Why Is My Ex Ignoring Me? (16 Little-Known Reasons)

by April Maccario

According to a study by Michael Rosenfeld, the Stanford Sociologist, almost 80% of every relationship will end in a break up. The end of a romantic affair is a certainty that almost everyone goes through in their love life. Not everyone meets their life partner in middle school or high school. 

But while ending an intimate affair can hurt a lot, one thing can hurt more – your ex ignoring you. It is a pain that goes beyond the end of a partnership you had high hopes for. It reaches the core of your existence, making you question everything you’ve ever known.

These questions can range from wondering if they ever loved you or value you to thinking they killed themselves. As someone who has wondered why my ex ignores me, the truth is that there are plenty of reasons why they are and each one depends on a variety of factors. 

Some of them might have nothing to do with what they think of you, some might. As an ex girlfriend, having gone through this experience and come out the other side whole, here are a few reasons why your ex boyfriend might be ignoring you.

Why Your Ex Ignores You

1. He Is Still Angry About The Breakup

Even the best romances end, and when they do, they stir up different kinds of emotions. For some, it is pain, others, anger. The overriding feeling depends on the circumstances that led to splitting up. If it is down to something you did, say, maybe you cheated or betrayed his trust in some way, this can lead to pretty intense anger at you on their part. It is not the type of rage that goes away overnight.

If this is the case, your former boyfriend will likely ignore you when you reach out to them. This is not because he doesn’t care about you or hates you, but because he is going through the five stages of grief and is currently stuck on anger. His anger might be because they feel you have wasted their time and effort. Especially if you initiated the split up, possibly because you thought the relationship is going nowhere. 

This might be the case if they were talking to you immediately after the split but suddenly stopped. The best thing to do instances like this, you should give them some space, enough room for them to work through the pain on their own. When they get to the acceptance stage of grief, they are likely to reach out to you.

2. He Is Still Hurting

It was an amicable separation. Both of you agreed it was the right thing to do. Yet, now he no longer picks your calls or replies to your text message. This might be confusing, and you might find yourself wondering, why your ex is ignoring you. It might be that he is hurting. Just because he agreed that breaking up was the right thing to do doesn’t mean he is not hurt by it. To him, you remain the woman he wants to be with.

Thus, constant interaction with you is a harsh reminder of the woman he lost. As someone who has been in a similar position, it is harrowing to interact with you like everything is fine when you are hurting inside. One was a former lover might respond to this is to withdraw from you.

Of the many things you can do in a case like this, the best thing is to respect that everyone has their emotional process. Just because you have walked through the pain of letting go doesn’t mean they have. While you might miss your interaction with him, give him the space he needs to process their hurt. Things like this take time. It can take a few weeks or months, but afterward, both of you might become acquaintances again.

3. He wants to protect your feelings

On the flip side, if it was your ex boyfriend that broke up with you, no doubt, you are not willing to let him go. This can be even more true when the split comes out of the blue. In situations like this, if your former lover suddenly starts to ignore you, it might be because he knows you want to get back with him. So, he maintains his distance because they are afraid to hurt your feelings with another round of rejection.

Believe it or not, not every man enjoys causing pain, especially when it is a woman he used to care about. For some, cutting you off is an easier pill to swallow than telling you to the truth that he doesn’t want you anymore. He is more likely to maintain his distance, hoping that you will someday get tired and move on.

It can be hard to determine if this is the case, especially when out of character. But if you are sure that it is, find a way to reach him. Through email, text, or a friend, let him know that he does not have to worry, and you are not planning to get back together. If he believes you, he might start returning your text and phone calls.

4. He Doesn’t Enjoy Confrontation

This point is very similar to the one we just discussed. But it doesn’t always come from a place of care - mostly when the breakup was not amicable. If both of you left a lot on the table unsaid when you parted ways, the idea of continuous interaction can cause those issues to bubble to the surface and explode in a fiery exchange.

For those with anger issues, this can be a tricky situation. I have seen someone go from 0 – 100 because they felt trapped in the conversation and lost their cool. The good news is, if he is not the type of person that enjoys confrontation, you probably know this by now. It might even be why he is now your ex because they avoid any difficult emotional situation.

If you still love him and want him back, give him space. Space has a way of bringing things into perspective and making people figure out where they were wrong. Chances are, your ex will realize both of you need to talk things out, which can lead to a restart of your love story.

5. He Wants To Move On

When an ex is ignoring you, it is always easy to think there is a malicious reason behind that decision. But that is not always the case. As someone who has had my fair share of exes, I can tell you that the most essential and possibly tricky part of the healing process is maintaining no contact with each other.

No contact allows you to accept that it is over, have a good cry, and come out of the other side with your head held high. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary. That is why an ex might choose to ignore you because you continually reach out and deprive him of that process. But should you continue to reach out anyway? That depends on why you want to do so.

If you are sending a text or making calls because you want to fix things, then your messages have to reflect that. If he wants you back, both of you can then get back together. However, if you are simply trying to be friends, part of being a friend is giving him the things he needs. So, let him have some space, and when he feels comfortable, he can always reach out to you.

6. He Wants You Back

I know I just said that they want to move on. But human beings are complicated. That two people perform the same action doesn’t mean they want the same results. An ex could be ignoring you to facilitate the moving on process. Another might be doing it to get you back together.

Ignoring you is part of a slew of mind games designed to get you to want him again. The tactic is popularly called ‘No Contact Rule.’ It is based on the psychological idea that when something/someone is scarce, people desire them more. I wish I could say it doesn’t work, but unfortunately, it does. I know this because I have, regretfully, used it before.

You might be able to sense this if your ex has a history of abusive or manipulative behavior. If he doesn’t, sadly, no one other than you can accurately determine if he is manipulating you. A good pointer is who initiated the separation. If he did not initiate it or broke up out of the blue over a minor disagreement, he might be suffering from buyer’s remorse. And ignoring you is his cowardly way of fixing it.

7. Your Ex Wants To Hurt You

Girl or boy, plenty of emotions manifest themselves when a relationship ends. One of them is resentment. When someone resents you, they often want you to feel pain, but they are hurting too. After you part ways, there are very few opportunities for your ex boyfriend to inflict pain on you without committing a crime. So, his best option is to turn to something he knows you still care about – his attention.

Depriving you of his attention by cutting you off can be an efficient way to hurt you for post-breakup. It is particularly effective if it were a long affair, and your lives were thoroughly intertwined. By cutting contact, he is denying you of a part of yourself, which can hurt a lot. Unfortunately, it only stops working when you move on. 

So, if you do not intend to get back together with him, please feel free to apply the no contact rule. Only this time, to enable you to move on. The longer you go without reaching out, the less effective his absence will be.

If you still want to date him, you have to play the manipulation game. Deny him the satisfaction of cold-shouldering you. That he wants to hurt you means he still feels strongly about you, and cutting contact can cause him to return into your arms.

8. He Has A Secret

The dating pool is murky waters, and sometimes the sudden end of your romance has nothing to do with its quality. Sometimes, your ex boyfriend has a family or fleeing from loan sharks or the law. Whatever it might be, this secret forces them to cut contact with you.

The most popular is the case where he has a family. The wife finds out, and to prevent a divorce, he has to cut all communications with you. While it might save his marriage, it leaves you with plenty of questions, wondering where things went wrong. There are plenty of online tools, like this, that you can use to rule out this motive from the long list of reasons why he might be ignoring you. If his behavior matches most of the signs on that list, you might just have your answer.

Something you have to remember, however, is, your first duty is yourself. If he cuts communication out of the blue, it is your responsibility to make sure you detach from its emotional and mental implications. In instances like this, as a girl, it can be the difference between moving on to a better partner or needlessly complicating your life.

9. You Have Become The Crazy Ex

For all the negative implications that come with the no contact rule, one side, and possibly unintended benefit is it helps you portray a sense of self-respect. A lot of the time, your ex is only ignoring you because he is tired of you. Once the romance has ended, a degree of space is necessary for both of you to healthily process the emotional impact.

If you keep texting, calling, and generally acting like both of you are still in an affair, snubbing you might be their self-preservation response. That is why cutting communication, even as a tool of manipulation, can be healthy. It helps rein in your worst instinct and preserves your self-respect.

This is even more necessary when you are exhibiting unhealthy behaviors. Like constant guilt-tripping, flooding him with text messages every day, and more. If you find yourself doing any of this with the hope that he will reconsider his decision to end the affair, he is likely to cut off communication with you. 

Like most other reasons, what you need to do is keep your distance from him. If you are concerned about him, limit yourself to a text message or call a week to check on them.

10. Your Ex Doesn’t Want You Anymore

It is not easy to accept the idea that the boy or girl we have shared months or years of lives with doesn’t want anything to do with us anymore. But most of the time, that is the case after the two of you part ways. While decisions like this are subjective, they are often taken when something major led to the breakup.

When a friend of mine broke up with his ex girlfriend because she repeatedly cheated on him, and he got tired of forgiving her. He deleted her number, blocked her across every social media, and set her emails to go to spam. It was an extreme reaction to a significant incident but a necessary one to get his life back in order. If you find yourself wondering why your former partner is ignoring you, consider what led to the end of your affair with them.

In situations where there is no major cause, sometimes individuals just want to leave their past in the past. For some, their exes only have a romantic value to them. Once that value is gone, they feel no need to maintain interaction. If this is the kind of person your ex is, there is very little chance of the two of you getting back together. Dust yourself up, dry your tears, and look forward to starting a new love story.

11. He Is Dating Again

He Is Dating Again

On the other side of your former partner not interested in you anymore is that they are in a new relationship. Unfortunately, unlike the previous point, this can be confusing and frustrating. While he might have no trouble being friends with you, he can’t maintain the same level of interaction with you because of their new affair.

In scenarios like this, you might find yourself thinking, ‘my ex talks to me then ignores me.’ That stop and start is often a reflection of the happenings with his new girl. Say his new girlfriend is spending time at his place, to avoid a fight, he is likely to stay away from all interactions with his old girlfriend, i.e., you. When she is gone, then he goes back to responding to you again.

It is easy to navigate this dynamic when he is upfront with you about his new relationship. But sometimes, due to his inability to handle confrontation or because he still wants you around in case the new romance doesn’t work out, they keep it a secret. 

If you suspect this is the case, your best move is to cut through the game is to force him into a corner by limiting his access to your life. He might come running back or let you go, either way, you will finally know where you stand.

12. His Friends Asked Him To

We all like to think as adults; we are above peer pressure. But time and time again, our actions and decisions show that we are not. We are simply better at rationalizing it. If your ex is ignoring you, the motive might be as simple as – his friends want him to. Not everyone ends up in a relationship where the buddies are big fans of you. When that union ends, the friends want to eradicate every trace of your presence.

Sometimes, it is out of malice. Other times, they just want to protect the feelings of their friend. This can lead to enforcing that he should not reach out or respond to your messages again. And because you are gone, and they are the only support system he has, he will listen.

It is not a harmless method, but it works, especially when your interactions with him are preventing him from moving on. Consider the chance that his friends have swooped him for damage control, and you, the girl, are the unwitting collateral the next time you find your ex boyfriend refusing to pick your call or reply a text. 

The exciting upside and best outcome of this, is if he listens to them for a while, and later comes back to you, he has defied his pals to be with you. That is a strong sign of true love.

13. He Is Not Ignoring You, He Is Just Busy

One aspect of post-separation reality that takes a minute to adjust to is the fact that you are no longer the center of your partner’s world. This can take a long time to adapt to, especially if both of you had a long-term affair. You have gotten used to them dropping everything to reply to your text messages and answer those calls.

After a breakup, the manifestation of this change in priority can look like he is cutting you off. But that might not be the case. He might simply be too busy to attend and maintain relationships that are no longer a priority. And since breaking up drops you further down the list of priorities, he is not obliged to return your calls or reply to your texts.

Of the many reasons that could have you ask ‘why my ex is ignoring me,’ this is perhaps one of the most straightforward. If he has a busy job that often keeps him off his phone when you were dating, that lack of attention from him post-separation might simply be that he is overly engaged. If he did not have a busy job, he could have chosen to throw himself into his work to avoid dealing with the pain of the breakup. Although it might not be the most effective way to get over it, many have used it to navigate the heartbreak.

14. He Wants To Take Back His Power

Here is another point that is fundamental to the typical male behavior. He wants to regain the balance of power in your relationship. You have heard the stories, watched them in shows and films. The person who does the breaking up has greater emotional power over the breakup. That is because, often, by the time they utter the words that end the affair, the breaker has already gone through the grieving process.

This unexpected emotional disaster leaves him finding his feet because the break up has thrown him off balance. His power is ceded to you. This can show in the form of begging you to reconsider or invoking nostalgia to undo your decision.

When this effort fails, because his ego cannot handle getting dumped, he would seek out a way to regain that power, often through cold-shouldering. By doing so, he believes your desire for his attention will recalibrate the power dynamic between the two of you. 

But be careful. It works, and some men don’t just stop at balancing power. They go as far as pulling the balance in their direction by getting you to restart the relationship, only to do the breaking up a few weeks after.

15. You Are Showing Signs Of Desperation

You can think of this reason as the middle point of point #9 and #3. Your ex, open to having a cordial rapport with you, continues to engage in friendly interaction with you, in-person and online. But you make the mistake of thinking he still wants an affair with you, so you endlessly profess your love to him. Don’t worry, you are not alone. It is something we’ve all been guilty of.

No, this is not you being a crazy former lover. You have simply made the mistake of misreading the signs and leaped at them. Thinking time has made him reconsider the kind of relationship he wants for both of you. While years of Hollywood romantic comedy and real-life experiences suggest it works, you might be wrong.

Unfortunately, because a conversation would feel like another round of rejection, he chooses to ignore you. His expectation is by doing so; you will get the message that the two of you are no longer an item. If you recognize that this is what is happening, you can still manage to be acquaintances by apologizing and telling him you accept the new parameters of your affair.

And if you see yourself unable to maintain a friendship with him without slipping into acts of desperation, feel free to uphold the severed communication.

16. He Is Tired Of Playing The Breakup Game

Finally, another answer to the question, ‘why is my ex ignoring me’ is he is tired of playing the breakup game. We all know it. It is the period when both parties act like they are handling the break up better than the other person. How far both of you take it depends on how big your respective egos are.

While you might go on about all the parade of new boys asking you out of date, he can take his next date to someone nicer than he took you when you were together. The back and forth can go on and on. Until one party (your ex), is tired. In doing so, rather than compete, he simply ignores you, which I can tell you, in this case, is very hurtful.

Not only does it signal that you no longer matter to him, but it kills any hope that the competition will make both of you realize breaking up was a mistake. I have enough experience with this scenario to know that the pain can be worse than the separation itself. 

But like everything else, you should remember that by deciding to ignore you, he is choosing himself. You should do the same, focus on going through the healing process, and as they say, if you two are meant to be together, you will find your way back to each other. The best partnerships have often started that way.

FAQs

Why Is My Ex All Of A Sudden Ignoring Me?

People do things for a myriad of reasons, and your former partner ignoring can be down to multiple of them. They can range from his need for catharsis to total disinterest in you. Each motive manifests in different ways, based on the cause and the execution. Sadly, unless they tell you, you might never know why.

How Do You Deal With An Ex That Ignores You?

It all depends on your goal. If you want to restart the romance with him, give him ample space to miss you. He will come back. If you were hoping to be acquaintances, give him a chance to get over the breakup, make no contact for weeks or months before you initiate interaction.

Does Ignoring An Ex Boyfriend Really Work?

Most times, yes. Out of sight, out of mind is a phrase for a reason. Ignoring your former boyfriend is a great way to regain control of your emotional health. It is also very effective in getting him to recognize how much you matter to them and fix the issues that led to the separation.

Why Is My Ex Ignoring My Text?

It could be that he has a new girlfriend or doesn’t care about you anymore, or he wants to move on. It is easier than telling you he doesn’t love you anymore. There are plenty of reasons why he might do that. Your job is to make sure that you limit the emotional impact on your life.

How Do You Know If Your Ex Is Over You?

If they are interacting with you, you will know through the neutrality in his tone. It can also manifest through personal developments like getting a new girlfriend. Wanting to be pals without interest in a romantic affair is also an excellent sign that he is over you. Ultimately, he acts like this when he no longer puts you at the center of his world.

All In All...

There are many possible explanations for why your ex is ignoring you. It can be futile trying to identify which one it is. The most important and best thing to do is reduce the emotional toll it has on you. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed walking through these reasons with me. 

Don’t forget to share the article and let me know what you think in the comments.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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