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Yep. Certain exes really do pretend to be over you. It’s not a mature response to a breakup — in fact, it’s a pretty shallow and toxic one — yet some people still do it. And in this article, I’ll help you get clarity about whether or not your ex is one of them.
How? By listing 16 signs they are pretending to be over you and the theory around them. In the end, I’ll even explain how to respond to the whole mindfuck.
So with that being said, let’s begin.
Why Is Your Ex Pretending To Be Over You
For one, they do it because they want to stop you from changing their mind about giving you another shot — they want to prevent you from trying to cajole, manipulate, or force them to come back. If you’ve been particularly needy after your breakup, this may likely be the reason your ex is pretending to be over you.
Another reason is because they got frustrated with you. Maybe they told you countless times how you needed to change, yet you didn’t. And so they broke up with you, not because they wanted to, but because they were so desperate and thought it was their only option to get you to change.
Yet another reason they’re pretending is because they may not fully understand or acknowledge their own emotions. They might genuinely believe they are over you, but might later realize they were just suppressing their feelings.
The last reason your ex is pretending to be over you is if they broke up with you for external reasons, and not because they necessarily wanted to do it themselves. These are reasons like getting validation from their family and peers or adhering to some rigid social norms (i.e., don’t date guys/girls with tattoos, those richer/poorer than you, or those of a different religion).
Signs Your Ex Is Pretending To Be Over You
Signs your ex is pretending to be over you can take on many different forms. Below are some I found to be most telling and important. The more of them your ex displays, the likelier it is that they are actually pretending.
1. Your Ex Keeps Transitional Objects
Maybe they still have pictures of you up (in real life or on social media). Maybe they still wear your clothes (sweatshirts and hoodies being the most common). Or perhaps they still keep the things you’ve bought or given them at some point.
These things are known as transitional objects — sentimental symbols of your relationship and the fact that you were connected at some point.
Think of it as a child’s blanket. It’s a reminder of their parents, and one smell or touch of it can make them feel as though they are close and that everything is okay.
2. Your Ex Places Themselves Into Your Orbit
Another sign your ex is pretending to be over you is if they keep placing themselves in your proximity, making you occasionally bump into each other.
If this happens once or twice, don’t think much of it. But if it keeps happening multiple times in a row, it’s probably intentional.
Now, while your ex won’t admit this, and will instead probably act as though it’s an accident, make no mistake: your ex is spying on you. Talking of spying…
3. Your Ex Turns Their Friends Into Spies
Say you one day randomly receive a text from one of your ex’s friends — a person you don’t have a close relationship with — in which they ask what you’re up to and what you’ve been doing.
Sure, it may be the case that your ex’s friend is hitting on you since they know you’re now single, but there’s also a chance they’re trying to gather intel for your ex.
If this happens, be brief in your response, don’t give too much away, and let the whole thing go afterward. Ignoring the message is also appropriate. How you choose to respond should boil down to your values and boundaries.
4. Your Ex Calls Your Friends And Family
Continuing with the “friends theme,” another sign your ex is pretending to be over you is when they call up your friends and ask about what you’re up to and what you’ve been doing. Some exes even go as far as to call up your family members.
This is a complete loss of emotional self-control that often leads to drama. But it’s also a glaring indicator that your ex still cares about you, especially if they question your friends or family about your dating life.
5. Your ex keeps checking your socials
Meaning new posts, new comments, new friends/followers, and, most importantly, new stories. Why the emphasis on stories? Because you can check if and when your ex opened them and gather clues about their interest.
So if they keep opening them, you can be sure as shit that there is some sort of intentionality behind their behavior — some speck of interest. Or at least curiosity.
Even better, if your ex opens your stories immediately or briefly after you post them, it shows eagerness and high interest on their part. It’s a big sign your ex is pretending to be over you. Just remember that most exes will intentionally avoid opening your stories as soon as you post them to not look too eager.
6. Your Ex Tries To Make You Jealous
Maybe your ex is splattering their social media with cringey quotes on empowerment, cheerful memes, pictures with other attractive people of the opposite sex, and exciting life updates. Perhaps they’re trying to paint a picture of how happy they are and how #blessed their life is.
Don’t take these things to heart. Your ex may just be doing it to get you riled up and jealous, especially if they were never a heavy social media user but then suddenly start posting like crazy.
And even if they’re doing it to convey they’re over you and attract other potential mates, your response should be the same as if they were making you jealous: keep focusing on yourself, keep abiding by the no contact rule.
7. Your Ex Doesn’t Disconnect You From Online Services
These are most commonly Netflix, Spotify, and Apple Music. Your ex essentially keeps you logged in on there despite being broken up. And while this is a sign your ex is pretending to be over you, which is great, what’s even better is that you can gather clues about how your ex feels about you through these online services.
If you are still connected to their Apple Music or Spotify playlists, your ex might have updated them with songs that give you a glimpse into their psyche — relevant, breakup-related, or sentimental songs.
The same goes for Netflix. If you’re still on their Netflix account, you can see what they watch. Is it anything along the lines of “freedom and independence and moving on” or “missing or loving someone?”
8. Your Ex “Dips Their Toe In The Water”
Meaning they initiate contact to see how you’ll respond and gauge your interest. It’s basically them reaching out about something arbitrary, frivolous, and insignificant, which often has nothing to do with the breakup.
For example, “Do you know the name of the restaurant we went to for our first date. It has the best pizza in the city, and I’d like to go there again.” Or, “I’ve just seen 2 Girls 1 Cup, and it reminded me of you. How are you doing?”
Your ex might not be able to do more than just give you a brief connection or breadcrumb to work with, yet it’s still a sign that they aren’t over you.
9. Your Ex Keeps Wanting To Talk About The Breakup
This point piggybacks on the last. If your ex is consistently reaching out to you, wanting to talk about the breakup and why it happened, it’s a sign they may not be over you yet.
In the same vein, if your ex keeps bringing up old memories or experiences, it’s another sign they’re not over you or are pretending to be.
10. Your Ex Is Outwardly Angry
Anger is a telltale sign your ex still feels something for you. If they’re lashing out at you, acting bitter whenever you’re around, picking fights, bringing up unresolved baggage, or trying to get revenge, they’re not over you — not by a longshot.
Think of it this way: the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference.
11. Your Ex Is Hot And Cold
They reach out and seem eager to talk to you. But after you respond, you don’t hear from them for days. The mixed signals are a mindfuck. But there are good reasons for this behavior.
Maybe your ex is not reaching out or ignoring you on purpose — a.k.a., they’re playing games. Maybe you’ve been needy when you responded and turned them off. Or it could mean they’re actually indecisive about whether to try and rekindle things or move on for good.
12. Your ex keeps making strong eye contact
If your ex looks at you for longer than an average person would, keeps staring at you whenever near, or is blatantly eye-fucking you, it’s a sign that they’re pretending to be over you. Especially if they couple a form of prolonged eye contact with a smile.
13. Your Ex Is Forcing Friendship
While most exes put friendship forward to let you down gently, those who try to force it upon you probably aren’t over you. That said, always decline it. It rarely works out. And it stifles recovery and obliterates your chances of getting your ex back.
As a rule of thumb: only be friends with your ex when there are absolutely no shards of emotional baggage or the desire of wanting to get back together present on either side. Let it happen organically — without forcing it to happen.
14. Your Ex Keeps Drunk Calling You
They may tell you they’re over you and avoid you. Perhaps even block your number. Yet, if they keep reaching out, drunk and emotional, it’s a sign they’re not over you.
Yet, the odds of this actually being true are better if the drunk calls keep happening multiple times in a row. One or two don’t necessarily mean anything. Keep this in mind.
15. Your Ex’s New Partner Hates You
While this could simply mean your ex’s new partner is a little insecure bitch, there’s a chance that they hate you because they can see your ex is not over you.
Maybe they keep bringing you up in their discussions. Maybe they still have your things, and it bugs their new partner. Or perhaps, they’ve blatantly told them they aren’t over you.
16. Your Ex Is Overprotective
Say they get jealous, bitchy, and bitter when they find out you’re going to a party with friends. They might lash out and ask you about who you’re going with, what you’ll be doing, and who your friends are.
Another example is when your ex tries to downplay whoever else you’re seeing or going out with. And in the case of a toxic ex, they might even try to sabotage the whole thing — albeit one of the most apparent indicators they’re not over you.
How To Respond To The Signs Your Ex is Pretending to Be Over You
Breakups can be overwhelming and thorny to navigate. But in this case, the solution is quite simple — although, I admit, not what you want to hear.
If your ex is actually pretending to be over you, it means they haven’t grown up and matured yet. You can’t form a healthy relationship with this kind of person. So have some self-respect, and move on instead of trying to rekindle things. At least for now.
The only time you should give an ex who is pretending to be over you a chance (by inviting them on a date) is when they mature to a point where they reach out to you directly and tell you how they want to try again or how they still feel something toward you.
Until they reach that point, though, work on yourself and leave them be.
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