Whether you broke up last week or last year, if your ex still isn’t over you there’s certainly going to be some subtle (and obvious) signals that they’re still in love with you.
Maybe you’ve picked up on some of these hints already, or you’re simply confused by their hot and cold behavior towards you.
Either way, we’re going to uncover whether they actually are over you or they’re just pretending to be, and then what you can do about it going forward.
But first, let’s look into an important factor that will help you understand your ex’s behavior better:
Why do people break up in the first place?
There’s nothing worse than breaking up with someone you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with.
You’re hurt, disappointed and suddenly thrown back into the world but now single and trying to find your feet.
And on top of that, your ex is still there in the background, sending mixed signals and making you unsure of how they feel.
It’s so much for one person to take in, but keep calm and let’s get to the bottom of whether your ex is truly over you or not.
But before we get to the all-important signs, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at the reasons why people break up in the first place.
Here are some of the most common causes according to psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith:
- One or both partners have cheated (this includes emotional and physical infidelity)
- Addiction and bad habits like drugs or gambling put a strain on the relationship
- A lack of communication with each other
- Using your partner to take out all your anger and frustration even if it’s not their fault
- Being dishonest with your partner
- Giving up and simply drifting apart
Of course, there are thousands of reasons why people break up, but many of these cases usually fall under one of these categories.
So why did you break up?
Did you hurt them and they’re struggling to move on from it? Or did they hurt you and now they’re regretting it?
Or did you both agree to go your separate ways and now it appears your ex is having second thoughts?
So with the cause of your separation in mind, let’s take a look at some of the signs that you’re ex hasn’t moved on but is doing their best to disguise it:
Signs your ex is pretending to be over you
1) They keep talking to you
For most people, a break up signifies the start of literally taking a long break from each other.
Even if you end up being friends in the future, it’s usually a good idea to have some time apart to lick your wounds, pick yourself back up and move on.
Or so you would think.
The ex that still talks to you regularly is not over you.
In fact, they’re so “not” over you that they can’t even bear the thought of not texting or calling regularly.
Maybe they do it under the pretense of being “friends” but come on, even your actual friends aren’t that desperate to talk every day.
So if your ex still texts asking how your day has been or calls you up just to talk about the weather, regardless of the excuses they give, they’ve not moved on yet.
2) They find and invent reasons to meet up
Your ex calls you up and wants to meet for a coffee, they claim to have something important to tell you.
You go, but suddenly that all-important reason to meet is forgotten and you end up chatting for a few hours before parting ways.
A week later, they need to see you because they “accidentally” left something at yours.
The following week it’s another excuse.
You see where I’m going here…
Your ex will do and say anything that gives them a reason to see you, and instead of just confessing that they’re not over you, they’ll keep making up silly excuses just to meet up.
3) They stalk your social media
The truth is, social media stalking can happen even when you are over your ex.
We all get curious from time to time and have a little nosey to see what they’re up to in life, but the key here is doing it very occasionally.
If they’re constantly viewing your Instagram stories or liking your Facebook posts, it’s a sign they’re obsessively checking on you.
And most times, they’ll be secretly checking on you – I’ve known ex’s to even make fake accounts just to secretly keep an eye on me (so watch out for those dodgy accounts with no pictures or friends in common).
4) They try to make you jealous
Or maybe they use social media to make you jealous.
If you’re still friends with each other and your ex is suddenly having the time of their life, posting pictures of crazy nights out and “good times”, you can be sure that it’s all aimed for you to see.
Even more obvious is when they physically try to flaunt their new life or partner in your face.
Suddenly they eat at your favorite restaurant all the time or insist on going for coffee near your workplace.
It might even seem at times like they’re intentionally placing themselves in your way, and that leads to our next point…
5) You randomly keep bumping into each other
It’s no coincidence that wherever you go, your ex magically appears.
They know where you hang out and instead of avoiding those places and giving you space, they’re frequent fans (even if they didn’t have much interest in going there before).
So why do they keep popping up unexpectedly?
Well, it’s the ideal situation for them to make it look like it’s an accident…a mere coincidence.
And, it’s a way for them to keep seeing you and if they’re trying to make you jealous, they’ll always look their best or be showing off a new partner.
6) They shout from the rooftops how much they’re over you
Another classic sign that they’re just pretending to be over you is when they overdo their whole “moving on” act.
Instead of quietly moving on with life and not worrying about what you think (like people who are moving on do) they’ll be as loud and in your face about it as possible.
They’ll plaster it all over social media.
Everyone in your friend’s circle will hear about it.
Even the local barrister knows and tells you about how well your ex is doing and how they’ve “found themselves” now that you’ve broken up.
But the truth is, they’re overcompensating and putting on a show because they can’t deal with the fact that they’re struggling to let go of you and the relationship.
If they were truly over you, they wouldn’t even be thinking about broadcasting it – they’d simply be getting on with their life.
7) Your ex is suddenly best pals with your friends
So, forget the fact that your ex couldn’t stand your best friends before, now all of a sudden they’re good chums and he/she has a newfound respect for them.
It’s pretty convenient, right?
The time you break up is when they suddenly realize how much they want to get to know your colleagues or close friends, talk about timing.
When this happens, it’s most likely one (or all) of these three reasons:
- They’re using your friends to get information about you
- They want your friends to pass the information on to you about them
- They think that your friends might take their side and convince you to take them back one day
Most exes who are trying to move on would avoid associating with anyone you’re close to unless they were already friends prior to the breakup.
8) They’ve always got plenty of questions for you
Do you find that your ex wants to know everything from what you ate last night to who the guy/girl was that you were seen with last weekend?
Even though it’s none of their business anymore, an ex pretending to be over you will be insanely nosey and want to know your every move.
The truth is:
Truly being over someone means that their life/actions/feelings don’t have an impact on us anymore.
We may still care about them, that’s natural, but their lives aren’t entwined with ours anymore.
Whether they meet someone new, change careers, or dye their hair blue, it’s not important anymore for the person who’s moved on in life.
So if they’re caught up in knowing your business 24/7, it’s because they’re still secretly holding on and they can’t let go.
9) They’re overly friendly when you meet up
And this inability to let go will be especially clear when you have to see each other.
Whether you’ve met to talk about the kids or you both have to attend the same meeting (maybe your ex is a colleague?) they’ll be extremely friendly with you.
Now that’s not to say that an ex who has moved on can’t be nice, but if they overdo it there’s a good chance that they’re holding on to hope.
Look out for body language as well:
- They keep touching you, even if it’s just a hand on your arm or shoulder
- They tend to always sit right next to you or as close as possible
- You catch them looking at you and then quickly looking away
- They might play with their face/hair or keep wringing their hands together nervously
You see, even if the other signs aren’t as clear, body language is always a massive giveaway to how someone feels, so keep your eyes peeled the next time you have to meet.
10) They always reminisce on the past
If you and your ex are still in touch and they always bring up stuff from the past, it could signal that they miss the good old times and want them back.
They might bring up fond memories of holidays or special anniversaries, or even old arguments that you used to have.
In some ways, they’re searching for that feeling of familiarity and comfort with you by sparking an old conversation or memory.
And anything that makes them feel like they did when you were together might trigger an emotional response like regret or longing in you too (or so they hope, anyway).
11) They won’t give back your stuff (or pick up theirs)
Have you been hanging on to your ex’s sweaters for what seems like an eternity and every time they agree to pick them up, something comes up?
Or, when you try to get your stuff back from their place, they never seem to be around (even though you know they work from home and can see their car parked out front).
Whatever excuses they give you, it’s just another obvious sign that they aren’t really over you and they’re using this as a reason to keep in touch.
You see, once you pick up their stuff or they collect theirs, there’s probably not much of a reason to see each other again unless you have kids together or work together.
And even then, there’s the sentimental factor – maybe keeping your favorite jumper or CD comforts them when they miss you (which they clearly do if they’re hanging on to your stuff).
12) Their new partner has an intense hatred for you
So, your ex has a new partner and for some reason, they act as if you’ve personally wronged them, even if you’ve never exchanged so much as a “hello”.
It seems a little crazy right?
But, if you think about it, if your ex hasn’t moved on from you, there’s a good chance their new partner has picked up on it and feels threatened by you.
They’ll make you enemy number one just because they feel that they can’t compete with the memory of you, and every time your ex mentions your name their hatred increases.
As you know (or could imagine) it’s not a pretty situation to be in.
But ultimately, it shows that even though your ex is pretending to be over you – they’re not doing a very good job of it hiding it.
13) You get drunk texts from them
As the old saying goes, “a drunk mind speaks a sober heart”.
So why does your ex insist on drunk texting or calling you every single time they go out?
Well, it’s because alcohol has a way of making us push the boundaries and lose our inhibitions – they’re not nervous to text you anymore.
Suddenly, they feel bold and confident and their poor drunken mind convinces them that calling you up at 3 am is a great idea.
And even though you might receive a very humble, sober apology the next morning, they won’t be able to deny the fact that you’re still the person they think of when they’re drunk.
A most certain sign that their heart hasn’t moved on.
14) They always want to talk about the breakup
Another way to tell that your ex is pretending to be over you is if they insist on rehashing all the reasons you split up in the first place.
Even if they were the ones to leave you, they’ll keep going over the reasons why.
I wouldn’t blame you for wondering why they can’t let it go.
But the truth is, they’re hoping that one day the outcome of these arguments will be different…maybe it’ll even lead to you getting back together.
So, if your ex keeps going over the same argument time and time again, it’s unlikely that it’s simply just to get “closure” on the situation.
15) They get jealous when you start dating new people
Even though your ex deems it okay to flaunt their new relationship in your face, the tables suddenly turn when you begin seeing someone new.
In some cases, they’ll act cool about it but you’ll hear whispers through the grapevine that they’ve been asking friends for details on your new partner.
Other times, they’ll be obvious about their jealousy, even to the point of texting you or demanding to know what you see in this new love interest.
Either way, jealousy is a massive indicator that they haven’t moved on, and certainly that they’re not ready to see you in a relationship with anyone else.
16) Their moods are up and down
Does your ex go from hot to cold with no obvious reason why?
Do they (randomly) go from being super sweet and friendly to suddenly acting like they hate your guts?
These mood swings are caused by the inner conflict they’re dealing with – on one hand, they want to keep up the image of being over you, yet a part of them desperately wants you back.
17) They start behaving out of character
And the way they are around you probably isn’t the only thing that seems strange.
All of a sudden, your once quiet, chill-at-home ex is now partying seven nights a week and has a newfound love for techno music (total opposite of what they used to like).
This new and exciting version of them is most likely just a way to distract from the reality that they haven’t moved on and that they don’t want to.
The brutal truth is:
It’s much easier to put on an act and pretend that life is great instead of being truthful, so your ex will do everything possible to continue this front.
But in reality, most people don’t suddenly “find themselves” or get a new lease on life immediately after a break-up.
It takes time and healing before true change can take place, so if he or she is acting like they’re living life to the max, it’s a good sign that they are just covering up their true feelings.
18) They get nasty
For one reason or another, if your ex starts acting extremely hostile or angrily towards you, it’s a big indicator that they’re still harboring feelings.
Because if you’re truly over someone, you don’t feel the need to lash out at them constantly or verbally abuse them.
But in some cases, if your ex can’t contain their frustration they’ll turn nasty and say or do things just to make you feel as miserable as they do.
Even if you thought things had ended on good terms, it’s always a possibility that they get so mad at you because they still love you (which still doesn’t excuse their abusive behavior).
19) They can’t keep their eyes off you
To catch your ex staring at you you’d first have to spend time with them.
But even if you do happen to just bump into each other briefly, the way they look at you can reveal a lot.
If they keep their gaze averted and they’re more interested in the pigeon strutting around rather than you, then it’s an indicator that they’re uncomfortable.
But if they maintain eye contact or even check out what you’re wearing, it could be a sign of longing.
And if you happen to be in the same bar or restaurant and notice your ex there too, if they’re sneaking glances across the room then it’s quite obvious that you being there is affecting them.
20) They act like you’re still together
Your relationship is over, your ex acts like they’ve moved on, but in reality, they’re still coming around or calling you up and acting as if you’re still a couple.
Need a hand with something? They’ll be there straight away.
Going to the doctor? Somehow they end up coming along and offering support.
They need a shoulder to cry on? They’ll call you at random hours of the day and night.
You might have even brought up the subject of them still being so present in your life, but they brush it off as being friends or not wanting to lose you completely.
They’ll say that they’ve completely moved on, yet their actions tell a different story.
So with all these points in mind, there’s one very important question that you need to consider…
Do you want to get back with your ex?
Your feelings are up in the air, and even though you probably broke up for good reasons there’s still a part of you that cares for them.
Maybe you’ve worked hard to move on, but their subtle and not so subtle signs have kept them on your mind, and now you’re questioning whether you should give them another chance or not.
On the other hand, maybe you’re still in love with your ex, and reading these signs has made your heart race and your imagination spiral.
And the final option is that you’ve completely moved on and you don’t want to encourage their behavior.
You want nothing more to do with them, and you’re sick of them popping up at your favorite hang out spots.
So let’s look into these three scenarios in a bit more detail:
Option 1 – There’s still hope but you’re not sure
If you have genuinely tried to move on but now that you know your ex is still interested, it’s sparked some curiosity in you, you’ve got some difficult decisions to make.
But I’d suggest mulling these questions over first:
- Am I feeling interested again just because I’m lonely?
- Do I want to take them back just because I feel bad for them?
- Have I given myself enough time to move on from them?
I can’t say what the right choice is for you, because only you know why your relationship ended in the first place and whether you genuinely want to move on from it.
But there’s also the possibility that you’re considering taking them back because, let’s face it, the aftermath of a break-up is tough.
You’re craving a bit of familiarity and comfort, but that’s not to say the relationship will be any better the second time around.
Option 2 – You’re not over them either
If this is the case – you’ve been dying to get back together and now you’ve got the signs that they’re still not over you – great!
Instead of playing this secret game with each other where you both pretend to have moved on but you’re still harboring deep feelings, be open and honest with your ex.
With a bit of reflection and time apart, you might both have the clarity you need to make the relationship successful the second time around.
Option 3 – you want nothing more to do with them
I get it – you’ve moved on with your life and you just wish they’d do the same.
I had this exact situation with an ex a few years ago.
He pretty much fell under most of the signs that I’ve listed, all under the pretense of being “friends”.
But I soon started to realize that he hadn’t moved on and all of it was a subtle way to win me back.
I had a choice to make, but being firm in the fact that I didn’t want to get back together made my life much easier.
Of course, the conversation with him wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.
So if you’re in the same situation, don’t wait around to give them more hope or prolong the situation.
I eventually had to explain that I wouldn’t be in touch anymore because he needed to try and move on without me around…and that in the future we can see about being friends.
And you should do the same – especially if it’s so obvious that your current arrangement with your ex isn’t working out and you’re both on different paths.
Have the tough conversation once and after that, you’ll know you’ve made your intentions clear.
But for now, let’s loop back to option one and two – you’re considering getting back together, but how do you know it’s worth it?
Can your relationship even work out the second time around?
It absolutely can…but not without a lot of hard work and commitment.
The bottom line is:
You can’t go back into the relationship and both behave the same way as before.
Some major changes are needed, and just because you might feel all caught up in love and bliss now that you’re reunited, it doesn’t mean your previous problems have melted away.
Growth needs to take place in both of you, and the issues that caused you to break up in the first place should be worked through.
Here are some tips to make the process successful:
- Don’t rush into anything
- Learn to forgive each other for your past mistakes and start a clean slate
- But also make sure you’ve both learned from your behavior the first time around
- Set goals together and individually and support each other to work towards them
- Don’t forget to add plenty of spark and life to your relationship – many people fall straight back into their comfortable old routine
- Seek counseling if you feel that it would help you both work through your issues (consider doing this before you even get back together)
Ultimately, whether you broke up over a misunderstanding or something serious happened that hurt one or both of you, you can recover from it.
But it won’t be easy and you’ll both have to make an incredible effort to make it work again.
If you do manage to do it though, what an amazing feeling to know that your love overcame your issues and that you’re both able to make the necessary changes just to be together.
Because let’s face it, love isn’t black and white.
It’s always evolving and changing, as are we…so if it didn’t work out the first time, maybe you both just needed time to mature and then come back together even stronger.
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