Why Do Exes Always Come Back?

Why Do Exes Always Come Back?

Why do exes always come back, especially when you’re finally healing from the pain they brought you? It could boil down to a few different things. Maybe they genuinely miss you and want to get back together with you. Maybe their heart is broken from another relationship and they’re using you as a rebound. Maybe they’re manipulative and want to keep you interested even though they’re never going to treat you right.

There are plenty of reasons why your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend could come crawling back to you, so you need to pay attention to what they tell you. Keep your guard up until you’re sure they have the right intentions. You don’t want to give them permission to break your heart all over again.

You need to remember to hold out for someone who deserves you. Don’t allow your ex to swoop back into your world and steal back your heart if they don’t deserve it. Even if you could get back together, that doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes, the no contact rule is the best rule. The more you see your ex, the harder it will be to avoid getting back together, even if you know they’re wrong for you.

Remember, you broke up for a reason. Even if time has passed, that doesn’t mean things have changed. If you get back together, they could end up hurting you in the same ways. History could repeat itself. That’s why you need to be careful. Listen to your heart, but don’t ignore what your head is telling you. Or what your gut is warning you.

If you’re wondering why your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend has suddenly entered your life after months or even years of being MIA, here are a few potential reasons:

man in white crew neck shirt
Unsplash / Charly Pn

Your new relationship made them jealous.

Watching you move on with other guys or other girls might not have been easy for them. Even if they don’t want to be with you, they might not want anyone else to be with you either. They might have come back into your life to cause chaos. They might be trying to ruin your new relationship so that you’re alone, just like they are. The text that they sent you out of the blue might seem innocent, but it could actually be a way to manipulate you into ruining your current relationship. That way, they can win the breakup.

They need emotional support during a tough time in their life.

They might be going through a hard time with their love life, career, or family. Since you were always there for them when they needed you in the past, they reached out to you out of habit. They’re searching for comfort, and they don’t care if they hurt you in the process. They’re only thinking about themselves. They aren’t realizing that they’re overstepping boundaries and that you can’t be there in the same way you used to be now that you’re apart.

low angle photograph of man and woman kissing
Unsplash / John Schnobrich

They realize how good they had it with you.

Their rebound relationship might have sucked. Once the honeymoon phase was over, they might have realized that not everyone is going to be as sweet as you. Or as attentive. Or as good in bed. Once they tried dating someone else, they realized that they made a horrible mistake. You were way out of their league and they never should have left you — but they should have realized that sooner. They shouldn’t have needed to break your heart in order to realize your worth.

They’ve been thinking about the good memories you shared.

Maybe they came across old photographs or text messages that reminded them of you. Maybe they heard your song on the radio or saw a rerun of a show that you used to watch together. Remember, your ex is only human. Sometimes, you’re going to pop into their head, even if they’re completely over you. They’re allowed to miss the people from their past, just like you are. This doesn’t mean they want to get back together or reopen old wounds. It might just mean that you played an important role in their life. If you were friends once upon a time, they might genuinely miss having you in their world.

woman in brown dress kissing woman in brown dress during daytime
Unsplash / Jakob Owens

A new relationship would take too much work.

It’s extremely difficult to find love in the modern world. That’s why an old relationship might look more appealing than a new relationship. It might feel easier to run back to someone like you who already knows their strengths and weaknesses. That way, they don’t have to start fresh. They don’t have to get back into the dating game and swipe through dating apps. They can pick up where they left off with you and skip the getting-to-know-you stage.

man wrapping arm on woman facing each other
Unsplash / Allef Vinicius

They want an ego boost.

Your ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends might miss the way you made them feel. They might want to see if they still have what it takes to make you swoon. Although this might sound like a good sign, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested in dating you again. They might be more interested in an ego boost than an actual relationship. Reaching out might be a way for them to boost their confidence so they can go out and date other people. The more you compliment them, the better they’ll feel about their chances out in the dating world. You’ll help them feel like a catch again.

man and woman kissing under tree during daytime
Unsplash / Jonathan Borba

They want to sleep with you.

If your ex comes crawling back, ask them about their intentions. They might not want to rekindle a relationship with you. They might be looking for a casual hookup, an excuse to see your naked body again. Since you already know what they like in the bedroom, it’s easier to send you a text than to meet someone new at the bar and bring them back home. Although sex might seem like the first step to getting back together, it could also be a one-time thing. Keep in mind, if you sleep with him, there’s a chance he’ll leave again as soon as it’s over.

woman in black leather jacket wearing black sunglasses
Unsplash / Becca Tapert

Their most recent relationship ended.

They might be using you as a rebound after a breakup or a heated argument with their new partner. People do crazy things when their hearts are broken. If someone else is putting them through pain, they might be hoping you can take their mind off their problems for a little while. You have history, so they feel comfortable coming to you. Or comfortable hurting you. But you don’t have to put up with their treatment. Make it clear that you aren’t their second choice or backup plan.

man in white dress shirt kissing woman in white sleeveless dress
Unsplash / Jonathan Borba

They’ve been thirsting over your pictures.

Sometimes, it’s best to delete your exes from social media. When you’re still connected over the internet, it’s hard to forget about each other. It’s difficult to move on. Your ex might have been kicking themselves over how gorgeous you look in the picture you’ve been posting lately. Their sexual attraction to you might be overpowering their common sense. Even though they know it’s a bad idea to get back together, they might not be able to resist how hot you are. If your ex always pops up out of nowhere as soon as you’ve posted a cute pic, then they’re simply swooning over you.

woman in black jacket holding red umbrella during daytime
Unsplash / Clay Banks

They’re drunk and aren’t thinking clearly.

Some people like to say that drunken words are sober thoughts. However, you deserve someone who treats you right and pays special attention to you, whether they’re drunk or sober. You don’t want to read too deeply into drunken texts. If your ex genuinely cared about you, then they would approach you in a mature, respectful manner when they’re sober to talk about your breakup. They wouldn’t send you messages littered with typos about how much they miss you. They’re perfectly capable of talking again in the morning.

couple kissing under gray clouds
Unsplash / Cassie Lopez

They aren’t over you yet.

They loved you at one point, and unfortunately, that love doesn’t magically go away as soon as a relationship ends. Only time can heal wounds, and if your breakup is still fresh, they might be having trouble getting over you. Maybe you’re still the person they want to spend forever with, even though they know logically that they need to leave you in the past. They might be having trouble moving on without you, especially if you were their best friend. They’re having as difficult of a time as you are moving forward.

hugging man and woman wrapped in blanket
Unsplash / Helena Lopes

They didn’t get enough closure.

Maybe they’re still searching for answers. They don’t understand what caused the breakup and need a better explanation. They’re trying to figure out where they went wrong. Maybe they even want to fix the issue and make it up to you. They don’t want to part ways hating each other. They’re trying to set things right. However, you don’t owe them anything. If seeing them again is going to hurt you, cut ties completely. You don’t have to give them an explanation or a second chance at the expense of your own mental health. They’ll move on eventually, with or without closure.

man in blue denim jacket kissing woman in white shirt on brown sand during daytime
Unsplash / Abrahan Echeverria

Things are genuinely different now and they want to try again.

Maybe your ex had a good reason for leaving. Maybe they moved across the country and didn’t want to try a long-distance relationship. Or maybe they were in a bad place in their life and couldn’t focus enough attention on you. Either way, maybe their feelings for you were genuine. Maybe they weren’t able to give you what you deserved in the past, but they’re capable of fulfilling your needs now.

Remember, the only way getting back with your ex makes sense is if things really have changed. Otherwise, you’re only going to end up breaking each other’s hearts again.

That’s just the way it is, so make sure you think through your decision carefully. Don’t jump back into a relationship with them the second they come crawling back. Ask yourself whether this would be good for you. Talk to them about what getting back together would mean. Make sure you’re doing what’s best for yourself, even if it might hurt in the short term.

About the author
Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection. Follow Holly on Instagram or read more articles from Holly on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.