but eventually, I came across a success story who talked about how she didn’t really notice her ex starting to open up to her until she gained emotional control.
She identified herself as having an anxious attachment style, meaning any time something would go wrong, she would try to jump in and excessively try to fix the problem and that turned her ex off.
She gradually worked on gaining emotional control by realizing that she did not need to immediately fix problems or rescue her ex from his problems. She stopped blowing up her ex’s phone and let him figure out his own issues. Interestingly, as soon as she gained all this emotional control her ex started opening up to her in ways he had never done before in the relationship.
This is because your ex will see you as this different, more secure version of yourself who they can trust and openly talk to without fearing you will blow up or overthink the conversation. A lot of the times exes might not open up to you because they’re scared you’ll interpret it as them wanting you back.
If you gain emotional control that lets them open up, they’ll feel good doing it and open up even more. The more they rely on you for emotional support, the higher the chances they will catch feelings again.
Sign #10: They go crazy when you set boundaries about sleeping together.
Again, I had to go super deep into the Facebook support group success story posts to find this particular sign. Here’s the story behind it.
Sometimes our anxious attachment style clients get it in their heads that the only way to win their ex back is by sleeping with them. We have found that never works out so it’s not really a good idea.
What you really need to do is set boundaries and tell your ex that you are not going to take that next step until you have a committed relationship. If you notice your ex go crazy at first, but then behave and start opening up to you it’s a good sign.
This can also be a dangerous thing because how do you determine if they’re being genuine or if they’re just acting nice because they want something extra?
The only way to know for sure if your ex is sincere is to look at the outcome. For example, in the success story that I drew this sign from, her ex did not bring up sleeping together again at all. He tried once but after she put her foot down and said it wasn’t going to happen, he did not mention it again and eventually even asked for her back, all without sleeping together.
That’s what you should be looking for.
Helping You Understand The Psychology Of An Ex Who Still Cares About You
Most people who are reading this guide want to know the specific signs that an ex has feelings for them.
And that’s what we’ve tailored things to be about.
I’ve just let you in on ten of the most frequent signs my coaches and I notice within exes who still care about you.
But there’s another piece to the puzzle that people seem to gloss over but I consider it to be essential.
And that’s by understanding the psychology of an ex who still cares even when they seem like they don’t.
But if you really think about it just knowing the “ten signs” an ex MIGHT still care about you won’t help with the constant doubts that are plaguing you.
Chances are you still have a lot of questions.
- What about if they say they fell out of love with you? Do they still care then?
- Oh, what about a situation where they said it’s over for good? Do they mean that?
- What about if they said they never loved you to begin with? Do they care about you?
- Will An Ex Forget About You Or Break Up With You To Protect Themself?
- How Do You Tell The Difference Between An Ex Who Cares About You Versus One That Just Wants To Use You?
- Can An Ex Who Ignores You Still Care About You?
- What If They Take The Opposite Approach And Are Super Mean To You? What’s That All about?
- What About If You’ve Been Caught In The Friend Zone?
- Oh, How About If They Completely Blame You For The Breakup?
- Are They Stringing You Along By Saying They Need Time?
- What If They Give You Responses Only Some Of The Time But Not All The Time?
- If They Moved On To Someone New Can They Still Care About You?
- What If They Give You The Line That They Aren’t Sure What They Want?
- And My Personal Favorite, What If Everything Is Going Perfect But They Won’t Commit To You
So, ya… like I said there’s a lot of questions that are left unanswered so I figured I’d answer them for you.
Can They Still Care About Me If They Fell Out Of Love With Me?
One common theme that you are going to notice here is that nothing is a simple black or white answer.
While I would like to say,
Ya sure, your ex definitely still cares about you if they say they fell out of love with you.
The truth is a bit more complicated.
Here’s what we know.
Usually you’ll get an admission that your ex lost feelings for you during the precipice of the breakup.
Admissions such as these usually blindside you and naturally hurt.
But what’s going on here?
Does it mean they never cared about you at all during the relationship?
No, it means that somewhere along the way the reality of the situation didn’t match up with what they believed the expectations were supposed to be.
Usually this is linked to the stability and mystery scale.
Without going into a lot of detail one thing we’ve noticed is that human beings have a natural affinity for stability and mystery in relationships.
This is a bit of a paradox since stability and mystery are natural opposites of one another.
But here’s what usually happens.
When you begin dating your ex everything is exciting. Which means they gain this natural expectation that everything will remain exciting.
But what goes up must come down.
Eventually you grow comfortable and things begin to stabilize. There is nothing wrong with this because it’s a natural projection for the average relationship but where it can become a problem for your ex is if they were expecting things to remain exciting the entire time.
When you look at your relationship on a macro level through these lens then the “I fell out of love with you” comment begins to make a lot more sense.
What they are really saying is the relationship reality didn’t go the way I expected it to and I don’t like that. I miss that spark that we used to have.
But does this mean your ex doesn’t care about you?
Well, I don’t think that was ever the question that needed to get answered.
They cared about you and probably still do care about you.
My Ex Said It’s Over For Good Do They Still Mean It?
Meet Sarah Michelle,
This is one of my favorite success stories because not only did she get her ex back twice (seriously she did) but she got him back after he said the following to her,
- I don’t love you anymore…
- Please do not talk to me anymore…
- We are never getting back together…
- It’s over for good…
- I don’t ever want to see you again…
Pretty mean, right?
Yet she got him back.
Using her exact words,
“I come to find out that he didn’t mean any of it.”
So clearly her ex still cared, right?
What’s going on here?
One thing I’ve been consistent about whenever people ask me, “hey what does my ex mean when he says this or that?”
I’ll always say that your ex believes everything they are saying “in the moment.”
I hate to be a broken record but after seeing enough breakups it’s clear that when emotions run high logic runs low.
In other words, context is very important.
If your ex is saying,
“We are over for good. Don’t try getting me back”
They absolutely mean it IN THE MOMENT.
Fortunately, perspective and time allows for opinions to change. There’s a concept called “the peak end rule” that I talk about a lot in articles.
What Is The Peak End Rule: The peak–end rule is a cognitive bias that impacts how people remember past events. Intense positive or negative moments (the “peaks”) and the final moments of an experience (the “end”) are heavily weighted in our mental calculus (source).
At the precipice of a breakup when all your ex can pinpoint are the negative experiences at the end of course they don’t want to re-enter into a situation that will make them feel the same way again.
But after a few months they begin to look back positively because they remember the peaks, the most exciting and intense moments of the relationships.
This is why time is one of your best allies for testing to see if your ex cares about you.
Will They Forget About Me?
Ah, this is a common fear that a lot of our clients have when they attempt the no contact rule.
They think that by ignoring their ex from anywhere between 21 to 45 days their ex will suddenly forget about them.
The truth is that I have only encountered one situation in my decade of research where an ex forgot about a client and the circumstances were extreme.
She was essentially a one night stand and the guy was known for being a bit of a player which means he had a lot of one night stands going on at the same time.
She was lost amongst a sea of one night stands.
99% of the situations that we encounter here at Ex Boyfriend Recovery are not like that at all.
So no, it’s highly unlikely that an ex will forget about you after your breakup.
Even if they completely block you or ignore you that’s an indication that they haven’t forgotten about you. They’ve simply made a choice to ignore you because they are thinking too much about you and it’s making them angry or upset.
Let’s move on and talk about something a bit more controversial.
How To Tell If They Care About Me Or Are Using Me
For me this is one of the most fascinating sections in this entire guide because it has the potential to cover all situations.
Most of my peers try to sweep this outcome under the rug or stuff it in the closet pretending it doesn’t exist.
But I’m going to bring that elephant into the middle of the room and parade it around because it’s something that absolutely needs to be addressed.
Let me set this up a bit because I have a bit of a soapbox speech prepared.
This situation is all about authenticity.
Things are cordial with your ex but you can’t tell if they are being nice to you because they want something (like sex) or they are being authentic in their feelings meaning they still do care about you.
Oh, and then there’s another potential outcome which is that they are being nice to you to simply be nice. They don’t want to upset the apple cart so to speak.
We get a lot of questions about “exes stringing our clients along” and if “my ex is really flirting with me,” the truth is that it’s pretty easy to figure out but we need to dip a bit into philosophy to do so.
Ultimately the question boils down to, when my ex engages in an action do they mean what they are doing or are their hidden intentions behind it?
There’s an old psychoanalytic idea which I believe was popularized by Carl Jung,
“If you can’t figure out what someone is doing or why then simply look at the outcome.”
I’ve put my own spin on this by reframing it as the words vs actions battle.
Simply put, ignore all words and pay attention to all actions.
The question put forth in this section is a simple one. How can I tell if my ex is being authentic with me versus if they are actually using me?
The answer is brilliant but also simple.
Look at an exes actions.
Ok, let’s say that you are talking to your ex and things seem to be going well.
They hit you with a,
“I miss you…”
“I’m beginning to think I made a mistake breaking up with you…”
But immediately after saying these very nice things that you’ve wanted to hear they always try for phone sex.
What do you think is the more important consideration to take into account?
The very nice words that don’t really mean anything or the act of always trying to get you to do something that you aren’t ready for yet?
I think you know the answer to that one.
So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you begin to doubt your exes intentions apply Carl Jung’s concept to your situation and you’ll get your answer.
Why Is My Ex Is Ignoring Me
Being in a situation where an ex ignores you takes a toll on you in many different ways.
You’ll wonder things like,
- Will I ever hear from them again?
- He said he needed space but how much space does he actually need?
- Will he ever talk to me again?
But ultimately it all winds up in the same exact place and that’s with a distinct fear that your ex doesn’t care for you anymore.
If you read the last section you’d know that I’m a big believer in Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic concept of,
“If you can’t figure out what someone is doing or why then simply look at the outcome.”
But isn’t ignoring or flat out ghosting you a pretty bad outcome?
Doesn’t that mean that your ex doesn’t care about you anymore?
Actually that’s not what it means at all but in order to explain this I’m going to have to dive into some pretty deep concepts regarding attachment styles.
Ok, so this is something that I didn’t know when I started Ex Boyfriend Recovery but upon learning and experiencing it firsthand I’m one of the biggest proponents of educating my clients on attachment styles.
What are attachment styles?
One’s relationship with their parents during childhood has an overarching influence on their social (and intimate) relationships in the future. In other words, your early relationship with your caregivers sets the stage for how you will build relationships as an adult (source).
Sounds a bit complicated but it’s not.
On the nature versus nurture scale this is heavily leaning towards nurture.
Basically there are four types of attachment styles,
- Secure attachment – the holy grail of attachment styles where you are so confident in yourself that your worth is not defined by your ex/partner and you don’t care whether your ex comes back.
- Anxious attachment style – the most obsessive, clingy, and codependent attachment style where you constantly attach your self-worth and emotional wellbeing to your ex.
- Avoidant attachment style – the most aloof and emotionally unavailable attachment style where you are afraid of getting too close to someone so you avoid deep emotional attachments.
- Fearful attachment style – a rare combination of anxious and avoidant types.
Now, what’s interesting is that we have a lot of data on what our clients attachment styles are.
90% of our clients skew towards the anxious attachment styles.
This makes sense when you consider that a “secure attachment” or even an “avoidant attachment” would not be going online and searching about their exes.
It’s not impossible but it’s unlikely.
What’s even more interesting is we find that for most of our coaching clients who are anxious (which is 90% of them) they are attracting exes who are avoidant.
This is a super relevant to the ignoring question.
Most people misinterpret an ex ignoring them as if that the ex doesn’t care about them but when we look at it with the lens of attachment styles we get a different insight.
Anxious attachment styles tend to care a little too much about fixing things. They are the ones who will blow your phone up with texts if you don’t respond right away or call you a zillion times.
Avoidants HATE that!
So, the natural reaction is to ignore, avoid or block.
Technically speaking it’s not they don’t care about you it’s that they are interpreting your behavior as too much and they want to rid themselves of that stress.
This is the primary reason for why they are probably ignoring you.
Does My Ex Care If They Said They Never Loved Me?
Remember Sarah Michelle, the success story I introduced you to above.
Well, what makes her situation fascinating is the fact that she got her ex back twice (technically.)
After about six months of getting her ex back in the video a few sections ago he broke up with her again.
If you watched that original video then you’d remember that his initial reasons for breaking up with her went something like,
Well, when he broke up with her again he gave pretty similar reasons.
After the initial devastation that goes along with a breakup she came back to Ex Boyfriend Recovery and got to work.
Let’s hit the pause button here for a minute and turn the spotlight back on the original thing we are trying to look at here and that’s understanding if an ex cares about you when they say they don’t love you.
I consider Sarah Michelles situation the ultimate test because what we have is an ex who has broke up with her not once but twice citing the same exact reason.
I don’t love you anymore…
When he originally broke up with her she came to find out that he didn’t mean what he said.
However, she began to doubt her newfound assumption after he broke up with her again.
What’s interesting is the fact that she decided after working through our program a second time that she didn’t want him back anymore.
Of course, this set off a chain reaction within her ex and he went berserk trying to win her back including,
- Declaring his undying love
- Saying he didn’t mean what he said
- Begging for her back
- Showing up at her house
All that fun stuff looks like someone who still cares to me.
So to answer the original question posed in this section. It’s definitely possible to have an ex still care about you if they tell you they don’t love you.
Most likely what they mean when they are saying I don’t love you is something along the lines of,
“I don’t love how you’re making me feel.”
Kind of a mean thing to say, right?
Speaking of mean things to say let’s move on to our next section.
Does My Ex Care About Me If They Are Mean To Me?
The opposite of love isn’t hate it’s indifference.
This is an important concept to keep in mind here.
Maybe they’ll flat out tell you that they hate you.
I did an interview with Coach Anna a few months ago called “What To Do If Your Ex Is Mad At You.”
We originally conceived the idea for the talk to help people with situations where exes grew angry or frustrated with them but the talk soon evolved into something more fascinating.
Essentially we spent an hour dissecting why people get angry and how we theorize that it’s a defense mechanism to distract ourselves from feeling pain.
In other words, more often than not when you look at anger from within an ex it’s more about them than you.
Instead of confronting the real reason they feel pain it’s easier for them to distract themselves by blaming others for that pain.
I cannot take credit for this lightbulb moment.
It came directly from Coach Anna when she said,
“Many of us as children learned that we can avoid sadness and shame or fear if we look at situations as being where someone else is wrong. If we feel correct, we distract ourselves from feeling pain. That’s why so many people, so many exes, appear angry and judgemental.”
Now, I’m taking the time to explain all of this to you because more often than not if an ex is angry at you then it means they are probably upset by the fact that they care too much.
Otherwise they wouldn’t be angry at all, they wouldn’t care.
My Ex Boyfriend Blames Me For The Breakup Do They Care?
I wanted to throw this section in here really quick because I think it’s perfect to pair with the anger assertions I made above.
If we operate with the framework that one of the primary components of anger when it comes to your ex is the fact that they are distracting themselves from feeling pain it can put things in perspective a lot easier.
An ex who blames you for the breakup and uses anger to tell you that has decided to make you source of their pain.
In other words, it’s easier for them to cast you as the villain because otherwise they’d have to confront the harsh reality that breakups are usually never one sided when it comes to fault.
I’d even argue that’s the case in situations where it appears there is one person at fault like cheating.
When I started Ex Boyfriend Recovery I was guilty of looking at things in black and white terms.
In other words, someone who cheated was the bad guy and nothing could ever convince me otherwise.
The truth is a lot more complicated though.
There are often reasons that the person cheated.
Maybe they are just a jerk in general but more often than not they cheat because the relationship isn’t giving them something they need and they don’t know how to ask for it.
Maybe they’re scared to ask for it.
Now, by no means am I defending cheaters all I’m trying to show you is that exes who blame you entirely for the breakup know in their heart that’s not true.
However, it’s easier to cast you as the villain.
Will He Come Back If He Said He Needs Time?
One of my favorite TV shows ever is How I Met Your Mother.
One particular constantly springs to mind,
In the episode, Barney Stinson, the ultimate player of the show outlines a concept that I have unfortunately seen happen in real life a lot.
“I can’t be with you RIGHT NOW.”
There’s a lot of intent behind that “right now.” Almost as if to say, “Hey, give me some time and we can be together later.”
So what ends up happening.
Well you wait of course because there’s no way your ex would ever lie to you, right?
So you wait….
Maybe your friend settles down and you think to yourself, “my time is soon.”
Until one day your ex comes up to you and says, “I met someone.”
An ex who says that he needs time before the two of you can be together will often not come back unless you change your approach.
Currently I’m working with two clients who are in this exact situation.
They’ve been in this exact situation for years, both of them and they refuse to do what they need to do.
They refuse to let go.
The irony is that by letting go and moving on themselves their chances of getting their ex back will skyrocket but there’s a huge mental barrier involved with a fear of loss on their part.
Ah, but I’ve neglected to answer the question put forth. An ex who does this, who strings you along in this way.
Do they care about you?
Honestly, I think they care about you still but only a little bit.
You’re the backup.
In other words, they don’t respect you or feel like they’ll ever lose you and that’s a problem.
Let’s stay within this line of thinking and move on to another very common thing we notice, the friend zone.
Figuring out the intentions of an ex who wants to stay friends is always difficult.
Even more complicated still is determining the true intentions of an ex who places you there.
Do they care about you on a romantic level or are they simply being nice to you.
Well, let’s do a bit of dissecting.
Are you familiar with baseball?
I used to play when I was younger so I apologize if this reference doesn’t really work for you but it’s the only way I can personally view “the friend zone.”
In baseball there’s this concept of the “on deck circle.”
Basically if you’re in the on deck circle then that means your turn is up next.
So, if we can extrapolate that concept out and apply it to romantic relationships.
Being in the friend zone with an ex is a lot like being in the on deck circle in baseball.
Your ex is free to date other people while always keeping you in the wings in case they can’t find anyone else better.
Now, I’ve written a lot about how you should approach a situation where you want to get out of the friend zone so I’m going to go in-depth on that here.
Instead, I’m going to talk about if an ex can care about you on a strong romantic level if they have you placed in the friend zone.
Currently my team and I are working with a client who seems to be in the friend zone perpetually with her ex.
Yet she’ll make some strong romantic progress with him from time to time which I find fascinating.
Let’s define “strong romantic progress.”
She’s definitely in the friend zone because he’s said multiple times to her,
“We are just going to be friends… nothing more.”
- Yet, he’ll hold hands with her.
- He’ll make out with her.
- He’ll even sleep with her from time to time.
Does he care about her?
Yes but he doesn’t respect her.
And that’s a point that I think most of our clients miss because they come at breakups from a desperate point of view.
Let’s take the client we are working with as an example. Have you noticed the big error she’s made yet?
Simply put, she’s holding hands with him….
She’s kissing him…
She’s sleeping with him…
And she’s not in a committed relationship with him.
This signals to the guy that she will always be around. He can keep her in the on deck circle perpetually because he knows he won’t ever lose her.
And that’s why I think the friend zone is misunderstood.
It’s not that your ex doesn’t care about you, they do. It’s that your ex doesn’t respect you and will take advantage of that.
If My Ex Is Not Very Responsive Does That Mean They Don’t Care About Me?
Let’s move on and talk about another common situation we see in our coaching practice and that’s understanding the psychology of an unresponsive ex.
Throughout the process we teach we have noticed that exes put up specific types of resistance barriers.
These barriers are often responsible for why they stop responding to you.
The first assumption our clients make when this happens is to jump on the “he doesn’t care about me anymore” bandwagon.
Like most things with breakups the truth is a bit more complicated.
Consider a moment what you’ve learned already through this guide.
Most of our clients tend to have anxious attachment styles and most of their exes tend to be avoidant.
To recap, avoidant exes are people who,
When someone has an avoidant attachment style they’re uncomfortable with growing emotionally bonded or close to someone else.
We’ve noticed that avoidant attachment styles tend to value their independence above all.
Often if they perceive you as not being very “self sufficient” they will break up with you.
It’s a lot more complicated than that obviously but let’s consider the context in which your ex is being unresponsive through a new lens.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you have exhibited anxious type of texting patterns in the past.
These type of patterns include:
- Getting upset when you don’t get a response fast enough
- Getting upset when you don’t get a response at all
- Texting your ex way too much
- Exhibiting volatile behavior through text
- Begging for your ex back
- Excessively apologizing
- I’m sure you see the trend we are talking about here
When your avoidant ex notices these patterns in your texting behavior they form a specific type of narrative about you in their heads.
I used to think they would immediately label you as a “crazy ex girlfriend or boyfriend” but I don’t think that’s actually accurate anymore.
They label you as “not being independent and requiring too much emotional work.”
The result as you would have guessed would be to avoid interactions with you.
But does this mean they don’t care about you?
For the past few weeks I’ve been making it a point to study avoidants to try to understand what makes them tick.
It’s what led me to film this beauty,
In it I let you in on some of the most interesting findings I’ve found out about avoidant behaviors and how long it takes them to miss you.
It’s a lot more complicated than you would think.
“An avoidant ex will only feel the liberty to miss you once they’re sure you’ve moved on and there are no leftover reciprocal feelings of romance.They finally feel free of all the emotional burdens of being in a relationship and that lets them think back and romanticize about the good times you both had, knowing that they will not get those times back.”
In essence what I am asserting here is that unresponsive exes are probably not responding due to the narrative they have in your head and they probably don’t care much about you RIGHT NOW.
That right now part is the key because we do know given enough time and secure vibes from your end they can still very much come to romanticize and care about you.
If My Ex Moved On Does That Mean They Don’t Care About Me?
And here we enter into the most difficult waters imaginable.
If your ex moves on to someone new how can they possibly care about you?
Can they even care about you?
I mean on some level they still have to think about you right?
Honestly, the cold hard truth is that it depends.
Here on Ex Boyfriend Recovery we’ve had the luxury of doing a lot of research on rebound relationships and what actually works in “ex recovery” when your ex moves on to someone new.
For example, we know that the average rebound relationship lasts approximately 5.2 months.
So naturally if you find yourself in a situation where your ex has a new girlfriend or boyfriend then it’s going to take longer than the average general situation we deal with to see success from a recovery standpoint.
But success isn’t what we are studying here.
What we are trying to determine is what a situation looks like where an ex moves on to someone new but still cares about you.
We’ve had them in the past,
So what did we learn?
Remember when I said the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.
That really shines through in this specific situation.
So here’s the key factor that you need to keep an eye out for if you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if your ex still cares about you when they have someone new.
“The more your ex talks to you when they have another relationship they are currently in is an indicator of how happy they are in that current relationship.”
In other words, if your ex is talking to you a lot even though they are with someone new it’s probably an indicator that they aren’t that happy with that new person.
Not a huge rocket science lightbulb moment but we’ve seen it applied time and time again.
Here’s the equation.
The More Your Ex Talks To You = The Less Happy They Are With The New Person
Write it down.
That’s probably an important thing to consider.
My Ex Says They Aren’t Sure What They Want… Can They Still Care?
I’ve always viewed an ex saying they aren’t sure what they want at the precipice of a breakup as them truly not knowing how to describe how they’re feeling.
Perhaps one can argue that the reason they’ve become so distant and confused is because they are having a constant internal war over whether or not to stay together with you.
In my humble opinion if you have an ex tell you this it’s not because they don’t care.
It’s because they care too much about hurting your feelings.
Do yourself a favor and watch this,
In it I bring up a pretty common philosophical debate between altruism and egoists.
Ultimately I land on the egoists point of view in that when it comes to romantic relationships your ex will alway base decisions on self interest.
But at the same time they don’t want to hurt your feelings and so they blame themselves and put the onus on them.
“I’m not sure what I want” is simply another way of them saying, “I loved you very much but I’m not in this together with you anymore.”
Of course, we will always have those clients who read what I just typed and immediately go into panic mode thinking that their ex is completely over them or they have no chance of ever getting them back.
That’s not what I’m saying at all.
If you’re that concerned about it read the guides below to give you a real idea of what them getting over you really looks like,
Instead, I’m pointing out that an ex can lie to you because they care about your feelings.
But all types of caring aren’t necessarily romantic.
Does My Ex Care About Me If They Won’t Commit To Me?
This is a situation we unfortunately encounter a lot and that’s what the heck is going on if my ex won’t commit to you.
Here’s how this goes down.
Everything between you and your ex seems to be going swimmingly. You’re moving up the value ladder with no problems but when it really comes down to it they won’t take that next step and commit.
We notice this is especially common if you’ve gone through the on again/off again cycle a few times already. Meaning they’ve dumped you, gotten you back again, dumped you again and around and around you go.
Maybe your ex is single and just wants to have fun.
But then again, in that specific circumstance it sure looks like they are putting you in that on deck circle aren’t they.
So, do they care about you?
I’m inclined to believe that they do but they value their independence above even you at this point and maybe even a part of them is holding out hope that they can find someone better than you.
But that’s the beauty of being in this particular situation. They’re looking and so far they haven’t been able to find anyone better have they.
So what do we know about exes who don’t want to commit but are willing to do everything else.
Well, for that we call upon the interdependence theory.
- Fear of Loss
We usually notice that the biggest issues that our clients have trouble creating are the aspects that I bolded above.
Their inability to let go or simply “being willing to lose their ex forever” makes it to wear their ex feels no fear of loss and has no urgent reason to commit.
But that’s another conversation for another day.