12 reasons ignoring your ex is powerful (and when to stop)

Here’s a pro tip: If you want your ex back, you should ignore them a little.

It’s f*cked up, I know. But it’s just how humans work. And you need to be careful about it too, because it’s not without its risks—taking it too far will mean losing them forever.

So in this article, I will give you 12 reasons why ignoring your ex is powerful and how you can do it right.

Why ignoring your ex is powerful

1) It will shock them

Relatively few breakups involve the couple actually dumping each other mutually.

What generally happens when people break up is that the dumpee would pine for and chase after the dumper.

So the dumper usually expects to get attention from the dumpee, especially if the breakup came out of nowhere, or without a good reason such as cheating.

And most of the time, the dumper will still have some feelings for the person they left behind. Sometimes they regret it immediately but stay their course out of pride. Others do it to play mind games.

So by staying your distance instead of constantly reaching out to fix things, being angry at them, or even demanding a proper explanation from them, you’ll flip their expectations on their head.

And this will lead them to question themselves, and their preconceptions about you.

If nothing else, it will show them how mature you are—something that they will find desirable.

2) It gives you back your power

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When you think about it, when you spend your time and energy chasing after your ex, you’re making it clear to your ex that they’re the one holding all the cards.

The choice on whether to get your relationship back together or to deny it is completely in their hands. You’re at their whim, and this will make them take you for granted.

On the other hand, if you keep your distance instead of pursuing them relentlessly, you’re communicating that you still have a say. The two of you getting back together is no longer entirely their choice!

This is something you can really hammer in if they try running back to you, too. Don’t reject them outright, of course. Instead, you can make it clear that you’re not getting back together until they earn your respect once more.

It will intimidate them, for sure. Some people will give up the chase—but if you think about it, that’s probably for the best.

Those who will stay and actually try to put some effort into winning back your respect are those who are actually serious about you and are willing to give you what you deserve.

3) It’s the only way to be missed

Think about it—do you think you’ll ever miss someone who’s always nearby? The answer is no, and it doesn’t matter even if they’re the most “missable” person in the world.

And it gets worse! If you’ve been wanting some time away from them (which is what dumpers often want from their dumpees) their insistence on being in your life will only make you resent them more.

I can vouch for this personally. I once was in a relationship with someone, and I thought we were doing well… until they broke up with me out of nowhere. I spent years pining after them. They started dating others, and it felt like I was going to die.

Eventually, the pain was just too much to bear and I backed off. I stopped caring, locking my feelings off in a little sealed vault. I remained civil when they came to talk to me but otherwise ignored them. I even tried dating other people too.

The surprising thing was that after half a year, they started to reach out to me instead. It turns out they were missing me and wanted me back in their life.

See, we only truly miss someone once they’re gone.

4) It reboots your relationship

Break-ups aren’t necessarily bad. Sometimes people are meant for one another but got together at the wrong time, or under the wrong circumstances. In such cases, their relationship will need a reset.

You might think “Can’t we just grow up together?” but it’s not that easy.

Being in a relationship can easily get you stuck in your ways where having time away from each other gives you time to introspect and grow.

This is what my coach at Relationship Hero taught me while I was struggling with my relationship… and you know what? It works.

And it’s for that same reason why I highly recommend them. They’re a site where highly trained relationship coaches help you with difficult issues, like dealing with an ex you still love.

I mentioned how I spent years pining for and running after my then-ex after our breakup. In all those years, I didn’t improve at all.

I was stuck. It was not until I started to stop obsessing over my ex and got help from a professional coach that I finally had the time and energy to sit down and focus on myself.

They helped me deal with my fears of losing my ex for good—after all, they did start dating other people after our break-up—as well as the pain of having my ex continuously pushing me away.

They helped me endure these pains and grow as a person. And this growth, as well as the fact that my absence made them miss me, was one of the reasons why they came running back to me.

My coach’s advice truly helped me get them back, and the fact that my ex dated someone else didn’t get in the way at all.

If you want to give them a try—and, again, I highly, highly, highly recommend it—click here to get started.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

5) You’ll regain your dignity

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Let’s say you cried and begged and threatened your ex when they decided to break up with you. Let’s say you drank every night and sent them hundreds of messages that they ignored.

It might be painful to be rejected and cast aside by someone that once said that they would move the world for you, but chasing after them this stubbornly is also…humiliating.

But don’t worry. That can all be undone if you start holding your chin up high and ignoring your ex.

If you won’t even say hi when you pass by each other, it shows both of you that you’re already prioritizing yourself.

It’s a way of telling them “Enough is enough, I’ve given you everything I have. That’s not the case anymore, because I’m choosing myself this time.”

Dignity regained right on the spot.

6) It’s the way to let things sink in

When you stop being too available for your ex, both of you will finally face the reality that you’re no longer a couple, and that it’s possibly final.

This will make you assess the relationship and each other in a different way.

You see, when the break up is still fresh and you both indulge in break-up drama, it’s easy to think that you’re still a couple—that what you have is just a “mini” break-up, or even just a petty fight.

Once the storm settles and you stop talking to each other, that’s when the real break up begins.

And your ex should feel this—feel the real consequences of their decision—to finally realize what he’ll be missing.

This is powerful because if both of you won’t feel the realness of the break-up, you’ll never know if you really want to be together or not. You’ll also not learn the lessons and you’ll likely encounter the same issues again.

7) It makes them curious about you again

There’s a phenomenon called the “forbidden fruit” effect.

You will be familiar with it in one way or another—it’s the desire to seek and know what is forbidden or unavailable.

It’s one of the main reasons why prohibition doesn’t always work, and often only makes the “problem” worse.

In academia, most discussion involving it revolves around such topics as alcohol and porn. But it’s not just restricted to things such as these—all it needs is for something to seem out of reach for it to take effect.

And when you start ignoring your ex, you will make yourself seem almost out of reach.

This is something that will haunt them, especially when they know that you used to be theirs.

So they will find their interest piqued. They will be so curious about you that they’ll eventually try to approach you.

This then gives you the opportunity to try to win them back. Not that it’s easy, of course. And if you mess it up, you’ll end up losing their interest again.

And this is why you need the coaches over at Relationship Hero. I have already mentioned them before, and they’re good enough that it’s worth mentioning them again.

Their relationship coaches know all the tricks and techniques—all rooted in psychology—you can use to hook your ex in for good. And it works! By following their advice, I got my ex back. They can help you too.

8) Having a strong willpower is sexy

By ignoring your ex and focusing on yourself, you’re asserting that you aren’t blinded by sentiment, or are easily swayed.

You recognize that chasing after them doesn’t help you as a person, or any goals you might have in getting them back. Perhaps it might only push them away, or maybe it will make you hurt more than you need to.

So you made the decision to keep your distance and to assert your strength of will by resisting the temptation to chase after them.

Making good decisions and sticking to them is something not many of us have. That’s why when you see someone who exhibits this trait, especially if you know that someone uses their heart a lot, it’s admirable.

This is one of the reasons why ignoring your ex makes you look powerful. It’s because it needs you to be powerful in the first place.

9) You stop being the needy and desperate ex

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Relationships sometimes suck. It sucks so much that sometimes we start to wonder why we even get into one in the first place.

At the beginning, you’re showered with love and given tons of promises. And when they break up with you, they expect that you’d just be perfectly okay with it. Like 100%. Otherwise, you’ll be seen as needy and desperate.

By ignoring your ex, you’re showing them that you’re a tough cookie. Don’t hide that you’re hurt—you can even tell them about it—but don’t keep sticking around.

If you’ve been a bit desperate at the beginning of the break up, this is a good time to show them you’re no longer that person. And this will make them respect you again.

10) You replace bad memories with good ones

If you’ve been a bad ex—say, you shouted hurtful things at them and threw all their stuff when they broke up with you—they’ll always think you’re a crazy b*tch. It will be that scene that would keep replaying in their head.

But if all of a sudden, you ask for forgiveness and start to move out of their way, then they will slowly but surely have tender feelings towards you again.

The anger will slowly be replaced by longing, and they will then start to understand why you were so angry when the two of you broke up.

It’s your absence that can turn the bitter aftertaste of your anger into something more mellow—even a little sweet.

11) They will start having second thoughts

Having some distance between you and your ex will instill a fear of loss into their heart.

This is the very same fear that would make you want to chase them in the first place, so you can think of it as giving them a taste of their own medicine.

After all, when you keep chasing after them, they’re reassured knowing that should they change their mind, they can just come back to you any time.

But when you don’t do that, this sense of security is pulled out from under their feet. All of a sudden, they have to think harder about whether they should keep going or if they should come back to you.

12) It’s a message that they can’t mess with you

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Some people are scum, simply put.

There are people who see no issue in taking advantage of their exes if they know that said ex has yet to move on.

Take a moment to ask yourself a few questions.

Has your ex been contacting you just to get their physical and emotional needs?

Has your ex been using you for your skills, or money, or power, or connections?

Has your ex been teasing you simply because they want to know you’re still into them?

Ignore the hell outta this ex so they can learn their lesson.

You are not a doormat they can mess with. You are a person with value who walks out when you’re being toyed with, especially by an ex who dumped you!

Your ex might not be aware that they’re doing this to you, so before you ignore them completely, tell them off as nicely as possible.

If they truly love you, they know it’s one thing that they should change about themselves because you deserve someone who respects you.

How long should you ignore your ex?

If you truly love your ex and you’re only ignoring them because you know that it’s a great technique to reel them back in, then you must have a good strategy prepared, as well as awareness for timing if you don’t want to mess it up.

In general, if you’re still close with your ex—say, you’re talking almost daily or even three times a week—then you shouldn’t ignore them too long. They will FEEL your absence right away and you should be able to see and feel their reaction right away, too.

But there are no hard and fast rules for how long and how short you should ignore your ex, of course. Every relationship dynamic is different and you’ll have to factor in your specific situation when making judgment calls.

This is another reason why I suggest asking a coach over at Relationship Hero. With a professional coach to talk to you and listen to the specific details of your circumstances, they can give you advice that is tailored to your situation.

It’s time to talk to them again when…

When in doubt, pay close attention to how they are reacting to you.

  • They demand that both of you talk things through.
  • They tell you that they miss you and want you back.
  • You feel that they’re interested in you again.
  • You notice that they have changed their ways.
  • You can feel their love again.
  • You’ve sorted your feelings for them.

Basic tips to pull the “ignore your ex” trick right

1) Shower them with affection before you distance yourself

You want to be sure that they’ll miss you, and one way you can help out with this is by making sure they have a good impression of you before you walk out of their life.

The thing is that if you aren’t on good terms when you leave their life, they will feel nothing but relief when you’re gone.

So be kind, be caring, treat them well…then pull the plug.

2) They shouldn’t know about this trick

Let’s be real. Using ignore tactics to get your ex begging to return to your side is a manipulative thing to do. That’s why it’s important that they don’t know about this trick if you are to do it.

If they know about it, they will see it coming from a mile away… and instead of coming back to you, they will instead hate you and leave you behind.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid doing this if you know that your ex knows any dating tricks at all. If they do, the best way to win them back is by being honest with your feelings.

You can still distance yourself, but when you do make it clear why. Before you start ignoring them, you might say, for example, “I’m falling back in love with you. I need some time by myself to deal with this.”

This way, they won’t wonder if something’s going on with you or if they’ve done something wrong to you.

3) Good timing matters a lot

As mentioned earlier, you should know when to pull this trick and when to talk again.

Exit hot, re-enter hot.

That means you should NOT ignore them just whenever.

You have to set the right conditions first before you start distancing yourself from them.

When deciding when to talk again, you should see signs that they’re into you before you reach out.

Sharpen your senses and listen to your intuition. Let it guide you when deciding for the right time.

Final words

There are many reasons why ignoring your ex is a powerful technique. It is, however, also one of the more risky tricks to play.

It’s very possible to misjudge your situation, overdo it, and chase your ex away instead. So when you do it, you must do so knowing this risk.

It’s still worth doing even should you not decide to commit to it all the way, it’s good for more than just getting your ex back. It also helps you focus on yourself.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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