I get asked all the time what to say when your ex asks how you are, and better yet, what to do.
It’s so confusing when an ex reaches out and you don’t know what to do or say. If you were like me, your mind is going a million miles an hour.
There’s a concept in Harry Browne’s ‘How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World’ where he answers the titular question. While I don’t remember the exact quote, what he essentially said is that people only act in accordance with their own self-interest.
I read that line shortly after my first breakup and I laughed a little bit. If you can understand that your ex-girlfriend is only reaching out to you because she thinks it will benefit her, you’ve already got a leg up over most of her hapless victims.
Before you start reading about why she’s reaching out to you, do yourself a favor and read this article about outcome independence first.
Without a massive fucking dose of true outcome independence, you’re much more likely to reply to her in a needy way, which will absolutely ruin your chances of getting her back.
There are only 3 reasons why your ex-girlfriend will reach out to you
Your ex is reaching out to you because she wants something from you. There are 3 different reasons your ex will ask how you are, with the majority being number 2 – her reaching out because she wants validation.
These are true no matter which of the 6 types of breakups you went through.
- Your ex-girlfriend is reaching out to ask about your dating life, because she wants to keep you as a backup/get back together with you.
- Your ex-girlfriend is reaching out because she wants validation.
- Your ex-girlfriend is reaching out for a specific purpose (you have something of hers, usually)
That’s it. Your ex-girlfriend is thinking 1 of these 3 things when she reaches out to you, in 95% of cases. In my case, as well as the men I’ve worked with, it’s closer to 98%.
Because women operate on emotional programming, almost all breakups are alike. Her emotional program is hardwired into her. It’s nearly identical among all women, and easy to read once you’ve seen enough breakups and know what to look for.
Your ex-girlfriend has an unconscious scoring system that can eventually lead her to contact you. What usually happens is she’ll re-enter the dating market and start meeting new men. Each guy in her orbit has a score based on how he looks, how he’s made her feel, how long she’s been exposed to him.
You get positive points for good looks, dominant/sensual behavior, and having history with her. You get negative points for being ugly, for displaying needy and supplicating behavior, and being new to her or her circle.
She’s going to score you relative to the guys around her, and against guys she’s previously been with.
Women will never admit this, but they do it all the time. Any girl you’re seeing right now is using this system on you and the other men in her orbit. You are competing against all her past, present, and future flings.
In your ex’s case, that also means her past, present, and future flings are competing against you.
If she broke it off with you, your score drops immediately. If you broke it off with her, your score will either stay the same, or it will improve. The funny thing that happens with time is that your score will slowly start to rise if you’re doing everything right.
If it reaches a certain threshold before she meets someone else, she will reach out to you. Once you are good enough at this stuff, you can predict when it’s about to happen.
I’ve even included a simple test which will tell you exactly why she’s contacting you with 100% certainty. If you’re brave enough to try it, it’s the best way to respond to an ex asking how you are.
1: She’s trying to keep you as a backup OR get back together with you.
Your ex-girlfriend is trying to keep you around because she’s having a rough time on the dating market. While her Tinder and Hinge profiles are getting tons of matches, she’ll be busy ignoring most of them.
She’s been constantly assailed by countless hordes of supplicating beta-pleasers who are the least exciting thing to her. Where have the good men gone, she might wonder.
She might meet one, and he’ll seem good at first. Odds are though, she’ll end up disliking him for one reason or another and will begin plotting her escape. As her boytoy does more things wrong than he does right, she’ll start thinking of you again, and suddenly your phone will buzz.
“Hi, how are you?”
Thus, she starts planning her next move. We call this monkeybranching, where a woman moves from one man to another, like swinging through the tree branches. She might keep you on the sidelines for a couple of months before she suddenly becomes available.
One of the best ways of telling how soon she may be planning a move are any questions about your dating life. A buddy asked me once “Why is my ex girlfriend asking if i’m dating?”. I told him to wait about a month, saying that he’d get his answer.
Almost on cue, 5 weeks later he excitedly texted me, saying she had agreed to go out on a date with him. It turns out she had broken up with her boyfriend nearly a month to the day after I had made my prediction.
This is why she asks if you’re dating anyone. Your ex-girlfriend asked about your dating life because she’s gauging if she can re-enter it, just like my buddy’s ex did with him. As a side note, almost 4 years after the fact, they are still together.
Confirming why she’s asking how you are
The best way to check if your ex-girlfriend falls into the golden parachute category is to invite her over to your place. If she’s seriously trying to back-burner you, or get back together with you, she will accept the invite 9 times out of 10.
Suggest it casually, as if it’s not a big deal to you.
“Hey, I’d love to catch up, why don’t you come over and let’s make something to eat” will work just fine. You can use variations of this line, as long as they give you plausible deniability. Don’t invite her over to Netflix and Chill directly. She’ll immediately know what you’re doing and most likely decline.
If she tries to change the plans you should just mention that you’ve had a long day at work/school and just want to relax at home. Be calm, and confident. This will diffuse most objections right away, and if she’s interested she will gladly follow your lead.
If you play your cards right once she’s at your place, you’ll be able to sleep with her with minimal effort. At this point, you can rest assured knowing that she’s trying to keep you around in some capacity.
“1+ to my list of signs my ex girlfriend wants me back” your brain says.
Just be careful to not get ahead of yourself and start patting yourself on the back too soon.
How to respond if you think she wants you back
What you choose to do at this point depends mostly on the outcome you want. If you just wanted to quickly reheat some leftovers, you can just go back to ignoring her.
If you want her back, book a coaching session and let’s talk about how we can make that happen.
If she feeds you some BS reason that she can’t come to see you, and either keeps the conversation going or falls off the map, she’s reaching out to you for validation only.
Don’t fall into this trap! Avoid the friendzone at all costs!
One mistake to avoid is one I had made early. I heard my ex asking about me and went out of my way to ask her to come to my place and was promptly rejected. She’ll be more receptive if she reached out to you in order to start the conversation.
Besides, if you’re doing no-contact correctly, you shouldn’t be reaching out to her at all!
2: Your ex-girlfriend is reaching out to you for validation (Most Common)
When you’re trying to discern why she’s reaching out, you should always assume that she’s reaching out to you for validation, and nothing else. If I had to put a number on it, 80% of ex-girlfriends reaching back out are looking for validation.
If she falls into this camp, she’s just looking for you to kiss her ass and make her feel good about herself. Women love attention – and will go where they know they’re going to get it.
That’s why women love having orbiters, it makes getting no-risk attention easy. All she has to do is turn on her iPhone and fire off a few texts, and boom. She’s basking in adoration.
Every woman wants to be the center of attention. What varies is how many people she wants to gravitate around her. Quiet and introspective girls may only require a few close friends, while hardcore sluts often need teams of men working in shifts to please them.
Your ex-girlfriend is no different and falls somewhere between our bookworm and hardcore slut. She needs a certain amount of attention otherwise she’s going to start feeling uncomfortable.
Usually she’ll reach out to you in a moment of uncertainty. She won’t know why she’s doing it, but you will. She’s bored and wants attention. She’s likely had a hiccup with the men around her. For whatever reason, she’s not getting enough attention. Thus, she turns to you for attention.
That said, your job isn’t to be her self-esteem boost. You can spend hours validating her and complimenting her only for her to turn her back on you once she’s had her fill and leave you alone afterward.
Doing so will damage your value in her eyes, so don’t freely validate her. You want her continuously seeking validation from you – which she will only do when you refuse to give it.
When she reaches out, your only goal should be to get her over to yours.
If she doesn’t take the bait on coming back to your place, you quickly end the conversation and return to no-contact. In this case, it doesn’t matter what your outcome is. Whether you want her gone, or want her back, or something in between.
If she wants your attention, she has to earn it by getting her ass over to your place.
Talking to her for no reason is one of the worst ways you can torpedo her attraction to you.
It’s not a big deal if you plan on ignoring her, but if you honestly plan on ignoring her, why the fuck are you even replying to her in the first place?
Girls will reach out to you for attention periodically. In my experience, it’s most common in the first 6 months after a breakup.
The frequency will decline rapidly afterward, as your ex-girlfriend meets new men and converts them into orbiters. However, don’t be surprised if she reaches out to you years later, just for validation.
I had one a few months back where one of my first girlfriends (whom I haven’t heard from in nearly 4 years) reached out to me because she was “thinking of me”.
I chuckled, fired off a one-word answer, and then left it at that. A few weeks later, I ran into one of her mutual friends at a networking event, who casually mentioned she had just broken up with her boyfriend and she had been texting him.
I could tell he was excited by the prospect and wanted more than just friendly conversation.
I asked if they had met up. He laughed it off and said they were both busy.
For the record, she wasn’t busy that night when she ended up at my hotel.
Now I can’t be 100% sure, but I’m confident this song and dance will go on until she meets someone new. Our poor orbiter will give her plenty of validation and get nothing for it in return except for blue balls.
Don’t fall prey to attention-seekers kiddies.
3: Your ex has a legitimate reason to reach out to you (Very Rare)
This is 5% of cases, and I’m being generous here. Sometimes, your ex will have a legitimate reason to contact you back. Maybe you forget to give her back her jacket.
Considering you’re supposed to give her stuff back as soon as you guys break up, you shouldn’t run into this problem, but I digress.
If she has a legitimate concern, see to it quickly and robotically. Otherwise, feel free to classify it as validation seeking or her checking to see if you’re single. I’ve personally experienced several women leaving things behind at my place to have a reason to contact me later. One even tried it almost a year after we had split.
I still wonder if that girl really wanted her blender back.
For your part, always assume she’s seeking validation and react accordingly.
You will save yourself months of headache by always assuming an ex is validation seeking when she reaches out into you. She’s guilty until otherwise proven innocent.
You might not think your sweet ex-girlfriend would string you along, and you’d be wrong. She is entirely capable of it and will do it if it’s in her own self-interest.
Assuming she’s seeking validation will also keep you from overrating her interest in you, which is a critical factor in attracting her back, if that’s your goal. By assuming she’s seeking validation, you’ll naturally be more aloof and dismissive – which is ironically exactly what you need to be in order to attract an ex back.
Make her earn it.
Or just don’t text her back. Your choice.