How To Tell If An Ex Misses You Romantically Or As A Friend

It isn't always easy to decipher whether an ex misses you romantically or not thanks to the effects of insecurity and defensiveness on communication.

If feelings are involved then so is risk. And if communicating directly is too risky (we have too much to lose), then we're going to talk in circles and hope to get the signals we need to make a move.

But there are no guarantees.

Chances are both you and your ex are still in a grey area where neither are willing to take a step forward and risk your healing. And all this, of course, is only one of many scenarios. What if they just want to be friends?

Signs Your Ex Is Still In Love

To know when to go away and when to come closer is the key to any lasting relationship. - Doménico Cieri Estrada
An ex that is still in love will act in accordance with their level of insecurity. An insecure ex might hesitate to be direct because it means being vulnerable. A confident ex will make sure you know that they still have feelings in one way or another.

Knowing which kind of ex you are dealing with help narrow your options.

But no matter what kind of ex you are dealing with, an ex that still loves you will demonstrate the following signs:

  • They will react with emotion. No matter if that emotion is joy or anger, the key is realizing that overreaction of any sort is a sign they care deeply
  • They will respond to your communication quickly. Either because they don't want to risk annoying you by drawing it out, or because it's weighing on their mind. 
  • They want to talk about love. An ex who doesn't intend to reconcile will steer clear of making references to commitment, past mistakes and ways of rectifying them. 
  • They're willing to take action. The simplest and most profound sign your ex isn't over you romantically. They are willing to take steps forward and not just throw words at you. Commitment, even in baby steps, is the foundation of reconciliation. Even just agreeing to a face-to-face (and then actually turning up) is a strong sign that they're thinking about taking things further. 
  • They show initiative. If you are the one doing all the contacting it's time to take a step back and think it over. If you are taking all the shots and all the risks, this situation will become unsustainable in a relationship (as well as patently unfair -- but what's that got to do with it). 
Some exes will play the no contact card and attempt to drown you in insecurity, and thereby force you to reach out. It is a transparent, if painful, game. In this case, extracting any sort of sign can become impossible (which as far as they're concerned is the whole point). 

The key to cracking no contact is not playing the game back. An ex who misses you will only tolerate the distance for so long before they feel compelled to check up on you. Talk about irony. 

Take the silence at face value. Not because silence will increase your chances, but because an ex who is engaging in manipulation is clearly not ready to take the objective steps needed to reconcile.

Signs Your Ex Misses Their Friend

If two past lovers can remain friends either they never were in love or they still are
Breakups leave a void that is difficult to deal with, and this isn't just the result of the end of a romantic union. It is also the result of losing a companion with whom we've shared and invested so much.

This may lead some exes to attempt to salvage that contact, to lessen the pain of moving on and to retain someone who is close.

This is obviously not a bad thing, but it can be if the emotions involved are lop-sided. If you still have feelings masquerading behind friendship will lead to resentment. If you are both, genuinely, on the same page regarding remaining friends then you're all set. But let's be honest, the chances of this being the case are slim. And get even slimmer as time goes by.

In any case, the signs are:

  • An ex reaching out for friendship will tend to be in control of their emotions rather than impulsive.
  • They will be direct and transparent with their communication because they will want to avoid misunderstandings. The directness is a result of not having anything to lose. They aren't risking the same way someone who wants to reconcile romantically is. 
  • They will avoid talking about the relationship. It isn't in their field of view and will be wary of using it as a reference point.
  • They will be future-oriented. As opposed to fixating on the past. 
  • They won't be as intense. Friendship is more laid back, and they won't push for things to happen. An attitude that directly contrasts with that of an ailing ex who needs to make things happen to ease their insecurity. 
  • They will have clearly visible boundaries. They will make sure the boundaries between you are stronger and larger than they were when you are together. This is a new kind of beginning.
The tone and tempo of an ex who misses your friendship are slower and more calculating. It is a subtle distinction, particularly if games are being played, but it is noticeable.

How To Tell If An Ex Misses You

When in doubt, consult your gut feeling. Your ex will give you thousands of clues that your conscious mind won't catch but your sense of body language will. 

There is a fundamental difference in distance between these two types of exes. An ex who still loves you will take steps to move in close. They will say things they don't necessarily mean and act irrationally because this irrationality is a direct manifestation of their scrambled state of mind. In most cases your confusion is the direct result of the mixed messages they are forced to send, to both keep you there and also hide their intent (because they have something to lose).