If you’ve recently had a breakup with someone you’re still in love with, it’s completely normal to hope that you might still be able to make it work. Studies show that around 40% of all breakups lead to the couple involved getting back together again, but how do you know whether that’s going to be the case for you?
Sometimes, you simply have to accept that the relationship is over and that he’s never coming back to you. Here are some clear signs that that’s what’s going on with your ex, and how to deal with it.
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One of the clearest signs that your ex has moved on and he’s never coming back is that he’s in a relationship with someone new. It’s perfectly possible for him to go out on dates when he’s still hung up on you, but being in a relationship is different.
You might be thinking that some guys do get into a new relationship to make their ex jealous. You’re not entirely wrong. A very small number of men will do that, but consider what that says about them. They’re willing to play with another woman’s emotions to manipulate their ex. That’s not someone you can rely on or trust.
Any long-term relationship usually leads to both of you leaving at least some personal belongings at the other person’s place. This can lead to an awkward ‘hostage exchange’ when you break up.
Keeping your things can be an excuse for him to talk to you again. If he’s given you everything back (especially before you’ve asked for it), he’s not looking for excuses to see you. He’s ready to move on.
This sign is even clearer if he mails your things back to you, gives them to a mutual friend to return to you, or finds some other way to return them without having to meet up with you in person.
If your ex is wondering whether to get back together or not, he won’t want you to find yourself a new Prince Charming. He might not actively try to stop you, but he certainly won’t try to push you toward a new relationship of your own.
If your ex starts suggesting that you should date someone new, offers to set you up with one of his friends, or points out that a cute guy is checking you out, he’s clearly just thinking of you as a friend.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to talk about all kinds of personal stuff. He might tell you about things that worry him at work, issues he has with his family, or his secret hopes for the future. If your relationship is definitely over, he probably won’t want to open up to you like this anymore.
If he still talks to you about all of his deepest thoughts and feelings, it’s a sign that he still trusts you implicitly and he sees you as one of the closest people in his life. When he starts to put emotional barriers between you, it’s a sign that those days are over.
If you have a difficult breakup or there was infidelity involved in the end of your relationship, he’ll often put those barriers back up straight away. If it was an amicable split, this can be a much slower process.
No matter when it happens, creating that emotional distance between you is a clear sign that he’s never coming back.
Another sign that he’s not coming back to your relationship is if he doesn’t want to have sex with you. This isn’t a guaranteed sign. If he’s feeling hurt and upset by your breakup, he might not feel emotionally able to deal with being intimate with you.
More often, however, guys are pretty keen to have sex with their ex-partners. If he’s not interested in you sexually anymore, it’s time to stop waiting for him and move on.
Have you ever had an ex who kept showing up at the same events as you and made you feel uncomfortable? How did you react? Most of us react to those kinds of difficult situations by trying to avoid the person we feel uncomfortable around.
If your ex is actively avoiding you, it’s probably because he finds it uncomfortable to spend time around you. He might ask mutual friends whether you’re attending an event before he RSVPs or he might stop going to places where he might run into you. If you do see each other, he’ll probably try to avoid conversation and walk away.
If you can tell that he’s trying to avoid running into you, it’s almost certainly not because he wants to get back together with you. Even if he does still have some lingering feelings for you, he’s trying to ignore them and move on alone.
As well as staying away from you in person, a guy who is trying to move on will also avoid you online.
This will look different for different guys. Some will delete all of the pictures of the two of you together (though this can be a sign that he wishes he was over you, rather than actually being over you).
This is really painful, especially if it takes you by surprise. It can feel as though he’s trying to erase any evidence that you ever dated. In turn, that feels as though he’s trying to erase the memories as well. Unfortunately, this can be exactly what he’s trying to do.
Other guys will block you entirely. They don’t want to see anything that you post and they don’t want you to know what they’re up to. This is part of them creating a clean break between you. He might also unfriend or block friends that he met through you.
The longer your relationship lasts, the more pet names, in-jokes, and affectionate gestures you usually develop. You might not even notice how personal these are until they’re gone.
Those small, intimate gestures and private jokes are a part of the fabric of your relationship. They form constant, small connections between you. When you were dating, those helped to reinforce and strengthen your relationship.
Now that you’ve broken up, they’ve become another tie between you and your ex. They feel natural and instinctive to say, so stopping using them is a deliberate, conscious decision. When he stops using your pet names, he’s sending you a clear sign that it’s over.
The only stronger sign is if he explicitly asks you to stop using pet names toward him.
How your relationship ended can give some clues about the likelihood of you ever getting back together. If you regularly break up after huge arguments and then get back together, you have good reasons to expect that the same thing will happen this time. You’re probably in a tumultuous relationship.
If you’re not in a tumultuous relationship where you have regular breakups, your ex is less likely to come back if your breakup was especially painful and dramatic. Having a huge breakup argument often means that you’ve both said incredibly hurtful things that can be difficult to forget.
Things aren’t much better if you have a really slow end to your relationship. If things slowly fizzled between you, it’s unlikely that he’s going to be invested enough to come back. If you both saw your breakup coming, he had plenty of time to fix things while you were still together. He’s unlikely to start trying now.
If your ex goes no-contact, he’s telling you that he doesn’t want to get back together with you. If he’s not willing to talk to you, he’s clearly never coming back. You can’t have a relationship with someone you’re not willing to talk to.
Going no-contact for a few days, or even a couple of weeks, isn’t the same. That can be him just needing a period of time to calm down and deal with his feelings. If it goes longer than that, however, it’s time to move on.
It can be hard to quiet the little voice in the back of your mind that hopes he’s going to come back to you. You want to cling on to that bit of hope, even when you’re pretty sure that it’s over. That’s understandable, but it’s not good for you in the long run.
Really try to understand and accept that he’s not coming back. You might find it helpful to do something to help you feel a sense of ‘closure’. You could try writing the story of your relationship, and making sure that you end up in a happy relationship with someone else in the end.
You might also try having some way to say goodbye to the relationship, even if you can’t say goodbye to your ex. You could write him a letter and then burn it or take a solo trip somewhere you used to go together to prepare yourself to move on.
As part of this, it can be important to spend time living with your sadness and grief. I understand. Feeling sad is awful and most of us want to get over it as soon as possible, but you can’t just force yourself to be over someone through willpower alone.
Grieving the relationship and future that you were hoping for will take time. Pushing those feelings of sadness, loneliness, and grief away doesn’t help you actually deal with them. They’ll just come back later (often when you’re in an even worse position to deal with them).
Feel free to lean into your sadness. Make a playlist of loads of sad songs and give yourself permission to spend a few days sitting on your sofa with ice cream and a box of tissues. Often, your grief can become much easier to deal with when you stop feeling afraid of it.
Although it’s important to be able to ‘sit with’ your sadness and not run away from negative feelings, you will also want (and need) to spend time doing things that make you happy. If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you might find old hobbies or interests that have slipped away.
Lots of people find new passions in the aftermath of a bad breakup. This is because they suddenly don’t have to compromise with anyone anymore. You can try out anything that interests you without wondering whether your partner will enjoy it as well.
Think back to times you were really happy in the past or things you used to enjoy doing. Try to find ways to re-engage with those activities and rediscover those feelings. It doesn’t need to be anything huge. Even just cooking a really hot dish can feel liberating if your ex didn’t like spicy food.
If you have a good support network around you, you’ve hopefully already got people taking care of you. If not, now is the perfect time to call them and ask for some help. You don’t need to be in crisis mode to ask people who love you to be there for you.
It can be hard to know how to reach out, especially if you haven’t spoken to someone for a long time. Try saying something like this:
“Hey. I know it’s been a long time but I was just thinking of you and wondered whether you might like to meet up. I’ve missed hanging out with you and, in all honesty, I’m having a bit of a rough time at the moment and I’d really love to see a friendly face. I really hope everything’s going well for you xx”
If you’re really struggling, you might find it helpful to talk about your feelings with a qualified therapist or to work with a great relationship coach to understand what went wrong in your relationship and how you can avoid the same problems in your next relationship.
If your ex is sending you clear signs that it’s over and he’s not coming back, resist the urge to try to “win” him back. Those big gestures or dramatic declarations of love almost never address the real problems that led to your breakup in the first place.
When you try to win your ex back, despite him being clear that he wants to move on, you’re doing two things. Firstly, you’re showing him that you don’t respect his decision. Secondly, you’re not treating yourself with enough respect. Neither of these is a good thing.
Instead of trying to win him back, focus on thinking about what you want and need in a relationship and how you can best make sure that those needs are met.
One of the things that can help you to heal more quickly, and build better relationships in the future, is to make sure that you have an accurate image of the relationship between you and your ex.
When your ex has moved on and you’re still not over him, it’s easy to have a rose-tinted memory of your relationship. You forget all of the things that used to annoy you and only remember the things that you miss.
I’m not suggesting that you should only focus on the negative aspects either, though. Instead, try to be realistic about the relationship and how you felt. Try to remember the good bits, the bad bits, and the completely ridiculous bits.
If you have trouble remembering some of the things he did that annoyed you, try talking to your close friends. In my experience, they’ll remember lots of the things you moaned about him doing (or not doing) and will be more than happy to remind you.
I know it’s tempting to go online and check his social media accounts in the hope that you’ll see he’s missing you. Unfortunately, this is almost never a good idea. Give yourself a solid few months without looking at any of his online accounts or profiles.
This is especially important if he’s blocked you and you’re having to use sock puppet accounts to see what he’s posting. Deep down, you probably know that this isn’t good for either of you. Give your emotional wounds time to heal without picking at the scab.
Studies estimate that between 40 and 60% of all breakups end with you getting back together. Sometimes, this is a good sign, because you’ve overcome a problem. It can also be a sign of a tumultuous relationship, which is rarely healthy.
Getting back with your ex after a breakup is a difficult decision. In some cases, you both learn from the experience of breaking up and you’re able to build a better relationship. Other times, the relationship is unhealthy and you’re only delaying the inevitable. Be careful.
Realizing that a relationship is definitely, completely over is painful, but it’s also an opportunity for you to stop caring about your ex’s opinions and start building the kind of life you want. Spend time grieving your relationship and gathering your support network around you.
Do you have any great tips for how you know that he’s never coming back? Feel free to share them in the comments, and to share this article with anyone who’s suffered a recent breakup.