How to Respond to an Ex Checking Up on You?

It’s not uncommon for an ex to suddenly check up on you.

Your ex may send you a text message you asking how are you doing, catching you completely off guard.

But, now, what do you do?

It’s a very complicated situation but you can work around it.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about handling this situation.

So, the first question that you might need the answer for is…..

Should I respond back to your ex checking up on you?

When you’re in the throes of unexpected contact from your ex, you may wonder what to do.

Should you just “go with the flow” and see what happens or should you put boundaries in place and protect yourself? 

Before you decide what to do and what to make of the sudden unexpected attention (or investigation), there are a few things you need to consider.

What to Do When EX Reaches Out To You

1. Reflect on Your Feelings and Motivations

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to know how you’re feeling and where you stand in terms of your emotions. 

Most poor decisions stem from a place of emotional response where little to no thought has been given to what happens after the intensity of the current feeling subsides. 

Try to be reasonable in your approach to how you’re feeling. Asking yourself if you think you will always feel the way you’re feeling now. 

If you’re not over the breakup and still feel hurt , you may react or respond in a way that you regret. 

You may lash out and say things you regret, or you may even find yourself leaning towards getting back together with your ex when it’s not really what you want.

If you know how you feel, you’ll be able to make sound decisions. If you’re unsure, it’s better to take some time to process your feelings before you respond for your own well being.

2. Evaluate the Purpose Behind Their Check-In

Don’t jump to conclusions. Rather take the time to consider what may be spurring the behavior. 

Consider the chances that your ex is reaching out because they miss you and have an interest, in which case they’re not “checking up” on you but rather checking in on you.

In some instances, your ex may want to reconcile and is checking up to see if there’s an opportunity to do so.  Of course, there’s always the chance that they just want to be friends. 

According to research, there are 4 main reasons why exes want to maintain contact, and these include the following:

  • Lingering romantic feelings
  • Civility
  • Security
  • Convenience

Give a decent amount of thought to each of these scenarios before jumping to any conclusions. Consider if perhaps your ex is reaching out for any of the above reasons. 

If you don’t feel awkward doing so, you could solve the mystery and ask them directly why they’re checking up on you.

3. Establish clear boundaries to protect your emotional well-being

Most people forget to protect the most important person in their lives: themselves. 

If you’re experiencing unexpected contact and checking up from your ex, first make sure that you have clear and healthy boundaries in place to protect yourself. 

If you’re unsure of how you feel, request time and space to clear your head and get your feelings in check. 

If your ex has a bad reaction to this request, then you need to question if they care about you or not. Someone who cares will have your best interests at heart.

If your ex is checking up on you and trying to bring up the past, rehash issues, and turn conversations negative, you have every right to shut the conversation down. 

Make it clear that you’re open to talking about general issues and the future, but the past and issues are off the table.

Of course, you’re not required to keep in touch with your ex – it’s not compulsory. If you don’t want to maintain contact, simply express that you’d prefer to have limited or no contact moving forward. It’s your prerogative. 

To set boundaries, make a list of the boundaries you would like in place. Perhaps you would like limited contact or perhaps you would like to be friends but don’t want more. Communicate these boundaries clearly for the benefit of both you and your ex.

4. Finally, think about your own goals

While you’re wondering why your ex is checking up on you and how you should respond, don’t forget to think about what you want. Don’t get lost in the concept of trying to appease other people’s needs. 

What do you genuinely want? Do you want to get back together with your ex? Is there a viable chance of that? Really give this some thought – hasty decisions will not serve you well over the long term.

Would you prefer to stay on good terms and revert to being acquaintances? Or, perhaps you just want to be friends?

You can only craft a good response when you know how you feel and what you want. So wait until you’re in the position before deciding what to do.

How to Respond to an Ex Checking Up on You:

Knowing how to respond to an ex who hurt you when they suddenly contact you after a period of no contact can make all the difference to the situation and the outcome. 

If you jump into action and create a quick response, you may find that you say something you don’t mean or get yourself into a situation that becomes awkward because it’s not what you want.

Below are a few strategies you can use for responding to your ex:

1. A pre-mediated response

Pre-mediated responses require you to put time and thought into your response instead of replying impulsively. It’s also a balanced and reasonable way to respond to someone who suddenly contacts you with anything that has an emotional basis.

Craft a response that is balanced, reasonable, and somewhat stoic. Don’t have an emotional response or reaction. 

Of course, you should be careful of relationship cycling. This is when a relationship follows a pattern of a breakup, distance, make-up, and then break up again. It’s a negative cycle and doesn’t serve either party. 

With a premeditated response that isn’t impulsive, you can help yourself break the toxic relationship cycling process.

2. A neutral response

A neutral response avoids the topic at hand and provides you with time to assess how the conversation goes and what’s behind it. 

An example of a neutral response would be: 

If your ex sends you a message saying, “Would you like to get back together?” you would reply with, “Hey! How’s it going? What have you been keeping busy with recently?

This avoids answering the question but opens up the door for conversation. You can then assess the conversation to see if the messages seem needy, aggressive, drunk (it happens!), or otherwise.

3. A straightforward response

Being straightforward is easy and effective for people who know what they want. 

For instance, if you don’t want to patch up, you can tell them so in a gentle way. 

You could say something like, “Hi! Nice to hear from you. I don’t think we should get back together, but I hope you’re doing well!

Sometimes being straightforward can save you a lot of emotional distress.

4. A confession response

Confession responses are best suited to people who have realized they’ve done someone else wrong, or they regret the relationship ending and want to get back. 

For instance, if you miss your ex and realize your fault in the breakup, you might say, “Hi! Great to hear from you. I really do feel bad about putting you through so much pain, and yes, I would love to give us another shot if you’re serious about that!

If you’re unsure of your feelings, avoid presenting a confession response, as this may confuse your ex.

5. A closure response

Closure responses are a way of finalizing things. Perhaps you didn’t get closure in your relationship, but you want it now.

You could say something like, “Sorry, I don’t want to ever get back together.” Or, if you do want to get back together, you can say something like, “I have been thinking about it a lot, and I don’t want to be apart. I would like to talk about getting back together.

For many people who have been in a damaging or abusive relationship, a closure response can provide a lot of relief.

That said, closure messages are either hard or easy. Usually, they’re hard if you don’t know what you want or have been hurt, or easy if you know what you want and are ready to move on.


There could be a lot of reasons for you ex to contact you. The main one being they still have feeling for you and they regret dumping you.

On the other hand, it could also be a simple jealousy response or curiosity. It’s best to avoid jumping to conclusions but assess the situation before deciding on the correct action. A conscious decision will keep your mental health safe. 

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Jayme Wium
About Jayme Wium

Jayme is a certified relationship & communications Counselor and a professional writer with 13 years of experience. She lives in the United Kingdom with her Daxies, reading and writing as much as her free time will allow.

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