By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 2nd, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a pessimist. I tend to not trust that people have the best intentions. This is especially true when the person has burned me or been cruel in the past.

After a relationship ends, there is usually a lot of tension and sadness between the two people who were once involved in it. I remember that both my ex boyfriend and I were really sad when we broke up, but there was also a lot of anger there, too. Which is why I was so suspicious when he started being so sweet to me. I mean, I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t leap to assuming the best, either.

After you’ve been broken up with, your self-confidence takes a hit. I found that as a result of me mourning my relationship, missing my ex, and having zero self-esteem, I began to look for signs of my ex’s feelings for me in everything. I told myself, “If he puts his hand on my shoulder as he walks past, that means he still loves me.” Or: “If he cuddles up with me on the couch, that means that he is regretting his decision.” (our breakup was painful and very messy and complicated).

I tried to make each glance that I received from him mean something. And he almost always did do those things, because even though he was breaking up with me, he still cared about me, loved me still, even.

It is natural when we are broken up with to try to seek out meaning in our exboyfriend’s actions. But that can be very dangerous and lead to a lot of assumptions. So if your boyfriend is being nice and sweet to you, it may be tempting to jump to the conclusion that he misses you, loves you, and wants to get back together (and sure, maybe that is the case – we’ll get there). But it could also mean a number of other things as well.

In my research/polling/brainstorming, I’ve found that there are three main categories that most of the reasons fall into:

  1. He feels guilty
  2. He wants something from you
  3. He misses you/loves you/wants to get back together.

Almost every reason that I came up with or that was mentioned to me in my research (yes, I do research) fell into one of these three categories.

Your boyfriend being nice is a good first step. You can easily build upon that foundation to create more out of your interactions and work to tip the scale in your favor.

I know a number of girls who have been blocked by their ex’s or who have had their ex’s say mean things to them, or ask them to leave them alone. If your ex is being nice to you, it means that he is talking to you and doesn’t hate you, which is an automatic point in your column.

Nice is good. Nice is a good way to begin building rapport. We can work with Nice.

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Theme 1: He Feels Guilty

As much as we want to believe the reason that our exboyfriends are nice to us after a breakup is because they are having regrets, I find that this reason is the more likely culprit. At least at first – remember, men and women grieve breakups on vastly different timelines.

If you had a good relationship and no big hurtful even happened to bring on the breakup (i.e. cheating), it’s likely that your ex still likes you as a person, and hated hurting you. After all, no one likes to be a villain, and the person who does the dumping is almost always the cast in the role of the villain.

Your ex may be being nice to you simply because he feels guilty that he hurt you and still wants you to perceive him as a good guy. My ex did a lot of this, and I remember telling him “it would almost have been easier if you had been a jerk.” (Don’t worry – he did a lot of jerky things later). It came from a place of him wanting me to reassure him that he was a good person and that I didn’t hate him. – even though HE had just broken up with ME.

If could also be that your ex is seeing someone new and that is where the guilt stems from. Perhaps it is someone he was eyeing before the breakup, but maybe not. Regardless, if he’s seeing someone, he probably knows that it hurts you, and if he is a good guy who understands anything about emotions, he’ll feel empathy for you, and want to try to make you feel better.

What you have to understand, though, is that this nice behavior is not for your benefit. Your ex feels guilty, and by being nice to you, it is a small way to alleviate his guilt.

During my messy breakup, I went back and forth between playing into alleviating my ex’s guilt by reassuring him that I didn’t hate him, and then being a stone cold bitch and making him face the consequences of his actions. I cared about my ex, so I’m glad I could take some of his pain away – even as he was breaking my heart – but the program says to jump into No Contact as soon as possible.

No contact forces your ex to begin living life without you – and without you to make his guilt disappear. No Contact forces your ex to begin facing the consequences of the decision he made – if that means he starts wondering if you hate him or not, good. You are not his girlfriend anymore. It is no longer your job to make him feel better when he’s down. He broke up with you – an incredible lady – he absolutely should feel down.

Theme 2: He Wants Something From You

Cordelia: Buffy! Did you lose weight? And your hair… Alright, I respect you too much to be dishonest. The hair’s a little…Well, that really isn’t the point here, is it? The Zeta Kappas have to have a certain balance at their party, and Richard explained it all to me, but I was so busy really listening that I didn’t hear much. Anyway, the deal is they need you to go. And if you don’t go, I can’t. And I’m talking about Richard Anderson, okay? As in Anderson Farms, Anderson Aeronautics and Anderson Cosmetics. Well, you see why I have to go. Buffy, these men are rich. And I am not being shallow. Think of all the poor people I could help with all my money!

Buffy: I’ll go.

Cordelia: You’ll go? Great! I’ll drive. Oh, Buffy, it’s like we’re sisters! With really different hair.

In the above exchange from season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Reptile Boy), Cordelia tries to butter Buffy up by starting to be super nice (if you’ve watched the show, you know this is very out of character), and attempting to compliment her.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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This illustrates another reason why your ex may be being nice to you post-breakup: You have something that he wants.

Maybe you still have some of his things and he wants them back before you go all crazy and destroy them. He could be trying to stay on good terms with you long enough for him to get all of his stuff back in one piece (PSA: Do not destroy his belongings. You are not doing yourself any favors if you lose your emotional cool).

It could be that he wants to keep you as a friend and is continuing to be nice because he wants to start a friendship off on the right foot. It’s likely he doesn’t know how confusing this is for you. He may be trying to be a good guy, but he doesn’t realize that every smile, every joke gives you hope that maybe he is regretting his decision to end things.

And, of course, I couldn’t finish this theme without discussing a common thing that guys want: Maybe he’s lonely and horny and is being nice to see if he can get you to sleep with him. This is unfair because it takes advantage of your vulnerable emotional state. Guys don’t think about sex the same way girls do, but if he broke up with you, he really should know better than to try to get sex from you or want to begin a friends-with-benefits situation. But if there is one thing that I have learned in my short life so far, it is that men have a lot of nerve as soon as they stop thinking with their heads.

Ladies. Do. Not. Sleep. With. Him. Don’t do it. It will set you back in the process, and I can almost guarantee that it doesn’t mean the same thing to him as it does to you. Unfortunately, I find this is a huge reason why men turn on the sweetness. Be wary.

If your ex hurt you, it is more than likely they know they’ll have to play the long game to get whatever it is that they want from you, whether it be physical items, friendship, or sex. Be aware of this. Don’t trust him – he’s already proved you can’t.

Theme 3: He Misses You/Loves You/Wants to Get Back Together

Of course, this is what we all hope is the reason for our ex’s being nice.

We ache to hear those words:

“I miss you. I love you. I made a mistake, and I want you back.”

This is definitely a possibility of why your ex may be being nice. But even if it is – don’t press. Feel it out and remain aloof. You can’t know for sure, so let things play out and don’t make assumptions.

A good way that you can begin to tell if maybe this is the reason he’s being so nice is to test his investment. Is he investing lots of time in you? What about money? Emotional effort? If he’s being nice AND he’s investing a lot in you, then I would say it is safe to assume that this third reason may be at play and the motivating factor behind his sweetness.

I tested the waters for months and kept track of my ex’s investment for a long time, not saying anything, before he finally admitted to maybe being interested in trying again. I knew that was the reason by that point. He had steadily been showing investment on all fronts.

Investment is absolutely key in getting your ex back. Until you have that, don’t assume.

Protect Your Heart

Your ex may be being nice because he misses you and is testing the waters to get back together, but you absolutely can’t just make that leap. Until you see signs of investment as cited above, it is actually safer if you assume his reasons is one of the others mentioned in this article – guilt or wanting something from you.

Protect your heart. Try not to focus too much on his actions and why he may be acting the way he is. Instead, focus on you, because that is what he is going to find the most attractive of all.

Even if you’re not trying to gauge what his intentions are I know it’s hard, but try not to), you should definitely be taking stock of the signs that he is invested. Focus on his actions and the thing that he does, not pretty nice words that he says.

…a difficult task, I know…

you should definitely be taking stock of the signs that he is invested. Focus on his actions and the thing that he does, not pretty nice words that he says.

Your ex hurt you. You don’t owe him trust or nice words back. Not now. The ExBoyfriend Recovery process is a long journey and is filled with a lot of twists and turns, with a bunch of anxiety to go along with it. Protect yourself. Protect your heart as best you can as you maneuver your way through this tricky process. It takes a lot of time and emotional energy – and that emotional energy is best spent on yourself. I know it’s hard to not obsess over every little thing your ex does, but try to put your energy where it belongs – on yourself.

(Written by Rachel)

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16 thoughts on “Why Is My Ex Boyfriend Being So Nice to Me?”

  1. Rosie

    August 1, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Hello. My ex and I broke up 2 months ago, mostly due to the virus/quarantine stress causing fights. Our break up was amicable. We had a two year relationship that was mostly good until then. I did a month of NC and he reached out once, which I ignored. When I sent my first text, he responded immediately. I noticed this happens every time I initiate. We continued building rapport. He sends me articles he (rightfully) thinks I’ll enjoy and even initiates about half the conversations. We have had 16 texting sessions and two phone calls. We even met up last week because he kept asking. He asked 5 times and I kept rescheduling until finally I gave in to do a quick ice cream meet up. He did not flirt with me-normally he would have complimented my appearance or offered to pay. However, he brought up memories, had positive body language, and even gave me a birthday present months later because he insisted on doing it in person. We continue to text and he is enthusiastic every time. He brings up little details about me that are specific to my life (asks how my studies are, asks if I got any new board games). What’s the likelihood he just wants to be friends? Is he possibly regretting his decision but he’s having trouble communicating? Thanks

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 15, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Rosie, I cant tell you what he is thinking honestly, but if you are talking and conversations are positive try working in some phone calls and then after some time arrange meet ups. Read more articles to help you along the way to understand how you need to manage the situation so that he starts investing in talking to you and spending time with you

  2. sara

    July 8, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Continued……I forgot to ask, how do I even know of he’s thinking of me as more, or if it is just to be friends? When he ended it, he said it was too much and maybe we’ll keep in touch after things calm down.. this him just being nice?


  3. Sara

    July 8, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Hello and help, we broke up (he dumped me), did no contact, had a fun weekend that ended badly. I did no contact again and now we are texting friendly back and forth. He seems to be following my lead, if I text he responds immediately, if he texts, I take my time, sometimes a day, then he responds having waited sometime (but only a few hours). If I respond immediately he will do the same he doesnt text like crazy but has initiateda few times with random things, and happy 4th of July. We’ve had light hearted fun convo’s for maybe 2 weeks now since a solid month of no contact. I dont want to rush it as I think what happened with the “weekend gone bad”. I hadn’t changed much but I feel so much better, but I still miss him. How do I get the date? Can I ask him? And how?! Thank you!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      July 26, 2020 at 10:19 am

      Hi Sara, replying to both comments here …

      I think you’re doing great and as much as you are talking often have been texting for two weeks you need to think of this as a marathon. Your next step is to try and get some phone calls in there, and around two more weeks of texting where you flirt a little, and pull back. You need to get him investing. It is a great sign that he is reaching out to you now and again too. But it is too soon to be wanting that date, as hard as it is to be patient that is the key to this process at the moment

  4. yazz

    June 26, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    i told my ex gf ,. that i can not be friends with her and that if she changed her mind , she can call me and we discuss it .. then again she resurfaces and texts me things like ” i love your photo ” ” oh you have a new dog ” so i told her again to stop this knowing that she wants to be friends. i repeated what i said , and she said you can block me and said bye hehehe .. i can not deny it . i still want her back .. but this pigeon hole she is trying stick me into is not going to help .

    your thoughts

  5. Mona

    May 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

    I need help

  6. Alc

    November 16, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Me and my ex are both recovering addicts so he said he didn’t have time to give to me so we broke up 2 months ago and now I’m pregnant with his baby at first he didn’t want nothing do with me and now he took me out to lunch and been saying he loves me and calls me beautiful and just nice and caring but in our group session he spilled out he was in a relationship few weeks ago indont get it he said he didn’t have time but now hes being all nice to me and hugs on me taken me out telling me he loves me what’s his plan what’s in his mind what is he thinking about ??? I care for him I still love him but I’m not getting my hopes up I am pregnant with his child what does he want does he want to get back with me or what ??

  7. Mia

    October 27, 2017 at 4:09 am

    So I’m talking with my ex, and I told home I have strong feelings for him. And he just said that he is talking with someone else. However, he insists on remaining friends, and is in general being a lot nicer than he has been in the past. And he thinks I should stick around while he tried to be with this other woman, because if something bad happens I could possibly get with him then… what do I do? And what does this all mean?

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 30, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Mia,

      He’s making you his back up and possible friends with benefits.. Start the no contact rule

  8. kate

    September 30, 2017 at 6:32 am

    So weve been split for just over 4 months. hes rebounded at the beginning of the break up weve had conversations about how we still love each etc but he would say it wouldnt work we have different lives. we was both on a night out in the same place a few weeks ago and he got really drunk because couldnt handle seeing me and told people he still loves me etc. a couple of weeks ago id had enough of hearing about it as id seen he was talking to someone else & i wasnt setting myself up for hurt (hed been talking to her even when saying still loves me) and i ignored all his messages and said i hope he finds happiness. he started messaging about pointless things just to try & talk but i didnt then a couple of days ago he even messaged my best friend to try get her to get me to talk. he then spilled his guts said he wanted to fight for us he should never have gone hes been a drunken mess and was trying to forget/replace feelings but cant. ive agreed to meet to talk about everything just so either way its the end of it and can move on either seperately or try again. but im so wary. i dont want this girl still in the picture he says they met up but just as friends but i think it was more and i cant shake it hes said if he has to stop talking to certain people so i talk to him he will cuz he wants me but then its like should a relationship start like that where i cant trust them too talk. i dont know what to do or think please give me an idea ive read all the articles & commented a few times before followed what i needed to do & now im stuck

    1. kate

      October 3, 2017 at 6:15 am

      Hi Amor. hes making effort he messages everyday and we talk all day hes asked to go for a drink so i guess ill just have to see what happens. ive had situations in the past simular where “female friends” have been involved and it didnt end well and i think thats where the doubts are coming with this even though he hasnt done anything to make me not trust him so its more her i dont trust. im still unsure what to do i guess ill only know if he cuts her off like ive asked x

    2. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm obervant and vigilant that he is not just stringing you along

    3. EBR Team Member: Amor

      September 30, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      Hi kate,

      If you don’t trust him, if he’s nit making enough effort, dont talk to him and continue moving on

  9. Ivy

    September 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    My ex boyfriend and I have been broken up for 3 months. He broke up with me after dating for a year and a half and living together for a year, because he never took the time needed to recover from his divorce (we got together very soon after). I respected this, even though I did not want it. He told me that he hoped we could resume our relationship after he took this time to himself. We talked marriage, and a future together all of the time. Recently, our contact has been increasing. He has asked me out to lunch twice within the last couple of weeks, and we had dinner together at his house last week. Everything has seemed great and dinner last week seemed like old times. I felt like our rapport has been building well.

    But yesterday when we were texting, he mentioned that he was anxious about many aspects of his life and mentioned “making the wrong relationship decision” was one of them (very vague). He then said “I just don’t know what to do with this relationship stuff” and then said he didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t push, and replied saying that I knew our contact and communication has increased lately, so if that had added to his stress we could stop. He said that it wasn’t. We ended up hanging out last night, and he just seemed a little withdrawn (more than what has been displayed as of recent). I always make sure that he is the one to initiate contact with me and never push him to hang out. I make it so he initiates the contact so he doesn’t feel like I’m pressuring him. Should I pull back a bit from him and give him a little space with light contact? We work together, so full no contact us out of the question. Thank you for the input!

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      September 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm