Why Your Ex Seems Confused and Sending Mixed Signals

Most, if not all of us, want someone who has rejected us to realize just how much they’ve lost.

Some exes do indeed realize just how important we’re in their lives. But sometimes however good boy/girlfriend material you are, you can’t persuade your ex that you have all the qualities they’re looking for in a partner.

In the beginning of the relationship, they were sure that you are “the one”, but as time went by, you failed to measure up to expectations. They became more and more dissatisfied with the relationship because it did not meet their needs and wants. Feeling unsatisfied and unhappy, they decided to end the relationship despite the fact that they still have strong feelings for you.

The conflict between your ex’s feelings of love, and their unmet needs and wants often plays out in how your ex interacts with you and the decisions they make about you.

To you they come across as confused and don’t know what they want but to your ex they see you as incapable of meeting their most important needs and wants.

That’s why knowing the wants and needs driving the decisions your ex is making about you can help you not only communicate your value more effectively, but also determine if you have a chance of getting together — or if you are just wasting your time trying to get back someone who is firmly determined to move on without you.

The best way to find out is to ask. Asking takes away the guess work and gives you a more accurate and complete picture of what’s important to your ex. But when you are broken up asking someone what they want, or need can sometimes come across needy.

It is necessary to go back and think about the relationship and the things that made your ex unhappy, made them treat you differently or they complained about.

Keep in mind that what someone wants and what they need are often two different things. Many of us may not know exactly what we want, but we always know what we need. Your task is to determine what are your ex’s wants and what are their true needs.

If you need to, list their wants and needs on a piece of paper. Go through the list figuring out how you are going to meet each want or need. Once you have figured it out what your ex’s wants and needs are, you can develop effective conversations that demonstrate to your ex that what you can meet their most important wants and needs.

The more you know about the needs and wants driving your ex’s decision about you, the more easily you can demonstrate why being in a relationship with you is something they want and need.

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26 Comments

  • I’m shy about sharing those details on the internet, and would prefer to talk to you privately, if that’s possible. I’ve spent hours on your blog and I think that you can help me. How do I contact you?

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  • I read this article a couple of weeks ago and it really hit a cord with me. I knew my ex was unhappy with the relationship but didn’t know why. We only talked about our expectation when we first started dating but never really discussed our wants and needs in the duration of our 4 year relationship. e continued to handout and enjoy each other’s company even after our breakup but there was always that elephant in the room. After reading this article, we had a long conversation. It turns out he had a long list of needs that I didn’t know about. Some of the things he mentioned, I wasn’t happy about myself but assumed he was happy with the way things were. I told him I want to be a better partner for him. He seems happy with what we’ve accomplished so far. Am I naive to think that this may be the beginning of us getting back together?

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    • No you are not. This may be the beginning of the new relationship. But you still have a long way to go. Finding out the unmet needs driving his decisions about you is the first step. The next step is showing him that you CAN and WILL be a better partner.

      The positive thing about your relationship is that you like each other and enjoy each other’s company. That plays to your advantage in that you have more opportunities to show him you are a better partner. You also seem to agree on some of the things that made both of you unhappy. This means that he’s more likely to believe that the changes will be permanent. This can fast track things.

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  • My ex never talked about his feelings either. Most of the time I had to try to figure out what his needs are based on the things he said when we are having arguments. One of the things in your book that made a huge difference for on me is where you say it’s best to approach the conversation from a perspective of wanting to share than pointing out a problem or complain about the relationship. By allowing him to explain his needs in his own words, it’s helped us get closer. I just wish I had your book earlier because he’s seeing someone else. He says it’s not serious but it still scares me that I may have lost him for good.

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    • If he says it’s not serious, you have to take him at his word… unless you want to give up now after having come this far.

      Would it have helped if you had the Dating Your Ex book earlier? Yes. Is it too late? From the sounds of it, NO. As mentioned in the book, the presence of someone else in your ex’s life complicates things somewhat, but it doesn’t mean you do not have a chance. If handled well, it may actually help him see what he will be losing by choosing the other woman.

      In short, get yourself together and focus. As long as he is giving you a chance to change his mind and heart, don’t get distracted by your own self-doubt.

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  • Thanks. I needed a bit of a reality check. I read the chapter in the book about when there is another woman and have followed your advice but I guess I got distracted because he asked her to the SB party instead of me. To be fair, he asked me first but I didn’t want to rush things, so I said no. I kind of expected him to pursue me but he chose to take her instead. Our mutual friends say, they never saw with the other woman the chemistry that my ex and I have, and also he called me twice to ask where i was and if I was having fun. I guess that counts for something.

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    • It counts for something, but as mentioned in the book, look for consistency in behaviour. It’s a better indicator of the progress you are making than isolated incidents.

      Again, stay focused… focused…\/…(:

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