It always starts off the same. Eyes met. Flirty things were said. Numbers were exchanged.
Then came the first date, complete with awkward conversation, several bouts of awkward silence, maybe some hand-holding and possibly a kiss… or two. Let’s be honest, those were probably awkward too. That went well and it progressed into date two and three, maybe even a few double dates. And eventually the two of you decided to make it official. Or as my younger friends like to call it, “Facebook Offish.”
Things were great… until they weren’t anymore.
He said some things.
You said some things.
Insults were tossed around like teenagers at an EDM festival.
And in the end, you went your separate ways.
And that’s it. It just ends there, right? You go about life and your ex moves on with his. I mean isn’t that how it goes?
I mean, as human beings, it is in our nature to read into every little thing that the people around us do. So, first of all, if you are wondering if your ex misses you, then you might be dealing with some unresolved feelings of your own.
But let’s just assume you know that already since you found yourself at this site and address the other issue at hand.
Does your ex miss you?
Well it’s a safe bet that he misses some things. I mean whether you were together for three weeks or three years, there had to be a reason why you were together in the first place, I mean you don’t spend that much time with someone without enjoying their company. Even if you said the worst thing ever to him when you split, I promise he’s missing at least one part of your relationship if not two.
That’s just how things work. If you had a best friend and then suddenly you stopped hanging out together, there would be something missing suddenly from your life.
But if it’s absolutely driving you crazy, and you’re wondering if the severity with which your ex misses you can be gauged by looking at his actions, I can help clear that up.
After a breakup, it’s usual for the people involved to go their separate ways… usually. However, aside from situations where kids or intertwined groups of friends are involved. So, blatantly fighting to keep the connection alive between the two of you is a typical sign that he’s missing what you two had. Sometimes simply holding on is a sign of… holding on.
First of all, there’s the way he stays in contact and the fact that he initiates contact. Then you can pay attention to the WAY he communicates with you. If he fights with everything he has to stay on your radar, but then fights to keep the conversation alive by talking about cheese or something equally boring, it’s likely that he just isn’t ready to let go of the relationship yet. Although if you’re a cheese enthusiast or a Packers fan, the cheese conversation probably wouldn’t be such a flag.
Another sign that the conversations you two have aren’t just conversations would be a tell-tale nervousness, much like the way you would speak to someone you have a crush on, talking to fast, saying things that later he’ll kick himself for. He might also act out of character.
Well, seeing as no one really even makes actual phone calls any more. The fact that he calls you at all is a pretty good sign that he’s holding a flame. Although, if calling you was a normal thing when you were together, then it is possible that he’s just doing it out of habit. If it’s messing with your No Contact or if it’s something that bothers you. Either way it’s your prerogative to make that call.
This is similar to the phone calls. It may be something he’s doing out of habit but if it goes on past a month or so, then it is very possible that he’s trying to keep that connection alive.
Like with the calls it would be up to you whether you wish to encourage this behavior or not.
Drunk Phone Calls and Texts
You know how pretty much the entire world makes jokes about drunk texts. Heck, I think there’s a whole website dedicated to drunk texts from the ex or something.
But the truth is, I really love drunk texts. There’s this old saying, “In Vino Veritas.” I mean, of course it’s old. It’s in Latin! It means “In wine, truth.” If there’s ever something you think someone’s withholding, your best bet is to pour a little alcohol on it… like a wound.
These drunk phone calls and texts might come at any moment, unexpectedly, usually at two or three in the morning, complete with slurred words and confessions of one sort or another.
I think the reason I enjoy them so much is because they can make the deciphering process so much easier.
It’s like Cinderella. For one moment, with the help of a copious amounts of alcohol, he’s completely transformed into someone who says what he’s thinking, even if it’s just a text that says
“it’s cold, I wish you were here to snuggle.”
(Because for some reason guys think if they’re vulnerable our mommy complexes will kick in and we’ll want to take care of them. Which is true for the most part when we like them and consider them ours to take care of.)
I Miss You
This one is the most direct. Although, when my ex inevitably does this with me every few months it always comes out sound like “you know I miss you, right?”
A lot of you ask if it’s okay to reach out and say happy birthday, even if you’re almost done with a very difficult No Contact. I get it. It’s hard not to take every excuse to talk to someone you’re into. I really really do. But do you realize what drives you to do that?
You feel the need to stay connected, because you miss him. For guys it’s the very same thing, possibly even more so. Why? Well, unless your ex is notorious for remembering important dates or you two have known each other for, I don’t know, most of your lives, it’s unlikely he would reach out for any other reason. So, unless you guys have mastered the art of the “let’s stay friends” situation, it’s safe to assume he actually is still carrying a torch for you and he misses you.
Usually in conjunction with an,
“I miss you”
comes a smattering of
“You remember that time we…”
and talk about all of your better traits. The way you used to brush his hair out of his face or how you used to eat the cherries off his sundaes because he doesn’t like cherries. These memories are meant to tug at your heart strings and make you remember the good times you had together. That’s his goal here, to make you miss the good times as much as he does.
Plans for the Future
He may not stick to the past at all. He might try and make plans with you for the future. No, I’m not talking about settling down together, making a home, and having lots and lots of babies. That would be silly seeing as you two just broke up.
I’m saying he might try and lock you into some plan for the future. I had this one ex, a guy I had dumped for several great reasons, and after we split he kept trying to get me to go to concerts with him. Only he would ask me about 2 months in advance.
“Hey I got tickets to that band you really really love. They were on sale, but I got the last ones there were. So, I figured we could go together.”
Even if I didn’t have entirely good motives for breaking up with him, his planning that far in advance was out of character. He was fighting incredibly hard to keep that connection between us alive.
And I don’t care if it was my favorite band’s reunion tour and they’re never ever going to be playing together again. I had good reason for leaving him and if I really wanted to go, I would have bought my own tickets or I would have offered to buy them off of him. There’s a moral issue, at least for me, in accepting gifts from someone you have no intention of getting back together with. If anything, it’s just cruel. Besides, he didn’t even like most of the bands he got tickets for.
If you text him, however, for whatever reason (I’m assuming you’re done with any No Contact you’ve started if you’re texting him), he responds almost instantaneously. It’s almost as if he’s sitting with the phone with a response prepared.
The Great Exchange
If you’ve fought every urge to see him and somehow avoided all of his advances he’ll do the last ditch effort thing and offer to return your belongings. Now, sometimes, it’s just because he’s sick of seeing your stuff around his place and having to think about you and the life you could have had together. But if he’s offering to bring you a toothbrush, some pictures and some lint, he’s just looking for an excuse to see you.
If it’s stuff you actually need back, I always suggest using an intermediary, someone to go pick it up for you.
If you’ve taken the no contact approach and he is trying to keep the connection alive, he will do it by any means necessary.
He started posting song lyrics and quotes after the breakup, not a usual thing for him. The songs happen to be songs that you listened to together or maybe one or two held special meaning to you as a couple.
He might start posting old pictures of the two of you when you were “happy.” And to make matters worse, he’ll start scrolling through your old pictures on your profiles. The evidence would be apparent when you get that notification that he liked that picture of back from when you first started your Instagram 12 years ago.
He has started posting tons of selfies. The reason for this is that he’s afraid you’ve forgot his face. Does that sound silly? Okay it kind of is. He’ afraid that you’ve forgotten him. So, in a frenzy to make sure you haven’t completely forgotten him, he’ll fill your feed with pictures of his face.
Suddenly his life has become very exciting and he’s better at chronicling everything than he’s ever been in his life. He’s posting pictures. He’s chasing his dreams. He finally bought new pants.
Hey, a friend of mine dated and dumped a guy for whom that would be very exciting news.
But if he’s posting pictures of his suddenly very exciting life, it is quite possible that he is trying to show you that something has changes. Perhaps he’s not quite sure what caused the breakup, but most guys take a leap and assume it’s because you were bored. More likely they’ll assume that you met someone else. Their first instinct will tell them to become better than whoever they think you’re seeing.
We’ve already talked about the fact that he’s probably going through all of your old photos. But what we haven’t discussed is your mutual friends. If he is trying to keep a connection alive, any connection will do. This means staying connect by proxy. He will use the connections your mutual friends have with you to keep tabs on what is going on in your life.
So, if you’re mutual friends keep mentioning that your ex talks about you all the time or that there’s been several instances where he’s shown interest in what’s going on in your life, it’s highly likely that he’s using their connection with you to keep the two of you tethered.
Inevitably, you will eventually end up talking. IF you really want to know if he’s missing you, pay attention to how you came to be face-to-face and what it is you talk about.
These are accidental run-ins that are obviously planned. if your ex if having trouble letting go, he will do everything he can to see you. This could simply be running into you at your favorite coffee shop to showing up at all of the same parties despite not being invited. Regardless, if you wind up seeing him as much if not more than you did when the two of you were together, it’s likely that there’s still a bit of a catch on is end of the moving on process.
Suddenly, whether he’s stalking it up on social media or asking all of your friends, when you do talk he knows almost as much about your life as you do. He knows your sister was sick a few weeks ago. He knows your cousin is having her baby next weekend. I know it sounds kind of creepy, but he’s just trying to stay a part of your life.
When you do speak, he seems overly interested in your love life. Are you seeing anyone? Have you been dating? Do you see yourself getting serious with anyone in the future? These are all normal things for your annoying Aunt Ellie to ask at awkward family holiday get-togethers, but if he’s asking these kind of questions it’s because he’s already imagining the worse possible answers in is head.
Although when it comes down to how he approaches talking about his love life, it’s a little harder to decipher. There are three ways he might go about this. He could be dating around and avoid the topic all together so as not to ruin any goodwill he has with you. He could be dating around and rub it in your face. This could be done either to make you feel bad or looking to instigate some jealousy.
Then, there is the possibility that he’s not dating with the hopes that you’ll get back together. All of these are very possible, and the only person who can decipher these moves is him and maybe you if you know him REALLY well.
When your dating habits come up, look at how he responds. Is he genuinely happy for you? If he’s missing you or more importantly, if he wants you back, he’ll display some possessiveness and even some jealousy. If for any reason another guy shows you attention, gauge his reaction. Any sign that he feels like someone is encroaching on his territory is a sign that he still sees you as his. He’ll also be annoyed at you showing anyone else attention if he is trying to reestablish a connection with you. He’ll perceive any possibility of your attention wavering as an attack on that bond he’s so desperately trying to hold onto.
And if you ARE seeing someone new, he will be overly critical of him. Although, it can be cleverly disguised as just caring whether he’s good enough for you. But we both know that if he’s digging into this guy, it’s because he’s measuring himself up against him and trying to figure out that age old question.
“What’s he have that I don’t?”
Hopefully he complimented you plenty when you were together. But now that you are apart, the familiarity should fade some. If, however, he is still showering you with compliments as much or more than he was when the two of you first started dating, he is trying to get back in your good graces.
Parade of Changes
He might even try to convince you he’s changed, but I’ll promise you right now, if it’s only been a few weeks or a few months since the breakup, it’s more likely that any changes he’s actually made won’t be permanent. I have my ex, who also happens to be a very close friend, trained so well that every time he tries to tell me that he’s coming to visit (He never quite makes it here. Last time he wound up in Hawaii rather than Texas. Common mistake.) he doesn’t even wait for me to respond he just goes,
“I know. I know. You’ll believe it when you see it.”
Does it feel like just when you’re getting to a good place with him he suddenly picks a fight? Well, the good news is he’s most likely not mad at you. It’s possible that he, as my ex says, caught the feels, and is mad at himself for missing you. Does it make any sense? Absolutely not. Is he going to pick a fight anyway? Yep.
So, How Do You Deal with an Ex That’s Missing You
Well, long story short, it all comes down to what you want. You have to look at the reasons you broke up. Are they deal breakers? Did you just break up because you were bored? Weigh the pros and cons of the two of you being together.
For a while after my most recent ex and I went our separate ways, I considered whether I would get back with him. You see, despite him being absolutely impossible, being with him gave me the motivation to move forward on a lot of things I had been putting off. So, even though our entire relationship was awash, I still saw it in a positive light. However, after taking a long look at it… okay it really didn’t take that long, he was a complete jerk…I realized that the upsides of our relationship were all things I could do for myself. He just happened to show me that I could.
So, in your weighing of your relationship, I suggest you take into account the REAL reasons you broke up in the first place.
The one thing I will say is that missing you, doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to get back together. It may just mean that he misses the familiarity and comfort of having someone around. So, if there were big things that he needs to work on, such as anger issues or substance abuse, something you can actually gauge improvement in, I would simply encourage him to continue down the path of getting better.
I have a friend whose wife recently left him because his psychological issues was something she just couldn’t handle. Now, he’s a great guy and I believe he truly wants to win his wife back. But when I suggested that the only way he could do that is to talk to a therapist, despite appearing to be willing to go, he never made a move to actually do it. He wasn’t willing to do what it takes… yet.
So, this is what I pose to you. Take the No Contact period and use it to work on anything going on in your life that needs to be worked on. Better yourself and work on your sense of self. It’s harder than it sounds, but getting to know yourself can be the most important thing you ever do. And it’s important to do it when you aren’t attached to someone otherwise your sense of self gets tangled with theirs.
Take your No Contact. I’d say 30 days, but if you both have difficult things you need to work on, I’d make it a week or so longer. If your ex continues to “bump into you” be cordial and excuse yourself, for whatever reason. I’m sure you can think of one. If one of my exes bumps into me at the coffee shop, I excuse myself because I usually go there to work or study. He knows both of these things are important so he wouldn’t dare argue about it.
Find your reason and excuse yourself. IF you do find yourself speaking to him for a moment ask how quittinog smoking is coming along, or whatever issue it is that he’s working on. If he’s says,
“It’s going great! I’m really making progress.”
Then you should respond with something like,
“Awesome! I hear it takes 66 days to make a habit. I look forward to seeing what you’ve accomplished at 66 days.”
Then politely excuse yourself. Believe me, this is the exact reason headphones were created.
What you have done here is you’ve set a goal for him. And you’ve set him up for a reward. He will have an excuse to talk to you at 66 days if he makes it. So, he’s more likely to actually try.
Now, leave it and go back to working on becoming the best you.
If you’re like me you feel like you have to babysit people. If you know your friend is on a diet, yet you see them looking at the cookies, suddenly you become the Cookie Police.
Not only is it not your job to make sure your ex follows through, you would fail on your own no contact if you are focused on him. As we say in our group of friends,
“You do you.”
Focus on what you need and if your ex happens to get his life together, then maybe you can consider giving him another chance. But my suggestion as always is to focus on your own life. Make it the best you can and then worry about adding people to it. You’d be surprised how different the world looks when you aren’t up to your eyeballs in shoulda-woulda-coulda’s.
Besides, if your ex knows that dealing with his anger issues was the reason you split, he’d do everything he could to fix it. If he’s not, then he must not want it that much. That is how you know.