By Chris Seiter

Updated on June 21st, 2021

The ex recovery process would be perfect if exes just told you what’s on their mind, but unfortunately, that rarely happens. Instead, exes can play games and leave signs expecting you to read their minds.

Well, today, I’m gonna help make that easier by taking you through five games that your ex plays when they want you back.

Now a “game” in this context is kind of like the concept of bluff in poker. Players pretend to have a better hand than they actually do in hopes that no one will catch their bluff. However, poker experts look for “tells” that give away if a person is bluffing.

So I’m bringing up this ridiculous poker analogy here to explain how this article will work – I won’t just tell you what games your ex plays; I will also help you find their tells so you can understand their intentions behind these games.

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What Kinds Of Games Will Your Ex Play After A Breakup?

In all we’re going to be talking about five types of games your ex will play with you.

  1. Going on a date to make your jealous
  2. Giving you mixed signals
  3. Waiting a long time to text you back
  4. Ignoring you for a few days on purpose
  5. Watching your stories but never saying anything

So without further ado, let’s talk about some of the games your ex will play if they want you back:

Game #1: Going On A Date To Make You Jealous

This one’s pretty self-explanatory – you broke up, and now your ex is going on dates with different people to make you jealous, but how can you tell that’s the reason?

The Tell: They are a bit too obvious in how they brag about this.

If you noticed on social media that they’re a little bit too obvious about going on dates as if they’re almost trying to prove something that seems inauthentic for them, then it’s a good sign that they are trying to make you jealous.

If their dates were actually leading somewhere, they probably wouldn’t plaster them on social media to show off.

Usually, if you look at the intent behind someone trying to make someone else jealous, it means that they still care very deeply about that person. So, in this case, your ex probably cares about you and is dating new people to use them as pawns to get your attention.

Game #2: Giving You Mixed Signals

This is when you’re riding along with your ex’s emotional roller coaster, and you have no idea what comes next. One minute, things are going so well with your ex that you believe you’re about to get them back, and then the next day goes by and they don’t talk to you at all.

Then a few days later, they’re super close to you…only to pull away yet again.

These mixed hot and cold signals are also known as “rubber banding” because your ex is snapping back and forth much like a rubber band. If your ex is doing this, they’re probably going through an internal battle with themselves over what they should do about their feelings for you.

The Tell: Actions matter more than words.

If your ex is giving mixed signals, stop worrying about what they’re saying and start looking at what they’re doing.

Actions speak louder than words isn’t just a phrase; it’s the reality of your ex’s behavior. Their actions will tell you how they truly feel more than their words ever could.

So, for example, we’ve had multiple success stories come through where their ex has literally told them, “I don’t want to be with you anymore,” “I never loved you,” or “you need to move on to someone else.” These are all terrible things to hear from an ex you want back.

Yet, a few months into our program, those people got their exes back and realized that their ex didn’t mean any of those mean things they said. So if you’re ever on the fence about what your ex really means when they say certain things or give you mixed signals, start paying attention to what they’re doing. Now I will say sometimes you have to give your ex enough time for their actions to unfold, or you’ll only have their words.

Game #3: Waiting A Long Time to Text You Back

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This always annoyed me when I was dating – you’d be having an amazing conversation with someone and them all of a sudden… boom!

They stop responding back to you, and you’re sitting there wondering what you did wrong. You constantly check your phone, hoping for that text back, even if you try to distract yourself with something else. Eventually, they text back, and you feel your stress levels go down, but why does this happen in the first place?

The Tell: The type of conversation you have after they engage you.

I think the big fear people have is that their ex is simply not responding because they’re bored of the conversation and was only replying to be nice. The only way to undercut this fear is by paying attention to the actual conversation you have when they respond back through text.

So if you’re having a great conversation that gets interrupted, and then they text you back a couple of hours later, and that conversation just continues to flow, it’s a great sign that they’re just playing games with you. They’re trying to play hard to get because that’s how they think they’ll captivate your attention.

Game #4: Ignoring You For A Few Days

So you’ll notice a common theme in these last two different games – game #3 was all about an ex interrupting a conversation and then starting it up again; well, this game is the next level where your ex will disrupt the flow of conversation for a few days.

This usually occurs when you and your ex seem to be doing really well, you’re building rapport and having conversations back and forth, and then all of a sudden, they drop off the face of the map for a few days.

You reach out to them, there’s no response. You obviously don’t want to overstep your boundaries, so you don’t push them, and then they get back in touch with you after a few days. Sure they come back and talk to you, but your mind’s probably thinking, “what were they doing during those few days? Did they meet someone else?” How do you know if they’re just playing hard to get…

The Tell: The Momentum Doesn’t Falter Too Much.

Again, I think you need to look at the quality of the conversation. A perfect way to describe conversations during ex recovery is momentum. Once momentum builds up, and you and your ex start having deeper conversations, it’s hard to stop it.

If your ex has enough self-restraint to pause the momentum for a few days and then start it back up without losing a beat, it’s a good sign they’re just playing a game with you.

Game #5: Watching Your Stories But Never Saying Anything

Let me just say Instagram stories and snapchat have changed the ex recovery process for the better! Back when I started ex-boyfriend recovery in 2012, Facebook was really the only big player in social media.

So you could only tell your ex was stalking you if they liked your posts/pictures or left comments. But now we have an amazing tool that lets us literally see how often your ex is engaging with your social media.

Instagram and snapchat stories make it super convenient to tell if your ex has been lurking around your social media to keep tabs on you. In fact, many of our clients almost have this back and forth routine of posting stories just to see their ex watch their story. Is this technically a game?

Perhaps! The important thing we’re looking for is exes who watch Instagram stories but don’t talk to you at all. Now how can we be sure they’re doing this as a game because they’re still interested in you?

The Tell: Watching your stories.

I know that sounds anti-climactic and obvious, but the important thing to remember is that you’re looking for consistency. If your ex only watches your stories sometimes, they may just be casually going through social media and passing by your stories in the process. But if your ex watches every single story you post and doesn’t talk to you, they’re probably playing a game.

They know you see them watching your stories, so they’re almost tempting you to start up a conversation about it. The point here is if your ex is doing this, they’re effectively achieving two things: they’re spying on you to see what you’re up to, and they’re playing a game with you because they still have feelings for you.


Here are our top 5 games your ex plays when they want you back:

  1. Going On A Date To Make You Jealous
  2. Giving You Mixed Signals
  3. Waiting A Long Time To Text You Back
  4. Ignoring You For A Few Days
  5. Watching Your Stories But Never Saying Anything

Has your ex played any of these games with you? Can you think of any other game exes play when they want you back? Sound off in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “Games Your Ex Plays When They Want You Back”

  1. Stacy Hicks

    March 27, 2023 at 12:38 am

    He says when he calls me that he’s just checking up on me just to see how I’m doing it he makes it extra extra he says it over and over that that’s what he’s doing nothing else and nothing more but he kind of says it sad and not really serious about it so

  2. Bridget Somanje

    March 31, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    you have really helped me…thank you so much

  3. Mary

    June 15, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Hello! I was seeing a guy for almost a year abd we used to spend every minute of every day together! We had a pretty amazing relationship but We finally broke up because he got promoted and had to move a few states away. However, he felt like he was too young to be this serious and thought it’s best if he was single when he moved away so I let him go. We did no contact and are on “good terms” now according to him. In the texting phase now with lots of good momentum but he’s playing all these games with me. However, #4 is one he tends to do sometimes and then come back and continue the conversation like no days have past? This is frustrating to me. How do I know he actually cares v/s is only coming back and texting me when he’s bored? I have decided to not reply to his new messages, it’s extremely trivial and he made me wait 6 days to hear from him. Replying makes me feel like I’m diminishing my self worth by putting up with this behaviour but I don’t want to push him away further?