Why Is Your Ex Testing You?
You think you’ve gone your separate ways, but suddenly, your ex is back on the scene.
Why does it seem as if your ex is testing you? There can be several reasons why your ex suddenly makes contact or tries to ingratiate themselves back into your life.
For starters, it could mean that your ex genuinely still loves you and wants to see if there’s a chance to get you back.
Another option could be that your ex wants to know your relationship status, which could be a simple fascination or a sign that they’re still interested.
In some situations, it could be your ex’s emotional instability.
For example, perhaps one day, your ex reaches out to you and smothers you in affection and then, for several weeks, goes quiet.
Of course, all situations and scenarios are different. So let’s discuss the ins and outs of an ex re-entering your life and what it could mean.
13 Signs Your Ex Is Testing You
1. Your ex hasn’t reached out to you at all
If your ex hasn’t reached out to you, it may be because they have moved on or you have done something to upset them.
On the other hand, perhaps you haven’t done anything at all, but suddenly, after weeks of contact, your ex drops off the map.
First and foremost, remember that a breakup usually results in one or both parties moving on, and your ex might have just naturally moved on with life.
On the other hand, it could be a sign that your ex wants to know how you feel by distancing themself to see if you make contact or try to get their attention.
2. Your ex is acting out of character
Sometimes, when your ex suddenly starts acting “weird,” it can be a sign that they’re trying to figure out who they are and what they want.
Think about the last time you felt unsure about what you wanted. What did you do to figure it out?
Did you sit there or try things that someone who knows you well might have thought, “Well, he/she’s acting a little weird!”?
Perhaps you cut your long hair short and dyed it an unusual color, or you changed up your style and started wearing entirely new clothing brands.
The same thing could be happening with your ex. In such situations, your ex is probably not testing you but testing themselves to figure things out. The best thing you can do is give the person space to work through it and not demand answers.
3. Your ex has started re-engaging with your social media
When it comes to breakups, social media can be a nightmare.
At first, you may grapple with the concept of keeping your ex on your social pages.
Should you delete your ex or try to be mature and leave them there?
Of course, it comes down to the nature of the breakup. If you feel you were in an abusive relationship or your ex is using your social media to slander you or upset you, it’s a no-brainer; remove/delete them from your social media.
However, if your ex has suddenly started liking and commenting on your photos and posts, you may wonder, “Hey, what’s that all about?”
You could let it play out if you’re still interested in your ex. Banter and communicate and see where it goes.
If you’re not interested, you could ignore the online attention or limit their access to your social pages by adjusting your privacy settings or removing them from your social accounts completely.
If you don’t want to be dramatic, you could take a break from social media for mental health reasons. However, they say that time away from social media can be as good as a holiday!
4. Their social media posts are indirectly targeted at you
You’re scrolling social media, looking at all of your friends’ pictures and posts from the weekend, and suddenly you see a nasty series of posts by your ex that seem to be aimed at you or would at least upset the average ex in your position.
Is it about you, or is he just being funny or deep?
In some instances, especially if the breakup is fresh, passive-aggressive or potentially nasty messages have a motive. This is only sometimes the case, of course.
What could it mean?
- For starters, it could just mean that your ex is trying to get a reaction out of you or hurt you.
- Was your ex prone to selfish behavior in the past?
- Could they be instigating a comment that gets others to view you negatively?
If the posts are negative, the best response or reaction is none. Do nothing. Limit their visibility on social feeds or remove them from your social platforms.
On the flip side, maybe your ex’s posts seem aimed at you, but they’re positive and meaningful. It could mean that your ex misses you and wants you back. Or, it could mean that they have moved on and someone else has caught their eye.
If you’re still interested in your ex, you could like the posts or show support – you never know where it might go!
5. They keep trying to reach out to you
Some relationships end, but it seems as if they haven’t on some level.
This can sometimes happen with couples who break up for reasons that are no longer relevant to them or if they break up but regret it.
If your ex seems to keep reaching out to check in with you, see how you’re doing, share a joke, or tell you news, it could mean a few things.
For starters, it could mean that your ex hasn’t moved on. You know what they say, right? Old habits die hard.
Or, perhaps it means that your ex isn’t over you and wants you back but doesn’t know how to approach it, so they’re playing the “long game” by always being present in your life.
It’s hard for you to move on if your ex is always around, so be careful with this one if you’re ready to move on.
It’s best to be upfront with your ex and ask what their intentions are if you want to avoid confusion.
6. Your ex jumps to conclusions to see your reaction
You’re out with a friend to catch up, and your ex’s friends spot you. They approach you to say “Hi” and cautiously give your friend a look over.
Two hours later, your phone starts to buzz with “Oh, you’ve moved on quickly!” or “Wow, so you’re out with a new guy already. You wasted no time!” type of message.
As it turns out, your ex has heard you were out and about and has jumped to conclusions. Be cautious because it doesn’t necessarily mean your ex wants you back. Instead, it could mean your ex is jealous and wants to stir the pot.
It’s important to stay calm and avoid having an emotional reaction. Unfortunately, your ex likely wants to get a reaction from you.
7. Your ex blocks, unblocks, and re-adds you
This could indicate that your ex doesn’t know what they want. Perhaps the breakup is painful, and they cannot move on until they completely separate themselves from you.
On the other hand, it could mean that your ex is ready to move on, has met someone else, and wants to show that person that they are serious about the new relationship.
If they re-add you, it could mean they have spoken it over maturely with their new partner and decided you’re not a threat.
Or, of course, it could mean that the new relationship didn’t work out, and your ex is regretful for blocking you in the first place.
Another option is that your ex is emotionally unstable; their behavior supports this. In such an instance, the last thing you want to do is catch yourself up in the emotional turmoil.
Protecting yourself is important, but you don’t have to be unkind. For example, you could ignore the blocking and the request to re-add you.
If you feel you still have something of value in a friendship with your ex, considering their re-adding is understandable.
But first, ensure that your ex doesn’t have a pattern of such unhealthy behavior, as it could become emotionally draining and hurtful for you in the long run.
8. Your ex is not returning your belongings
You’ve asked what feels like a million times for your ex to return your favorite hoodie and that sentimental ornament your best friend gave you, yet it seems like it falls on deaf ears.
Plans are made and canceled to do the exchange, and you’re starting to wonder if there’s a deeper meaning behind it all.
It’s important to note that in some instances, exes may hang onto personal belongings as it makes them feel closer to the person they have lost.
Good memories and comfort are tied to the item, and they find it hard to let go.
On the other hand, it could be that your ex is avoiding you because they don’t want to face you after a messy breakup.
9. They keep showing up wherever you go
If your ex suddenly appears in all your favorite places, especially if they didn’t do that before, it could be a sign that they’re trying to get your attention.
Remember that it can sometimes be hard for someone to move on and accept that the relationship is over.
If your ex feels as if there’s more to the relationship and wants to win you back, they may start showing up at your favorite bars and events or hanging out with mutual friends more than usual.
That said, it could signify that they feel lonely and want to get out. The trick is to assess how your ex communicates and behaves around you while in the same space.
- Does your ex try to include you in conversations and make you laugh, or do they avoid you while in the same circles?
- Is your ex’s body language open and welcoming, or is it closed off and telling you to stay back?
Of course, you could ask your ex why they are suddenly showing up wherever you go, but if it doesn’t bother you, you could see how it plays out.
10. Your ex is acting possessive and controlling
If your ex is suddenly acting as if you belong to them, your first reaction might be confusion, followed by frustration.
Depending on how the relationship ended, you may no longer want your ex to get in the way of your relationships and connections with others.
Possessive and controlling behavior can be misconstrued. You may think it’s a sign that your ex is still in love with you and values you, but that’s not always true.
In some instances, possessiveness and controlling behavior can indicate emotional instability or narcissistic behavior, so it’s best not to encourage it, even if you’re in a healthy relationship.
In such a scenario, your ex may jump in whenever someone offers to walk you home or give you a life and tell them they will do that. They may even try to manipulate where you go and who you spend time with.
Whether you’re interested in your ex or not, it’s important to set healthy boundaries and let your ex know that you don’t belong to them and controlling behavior isn’t going to fly with you.
11. They keep trying to get under your skin
Are you getting a little tired of the cocky, sarcastic, or facetious comments from your ex? Does it feel almost as if they want to get under your skin for the sake of upsetting or frustrating you?
For some people, irritating someone is a sign that they like them. But this isn’t always the case, so it’s best to assess the situation before you jump to conclusions.
Take the time to monitor how your ex is going about getting under your skin. The comments and teasing should be assessed.
Is it done in a teasing and joking way, or does it seem like your ex is saying nasty things to hurt you?
In some instances, sarcastic comments or teasing to the point of frustration could be a way to hurt or control you.
If it’s upsetting, you can ask your ex to stop, but if it has no bearing on your life, ignore it and limit your time spent with them.
12. Your ex is playing manipulative mind games
While games can be fun, they can also waste a lot of time and cause undue confusion.
You may find that one moment, your ex asks you to go out for drinks for a catchup session, but then a day later, they drop off the map.
One day it seems they’re interested in working out your differences. Then the next, they’re barely answering messages, chatting with other people to make you jealous, and generally confusing you with vague comments and questions.
Manipulative games are used to get someone’s attention, and the person using the game is usually trying to find a way to make you want them more.
If your ex seems to be playing games with you and you don’t like it, don’t play the game. Instead, limit your communications and distance yourself.
However, if you are interested in your ex and want their attention in return, you could play a little bit of “two can play that game.”
Of course, you don’t want to send confusing signals, but be a little less available than usual, and don’t react to every confusing or vague message you receive.
Then, when you have their attention, you can approach the topic of stopping the games!
13. Your ex tries to make you jealous
If your ex is suddenly asking your best friend out to coffee or posting deep and meaningful messages on your arch-enemy’s social media pages, there’s a chance that they’re trying to make you jealous.
Perhaps your ex, who never used social media all that much, is suddenly posting photos with people of the opposite sex. This screams of trying to make you jealous but approach the situation cautiously.
There’s always a chance that they’ve just moved on with their life or are trying to find ways to cope with the break.
If you’re uninterested in your ex’s approach and don’t want to get back together, ignore it. It’s a phase and will probably pass.
However, if it’s upsetting, you can practice some distance by limiting their appearance on your social news feeds and spending time away from your usual hangouts where you might bump into them.
14. Your ex seeks your help to maintain the connection
Asking someone for their advice or help is a great way to bond and form a connection.
For you, it makes you feel needed and useful; for the other person, it means they get to talk to you and keep you close.
If your ex suddenly asks for your advice and help, it may be a sign that they’re still into you. Perhaps they’re not ready to end the relationship or want to get you back but don’t know how to go about it.
On the other hand, it could mean that your ex respects you and wants to be your friend. If you’re feeling confused, there’s nothing wrong with asking for clarity from your ex. After all, it helps if everyone is on the same page.
What To Do If Your Ex Is Testing You?
If your ex is testing you, you may be in an on-off relationship. According to a study presented by Psychnet, two-thirds of people have experienced some sort of on-off relationship.
The study found that on-off partners were less likely to report positives (love and understanding from partners) and more likely to report negatives (communication problems, uncertainty) than partners who had not broken up and renewed.
This is food for thought if you feel like your ex is playing a game to get you back.
If you do get back together, will your relationship be stronger, or will it be weaker?
This may come down to whether the hot-cold behavior from your ex is their usual pattern or if it is a once-off thing.
How to Respond When it Seems Like Your Ex is Testing You?
Now that you have some more insight into the signs of an ex testing you, what can/should you do about it?
Below is a brief overview of some of the ways you can respond.
(Of course, your response will be based on how you feel about your ex and whether you’re ready to move on or want to give things another try.)
1. Consider your emotional state.
- Are you ready to get into a relationship again?
- Have you just forgotten the issues your relationship had because you’ve had some distance?
Regardless of how you feel about your ex, you need to be in a stable emotional state before you get into a new relationship or start working on an old one.
This means that you won’t make rash emotional decisions now that you will regret later. Instead, make a pros and cons list about how you feel about the behavior and only react and respond when the time is right.
2. Don’t keep going back on again off again relationships can become a pattern for some couples – an unhealthy pattern!
Even if you and your ex seem to have a good relationship, if you’re always anticipating a flip in behavior, you will never be able to relax, which could lead to resentment, mistrust, and general unhappiness.
It’s important to set a healthy boundary with your partner. If you’re in a relationship, there’s no room for games.
3. Establish a no-contact rule
if your ex is testing you but you’d really like to move on and become emotionally stable and healthy, don’t be afraid to distance yourself.
Establish a no-contact rule with your ex that gives you time to work through things in your own mind before you have to deal with them on any level again.
This may help you move on, or help you decide whether or not you want to go back to them.
No contact can be as loose or strict as you like. It could mean removing each other from social platforms without phone calls or texts.
Or it could mean remaining friends on social platforms but avoiding each other’s favorite places and not sending text messages.
Decide what it means for you and stick to your plan.
There’s a difference between being tested and being rejected. There’s also big differences between someone teasing you, showing genuine interest or just toying with your emotions.
This is why it’s important to take the time to monitor and assess the situation before you jump to conclusions or jump into action.
If your ex seems to be testing you, remain calm and consider what they might get.
- Are you playing into the scenario and making it easy or fun?
- Or is it time for you to distance yourself so that you can healthily work through the breakup?
Make a healthy choice that’s right for you.