Now, I know that being ignored by your ex is painful and it’s even worse if you don’t know why it’s happening.

I’m going to shed some light on why your ex is ignoring you and tell you why it can actually be a GOOD sign if you want them back.

I’ll also tell you what you need to do next to make them stop ignoring you and actually communicate.

So why EXACTLY is your ex ignoring you? It turns out–when you break it down–there are only FIVE real reasons your ex will ignore you after a breakup. See if any of these apply to your situation.

1. They’re truly angry at you

If your relationship ended because of one big mistake you made, then chances are that’s the reason that they’re ignoring you. Whether it’s cheating, lying or some other betrayal, some things need more than just time to heal.

In this case, I do recommend going no contact but first you need to apologize. This apology shouldn’t be long or drawn out. They just need to know that you recognize your mistake, that you’re sorry for hurting them, and that you’re taking steps to make it right. This apology is extremely important because it’s the last form of contact you’re going to have for quite a long time.

This message, if successful, is the first step to returning your ex to what is called an “emotionally neutral” state. This repairs some of the damage you’ve already done so when you enter no contact they stop thinking about you in a negative light and start missing you like crazy.

2. They’re busy

I know “I’m busy” is often an excuse we use to avoid returning someone’s message, or hanging out with them–in fact, you’ve probably heard me tell you to appear busy after a breakup if your ex is pestering you–but sometimes people really are busy.

I mean, think about it. A breakup is a really destabilizing time. This can leave some people with a ton of time on their hands to ruminate on the failed relationship and sink into depression. Others may find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and social obligations.

This happens for a few reasons. Maybe your ex was leaning on you more than you thought. Maybe you were always around to pick up the slack and now they’re struggling to keep up with life all on their own.

Did you always drive them to work? Cook meals? Clean the house? Now your ex is doing all this on their own while nursing a broken heart. No wonder they’re busy.

Another factor is that breakups take up a lot of time and mental energy. On top of that, relationships take up a lot of time and mental energy. This means that you and your ex probably let other areas of your life slip while you were going through all of this and now that the relationship is over, they’re left picking up the pieces, and that can take time and effort.

Or maybe they’ve taken my advice and made themselves as busy as possible after the breakup as a way of coping with the loss and also regaining their confidence. So don’t sweat it. Maybe they’re right here, reading the same article you are.

In any case, these are all pretty good signs for your chances. If your ex realizes how much you helped them now that you’re not around, they’re going to want you back. If they feel overwhelmed by life, they’re going to want to turn to you for comfort. And if your ex is TRYING to make themselves busy then that means they’re struggling to get over you. Win-win-win.

3. They’re over it

You can often tell this one by the tone of your ex’s voice. Does it seem like they’ve made up their mind and are trying to move on?

If it’s only been a few weeks then chances are they’re just putting on a brave face but if it’s been one month or longer then it’s very possible that they’re just done with you and looking to put the past behind them. 

I recommend that you begin a period of no contact as soon as possible. Constantly texting or calling your ex hasn’t worked so far, it’s not going to magically start working now. In fact, every chance your ex gets to ignore your messages will strengthen their resolve to move on and leave you behind.

Instead, give them the space they say they want. Do not contact them or return any messages, phone calls, homing pigeons…whatever–-for at least one month. This time will allow them the chance to finally experience your absence and that will make them worry about losing you.

Think about it. This is exactly what they’re doing to you and isn’t it just making you want them more? 

4. They don’t know “the rules”

Every social interaction comes with a set of unspoken rules. We all know this, even if we never have to think about it.

You wouldn’t talk to your boss the same way you’d talk to your mom. You wouldn’t treat a police officer the way you’d treat your childhood best friend. And you wouldn’t treat your ex the way you’d treat your current partner.

But that raises the question: how do you treat your ex? Obviously there are still feelings there. You care about them, you probably love them, you have all this history. At the same time, your relationship is completely different than it was just a few weeks or even days ago.

You know you should avoid them but you don’t want to. You want to hold them in your arms and push them away at the same time. 

You see how it’s messy? Your ex is also dealing with these confused feelings and they don’t know what the rules are. If they talk to you will you get the wrong idea?? If they treat you too nicely are you going to think you’re back together? 

They’ve opted to just ignore you and avoid the risk of hurting you or themselves. 

This is especially likely if your ex is someone who could be described as socially awkward. This can be a real social challenge for just about anyone.

It’s also likely if you and your ex don’t know each other BEFORE you dated. So if you were friends first then there’s a template to return to now that you’ve broken up. If you two met on the apps and started dating immediately, they really don’t know you as anything else than their partner…and now their ex.

5. They’re trying to hide their feelings 

This is THE most common–and most positive reason–that your ex will ignore you. 

You’ll know this is the case if your ex seems mixed up about their feelings. Sometimes they contact you late at night and they seem upset or moody when you do speak. 

And again, No Contact is the best move here. Your ex is confused, hurt and above all else they’re looking for closure. That’s why the worst thing you can do is reach out and talk to them before doing no contact.

If you do that then you’re offering them the chance to reject you once and for all and achieve the closure they’re looking for. If that happens, it will be very difficult for you to have a future together.

Instead, stay strong. By maintaining no contact you’re letting them cool off without ever giving them that chance to reject you and move on.

Dave Barker

Breakup Coach

About the Author

Dave Barker is a breakup and 'ex back' coach with over a decade of experience helping clients repair and improve romantic relationships.

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