A few years ago I noticed an interesting phenomenon with my clients.

It seemed as if exes would want them back after they moved on or gave up.

Until recently I was always a little confused as to why this was but I’ve recently stumbled across three scientific explanations that can not only explain why but can also help us understand why strategies like the no contact rule work so well.

Today I’m going to explain to you why exes seem to come back after you move on or ignore them.

Let’s begin.

The Three Reasons Exes Come Back After You Move On

There are three big reasons that can explain why exes are drawn to you after you’ve appeared to move on.

Those reasons are,

  1. They grow interested because of the uncertainty principle
  2. They are drawn to you because of reactance
  3. The Zeigarnik Effect creates an open loop they need to close

Like always, I’d be shocked if you knew everything I am talking about.

What I’d like to do now is take each one of these scientific concepts (because that’s really what they are) and dissect them so you can understand how they correlate to your ex growing interested in you when you ignore them or move on.

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Concept #1: Your Ex Growing Interested In You Because Of The Uncertainty Principle

The uncertainty principle is without a doubt one of the most underrated principles in ex recovery.

So, what is it?

Great question!

The Uncertainty Principle: Is a scientific theory designed to help us understand how people react to certain conditions and uncertain conditions.

Perhaps the thing that the uncertainty principle is most popular for is their “rat maze” experiment.

People loved it when I talked about it in my YouTube video above,

So, what is the rat experiment?

Well, scientists wanted to discover how rats reacted to attempting to get cheese by completing two different mazes.

One was very complicated and presented all kinds of uncertain conditions,

The other wasn’t very complicated at all and presented certain conditions,

The results were fascinating.

As it turns out the rat that had the easy maze went over to sniff the cheese and didn’t really eat it for a long time.

On the flip side the rat that had to endure the difficult maze with all kinds of uncertainty devoured the cheese upon finding it.


Well, scientists theorized that because the rat invested time and energy into getting the cheese the rat cherished the reward more than the rat who knew it had a sure thing.

As it turns out this behavior is mirrored in human beings when it comes to breakups.

This article is all about exes showing interest after you have moved on or ignored their attempts to talk to you.

In other words, at first your ex was probably operating under the assumption that they could get you back whenever they wanted.

They thought you were a sure thing.

However, by “moving on” you indicated to them that you weren’t a sure thing.

That uncertainty raises your value.

Concept #2: They Are Drawn To You Because of Reactance

I talk a lot about the concept of reactance to my coaching clients.

And half the time I feel like it goes in one ear and out the other. I’m not saying that to upset anyone I’m just saying it to show you how undervalued I think this concept is.

If you didn’t know,

Reactance: Refers to how people respond when their behavior freedoms become threatened.

Scarcity and reactance kind of walk hand in hand.

Every year the world practically becomes capsized by the concept of “Black Friday.”

Essentially everything in stores is on sale but only for a certain amount of time.

This little “sale” results in behavioral reactions like this,

Everyone jumping over themselves to get the sale.

But what if I were to tell you that the idea of Black Friday only works because of “reactance.”

By limiting one resource human beings will react to obtain it.

Reactance teaches us that when humans have their behavior freedoms threatened they will fight, scratch and claw to get that freedom back.

This is often my big talking point when I am trying to prove to someone that the no contact rule is working but it’s also a great talking point for explaining why exes “suddenly” become interested after it appears to them that you have moved on.

Think about it.

By moving on your ex will believe that any potential future that the two of you had together is gone forever.

The freedom of that future, even if they weren’t totally interested in it, jerks them into reacting.

Concept #3: The Zeigarnik Effect Creates An Open Loop They Need To Close

The Zeigarnik Effect is another huge talking point you’ll hear me rambling about on this website.

Put simply, the zeigarnik effect states that human beings remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.

I’d like to put you through an interesting little thought experiment that I think will highlight this point perfectly.

Pretend for a moment that you invite me to your house,

Now, you let me into your house and as you go to close the door I prevent you from doing so by asking you all kinds of questions.

I then proceed to lead you away from the open door and continue the conversation in a different room.

While I’m talking one thought invades your mind.

I need to close that door and I need to close it as soon as possible.

Your brain keeps coming up with all kinds of scenarios that could potentially come true and they consume your every thought.

Eventually you hit the boiling point and you absolutely have to close the door no matter what.

Why did your brain go through that rigorous process of obsessing about the open door?

Because it was an interrupted task.

This is the zeigarnik effect at work.

Breakups are often left with business unfinished.

One party typically wants to break up more than the other party and as time goes by that fact just gnaws at them. This is especially true if your ex believes he or she didn’t get the proper closure after the breakup.

By moving on you indicate that, that unfinished business will never be completed.

It can drive them nuts and they can react by trying to impress you or win you back.

Recap And Comments

I want you to ask questions.

I want you to be able to get the answers that you deserve. So, please do not be afraid to comment.


Ok, lets do a quick recap of everything that I covered in todays article.

  • Moving on and having an ex try to win you back is pretty common
  • There are three concepts that really are responsible for this.
  • The uncertainty Principle
  • The idea of reactance
  • The zeigarnik effect

Again, I want to reiterate that I expect and want you to comment and ask me your questions. I’m usually very good about responding to people within 24 hours.

So, don’t be afraid.

Also, if you haven’t already watched my video on this topic I’d make sure to do that in tandem with this article.

15 thoughts on “Why Exes Come Back After You Move On”

  1. maurice

    December 11, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Hi Chris,
    my ex broke up with me more than a month ago via WhatsApp. We were together for almost 2 years, we met when he first came to study in Germany (I came here 4 years earlier to do my bachelor, we are from the same country). When he broke up with me he’s in our home country doing his master research (he still is until the point I’m writing this comment), we already had problems before his departure, mostly because of my jealousy and insecurity. I was hurt because he seemed to be hugely affected by the news of his ex getting married few months ago, and even though he already told me that it didn’t bother him anymore, it’s still bothering my mind. Anyway, our communication got worse days after he arrived in our home country. He said that he was busy with his research and I could understand that, but I think someone can’t be busy 24/7 right? So I nagged and nagged to the point that he couldn’t take anymore and he ignored me for more than a week. After that he wrote me just to break up with me and telling me that this relationship doesn’t work out. After I replied he just blocked me on WhatsApp. 2 weeks after that he unblocked me on everything and visited my LinkedIn profile. But then a week after that, there was a miscommunication between us (in which a friend of him was involved) and he wrote me that I should focus on my life and let him go, and he blocked me again on WhatsApp until now. I wrote him an email with some nasty words (telling him he’s a coward and some worse stuff) and he didn’t respond. That happened almost 3 weeks ago. Now I don’t know if he’s still angry at me or not (I’m still blocked and he apparently deactivates his FB and Instagram). What should I do? I really, really still love him.

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 11, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Hi Maurice….so it sounds like things have gotten messy. You might want to consider a different approach. Employing no contact can provide many benefits. Go visit my home page and you will find a lot of resources that can help you in this endeavor.

  2. Jane

    December 9, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Hello Chris, wondering if renunciation is needed after a break up? I just posted back literally everything back to my ex (LDR). But wondering what’s ur opinion on renunciation. Cheers!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 10, 2018 at 12:58 am

      Not sure what you mean by renunciation. I am more of a fan of NC in a lot of situations

  3. Marie

    December 9, 2018 at 4:55 am

    We have been in a long term relationship for four years, but I have broken up with him 10 days ago coz I got upset over his behavior of not replying and communicating with me properly, usually span of 8 hours! But I saw in his FB account that he was liking a woman’s post on the very day we were together!! He has hurt me so much, and we have been in an on and off relationship for a year. I’m so tired of being the one adjusting to his time when in fact I’m the busiest person in our relationship. We have age gap of 16 years, and I’m the mature one. Started NC 10 days and counting from the day I broke up with him thru text!

  4. Melissa

    December 8, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    My ex and I dont follow each other on social media anymore but he still looks at my Instagram and watches my stories. This started about 2 weeks into me doing no contact. Should I hide my stories from him so he can’t see, or make my account private, or block him entirely? Im worried he won’t miss me as much or won’t feel like he’s missing out on my life and what/how I’m doing if he can check so easily.

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 9, 2018 at 2:16 am

      HI Melissa! I usually recommend in my Program to keep the social media lines of communication open and leverage them to your advantage.

  5. Anonymous

    December 7, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    My ex and I have been in an on and off relationship for almost three years. I did no contact for 38 days, followed the text guidelines, and he’s been nice but not super responsive. He never starts the conversation. Finally I sent him a voice
    Memo (how we use to communicate) asking if he would want to catch up some time and he said he would think about it and that I sounded really good. Then he said that it is never just catching up with us because we still have feelings for each other and that makes it hard. His words. I’m wondering if I should respond and say I understand and just wanted to let him know that I’m moving in a few weeks and was hoping to catch up before I go or if I should just go no contact again. I do want him back but I’m also moving forward with my career plans I had before him that I’ve put on hold other times we were apart. The reason we broke up is because I had trust issues and pushed him away multiple times. I know he still loves me but he also doesn’t think that I can trust him. I realized what I’ve done and I told him calmly how wrong I had been viewing him and how surprised I was that he didn’t believe me. I know he just doesn’t want to waste anymore time because he doesn’t believe me that I do trust his feeling for me. I’ve said that in the past and then was still paranoid but truly this time I mean it. What’s my best move ?

  6. Rachel

    December 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Me and my boyfriend had been falling out over stupid things and I felt that I wanted to sort out myself because I was getting annoyed over silly things and at him quite a lot, so I asked for a few days break. In his head, a break means a break up so he was convinced I actually just wanted to break up. So eventually he just ended it with me. At first he was saying he wasn’t sure if he wanted to break up and he ‘couldn’t decide’ and at that point I was angry and didn’t respond very well. He then decided he wanted to end it because he felt like I gave up on him and that he couldn’t trust me anymore because if we got back together then I would just do the exact same thing again. He just refused to believe that I had no intentions of officially ending it. It’s been 3 weeks and we’ve spoke occasionally (me always initiating contact) where i would ask him questions and we would have a chat but he was adamant that it would just never work again because there was a loss of trust. Recently he said to me that eventually he will probably forgive me but he’s not sure if we’ll ever meet up again. I do keep making the mistake of messaging him asking him questions but I’ve never begged or acted desperate. I know that he still cares and has feelings and he won’t move on very quickly but right now I’m not getting anywhere. I’ve decided i’m going to try my hardest to just leave him alone and move on but I do still want to get back together with him. Overall we were happy together and he said he was happy before this happened. It was just this one situation that ended our relationship. Do you think he’ll ever come round and be willing to give me a chance?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 8, 2018 at 3:40 am

      So long as you have a rock solid and sensible ex recovery plan, I think your chances are improved.

  7. Anonymous

    December 6, 2018 at 6:50 am

    My NC ends today but I haven’t heard from my ex ever since I started the last time we spoke I told him that I didn’t want to get back together but I meant unless he changed, you see I feel like I constantly had to wait for him to grow in this relationship and I felt like it was time for me to stop wasting time waiting on him. He broke up with me because he couldn’t say that he loved me after being together for a year. Should I proceed to send him a text or try moving on without moving on method because he may need more time to change. I honestly don’t know what to do other than be UG does this mean that I should just move on with my life because he never is going to be able to love me?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 6, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Hi there A!

      Sometimes they don’t reach out. That is why in my Program I call for you to initiate First Contact, but only in a certain way. Do you my 485 page flagship product EBR Pro? It walks you thru the whole process. So does the Texting Bible eBook

  8. Dale Em

    December 6, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I’m finding it hard to balance how to move on while still wanting my ex back. My ex and I weren’t together for very long- less than 3 months, so I did NC for 2 weeks and then he reached out. We talked for a little, made plans to meet but they fell through. Now he’s pulling away again. I’m thinking of doing NC again and it’s just heartbreaking because I felt like we were reconnecting. And I keep overthinking everything and coming up with why things could be the way they are. I’ve gone on dates with other guys, and keeping myself busy, doing new activities, but I just cannot stop thinking about him and watching your videos! It’s like my attempts at moving on are driven by my desire to get him back. I know that isn’t correct, but I am so torn. I had never felt this way about anyone before, ever! I don’t know if it’s meant to be, but I would like to hope and try.

  9. Wendy Robinson

    December 5, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    My goodness. It worked it’s all actually really working. I did no contact. I became UG. I reached out first after NC. I followed all the rules. Now he’s texting like crazy. Telling me he loves me. Wow. Thanks so much!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      December 6, 2018 at 3:03 am

      Great job Wendy.

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