Interacting with an ex after you break up can be a bit, ahem, awkward. Depending on how things ended (and who ended them), it’s normal for some feelings to linger. Whether you hope there’s still some connection, or are worried they aren’t moving on, your best indication may be how they act when they’re around you. That’s because, yes, there are likely some common tells in their behaviors that mean your ex isn’t over you or not, as Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop, tells Elite Daily. “There are some behaviors that people aren’t likely to partake in if they’re really in a completely platonic relationship with you,” she confirms.
Some of the behaviors you’ll want to be on the lookout for are more subtle, while others make it pretty clear that your ex is still holding a flame for you. Here’s what that looks like, according to the experts.
They want to know if you’re single — because they are.
One of the clearest signs that they’re still holding on to their feelings for you, Chong says, is that they take an interest in whether or not you’re still available. They may even stay single themselves in order to be able to rekindle things with you. “This is an absolute indicator that they will hint towards getting back together later on,” she explains.
When they learn that you’re single, this may lead them to take more bold action, as Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily. These actions include asking you to get back together. “If they ask you to get together for a quick drink, they might be pitching you for another chance, asking for forgiveness if cheated led to the breakup, or will let you know the things they’ve done to become a better partner,” she says.
They find excuses to touch you.
Does it feel like your ex finds any excuse to make physical contact with you? If so, Chong says this is a sign they still have feelings. “A light touch on the arm, cheek, or even a playful bump on the shoulder indicates that you aren’t ‘just friends,’” she explains. “These behaviors mean a lot more since you’ve already been intimate with them before. They want to see how you respond to their touches… if you welcome them or not.” If it’s the latter, you don’t have to be shy about setting your boundaries. Ex or not, you get to decide who and when someone touches you.
They tip their hand on social media.
There are also a handful of behaviors to keep an eye on over social media that’ll provide hints your ex still cares, the first of which, Chong says, is that they start liking or commenting on your posts. “Renewed interest in the things that you do indicates that they have an agenda, and if they keep this up for days, it’s a clear sign of interest,” she explains. Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, concurs. “[This is especially true] if previously they were quite reserved about making comments on IG feeds or liking your pics, but suddenly they’re all over your channels, making positive comments or adding hearts or emojis. This can be an indication that they want your attention,” she tells Elite Daily.
The other sign is in how they behave on their own accounts. For instance, if they start posting old photos and memories of the two of you, Chong says they likely still have some unresolved feelings.
They show up IRL.
If your ex keeps popping up wherever you are, or makes it clear that they want to meet up, Dorrell says this shows they’re putting in the effort to stay a part of your life because they still have feelings for you. “This can be an indication that they miss being in your presence and the fact that they are making themselves available or visiting places that you tend to be shows that they want to be on your radar,” she explains.
They send nostalgic texts.
Does your ex pop up every now and then in your texts for a stroll down memory lane? Spira says that could very likely mean they’re feeling sentimental about you and are holding on. “Often, these texts aren’t just random, and they probably haven’t let go. Texting an ex is a way of staying connected with the hope of getting a response from you, even if it’s just a smiley emoji,” she says.
What to do if they’re exhibiting any of these tell-tale behaviors.
If your ex is showing all the signs of someone who hasn’t moved on emotionally, the first thing you need to decide is how you feel about it, says Chong. “Decide if it’s worth getting back together with the ex. Remember, though, that there’s a reason why you broke up in the first place and, more often than not, it’s meant to stay that way,” she says.
If you’ve decided you have no interest in rekindling things, Dorell says setting clear boundaries is essential. “This could look like a heartfelt but direct: ‘I have no desire to restart anything and am also not over you… it would be great if we gave each other a chance to move on’ or, even more direct, blocking — but try [the former method] first,” she advises.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide what the right path is for you in this situation. But knowing how someone else is feeling can be really helpful in making that choice, whether it’s to revisit the past, or let them down early and set some boundaries. Either way, you got this.
Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop
Diana Dorell intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships