Each person deals with a breakup in their way. But sometimes, you find signs your ex is pretending to be over you. It can happen when the parting wasn’t necessarily a choice for one of the partners involved.
Your ex might act normal to salvage how they appear to others and protect their feelings. In reality, there could be unresolved feelings, likely indicating your ex is still hung up on you. If you pay attention, you’ll start to notice certain signs that your ex is pretending to be over you.
But honestly, you are probably still trying to make peace with the change, especially if the two of you were together for a long time. Moving on is challenging, even for the one who initiated the split. Of course, you’ll still care, but things can get complicated if your ex still loves you.
Even though many of us will pretend to be over an ex, the true motivation behind the actions will often go unspoken. For most people, the reasons to act as though something doesn’t bother you are self-protection, easing pain, and holding on to their dignity.
People view someone breaking up their relationship as a personal failure, knocking their self-esteem and confidence. They might feel the need to maintain a composed facade. But then, these minor subconscious signs give away genuine emotion, revealing a valid vulnerability.
20 signs your ex is pretending to be over you
Regardless of whether you initiate a breakup or you’re the recipient of the bad news, the split is difficult if you’ve developed genuine feelings. Sometimes even the initiator isn’t sure breaking things off is the right thing but recognizes time apart is simply necessary.
Typically, if a person wasn’t in favor of a break, they don’t handle the news well. When they appear receptive to the idea of separating despite previous attempts to salvage the relationship, it might be that your ex is trying to get your attention.
But how can you be sure this is just an act? What are some signs that your ex is pretending to be over you? Let’s examine a few of these telling signs:
1. Mixed signals
A mate could very well appear as though they’ve fully come to terms with the end of the partnership, whether that’s an attempt to regain a sense of pride or perhaps being dishonest with themselves as a way to self-protect.
They could even tell people that they’re doing fine, moving on, and perhaps you’ll even find your ex is trying to make you jealous with stories of going out with other people.
While you did initiate the time apart, relationships break through the fault of both parties. Placing all of the blame in one court is another indication that your partner feels that things could’ve been resolved. They blame you for giving up on the relationship.
Lingering emotions, especially anger, go somewhat hand-in-hand with blame since it’s a sign that this person is not moving beyond feeling attached to the partnership.
Breakups, especially those of significant duration, have stages, and holding anger speaks volumes that the person is still grieving. Anger will ultimately give way to acceptance. Any bitterness, unhappiness, resentment equates to unhealed wounds.
4. Constantly staying in touch
When you proposed time apart, the idea was to have no contact. If your ex is consistently reaching out with excuses of needing help with something or having questions which are vague attempts at merely speaking to you, these are distinctive signs your ex is pretending to be over you.
One of the significant signs your ex is pretending to be over you is when they initiate a playful banter with you. Constant flirting and compliments are a giant clue, as they might be an attempt to replicate the past. It should tell you that your ex has not moved on emotionally.
Reminiscing over memories when conversing in mixed company reveals to everyone involved in your combined social circle signs your ex is pretending to be over you. Even if they speak confidently in that same crowd that they have come to terms with the breakup, you should be careful.
Rumination or reminiscing is an attempt to draw you back using the “good ole days.” It might be a way to bond using the nostalgic past. But remember that the reasons for your parting ways are not included in these musings of the past.
7. Haven’t picked up their stuff
Are you holding on to your ex’s things for sentimental reasons, or is your partner still in denial about the break and refusing to pick up their stuff? Sometimes, even the person who initiated the split isn’t sure it’s the right thing, and in some cases, people get back together.
If they have your stuff or vice versa, set a specific date to exchange items and hold them to it.
8. Sabotaging you
When your ex sees your dating other people narrowing down to one person, jealousy can ultimately set in, particularly when there are signs your ex is pretending to be over you. Likely, your ex will begin to show up in places you go to sabotage the new relationship.
If you have an ex-partner who was never bothered with social media but all of a sudden they become the star of a social site with glowing posts showing a thriving, glorious life, it’s probably for your benefit to let you know there is “life after you.”
Suddenly amping up the social media presence after a breakup could be one of the crucial signs that your ex still is hoping for a patch up. You should ask yourself, “Is my ex trying to make me jealous,” and in most cases, the answer would be, “yes.”
10. Not mentioning the breakup
If you are still the subject of conversation for your ex in social gatherings despite the fact the two of you are no longer a pair, your ex-mate is in denial of the separation and is pretending with you that the split is not a problem. That’s not healthy for them.
It means the person is genuinely struggling and could use a conversation (not with you) with friends, family, or perhaps a counselor to talk through the issue.
11. Making you jealous
You’ll find your ex isn’t over you when you see the person out or on social sites, making broad attempts shortly after the split to let you know they’ve started a new relationship. It poses the question, “Is my ex trying to make me jealous?”
The oddity in posing that question is the response, “no, since my ex is with someone else but still contacts me.”
Sadly, someone will be hurt simply because an ex-mate can’t admit struggling with a breakup, thereby choosing to create pain for someone innocent. Games.
12. Claims of tremendous happiness
When you contact your ex, they appear to be super happy, never better, on top of the world. You have to ask yourself if this person has ever been so exuberant. If not, then you will realize this too is merely an act.
Some people recover from separations relatively quickly, but losing someone you’ve seen regularly for any length of time doesn’t usually leave you delighted.
13. Jokes about missing you
Many people use humor as a crutch when they’re hurting. If an ex-mate is jokingly exclaiming how they miss you, there’s some truth behind those cracks. Again, this is a method of self-protection. The person might want to communicate those feelings but is unsure how you might react.
Research has shown jokes often convey a kernel of truth. They often reveal ways that individuals deal with the changing social realities around them. Your ex’s jokes could be a way for them to convey the truth.
14. Bumping into them constantly
Whenever you turn a corner, your ex appears. There’s always the possibility this is a coincidence. But it could also mean that your ex has not yet come to terms with the separation. The accidental encounters might not be so accidental after all.
Investing considerable time and effort into exacting your schedule so that they can be at those specific locations when you appear indicates sure signs your ex is pretending to be over you.
Watch this video to learn how to react when you run into your ex:
15. Drunk texts or calls
A famous saying is that “a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.” Alcohol creates a great deal of emotion and lessens inhibition. When anyone is emotional, you can pull out a few strands of truth from their drunken words.
In trying to figure out how to know when your ex has moved on or if they’re pretending, you cannot go by a drunk message. Wait on sobriety.
16. “Let’s catch up”
Your ex has been absent from your life for a while, and you have been wondering where he is, and then you get a message asking to catch up. What should you do?
It might be what is known as a “feeler” to see where you are in the “time apart” stage. The ex-partner is probably checking to see if there’s any possibility of another chance or seeing if you can try again to work things out.
If nothing else, it’s an indication that they miss you. What you do with that at that point is your call. Maybe you’re receptive; perhaps you’re not. If not, it’s not wise to take the meeting because it will only add to your ex’s struggle.
17. No one new love interest
Your ex remains solo even after an extensive period. That could be unintentional, but it could also be a conscious choice if there are still challenges in dealing with old memories. Lingering feelings towards you could be the reason for their inability to move on.
But it is also not a good idea for them to jump into a relationship immediately after a breakup. Rebounds rarely work out. The person needs to fully resolve all of those old feelings before attempting new ones.
18. Overjoyed upon seeing you
If you run into your ex in public, does he get incredibly joyous? There would be nothing wrong with that, especially if you were together for some time. The person is going to miss you, and if you’re honest, there’s a part of you that should miss a part of them.
Joy isn’t necessarily a clear sign of lingering attachment from your ex, but it’s a hint. In these chance encounters, observe the minute details, like expressions and body language, to confirm your doubts.
19. Completely ignoring you
Sometimes ex-partners might unwittingly use reverse psychology, if you will, in an attempt to show their mates what it will be like if they no longer get to see the person they once loved. It often horribly backfires since you intend to have time apart.
But in other cases, you are a bit curious why your ex is choosing to ignore you. Why would that matter to you? It’s those moments when you have to think if the split is something you actually want or if maybe the two of you need to attempt to talk things through.
20. Saying, “I miss you”
One of the most telling signs your ex is pretending to be over you is when they communicate that they miss you. That takes a lot of courage, and it also requires a great deal of compassion to sit down and give the reasons it’s not working between you.
When someone is vulnerable enough to say they miss another person, they’re ready to listen, so take advantage of that. Perhaps they’ll begin to see why it doesn’t work anymore.
Can an ex genuinely pretend to be over you?
In reality, if you partner with someone for an extended period, you come to know that person relatively well. An ex might be able to fool many people in the social circles you share or their immediate friends, but anyone, including you, who knows that person intimately will know what’s real.
With most couples, partners are tuned in to each other’s emotions and can tell when something is bothering the other person. Pretending everything is ok would be evident to a long-term mate.
Keep in mind that your ex might be in denial too. Your previous partner might be acting on an impulse but could be unaware of their continued attachment to you. Be gentle yet firm in making your ex realize that they are not moving on with their life.
When is it finally over for them?
A promising sign that the two of you have successfully moved on is when you can see each other in public settings, and you don’t feel a need to try to avoid each other. Nor are you highly invested in the events of each other’s life.
It is hard to disentangle emotions after a breakup, especially after a long-term relationship. Caring for the well-being of your ex is natural, but it should lessen over time. It is good to remember that separation is a reality that should not be overlooked or ignored.
There are no more signs of an emotional attachment but a clear indication of friendship with the ability to socialize amicably. You are each seeing other people with no type of jealous reactions but instead can interact civilly. And no one sees a need to pretend any longer.
Breakups are hard for most people, especially when you have an ex who cannot move on. With signs that your ex is pretending to be over you, you can assess the situation and act wisely.
Observe your ex’s behavior for the signs mentioned above to understand the reality of your separation. It is crucial to know the truth instead of being in denial and falling back into a relationship you had walked away from for valid reasons.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.