Your ex reaching out to you can trigger a lot of emotions and confusion, especially if you don’t know why they want to talk to you or how you should respond.

So, today we’re going to take out most of the guesswork about what to do when your ex reaches out to you.

The first thing to do in situations like these is to determine exactly what you want.

Depending on the situation and whether you want your ex back or not determines how you navigate the conversation with your ex.

After all, if you don’t even want him back, what’s the point of responding?

I highly recommend that if you are at a bit of a crossroads on figuring out what you want with your situation you stop everything you’re doing at take my special Ex Recovery Chances quiz.

Doing so can help you understand what kind of chance you may have with your ex and from there you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s a good idea to continue.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Why Exactly Is Your Ex Reaching Out To You?

From what my team and I have seen there are generally three reasons for an ex to initiate conversation:

Reason #1: They missed you.

This is perhaps the most obvious reason, especially if the breakup is still fresh because your ex misses the patterns and routines their life had with you in it.

Sometimes people try their best to ignore their ex right after a breakup, but other times they can’t help but reminisce about their routines and even romanticize them, conveniently forgetting all the bad parts.

They then miss you and want to get back in touch with you.

Reason #2: They want to see who’s winning the breakup

Every time I share this reason with a woman, she says something along the lines of “oh he would never do that to me because he’s mature,” but I hate to break it to you- we men are not mature.

We definitely want to win the breakup.

One of the things men want to gauge by reaching out is how much you’re suffering without them.

I know it sounds cruel, but now you know that if you ever have your ex constantly reach out to you and brag about their life, especially their sexual/romantic conquests, they’re just trying to be petty and “win” the breakup.

Reason #3: The pendulum swing

This is something I’ve been championing for years, but no one else talks about it. One of the best aspects of having a private Facebook community is getting to see how exes react in different ways after a breakup.
What I’ve noticed is that most people go through a pendulum of emotions where they either feel super excited and happy without their ex on one extreme, or they’re super sad and depressed.

So, how do you determine that your ex is reaching out because he’s going through the pendulum swing?

Well, the content of the message they reach out to you with should help figure that out.

If they’re reaching out to you and saying mean things but then suddenly switch to reaching out and saying nice things, they’re clearly a slave to the emotional pendulum swing.

They just can’t figure out where their heart and mind are because their emotions are in full swing.

Should You Respond To Your Ex When They Reach Out To You? 

Now that you know why your ex might be reaching out, it’s time to see whether you should respond.

Responding to your ex is wholly dependent on the no contact rule.

In case you don’t know what the no contact rule is, here’s a quick crash course:

It’s a period of time where you ignore your ex on purpose with the intent of making them miss you but also intending to cultivate your personal life.

And if you’re more of a visual learner here’s a video,

If you’re in the midst of a no contact rule, which includes time frames of 21 days, 30 days, and 45 days, you may be sitting and thinking that you should respond back to your ex.

However, the primary reason the no contact rule works is that you’re not supposed to respond to your ex. If you don’t finish the no-contact rule correctly, then it won’t have the right effect you need, so do not respond to your ex in the middle of the no contact period.

However, it’s the exact opposite after your no contact rule ends.

So, from now, when I talk about responding to your ex, it’s under the assumption that you have already successfully completed the no contact rule.

Exactly How You Should Respond To Your Ex

Now, you know WHY your ex reaches out and WHEN you should respond, but what about HOW you should respond?

My idea of responding to your ex has been refined over the years as I’ve seen several real-life people successfully respond to their ex over text.

There are two key things to keep in mind when responding to your ex:

Key #1: The overall goal is always to start an organic conversation.

Key #2: Find a way to mirror his response or provide value/intrigue to continue the conversation

No matter how hard we try to script conversations for our clients, it almost always fails.

What works better is just trying to cultivate an environment where you can have a friendly organic conversation with your ex.

As a general rule of thumb, when your ex reaches out to you after a breakup, you’ll probably get one of two kinds of messages.

The Two Kinds Of Text Messages You’ll Get From An Ex

The first is a really emotional and needy one where they’re basically saying something along the lines of

“Hey, I’m really sad that we broke up, but I think it’s for the best…”

The end game here is them getting closure by bringing up highly emotional topics.

If that’s the kind of message your ex is sending, we do not recommend responding to him at all.

What we’re looking for is the second kind of message.

This is the message where your ex doesn’t really know what to say, but they just want to talk to you.

Think of a simple message that says, “Hey.”

So, how are you supposed to respond to that?

Well, you want to start an organic conversation and mirror his response or add value to the conversation to keep it going.

So, a great response to a “Hey” could be “Hey! I’m glad you reached out. Can I get your advice on something?

This response is great because you’re not only mirroring his hey with your hey, you’re also trying to find a way to provide intrigue and continuity for the conversation.

He’s going to wonder what you need his advice on, and that will trigger an organic conversation.

It even helps create the age-old damsel in distress situation, making him feel powerful and desired.

The trick on your end is actually to have something you need advice on. We recommend that you brainstorm some things during the no contact period that your ex is super interested in, and you’re not really knowledgeable about so you can have engaging conversations later.

It’ll make him feel like his interests are valid to you and that he is actually teaching you something.

Boom.

Next thing you know, you’re having an organic conversation about something he’s passionate about.

Conclusion:

Responding to an ex when they reach out is dependent on so many factors like where your heart is at, what their reason for reaching out is, whether the time is right, and what they say. You should consider replying to your ex is:

  • You are convinced that you want your ex back
  • He’s reaching out because he misses you
  • You’ve successfully completed the no contact rule
  • Your ex is genuinely trying to start a conversation as opposed to wanting closure.

If all these boxes are checked, it’s time for you to strike an organic conversation, preferably one about something that interests him!

What to Read Next

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19 thoughts on “Exactly What You Should Do When Your Ex Reaches Out To You”

  1. Avatar

    millie howes

    May 15, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Me and my ex broke up in January, we were in a very happy relationship and were planning to move together. He broke up with me out the blue and told me that he didnt have the capacity to give me what he knew i deserved but i later found out he cheated on me. I implemented the no contact rule and he reached out, he then decided to move away before the no contact rule finished so we met up before he left. He told me it was the biggest regret of his life and he loved me still but couldn’t be in a relationship. When he left we spoke a little and i started the no contact rule again. I found out he had started seeing a girl straight away. I spent the whole time working on myself and We didnt speak until after when i reached out to him, he came back up the next day. We spent the whole time together as if nothing had ever happened and we were still in a relationship. I confronted him about the girl and he said it was nothing and very casual. We continued to sleep together and told each other we missed each other. Then he left again. We have had daily contact mostly from him but he has gone back to this girl and its like nothing happened between us. What shall i do now?! I am tempted to be completely honest with my feelings but am worried it will ruin my hard work..

  2. Avatar

    AD

    May 1, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    Hi!
    My boyfriend and i dated for 2 years. We did have ups and downs in the beginning but in the end before he broke up it was great And we love each other. The reason he broke up was because he in the future wants to move to another country and was unsure about the future. He also struggled with depression and was depressed the day he broke up. We ended things pretty good without fighting and later the same day he told me he was upset, depressed and cried alot but that the breakup was still right. He messaged me the same night and everyday for three days. I answered short with no emotion. After three days with him messaging me i told him nicely that i would appreciate it if he stoped contacting me and he respected that. I still want him back but don’t know what do do. I feel like my chances are low in getting him back because i told him not to contact me. Im in NC and its just day 4 and im planning to follow it to the end. Will it still work? Is there anything else i can do?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      Hey there AD, we have a lot of people who have a long distance relationship and still get success. If you follow the program, stick to your NC and work on yourself during that time and read as much as you can on this website to help you along your ex recovery you give yourself your best chance at getting your ex back

  3. Avatar

    Lisa

    April 30, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Hi. I wish I didn’t want my ex-boyfriend back. I broke up with him on March 8, more than 7 weeks ago, because he said he was confused. He wanted to work it out with me in couple’s therapy, but after one session and my hurt feelings, I couldn’t bear to stay with a man who said he fell out of love and suggested that I start wearing make-up and lose weight. I’ve always been the same weight since I met him and I’ve never worn makeup. Anyhow, in our 7 year relationship, this is the second time that happens. He begged his way back to me the other time. Now he’s trying to do the same. I ignored him for a few weeks, and I finally told him to stop contacting me. Somehow he convinced me that he was just taking me for granted and wants me back. I’m so afraid to go back to him, but I do love him. I just feel like his efforts are relentless but weak. I really don’t know what to do.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 7, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Lisa, this can be so hurtful and heartbreaking. The issue is he wants you, but wants you to change at the same time. I would suggest that you go back to the couples therapy and listen to what he has to say, but if you choose to do that it does not mean that you are agreeing to get back together but it could be a way to help you walk away from the relationship feeling that you have not been left with issues form it. While I agree that you weight (giving that you are not causing yourself harm) and not wearing make up is YOUR choice and he should not dictate to you what you should look like, ever! It is hurtful for him to say those things, but I would suggest there is a possibility that he does love you and wants to be with you or else he would not suggest the couples therapy. I would take some time to consider what you want for yourself, and explain to him that is what you need right now is for some space to decide if you want to be with him or not so that he does not keep hassling you for a response.

  4. Avatar

    Nirm

    April 29, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Hi coach!
    My boyfriend and i dated for 2 years. We did have ups and downs in the beginning but in the end before he broke up it was great And we love each other. The reason he broke up was because he in the future wants to move to another country and was unsure about the future. He also struggled with depression and was depressed the day he broke up. We ended things pretty good without fighting and later the same day he told me he was upset, depressed and cried alot but that the breakup was still right. He messaged me the same night and everyday for three days. I answered short with no emotion. After three days with him messaging me i told him nicely that i would appreciate it if he stoped contacting me and he respected that. I still want him back but don’t know what do do. I feel like my chances are low in getting him back because i told him not to contact me. Im in NC and its just day one. Will it still work? Is there anything else i can do?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 6, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      Hey there Nirm, yes this can still work but you must be patient and understand that you are going to have to be mindful not to get over emotional when you reach the texting phase and understand at times he is going to need space to deal with his own mental health

  5. Avatar

    Mariel

    April 28, 2020 at 4:52 am

    Hi there, I think I successfully applied the no contact rule. He reached out within the 30 day time frame I had but I didn’t respond not until I completed the no contact rule. Currently, we are exchanging messages via messenger but I’m not sure why he reached out – whether he wanted to be friends or be more. I try to be distant but Im not sure whether I can get him back by doing that. Actually we’re not really bf/gf, were exclusively dating back then. Hope you could help me guys. thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 1, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Mariel, be sure to read the texting articles to help you with how to talk to your ex now that you are trying to rebuild your connection

  6. Avatar

    Tee

    April 25, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Hi,
    Me and my ex broke up 2 days ago. However, we work together so basically we have to see each other everyday. How can I have no contact rule in this case? I can ignore via text messages but he will see me in the office together. I can be in a different room with him. Will that work?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 25, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Hey Tee you would be following a limited no contact rule where you only speak in work when and where you need to and must act professional

  7. Avatar

    Tina

    April 22, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    My ex and I haven’t talked in a month and he reached out basically saying it’s best for him to remain single but that he does miss me. He said that he jumped into something he wasn’t ready for and he’s sorry. Does this mean we have no chance of working things out? Where do I go from here?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 25, 2020 at 10:35 am

      Hi Tina, you do have a chance but it may be a case of taking a while to make him not think that he is better single You need to work on being Ungettable so that he regrets losing you and worries that someone else is going to come in to your life and you move on for good because he essentially thinks that there is better out there than what he has in his life right now. I would suggest that you do a 45 day NC and not reach out at all, or reply. Be sure to post on social media how great you are doing in life

  8. Avatar

    E

    April 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Hi. I am a bit lost… My ex broke up with me 3 weeks ago citing that “the timing just wasnt right, he isnt emotionally ready to commit and invest in a relationship blah blah blah” We had been dating for 5 months and from the start he had pursued me very hard – fancy dates, meeting all his friends, going on vacations ect. Three weeks prior to him breaking up with me, he even told me that all he wants and envisions in life is to marry me and have lots of children. Anyway, a week prior to him breaking up with me I noticed him becoming distant and aloof, so I got a feeling something was up. We had a talk and he broke up with me, and I actually handled it very well. I didnt cry, yell, beg or anything like that. I just accepted it and we left it at that, which was on fairly good terms. I went straight into NC, and last week he commented on my instagram and then in my DM asking me “how I´m doing” I waited a few hours before I replied “I´m doing good. Hope you´re doing good as well”. He then replied “Goooooood. I´m hanging out with a friend” to which I replied “Sounds nice. Say him to him from me” (I know the friend) After that we have not been in contact, so I am very confused about his intentions with reaching out. I feel like he didnt really want to initiate a conversation, yet he felt a need to reach out. Should I reach out to him? I´ll have been in NC for 30 days by the end of this week.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 25, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      Hi E yes you should be reaching out with a text that Chris suggests at the end of your NC

  9. Avatar

    Tanya

    April 19, 2020 at 10:18 am

    If after the completion of no contact, all he wants to do is bring up emotional stuff and talk about closure, what am I supposed to do? Continue the no contact? What if he never communicates in a positive way?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 20, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Tanya, are you reaching out with texts that are asking him for advice or telling him something interesting? And when he has answered you – you drop out. Do not continue to talk for more then 3/4 texts and build it up what way. Him wanting to have emotional talks shows that he is still feeling from the break up

  10. Avatar

    S

    April 16, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Does the no-contact rule apply if we were together for 5 years?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 17, 2020 at 3:08 pm

      Yes it still applies