If your ex keeps coming back into your life like that pop-up notification you can’t get rid of, it could be one of the signs your ex is testing you. You want to move on so badly, but how can you swipe right on Tinder when your past keeps luring you? Your ex sends a ‘Hey’ and you are already imagining a beach wedding…
Is it selective amnesia that’s making you forget about all the times you went through boxes of tissues to dry your tears? Could your ex’s interest in you mean that there is a deep connection here that either of you hasn’t been able to sever? Or is it just a case of them testing the waters to see where you’re at? In all likelihood, it’s the latter.
So, how to know if your ex is testing you? And how to respond when this happens? Also, why are they doing it in the first place? Let’s find out.
Why Would Your Ex Want To Test You?
Reminds me of the lyrics to the famous Charlie Puth song, “You just want attention. You don’t want my heart. Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new. You just want attention. I know from the start. You’re just making sure I’m never getting over you.”
That’s it. Your ex is testing you because they want your attention. He/she is having trouble letting go and moving on from a toxic relationship. They are too dependent on you and now they cannot make peace with the fact that the relationship has ended.
Matthew Hussey, a life coach, points out, “The fact that your ex is testing you may have a lot to do with their loneliness. It’s not like they want you. It’s more like they want somebody. Does your ex suddenly stop staying in touch when they are seeing someone? And come back to you when they are not?”
So, before you fall into the trap of building castles on sand, it is very important to ask your ex the question, “What do you want from me?” Maybe they seriously want to get back and make amends. Or maybe they just want to get instant validation and fuel their narcissism. What exactly is the intention behind the signs your ex is testing you?
Also, if your relationship ended on a bad note, it could be that their overwhelming guilt is making them text you. Maybe they just want to say sorry and show you that they regret that things turned out the way they did. Or maybe they just want closure from you. They still don’t understand what went wrong and want some clarity on why you broke up with “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse.
Most likely, they are just listening to a Bazzi song and are reminiscing about the good parts of the relationship. They are a little tipsy, nostalgic and horny. They miss you. They miss the connection you shared before it all went downhill. They just want to hear the sound of your voice.
Signs That Your Ex Is Testing You
Jenny Han wrote in her book, We’ll always have summer, “I decided Conrad was right after all. Ilsa was meant to be with Laszlo. That was the way it was always supposed to end. Rick was nothing but a tiny piece of her past, a piece that she would always treasure, but that was all because history is just that. History.”
But is history just history? Not really. Sometimes the past tries to creep into the present. And it causes a battle between the mind and the heart. Since the bond was unfinished, your heart longs for it. When does this happen? When you start seeing the following signs your ex is testing you:
1. Blocking and unblocking is their hobby
One day you wake up and see their DP. And the next day, your messages are not even getting delivered. If they constantly block you and unblock you, it’s one of the signs your ex is trying to get your attention. You must be wondering, “Why did my ex unblock me?“
It’s a classic pattern. They unblock you and ask you how you have been. When you respond to their “I miss you” with a sentimental “I miss you too”, it’s enough to give them the validation that you are still not over them. Once they get this ego boost, they flee again.
2. They constantly try to stay in touch
What are the signs your ex is becoming interested again? Do you get a message at 3 AM and it’s a nude? Or they could lure you into a conversation – and fan those residual feelings – by sending pictures from a recent family function and saying, “Hey, which one of these should I post on my Instagram?”
Related Reading: Should You Delete Pictures Of Your Ex From Your Instagram?
Signs your ex is testing you on social media you could also include sending memes, a song recommendation or an old picture of you both. They are constantly finding novel ways to talk to you.
3. Signs your ex is testing you? Jealousy and possessiveness
Humming the lyrics of the song Somebody Else by 1975, “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else. Our love has gone cold and you’re intertwining your soul with somebody else.”
If your ex is jealous of the person you are currently seeing, it could be one of the signs your ex is becoming interested again. If he/she says things like, “Do you really love someone else now? Do they make you happy the way I did? Are you over me?”, it could be one of the signs your ex is testing you.
Why do breakups hit guys later? How can we forget Kanye losing his calm, trying to get Kardashian back? He publicly dissed Pete in his song Eazy, “God saved me from this crash / Just so I could beat Pete Davidson’s ass.” Damn, more than testing waters, he is testing her patience.
4. Tries to make you jealous
How to know if your ex is testing you? Your ex is seeing someone and they constantly rub it on your face. They just want a reaction from you. They post pictures and want to see how you respond.
Related Reading: Why Trying to Make Your Ex Feel Jealous is TOTALLY Silly!
Remember the movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Remember how Peter Kavinsky fakes a relationship with Lara Jean to make his ex-girlfriend Gen jealous? If your life is seeming like a twisted movie plot, it could be because your ex is constantly testing you.
5. Wants to stay friends
Their “Are you okay?” can be a genuine concern or just another way to get validation and make them feel good about themselves. Wanting to stay friends could be one of the signs your ex is testing you.
As Coach Lee, who is a relationship and breakup expert, emphasizes, “Their friendship pitch is just a strategy because they don’t want you to go far away. They want to keep an eye on you. They want to keep you close enough so that they always have an option of getting back together.”
6. They are mad at you about no contact
When you broke up with them and snapped all contact, it left their ego starving. And since you established the no-contact rule, you moved away from being the ‘chaser’. So, the moment you stopped chasing, the ball came into your court. What are the signs your ex is trying to get your attention? He/she is mad at you for not staying in touch.
And as life coach Aaron Doughty points out, “The moment you stop chasing and obsessing over someone and establish yourself in your light, the person will get attracted to you like a magnet. But if you use those energies to cling, they will resist you.”
7. Signs your ex is testing you? Mind games and mixed signals
On some days, they show affection. On some days, they ghost you. On some days, they reply like they are still dating you with “I love you. I miss you” texts. On others, they seen-zone you.
This hot and cold behavior is one of the signs your ex is testing you on social media. Why does this happen? They are too unsure. They don’t want you back but it hurts them when you try to move on.
They don’t want to take accountability for their mistakes but they don’t want to let you go. Reminds me of the Prateek Kuhad song cold/mess, “I wish I could leave you my love but my heart is a mess.”
8. They share personal stuff with you
Do they re-enter your life after a long period of silence and start sharing personal details? For example, “Hey, I have been going through a rough patch lately. I haven’t been able to focus because my parents’ marriage is suffering.”
Related Reading: 18 Definite Signs Your Ex Will Eventually Come Back
This is one of the signs your ex is testing you. They don’t acknowledge the fact that you both are broken up. They text or call you all day and expect you to reply like you did when you both were together.
9. They try to check if you have changed or not
My friend Serena’s ex had a drinking problem when they both dated. So to test him, Serena keeps asking him questions like, “How often do you drink? Is it just on weekends or do you get drunk frequently?”
She asks questions like this because a part of her hopes that he has evolved over time. She just wants to know he has changed and he can be better for her. She thinks they can give it another shot if he has become the person she wanted him to be, instead of the toxic boyfriend he was.
10. They question you with hypothetical situations
If your ex bombards you with questions like, “At what age do you see yourself getting married? Do you think we can give it another shot if we are in the same city? Are we more mature now as compared to when we dated? Will you be okay with me getting married to someone else?”, it is one of the signs your ex is testing you.
If they demonstrate to you that they have changed significantly or they question your intentions and motivations, it is definitely one of the signs your ex is testing you.
What To Do If Your Ex Is Testing You?
When you notice signs your ex is testing you, are you tempted to get back together with them? Even the Netflix show, Get Back with the Ex, shows us that is not a good idea after all. None of the people who got back with their exes on the show could actually sustain it in reality.
In fact, a study was conducted on on-off relationships. Almost two-thirds of participants from the sample had experienced an on-off relationship. It was found that on-off partners were less likely to report positives (love and understanding from partners) and more likely to report negatives (communication problems, uncertainty) than partners who had not broken up and renewed.
What to do when you notice the signs your ex is testing you? Have a casual, polite and simple conversation. Talk to them like you talk to a friend. If you are seeing someone, be honest with them. Most importantly, don’t show desperation. Don’t give them the impression that they can get you back whenever they want. You’re your own person, after all.
Also, were you in a toxic relationship? If your ex was someone who didn’t treat you right and gave you trust issues for life, ask yourself the most important question, “Is compromising myself worth it? Do I deserve better? Am I falling back into the same toxic patterns?”
Courtney Carola, wrote in her book Where we belong, “She, herself, had only been in love once and it ended worse than a train wreck would, and she hated herself for what she had become because of it.
“Because of her ex-boyfriend, she didn’t trust easily, she didn’t date as much anymore, and she found herself not believing in love anymore. She told herself that after him, she was never going to put her heart through love again.”
So, if you deeply feel that your value systems are not in sync and you have been hurt enough, there is no point hoping, waiting and wishing that he/she would change and it would be better this time. Thinking that you can mold them into a different person is a poor strategy. In such cases, it is better to make peace with your past.
But if you really think that there aren’t any major red flags and your relationship ended because of reasons that were beyond your control, you can use the signs your ex is testing you to your advantage and get back together with your ex.
“As long as there aren’t serious issues such as abusive behavior in the relationship and each partner really cares about the other, a second chance at a successful relationship could work. Communication is the foundation,” says Noelle Nelson, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Dangerous Relationships: How To Identify And Respond To The Seven Warning Signs Of A Troubled Relationship.
“If you are considering reconnecting, be totally honest with yourself. Examine your motives for doing so. Don’t get back together because you’re lonely. Don’t get back together because you’re bored or afraid you will never find someone else.
Related Reading: 13 Ways To Get Back With Your Ex
“Obviously, since your relationship didn’t work out the first time, something has to change to make it work the second time around. Otherwise, the same conflicts that caused so much trouble will re-emerge. Each partner has to understand and be willing to work on whatever caused the breakup in the first place,” notes Nelson.
When you start noticing the signs your ex is testing you, it can be a tricky situation to be in and figure out alone. This is when an expert can help you in navigating your emotions with better clarity. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel are just a click away.
If your ex sends you mixed signals, he/she is surely confused about you. For example, on some days, they say that they are happy you are moving on. But on some days, they get really possessive and jealous. These are the signs your ex is testing you.
Push pull relationships can get really frustrating. If your ex disappears the moment you give him/her attention, it could be that they are playing mind games with you. They just want to feed their ego by knowing that you are still not over them and they can have you back whenever they want.
If your ex asks you hypothetical questions about giving your relationship another shot, it could be one of the signs your ex is testing you and secretly wants you back. Another sign could be them demonstrating that they have changed and evolved since the relationship ended.