I’ve written about the signs that your ex secretly wants you back and what really happens when they do— but I’ve neglected a little fuzzy grey area. And, that is the reasons why exes come back in the first place.
You might have completely moved on and be having the time of your life– then suddenly, here’s your ex.
Weirdly, whether we like it or not, exes do this all the time– and it’s important not to automatically decide that your ex wants you back.
Here are 7 reasons your ex might come back months (or even years!) later:
1. They are looking for an ego boost.
Unfortunately, the knowledge that you’re there still pining away for them (whether your are or not) can be just the springboard that they need to feel good about themselves.
If you respond to your ex when they’re looking for an ego boost, they can tell themselves that you still care, even if you simply toss them back a “hey” to their weirdly worded text message. If they’re having trouble dating and meeting someone new, it’s easy for them to tell themselves, “at least someone still cares.”
2. They want a shoulder to cry on.
Good emotional support is tough to come by out there in the cold, dark world. If you had a deep friendship backing up the passionate side of your relationship, they can feel like you are still a soft place to fall, emotionally.
Unfortunately, when your ex shows up out of the blue and vents about their problems on you, then disappears again, it just creates frustration and emotional turmoil for you.
We don’t often think about emotional labor as work, but it IS indeed work. Consider whether your ex is entitled to this kind of work from you.
3. Their rebound relationship made them miss you.
If your relationship went on for any significant period of time, it can be really easy to start fantasizing about how awesome dating is going to be once it’s over. The grass looks greener, so your ex skates out into the wild world of dating to find… someone who ALSO has quirks, hangups and is generally human— just like you are.
This is particularly common with exes who feel stifled in the relationship, and as though they were missing out on something else by being with you.
After their first failed romance after yours, they realize that the vision they had of what it might be like to be with someone else— isn’t all it was cracked up to be. So they come back, tail between their legs, ready to renegotiate their bond with you.
4. They want to be friends with you.
The ill-fated “lets be friends” cliche is still alive and well.
And… for people who aren’t just trying to cushion the blow while their ex is weeping in front of them, it can be really tough to say “no” to an ex who reaches out in a friendly way, wanting an emotional connection.
This goes double if you had a true friendship at the center of your bond.
5. They have changed and/or they are curious if you have.
Truth be told, seeing your ex gallivanting around happily after your breakup isn’t what anyone wants. It’s not that people want their ex to suffer, per se, it’s that they may feel a sick ego boost when comparing their progress after your breakup to their own.
Like a lot of other reasons why exes come back, this might be totally subconscious. They could have seen something you did on social media and it made them unable to stop thinking about you. Someone in their life could have randomly brought you up in conversation.
Also, if you had fixable problems in your relationship that they didn’t solve when you were together, they might have changed that about themselves and pop up in an attempt to show off or get you back.
6. They want ex sex.
Ah, ex sex. As if you both needed a reason to get even more heavily chemically attached to each other.
7. They really, truly want you back.
Sometimes time apart makes your ex realize what they lost when they walked away from your relationship.
They may sincerely hope to reconnect with you and get back together— even though their surface reason for calling or texting might confuse you.