12 signs your ex secretly misses you (and what to do next!)

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Breakups are challenging to process. It can be an awful mix of feelings. You might be feeling rejected, lost, confused, hurt, and at the same time, still in love with your ex. 

Before you let your thoughts and emotions run wild, act out in panic, or spiral into a pit of despair, take a moment to pause, step back, and look at your new situation.

Right after a breakup, it can be difficult to tell if the split is final or if you and your ex might reconnect

Experts in the field of relationships and psychology have pointed out some clear signs your ex will show if they still care for you and miss you. Once you understand what’s going on, it will be easier to proceed with your ex. 

So let’s get started. Here are 12 signs that your ex does miss you.

1) Random contact

“Hey, look at this funny meme.” 

“Hiya! What was the name of that book you recommended on rock climbing again?”

“Did I leave my sweater at your place?”

If your ex is contacting you for all kinds of random reasons and making excuses to talk to you, it’s a sign that they are still thinking about you. Your ex could ask someone else, but you are still their go-to person. 

They might write texts that warrant a reply and keep interacting with you up after the breakup. 

But be careful. It could just be an old habit. They might be making contact because they are used to communicating with you. So you should not read too deeply between the lines.

If you notice that your ex is finding more and more reasons to chat with you and they eventually make requests to try to meet up with you, they may be looking to reconnect with you.

If you have no intention of meeting your ex again and find their texts are becoming annoying or ridiculous, it’s a good idea to ask them what they want.

Otherwise, you can let the events unfold and see what they have in mind when you meet up and spend more time in person. 

2) They constantly ask about you

Once your ex is out of your life, it’s hard to find ways to stay connected. If they miss you, they will go out of their way to find out how you are. 

If they still ask your mutual friends or acquaintances how you are, it is an indication that they might be more invested in you than you think.

When your ex genuinely wants to know what you are up to and how you are doing, they are not just being polite and friendly. They are expressing a real curiosity to know how you are. 

3) They stalk you on social media

Your ex might spend a lot of time going through your online presence. You might notice that they are watching your stories on social media. Or that they like a photo of you from years ago on a feed. 

On the surface, they might pretend to be over you, but use your social media as a window to look into your daily life. It means they still miss you and haven’t fully let go. 

4) They show off their new “person” and make sure you’re aware of it

An ex who is feeling hurt and bitter might go out of their way to show you that you are replaced. 

If they appear with a date and flaunt their new arm candy at a party or gathering in front of you, something is up. 

Making a big fuss and showing off with someone else, actually reveals that your ex is probably not over you. 

5) They make sure that the whole internet knows they’re single

Similarly, if your old flame is posting photos and messages that scream: “I’m single and available,” there’s a big chance that the very person they want to be with is you.

They may pretend they are over you by loudly declaring their new life and singlehood, but a part of them knows they’ll always be available should you send a message. 

They are likely sad, grieving your loss, and trying to make you see what you’re missing. 

If your ex misses you, they will find creative ways to broadcast and showcase their life to get your attention. 

6) They block and unblock you 

When you first break up, your ex might block you on social media and delete you as a contact on their phone. 

At first, it can feel as though they are taking steps to forget about you and move on. 

However, you can be unblocked for a few days or weeks, and then notice that their profile photo returns in your list of contacts. 

Your ex might be toggling back and forth because they miss you and are struggling with their decision. 

A permanent block is a clear sign that they are firm in their decision and don’t want to rekindle anything with you. 

7) They send drunks texts or calls 

If your ex contacts you late at night when they are out at a club or bar after they’ve had one too many drinks, you can bet that they’re not over you. 

Alcohol lowers inhibitions. When your ex is feeling inhibited, they will say and do things they normally wouldn’t do.

If you are the first person they text when they’ve been drinking, something’s up. Or if they drunk dial you because they need your help getting home, they are looking for a reason to be around you again. 

According to breakup coach Chelsea Leigh Trescott, “When their defenses are down, (thank you alcohol), any emotions they’ve been suppressing and actions they’ve resisted taking are likely to rise to the top and feel like priorities that must be engaged.”

“Because people are more impulsive when they drink, any actions that are taken while under the influence are often pursued because the person is looking for emotional relief.”

Just keep in mind, similar to sending random texts, your ex could be reaching out because: 

  • They still have feelings for you
  • They are fighting to understand what they want
  • They are bored
  • They want to feel important and wanted
  • They want to feel 
  • They want a booty call

Remember, you don’t need to respond immediately. It might be worth the wait to see how they approach you in time, with a more clear mindset. 

8) They frequently bump into you 

Coincidences are possible in life, but take notice if you spot your ex consistently. After spending time together, your ex will know your typical schedule and where you like to hang out. 

If your ex keeps showing up at parties, outside your gym, and at your favorite cafe, pay attention. They are making their presence felt. 

Your ex might be feeling miserable and miss you desperately. Finding ways to run into you shows that they want to stay in your life. 

If your ex was over you, they probably wouldn’t want to see you. They would probably avoid places that you go to or that the two of you went to together. 

Running into our ex can make us feel anything from floods of panic and hostility to deep feelings of gratitude and happiness. So, try to keep your interactions happy and positive, short and light, until you know how invested you want to become with your ex again. 

9) Your ex tries to talk to you and hang out as friends

Right after the breakup, if your ex tells you that you can be friends, it’s probably not true right away. It can mean that he or she misses you, is feeling confused or is not quite ready to let you go. 

All couples need time apart to heal before they can transition into being friends. And it can be difficult but also possible to transition into a different type of relationship with your ex. 

Relationship expert Ester Perel reminds us that it’s normal to want to stay friends with your ex. But keeping you on the sidelines as a ‘friend’ can mean they still haven’t let go and could rekindle a romantic relationship with you at some point. 

10) They start nostalgic conversations

If you are still in touch with your ex, a straightforward sign that they still think about you and miss you is nostalgia. 

Think about how you converse with a friend. Usually, each conversation is new and progressive. You might reminisce sometimes about great memories or trips together, but the majority of your interactions are in the moment and not too reflective. 

So, when your ex brings up happy memories that you both shared, they are still caught in memories of your past romance together. 

It’s a clear sign that they are thinking fondly of you and your time together. They are letting you know that you still mean a great deal to them. They aren’t yet moving on from you, and aren’t quite ready to admit it to you. 

11) They admit regret and ask for forgiveness

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

– Catherine Ponder

If your ex has reflected on your relationship and thought about all the ways it went sour, they may be admitting regret for the way things turned out. 

An ex who has moved on from a breakup wouldn’t discuss the past. What’s the point of re-hashing issues without any reason?

Your ex may find reasons to get a sense of closure to what happened, show dramatic gestures, discuss how they would handle things differently, or apologize and explain how they changed so that you can reconcile. 

They are likely missing you and looking for a way to try again. 

12) They display grand gestures

It might not seem so secret, but if your ex is making grand gestures to display their affection, they are certainly missing you. Your ex might send flowers, leave a letter at your door, drive hours to come and see you, and whisk you away on a date. 

According to neurologist Helen Fisher, right after a breakup, the rejected party goes into a “protest” phase, where they become obsessed with winning back the person who calls it quits.

“After rejection, you don’t stop loving that person; in fact, you can love that person even more. The major brain region associated with addiction is active,” Fisher says.

The rejected lover experiences higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are linked to higher stress levels and the urge to call for help

After a breakup, with high emotions, some spurned people resort to dramatic gestures to get back together with the object of their desire. If you want to know if your ex misses you, wait some time and see how they act after a month when these hormone levels have shifted again. 

“So my ex misses me, now what?”: Should you give your relationship another chance? 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Regardless of whether you give your romantic relationship a second chance or transform your relationship with your ex into a friendship, there are some fundamental qualities that you need to make a relationship work. 

You will both have to continue to build a strong foundation of trust, respect, vulnerability, support, compassion, and stability with one another. 

Have you considered some of the following 5 tips for rekindling a romantic relationship?

1) Did you give yourself enough time away from one another? 

Before you try to fix anything or jump back into a relationship with your ex, Relationship expert Ester Perel reminds us that breakups hurt

Have you given yourself time to feel the pain, and process your experiences and emotions?

It can be easy to reach out and return to our ex because we want them to make us feel better. 

Our ex can easily give us the validation and affection that we now lack and miss.  

But Perel tells us to think of a breakup the way you would a wound:

“It requires time and TLC to heal. But eventually, there comes a day when you peel back the bandage and it’s gone — the pain you once felt is just a memory.” 

It’s important to give yourself time and space to mourn the loss of what you once shared with your ex. This will bring up other pain and hurt from previous relationships and can teach us a great deal about ourselves and how we love. 

Some time for reflection will give you the chance to gain new insights into what happened with your ex: the good, the bad, and the ulgy. 

With more insights, you can move forward with fresh ideas for how to relate and understand one another. 

2) Is compatibility still there between you two?

Did you ask yourself if you miss being in a relationship or do you miss your ex? 

One way to do this is to date other people after the break up. 

Have you come to realize that your ex is truly special and that you connect in a way that uplifts you, motivates you, inspires you, and makes your heart soar? 

Do you do the same for your ex? 

After the breakup, how do you feel around your ex? Do you feel natural and comfortable in front of them, even though you’ve been through some pain and hurt together? Are you able to talk openly about how you feel and to listen to what your ex is communicating to you as well? 

If the compatibility is still there, you can easily get closer with your ex because you can both be honest and open about your experiences. 

You feel accepted the way you are, and you still accept your ex to be as they are. You aren’t trying to force or change one another. 

Being compatible means you can authentically engage in new experiences with one another, being ever curious and supportive of one another. 

3) Are you both willing to work on your issues?

“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.”

– Emma Goldman

It’s wild to think that all issues in a relationship we have with our partner can be quickly fixed. 

This is not the case. There will always be conflict and challenges to explore together.

If you are both willing to look at, discuss, and give continuous energy to get to know each other more deeply, then you have a solid base to rebuild. Have you considered the following: 

  • Are your communication gaps in the relationship mendable?
  • Are you looking at ways to approach and understand your underlying fears and issues? 
  • Are there deeper trust issues that you need to look at together? 
  • Are your attachment styles supportive of one another? 
  • Are you looking for new resources and tools to improve the way that you love and care for one another?

4) Are you ready to learn and grow?

It is possible to let go of a relationship without forgetting or devaluing it. 

The mourning process includes processing loss, but it also involves celebrating what once was

The relationship you both had was an experience that is now in the past. It’s important to celebrate it and learn from it. 

Relationships aren’t about winning. 

Do you want to be right? Or do you want to gain understanding and love more deeply? 

To relate with someone, you both need to make some compromises along the way, to let go of resentment and grudges, to be open to a new and unexpected possibility together. 

Are you and your ex ready to do that? 

5) Have you inquired about your underlying beliefs? 

Byron Katie reminds us of the importance of questioning our thoughts and beliefs in our life, and especially in our relationships, “The more clearly you realize that would have, could have, should have are just unquestioned thoughts, the more you can appreciate the value of that apparent mistake and what it produced.”

Have you looked into how you think about relationships and what you expect from your ex? Or are you looking at how your ex actually is? 

It’s important to look at the deeper underlying beliefs that you have about relationships. 

For example:

  • Do you believe that your ex should only be attracted to you? 
  • Do you think you should be with your ex forever?
  • Do you believe that your ex should care about you in a certain way? 

It’s easy to fit someone into a story of who we think they are or who we believe them to be. 

Are you superimposing your thinking onto reality? 

Or are you open to experiencing your ex in the present moment, exactly as they are?

Navigating life after a breakup is like jumping on a roller coaster. It’s going to be a ride full of emotions, longing, desire and torment.

As we make peace with our new situation, our thoughts, our emotions, and our beliefs, we open up to reality as it is. 

From here we can start to accept that we can get it all quite wrong. That people are here to show us more about ourselves and give us lessons in how to love better. 

Remember first and foremost to take care of yourself. To be kind. To let your wounds heal. To let understanding grow, and take it from there. 

Moving forward begins with love, always. 

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

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