One day your ex seems to act like they want to get back together but the next day your ex seems cold and distant again?
Maybe it seems like your ex is playing games with you by their conflicting messages and their mixed signals.
That is a common complaint I receive from the people who I coach to get their ex back.
Their ex acts like they want to get back together one day and then seems to go back to wanting the breakup the next day.
To say it is frustrating is an understatement.
How are you supposed to interpret and understand mixed signals from your ex?
I’ll get to that but the next question to ask is, are your actions playing any role in this?
One client lamented to me that her ex boyfriend contacted her and said romantic things to her like he did when they were together but then ghosted her.
After a few questions I learned that she had overwhelmed him with texts and expressed the desire to define their relationship again as boyfriend and girlfriend.
He wasn’t ready for that so he backed off. He seemed distant.
It wasn’t mixed signals from an ex as much as it was a reaction to her moving way to fast for the early stages of a reconciliation relationship.
Here’s the deal:
When just getting back with an ex, it’s actually good not to start where you left off.
You shouldn’t even try because it’s not possible without faking some of it.
Naturally there needs to be healing.
Do not rush to define the relationship again. Instead of putting a title on it again, let it happen in itself for a time without declaring a definition.
Truth doesn’t need a title.
Be “boyfriend and girlfriend” for a time before labeling it.
That will prevent both of you from being hot and then cold (giving mixed signals) because you will have something to aspire to instead of feeling like the majority of it lies in your past.
How To Interpret Mixed Signals From Your Ex
1. If your ex reaches out to you but then stops and doesn’t return your texts or calls, this is often caused by too much of an overly-enthusiastic response from you. If you hear from your ex during the “no contact phase,” a major key is to be calm and that you not try to get it all back with one grab.
It’s alright to tell them that it’s nice to hear from them, but let your ex be the pursuer since it was their move to break up with you.
You should be respecting their wishes and not behaving as a lover right now.
If they want things to change, they’ll most likely be direct about it or it will be clear to you by their actions.
To prevent mixed signals, a face-to-face meeting is effective.
If your ex contacts you during no contact, assume they want to get together and, if they don’t suggest it first, it’s fine to say something like, “We should catch up. When are you free to get coffee?”
Again, be calm, casual, and light.
Do not ask your ex if he/she wants to get back together.
Do not become emotional or tell them that you have been miserable without them.
Unless of course, you actually want them to grow cold again and start sending mixed signals.
2. You are over-pursuing your ex with texts, calls, etc.
Sometimes after a breakup, people do the right thing and leave their ex alone but then forget that they shouldn’t chase when their ex contacts them.
Remember, it is key to let your ex come to you – even when it is clear that your ex wants to get back together.
Over pursuing them only gives your ex confidence that they can take their time getting back together with you.
It tells them they can see other people and will experience no consequences from you or risk losing you. That’s not what you want your ex feeling at all!
You want your ex to take you seriously, to feel that they have messed up with you, to worry that maybe they can’t get you back or at least that they can’t just call and say “Hey,” and you’ll jump into their arms.
If you want your ex back, you’ll be polite and light-hearted, but you won’t over pursue.
Over-pursuit will put you in the land of mixed signals and an eternal breakup.
3. Your ex is in a rebound relationship and is waffling back and forth between you and the other person.
I hate to be the bearer of potentially bad news, but if you are getting mixed signals from your ex, it could be that your ex is trying to choose between you and someone else.
This is likely good news for you because this is a sign that they don’t want the breakup.
Think about it, if they broke up with you and started dating someone else fairly soon after, but now think they might want to come back to you, this most likely means they have compared you to the other person and you are winning despite the newness of the rebound (potentially even limerence).
Closeness and fond memories make mince meat out of rebound relationships as long as you don’t let the breakup turn you into an annoying, obsessive stalker.
The key here is to avoid jealousy (at least don’t let your ex know about it or see it) and not to spook your ex.
They are moving in your direction.
If this is what you want, relax and be patient while they keep coming to you.
The rebound person they might be with will feel them slipping away and will do the wrong things like begging, pleading, over-texting, showing jealousy, not giving them space, etc. and could help push your ex right back into your arms!
4. Your ex could be testing you.
That would be sick and I wouldn’t encourage you to try to get back together with your ex if they broke up with you to manipulate or game you.
What I’m saying is that if your ex is giving you mixed signals, they might be testing you without even realizing it.
Sometimes a romantic partner or an ex will test you without consciously realizing they’re doing it.
They are curious and want to see how you’ll respond.
If, as I mentioned in point one, you are too eager and too quick to start right where the relationship left off, your ex becomes bored.
That’s right, bored.
Sometimes an ex, without consciously realizing it, wants to chase and win you back instead of too easily getting you back.
That does not mean that you should be cold or rude to your ex.
You should be polite, playful, friendly, and cheerful, but you should not do or say anything that causes your ex to think you have been in darkness without them.
But here’s the catch:
You should not give them a gift simply because they reached out to you (yes, guys, this means flowers too – don’t do it!) and you should not cry in front of them.
By you being polite, playful, fun, and in a good mood, they’ll wonder what great life you must have if you can be that way without them in it. And, to oversimplify it, they’ll want some of that.
They’ll be curious, intrigued, and attracted – the opposite of bored.
To really put the icing on the cake, you be the one to end the conversation by saying, “It’s been great hearing from you, but I have to run. Let’s catch up sometime soon.”
Now your ex might just wonder about the mixed signals coming from you. And that’s a good thing in this situation (as long as you don’t take it too far).
5. Could you be reading into things?
Probably not, because if you are getting mixed signals from your ex, it means that they have initiated contact with you in some way.
But, some people are friendly.
Sometimes, though it’s rare, an ex can truly want to be friends.
If, however, you want more than friendship, you must do as I’ve said in my other articles on this site and not allow them to be in your life as merely a friend.
You are worth more than that so don’t take their low-ball offer of just friendship.
You can be friends with your next-door neighbor or your usual barista at the coffee shop, but if you want to be in this person’s arms again, to experience intimacy with them, to kiss them, and to have the romance back, you must reject friendship.
If your ex is serious about getting back together with you, they won’t simply be polite.
They’ll reach out. They’ll want to get together.
You’ll know it from their exact words or from their actions.
This becomes a lot easier if you reject the initial offer of friendship (if it’s made) by politely saying, “No, I don’t want to just be your friend. I want to be your boyfriend/girlfriend. If you change your mind, let me know.”
And then walk away.
If you did that when your ex offered friendship and now you are seeing mixed signals from them, then you are likely not reading into things because your ex knows you don’t want just friendship with them.
Schedule a coaching call with me and I can help you get a better idea if you are reading into things or if your ex wants to get back together.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do THIS If You Are Getting Mixed Signals From Your Ex
If you are getting mixed signals from your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, it is crucial that you do not communicate frustration about it.
Do not complain or ask them why they are sending conflicting messages.
By demanding an answer for their confusing actions, you show them that you are not moving on and that you are still strongly affected by what they do.
The reason that’s bad is that you at least have to allow them to consider the possibility that they have messed up with you and might have lost you.
That’s how their curiosity and desperation reach levels that lead to them contacting you and asking or even begging you to take them back.
If you suggest to them that you are hanging on their every word and action, hoping for a sign they might want you back, you relieve any concern or curiosity they had and look pretty pathetic – which is not attractive.
By confessing your confusion and frustration at the mixed signals of your ex, you also suggest that you are going to cause drama if they decide they want to get back together but decide to leave again.
It makes them afraid to come back.
Because your ex probably realizes that if they change their mind and take you back, but then decide that they were right to leave in the first place, now they have to deal with your drama, stalking, whining, crying, pestering, awkwardness, etc. AGAIN!
So you are giving them another reason NOT to consider getting back with you.
Don’t do that!
So leave all of that behind and have a warm take-me-or-leave-me attitude with your ex.
Let them come to you and you’ll start to make more sense of their words and actions.