Saturday October 25th 2014

My Ex Contacted Me How Do I Respond?

Question: My girlfriend of 2yrs decided 5 weeks ago that she wanted “a break” with no contact. I was rather surprised and crushed that she broke up with me. We had a great relationship even with it’s ups and downs. A couple of weeks before the breakup she had said she felt she was losing the attraction and after talking to her, she agreed it was no reason to breakup. We both promised to work on the relationship but she surprised me with wanting “a break” with no contact. I told her I loved her and wanted her to be happy. Then gave her what she wanted and did not contact her.

Two nights ago she texted me at 9.03 p.m.: “How are you? I hope you’re okay.” I’ve thought and thought about what this means and still not sure what to make of the unexpected text from her. At this point, I honestly don’t know what to do. I feel somewhat angry at her for breaking up with me but also somewhat happy that she contacted me. I don’t know if that makes sense at all. I haven’t replied to her yet, nor am I sure I should. I want her back but don’t want to jump in too needy. Any help on how to respond is much appreciated.

The Love Doctor’s Answer: Yes, angry and happy at the same time does make some sense… ):.

It can be confusing for someone to say one thing and do the exact opposite. Sometimes it’s just not worthwhile trying to figure out why people do the things they do. Anything you read into it may be just that — your thoughts.

Instead of trying to “figure out her actions” use that energy to figure out yours (this is the only thing at this point that you have control over). If you want her back, I suggest that you reply her text but only answer her question. Something like, “I’m doing as best as I can. I hope you’re okay too”.

“I’m doing as best as I can” is kind of neutral. It does not say you’re “falling apart without her” nor does it say you’re “better off without her”. If the only reason she’s contacting you is to stroke her ego — make her feel good that you’re missing her — she’s not going to get her ego stroked with a neutral response. If the on the other hand, she’s contacting you because she misses you and wants you back, it’ll tell her she still has a chance to try to get you back.

Do not say anymore to give her the impression she can come in and out of your life as she wishes. She said “a break with no contact” let her trip over her own choices. If she contacts you again, stick to answering her questions ONLY just to keep the lines of communication open. You need this if you want her back eventually. But for now stick to answering only her questions until she comes clean and tells you what she’s really up to. Don’t fall into the trap of stroking her ego (or yours for that matter). You both lose!

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21 Responses to “My Ex Contacted Me How Do I Respond?”

  1. Schneider says:

    My ex does this constant thing of contacting me and not replying when I respond. I know what she is all about but why contact me and then not respond at all?

  2. Because you respond… since you know what she’s all about, just don’t respond!

    I think you’ll be interested in my post: Why Is My Ex Contacting Me? Lots of helpful comments there

  3. Karl says:

    I’m in the same boat right now. She contacted me and I’m not sure whether to respond or not. We broke up almost a year ago and have had a few contacts. Each time she contacts me I respond, we talk for a while and she stops contact. I start to hurt all over. The last time she contacted me, I said I was moving on and she said “Oh! Goodbye then.” I lied about moving on and felt bad, so I contacted her and apologized. She didn’t reply for 3 full months. Now she’s contacted me again.

  4. If the on-and-off contacts go on, you’re going to end up hating each other.

    You have 2 options:

    1) Don’t respond at all. After a while she’ll stop contacting you and it’ll be over for good!

    2) Respond and be upfront. Tell her you don’t understand what’s going on with the sporadic contacts. Ask her what she wants from you. Then decide if what she’s offering is something you’re willing to go along with or not. This will get things sorted out once for all instead of having to guess about the mind games both of you are playing.

  5. Karl says:

    You’re right. I already hate what she’d doing to me. I’m going to call her up and have a talk.

  6. Karl says:

    I have one more question. If she says she wants us to be friends or even to get back together, what do I say?

  7. If she says she wants to be your friend, ask her what that means. You don’t want to be locked in a “friend-box” because it’s hard to get out of it. If she wants you back — which in opinion is a far stretch considering you’ve been broken up for a year and only communicated a few times (moreover playing mind games) — see how you feel about it and decide to take things V-E-R-Y- slowly. If anything has to ever work between the two of you, you both need to stop the game-playing first. Anything else is just prolonging your pain…

  8. Linda S. says:

    I bumped into my ex a couple of nights ago. We’ve been broken up for 9 months. He broke up with me for another woman. 3 months into the relationship they broke up. He came back in tears saying he realized he made a mistake. I sort of took him back but told him he had to prove to me he was different. He made no effort to do so. I met someone else who treats me better than my ex. When I bumped into him, I was with my new boyfriend. When I got home later that night, there was a message from my ex saying he misses me and seeing me with someone else broke his heart.

    Should I respond and let him know that I’ve moved on or should I ignore it and let him get the idea on his own? I feel like there isn’t anything to say to him.

  9. He contacted you only because he saw you with someone else. It’s a common story, an ex sees you with a new man/woman and suddenly they miss you… It’s not about you, it’s ALL about him!

    It doesn’t really matter whether you respond or ignore his message. The bottom line is that you don’t want him back. Personally, I’d respond because it’s polite and so that there is no “misunderstanding” as to where I stand. But do what you feel is more authentically you. If you feel there is nothing to say to him, then don’t say anything. Your peace of mind is more important than what he thinks or feels.

  10. Will says:

    This is happening to me. My ex broke up with me and when I tried to get her back she said she’d never want me again because I was a horrible person who treated her badly. I recently met a wonderful woman and lo and behold! I received an email from my ex asking me if I was serious with the new woman, she says she wants to know because she’s been planning on “getting me back.”

  11. It’s a territorial thing. I hope you don’t fall for it.

  12. GreenGirl says:

    My ex broke up with me over a year ago. I tried to get him back, he said he still loved me very much but didn’t think we’re a match. Three days ago, I got an email from him saying he still loves me and misses me so much. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought of him and missed him. I don’t know what to make of this email from nowhere or how to respond. This has really turned my world upside down. Please help.

  13. If you still love him and believe there can be a future for the two of you, respond with honesty. Tell him there hasn’t been a day that passed without you thinking of him and you miss him too… BUT all that doesn’t matter if he thinks you’re not a match. And see how he responds to that…

    If he doesn’t come out and say he wants to give the relationship a chance, let him go. If he’s thinking of trying it out again, then give it a chance. The time apart may have given him a new perspective. But don’t just rush back, take it slow and see where it goes. You might find the two of you falling in love with each other all over again, or you might find that despite the residual strong feelings, you’ve both changed so much that a relationship is out of the question. Go with an open mind and take each moment as it comes…

  14. babybaby says:

    I went out for lunch with my ex and we had a nice “date.” He told me he still loves and misses me but he is also seeing someone else. I took it easy and said, I understood. He hugged me when we parted and said we should see each other again soon. Two ours later he sent me a text saying he really enjoyed our time together. We still have very strong sexual chemistry and I don’t want to be used since he has someone else. I haven’t responded to his text, how should I respond?

  15. If he has a history of “cheating” then you should be very cautious. But if he doesn’t, then take it as he “might” be having second thoughts about you. Either case, take it very slow and see what happens one step at a time.

    Best response would be, “I had a good time too” then add one good thing that stood out for you, e.g. “seeing you laughing again, reminded me of the good times we shared.” Leave it at that. The goal is to invoke the “feelings of love” again but not bring up “the relationship” too early — before you even know what his ‘true” intentions are.

  16. Ruters says:

    Hi Doc,

    A long time follower of your blog and purchaser of your e-book a while back.

    I’ve been broken up with my ex for nine months and no contact about about four months. Just the other day, I really wanted to know how he was doing and we exchanged a few texts, very formal in tone.

    Just today, I saw that he had unfollowed me on Instagram. I don’t know if this happened before or after the text exchanges. Would you happen to know, from experience/cases you hear, why an ex-boyfriend would do this? :(

  17. It could be something you said during your few texts. It could be that he wanted to see how long you would go on before you contacted him and once you did, he had achieved his goal and had no more need to follow you on Instagram. Or it could be he just doesn’t want to give you the wrong impression and unfollowing you was to discourage you from contacting him again.

    No one really knows why people do what they do. But by unfollowing you, he is sending some kind of message about how he feels about contact with you- and it’s not a positive message.

  18. Nacey says:

    Yangki, what does it mean when your ex is tweeting stuff that you know are directed towards you. My ex knows I read his tweets and writes stuff like “You don’t know what you had until its gone” and “Breaking up is easy to do, but moving on isn’t”. Do I respond and how? I do want him back but don’t know what to do.

  19. They say you teach people how they treat you. Responding to something that’s not directed towards you is not only desperate, it also encourages immature behaviour. It may just be a mind game he’s playing, but even if it’s not, you don’t want this to be how you start a relationship.

    If he’s genuinely trying to reach out to you, he’ll realize that bait throwing is not working, and reach out to you directly. Then you can respond.

  20. Dennis says:

    2 months of silence and last night she texted asking if we can be “just friends.” I was very happy to hear from her after trying for so long to get her to talk to me again. She said she received all my texts and emails but wanted space to figure out what she wants. I still love her but at the same time I don’t want to end up just her friend. I want her back. I don’t want to be the guy whose shoulder she cries on when another guy breaks her heart. How should I respond?

  21. Something along the lines of happy to hear from her, talk a little about your life (highlighting the new positive changes/happenings, but don’t over do it), then ease into asking her what she means by “just friends” and end with you’ll keep in touch (your own words/style so it sounds somewhat familiar and reassuring).

    When she responds, see how the terms fit with your long term goals and if necessary negotiate the terms of the “just friends” zone. Always aim at keeping the lines of communication open, so you can find out her true intentions and /or feelings.

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