The end of a relationship is rarely easy for either partner. After a period of sadness, you gradually adjust to your new normal. You may notice thoughts of finding a new partner crossing your mind every now and again, and this seems appealing. On the other hand, you may wish that the two of you had never broken up, and lie awake at night wondering “Will he come back?” Whichever is the case for you, you are probably curious to know if he has moved on. While most guys won’t admit it straight up, you may notice signs he wants you back but is scared to say it to you.

Perhaps you start noticing that your ex is popping up in your life a lot more. At first, you thought it was kind of strange that your aunt casually mentioned bumping into your ex at the mall and that he asked her if she had seen you lately. It also seems odd that your ex has been reaching out to you more via text, just to say hi. Perhaps your ex-boyfriend wants you back and is cautiously testing the waters to see if you two have a future with each other again? Here are some of the signs he wants the two of you to get back together.

1. He seems to lie about his intentions

Years ago, I was happily single after parting ways with a man I used to be involved with. This guy was someone who I had not completely forgotten about, but I was not actively pursuing him. I thought that he was not actively pursuing me either, but somehow, I received random texts and phone calls from him. Whenever I would ask him why I was getting these phone messages from him, he said that he hadn’t meant to contact me and that it was all a misunderstanding.

Looking back, I see that this guy was playing mind games with me. He wanted to see how I responded to him, but he did not want to be genuine and open so that we could discuss possibly reconnecting. If your ex is trying to get you to notice him in subtle ways, he may want to be in your life, but not want to risk getting rejected by you.

2. He keeps in touch with your friends

When two people break up, they sometimes fight over who has custody of their mutual friends. When your ex insists on communicating with your friends, it could be a sign that he is not ready to completely let go of you. One of my exes still keeps in touch with some of my friends on social media even though we broke up years ago. He’s still trying to reach out to the people he would never have met if it had not been for our relationship.

You may think that there is no reason for your ex to still hold on to the connections he had with your loved ones. It is possible that he hopes that by holding on to people who are close to you, he is holding on to you as well in some way. However, this isn’t necessarily always the case. It is possible that he just misses these people and has come to see them as his friends! Friends meet in all kinds of strange circumstances, and if he has made good bonds with people, the last thing he may want is to lose contact with them as well as lose his girlfriend. What he talks about with these friends can give you a clue as to his intentions. If he talks to them like to other friends, he probably just enjoys their company and values their companionship. However, if you hear that he constantly wants to know what you are up to, he may secretly want to get back together with you.

When two people break up, they sometimes fight over who has custody of their mutual friends. Click To Tweet

3. He reminds you of the good times you both shared

Taking trips down memory lane seems to be your ex’s new favorite hobby these days. He keeps texting you, calling you, and reminding you about all of the things in his world that still remind him of you. Your favorite restaurant, the way you brush your hair, and the special concert that the two of you enjoyed together are always on his mind.

By reminding you of the good times you enjoyed together, your ex can cement his place in your heart. He wants you to remember your relationship was not all bad and that there may be good enough reasons to try again and get back together. Your ex is realizing that your relationship could have worked out differently in the past.

4. He blames his texts and calls on the alcohol

Let’s be honest, most of us have sent a message or made a phone call after a few drinks that we regret in the morning. Alcohol can make us talk a lot of nonsense and say things that we don’t really mean. Or at least, that is the excuse that he always gives you after blowing up your phone at 2 am. For some reason, your ex-boyfriend always blames his mistakes on the alcohol.

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But is that really how it is, or is it just that your ex-boyfriend is trying to test your feelings for him? He knows that you would not respond to his strange texts and voice messages unless you were mildly curious about what was happening in his life. And your ex knows that if there is a spark of interest there, he could find a way to persuade you into giving him another chance.

5. He brags about how well he is doing

guy is doing fine

There really is no reason for your ex to let you know about how well his life is going unless he wants you to regret not being with him anymore. When a man is secure with his life and his decisions, he feels no need to broadcast his every triumph and success. And really, no man who cared about your feelings would tell you about how perfect his new girlfriend is and ask you if you wish you were still the main woman in his life.

You do not need to be with a man who is pushing your buttons like this. Men who brag about themselves are immature. If your ex-partner was truly over his relationship with you, he would not seek you out to tell you how much better his life is now. If anything, he would be avoiding you and focusing on his future if he was genuinely content with the way his life was going.

6. He refuses to return your personal belongings

When I realized that I was over my former relationship with my ex-boyfriend, one of the first things I did was give away the gifts he had given me. The gifts were not extravagant items: some t-shirts, CDs, and other inexpensive things. However, I knew that if I held onto them, it would be a way for the previous relationship to continue living on in some way. At the time we broke up, I thought I would never get over “what could have been,” but now, I do not miss that relationship anymore.

If your ex refuses to give you back your personal items that you left at his place, that is a clear sign that he is not ready to let go of you. There can be no other reason for your ex to hold onto your stuff. Even if your ex chooses to hold onto your personal belongings because he is angry and wants to punish you, he is not ready to let go.

7. He makes an effort to improve his behavior

A clear sign that you have moved on from your ex is when you no longer care about whether or not he is making positive changes. A few months ago, my ex approached me with a totally different demeanor than the usual. He seemed confident and genuinely happy to see me. You would think that I would have been overjoyed to see the change in him, but the opposite took place. Instead of being happy to see the positive changes in my ex, I felt irritated that he was popping up in my presence. Why was he even around? I was no longer interested in him, and I did not care one iota if he had “changed” or not.

When a man wants you back, he knows that he needs to do something different to capture your attention. Is your ex trying to show you that he is not the way that he used to be? Perhaps he is trying to show you that he remembered parts of past conversations that the two of you had so that you know he was paying attention to you and respects your opinions. Your ex-boyfriend wants you to know that you are worth changing his behavior for now that the two of you are no longer an item, even though he made no efforts to change when you were together.

When a man wants you back, he knows that he needs to do something different to capture your attention. Is your ex trying to show you that he is not the way that he used to be? Perhaps he is more interested in showing you that he remembered parts of past conversations that the two of you used to have so that you know that he was paying attention to you and respects your opinions. Your former boyfriend wants you to know that you are worth him changing his behavior for now that the two of you are no longer an item, even though he made no efforts to modify his past behavior when you were together.

8. He texts you to share good memories

When your ex-boyfriend starts blowing up your mobile phone with text messages about all the good times you two shared, it is a clear sign that he is not ready to let go of what you had. His texts are his way of proving to you that your relationship had value and that it is still worth fighting for. Him sending you pictures of the good times that you shared is his way of reminding you that things were not all terrible between you.

One day you may appreciate the memories of what the two of you shared in the past. You may even look at those pictures and smile with gratitude. But when you have decided to move on with your life, focusing on the past will not help. The man who you used to be with does not want to accept that things did not work out but you can help him to move on through your actions. The best thing to do is not engage with him any further when he brings up the past.

9. He praises you to anyone who will listen

Usually, when two people break up, they do not have much to say about each other. When your ex-boyfriend makes it clear to you and your mutual friends that he thinks you walk on water, he is trying to let you know that he still holds you in high regard.

While it is not necessary for exes to trash-talk to each other, constantly talking about someone you are no longer involved with demonstrates a fixation on that person. The fact that your former boyfriend is talking about you all the time is proof that he’s still thinking about you and may want to get back together.

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10. He takes responsibility for the breakup

stressed man after breakup

Throughout my life, I have found it rare to meet people who admit the mistakes that they made in their relationships. In most cases, most of the blame is directed at the other person. There is nothing wrong with your ex taking responsibility for his part in your breakup. You might find it to be a huge relief that he can readily admit where things went wrong.

However, your ex’s willingness to admit his fault might be his way of letting you know that he would like to try to rekindle your former relationship now he understands why things did not work out. Instead of coming right out and telling you this, your ex may be going about it differently by admitting his past mistakes, hoping that he will entice you to consider giving him another chance.

11. He seems very depressed that the breakup happened

Feeling sad about a breakup is extremely normal. Most people experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression to some degree after splitting up with a partner. These emotions are common, however good or bad the relationship was. Sometimes both partners agree that the relationship comes to an end, but either or both of them will usually feel sad about it.

Separating from a partner who was a huge part of your life for a long time can feel like going through withdrawals from an addiction. One minute he was there, the next he is gone, and it can take time for the brain to adjust to him not being with you. Feeling very low and lonely for a few days or even weeks after a breakup is a normal part of the process, and so is having occasional memories of your time together and feeling a little emotional. However, if it has been a while since the breakup and he is still displaying symptoms of grief or losing interest in life, this is a sign that he’s still not over you.

12. He still acts protective towards you

Being protective is a human instinct, and is usually a good thing. This can be even more common in men towards women, as men are often expected by society to play this role of “the hero.” When you were together, this was probably a good sign. After all, everyone wants to feel safe and secure, especially with their partner. Even after breaking up, he may still feel the need to know that you are doing okay in life—after all, the two of you built a bond, and that doesn’t just disappear instantly.

When the hero instinct goes too far, it can become a problem. Your ex seems to want constant reassurance from you or others that you are doing fine, to the point where he cannot move on. It is normal for your ex to want you to be safe, but if his hero instinct takes over and he still feels in charge of protecting you, this means you are still important to him.

Your ex seems to want constant reassurance from you or others that you are doing fine, to the point where he cannot move on. Click To Tweet

13. He happens to bump into you often

If you and your ex live close together, share the same friends or workplace, or frequented the same bars even before you were dating, it will not be surprising that you may bump into each other after the breakup.

However, if you start to see him often in places that he has no reason to be, he may still be fixated on you and the idea of getting back together. He may act surprised when he “bumps into” you when he has actually engineered the situation but won’t admit it. He may be doing this because he wants you back and hopes that you seeing him may rekindle your feelings, or that the two of you may up in a conversation where he can convince you to give your relationship another chance. There’s nothing wrong with a guy hoping to get back together, and if you want that too, then great! What is not okay is stalking someone.

14. He did not want to break up

It makes sense that a guy who never wanted your relationship to end in the first place might want to get back together with you as soon as possible. Think back to the breakup—did he try to convince you to stay with him? Even if he respected your choice (as he should do) and accepted your decision to leave, a lot of guys will straight away be thinking of how they might be able to change your mind.

Of course, just because he wanted you to stay at the time this doesn’t necessarily mean that your ex wants you back now that some time has passed. He may well have moved on himself and accepted with hindsight that the relationship ended for the best. However, if you notice other signs on this list in combination with this, getting back together is likely his goal.

15. His body language still shows his attraction

nervous guy

It isn’t always possible for every couple that breaks up to cut all contact with each other. You may work in the same place, have many mutual friends you both see at social events, or even have a child together and share custody. The point is—there are many situations in which you and your ex might be in the same room. If you end up in a conversation with him, he probably won’t admit that he wants you back. However, body language can reveal a lot about people’s emotions and motivations.

If he acts physically nervous, such as blushing or avoiding eye contact, he may be self-conscious and trying to hide the fact he misses your relationship. He may go the other way and overcompensate by trying to act overconfident, such as puffing his chest out or leaning away like he hasn’t even noticed you. Not every guy does the same things when attracted to women, but if his body language noticeably changes in any way when you show up, this is a sign.

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16. He answers messages straight away

There are plenty of reasons why you may still send texts, emails, or social media messages to your ex. You may need to arrange things like returning personal possessions, or you may have decided to stay friends even though you have broken up. One of the common signs that he may want you back is that he will text you back straight away after you message him. This might mean that he is waiting by his phone, hoping that you will get in touch with him and is ready to spring into action if you do.

Another thing to look out for is the content of his replies. If he replies with simple answers like “yes” or “no,” he is likely just replying to your message to avoid ignoring you. He probably doesn’t want to get involved in an actual conversation. If he answers in detail, includes lots of emojis, or tries to take the conversation in more personal directions, he may still be into you.

17. He shows interest in your dating life

While there are examples of former couples who stay friends and wish each other success dating other people, this is not always the case. If he asks you out of the blue if you are seeing anybody new, or finds a way to get it into conversations, this might be on his mind. He might simply want reassurance for his own ego that you haven’t moved on “too quickly.” On the other hand, he might want to make sure that you are still single because he plans to win you back.

If your ex-boyfriend still has feelings for you, he may show signs of jealousy if you mention other guys or if he senses a potential rival. He won’t necessarily always display his jealousy openly. If he is scared of his feelings for you, he may try to hide his jealousy.

18. His behavior changes when you date someone new

If your ex’s behavior changes suddenly when you start dating someone else, this is one of the clearest signs that he wants you back. Changes in behavior usually happen in one of two ways, depending on your ex’s particular personality. The first way is that he goes from keeping his distance from you to talking to you more frequently, finding excuses to text you, or otherwise get your attention. Did he just happen to pop up in your Facebook messages shortly after you post a new relationship status to social media, after radio silence for weeks or months? This could be a sign that he has suddenly realized how much he misses you now that you have moved on.

The second way your ex might suddenly change is the opposite. One of the signs he’s still in love with you is if he keeps contact after the breakup but goes silent as soon as you get a new boyfriend. If this happens, he may have been secretly wanting you to get back with him the whole time and has now given up on that. Perhaps he doesn’t want to interact with you while knowing that you are dating someone else because it is too emotionally painful for him.

If your ex's behavior changes suddenly when you start dating someone else, this is one of the clearest signs that he wants you back. Click To Tweet

19. He stays single for a long time

Staying single for a certain time following a breakup is highly recommended for a few reasons. Many people who have been in a long relationship have forgotten how to care for themselves, be independent, and enjoy their own company. Taking time to relearn these skills rather than rushing into a new relationship just to avoid loneliness can be hugely beneficial. You may also need time to emotionally process the loss that comes with a breakup, so you can enter your next relationship when you are ready.

Most of us will eventually get back into the dating scene before too long. This period will vary based on the person and any other goals they are focusing on, but remaining single deliberately for longer than a year is less common. Plenty of guys prefer the bachelor lifestyle after a breakup. However, if your ex is still alone despite having always loved a female company, it could mean you still hold a special place in his heart.

20. He wants to meet up

Of course, if your ex asks you out on a “date,” he obviously wants you back. However, most guys won’t be that straightforward. Many men (and women too, for that matter!) suggest meeting up with their ex after a certain amount of time apart. This can be a healthy thing and even help to give both of you a sense of closure. When I was in college, I agreed to meet an ex for coffee after being separated for a year. We stayed friends, and both appreciated knowing that the other was doing well in life.

While this meetup was a good choice, this is not always the case for everyone. A friend of mine reluctantly agreed to meet her ex so that he could return her possessions she had left at his apartment. He poured a glass of wine, and within half an hour, he was pouring his heart out, begging her to take him back. Be wary of hidden motives if your ex wants to meet up.

If you have been missing him and waiting for signs your ex will eventually come back, noticing him doing more than a couple of these things could be a positive signal. However, you may have moved on and wanted him to do the same. If you have the opportunity to reunite with your ex, only you can decide if this is the right choice for you. While some relationships may be worth a second chance, others are better left in the past. Whatever you decide to do, make sure not to allow your ex to play mind games with you. When a man is serious about reconnecting with you, he needs to approach you with humbleness and honesty. You will feel better about reconnecting when he is willing to face his fears and is honest about his desires to rekindle the relationship that the two of you once shared.

Akua is a Canadian born and raised girl with Caribbean roots. She is a journalist, actress, music teacher, performer, owner and marketer of 3 worldwide dating websites, as well as an independent Pure Romance business owner selling passion products for singles and couples.

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