My Ex Wanted A Break – Should I Respond If She Contacts Me?

Question: My girlfriend of 2yrs decided 5 weeks ago that she wanted “a break” with no contact. A couple of weeks before the breakup she 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 was a little bit surprised that she asked for no contact but I told her I loved her and wanted her to be happy, then gave her what she wanted and did not contact her.

After 3 weeks of no contact, she texted me, “Hey there! How are you?” I haven’t replied 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.

Yangki’s Answer: 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.

If you want her back, yes respond. Remember, you are on a break, and not officially broken up. Technically, she’s not even you ex, yet.

I suggest 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 and make herself feel good that you’re missing her, she’s not going to get her ego stroked with a neutral response. If 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.

As you may have read on this site, I am not a fan of ‘no contact’ unless you need it to move on. But people do it, and if you are on the receiving end of ‘no contact’, you just have to deal.

If you want her back, you have to find ways to move past the fact that they chose to do ‘no contact’ when you would have rather stayed in contact. If by the time they contact you and you do not want them back in your life, then let the no contact continue. You don’t need to respond, it was their decision to have no contact in the first place.

Go slow, let her take the lead, but don’t let her do all of the initiating contact.

1. That’s giving her all the power. Sounds counter-intuitive but being a passive participant in a relationship means that you end up doing what the other person wants, and not what you want. In this case, if she doesn’t contact you, all you can do is wait.

2. People lose interest and attraction if they are the only ones trying to keep the lines of communication open or make the relationship work.

So yes, let her take the lead but after her initiating 2 – 4 times, start initiating contact too. Just make sure you don’t do a lot more than she does, especially in the beginning.

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  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Dennis

    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?

    1. 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.

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Ruters

    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? 🙁

    1. 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.

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: GreenGirl

    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.

    1. 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…

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Will

    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.”

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Linda S.

    I ran 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.

    1. 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.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Karl

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

    1. 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…

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Karl

    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.

    1. 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.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Schneider

    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?

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