20 Reasons Why Your Ex Is Trying To Get Your Attention

Getting a text from an ex after the break-up stirs different emotions. If they broke up with you or if you still have feelings for your ex; it will feel nice to know that they still think of you and maybe miss you. But if you want to forget everything and move on, a text from an ex feels like a setback, and can even be annoying.

The question is why would an ex keep contacting you and texting you several months, even years after the break-up? In my experience there are 20 common reasons why exes keep contacting you and trying to get your attention after the break-up.

1) They still have feelings for you

They still have feelings for you and are reaching out to see if you still love them and still care for them; or are interested in getting back together.

2) Guilt

They may be feeling guilty for breaking up with you and worried that you to hate them for it.

3) They want to be friends

They may be trying to be your “friend”; and reaching out to see if you are interested in keeping in touch as friends.

4) Old habit

They may be texting you out of habit. If you have done something routinely for a while, it can sometimes be hard to break that habit.

5) Missing you

They may be contacting you because they miss you; and don’t care if contacting you makes them come across as needy or wanting you. They just miss you.

6) Loneliness

They may be lonely especially if they are not in a relationship or are going out and seeing people but no one is interesting enough to want to pursue a relationship with.

7) They’re drunk

Many exes for some reason text an ex when they are drunk or stoned; and sometimes can not even remember they did it the next day.

8) Booty call

They may be texting you after a break-up for a booty call; especially if the sex was good but the relationship ended for some other reasons.

9) Accidental call

Believe it or not this can happen. Not all exes erase your number after the break-up; and they may be trying to call someone and accidentally called your number or they simply butt-called you.

10) They heard/saw you met someone new

They are reaching out because they feel jealous or are hurting that you are with someone new. Exes will do this whether they are still single or are in a relationship themselves.

11) They’re too shy to tell you they want you back

Some exes text you out of the blue or keep reaching out every now and then thinking that they are giving you the opportunity to try to get them back. They will throw hints that they’re single or somewhat dating but not really. (Translation: I’m still available but it may not be for long).

12) They care about you

If you had a good relationship and cared very much for each other, they may be reaching out just to check on how you are and not necessarily trying to get back together. If you truly cared about someone it is hard to stop caring about their well-being even after the break-up.

13) For closure

Some exes reach out because they still have unanswered questions and unresolved issues from the relationship and break-up and keep texting you for answers and to get closure. Other think reaching out one more time just to see how they feel about you will help them let go and get the closure they need.

14) Anger and resentment

You have heard the saying “hurting people hurt people”. Some exes text you because they are still hurting and say and do things that they think will hurt you just as much as they are hurting. They may be even be texting you because they hate you for the break-up, hate you for moving on or hate you because they still love you.

15) Unfinished business

They may reach out want to return something of yours that they have or ask you to return something of their that you have. They may also reach out for some practical matter if for example you shared bills, a home, a business and need to discuss how to wrap things up. Sometimes its just about the unfinished business, but sometimes exes use this as a way to start conversations and pen up the lines of communication.

16) Emotional support

They may be contacting you because they are going through some things and have no one else to turn to for emotional support.

17) Pressure from friends and family

They may be texting you because a friend or family member has been asking about you, told them something about you, or directly asked them to contact you. Friends and family do this if they think your ex made a mistake breaking up with you or if they don’t like the new man or woman and want the two of you to get back together.

18) Good news

Sometimes exes text you out of the blue to wish you a happy birth day, congratulate you on an achievement, or share with you some good news of their own. This can be out of habit but it may also be genuine happiness for you or genuine desire to share some good news with you.

19) Bad news

Your ex may contact you to inform you of a death or something that happened to someone you both know. Thy may think you have not heard about it or maybe reaching out to connect with you because they know you’re the only person who will feel the same way they feel, understand their grief and be able to empathize,

20) Fear of losing you for ever

Some exes even know you will not get back together but the thought of losing you forever; and not having you in their life makes them reach out. They know nothing will come out of it but they just have to do it.

Some of the reasons have to do with your ex’s attachment style. For example, a fearful avoidant may reach out because they think they are losing you forever but may also be too afraid to get back together because they think they that even if you get back together, you may end up leaving them.


How To Respond To An Ex Trying To Get Your Attention

How A Fearful Avoidant Ex Comes Back – A Detailed Analysis

What Makes A Dismissive Avoidant Ex Miss You And Come Back?

When Do Dismissive Avoidant Exes Begin “Longing” For You?

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  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kenny

    Yangki, I see that you are against ‘no contact’ , my question to you is, what alternative do you offer? It’s not enough to be against something but offer no alternative.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      This site is THE alternative to ‘no contact’ sites out there. I also have an eBook that offers an alternative to ‘no contact’, and I offer coaching for those looking for an alternative to ‘no contact’. Gosh! I am THE alternative to no-contact coach!

      If you are indeed looking for an alternative to ‘no contact’, it’d help you to spend a little bit more time reading as many articles as you can.

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kylie

    I broke up with my ex and he went NC for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks I contacted him, we talked and got back together but he broke up with me. I’ve been NC for 2 weeks but he has been texting me every other day asking me how I am doing or for random things. I haven’t responded because I don’t want to break the NC rule. Should I tell him to stop contacting me?

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Amanda

    Yangki, what about if your ex calls you knowing you would call him back. Then when you call him back he completely ignores you. You text him a couple of times asking if hes okay and he texts back, “I thought I had a blocked missed call from you. Sorry I phoned. Cheers!”

    1. First time he did it, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible he genuinely thought he had a missed blocked call. It’s also possible that he has a good explanation for not calling or texting back.

      Remember, he’s your ex, he doesn’t have to call you back or respond to your texts immediately, or even ever.

      If he did it again or did something similar, I’d know he’s playing mind games and completely ignore him.

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Anta

    I had a 6 months relationship with a guy I met online and everything was perfect. Then one day he said he just didn’t feel the spark any more. I didn’t beg or anything because he made it very clear that he didn’t love me anymore. After 4 months of being apart I started to date someone new. Shortly after he sent me a very long email basically saying he’s had lots of time to think and figure things out and that he wants to give us another try. I told him I was touched but didn’t think there is any future for us. A couple of days ago he sent me a text to let me know that he is also seeing someone and wanted me to find out from him instead of someone else. I have no idea where his head is at.

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Juicylin

    Yangki, my ex contacted me after 2 years of no contact. He has not directly said he wants me back but he keeps bringing up how we used to be before he cheated. I am torn, should I maintain some form of contact or should I ignore his texts?

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Whether to maintain contact or not is up to how you feel about him coming back into your life after 2 years of no contact.

      In case you decide to continue contact, proceed very cautiously. It’s so easy to go with your emotions but you don’t know why he’s back after so long, or if he’s changed at all.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Cyana

    Love Doctor, my ex broke up with me 9 months ago. I made a mistake and went on a txt message binge. I also emailed and called him so many times. After a while I just stopped. He never contacted me and I never contacted him. Monday, one before this last one, he contacted me, and left a message for me to give him a call. I called and we decided we can be friends since we still care about each other. We agreed to meet the next day and from the time we met he was all over me and touching me and kissing me and told me he missed me. We fooled around but no sex. Later that night he called saying seeing me made him realize how much he misses me, and asked if he can come over. I said no. The morning after I sent him a text but haven’t from him for 5 days. Does he still love me or want to get back to together? Should I continue talking to him? Please help.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      I don’t know if he still loves you or not, but from his actions it does seem like his contacting you was all about sex. First he agrees to being friends, then he’s all over you as soon as he sees you, then later in the night he makes a booty call and when you turn him down he disappears!

      Whether you keep contact or not is up to you but if you do, don’t do so with the false hope that the reason he made contact was because he wants you back. Someone who wants you back does not act the way your ex is acting.

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sandy

    I’m in tears reading this. I wish I had read it a month ago. I used the no contact rule and my ex started contacting me constantly. I did not respond until after 3 months of no contact. I contacted him and he was very excited to hear from me. he called me right away and asked me to meet him for lunch and after that we went out, kissed and got sexually intimate. Then he started playing games with me, not picking up the phone or pretending to be sleepy and not wanting to talk. I went no contact again and he sent me a text “Missing you”. I responded after 2 days asking him why he was doing this to me. It’s been over a month, no contact from him.

    No contact will bring him back to see where you are and if you are still in love with him.

    1. I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way that he didn’t “come back” because of no contact, he came back to prove a point to himself. Like I’ve said it elsewhere, anytime you employ a strategy/approach that appeals to the ego, it always doesn’t end well.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Britney

    My ex didn’t contact me for three months after we broke up. Last week he called and sounded really nice asking about my life and how things have been. Then he went on to tell me he had thought a lot about our relationship. My ex is a self-absorbed narcissist who never before cared about my life or anything about me that did not include him. So I’m just wondering, why after three months of no contact he calls me out of the blue talking like he really cares about me.

    1. You know he didn’t call because he cares about how you’re doing. He called to see if you miss him and to see if you’d jump to get back together. If he is the self-absorbed narcissist you say he is, he’ll contact you again, I’m sure of it.

  9. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Lissy

    I am in a similar situation. He attempted to contact me many times; I ignored him all times. I’m told by mutual friends that he was asking about me. It’s been over 8 months since we broke up. Do you think he did really love me? Why do you think he was contacting me? What is he thinking?

    1. You ignored his attempts to contact you many times, so why do you care about what he thinks?

      This is the problem with most people using no contact… you want it both ways. Either you admit that you want your ex back and try to get him back, or move on.

  10. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Mickie

    It was a 2 year and 3 month relationship and we’ve been broken up 9 times. I’m so exhausted and now just want to move on but she keeps contacting me. Says she wants to get some kind of closure. We talk for hours but a couple of days later she contacts me again, same thing. She still feels she can’t have closure. At this point I really have no idea what she needs to have closure. It’s been a week since she contacted me and I haven’t replied. What do I do?

    1. Be upfront and direct with her and tell her you want to help her get closure, but you’ve reached a point where you feel there is nothing you can do to help her. You’re exhausted and just want to move on but can’t with her keeping you stuck in the past. You strongly feel that you need to take care of you. Then encourage her to see a local counsellor. She’ll probably feel more betrayed, but what else can you do? If she continues to contact you and you don’t respond, she will know why.

  11. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Lisa

    i’m in an interesting situation. my ex broke up with me almost 2 months now. i did not contact him for 8 days, in that time he texted me twice, called my phone and left a message that he will not bother me again. i called him back after a day but he did not pick up the phone. i texted him twice and he responded and was positive. we texted for abt 3 days. then i get a text from him saying we should not communicate anymore because he met someone and wants to be faithful to her. do you really think there is someone else or he is just messing with me because i did not contact him for 8 days?

    1. I can’t say with 100% certainty that he is messing with you. It is possible that there is someone else in the picture and he felt guilty that he was in contact with his ex. But it’s also possible that it’s payback for you not responding to his texts.

      What I can say with 100% certainty is that what you did and what he may be doing (if he is paying you back for not responding to his texts) isn’t a healthy way to have a relationship. One of you has to grow up, if this relationship has to have any chance.

  12. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Zach

    You are absolutely right. She’s the kind of person who will start a fight just for the attention. Her constant drama and unwarranted attacks are the reason we broke up. Crazy defintely came back, lol. Thank you for your wise advice.

  13. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Pat

    I have been in no contact for 4 weeks and just this morning got a text from her saying “I hate that it has to be all or nothing” I replied that it’s what is best and she replied “Well, goodbye then.” What do I do now?

  14. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Alexjn

    My ex contacted me 5 times during the time I was in no contact. She said she missed me so much and wants to be in contact with me again. After the 5th text, I gave in and told her I missed her too. We started contact but now I’m the only one always texting and calling her. She replies after a while but she never initiates contact. She posts on her FB photos of her having a good time and she flirts with other guys that comment. But when I comment, she ignores me. I have complained to her about it but she says I’m just being needy and oversensitive. Is it really me being needy and oversensitive or is she playing with me? What do you think?

    1. Both. You were probably needy before the breakup and thought “No Contact” would fix it. She contacted you because she didn’t like feeling rejected by you. When you responded she knew you still had feelings for her and is playing you like a fiddle. You on the other hand, are still the needy guy (nothing changed even with no contact). I’m tempted to think that her ignoring you is payback for you ignoring her the 5 times she contacted you. That’s what you get with mind games… more of the same.

  15. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Angie

    My ex contacted me two days ago after 3 months of no communication between us. I was the one that broke up with him because of his constant lies and game playing. He says he is very sorry about the way he treated me. I don’t want to read too much into this, but does this mean he wants me back?

    1. I think you are asking the wrong question. The right questions should be: Do you want him back?

      If he’s asked for forgiveness, give it to him for your own sake, not his. Then decide for yourself if you want him back or not. If you want him back, I suggest you take things very slow so you can see if he’s changed or not. Some exes pretend to be “sorry” just because they don’t feel good about being rejected. Once they have you back they go back to their old ways or worse, break up with you so it feels like they are the one’s that rejected you.

  16. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: mr - lonely

    This is the most sane comment I’ve seen on this topic. My ex and I were together 4 years but last year I lost my job and fell into depression. She broke up with me. I don’t blame her I was hard to live with and even I didn’t like myself. A couple of months ago I found another job and started contacting her. I haven’t told her I want her back but secretly my reason for staying in contact is because I still love her, even though right now I’m not in the most attractive state for her. I’m hoping to get my life together and then ask her out.

  17. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Kim

    My ex contacts me on and off since we broke up 8 months ago. I’ve told him I’ll only continue contact with him if he wants to come back but he said we can never be together again. So why is contacting me?

  18. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Andy

    My ex-gf left me 3 months ago. For 2 months there was no-contact. Then from nowhere she sends me a text message asking how I was doing. Since then she emails or text messages every now and then. I honestly don’t know what she wants from me. What do you think?

    1. Hard to tell without knowing the background to your relationship and breakup… may be she feels bad about how she left and just trying to make things right so there is no tension between the two of you. May be she misses you and wants you back. May be she just wants to remain friends.

      Why don’t you just let things play out. Over time, you’ll figure out why she’s been contacting you.

  19. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Jeff

    My ex contacted me to say don’t call me unless you change your mind and want to give us another try. I broke up with her and not sure I want her back. The last few months before the breakup was hell. This text baffles me because I have not contacted her in anyway since the break up 3 weeks ago. Why would she send me this text?

    1. It could be any number of reasons 1) she misses you 2) she’s trying to reach out to you and doesn’t know how 3) she thinks it’ll make you contact her or 4) she really means it.

      I suggest that you send a text back saying you respect her wishes and leave the ball in her court. Her next action will tell you know which is which. But if you’re not sure you even want her back, it’s best to not respond, it’ll just be a continuation of the hell you talk about.

  20. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: PinkButterfly

    Brandy, I can relate to where you are because I was there two months ago. We tried to get back together but eventually came to a mutual conclusion that we were growing in different directions and the relationship was no longer serving either of us. We chose to harmoniously end it without any hard feelings. We’re good friends and it feels really good to know that the beautiful relationship we had didn’t end up in something ugly.

  21. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Brandy

    Thank you. I’ll not make any decision until I’m sure how I really feel about him. Part of me still loves him, he was a wonderful guy. Like you said, I’m just in a different place right now. He too is working on his growth, who knows we might click again, but for now I just want to concentrate on seeing who I really am and loving myself. If anything I’d love to have him as a valuable friend because of the past we had.

  22. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Paully

    I think it is perfectly normal for you to feel this way. You have analyzed yourself, made the necessary changes to improve yourself and realized you don’t need him in your life to be happy. On the other hand, he now realizes our value(when he should have known it all along) and knows the grass isn’t greener, it just looks that way sometimes. He was selfish and is now paying the price. He knows he made a mistake. Throw him to the curb, he doesn’t deserve you. Ps. This is a guys perspective.

  23. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Ashkar

    Yangki, I just wanted to say I love your eBook (and I love you). For 6mos. I tried to get my ex back with tactics and dirty games and only ended up making things worse. I bought your eBook, and the steps were so simple, yet I had missed them all this time. Last mo. my ex and I got back together. I’m so grateful to you in ways that you’ll never know.

    For everyone looking to get their ex back, Yangki’s eBook will get you onto the right path and get your ex back. It changed my life and got me my ex back and will change yours as well.

  24. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Andrea

    What does it mean when your boyfriend of two months breaks up with you saying it would take some pressure off if you were just friends? This is what I got by email, I replied saying it’s fine, no hard feelings and then he emails me back asking if I wanted to go have lunch with him the following day. I said I needed some time. He’s suffering from depression/anxiety lately and it just made things harder for me because I didn’t know what to do or say so I just made more mistakes. I still want him back. Is there any chance he still have feelings for me?

    1. There is a chance he still has feelings for you. Are they feelings of being in love or wanting you back? I can’t tell just by reading a brief account of your situation. There are many reasons why someone will say “it would take some pressure off if you were just friends.” Depressions further complicates things. I’d need to know what “pressure” he is talking about and where it’s coming from, for me to be able to advice you on how not to make more mistakes and/or get him back. If you need to pursue this, please read the guidelines for sending me your question through email.

  25. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Michelle

    Hi, my girl friend and i dated for 3 years and i moved to another city for my last year of school. I made the mistake of offering an open relationship while we were apart to “grow” and she had a hard time with this and did not want to share me. The next day she wanted to break up. Says she lost the spark, and did not miss me like i did her. She is now dating and calls me to share detailed information about her new love life. I asked her not to contact me, but she says i am her best friend and still does. She gives me glimmers of hope and then takes it away. Is there a chance she wants me back?

    1. There is a chance 1) she wants you back 2) she sees you as her best friend she can share information about her new love life with and 3) she wants you to know she moved on and you should too. All these are possibilites. Just contaccting you or sharing information with you is not enough to say she wants you back. And sometimes when you want someone back, you can start seeing what is not there because you want to keep the hope alive. it may look to you like she’s taking it away when in fact she never gave you any hope in the first place. You just saw what you wanted to see.

      I have a post Signs Your Ex Is Becoming Interested Again, it might help.

  26. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: beautifulmind

    I agree, don’t listen to people who say “forget” someone. Who knows the future? If you really love the person and want to be with the person, then try it and see if it works. That’s all you can do.

  27. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: mad_as_hell

    I re-read your answer again and you’re right. You were not saying “forget this guy” but reflecting back to her what she had written. I suspect she wanted you to say all those are signs that he wants her back which is what everyone was telling me on the internet. One group was saying forget about him, he is using you and another if he is doing such and such it means he wants you back. Like many in this situation, I was confused what advice to take and ended up not only making a fool of myself but ruining every chance I had of getting him back. I like your approach better – realistic and honest with yourself and then decide from a place of empowered.

    Btw: I love your blog and I’m a frequent visitor. Keep up the good work.

  28. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: mad_as_hell

    The Doctor is right. Forget about this guy he is not worthy it!!! My ex was the same, had another woman but constantly contactingme. I thought he wanted me back but it was not the case.

    1. Mad-as-hell… Unfortunately that’s not what I was saying i.e forget about this guy! I do not have the full story of how this break up happened and why, if this guy is serious about his new gf or if she’s just a rebound, etc. I can’t even tell from the limited info if she has a chance of getting him back or not.

      I was merely pointing out the fact that she has the “power” to decide what she wants – try to get this guy back or walk away. The decision whichever direction should be based on objectivity – looking at the whole picture as it IS and then if she wants to try and get him back, do it knowing what the odds are for or against her.

      I’m all for fighting for love, I just try to make people be realistic and honestt to themselves while doing so! Note: I said “ENOUGH to want to be with you (at this time)” and “He has what he wants for right now”. This is what it looks right now, but who is to say things can’t change?

      It’s sad what happened to you but each situation is different. The internet is full of “advice” but much of it is tainted by personal experiences and many people end up giving up when they had a chance. I’ve seen people in this same exact situation turn things around and others fail. It’s not up to me to tell someone to “forget” another. True love is not something you can just switch on and off like a faucet because someone else told you to!

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