By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 23rd, 2021

Do you ever feel like your ex is testing you and trying to get a certain reaction or response from you?

Today I’m going to help decipher the signs your ex is testing you and really what they’re thinking when they put you through certain kinds of tests.

Before we get into the kinds of tests exes do, let’s tackle another big question – why would your ex want to test you.

You see, when I decided to write this article I thought it would be prudent to not only understand the “What” but also the “How”

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The Three Most Common Reasons Your Ex Might Want To Test You

In all there are three common reasons that your ex might want to test you.

  1. Morbid Curiosity
  2. The Power Trip
  3. Making An Important Decision

Here’s a quick crash course in how they work.

Reason # 1: Simple Morbid Curiosity

Essentially your ex gets curious as to what you’re up to or how you will react to something so they give you a test.

Reason # 2: They Go On A Power Trip

This reason is kind of like an extreme version of the last one where your ex isn’t just curious about your reaction to something, they’re going above and beyond to get a rise out of you.

This is most common in cases where an ex-boyfriend is trying to make you jealous or prove how better his life is without you, especially if you were the one who dumped him.

It’s almost a way of re-exerting power that they lost during your breakup. So, they think they’re taking back the power by shoving their new and improved life (or girlfriend) in front of you.

Reason # 3: To Make An Important Decision About You

So let’s say your ex is trying to determine whether they should trust you and get back together with you.

They’ll give you a test to measure your trust and your response will help them make a decision related to you.

Now that we kinda know the basic reasons for why an ex might test you, let’s get into the 5 most common kinds of tests and a bit about the psychology behind someone who would give you that test.

The Five Tests An Ex Could Give You After A Breakup

Now, before we dive in I feel it’s important to point out that each of the signs I am about to list aren’t from off the top of my head.

Nope, I noticed the women in our private facebook support group having trouble deciphering what their exes meant when they performed a specific action and I determined that they were tests from their exes.

So, I guess you could say that these tests have literally been “stress tested” so you know they are authentic.

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Let’s begin.

Test #1: The Jealousy Test

I know I’ve already alluded to this aspect of a test in my explanation of the reasons behind why exes would give you tests but it’s honestly the most common (and easy to spot) so I’ll repeat myself.

A jealousy test is essentially where an ex will try to make you jealous on purpose to see how you will respond.

There could be any real number of reasons for why they give you this test. Some exes will simply want to brag about how great their life is without you. Here’s the thing though – if their life was truly that great without you, why do they feel the need to show it to you as if they have something to prove?

Then of course we have those insecure exes who want to make you jealous because they feel like it’s the only way to get your attention. So they’ll say something obnoxiously obvious like a text message saying “hey, I can’t talk to you right now I’m on a date” to get your attention. Such messages are basically cries for help.

So how do you tell which psychology your ex has during the jealousy test?

The best way to determine whether your ex is just trying to rub your face in it or whether they’re trying to get your attention is how obvious the jealousy is.

Now the example I gave before about your ex sending a super obvious “hey I’m on a date right now” text is a classic desperate sign of jealousy where they’re consciously trying to rub your face in it.

On the other hand, if your ex is throwing some subtle hints of jealousy by uploading social media pictures with their arm around some girl, you can tell that it’s a more passive declaration of war. He doesn’t want to rub your face in it so he tastefully shares pictures that he knows would get a rise from you in some way.

Test #2: The Ignore Test

I see this rule as an immature extension of the no contact rule.

If you don’t know what that is… you’re missing out.

If you look through my website, listen to any of my podcasts, or watch my youtube videos, you’ll know that I’m a huge proponent of the no contact rule.

The no contact rule is basically one of the most effective strategies of building a foundation to get your ex back or to get over them.

You can enact a no contact rule for a specific period where you ignore your ex and focus on yourself instead.

Now, the no contact rule is pretty popular among all my peers but one major area where I distinguish myself is by telling you that its okay to reach out to your ex first after a no contact rule… as long as you control and end the conversation.

Some stubborn exes take the no contact rule as an offense against their person so when you reach out to them after it, they will not respond to you. It won’t matter how well-crafted your hook message is or what the topic of conversation is because they’ve decided to be petty and ignore you.

If you reach out and get no response a couple of times, it’s a test. It’s your ex’s way of expressing how upset they are that you used the no contact rule on them.

The best thing to do in the face of this test is… to wait it out.

Eventually, your ex will get curious about your life and give up so it’s basically a game of chicken to see who can hold out the longest. Here’s a protip though: whatever happens, don’t negatively confront your ex about this test or they’ll just get defensive and double down on ignoring you.

Test #3: The Sex Test

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Okay, now this one is pretty interesting because it has different connotations on whether it comes from a man or a woman.

Let’s first talk about how the sex test is usually done and then go into the WHY of men versus women choose to do it.

Okay so here’s how the sex test works.

You and your ex are talking back and forth and things seem to be going extremely well. When all of a sudden you begin to flirt a little bit and your ex tries to turn the conversation sexual. Eventually, you reciprocate this, and then every time you talk, it somehow ends up turning sexual in some way.

Men do this test because they want to see if you’re open to sleeping with them again so they can enjoy a friends with benefits situation. Now as shallow and obvious as that may seem, a lot of women fall for it because they incorrectly assume that they absolutely have to have sex with their ex to get him back.

Women will often see having sex with their ex as this final act that might push their exes to commit and that’s almost NEVER the case. I always tell this to my clients but unfortunately, a lot of them end up in a friends with benefits situation and regret not taking my advice.

On the other end, women give their ex-boyfriends the sex test to see if the guy only wants sex. They’ll make a flirty comment so they can gauge whether their ex starts paying more attention to the sexual side of the conversation than anything else.

So, both genders can do the same thing but for very different reasons.

Test #4: The Emotional Support Test

The emotional support test is essentially when your ex opens up to you in a very emotional way seeking emotional support from you.

Now the key to this test is looking at the timing of when your ex opens up because it can mean different things if it’s early on in the breakup or after a few months of talking back and forth.

If your ex does this immediately after a breakup or after you ended the no contact rule, it probably means that they liked the emotional you provided while you were in the relationship but they still want to play the field to get physical benefits from someone else.

However, if it’s been three or four months since you’ve been talking again and they suddenly open up to you, asking for emotional support, it could mean that they’re testing the waters to see if they can trust you again. This is a great sign because it means that your ex is missing the best emotional parts of his relationship with you and might want to get back together if he still feels the same emotional comfort from you.

So my best rule in facing this test is to be super aware of the timing and react accordingly. If it’s early on, you can offer some moderate emotional support but don’t go too overboard. But if it’s after a few months, you should go above and beyond so he can start seeing you as a strong permanent emotional support again.

Test #5: The Career Test

Now, to be completely honest, this kind of test is typically more relevant for men than it is for women, but I think it’s still important to know in the grand scheme of things.

So this test is usually done if an ex was not doing too well career-wise and that was one of the main issues in a breakup. After all, no one really wants to be in a relationship with someone who has no career aspirations or financial stability.

So for this test, one can slide general questions about life into a conversation to fish for what their ex’s career aspirations are and if they’ve been able to get a handle on their money.

This test is also one of the big reasons I always tell men and women to focus on their holy trinity of life after a breakup – health, wealth, and other relationships. Now usually men and women are both pretty good at improving their health, and women take the cake in building up other relationships with friends and family. However, almost everyone fails to properly focus on the wealth aspect.

This is even worse considering how the best way to get someone back is to get into a mindset of letting go of them because you are focusing on something else that matters to you more.

Throwing yourself into your career is a great way to improve the wealth aspect of your life and get over your ex while proving yourself too!

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Your ex may test you because he’s just curious, on a power trip, or he’s trying to make a big decision involving you. Either way, here are the top 5 tests to look out for:

  1. The jealousy test
  2. The ignore test
  3. The sex test
  4. The emotional support test
  5. The career test

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23 thoughts on “Signs That Your Ex Is Testing You”

  1. rose

    October 21, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    i dont know what to do now i moved out because he was trying with someone else behind my back after i left he sent pics of things in the home i never replied then month later he sent animals pics id like said hope youre well i never replied thaten i never heard from him again been one month what does this all mean did i blow it by not responding or was he just trying be nice guy after being a jerk? Its been a month is he woth her ?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      January 10, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      Hi Rose, if he has been starting a new relationship with someone else then you would need to follow a 45 day NC and then start the being there method if you want to get him back. I would say that him reaching out to you is his attempt to speak to you because he feels guilty for his actions and its is great you didn’t answer as he can see that he does not get to treat you that way. I would suggest that you be sure to use social media to show you are living your life and are happy. I have also posted a link to an article that you would need to be aware of

  2. JL1234

    September 30, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Whilst I still have questions and am confused about what my ex is doing- he texts out of the blue and if I respond he ghosts me. Then I don’t hear anything for weeks and he randomly calls so I text to say what do u want are u ok? And he ghosts me again and then a week later the pattern continues. I’m so confused but I found ur video helpful and it made sense and has given me some perspective, thanks.

  3. Nix

    October 29, 2020 at 7:29 am

    My ex and I broke up last year, November. He cheated on me and is now dating the girl he cheated on me with. I have also moved on since. I’ve noticed that my ex watches my Instagram stories every time I post one but he doesn’t follow me? ALSO it was my birthday a few days ago and he dropped off champagne (the same one he bought me last year when we were still together – so kind of sentimental?) and chocolates at my office reception for me? We haven’t spoken in months and we definitely aren’t friends. What do I make of this? I texted him after to say I assume this gift was from him and I said thank you (he didn’t write his name on the card nor tell the receptionist who he was – all he told her was that I would know who it’s from) and he said “anytime. I hope you have a good day :)” I’m so confused??? Is it his guilty conscience? Is he trying to be friends?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 29, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Nix, it could be a guilty conscience and trying to be friends, maybe he also regrets what he did you never know what is going on. I’d say if you moved on and are not interested in friendship to avoid contacting him at all.

  4. mar

    October 20, 2020 at 8:57 pm


    Me and my boyfriend have been together for over 3 years and living together currently. for the last 3 years his ex has come into his life by texting him and playing with his head. they were together for 4 years. it ended really bad. he dated a few poeple in between me and her. but we were together for 2 years and We brokeup last year and i gave him a month to figure his shit out and i still lived with him but i was very needy and clingy and emotional. it drove him further away. She ended up knowing we brokeup and she would just dissapear and stop answering him. until months later she knew we were together and she came back again texting him. I want him to know iam fed up and i want him to see a change. But we live together so its hard to do a full NC rule. what do i do. We are best friends, we never fight . we get along really well and have similar interests. i know he loves me. To be honest when he was with her he was indecisive they always brokeup dated other people got back together. broke up dated other ppl got back together. When they were togrther there was ALOT of things he did not like about her , like alot. but now all he can see is the good times. He doesnt want to hurt me , but i feel like hes torn bc she plays with his mind on purpose. i think the only reason he thinks he cares is because of the grass is greener thing and me being too emotional and clingy. But he has asked to meet up numerous times last year (as per my idea) and she declined and just dissapeared. Now shes back again. Its so obvious its all a mind f&^K and im honeslty sick of it. How can i fix this? How can i get him to realize what he has now and all that stuff

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 25, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Hi Mar, so if you are TOGETHER, then you should not be doing a no contact at all! You need to voice your feelings calmly without blaming him. Explain how you are fed up of his ex appearing and confusing him, explain how when she is not in touch things are better between you both and she is causing him to question things, when he wasn’t even happy with her when he was in a relationship. You need to remain calm and use kind words, do not argue with him. Making sure that when you choose to speak to him you need it to be a good time where he is not stressed or angry about something else.

  5. kid next door

    October 9, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Hi, so my boyfriend dumped me a few days ago because he went through my phone and found out i was flirting with other people during our occasional break ups, let’s just say he didn’t take it well. i was at his house last weekend visiting him because he lives in another town. on my way back while on the bus he sent me screenshots of what he found i’ve tried explaining but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. he says he cant forget or forgive me.. funny thing is a few days before that i asked if he has flings of his on and he said yes.. i don’t know what to do,he hasn’t been answering my calls so i can properly explain , he has only been texting back very coldly .i still love me.

  6. Nicole

    October 9, 2020 at 1:35 am

    I broke up with ex just about 30 days ago. I have been NC since then. He is my best friend and I miss him. The LDR was hard and I caved and got frustrated and broke things off. I immediately regretted it and tried to talk to him the next day. He was angry and said he didn’t want to talk and I started to beg for us to talk so he said that I should Leave him alone and he blocked me. He is still stalking my Instagram. I keep wishing he would reach out but he is stubborn. We have been friends for 16 years and always had a deep emotional connection. He is talking care of his elderly ill father in the UK and I am in the US. This was the challenge we had. We had seen each other about every 2 months since we decided to be officially “together” for the last 9 months. Do you think he will come back to me? Nothing bad happened between us. Just life stress and the distance.

  7. Mads

    October 8, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Hi I need a little advice, he ended it about a month back because he believed neither of us were really ready but we were both very much in love and went out the day before. He ended it after he found out that I slept with someone the week before I met him. I applied no contact and he reached out in the third week, we were talking and he started giving me mixed signals the he’s mind was made up but then kept asking me why i was fighting, anyway i ended up pushing and begging i unfriended on snap and he blocked me on fb and unfollowed me on insta. I start feeling terrible so I began messaging him to apologise a week later I rung him and he was really concerned and responded we talked on the phone. He was saying that there were patterns of me lashing out then apologising and he just doesn’t know which girl he’s going to get. He told me he misses me and thinks about me and that he’s always going to compare other people to me but then he said we were such a perfect fit but he has to move on and doesn’t have time to be friends. he said he’s been thinking of re-downloading dating apps and if he sees a girl he’s nothing is going to stop him then he was telling me how amazing i am and how i have the biggest, and there might be someone better for him and there might not be, and we might find our way back to each other. then he ended with he wants me to move on. What on earth do I do?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Madeline you need to go back into a no contact where you work on yourself and use social media and any mutual friends to show this. Be happy, confident positive calm and because he thinks that your emotions are so up and down you need to show some sort of stability in your behaviour too!

  8. Cultured

    October 7, 2020 at 4:22 am

    My ex broke up with me on the 27th Sept. This was an out of the blues break-up. It’s a long distance relationship. I ignored him for 3 days and made a mistake of replying to his break-up message. I realized later i shdn’t have messaged him. Problem now is, i have some stuffs i ordered to his door, to have it delivered to me when he visits. Now that he broke-up with me, and i’m practicing the no contact rule, how do i ask him to send my stuffs to me?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 8, 2020 at 8:35 am

      Hi Cultured, you can send a message asking for your things to be sent over. Just do not speak about anything else in the mean time.

  9. Nyiko

    September 30, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    My ex broke up with me 2 days ago and I have done what I shouldn’t have done Made contact but today I started the NC rule I hope it works, my problem is I have a Netflix subscription and he has my login details and I can see that he still using the account.
    What do I do in this case cause he told me he didn’t want to be friends and we can’t be in a relationship anymore We are not good for each other. We were always fighting about his lack of communication and he would go days without talking to me and I complained it. With regards to Netflix how do I tell him to stop using it and I don’t want to change my details I feel it would be rude to just change without letting him know first.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 4, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Don’t worry about being rude Nyiko, just change your details, especially if you are in No Contact

  10. Phylicia Warner

    September 28, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    A few days ago, my long distance relationship of 2 years ended. He decided that he doesn’t want to keep me waiting any longer because he wasnt sure if or when he would return home (he moved to work on another island while I was at school). He said he wanted to accomplish certain things before he did. Also, he shared that he began to smoke again (I dont like smoking)after 4 years of quitting and doesn’t feel like he can be the man I fell in love with anymore. He has always been supportive of my dreams and I honestly had no complaints about him. He sacrificed alot for me. He wants us to try being friends because he still loves me. I honestly dont know what to do. I’m in love with him so I’m open to overlooking his one flaw but he says in the future that I may resent him because I never wanted to be with a smoker. Help…any advice?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 8, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Phylicia, I think the excuses he has given you for the break up, are just that. Excuses. It sounds more as if he has grass is greener syndrome. Work on yourself through your no contact and focus on your holy trinity, then start reaching out after your no contact with texts like what Chris provides in the articles.

  11. Sheryl

    September 25, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    My ex ended things because we were arguing a lot over small things and they thought we might be better as friends. At first they expected me to be in contact with them as much as I was during the relationship then I asked them for space and we discussed all the issues we didn’t communicate while we were together. Although I asked for space they still contact me about once a week and it’s often to talk about other girls and ask for advice. A mutual friend says he thinks my ex wants to see other people before deciding to come back. He asked me to hang out but I said it wasn’t making me happy as friends and we should only reconnect in a couple months if he’s ready to be open to a relationship. What do u think I should do right now?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 25, 2020 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Sheryl, you need to stop replying to him and go into a No Contact, the fact your ex is reaching out and talking to you about other girls and asking for advice is shocking and selfish!! Ignore him for 30 days and focus on yourself to get over the break up and work on your Holy Trinity. Read articles to help you understand the program too

  12. Kat

    September 24, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Hi there!

    I need help deciphering what is going on with my ex currently. We dated for six months, and they were good. We didn’t fight and communicated pretty well, but we were sorta long distance as I lived an hour away. But ultimately we were on the same page as far as our five year goals went and we had conversations about kids and such. He knew I was moving back to the city where he lived before the end of 2020. Ultimately it was a communication issue though that led to us calling things off/drifting apart back in June, as he has a mood disorder that could be better managed. I entered no contact the second week of June when he ignored my last text to hang out, as I was over his wishy washiness. So I started working on my self. I got into a new workout routine, and really started my job hunt as I still intend on moving back to the city where I’m from/ he lives. I also started therapy to deal with the stress of the pandemic and better handle the stressors I faced at work. The day of my first therapy session, the first week of July/ two weeks NC, he texted me asking how my new car was. I cracked and texted him back that it was great, and he responded back saying it was well deserved.

    On July 4, my therapist suggested texted him happy fourth, so I did. He responded back within an hour with a pic of him out fishing down in Florida wishing me a happy fourth. I stayed cheerful and replied back with cool have fun visiting your fam.

    I decided after that last text on the fourth I would not reach out again. My birthday was August 9, and I knew if I could make it past this date without hearing from him then I’d most likely never hear from him again. My birthday passed and he didn’t text me, which I was fine with. I knew he had memory problems, but regardless if he knowingly or didn’t knowingly not text me I was fine with it! My job search is going great, my meditating practicing is going well and my workout routine is still on track. I can honestly say I was happy with myself and in a funny way felt like 2020 was my year!

    Then on August 18, week six of NC, I’m laying in bed looking for apartments where I’m moving to, and I get a Snapchat notification. My ex had added me as a friend on Snapchat. To clarify, we never did the social media thing. We never added each other on any of our pages and we didn’t post pics of each other. However our friends groups and family members were well aware of us (for example, early on in our relationship his cousin would call and he’d be like “I’m hanging out with kat, say hi” or if a friend called he’d be like “I’m hanging out with Kat today.”)

    So needless to say I get this sick feeling in my stomach as I have no clue why he is adding me. But an hour later I add him back. He then sends me a chat, which I don’t open until the next morning, of the emojii.

    Two days later I get an actual snap from him, and same thing the next day. I open them and send one snap back of me heading to he beach for the weekend, which he responded back asking where I was going.

    I don’t post to my story often, but I will post maybe once a week. Every story I had posted he had watched, and is usually the first one that weekend.

    This continues for the next four weeks into September, he continues to watch my story very soon after I post. He also continues to snap me at least once a week, with me usually not responding.

    A thing to note is he is posting a LOT. Pics of him out with his friends, hanging out with his family, working out- he is posting it all. While I hadn’t had him on any social media before, our mutual friends did have him on insta and snap. I remember back in July when he was down in Florida they both made the comment that he was adding to his story a lot more than he ever had and it was kinda weird. So I imagine his constant posting now was kind of out of place.

    But fast forward to Sept. 10, he messages me asking for the name of the mountain where I currently live. This struck a nerve slightly as I took him hiking on this mountain just a couple of months ago. I tell him what it is and that was that. Saturday was the last time I watched his story, as he posted a pic of him holding a book we had been talking about, and perfectly laying in the background is a woman’s hat with a book laying nicely on top of it. Friend, date, whatever- he was hanging with a girl. So I decided I wouldn’t look at his stories moving forward and I muted him.

    That Sunday of course he posts more. Now, he is posting photos of him in the town where I live and a girl is off to the side of the snap frame. This did bother me, as he hadn’t visited the town where I lived in YEARS before he met me. He only came up there ever because he was coming to see me. So this struck a nerve.

    Of course going into the next two weeks I continue to ignore his many stories that feature this mystery girl, as I have not opened any snap story to actually know what she looks like. It appears every time he hangs out with her though he is posting.

    He never did this with me. We had a pic or two together, but our phones were put away when we were together and neither of us were posting to social media.

    And the cherry on top? After three months of not talking to our mutual friend, he just happens to grab a beer with him on Wednesday. This mutual friend happens to be the one who introduced us.

    Honestly, I am very confused as to what is going on. Why would he add me on social media, and message me as well while he is apparently talking to another girl? I was, and am, doing great without him! I would be lying if I said I didn’t want him back slightly, but I know I am not going to feed into any games he is playing if that is the case. What do you think he is doing here, and should I change how I am responding to all of this?


    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 11, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Hi Kat, you may find that he was testing the waters to see if you were open to talking to him, seeing if you were still an option. However you doing great in life without him could also be him reaching out because you are getting his attention. Just because he is speaking with other girls does not mean that he is not thinking about you, or considering what he lost, especially if he can see you are doing well

  13. Stephanie

    September 21, 2020 at 10:05 am

    My ex is seeing someone else, I begged him to block my number but he hasn’t. He will still respond when I reach out to him but he’s always neutral and says he doesn’t want to get back together but when I ask him if he wants me out of his life for good or ask him to block me he doesn’t do it. What does this mean? I have tried to move on but I can’t.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 22, 2020 at 11:50 am

      Hi Stephanie, I would suggest that you spend some time avoiding speaking to him and just focus on yourself until you are over the relationship and break up… No contact helps you get passed the fact that feeling that you cannot move on.