By Chris Seiter

Updated on April 5th, 2021

Being “seen-zoned” by their ex is something everyone has either faced or been afraid of at some point in their lives because there is no worse feeling than knowing that someone deliberately ignored you.

Today we’re going to talk about why your ex reads your text messages but doesn’t reply and what to do in that situation.

And if you stick around until the end of this article I’m going to even show you the cocktail of tactics that could get them to reply when it seemed impossible in the first place.

Firs things first though.

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Why Would An Ex Read Your Message But Choose Not To Reply? 

Let’s explore why your ex would see your message and not respond because you need to truly understand the reasons so you can avoid them and get your ex to respond.

In my experience, there are three primary reasons for your ex to read your message but not respond:

  1. The timing isn’t right
  2. The baggage is just too much
  3. Your texts sucked…

Let’s start from the top.

Reason #1: The Timing Isn’t Right

This is a problem that we had with a recent coaching client of mine where we crafted what I believed to be the perfect text message to get her ex to bite.

The problem was that she texted her ex when he was visiting his family and he was very particular about not wanting to get distracted when he was around family.

So she sent the text message, and he didn’t reply.

Later that day, her ex posted a picture of himself at home with his family, and that’s when we realized that we picked the wrong time to reach out to her ex.

This is why I always advise my clients to guess the best time to text their ex.

So for example, don’t text them when they’re at work or when they’re with their family or when they’re doing some outdoor activity where they’re not likely to respond.

Sometimes this is a guessing game because you have no way of knowing exactly what your ex is up to, but if you’ve been together for some time, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what your ex’s schedule looks like.

Maybe you’ll know that your ex doesn’t do much between 9 pm and midnight, so that might be your best shot of getting a response.

Your ex has to be near their phone, and they must actually have sufficient time on their hands to respond to you.

However, even texting at the right time of the day doesn’t mean it’s the right emotional time for your ex to respond…

Reason #2: The Baggage Is Too Much To Overcome Right Now

Over the years, I’ve learned that while the five stages of grief do reflect the way people deal with breakups, they don’t always happen in the “correct stages.”

Sometimes anger lasts a lot longer than you’d expect, and sometimes people swing back and forth between anger and acceptance or other stages again.

One thing we’ve found is that if you went through a particularly bad breakup with your ex and there’s a lot of baggage there, sometimes they just don’t want to talk to you.

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I suppose you could even loop this in with timing, but it’s deeper than that because if there’s too much baggage, it doesn’t matter whether they have free time.

Typically speaking, if you’re sending a text to your ex and they’re not responding, its probably because they’re still holding a grudge over how the breakup went down or how they were treated in the relationship.

Now to make matters even more complicated, a lot of women will come to me and say that their ex broke up with them, so how does it make sense for him to hold a grudge?

Here’s the thing- men love to paint themselves as the victims of a breakup, so their line of thought goes, “you made me break up with you.”

I know it doesn’t make much sense. But honestly, do emotions during a breakup ever make sense?

Sometimes your ex might even be over the initial emotional baggage, but they might not reply because you didn’t give them much to respond to…

Reason #3: Your Text Message Sucked

I think this is the most common reason for your ex not responding.

Throughout our relationships, we all grow complacent as we get used to the patterns and routines that we go through daily.

Those patterns include the way we start conversations.

So, it’s completely normal to start a conversation with a simple “hey, what’s up” when you’re together but that is NOT the case after your breakup.

When you’re in a relationship, your significant other kinda HAS to reply, but your ex has no such obligation to you.

Sometimes people don’t realize this, and they try to text their ex the same way they would as if they were in a relationship.

If you’re texting your ex with not a lot of thought or curiosity embedded into it, a lot of times, the text message just isn’t enough to yield a response.

They’ll see your text as meaningless and won’t feel the need to respond at all. If anything, a simple “hi” might even offend them if you had an especially nasty break up because they can’t just let you back in for no reason.

When this happens, a lot of women freak out and think that their ex doesn’t want to talk to them, but that’s not what it is. Your ex just doesn’t want to talk to you if the conversation is going to go this particular way.

You have to catch your ex off guard a bit and create a hook that gets them intrigued enough to want to talk to you.

How Do You Get An Ex To Reply To Your Text Messages?

Now that you know why your ex isn’t responding, let’s fix that.

Getting your ex to respond to your text messages is a function of four things.

These four things basically take the reasons for why your ex seen-zoned you head-on and use them as an advantage.

  1. Utilizing The No Contact Rule
  2. Embed Curiosity Into Your First Text
  3. Utilize The Damsel In Distress Text
  4. Your Goal Should Be A Positive Conversation

Let’s start from the top.

Thing #1: Utilizing The No Contact Rule

This totally helps with the baggage aspect of the breakup.

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If your ex is holding a huge grudge the breakup, then the baggage of the relationship makes them not want to reply to you.

The best thing you can do to help them get over this baggage is to give them time.

You should go straight into a no contact rule where you don’t reach out or reply to them for a certain period of time.

There are a lot of different psychological reasons for why this works.

People often see the no contact period as a ploy to make their exes miss them, but we actually think that its more than that.

This time is useful because it’s an excellent time for you to focus on yourself.

When you focus on yourself instead od your ex, you blossom into the best possible version of yourself, so when you finally talk to your ex, they see that you’re a new and different person.

More than anything, the no contact rule helps this particular situation by giving your ex enough time to calm down about the baggage that they may be holding on to.

Thing #2: Every First Contact Text Message Needs Curiosity

Simply put, you need to give your ex an interesting reason to respond.

Embedded curiosity is created when there is an unanswered question that your ex wants to get answered, so they HAVE to reach out to you.

Oftentimes I mention the concept of the Zeigarnik effect that states that people remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.

Hollywood has gone to town with this idea with its use of cliff hangers at the end of every episode that leaves the audience wanting more.

When you message your ex, it’s not just about sending an unanswered question, but about embedding enough curiosity to make them respond to ask what you need.

A lot of women and men have difficulty figuring out how to do this… that’s where the next point comes into play:

Thing #3: Utilize The Damsel In Distress Text Message

A few years ago my wife came up with the idea of a damsel in distress message that taps into the hero complex of an ex and makes them want to respond.

We only mentioned this is passing, and a few women in our private Facebook support group started coming up with their own damsel in distress messages to get their exes to talk to them.

We couldn’t ignore how successful these messages were and how quickly they got responses, but like with anything else there’s a right way of doing this and a wrong way. Today I’m going to show you a few of our most successful damsel in distress text messages that you can use to get a response from your ex.

Text # 1. I need your _____ expertise.

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The blank can include anything from cooking to exercising as long as its something that really matters to your ex. The whole point is that you’re asking your ex’s advice on something and making them feel like an expert if they can help you out.

Text # 2. I have a big problem and only trust you for an answer

This is one of the most direct versions of a damsel in a distress text message that you will ever see, but hey, it works!

The thing with this text message is that you actually need to have a problem for your ex to solve. Saying this and then having to admit that you only said it to grab their attention isn’t exactly a great way to get your ex to respond again. You won’t be able to keep track of any white lies either, so the good idea is to use a real-life problem and add some sprinkles of exaggeration.

Thing #4: Your Overall Goal Shouldn’t Be A Response, But A Positive Conversation

A lot of people look at text messages as the be-all-end-all for their conversations with their ex. However, focusing too much on the little details can make you lose sight of the ultimate goal- having a positive, satisfying conversation that makes your ex want to talk to you again.

You need to have a paradigm shift here and realize that having the perfect damsel in distress message isn’t the entire game; it’s just a small tool that you can use to play and win.

The damsel in distress message can get your ex to respond, and that’s great. But let’s be honest; you want more than just any response. You want your ex to have a normal conversation with you.

Here are a few tips to have a positive conversation:

Don’t plan it all out ahead

We’ve tried that in the past, but it always goes south because there are SO many factors that you simply cannot account for. Just go in and try to have fun with the conversation!

Try to keep your messages as interesting as possible

Your ex needs something to respond to so make sure that your messages are engaging and they have an obvious or natural response. Avoid using any blanket statements because they don’t leave much room for conversation.

Use open-ended questions/statements

Open-ended questions are great because they enable your ex to respond however he wants to, and that could steer the conversation down a more positive path.

Always end the conversation first

This will hopefully create a cliff hanger that can make your ex reach out to you next time.


Your ex might not be responding to you because they’re short on time, they have too much emotional baggage, or because your message just wasn’t interesting enough for them. Either way, these four things will help ensure that your ex responds to you:

  • Complete the no contact rule before reaching out to your ex
  • Embed curiosity in every first message
  • Use a damsel in distress message
  • Your goal should be to have a positive conversation

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9 thoughts on “My Ex Reads My Texts But Doesn’t Reply To Them”

  1. Et

    July 3, 2020 at 11:38 am

    My love moved back from abroad to be with me and even changed his job. Now hes living with his ex wife in their old house and yes I was an idiot, but I pushed and threatened cheating if he didnt come to me to live as previously agreed. This past month has been aweful. Hes come one three weeks ago and hasnt said were done, but just says ‘good morning’s or ‘busy day today’s but wont talk or engage. Then every now and then he suddenly responds with an outburst of jealousy or how he just doesnt feel he can trust me, but still doesn’t end it. Then he said, “we need a bigger home together and I want children with you. Theres issues and we need to talk” that’s three weeks ago, but he got here and refused to talk. Now what do I do? Go no contact?… or use the fact we have drip communication and lean back anti but employ the advice above… I dont want him to think I’m going hot n cold as that was part of the issue he haid- that he didnt feel secure.

  2. Betty

    June 23, 2020 at 2:39 am

    I have been in an on again/off again with a guy for twenty years. We are both in our early 70’s. When we first started our relationship it was great for four to five years, but then grandchildren came along and then issues with his kids and mine. When we stop seeing each other there is never any closure. He once said to me that every now and then we needed a break from each other???? I think he may be back with an ex girlfriend because he felt the need to talk about her to me too much.Help!! We are both too damn old for all this drama crap.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      June 27, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Betty, I would suggest that you take some time for yourself and keep in mind that you keep coming back together so getting him back is not going to be an issue, its about working out why you continue to break up. When you can work those things out you can work on having a healthy relationship with your ex again

  3. Mary

    June 21, 2020 at 7:44 am

    My ex and I broke up over 45 days ago. I broke up with him because of poor communication. We haven’t talked until recently when I had a feeling something might be wrong with him and I reached out via email asking whether he is okay. However I did make it clear on email that it wasn’t a message to lure him in or anything, I was just honestly concerned. I may have called him egocentric on a light note coz he is stubborn and the kind to not want to seem needy in a relationship. Long story short, he did not respond and I am just going into a second no contact hopefully this time it will be permanent coz I am just tired. What do you think I should do ?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      July 4, 2020 at 12:02 am

      Hey Mary I agree you need a second NC but you need to stick with it and not send out any more emails that ask how he is doing, if you do not want to get back together with him then I suggest that you do not reach out to him at all.

  4. Ella

    June 20, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    My ex is now doing this and wasn’t before. We last spoke in April and he is now back to ghosting me. He told me in March he was ‘dating someone’ and had been on a couple of dates – she made him happy but no one had met her. When I said ok is she your girlfriend he said you’re making assumptions. He told me I then made him happy and smile and he wishes I could leave it there and a door open. Since then it’s come to my attention he went on holiday with this girl 2 months after I moved out. He told me he had been with a big group. In Feb he said he wasn’t dating anyone and hadn’t been on a date in months…as he realised it was just a bandaid. I feel so stupid that I listened to what he’s said to me.

    I just don’t know whether he’s keeping me as a back up, or too scared to hurt me. He’s said there’s no pictures etc anywhere as he doesn’t want to ever upset me and he still cares very very much.

  5. Marie

    June 18, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Shaunna, thanks for your reply. Yes, I was following the advice. To me it feels like he is purposefully waiting to answer, I just don’t know why. It is always the same amount of days inbetween my text and his reply and he always answers after those days even when there is no real need to answer. And like I said, I don’t really know how to end a conversation at it’s peak this way

  6. Marie

    June 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    My ex reads my texts, but only replies a couple of days later. So no normal conversation is possible and I don’t know how the end the conversation first this way. What can I do in this situation? Is it ok to go into a second no contact periode because this texting fase is just kind of hurting me?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      June 18, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Maire, it is ok to go into a second NC if you feel you need to do one. However are you texting, following the advice that is provided in the articles, about how to hook his interest and end things at the peak?