taking a break in a relationship

8 subtle signs he wants you back but won’t admit it

If you’ve broken up with someone you didn’t want to break up with, it’s inevitable that you’ll want them back.

Over time, that feeling will probably fade, especially if you never see or hear from him.

But if he does contact you, asks about you or simply talks about you to other people, then there’s a good chance he knows he’s made a mistake and wants you back.

There’s also a chance he’s confused, missing sex or just deliberately leading you on.

How can you tell which one it is?

Here are 8 signs that he actually does want you back and doesn’t want to admit it.

1. He seems genuinely upset about the breakup

Everyone gets upset about breakups, even if they know it’s what they want and need.

It’s hard to say goodbye and breakups bring up big emotions that are difficult to deal with, both for the person who ended the relationship and the one who’s been dumped.

Some people even fall into clinical depression.

But if he continues to seem hurt for weeks, months, or perhaps even longer then there’s a good chance he wants you back.

The hurt that’s there when you first break up with someone tends to fade for people who know it was the right thing.

For those who don’t or who are at least starting to have doubts, the hurt and upset can actually increase.

Look out for him getting in touch after a period of no contact (more on that in a minute), or you hearing from friends that he’s not in a good place. If you’re still in the first few weeks, give it time and see if he’s still hurt a little further down the line.

If you’re already further on than that, take it as a sign.

2. He stays in touch…even when you’re cold with him

If you were dumped, you probably had one of these two reactions: trying to keep in touch as much as possible, hoping he’d come round; or going cold on him, ending contact him and telling him never to contact you.

If you did the second one, well done. It’s hard but it was the right way to respond and usually the only way you’ll get over the hurt.

Most of the time, when you do that, your ex will simply slink away, with maybe a very occasional text or Facebook comment.

But what if he doesn’t? What if, despite the fact you never contact him and are cold with him when he contacts you, he keeps on getting in touch?

That’s a pretty clear sign that he’s not over you and he’d like to give things another try.

The times he does contact you are probably the tip of the iceberg – there’s a good chance he thinks about contacting you much more often than he actually does it.

3. He still protects you

Although you guys may not still be together, does he still display protective behavior towards you?

For instance, is your safety and wellbeing still his priority? Does he make an effort to protect you against things that can harm you—from the little things in life to the big threats?

These are all excellent signs that he wants you back, even if he’s not ready to admit it yet.

There’s actually a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the hero instinct. This concept is generating a lot of buzz at the moment as a way to explain what really drives men in relationships.

The hero instinct is an instinctive need that men have to step up to the plate for the woman in this life. This is deeply rooted in male biology.

A guy wants to feel like he’s your protector and that you genuinely respect him for doing this.

If these instincts are still intact then he probably wants to rekindle things with you.

I know it might all seem kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

But this misses the point about what the hero instinct is all about.

Although you may not need a hero, a man is compelled to be one. And if you want him to fall in love with you, then you have to let him.

If you want to get back with him too, then there are ways you can amplify the hero instinct and use it to your advantage. There are things you can say, messages you can send, requests you can use to trigger this natural biological instinct.

To learn more about this, check out this free video by James Bauer. He’s the relationship expert who first discovered this instinct.

I don’t usually recommend videos about new concepts in psychology. But I think the hero instinct is a fascinating take on what drives men romantically.

Here’s a link to the video again.

4. He gets back in touch after a long break

You’re probably wondering will he ever come back.

They say time heals. Sometimes, though, time simply serves to remind us that we haven’t healed. If your ex contacts you after a long period of no contact, that’s a good sign that he might be thinking he’s made a mistake.

Maybe you broke up in a blazing row and everything just seemed to happen overnight, without either of you really being able to think about what was happening.

Or perhaps there were circumstances – like work stress, a house move or a bereavement – that meant you drifted apart without really meaning to.

It could just be that the reasons you split up were more about the things going on around you than your compatibility as a couple.

You knew this already, but he wouldn’t accept it. Now, it seems, he’s beginning to see it like you do.

It does pay, though, to tread carefully. Don’t respond to him straight away, but give yourself some thinking space.

If you struggled to deal with stress as a couple before, what’s changed? If you get back together, you’re going to need a strategy for coping when life inevitably brings more stress (and it will).

5. He engineers ways to see you

If you broke up, but he somehow seems to keep ending up in the same places as you, maybe that’s not a coincidence.

If he just happens to be at the gym at the same time as you always go, or he’s in your favourite bar every Saturday night, or he just happens to turn up at every single mutual friend’s gathering you go to…ask yourself why.

Remember, you were together for months or years: he knows where you go and who you hang out with.

So if he keeps popping up, it’s because he wants to see you. It might be a deliberate strategy to try and get you back, or it might just be that he misses you and wants to see you. Either way, he’s definitely showing some regret.

6. When you do see him, he’s awkward with you

If your ex was one of those who was a bit awkward and nervous when you first got together, because he liked you so much, then he’s bound to be like that now if he wants you back.

Think back to your early dates and look for signs that he’s acting the same now as he did then. If he is, then it’s a fairly sure bet that he’s feeling the same way now as he did back then.

He might not even have admitted this to himself yet. It can happen in the same way as it does when you first meet someone who you know you like, but can’t admit to liking yet.

It can be pretty endearing, that awkwardness and nervousness. It might put you, mentally, straight back to the beginning of your relationship.

That can be a great feeling, but remember that things have changed, and time has passed and you won’t be able to go back to exactly how things were back then.

And that’s not a bad thing, because you split up. If things are going to work out this time, then you need to make them different.

7. He asks mutual friends how you are

If you have mutual friends, they can be a useful source of information about your ex and how he might be feeling right now. If they start telling you that he’s been asking after you, then that’s one of the strongest signs there is that he wants you back and can’t admit it.

Those mutual friends should also have both of your best interests at heart, and they’ve probably heard both of your sides of the story.

So they’re in a great place to be able to talk to you both about what’s happening. If they thought he really was done with you, they probably wouldn’t be telling you that he was talking about you.

If your friends do start telling you that he’s been asking about you, ask them if they can do a bit more digging for you.

See if they can get him to open up so you know exactly where you stand before you talk to him about it.

8. He drunk calls you

We’ve all drunk called an ex, haven’t we? Everyone does it sometimes, but it can often mean something much more than just ‘he was drunk’.

Drunk calling is a sure sign that he’s thinking about you and, when his guard is down, he just can’t help calling you.

Resisting picking up the phone is easy when you’re sober, but much harder when you’re not.

Of course, it could just be a booty call, but you’ll know when you answer whether it is or not pretty quickly.

If it’s obvious he’s drunk and he just wants to chat or ask you how you’re doing, then it’s likely that he’s thinking about you and regretting leaving you.

It probably pays to be a bit wary here. Sometimes, drunk people say things they regret saying in the morning, after all.

But you know your ex, and you know if that’s his style or not. If it’s not, then you could be in with a good chance of mending your relationship.

If you’re confident he wants you back, what then? If he’s struggling to admit it to you, he might also be struggling to admit it to himself.

The first thing to ask yourself is…do I actually want this?

When you’ve been in the throes of a painful breakup, it’s hard to focus on anything other than getting that person back, but it is important that you do.

If you think your ex wants you back and you’re already getting excited at the prospect of dating again, take a step back for a moment.

The thought of intimate dinner dates, cozy evenings in and lazy morning sex are certainly appealing. It would be so good to have someone around when you need them, someone there to talk through your day at work, cook you dinner and bring you coffee in bed.

Those things are lovely to have, but you could have them from someone else. You don’t have to wave goodbye to all those lovely coupley things forever, just because you’re not with this guy.

It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself about why you broke up. Did you have doubts about his feelings for you, or your feelings for him?

Were there things you consistently clashed over? Did you often wonder if you really had a future together?

If any of those things were true, is there something that you think will make things different this time? If not, then do you really want this?

It’s a tough question to work through, but it is important. Because going through a break up a second time will be even harder than the first, even if you’re the one who chooses to leave next time.

And if he’s the one who chooses to go? Then you’ll be devastated all over again.

This isn’t to say, of course, that you can’t make things work differently next time. If you both love each other and you share similar values and life goals, then the chances that you can make a successful go of things are high.

There are certain things that successful couples usually share their dreams and plans and work towards them together.

Couples who end up splitting often do so because they don’t want the same things out of life.

If you’re confident that you do, and that you can work to fix the problems that led to you breaking up, then it’s time to go for it.

How to get him back

If you want to get back with your ex, then you need a plan to get him back.

Simply waiting around for him to come to the realization that “I’ve made a huge mistake and need her back” isn’t always going to work. You need to be proactive in actually reversing the break up.

True love is extremely hard to find and if you’re still in love with him (or at least you can see yourself falling in love with him down the track), then your best option is to get back together.

But how do you go about it?

Whenever someone asks me for advice on getting back with their ex, I always tell them to check out relationship coach Brad Browning.

He runs a popular YouTube channel with around half a million subscribers, where he dispenses practical advice on how to reverse break ups. He’s also recently published a best-selling book which provides the most practical ‘blueprint’ for doing this that I’ve come across.

Although there are a lot of self proclaimed “gurus” who claim to specialize in this area, Brad is the most authentic I’ve come across. He genuinely wants to help you get back with your ex.

I first learned about Brad Browning after watching one of his videos. And I’ve since read his book from cover to cover.

If you want to get your ex back, check out his free online video here. Brad gives away some free tips you can use immediately to win him over.

A few months ago I read an eye-opening claim from a relationship psychologist: that over 90% of all relationships can be salvaged. While you may think that number is unreasonably high, I tend to think it’s on the money.

Over the past few years, I’ve been in contact with countless Ideapod readers who are happily back with their ex. And getting back together was the best thing they did.

These couples broke up for relatively trivial reasons or because of circumstances out of their control. None of their relationships were toxic.

So if your relationship fits that description, then you need to get to work right now to repair your relationship. And I believe Brad’s advice will be invaluable to you.

Here’s a link to Brad’s free video again. If you want an actual plan to get back with your ex, then Brad Browning will give you one.

Conclusion

If you’ve been dumped, you’ll have been badly hurt. It’s hard to get over that and even harder to process your feelings if it seems that your ex might actually have changed his mind.

If your ex:

  • Is still upset about the breakup months down the line.
  • Keeps talking to you even if you give him the cold shoulder.
  • Gets in touch after a long time of not speaking.
  • Engineers ways to see you.
  • Is awkward with you when you do see him.
  • Asks after you with mutual friends.
  • Drunk calls you.

Then there’s a good chance he’s thinking he made a mistake.

If this happens, think carefully.

Decide if you really want to get back together and how you’ll get over the things that broke you up. If you’re confident you can, take it slow, meet up casually and see what happens.

There’ll be a lot of talking to do and probably some tears, but the chances are that you’ll make it if you’re able to be honest with each other.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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