15 BIG reasons your ex is trying to get a reaction out of you! (ultimate guide)

Have you ever been left scratching your head, wondering why your ex is now texting you and acting weird all of the sudden?

You might be asking yourself, “What’s their game?” “Why can’t they be normal and happy like everyone else?”

Then this article is for you!

1) They’re guilty and regretful about the breakup

When a relationship ends, there’s a lot of emotion that’s at play.

The hurt and pain are felt by both people involved, but if your ex regrets what happened, they might be looking to get a reaction out of you.

They might want to hurt you back in hopes that you’ll feel the same way they did when they were going through the breakup process.

Or they can be looking for a way to fix what happened by trying to talk to you about it.

The best way to combat this emotion?

Simply express that you’re confident in your situation and that you’re happy with the changes taking place.

2) They want validation that they made the right choice in breaking up with you

Even though they might not admit it, many partners who break up with each other can be hesitant about all the changes and surprises that are happening.

In those situations, a person might need an outside perspective that confirms what they just did was the best decision for them and their own growth.

A reaction is most likely one of the products that your ex is looking for to help reinforce their choice.

Here’s an example:

Your ex might text you: “I feel so bad about how we left things, I want to tell you I’m glad it’s over.”

So how to respond?

Simply respond in a positive way and say: “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you feel great about how it’s going.”

3) They have low self-esteem

This is the scenario where your ex might have low self-esteem – and they might feel like you’re the person who can help them make them feel better about their life.

By talking to you, they’re looking to build their confidence up by trying to get back in contact with you.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

Your ex might text you: “I need to tell you that I’m sad. I can’t tell my friends or my family how I really feel because they’d be mad at me. But you could be the person who could help me out.”

This is basically a “gimme-gimme” text.

It’s basically saying, “I need to talk to someone who understands me and knows how amazing I am.”

And you can respond by saying: “How can I help?”

This will cause your ex to talk about whatever is currently bothering them.

You can then take it from there and guide the conversation in a positive direction.

4) You’re still an important part of their life

Simply put, they might miss you, and they don’t know how to deal with their feelings.

So they’re going to make the mistake of sending you too many texts or calling you too often.

But don’t be surprised — this happens a lot. 

Why? Because many couples simply fall into the trap of codependence, which can be very hard to get out of. Yes, even when the relationship has already ended.

This is something I learned from renowned shaman Rudá Iandê’s masterclass on Love and Intimacy.

There, he explores the codependent dynamic between the ‘savior’ and the ‘needy’ in the relationship, where the two depend on each other to save and be saved.

And maybe it happened to you and your ex, too, which is why you’re still struggling to cut ties with them even when the relationship has already supposedly ended. 

So if you want out of this vicious cycle, maybe his teachings on love and intimacy can help.

Click here for the free masterclass.

5) They want to test your loyalty

In certain situations, your ex might have a question about the level of loyalty that you have towards them.

When this happens, they’re probably going to try to test it.

Here’s an example:

Your ex might text you: “I heard there was a party last night at your house. Weren’t you supposed to be spending time with your family?”

This is an example of someone trying to get a reaction from you. By testing your loyalty, they’re basically trying to see if you’ll be loyal to them.

But why is your ex doing this?

  • Assume that a lot of time has passed since the breakup. They might be feeling unsure about the breakup, and they want to know if you’ve moved on already.
  • Maybe they want to see if you’re dating someone else or if you’re in a committed relationship.

In short:

They’re feeling a little jealous. All you have to do is give them an honest response about what happened.

6) They want to stir up some drama

Here’s the truth:

It’s in our nature to create drama, and we see it all the time on reality TV shows. Somewhere along the line, the drama was associated with excitement and action.

So in certain situations, your ex might try to stir up some drama just for the fun of it.

This is why a lot of people who get back together have to work very hard to get their relationship working again.

The breakup wasn’t the final step in their relationship; they still need to learn how to keep things positive and drama-free.

But it’s possible that your ex is looking for you because they want you as a target just for drama’s sake.

So keep in mind:

All relationships have some drama, but it doesn’t mean you can’t keep things positive.

7) They want revenge for something bad that happened during your relationship

Another reason that your ex might try to get a reaction out of you is that they want revenge for something bad that happened to them during their relationship.

What happened next was unthinkable:

Your ex can leak your personal information online, and passed around your private information to all their friends.

Or they might post something on social media about you, putting out a public statement about how much their life has improved since the two of you split.

These are situations where your ex might try to get a reaction from you because of something bad that happened during the relationship.

How to handle it?

Here’s our recommendation:

Wait it out. It’s possible that your ex will eventually get bored and move on with their life.

Or maybe your ex might actually want to apologize to you for sharing your personal information online. However, if you can’t wait it out, then you can always react in a positive way.

8) They’re projecting their guilt onto you in an effort to acquire a ‘guilt-fix’

This next one is the weirdest reason why your ex might try to get a reaction out of you.

It’s when something bad that happened during a relationship causes them to feel guilty.

So they’re going to project their guilt onto you and try to fix it by asking you questions or making comments about what they did wrong in the relationship.

This kind of behavior is common when you’re dealing with someone who has a lot of insecurities, and it’s one of the most difficult things to deal with.

But the first thing you need to do is realize that they’re not trying to apologize.

Instead, they’re trying to get a ‘guilt-fix’ by making you feel sorry for them and fixing the issue on your own terms.

The best thing you can do is ignore their texts or calls and avoid them at all costs.

9) They have no one else to confide in

This next reason can occur with someone who’s been through a lot of moves.

This means that they’re new to a new part of the country or even a new city and don’t have many friends. They might feel like no one else would understand what they’re going through, so they might confide in you.

But the truth is that it does no good to confide in your ex because their feelings are likely far from real.

Your ex might say something like:

“I moved here from another country a couple of months ago, and I’m really having a difficult time settling in. I just feel lonely all of the time — and it’s hard for me to make new friends.”

This is more than just an excuse to try to get your sympathy.

They’re also giving you an opportunity to tell them what they want to hear.

By telling them how hard it is for you to make new friends, they’re more likely to realize that you don’t have time for them in your life. And this will make them take action — which means they’ll leave you alone and go on with their life.

10) They’re highly stressed and looking for some kind of relief

Your ex might be feeling really stressed out and anxious.

Or maybe they’re under a lot of pressure at work or in their life, and they’re looking for some kind of relief.

So when they don’t get any satisfaction from anything else, they’ll go to where they can speak freely — which is talking to you.

Or they can get your reaction by accidentally going to a place where you’re hanging out with your friends. And when you catch them by surprise, they’ll want to go back to that moment when they had your full attention.

Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure:

It’s likely that you’re going to get a message from them every now and then.

How do you handle this?

The best thing you can do is keep the door closed on communication with your ex and focus on yourself instead of what they’re up to.

11) They’re using you to get over their ex

Another way that your ex might try to get a reaction out of you is that they’re using you to get over their ex.

This is called the rebound relationship, and it happens when someone goes back to someone they’ve previously dated.

I know the feeling:

I used to date an ex-girlfriend before I met the love of my life.

We spent a lot of time together, and I felt like she was trying to get over her ex by hanging out with me.

But that time we didn’t last for long, and it never ended well — simply because she wasn’t as committed to me as I was to her.

A big red flag to know when your ex is using you to get over their ex is that they’re going to take control over what goes on in your relationship.

They’ll make all the big decisions, and when you try to talk about other options you feel like they don’t have time for you.

12) They’re trying to make you jealous of their new partner

Another reason they might try to get a reaction out of you is that they’re trying to make you jealous of their new partner.

Here are some situations to watch out for:

  • When they’re showing how sexy they are with their new partner, like posting photos on Facebook
  • When they’re bragging about the things they’re doing with their new partner, like going skiing or playing golf together on the weekends
  • When they’re showing you videos of them and their new partner that are set to love songs.

These kinds of situations will make you think about how great it was when things were going well between you two.

Don’t fall for it!

It’s best if you ignore their attempts to get a reaction out of you. And it’s also best that you stop contacting your ex, as well.

13) They feel like you owe them an explanation/excuse

Here’s another reason why your ex might try to get a reaction out of you.

It might seem like you owe them an explanation or excuse for your decision to end things between you two.

But the fact is, you don’t owe them any kind of explanation or excuse.

The only thing you owe them is a goodbye — and nothing more.

You don’t have to explain anything to them, and it’s not your job to put their feelings first when it comes to what you’re dealing with in your life.

But if you feel like you need to explain yourself, do it in a way that’s not overly dramatic. Be factual and tell them what happened — and why you’re moving on with your life.

All in all:

You don’t owe anything to your ex. You just need to let them go. If you’re still in contact with your ex, it’s time for the roller coaster ride to end.

14) They want to make sure everyone knows how much you hurt them

Your ex might also try to get a reaction out of you when they’re trying to make sure everyone knows how much you hurt them.

When this happens, your ex might:

  • Post things that show off the other people in your life on Facebook.
  • Send family and friends text messages telling them how they’ll never find anyone as good as you were — and that they’re going to be lonely forever.
  • Say hurtful things about you behind your back in front of their friends or family members.

They might even say hurtful things about you to your face — and then try to get you upset.


Your ex is trying to get a reaction out of you, and their goal is to look like the victim in all of this.

And don’t respond with your own hurtful words — because it’s only going to make things worse, and it’s going to drag on for longer than they should.

But if you really hurt your ex, and you know you did the wrong thing, then it’s best for you to apologize.

15) They want to see if they can still have an emotional impact on you

This is one of the most common reasons why your ex might try to get a reaction out of you.

Your ex will want to see if they can still have an emotional impact on you. They want to manipulate your emotions to make you say or do something without thinking about what you’re doing.

Basically, they want to mess with you, and they’re hoping that you’ll get so upset that you’ll say something that you’re going to regret later.

This is not the right way to deal with your ex, and it’s not going to end well for you — especially if you need to move on.

Instead of getting upset, keep your emotions in check and maintain your composure.

Keep in mind:

Your ex is trying to make you upset, and they’re hoping that you’ll give in to their demands.

But when you don’t respond as they want you to, it’s a sign that things are finally over between you two.

Final thoughts

Is your ex trying to get a reaction out of you?

By now you should have an answer to this question. If he’s trying to do so for all the right reasons, and you want to get back together with them, that’s great!

However, if their intentions are not known to you, but you still want them back, then the guidance of a professional will surely help.

Because let’s be real — if you and your ex broke up, there’s a problem there that was left unresolved. That’s why it ended. 

But if you want to mend what has been broken, the first thing you need to do is to find the cracks in the glass. In other words, you need to find the root of the problem.

It’s hard, I know. That’s why this quiz on Self Love can help you find what the problem was. 

Created by renowned shaman Rudá Iandê — whom I’d mentioned before — this quiz can help you figure out what went wrong in your relationship, and what you can do to solve the problem.

So if you really want to get him back, maybe this quiz can help. No harm in trying, right?

Click here for the free quiz.


Picture of Thảo Anh Nguyễn

Thảo Anh Nguyễn

It is the little daily things that make life worth living and I know how to put you in the right perspective. I write about the intersection of life and love: how spirituality has changed my relationships, what I do to cultivate love in my life, and why I believe that all relationships are spiritual. Meet all your needs for your relationship and pieces of life advice with my articles.

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