Do you want to know the real reasons why an ex comes back?
If so, you are in the right place!
No matter the story behind your break-up, I will help you identify some strong motives why they always come back.
Even if someone chooses to leave your life based on personal preference, incompatibility, relational struggles, or other reasons, there are always some universal motivations for why they return to you.
If you need some clarity or keep wondering in your mind “why does my ex keep coming back”, hang in there.
This article will show exactly why they can’t get over you no matter how many times you’ve broken up.
1. They are emotionally unstable
When someone is constantly changing their mind about their intention to be in a relationship, it can indicate that they might struggle with mood swings or have a tendency to act upon their emotions. For example, if your relationship hits a bumpy road and this causes your partner to be distressed, they might generalize that all your time together is problematic.
It is not uncommon for people to leave a partnership when the other person encounters personal struggles – such as losing their job, going through change, dealing with financial hardship, etc. These issues create further relational challenges that require both people to be proactive in conflict resolution and communicate their needs and concerns.
If your partner leaves when things get difficult but they always come back when you show the first signs of moving on, this means that they simply don’t have conflict resolution and communication skills. They might also be uncomfortable with their own negative emotions, which is why they prefer the easy way out. Similarly, your ex might also simply be uncomfortable with real intimacy and might pull away from developing deeper feelings for you, hence their ambivalent behavior towards you.
2. They don’t know how they feel about you
This is a difficult pill to swallow.
But people CAN be indecisive and ambivalent about someone, right?
Maybe your ex keeps leaving and coming back because they are still unsure of how they feel about you. Perhaps they like some aspects of your relationship but cannot fully accept others. Perhaps they do not yet embrace your whole being, good and bad.
Therefore, this indecisiveness shows up in their actions – they want to leave for good, but when they remember the good parts of you and your relationship, they always show signs of coming back.
They realize that, while the relationship had its challenges, it also brought them many good things – otherwise, why would they always come back?
An ex who has not fully decided to leave for good is someone who does not trust their own decisions. They are left with the solution to make decisions based on an ambivalent view on reality and temporary emotions. But would you get back to someone who keeps changing their mind and cannot make a definite choice?
3. They are unprepared for serious commitment
Emotional instability can also cause people to be unsure of their decision to commit to someone. Research shows that this can be caused by various mental issues like depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or frequent mood swings.
Someone who is not mature enough to face the ups and downs of intimate relationships will leave whenever challenges arise and come back when they get lonely. The reality is that remaining committed to someone through their good and bad days takes a lot of courage, hard work, and emotional maturity.
But until people reach the stage where they own these qualities, they are more likely to swing back and forth in committed intimate relationships.
To better evaluate whether this is the case for your ex, look at their behavior: in what conditions do they usually leave? Is there a specific trigger for the break-up? Do they always come back?
4. Their Dating Plan Failed
This is another difficult pill to swallow, but it is worth a realistic look. The truth is that most people intend to go back to the dating world once their old relationship ends.
They might even have a few people in mind whom they are ready to date. However, if the plan hasn’t worked out well and the exes find themselves all alone, they will easily come back.
It shouldn’t surprise you if your ex returns when you least expect them. To them, you are a familiar face. They know you and you are a safe space where they can return from the chaos and unpredictability of the dating world. So if you still keep wondering why exes always come back, remember that you represented a familiar world for them at some point. And they are craving that.
5. You Are Just an Option to Them
The plain reason why your ex always comes back is that you allow this to happen. As hard as this is to admit, no one can return to a relationship where they are not allowed. So if your ex leaves and then changes their mind, this is also partly because you lack strong boundaries towards them.
This takes us to another painful thing to admit: you might be just an option for your ex.
They keep coming back because they know you are there waiting for them to change their mind. In other words, you give them the option of coming back whenever they please. By not remaining strongly rooted in your boundaries, you are very likely to be the victim of your ex’s inability to make a decision about the previous relationship you had together.
6. They Regret Leaving and Genuinely Want to Come Back
An equally valid truth is that people make mistakes. We make decisions based on emotions, cognitive distortions, or in the heat of the moment when our access to the truth is flawed.
According to the therapy literature, “black and white thinking” (only seeing the extremes of a person or situation) can lead people to act in irrational and subjective ways. When someone makes the mistake of ending a relationship because of a judgment error, it is worth considering whether they are willing to repair the broken trust and move forward with more accountability.
You should be always cautious with finding excuses for your ex’s behavior. However, it is also worth taking into consideration that people sometimes simply make the wrong decision.
Of course, this explanation is only valid if your ex does not repeat the “mistake” of leaving multiple times. When the act of leaving becomes a pattern from your ex, then you are better off resorting to the previous explanations instead.
If you have an ex-boyfriend that texts he misses you. You might want to read what it means when a guy says he misses you.
How do you deal with an ex who keeps coming back?
Perhaps the most important aspect of handling someone who keeps leaving and coming back to you is developing strong boundaries towards them.
What does this mean?
It’s all about what you allow and don’t allow into your life. Set standards for how you want to be treated. Be rigorous in what you accept from current and previous partners. Recognize your needs and do not settle for partners who are not able to meet them.
Besides setting firm boundaries towards your ex, you will also benefit from taking care of yourself after getting out of a relationship. You can do this by:
- Investing in self-knowledge and self-development;
- Making new friends and meeting people outside of your usual social circle;
- Growing professionally and financially;
- Travelling, volunteering, experimenting with new hobbies, getting out of your comfort zone.
- Creating space between the two of you with a period of no contact.
The most essential thing you should probably remember from this article is that previous partners only get into your life IF you allow them. Whenever someone manipulates you emotionally by leaving the relationship and then changing their minds, ask yourself if there are any boundaries in place to protect you from that.
Do you care about yourself enough to keep indecisive partners away? Do you love yourself enough to only let people into your life who prioritize you and want to remain committed to you?
It’s also worth reflecting on other aspects of the relationship, such as – are they always the ones who are leaving first? Do they always come back? What is their explanation for leaving?
These are also essential questions to reflect on when you keep asking yourself why your ex keeps coming back after a break-up. Because it is not only about them but also you.