What Does It Mean When An Ex Gets Back In Touch?

February 28th, 2014

Break Ups, Deaing With an Ex, NEW!, NEXT!, Rebound, Sex

Name: Karacheat2

Comment: What does it mean when an ex gets back in touch with you but doesn’t express interest in rekindling your old relationship?

A few weeks ago, my ex-boyfriend reached out to me with a text message to say hi and ask how I was doing. We broke up over 2 years ago (he broke up with me) and have had no contact since then. As a aside, there was nothing particularly crazy about our breakup (no cheating, etc.) – we just weren’t getting along that well.

He asked me through the text message if I would meet up with him, and I agreed – I was pretty curious as to what he had to say and/or what he wanted after all this time. We met at a restaurant for dinner, and made some small talk. Then, about 15 minutes into our conversation, he tried to kiss me (we were sitting next to each other in this booth at the restaurant). I (gently) pushed him away and asked what the deal was. He then admitted to me that one week ago, he broke up with his girlfriend of the past year. He then told me that he still thought about me a lot, and that he constantly fantasized about me. He asked me if I fantasized about him, and I told him no (which is the truth – I haven’t even thought about him in any sense in a very long time). I asked him what happened with his previous relationship, and he said they weren’t right for each other and fought constantly, and that she was pressuring him to marry her (they are both 33). He then launched into this long discussion about how he realizes now that “relationships don’t work” and that he’s “incapable of a relationship”. I just listened to him and tried to be supportive. We parted ways a few hours later and he asked if he could stay in touch with me. I say sure, why not, and off he went.

Over the past three weeks, he has been texting me non-stop yet has not expressed no interest in meeting me again. I have been (usually) replying. We’ve had some interesting conversations (which reminded me of why I liked him so much in the first place). He’s asked me if I’m dating anyone, and I said I’ve been “dating” a few guys but nothing exclusive. He asked me if I was going out with one of them for Valentines Day, and I said yes. He’s volunteered to me some information about his dating, and it is making me progressively more and more uncomfortable – which I unfortunately know is because thanks to this new contact, I’m starting to like him all over again. He’s told me about some terrible dates he’s had, but then also about some great ones, including one girl that he’s really excited about. I asked him why he was bothering if he felt so strongly that “relationships don’t work” and he said he didn’t know, that he couldn’t explain himself.

So, what gives? Do I just cut off contact again with this guy? Tell him how I feel? Is there any point given he’s told me point blank that he doesn’t want a relationship and just got out of one? Why is he maintaining contact with me in the first place? Why is he telling me about these other girls he’s gone out with?

If I do want him back, should I not have told him (even though it is the truth) that I was seeing a few other guys?
Age: 30
City: New York
State: NY


He’s going back to you because there’s already a level of intimacy there. He doesn’t have it in him to create that with someone else. He’s not up to that right now. That’s why he’s returning to you. He doesn’t have to do all the work he normally would have to perform with someone new  in order to establish a connection of relationship.

Honestly? This sounds like typical rebound behavior. I wouldn’t read too much into it. Especially since he appears to be all kinds of twisted about what he wants. I would distance myself from him before you get too caught up in all of this. Even if he did try to reignite something with you, he’ll probably flake out a few weeks or months into it because he doesn’t know what he wants. He can’t explain himself because his thoughts are far too jumbled for him to be able to do so.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
, , , , , , , ,

36 Responses to “What Does It Mean When An Ex Gets Back In Touch?”

  1. Goldie Says:

    “He then admitted to me that one week ago, he broke up with his girlfriend of the past year.”

    There you have it. He just broke up, and has no idea what he’s doing. He’s pretty much out of his head right now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, move on. My two cents, if you feel that you can stay platonic friends and offer support to him at this time, you can go ahead and do that. I received a lot of support from my friends, both male and female (including someone I had a short relationship with three years ago), after my breakup last summer, and was very thankful to them all for that – I wouldn’t have made it through those first few months without them. But since you say that, “thanks to this new contact, I’m starting to like him all over again”, staying in contact with this guy probably isn’t a great idea. Just tell him that you don’t have it in you to be a shoulder for him to cry on right now, and ask him to please give you space.

  2. Ben Iyyar Says:

    He broke up with you Kara and cut off all contact for a couple of years, that tells me that he meant it to be final. To me he is reaching out to you now because he is hurt and lonely, and as Moxie points out, he is trying to take advantage of your previous feelings of intimacy, but only for the time being. You Kara, instinctively know this which is why you are drawing away from him, physically and emotionally.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      “he is reaching out to you now because he is hurt and lonely, and as Moxie points out, he is trying to take advantage of your previous feelings of intimacy, but only for the time being.”

      I agree that this is what the evidence shows. This, hoever is very different than “he does not know what he wants.” His motivation is clear. He knows what he wants. He just isn’t communicating it….because duh.

      • Goldie Says:

        *** His motivation is clear. He knows what he wants. He just isn’t communicating it….because duh.***

        If only it were that simple. Nope. He also wants validation. He wants the warm and fuzzy feelings that he used to have when he was part of a couple. He wants to fill the void and doesn’t know how. Which is why he’s messing with OP’s head and sending her these texts. There are hundreds of better ways for him to get the OP into his bed (if that’s what you’re referring to here) than texting her “I just went out with a girl I’m really excited about”.

        • C Says:

          The message very well could be, “I’m really popular. you had better act now or someone else will snatch me up!”

          And oh hey! Its working.

          I do agree that its possible that he is just reacting to hurt without necessarily thinking this all the way through.

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          That’s fine. He may have other motivations. The point I was making is that he’s not “confused.” He is acting rationally, for the most part, and you can discern his motivations from his actions. People very rarely are confused about what they want, they just don’t communicate them or, more correctly, they do not report their intentions accurately. What matters is the intent behind the communication, or it’s effect, not the literal meaning of the words used.

          • LostSailor Says:

            People very rarely are confused about what they want, they just don’t communicate them or, more correctly, they do not report their intentions accurately.

            While I agree that people often don’t communicate their intentions well, whether on purpose of not, I don’t agree that people are “rarely” confused about what they want. Some people are rarely confused about what they want, and I’d guess that most regular commenters here are those people, but then we’ve all probably spent a little more time than the average person actually thinking about and examining our desires and motivations.

            My experience is that there are quite a lot of people out there who are a little vague about what they want. They may think they want a particular thing, but it can often be vaguely defined and subject to change as circumstances change.

            And frankly, Kara’s ex sounds like just one of these people.

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            I’ll do the math. We can’t read other people’s minds. So, we only truly know ourselves. I know that I’m not confused about what I want. So, that’s one person. And, I’ll take your word for it that you’re not confused about what you want. So, that’s two. Let’s throw in a handful of commenters too. So, we know to a certainty that there are five or six people here who are not confused about what they want.

            I also know that I sometimes do not communicate my intentions. Sometime purposefully, and sometimes, I’m sure, inadvertently.

            Okay, now what is our evidence that those “other people” are “confused ” or don’t know what they want? Since we can’t read their minds, we have: (a) they tell us they are confused or (b) their actions don’t match their words or (c) their words don’t make sense. All of those things are just as easily explained by their failure to accurately communicate their intentions.

            Since I know that I’M not confused, it’s quite arrogant to presume that someone else is confused, given that there is another equally plausible explanation – one that is behaves consistently with the only mind that I truly know. My own.

            When I hear someone say “s/he doesn’t know what s/he wants,” it is because the person saying that is confused about what the other person wants.

          • Goldie Says:

            Hey, I was pretty confused about what I wanted in the first few months following my last breakup. At least, I was able to recognize that fairly quickly, and, when I did, I turned down all offers of dates, most offers of casual (where I had reason to believe the man might’ve wanted more), and eventually pulled my profile from OKC. Now I’m sitting at home with my dog, trying to figure out what the hell is it that I want after all. So I can totally relate to OP’s ex. He’s in the exact same place. Except, rather than pulling the plug on any romantic connections, he’s running around initiating new ones, out of knee-jerk reactions. Yeah on any given day he thinks he knows what he wants on that particular day. Today, he thinks he wants that girl who he’s excited about. Yesterday, he thought he wanted the OP. Tomorrow, who knows?

          • finallygettingit6991 Says:

            I feel for you OP, but my advice as a former rebound girl is run! The only words I would listen to are I am not that he’s telling you he’s had a relationship or something like that. While it might be tempting to fall back into dating him, give him time and space to process his breakup. If he comes back around later and it works great. It sounds like he’s looking to fill a void and there’s a good chance he will flake out. Best wishes.

  3. BostonRobin Says:

    “Over the past three weeks, he has been texting me non-stop yet has not expressed no interest in meeting me again… Why is he maintaining contact with me in the first place?”

    He’s texting you. That’s not “contact.” It’s just an easy way to keep you on his hook. You’re starting to like him again because your imagination is filling in the blanks. It sounds like your “date” was rather awkward. That’s what is real, not this texting vortex.

  4. Nathan Says:

    Here’s a guy looking for someone to fill the void he now has. That’s it. His incessant sharing about other women and his dating woes. His rush to kiss you. The mixed messages. The seeking support from you. It’s textbook.

    Regardless of whether you like him or not, dating him right now would be a disaster. My experience with a few women recently out of relationships was that no matter what you did, you were always competing with ghosts from their past, unresolved emotional baggage, and their need for you to help them move on. It’s more like being a counselor than a boyfriend/girlfriend.

    I would never go there again, and hopefully you opt not to do so either. If he gets his act together, maybe in 6 months or a year, you could test the waters. But not now. Don’t go there.

    • Goldie Says:

      *** My experience with a few women recently out of relationships was that no matter what you did, you were always competing with ghosts from their past, unresolved emotional baggage, and their need for you to help them move on.***

      Yup, I was my last ex’s rebound. (Mind you, he and I got together nine months after he and his ex-wife separated – not one week after, like LW’s ex tried to – but those two stayed in close contact that whole time). The first six months together, it was like there were three of us in that relationship. I now realize that she’s probably a very good person whose company I’d enjoy under different circumstances, but back then, I hated hated hated it that her ghost was always hovering around, and her name coming up in every conversation. One example to paint you guys a picture, on the first or second weekend that I came over to spend at his place, he took me for a walk around the rose garden where he and his ex had gotten married. We were walking around the garden hand in hand and he was telling me about it. Ugh, like Nathan said – never again!

  5. jaclyn Says:

    He has told you several really important things:

    – “One week ago, he broke up with his girlfriend of the past year”
    – “relationships don’t work”
    – he’s “incapable of a relationship.”

    As others have correctly pointed out, the first statement means that he is contacting you because he is feeling badly about himself, and is hoping for a short term rebound fling that will boost his ego.

    The second and third statements are really important since you have stated that you are starting to have feelings for him again. Maya Angelou once said that when people tell you who they are, you need to believe them. He is telling you that he isn’t capable of being in a relationship right now. You always need to always stay away from people who aren’t capable of being in a relationship when you have feelings for them. It can lead to nothing but pain and heartache. His behavior – trying to kiss you 15 minutes into a date, and then talking about other girls when he didn’t get what he wanted, and texting you instead of calling or asking you out – screams “I’m just looking to get laid.” And sleeping with a guy who wants something casual when you have feelings for him is a very bad thing for you.

    If you have feelings for him, slowly cut off all contact. There is no reason to be all dramatic and tell him you are cutting off contact, but stop initiating any contact with him (if you have previously done so. If he texts you, delay sending responses to his messages for an increasing period of time (at first a few hours, and then a day or two). When you do respond, only send him polite, short, non flirtatious responses. He’ll probably disappear on his own without too much effort since the only thing he is looking for is an ego boost, and if you stop providing it he will go away.

    If you didn’t have feelings for him, this might have been an opportunity to establish a friendship with him, but since you have feelings this would also be a really bad thing right now. You need to cut off all contact with this guy and move on with your life.

  6. fuzzilla Says:

    Yup. Stay away, girl.

    The emotionally confused, mixed message types can hurt you way worse than straight up pump-and-dump players. Because if you like them, you’ll only hear what you want to hear. I mean, hey, they *did* actually say what you wanted to hear, about how you’re so awesome and your connection is so great and they can’t stop thinking about you and so on – never mind that they said so on Monday, then forgot all about it Tuesday and went and screwed someone else. This train is on a broken track. Stay on the platform.

    I’ll have to disagree slightly with jaclyn – she may have to be blunt and tell him to stop contacting her. I can see why one would advise against that as unnecessarily dramatic, but if he’s constantly texting her whether she responds or not…maybe have a brief “come to Jesus” talk/text. Text him, “It’s confusing to me why you’re suddenly so invested in me. I wish you the best, but think we should take a break.”

  7. D. Says:

    When people are rebounding, they’re basically looking for solace, for lack of a better word. They aren’t in a place to have an actual relationship because they’re still pretty wounded from the last one, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting to feel something close to what they had again. So, it’s no surprise that he’d hit up an ex — regardless of how long ago it was — and look for a taste of what he had before.

    The thing is, people in this state are often not honest with themselves or lacking insight to recognize that what they want is a feeling, rather than a relationship or a casual fuck or anything else that’s quite so concrete. The feeling is ineffable. What they typically find — and the reason why rebounds so often fall apart shortly thereafter or lead to dysfunctional relationships — is that every which way they turn, they can’t really find what it is that they think they want.

    So, the guy turns to Kara for intimacy (including sex), probably already knowing she’s gonna shoot him down. Then he says he can’t do relationships. Then he says he’s dating around, had bad dates, but now has a really great date with a girl about whom he’s excited. He’s all over the place and that alone should tell you everything you need to know.

    Keep it at arms’ length, keep it STRICTLY platonic (unless you AND he can honestly handle a purely casual fuck), and keep yourself busy with other more available guys.

  8. Mark Says:

    ” What does it mean when an ex gets back in touch with you but doesn’t express interest in rekindling your old relationship?”

    In 99 44/100’s of the time… nothing good. Not really.

    The vast majority of time there was a very good reason why the relationship broke up.

    I’m not trying to be dismissive. Far from it. But I stopped reading after three or four lines into the letter.

    Re; It really was not about something something that both of you had concerning a compellingly strong current mutual interest (ie a child, death of a common friend, etc).

    Rather, He was going through an empty stretch, wondered if he could scramble something up from his past and consulted his little black book. Lo and behold your name came up.

    The rest is little more than Jabberwocky to satisfy a sexual urge or something close to it. It’s probably best not to go there.

    Again, you two broke up for a reason. Unless there is something very compelling in his contacting you that overcomes that reason, then it’s best to move on with your life and he with his.

  9. C Says:

    ” He’s told me about some terrible dates he’s had, but then also about some great ones, including one girl that he’s really excited about. ”

    Hahahaha. Hurry! This amazing deal wont last! Operators standing by.

    Theres always the small chance that the guy had some great epiphany about having lost the love of his life when he broke up with you. A very small chance. But he is saying nothing of the sort. He is saying, “Im not capable of relationships so come be my emotional and physical crutch.” Umh, talk about not selling it!

    I think Moxie nailed it.

    As a former boomerang lover, i can tell you how this normally plays out from the other side.

    I date a guy. I realize we arent right for each other. i break up. I stay single and stay platonic friends with the guy. I get lonely. I forget how much our incompatibility bothered me. I remember all the good times. I ask him to take me back. He agrees. Two months later I cant wait to break up with him again.

    In the case of your guy there, I suspect he forgot all the bad times and remembered all the good times when things went south with the last girlfriend and they were fighting all the time.

    My best advise, dont reward his needy behavior and marginalize your new “friendship”. *HE* dumped you! You owe him nothing. Start taking a couple of days to reply to his messages. Suggest that the two of you get together in a couple of months to “catch up”. You can stay on friendly terms without becoming his emotional tampon. And certainly dont get sucked back into this cluster #$%$@.

  10. Howard Says:

    Rebound. He sees you as easier game than starting from scratch. Dry spell. All sorts of reasons that are not generally promising in your direction.

    They all don’t matter that much though. What matters, is that the reasons you didn’t make it before, are exactly the reasons, you won’t make it again. People do change, both you and him. That can be a reason for things to work. Unfortunately you don’t have the benefit of that in your situation. I think you know what you have to do; you’re just seeking confirmation here. Well, there you go; you have it.

  11. Noquay Says:

    “When someone tells you who they are believe them”.

  12. btrflynaia Says:

    “When someone tells you who they are believe them”.


  13. mindstar Says:

    Of course. Except all too many people (perhaps women more so than men)are convinced that their “love” is enough to change the other person. It rarely works out that way and generally ends badly.

  14. LostSailor Says:

    Not a lot to add, since Moxie and most comments have pretty much covered this one. But that never stops me from commenting…

    The Ex may be looking for validation, but I think, despite his insistence that “relationships don’t work” and he’s not very good at them, that he likes being in a relationship and is looking to Kara for emotional support while he trolls the waters for his next relationship.

    Perhaps he’s laying the groundwork for an eventual move to sleep with Kara again, perhaps not, but whatever it is, it’s indeed working as it has Kara questioning herself.

    The pertinent part of Kara’s letter is this: If I do want him back… He’s got her actually thinking about getting back together.

    Which, to me, would be a mistake. While this guy, despite what he says, seems to like and perhaps even need to be in some sort of relationship, he’s unlikely to be a stable partner. He broke up with Kara the first time, and it sounds like he broke up with is last GF who was talking marriage. He may just like relationships as long as they don’t get too serious. And he’s got Kara chasing ghosts and “what ifs” in her head. Frankly, he sounds a bit manipulative.

    I agree with Moxie that this is a rebound to distance oneself from. I don’t see anything good coming out of either continuing to communicate with him or thinking about getting back together.

    Actually, I can’t recall ever being in contact with an ex, with the exception of my ex-wife, with whom I maintain regular contact. But that was a 20-year relationship that ended amicably. We still actually like each other. But I can guarantee that we will never be getting back together.

    I would be suspicious of an ex that got back in contact, especially if they had so recently ended a serious relationship.

    This one just sounds like a mile of bad road….

  15. Lamont Cranston Says:

    Looks like he’s trying to set up booty calls to me.

  16. babytalk Says:

    It just sounds like he is looking for attention & an ego boost. Nothing more.

  17. Damien Says:

    If the OP is not interested in her ex-boyfriend any more, and has no interest whatsoever in anything, why did she agree to meet with him, and why is she even wasting time writing here?

    Folktales, such as that of Pandoara’s Box, have their basis in human nature. The OP is just “pretty curious as to what he had to say and/or what he wanted” so she had to peak inside. And she still peaks inside, even though she claims the this Box has no relevance in her life. It plays out like this for quite a few women.

    OP: don’t worry about his issues and motivations. Either have an FWB set-up with him, or stop your contribution to this drama and move on.

    • C Says:

      She agreed to meet with him even though she had no interest in her ex because he asked he to and she wanted “to be nice”. He started texting her and she replied “to be nice”.

      This may be hard for men to understand for most guys but if you approach a woman and ask her to be your friend and do “friend stuff” for you, good chance she will do it. If you asked her out or asked her for sex, you would get a fast “no”. But ask a woman to meet you for lunch to catch up, or cheer you up, or talk about your personal problems, a lot of women would say yes without hesitation.

      • C Says:

        This actually happened to me when a guy from a former long distance relationship endedup in the same city as me. He kept asking me out to dinner and trying to walk me home. I wanted to be friends with him and kept agreeing to dinner but would insist on alternating paying the dinner check and wouldnt let him walk me home. I just wanted to be friends.

        • Goldie Says:

          So how did it end? Or are you guys still meeting for dinners and walking home?

          • ATWYSingle Says:

            No, we’re not getting into that. It’s not relevant and I’m pretty sure nobody cares. The comments of this blog are not a book club meeting.

          • Goldie Says:

            Hmm, sounded to me like C had an ex who tried to get back in touch, and that she handled that situation somehow. I thought it was relevant to the subject. If not, I apologize.

          • C Says:

            Not sure if the reply is welcome so I’ll keep it brief. We had dinner twice. Once it became obvious he wanted more then friendship, i pulled the fade.

    • Goldie Says:

      I’m actually on good terms with my ex-husband, close friends with one of the two other exes (that I’d been close friends with before we started dating), and back on speaking terms with the last ex, after some time of no contact. I just don’t like the idea of ejecting someone from my life just because we’re not a couple anymore. Normally with a friend, relative, or acquaintance, it would take a massive act of betrayal or backstabbing for me to end communication with them for good. Why should exes be treated any differently?

      So yeah, I’d probably say yes to any of mine if they asked to “meet and catch up”. Just like I’d say yes to an old girlfriend or relative, that I’d been out of contact with for a while, if they had a similar request. Again, something pretty bad would need to have happened in the past for me to say no to a girlfriend or a relative, to their request to meet and catch up. Unless they’re my sworn enemy, the default answer is yes.

  18. Yvonne Says:

    I may read this a bit differently, but the crux of the issue for me is whether or not Kara has any interest in getting back together with her ex. If she is developing feelings for him again AND she thinks that dating him again could actually work, and the issues that split them up before have been, or could be resolved, then she needs to have an honest conversation with him.

    Put him to the test. If it is true that he’s been missing Kara, and thinking about her constantly, she needs to ask if he wants to start dating again, if that is what she also wants. If he hesitates, let him go for good.

    • Goldie Says:

      Nah. Too soon. He’s a mess right now. Like someone said above, if they both still think they want it six months from now, then it might work. Right now, he’ll just hurt her if she tries to take things to that level, even if he agrees to do that – *especially* if he agrees to do that.

  19. Lucy Says:

    I have something similar to this. At New Year, an ex got back into contact with me. I agreed to meet up but was very disturbed when he was treating me with disrespect and trying to get me to agree to a no string’s attached arrangement where he could have sex with me whilst he decided what he wanted. Obviously I said ‘No’ and I was really put off by his trying to use me when he knew I was trying to get over him and feeling upset. He said that he didn’t mind whether he was friends with me – he just didn’t want to feel lonely. He even suggested that he wanted to get back together. But later I realised he just said this to manipulate me to come and meet him. I felt messed around. Haven’t talked to him since.

    So over the past month or two, he’ll send me a text every so often but I don’t reply. Part of me feels rude doing this but I just don’t even want to start a dialogue again because I don’t trust him. As someone said above, I’ve realised that I don’t owe him anything, especially since we only dated for a month and he’s the one who ended it with me. He was really angry with me when I didn’t agree to what he wanted (having sex without a relationship) and he gets really angry if I tell him that he’s done wrong. Last time I saw him he tried to get me to sleep with him at the same time as saying that he finds flaws with me physically – even asking if I want him to tell me all about my flaws haha.

© 2013-2018 And That's Why You're Single All Rights Reserved