When one of my exes told me that he didn’t love me anymore, it shook me to my core. I simply couldn’t believe that this man who had been lovingly rubbing my back the night before had abruptly fallen out of love with me. I was so confused and devastated.
For weeks after the breakup, I stayed up late nursing my broken heart, endlessly googling signs your ex still loves you and asking questions like “does he still love me?”, “does my ex want me back?” and “signs my ex boyfriend still has feelings for me.”
Later, I found out for certain that my ex still loved me, but when he initially broke up with me and told me it was over he was hurting and angry and a whole bunch of other emotions that took him a lot of time to process.
One of the most painful things that happens during a breakup is that most people say and do things that they don’t mean. Because of all the painful emotions involved, exes usually act in confusing ways that can be hard to interpret.
Since that breakup, I’ve helped hundreds of people get back together with their exes and create better relationships than ever before. When people come to me for private coaching to get their ex back, the first things I ask them about their breakup are the signs their ex still loves them on this list.
Update: I wrote this for women who want their ex boyfriend back, but if you’re a guy reading this, these signs your ex still loves you apply to you as well.
Here are some signs your ex still loves you that I look for when I help people get their exes back:
1. Your ex maintains contact with you when they don’t have to.
One of the more obvious signs your ex still loves you is that he stays in touch with you.
He might text out of the blue or call you for really odd, flimsy reasons. Men don’t usually hunger and yearn for an exe’s attention if they have completely fallen out of love with her.
It’s a definite sign your ex still loves you if he keeps popping into your life.
2. He says he still wants to be friends AND tries to make time for you.
Most of the time when an ex says he still wants to be friends, he is really saying that he’s not ready to cope with loss.
“Can we still be friends?” is one of those normal things that people say when they choose to breakup. Since they haven’t lived life without their ex, the unknown is scary. Also, they might be trying to keep you around as “plan B,” particularly if they left you for someone else, wanted a “break” or because they thought the grass was greener on the other side.
He might have genuinely might meant he wanted to be friends in the moment.
In practice, trying to stay friends with your ex is painful, since it keeps reopening the wound you are trying to heal and move on from. The real sign that he doesn’t want to let go of you is whether he tries to hang out after saying he wants to stay friends. You know your ex better than anyone else. If he’s just trying to keep you around to feed his ego, you might want to avoid staying friends.
3. He has extreme emotions about you.
The more extreme his emotional reaction to your breakup, whether it’s love, hate or awful deep sadness, the more likely it is that love is lurking below the surface.
Research from the University of Birmingham suggests that women experience more emotional and physical pain after a breakup, but men don’t recover from their pain as fully. It takes men longer to process the loss. While women tend to grieve and genuinely move on sooner, often men never do. This means that if he loved you once, he probably still does and has handled the breakup emotionally by burying his feelings instead of fully processing them.
Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. Too many people to count say that their ex was ridiculously angry at them after their breakup but suddenly admitted they were still in love.
Anger is a tricky emotion after a breakup since it usually masks sadness and hurt. If your ex is really, really angry at you, that does not necessarily mean he hates you. The opposite of love is genuine indifference and apathy. When someone is truly over a relationship, they are usually downright bored and empathetic. There isn’t much emotional charge when it comes to their ex.
4. He keeps explaining your breakup.
Does he feel the need to keep rehashing the reasons for your breakup?
Does he send you texts or emails about why he left?
Does he keep bringing up the breakup even when it doesn’t make sense?
Does he discuss or “joke” about getting back together? Has he apologized for the breakup?
All of this “closure” your ex is trying to get from you means that he’s still trying to sort it out in his own mind. The fact that he feels the need to keep talking about the breakup shows that you’re still on his mind.
5. He brags about self improvement and accomplishment.
Does he mention how great he’s doing at the gym?
Does he update you on how incredible his new yoga class is?
Do his new hobbies faintly echo things he knows you would approve of?
Did he finally get off his ass and get a job?
Does he give off the vibe that he’s showing off?
It could be that your ex is trying to make you jealous. Or, more likely, he’s still hoping for your approval and wants you to notice he’s changed and be proud of him. We don’t try to show off for people we don’t care about.
6. He drags his feet on tying up loose ends.
Do you still have a lot of his belongings? Does he stall or drag his feet on finishing things up?
After one breakup, I became fixated on the fact that I left a shawl and a book at an exe’s house. The fact that he hadn’t returned these things (or even mentioned them) made me believe that there was still hope for our relationship. I was completely wrong, but I was still completely in love with him and wanted to believe that he still loved me.
Resorting to magical thinking is one way that people hold out hope that their ex still loves them after a breakup. Not tying up loose ends is a super common sign that your ex still loves you and probably still cares.
7. His people subtly try to convince you to talk to him.
It takes a village to support a man who is stuck on a woman.
If you have mutual friends, sometimes his people will drop hints that he misses you, he is probably not subtle about how he still has feelings for you.
When your ex still loves you and wants you back, his friends and family will gently try to push you toward each other both because they believe in love and because they’re incredibly sick of listening to him endlessly rant about you.
8. He’s not moving on.
Is your ex stubbornly staying single in a quest to “find himself”? Is he doing the “hurt and wounded” fallen soldier of love thing?
When your ex doesn’t move on with someone new it can be a sign that he hopes you will get back together. He might also be so devastated by your breakup that he can’t imagine himself dating someone new.
9. He’s moving on A LOT.
Has he been hooking up with a lot of different women? Do you sense that none of these rebounds have real long term relationship potential?
Maybe he’s picked out a particular woman that he does the whole “Netflix and chill” routine with, but won’t give her the title of girlfriend.
When he won’t move on after your breakup but is trying to feed his ego by distracting himself with as much female attention as possible, you guessed it, it’s another sign your ex still loves you.
10. His rebound girlfriend hates your guts with a fiery passion.
This is one of the weirder signs your ex still loves you and wants you back, but hear me out. Rebound relationships usually include a lot of emotional venting, since the recently broken up person has not had a lot of time to process the breakup before meeting someone new and truly moving on.
As a result, his new girlfriend has probably heard A LOT about you. She is probably supportive of him but (because he can’t seem to talk about you enough) she also has a lot of her own feelings about you. That doesn’t make her mean or evil, just human.
If your ex was actually over you, he would not have overshared as much. You would most likely only be passing curiosity to her and not inspire much of an extreme emotional reaction either way.
When his new girlfriend really hates you, she probably feels competitive and is trying to stake her territory (unless she’s seriously mentally ill). The fact that this is an issue at all points to his unresolved feelings about you.
11. He stalks your social media.
Does your ex comb through your Facebook and ‘like’ your posts? Does he still comment and share things you post? Did he recently follow you on Instagram out of the blue?
All of these are signs that he still might have feelings for you. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be monitoring your social media content like it was essential late-breaking news. Guys don’t invest their time and energy into things with no payoff, like keeping in contact with you on the internet.
On the flip side, he might also be posting a LOT more than usual about how amazingly happy and perfect his life is now. If you don’t want to get back together, unfriend him because having him in your face all the time isn’t going to help you move on and feel better about the breakup. The temptation to stay up late, pointlessly wondering what your ex is doing can be really hard to resist.
Research suggests that people who maintain contact with their exes on social media are more likely to cause damage to their new relationships. The decision to disconnect with your ex is a highly individual call– but for some people, unfollowing (but staying ‘friends’) is a happy medium if you eventually want to get back together with your ex.
12. Your ex stays in touch with your people.
Guys with no feelings for their exes cut ties and move on. If he’s still initiating contact with your people after the breakup, he might be trying to keep tabs on what you’re up to.
Otherwise, talking to the people you love would be too painful or pointless for him to even bother with.
13. He treats you extremely well, even when he doesn’t have to.
The way we treat someone is a mirror for how we feel about them (and ourselves).
He might just be a good person, but he might also be subtly trying to make up for the breakup. If he’s still trying to consistently show you his good side, he cares about your approval which is a sign he still loves you.
14. He wonders about his competition.
Does he ask you if you’re dating anyone new? And if he already knows you have moved on and there is someone else in your life, does he keep bringing it up?
It’s completely natural to wonder if an ex has moved on after your breakup— whether you still love them or not. People are simply curious creatures.
The biggest sign to look for here is that if your ex misses you, he may act competitive toward your new flame or make weird (awkward) comments about him. If you feel like your ex is acting weird about the fact that you’re dating someone new, it’s probably because you can sense his neediness coming through.
15. He’s been going out and/or drinking a lot.
The heartbroken will often try to drown their sorrows in an attempt to forget about you.
Going out a lot is not necessarily the behavior of a totally healed man ready to carefully sail into his future. He’s most likely trying to drink and party in an effort to forget you. That leads me to the next point which is what he does after he gets drunk.
16. He drunk dials.
Drunk dialing and texting can be annoying and confusing, but if anything, it definitely shows that he’s thinking about you when his defenses are down.
Regardless of how you feel about your ex or how he feels about you— don’t entertain it. Unless you have some kind of shared responsibility with him that requires you pick up the phone at all hours, do yourself a big favor and ignore any late night texts or calls from your ex for right now.
Just don’t respond or answer the phone after say, 11pm. If he really wants to express something, he will eventually come out with it sober, so don’t believe anything he says if he chooses to contact you when he’s drunk.
17. He’s still there for you.
Does he offer to fix things, do things for you or share his resources without being asked? Could you call your ex and both get ahold of him and have him help you?
It could be simply because he’s a good guy who still cares about you, it can also mean he misses you, still loves you and wants you back. Men’s caring comes through in their actions more than any other way.
Is your ex doing some of these things?
Do you want another chance at creating the amazing relationship you know you can have with him?
Then you have to take action before it’s too late.
If your ex still loves you, then you have a pretty good chance of getting him back as long as you avoid several key mistakes.