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12 reasons men always seem to come back (even if they ended it)

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Ex just dropped you a message?

It can be so confusing when guys come back out of the blue, months after things ended.

Let’s try to decode his behavior and figure out what’s going on. Here are 12 possible reasons why he’s come back after months apart…

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you figure out what you want and what to do about your ex’s reappearance. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. He misses you.

We all get nostalgic from time to time. Maybe he saw something that reminded him of you, or he’s just been reflecting on things recently.

Either way, he genuinely misses you and what you had together. He might miss being in a relationship, or he might miss who he was when he was with you.

He wants you back because he misses how things were before.

If you think that trying again could work out, go for it! Listen to your gut, make sure you’ve both had enough time to ensure you really, really want to get back together, and check that you’ve worked on whatever it was that was holding you back last time.

Equally, you are allowed to miss someone but not want the relationship back – and it’s okay to tell him this.

You might decide that you don’t want to talk to him because it’s too hard, and you just want to focus on getting over him and moving on, regardless of how much you miss each other.

Not everyone we love is right for us, and you need to put yourself first.

2. He feels guilty for how he treated you.

If your ex has come back months later, he might not be trying to get you back, but, instead, apologize and take responsibility for his behavior.

Having some time apart may have given him the space he needed to reflect on his actions and really think about what part he played in the relationship and the breakup.

He might feel awful for how he treated you, or how and why things ended, and he wants to make amends by apologizing. 

It is up to you to decide how this goes – if he wants to talk things out but you’re not comfortable with that yet, ask him to respect your wishes and give you more time.

Maybe he could send you an email apology and you can read it in your own time.

Or, you might prefer to shut the conversation down completely because you don’t care how bad he feels, or you don’t want to relive what happened. This is your choice!

3. His plans to play the field didn’t work out.

Your ex might have ended the relationship because he wanted to be single for a while.

This often happens, and it can be for a number of reasons: he’s never really been single, his life changed (new job, new friends, etc.) and he wanted to explore his options more, or he wasn’t sure he was ready to commit.

Of course, it could be any number of other reasons, and it’s likely you’ll never know!

If he wanted to play the field, he probably wanted to hook up with lots of girls and ‘make the most’ of being single. Yep, it’s painful to think about, but it’s likely to be the reality of the situation.

The reason he’s come crawling back is because he’s realized (shock, horror!) that being single and sleeping around isn’t really all that.

It can be fun, sure, but it’s also very different to being in a committed relationship with someone you actually care about.

He might have realized that being single isn’t as fun as he thought it was going to be, and he might now want a relationship again – with you.

Think about whether or not you want to take him back, if that’s even an option. Are you okay knowing that he slept around, and do you think you can actually make it work this time?

He will need to show you respect and make it clear that you are his priority, not a back-up option because he got bored of sleeping around!

4. He wants what he can’t have.

You did a classic power breakup move – you got over him, you focused on yourself, and you’ve been through an emotional and physical glow-up.

Maybe you’re in the best shape of your life, or you finally had courage to apply for that job.

Whatever it is, he’s noticed. He can see that you’re enjoying being independent, that you’re happy and healthy and thriving – without him…

Firstly, his ego might be a bit damaged from this. He’s wondering how you’ve managed to survive without him (intense, we know, but this is genuinely what some guys think), and might question if he was holding you back somehow.

That probably doesn’t feel great, so he might want to prove that it was nothing to do with him by getting back together with you. If you can keep smashing your goals while you’re with him again, he can’t have been the problem before, right?

Secondly, there is nothing more attractive than an ex who has moved on and doesn’t want you anymore. It’s unhealthy, sure, but it’s true.

Now that he can’t have you, and you’re doing so well, he wants you back. He’s intrigued by this new, independent, confident version of you and he wants to be with you.

Knowing that he can’t have you (either because you dumped him, or because you’ve simply moved on) will be driving him crazy, and it will fuel his desire of you even more.

If you’re at this level of moving on, you might not want anything to do with him! You’ve focused on getting yourself this far, so do you want to risk getting back together and losing all the progress you made while you were working on building yourself back up?

Only you can answer that one…

5. His other option didn’t work out.

Let’s say your relationship ended because you found out he was cheating on you. You went your separate ways, he went off with the mistress – and now he’s shown up again months later.

Doesn’t take a genius to future out that things didn’t work out with his side-chick…

If he’s randomly popped back into your life and is full of compliments, it’s very likely that things went south with the girl he was cheating on you with.

He wants you back because his other option didn’t pan out like he’d hoped it would.

Again, you need to work out if you are happy being an option instead of a priority. He already chose someone else over you, so are you comfortable getting back together knowing that he abandoned you for some other girl?

Does he truly want you back, or does he just want a safety net because his ego got damaged by someone else?

6. He’s had a bad relationship and realizes what he lost.

This one is similar to above, but slightly different, so worth considering. He might not have left you for someone else, specifically, but he ended up in another relationship pretty soon after you broke up.

He might have realized how good he had it with you, simply because this other relationship was so awful. Now that he’s got something else to use for comparison, he can realize just how lucky he got with you!

He might have come to this conclusion without dating anyone else too. He might have just realized how much he enjoyed being with you and how great the relationship actually was.

Some time apart can often provide much-needed perspective and clarity. He might be getting in touch now to let you know how much he values you, and how sorry he is that he didn’t realize that before.

That might work for you, and you might really appreciate hearing those things. However, he will need to consistently show you that he appreciates you, and live by those values if this relationship is to work. He cannot go back to the easy life and take you for granted again!

7. His friends or family told him to.

We’ve all been there. A relationship ends, for whatever reason, and, after a few months of wallowing, your loved ones make a comment about how you should try again.

Maybe they’re fed up of you looking miserable or they genuinely believe that you should give it another shot. Either way, this might be what’s happened if your ex has come back months later.

He might have been told by a few friends that you were the best thing that ever happened to him. Maybe his family has said that he should actually try to settle down with you because you were really good for him and he was so much happier with you than he is without you.

This is definitely something to consider if your ex randomly pops up after months of no contact!

8. He’s feeling lonely or he wants an ego boost.

We all get lonely at times, and a lot of us ‘backslide’ into reaching out to our exes.

It’s a Friday night, we’ve been out for a few drinks, and now we’re home alone. We’re drunkenly scrolling through old photos of us with our ex where we looked happy, or maybe our friends are all over each other and we’re jealous of their loved-up relationship.

Either way, we’re feeling lonely – so why not message our ex and just gauge the vibe?

He might be feeling rubbish about himself – maybe he’s still single and it’s making him feel unattractive. He might be hoping that you’ll compliment him and make him feel better about himself, just like you probably did when you were together.

He might also want you to want him – if he messages you and you’re excited to hear from him and desperate to get back together, he’s going to feel wanted and desired and attractive.

If this is the case, he might not be interested in anything serious or long-term, so be warned!

He might just be lonely and feeling slightly sorry for himself, and he’s hoping that you’ll give him the affection and attention that he wants.

9. He spent time working on himself.

This is one of the few times that we think an ex randomly popping up months later can be a good thing!

If he has genuinely taken the few months apart to work on himself, we have a lot of respect for a guy who does this.

He might have taken the time apart to focus on himself, reflect on his behavior in the relationship, and really drill down into making some healthier lifestyle choices.

If part of the reason you broke up was because of his actions or lifestyle, he might be getting in touch now to let you know that he wants to try again and has put in the work needed.

For example, maybe you broke up because he started doing drugs and staying out late all the time. If he has stopped this behavior, he wants you to know because it might mean you’ll take him back.

Maybe he got a new job, has stopped some unhealthy habits, or is ready to truly commit to you. He wants you to know that he has taken these steps toward being a better partner to you, because he wants you to give him another chance.

Evaluate how compatible you both now are, as well as how much you think he is able to commit to this new lifestyle.

If he quit smoking three days ago, don’t trust him too quickly! He might not be willing to truly make the long-term sacrifices needed to make things work.

10. He just wants to hook up.

Sometimes, we have to accept that our exes pop up simply because they want to have sex.

We don’t need to go into a huge amount of detail here, as we’ve all experienced this at some point!

If he’s messaging you for the first time in months and it’s at 2am, or he’s drunk, or the messages are suggestive or flirty, there’s a pretty strong chance that he just wants to sleep with you again.

If you’re okay with sleeping with him, go for it. If you’re unsure, it’s probably going to be a no.

Know your worth and don’t settle for sex with an ex when you could choose a date with a guy who is actually interested in you!

11. He’s confused about the breakup.

If your breakup was quite sudden or quite messy, there is a chance that you have both needed some time to really process it.

It’s very possible that, during this time, he’s realized that he never really got closure on why the relationship ended.

He might be coming back months later because he needs some clarity. He might just want to talk to you about what happened and why, so that he can actually put it all to bed and move on.

This is a very mature approach, and is a healthy way of processing, provided you are comfortable with this kind of conversation.

12. He’s not sure what he wants.

Your ex might have gotten in contact with you after months of being broken up because he’s not sure how he feels.

He doesn’t necessarily want to get back together, but he doesn’t like that you’re not together, either.

If he’s feeling confused about what happened between the two of you, and he doesn’t know what outcome he wants, he might just be taking a chance and gauging the vibe to see how you react. 

If you’re excited to hear from him, he’s got another chance at things with you and he might realize that that’s what he really wanted.

Equally, if you shut him down and make it clear that you’re never getting back together, it will help him accept that that’s not even an option to consider anymore and he’ll figure out what he wants that way.

Still not sure why your ex has come back or what to do about it? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.