Why is my ex testing me by ignoring me? 5 things you need to know

An ex ignoring you can mean several things. The first thought is that they genuinely don’t want to keep in touch anymore. 

But sometimes, when an ex secretly wants to get back together, the cold treatment is a way of checking to see if you feel the same.

So, if you’re wondering why your ex is testing you by ignoring you, check out these reasons:

1) They want to see your reaction

Many people assume that when an ex ignores them it’s because they’re finally moving on from the relationship and getting on with their lives. 

But that’s not always the case.

If they’re testing you by ignoring you, one of the main reasons is to see how you feel about them. 

Your ex will ignore you to elicit a reaction, especially if they still have feelings for you. On the surface, they act cool and unbothered, but inside they’re hoping you’ll beg them to speak to you.

They want you to experience what life would be like without them, and suddenly come to your senses and declare your feelings for them — depending on how dramatic and imaginative they are. 

But the truth is:

Ignoring is an easy way to get a rise out of someone. Why? 

Because the natural thing to do when you’re being ignored is to ask the person, “What’s wrong? Have I done something to upset you? Is everything okay?”.

Your ex is anticipating the same. It’s a clear signal for them that you still care about them. If you don’t reach out, they’ll assume it’s because you’ve moved on too and you don’t have feelings for them anymore.

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All in all, ignoring you every time you make contact can be a means of gaining your attention. Experts say that the ignoring technique works in getting back an ex

2) They’re testing your love and loyalty

If your ex is ignoring you, it may be a test to see how loyal you are, and whether you still love them or not. 

If you gave up trying to get in touch with them, moved on, and started seeing someone new, they’d know that you’re no longer loyal to them. 

This might sound a bit weird — you’re no longer together, right?

So technically you have no loyalty or commitment to them. But if they’ve still got feelings for you, chances are they’re hoping you feel the same way.

They’re secretly wishing that you’re not interested in anyone else because you too want things to go back to how they were.

And the same goes for seeing whether you still love them or not.

Earlier, we mentioned that your ex might ignore you to get a reaction out of you. Well, a reaction shows them that you love them despite the fact you’ve broken up.

The bottom line is:

Through their silence, they hope to figure out how you feel about them, and whether you’re leaving open the possibility of reigniting your relationship.

3) They want to see how persistent you are

Here’s the thing – we all liked being chased. 

It boosts our ego a little, makes us feel attractive and desired. There’s a chance this is the only reason your ex is ignoring you — not to test you, but to flatter themselves. 

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But on the other hand, they may want you to chase them because they want you back.

If they act hot and cold, sometimes being in touch and sometimes ignoring you, it’s a good indication that they enjoy the chase.

The periods where they grow quiet on you, deep down they’re waiting to see how much you insist on getting in touch. They get a kick of satisfaction whenever you go out of your way to get through to them.

If you want your ex back too, you might play along with this chase for a little while. But know that in the long run, it isn’t healthy.

But as we mentioned, this could also be nothing more than an ego trip for your ex, in which case you certainly don’t want to be used just to fuel their fire.

4) They’re waiting to see if you own up to your mistakes 

Be honest with yourself, are you partly (or mostly) to blame for the breakup of your relationship? 

Maybe you just grew apart naturally, or maybe your ex broke up with you out of the blue, in which case this might not apply to you.

But if you did something hurtful, or put your ex in a position where they felt they had to end the relationship, they could be ignoring you until you own up. 

Ignoring you is the equivalent of saying, “I’m not talking to you until you say sorry”. 

Maybe your ex thinks that giving you space and time will help you reflect on your role in the breakup.

Or, they’re making the point that they feel strongly that you were in the wrong, and they won’t compromise their self-dignity until you’ve taken responsibility.

Ultimately, the easiest way to find out is to admit to your mistakes (if you made them). Apologize sincerely, and be willing to talk things through. 

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But if you haven’t done anything wrong, and after deep reflection, you genuinely don’t feel you need to apologize, then don’t.

Stick to your guns and don’t be emotionally blackmailed into feeling bad for things you didn’t do.

5) They’re making you sweat a little 

And finally, your ex might be testing you by ignoring you, purely to make you sweat.

It’s a little bit cruel, but it’s also one of the oldest tricks in the book.

You see, your ex may have forgiven you for breaking their heart or for how the relationship ended, but they’re not ready to tell you that yet.

This could be that:

  • They’ve forgiven you, and want to get back together (once they’ve finished proving their point).
  • They’ve forgiven you, and they want to remain friends but when the time is right 

But ultimately, until they get back in touch they want to put you on edge, to give you time to think things through, and to make you appreciate when they do finally reach out.

So, we’ve got the main reasons why your ex is testing you by ignoring you covered, but what if they’re genuinely moving on and have no interest in keeping in touch?

Or, they’re still angry and hurt, and they’re taking it out on you with silence?

Other reasons why your ex may be ignoring you

1) They’re punishing you

Let’s face it, breakups can be nasty sometimes, and you may have exchanged harsh words in the heat of the moment.

If this happened, your ex might be ignoring you to punish you.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “What a childish approach!”, but believe me, more adults than you’d realize act this way when they’re lashing out.

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This is particularly true if your ex likes having their way in the relationship.

For example, if they used to give you the silent treatment until they got what they wanted while you were together, this might be something they’re doing now even though you’ve broken up.

But the truth is, being ignored is incredibly painful. Especially when it’s by someone you once had strong feelings about. It’s believed to:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Cause anxiety and depression in severe cases
  • Foster jealousy and resentment
  • Cause sadness

So, think carefully about how long you want to be punished for, and whether the sentence fits the crime! At some point, you might have to forgive yourself and move on, even if your ex never does. 

2) They’ve found love

As hard as this might be to take in, your ex might have found love and moved on.

Out of respect for their new partner, they might feel uncomfortable keeping in touch with you. Or, they’re so caught up in their new romance, they’ve not had time to get back to you.

It’s understandable if that’s painful to consider, especially if you had hopes of getting back together.

And granted, it would’ve been nice for your ex to have explained this. If you guys were in touch and they suddenly went cold, it’s unfair to leave you sitting in the dark.

Being honest is the harder route to take though, and that may be why your ex decided to quietly fall off the radar instead.

Ultimately though, you can’t blame your ex for moving on.

Instead of taking it to heart and feeling rejected, see it as the push you needed to move on yourself. Who knows, new love might be waiting around the corner for you too!

3) They’re confused about their feelings 

You may feel that “my ex has abandoned me and ignored me like they said they never would,” but they may be just confused right now.

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Going through a breakup can almost feel like a grieving period. Even if you’re willing to be in touch with your ex, the fact that you no longer play the same role in their life is a lot for them to deal with.

They might be angry, sad, relieved even, or scared of being alone. Chances are, they’re experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.

To be honest, it might be a good thing that they’ve taken a step back.

If you’re on the scene, you’re likely to face their emotional turbulence. Better that they heal with the support of their family and friends before trying to revive a friendship with you.

And the truth is:

Everyone needs space and time after a breakup. Those who remain in touch with their ex’s in the long, usually had a cooling period in which they both healed, and then came together again as friends.

4) They’re still in pain 

Have you ever wanted to stay away from a place, thing, or a person just because they bring back memories you’d rather keep in the archives?

Your ex might be going through the same, forcing them to ignore you.

If the breakup was particularly brutal, or your partner is still processing the pain of it, they might not feel comfortable being around you or talking to you.

It could be that they still have a lot of feelings towards you, but they know getting back together isn’t the solution. So, to protect themselves they ignore you completely.

We all process heartbreak differently. While some move on quite quickly, others nurse their broken hearts for a long time before regaining the strength to move on.

And if you’re around, this might hinder their chances of getting over you. 

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On the other hand, if you did something terrible to them, the pain you’ve caused them might have pushed them to never speak to you again.

In this case, it’s best to respect their wishes, even if you’re genuinely sorry.

5) They’ve closed that chapter of their lives

And sometimes, your ex might be ignoring you because they’ve simply decided to let you go.

Maybe there are no hard feelings towards you. Maybe they’re at peace with what went down when you broke up.

But that doesn’t mean they still want to be a part of your life anymore (or you a part of theirs).

Many people decide not to keep in touch with an ex because they want to move forward. They want to leave the past in the past, with the door firmly shut behind them.

And even if that’s hurtful for you, it’s their right to choose who they talk to and who they don’t.

Maybe a time will come in the future where they’ll be more open to keeping in touch. Or maybe you’ll never hear from them again.

Ultimately, it’s their choice. Going against their wishes will only push them further away.

So, if you’re faced with any of the situations listed above, here’s what you can do about it:

What to do if your ex is ignoring you 

Regardless of whether your ex is testing you by ignoring you or they simply want to forget about you, there are various things you can do before giving up completely (that is, if you want to win them back or at least be friends with them):

  • First of all, back off. Don’t chase them, and definitely don’t pine after them.
  • Once you’ve given them sufficient time and space, reach out casually to see how they’re doing.
  • If they reply, take things slow. Don’t get intense too quickly, just keep the conversation light-hearted.
  • If they don’t reply, know when to give up! Don’t annoy them more by harassing them into speaking with you.

If they seem open to communicating, you might have a chance.

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Take your time and rebuild trust and communication slowly. You might not go back to how you were as a couple, but you can still create a relationship that works for both of you now.

And if they’re not interested in your attempts at all, maintain your self-respect, and let them get on with their lives.

The bottom line

As you can see, your ex may be testing you by ignoring you, but they could be behaving like this for other genuine reasons too. 

Based on your relationship, the way it ended, and your gut feeling, you’ll have to work out which applies to you. But know that if you do want to win your ex back, you may have to pander slightly to their tests (within reason, of course).

Be patient, give them time, and then try to get in touch.

But if that’s not the case and your ex wants to leave you in the past, don’t try to force something that’s never going to change. You can’t make them change their mind, and in doing so you’ll only increase tension and make yourself feel miserable.

So, put yourself first and focus on moving on with your life. If there’s any chance of speaking to your ex again, it’ll come with time and patience.

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