What Should I Do If My Ex Wants Me Back?

By: Corrina Horne

Updated June 26, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin

Ending a relationship with someone is typically devastating regardless of the reason. Even if you know that someone isn't a good match for you, by the time you break up, you have given a lot of time, energy, and love to the person and the relationship as a whole. We are all equipped with emotions and because of that, it can be really confusing when a relationship ends. Regardless of the reason, when we feel a strong connection to someone it's really easy to question whether ending the relationship was the right decision. Because of this, at some point in our lives, many of us are faced with the option of rekindling what we had with an ex-partner. The decision on whether or not to reunite with your ex requires careful consideration. You want to make sure that your decision is not based solely on emotion, but on rational thinking. Being in an unhealthy relationship can damage your self-esteem, trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety, and make future relationships difficult. It's important to make sure that you really think about your decision before leaping back in.

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Why Does My Ex Want Me Back?

There are many different reasons for couples to get back together. If your ex wants to get back together, you do not necessarily have to take action, but you might need to make a definitive decision about whether or not to get back together with your ex. In many cases, there are sincere reasons to get back together with an ex. These might include:

1) Familiarity. Couples often get back together out of simple familiarity. When you spend any significant portion of your life with someone, you develop an attachment to them. Familiarity is one of the best ways to create and maintain love; studies have demonstrated that couples often stay in relationships that might not be the best for them because the relationship is known or comfortable.

2) Love. Many couples break up despite still feeling a lot of love for one another. This is because a simple breakup is not enough to suddenly dissolve love. Many couples come back together because the two of them are still in love and are not yet ready to let go of their relationship.

3) Hope. Most couples who get back together hope or believe that their significant other has made positive changes in their life, which will then contribute positively to the relationship. For some couples, this might be someone who cheated previously changing to leave their cheating behaviors behind, while for others, it might simply mean that one or both partners believe their former partner has grown up, matured, or developed healthier communication patterns.

Do I Really Want to Get Back with My Ex?

When considering getting back together with your ex, it may be important to recall all of the reasons that the two of you broke up. If nothing has changed between the two of you, or within the relationship you once shared, you are far more likely to fall back into old patterns of behavior, and move into a relationship that is unhealthy or unlikely to succeed. When thinking about why you should leave, consider the following common reasons for breaking up.

1) Loss of Trust. Losing trust in a relationship does not always involve a dramatic breach, such as infidelity. Trust can be broken when financial agreements are violated, when confidence is betrayed, or when lies have continued to build up. Losing trust can make any relationship non-viable because trust is one of the foundations that allow couples to express intimacy, care, and affection for one another.

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2) Incompatibility. Many couples are not compatible. There are numerous ways that compatibility comes into play - wanting a family, wanting children, wanting to stay in one place, wanting to pursue certain career options, etc. All of these are serious factors that come into play when two people enter into a relationship, and all of them have the potential to gradually erode a relationship. The most loving relationship can fall victim to beliefs and lifestyle choices that are directly opposed to one another.

3) Baggage. Relationships can come with a lot of baggage, ranging from dysfunctional family dynamics to prior relationships and corresponding relationship issues. Baggage might come from issues that stem from before a relationship began but can very often come into play in a new relationship, and even years into a relationship. Baggage often requires intervention from an outside professional to fully resolve, and at times it can take years of intensive therapy to do so. Some relationships do not stand up under the weight of a respective partner's baggage.

What You Should You Do

So, what should you do if your ex wants you back? First, an honest evaluation of yourself and your relationship should take place. Bring in people close to you, who knew you well during your relationship, and evaluate old journals or other sources of timekeeping, and determine how you felt for the majority of your relationship. If your relationship was a constant source of pain, terror, or discomfort, take that into account. If your friends and family recall the two of you having a lot of genuinely pleasant times together, also take that into account. A history of negativity in your relationship is significant, but a history of positivity is also important.

If your ex asks to get back together, you should also take it slow. A glacial pace is the best course of action. Rushing into a relationship with an ex can be problematic for numerous reasons. If you jump back into a relationship, you might immediately take up old behaviors and communication habits that led to your breakup. Taking your relationship slow can help halt negative aspects of your relationship and can give the two of you time to evaluate yourselves and one another as you go. This way you can flag any issues that might begin to arise.

Wondering What To Do When Your Ex Wants You Back?
We Can Help. Speak With A Licensed Relationship Counselor Online Now.

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If everything has gone well up to this point, and you are still unsure of how you should proceed with your relationship, it might be time to bring in the help of a mental health professional. A professional therapist can see you individually, or can see the two of you together, and can help identify any underlying reasons for your breakup or desire to get back together. This can help you understand yourself and each other better.

Having a better understanding of one another can help you determine how healthy and realistic getting back together actually is; it may be that the two of you are wanting to get back together more out of convenience than out of actual love or a determination to make a life together, which would hurt you both in the long run. The therapists at BetterHelp are equipped to tackle difficult questions such as these, and more, and may be able to provide insight into your situation to help you achieve a more concrete decision regarding your relationship. Below you can read some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have been helped with similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I've never been to therapy, and so was really hesitant about opening up at first. But Whitney has just been so great! I signed up for Better Help because I was going through a breakup with problems I knew stemmed from problems with myself. I knew I felt unhappy in my relationship, but could not for certain say why. Therapy with Whitney has been so great in helping me become more self-aware and reflective. And, of course, the break up was hard at first. But every day, with Whitney, I was able to feel a little bit better than the day before."

"Jonell is incredible! She has helped me through so much, and has been an invaluable asset to my relationship, career, and overall happiness."

Moving Forward With (Or Without) Your Ex

If your ex wants to get back together with you, you certainly don't have to, but some situations might warrant a second look. Whether you are able to able to evaluate the situation on your own, with your former partner, or with your loved ones, or if you prefer to enlist the help of a mental health professional, you have the strength and ability to move forward, whether beginning a new chapter in a relationship or forging ahead. Either way, protecting your own mental health comes first. Take the first step today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should you do if your ex wants you back?

My ex wants me back, what do I do? When your ex wants you back, keep in mind that the beginning stages of getting back together will be very fragile, and you both must be very careful to make the other feel safe again. You both have gone through a significant amount of pain, so take care of one another.

How do you know if an ex wants you back?

Here are some signs your ex might want you back:

  • They still “like” and comment on your social media posts
  • They're posting things on social media only you would understand
  • They post on social media letting people know they're available
  • They make an excuse to communicate with you
  • They "coincidentally" run into you
  • They bring up the past
  • They text you to try to keep in touch
  • They ask you to hang out

Do most exes come back?

Well, it’s confusing. Yes and no. There’s always a chance that an ex will come back, but there’s just as much as a chance, if not more, that they won’t. There’s a reason you broke up. Just keep that in mind and go slow if you decide to reignite the relationship. Keep questioning, “My ex wants me back…why?”

Why does an ex come back?

My ex wants me back? Why? Didn’t we break up because it wasn’t working? Well, yes, but there are many reasons why an ex might come back:

  • They’re lonely
  • The grass isn’t greener on the other side after all
  • They need to feed their ego
  • They’re horny
  • They’re bored
  • They’re trying to prove that they’re better
  • They want to see if they still have you wrapped around their finger
  • They’ve found out you’re seeing someone else
  • The very same person they left you for kicked them to the curb
  • They genuinely care about you and want you back

Why does my ex still want to be friends?

Three reasons an ex might still want to be friends is for emotional support, physical support, or they’re just using you as a holdover until their next relationship.

Do male dumpers ever come back?

More often than not, a man will come back after he dumps you. One reason is simply that although there may be a legitimate reason behind his decision to end his relationship with you, it doesn't mean that the love he felt for you disappeared.

How do you know if your ex still cares about you?

  • They have been staying single despite all the opportunities that come their way
  • They still like and post on your social media sites.
  • They completely ignore you. Sounds counterproductive, but it’s reverse psychology.
  • They’re jealous of you and your life
  • They quickly jump into a new relationship
  • They want to stay friends
  • They keep contacting you even after you’ve asked for space

How do you know your ex is not over you?

  • Your ex can’t stop looking at you
  • Your ex is trying to prove they are over you
  • They give non-verbal signs
  • They try to make you jealous
  • They hold on to memories
  • They ask about you
  • They constantly communicate with you
  • They get jealous and envious

What percent of exes get back together?

According to new research, almost 50 percent of couples break up and then get back together again. The length of the reunite can last from a one-night stand to a life-long marriage.

Do guys hurt after a breakup?

Ok, let’s be real. Guys may be emotionally unattached, but they aren’t robots. They actually do have feelings. Here are some signs that a guy may be having emotions and subtly trying not to show it:

  • He unfriends you on social media
  • He deletes your pictures of you together on social media
  • He’s quick to anger
  • He purposely shows up to places you frequent
  • He has obsessive thoughts about you

Do avoidant exes come back?                 

The short answer is yes. Avoidants tend to come back mainly because of their difficulties to connect with other people. Their ex is familiar.

How long does it take a guy to regret breaking up?

Many guys are hard shells – the tough manly man refusing to show their true feelings. And their actions will follow as well. Most men will not instantly regret the hurt they've doled out on you. If you want them to feel remorse, you will need to give it time. Eventually, they will start to regret breaking up.

Why would an ex come back years later?

My ex wants me back…after a month? Yes, in fact, some exes come back months and even years later wanting to give things another try. The reasons can range from guilt, lack of resources, and simply boredom to wanting sex, familiarity, and having the status of being in a relationship. However, there are times when the ex truly misses the other and wants to give it another try.      

Do exes come back after no contact?

Even more poignant for the question, “My ex wants me back?” is when no contact is present. But there’s a reason. No contact and true time alone to work on yourself and gain a clear view as to the importance of getting back together could be enough to want to get your ex back.

How do you know if your ex regrets breaking up with you?

  • Your ex wants to hang out with you all the time
  • Your ex can’t stop asking about you
  • Your ex is suddenly incredibly nice to you
  • Your ex can’t stop complimenting you
  • Your ex is flirting with you like crazy
  • Your ex is pretending to have everything under control
  • Your ex reappears after getting dumped from someone else
  • Your ex is apologizing to you A LOT
  • Your ex says they need you

How do you know if your ex wants you back or just wants to be friends?

This is a tricky one, and one of the reasons why the gray area of “just friends” can be confusing. Some of the signs that your ex wants you back as well as wanting to just be friends are if they are asking about you, they stay in constant contact with you, they find reasons to show up where you frequent, and they make it very clear to you that they’re single.

Why does my ex keep texting me?

If your ex keeps texting you, they clearly want something from you, which could simply be friendship. You can tell if it’s friendship they want if the texts are benign, just to “catch up”, and clearly state that there is no intention to want you back. On the other hand, the texts might indicate wanting you back, especially if they go from texting to calling and then pursuing you.

What to do if ex wants to be friends?

It’s important to not jump to the conclusion, “my ex wants me back” just because they want to be friends. Boundaries need to be established, and a clear communication that friends means friends. If the exes finds someone else, whereby being friends may be uncomfortable, then being friends might be out of the question. 

Do dumpers stalk their ex?

Sometimes. It's usually just because dumpers are curious about what their exes are up to. Whether it’s an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend, they mainly want to keep the other around and see if they are having a good time and are moving on with their lives. In a way, dumpers stalk to reassure themselves that they've made the right decision.

Does the dumper ever regret their decision?

For the most part, dumpers don't appear to have any regrets for breaking up because they are empowered with relief. For some, levels of relief are so high that dumpers no longer resemble the same people they were prior to the breakup.

Do guys miss their ex after a breakup?

Guys start to miss you after a breakup when they're having a hard time dealing with their stressors. The more pain and suffering they go through, the more they will think back to when they didn't feel that bad.

How long before exes get back together?

When you average everything together, it can take, on average, 3 1/2 months for exes to get back together. Keep in mind this is an average.

What does it mean when an ex wants to catch up?

If your ex wants to meet up to “catch up”, it's likely that they have felt an emptiness in their life since the break-up, and simply wants to meet up to see you, talk with you, be with you. As stated earlier, see it for what it is and refrain from going to the idea of, “my ex wants me back.”

Do exes come back after years?

None of us can title ourselves as a relationship expert. Relationships don’t include a free manual on how to be successful. Plus, people change, not always for the worst, and not always for the best either. Sometimes, time away brings realizations that the relationship was, in fact, very special. Sometimes exes get back together, even years or decades later. And sometimes, those once exes become spouses.

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