Do you ever get the feeling that your ex isn’t telling you the whole truth? That’s because they’re not. Oftentimes your ex will stretch the truth or outright LIE to you during a breakup. This happens for a few different reasons.

I’ll explain WHY exes almost always lie or share only partial truths during a breakup… and I’ll help you figure out what their lies mean, what they’re hiding, and what it means for your chances of getting back together in the future. 

Why Your Ex Lied

We need to first talk about WHY people so often lie or withhold the full truth during a breakup. Don’t worry, it’s not usually as nefarious as you might. I know that you’re worried they’re doing this to hurt you but it’s more likely that they’re lying for the same reason that most people lie: to protect their self interest.


Reason #1:  They feel guilty.

Sometimes, your ex will feel extremely guilty about hurting you. Or, more commonly, they’ll be feeling guilty about the true reason they want to break up.  For example–and hopefully this is not the case for you, but it does happen sometimes–your ex may have found someone new.  

It’s not necessarily that they’re already dating that new person, or even that they’re sure things will work out… but they may have met someone that really excites them and that they feel is worth pursuing.  

Quite frankly, if your ex cares about you at all, they probably won’t tell you the truth in this kind of situation.  After all, how painful would it be for you to hear that they’re leaving you for that new guy or girl at the office?

Even if they aren’t officially dating this person yet, and they haven’t had any kind of romantic or physical intimacy, they’re not going to want to hurt you by telling you about their new love interest.  

As I’ll explain, there is a silver lining to this kind of situation, because it is often a result of “Grass is Greener” syndrome on your ex’s part… so, keep watching to learn what to do if you’re in this situation.


Reason #2:  They needed to give you a reason for the breakup, but didn’t want to hurt your feelings.

This is a similar situation: basically your ex felt that they needed to give you some sort of closure, and felt compelled to explain the breakup, but they didn’t want to hurt you any more than was absolutely necessary.

Remember: ending a relationship is extremely difficult for both parties, not just the person being dumped.  Unless your relationship ended so badly that you now hate each other, your ex definitely felt bad for hurting you, and they wanted to ‘soften the blow’ as much as possible.

That’s why, in most cases, your ex will either blatantly lie about the reasons behind the breakup, or they’ll only tell you part of the truth.  After all, when you look at it from your ex’s perspective, what’s to be gained from telling you the truth and hurting you even more?

For example, if your ex couldn’t stand your friends and was no longer attracted to you because you’d put on a lot of weight since the start of your relationship, wouldn’t that be a lot more hurtful to hear than if he or she simply said something like, “we’ve just drifted apart and I don’t feel that connection anymore” or “I’m just at a point in my life where I need some time alone”?

As I mentioned earlier, often times your ex may have told you part of the truth — he or she may have picked one thing that was bothering them about your relationship, and told you that was the main reason behind your breakup, when in fact it was just one of several issues that led to his or her decision to end things.

Again, more often than not, this is well-intentioned… your ex still cares about you to some extent, and they don’t want to upset you any more than necessary by revealing the true reasons for their decision to break up.

Even in cases where a breakup is mutual, you usually won’t hear your ex say the full truth about why they believe it’s best that you go your separate ways.  So, for most of you watching, your ex is actually being dishonest because they care for you and want to make the breakup as painless as possible.


Reason #3:  They want to avoid conflict and drama.

This is another fairly common reason your ex will lie or share only part of the truth when they explain the reasons for their decision to break up:  they want to avoid getting into an argument or a bickering match because they think it will be unhelpful and end things on bad terms.  

So let’s say you and your ex always fought about one specific issue. For example, maybe you  were too jealous or too needy.  Maybe you smothered your ex or tried to control them.  These are common issues in many relationships, and they can often fester and eventually lead to a breakup.  

Most often, your ex won’t want to bring this up during the breakup.  After all, what good will it do?  They’ve already fought with you about these issues many times when you were still together, but the issue never got resolved and eventually led to your ex getting fed up and deciding a breakup was the only choice left.

Bringing up all these same problems and complaints with you again when breaking up is pointless, and they’ve likely decided that there’s no hope for change any more.  

Instead, they’ll usually offer a more mundane-sounding excuse for the breakup… it could be the old “it’s not you, it’s me” cliché, or it could be something a bit more specific like, “now that I’m moving 45 minutes away and I’m busy with school, it’s just not realistic anymore.”

Whatever the exact ‘reason’ they gave for breaking up, it’s likely they’re just using it as an excuse to avoid bringing up the real problem that led to their decision knowing it will just lead to a fight or to more questions from you that they simply want to avoid getting into.


Reason #4:  They’re ashamed of something they did.

Thankfully, this is actually pretty rare… but it is always a possibility that your ex will lie to you because they did something sleazy that they don’t want you to find out about.

For instance, maybe they’re seeing your mutual friend and they don’t dare let you (or anyone else) find out, both to avoid hurting you and to avoid looking like a bad person.

Like I said, this is rare enough that very few of you will be facing this kind of situation… but, this is sometimes the reason your ex will lie to you after a breakup.

Common Lies Your Ex Will Tell You

Now, let’s move on and look at some specific lies your ex will tell you. These are the reasons your ex will give for breaking up. They’re common not because they’re true but because they’re easier to say than the truth and your ex knows that you can’t really argue with them.

Lie #1:  “I don’t have time for a relationship right now because I’m so busy”

This is a very common excuse your ex may give you when explaining why they think breaking up is necessary.  And guess what? This is almost always a flat-out lie… or at least, it’s only a small part of the real reason.

I’m sure you know what I’m going to say now: “If they wanted to, they would.” This means that when someone is super into you and really wants to be with you — they’ll always find a way to overcome logistical or practical issues like this.

Love trumps all, at least when the passion and attraction is strong enough, including things like a busy schedule.

If your ex really felt like you were their soulmate… if they desperately wanted to be with you and felt a strong emotional and physical connection… they’d make time.

So, while there can often be some truth to this kind of statement — I’m sure your ex really is busy as hell right now — it’s also never a big enough problem that it can’t be overcome if your ex is sufficiently attracted to you, and believes you’re the right person for them.


Lie #2:  “It’s not you, it’s me”

I don’t think I have to tell you this, but if your ex says something like this — if they claim there’s nothing you did wrong, or there’s nothing specific that led to their decision to break up beyond unexplained ‘personal reasons’ — it’s almost 100% guaranteed to be a flat-out lie to cover up the real reason.

The only time this type of ‘excuse’ might be somewhat truthful is when your ex genuinely doesn’t KNOW exactly why they’re done with the relationship… Occasionally, people just know they aren’t happy and want out, so they go straight to the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line to give you some closure and make it clear they’re not dumping you because they’re unhappy about something specific.

BUT, even in that type of situation, your ex usually will have underlying reasons for their desire to end things… they just can’t pin down the exact causes in their head.  So, don’t believe your ex if they give you this kind of explanation for the breakup, it’s almost never true nor does it offer any kind of insight into their thinking.

Honestly, whoever came up with this one is a genius and deserves a Nobel prize in breakups. It’s a cliche now because it was such a good way of getting out of a relationship without hurting the other person’s feelings. But it is also–of course–a lie.

Lie #3:  “I just need some time alone to figure things out”

When your ex says things like, “I need some time on my own to figure out what I want” or “I need some time and space to sort out of my own life”… they’re doing so for one of two reasons:  

Either they’re just using it as an easy excuse to avoid an argument, or they’re basically telling you “I don’t know whether we have any future, but I’m not happy with our relationship and want you to go away for a while so I can figure out whether you’re the one for me or if I can live without you and find someone better”.

Either way, this is a very common thing for exes to say during a breakup, and it usually means that your chances of getting them back are quite good… IF you handle the situation properly.

Lie #4:  “We’ve drifted apart and I don’t feel the same connection we once had”

OK, now, this one is LESS of a lie than others on this list.  The simple fact is that sometimes the spark will fade, things will become dull and routine, and your ex might just fall out of love with you over time. It happens.

It’s usually preventable, but it’s also often a real emotion your ex is feeling, so this isn’t always a flat-out lie — it’s usually somewhat true, but doesn’t really explain the underlying REASONS for why that connection and spark has faded.

So, if your ex is telling you things like, “I just don’t feel like we’re compatible anymore” or “we’ve lost the spark and we’re just drifting apart”, you can usually believe them to some extent.

The real question is, though… What specifically caused that loss of attraction and romantic connection?

Your ex may not know the answer to that, or they may just not want to explain to you the full reason they think the spark has faded.

Lie #5:  “It won’t work because of my family, my religion or social pressures”

This can be a common reason people will give their ex when breaking up, especially in countries or societies where family and religion or culture play a big role in relationships.

For example, in many parts of India and South Asia, arranged marriages are common and parents expect to have a say in their children’s romantic partner.

Even in Western countries like Europe and North America, sometimes family pressure or different social classes/backgrounds can cause problems in a relationship.

So, what I’m saying here is that this type of excuse — where your ex says breaking up is necessary because their parents don’t approve of the relationship, or religious/cultural reasons make a long-term future difficult or even impossible — can often be truthful but they’re not the whole story.

This can often be a convenient scapegoat to cover the real issue they’re having. Otherwise, the relationship probably would have ended before it really began.


Lie #6:  “I just don’t see us having a future together.”

This one is pretty vague. If your ex is saying to you that they think you don’t have a realistic future together — whether they elaborate on that or not — it’s again indicative of an underlying loss of attraction.

As I said earlier, if your ex really felt a strong connection and desperately wanted to be with you, they’d find ways in their own head to justify staying together and overcoming any practical challenges you might face if you were to stay together.

One common example is in long-distance relationships…. Often, they will use this type of excuse to justify breaking up.  They’ll say things like, “I don’t think this can work long-term since we’re so far apart”, suggesting the distance between you is now something that will prevent you from having a happy, lasting long-term future together.

Guess what?  It’s really because they don’t feel attracted enough to you to work around those issues, or at least continue to put up with the distance for now until you can someday work out a plan to be together in the same place.

So, as I mentioned before, if you want to get back together, then the key is to shift your ex’s perception of you and your value as a romantic partner to the point where they’ll push aside the practical concerns about distance and decide to stay with you and hope that you’ll work out a plan to be together in the long run. And this is possible even if they never come clean with their real reason for breaking up.

Can You Get Your Ex Back Even If They Won’t Tell The Truth?

As I mentioned at the beginning, your ex lying about the breakup or only sharing part of the real truth can be for a number of different reasons.  

If they’re lying to avoid hurting your feelings by revealing a painful truth about why they want to break up, that could be good news or bad news for your odds of getting them back… on one hand, it means they still care about you enough to lie or withhold information simply to protect you and avoid causing you pain.

If they don’t want to hurt you by sharing the truth, it does mean they care about you and don’t have any underlying feelings of resentment that might prevent you from getting them back.

On the other hand, though, sometimes the real reasons that they haven’t shared with you are going to be seriously problematic:  for example, if they’ve lost attraction to you because you’ve fundamentally changed — for example, gaining 50 lbs or dropping out of school and lying around the house all day — those reasons can be significant enough that they’ll make changing your ex’s mind and getting a second chance very difficult.  

If your ex has given you a generic excuse for breaking up, like “it’s not you, it’s me” or “I just need some time on my own to figure things out”, that is normally very good news for your chances of getting them back.

Now, I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to change their mind and win them back, but if they’re internally conflicted about what’s best for their future — if they’re unsure whether you’re right for them, or their feelings for you have just faded to the point where they want to take some time to be single and decide what they want in the long-term — it means you can usually use some subtle psychological techniques to change how they feel about you, increase your perceived value as a romantic partner in the back of their mind, and eventually convince them that breaking up was the wrong choice.

This is typically a case of “Grass is Greener” syndrome — they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be single, to live without you, and so on — and the idea of being apart and playing the field again as a single person is an appealing thought.  But often, once they actually begin to experience life without you, they will realize they were just hoping that you were the problem, not the other issues in their life.

What if they’re giving you specific reasons why a long-term future together isn’t practical or possible?  What if they’re saying things like, “given how far apart we live and how busy I am, we just won’t be able to make it work”… that’s also normally a pretty good situation to be in if you want to get back together.

Again, attraction is key here. If you can make them feel a powerful attraction to you then they will be willing to put up with a lot more. Another method would be to try to solve the specific problem or at least begin working towards a solution. So say you transfer somewhere closer to them. Or you figure out the end date to your remote job.

Finally, if your ex says anything about “needing some time apart” or “needing space to figure things out” You must show them that you’ll respect those wishes and quickly disappear from their life.

If you don’t, and you keep the lines of communication open or constantly reach out to your ex, you’re only going to reinforce your ex’s belief that breaking up was the right choice. 

Don’t underestimate the power of No Contact in almost every breakup situation, but especially if your ex is undecided, internally conflicted. And this time apart is a great way to make them miss you.

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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