The best way to respond to your ex asking how you are is probably not how you have responded to her in the past.
The last time she reached out to ask how you are, how did you respond? Did you:
- Give her a boring account of your life?
- Cry over how much you miss her / how much you love her?
- Pretend to be “okay” with the breakup, even though it still hurt?
- Try to show her how much you’ve changed?
- Beg her for another chance or an explanation for why she left?
- Get angry at her for asking the question after she ripped your heart out?
- Have a short and cordial conversation with her?
If so – you need to pump the breaks. If you want to get her back, these are all bad. If you want to get over her, they are even worse.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have made any of these mistakes. Chances are, you haven’t known better up until this point. From now onward though, you have no excuses for not handling this correctly.
By the end of this article, I’m going to show you why each of these is a mistake. I’m also going to show you a better way to respond, which puts your long-term happiness first.
This is an important article for you to read multiple times because the “how are you doing” text is usually one of the first messages you will get after the breakup happens – and it’s almost always when you are at a weak point. If you mishandled it the first time, you don’t want to mishandle it the second time.
And that’s because the way you respond (or if you even respond at all) can go a long way toward setting the tone for how you recover. It can also influence whether or not your ex-girlfriend will want to walk back into your life in the future.
So pay attention!
- 1 Here’s Why Your Ex Is Asking How You’re Doing
- 1.1 There Are 4 Main Reasons Why Your Ex Asked You How You Are Doing
- 1.2 1: She Still Cares About You
- 1.3 2: She’s Checking On You To See If You Are Single
- 1.4 How To Confirm She’s At Least Thinking About Getting Back Together
- 1.5 3: Your Ex Girlfriend Is Seeking Validation
- 1.6 4: You Have Unresolved Breakup Logistics / She Needs A Favor From You
- 2 So – How Should You Respond If Your Ex Asks How You Are?
Here’s Why Your Ex Is Asking How You’re Doing
One of the most frequent questions I get from clients in my email coaching program is:
Why is my ex asking how I’m doing when she literally just dumped me? Is she serious? Or does this mean something else entirely?
It’s incredibly confusing to have her reach out and ask how you’re doing as if she has no clue that you’re hurting, guilty, lonely, angry, sad, and so on.
So what gives? Why is she reaching out right now?
To help you out, let me quote the wise Harry Browne.
“People only act in accordance with their own self-interest”Harry Browne – How I Found Freedom in An Unfree World
In other words, your ex-girlfriend is asking how you are with a reason – not to just chit-chat and disappear. If that was what she wanted, chances are she never would have reached out to you in the first place.
If you notice she keeps popping up, and then disappearing chances are that you are the problem and not her. And that’s because…
There Are 4 Main Reasons Why Your Ex Asked You How You Are Doing
She is reaching out to you because she wants something from you. Sometimes it can be an innocent reason, like wanting to divide shared possessions. Other times it can be for attention, or just out of boredom. You should always assume that her reason for asking how you are is innocent – because most women, especially women that care about you don’t want to hurt your feelings
As I mentioned, her reason why tends to fall into 1 of 4 categories:
- She still cares about you and wants to make sure you are okay;
- She’s checking on you to see if you are still single;
- She’s asking how you are to start a conversation about breakup logistics or something she needs from you;
- She wants to see how you are doing to check if you’re single because she may want to get back together with you or keep you as a backup.
- She wants to see how you are to see how you’re doing for emotional validation;
These are true no matter which of the 6 types of breakups you went through.
Let’s take a look at each of the 4 reasons and how you can determine which is motivating her.
1: She Still Cares About You
The most common reason your ex-girlfriend will reach out to ask how you are doing is to make sure you are doing okay because she still cares about you, and loves you as a person.
Some studies have shown that women report more negative emotions after the breakup, particularly feeling sad, confused, scared, and guilty. This is true even if she was the one who left you – though often less so than if she was the one who was left.
Women are also more empathetic than men on average. This means that she’s more likely to understand how you feel and be able to share in those feelings themselves.
The takeaway here is that if she’s feeling overwhelmed or feeling that you are overwhelmed, she may reach out to check on you and make sure that you are okay. Regardless of how things ended, she’s not just going to stop caring about you overnight unless it was a short-term relationship (and perhaps not even then).
I want to be clear here, just because she cares about you doesn’t mean that she wants to get back together with you. Those are two very different things.
So how can you tell if she’s asking “how are you?” because she cares? While it’s impossible to be 100% sure, pay attention if:
- She asks about how you’re feeling;
- She tries to massage your ego (I love you, you are so special to me, I miss you);
- She keeps the conversation focused on you and gives away little information about herself;
- She doesn’t put you down;
- She tells you about how she is feeling (so you understand you aren’t hurting alone);
So how can you tell the difference between a woman who cares but has no intention of getting back together with you from one who cares and wants to get back together with you?
You ask her to go on a date with you. More on that in just a second.
2: She’s Checking On You To See If You Are Single
The second most common reason your ex-girlfriend will ask how you are is to check if you are still single because she’s either having a rough time on the dating market, or things with her new guy aren’t going great.
Read More: My Ex Seems So Happy With Her Rebound
While it’s easy to think she has a ton of other options, the dating market sucks as much for women as it does for men. Her Tinder and Hinge profiles might be getting plenty of hits, but I promise you she’s ignoring most of them.
Most of these guys are either boring, damaged, creepy, or just plain unskilled with women. All you need to do is ask one of your female friends to show your her Tinder DMs for you to get an idea of how badly most men handle things.
It’s also possible that the guy she initially left you for is finally showing his true colors. Science has already proven that if she’s dating someone else right after she broke up with you, she’s going to be comparing him to you. That doesn’t mean she will leave him immediately, though.
During NRE most men and women are on their best behavior for the first 3-5 months of the relationship. During NRE, everything seems perfect. You’re as compatible as can be, and everything is going great. Red flags get ignored because of the intense attraction and overabundance of the so-called “love” hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine.
But once those hormones start to fade, it’s common to realize holy shit, I picked the wrong person.
It’s especially common if you rush into a new relationship without taking the time to understand the last one.
And it’s usually around this time you start thinking of your ex-girlfriend. Maybe you’ve even experienced this yourself.
Once the new guy starts doing more things wrong than he does right, and you start to compare more favorably to him, then the fireworks happen in your DMs.
“Hi, how are you?”
One of the best ways of telling how soon she may be planning a move are any questions about your dating life.
Your Ex Girlfriend Asked About Your Dating Life Because She’s May Be Curious About Getting Back Together
If she asks about your dating life, she’s not asking just to make idle conversation. She’s asking because she is either still curious about you, or because she is at least thinking about coming back into your life.
It’s also possible that she is just checking to see if you have moved on, or because she is jealous. If she’s jealous – likely she either wants to get back together with you or is pissed that you’re treating the new girl better than you treated her during the relationship.
To be clear – just because she is asking about what you are up to is no excuse to jump the gun. If you follow what I teach, begging her to get back together at this point is a no-no. Instead, you want to give her the freedom to walk back into your life if she chooses. Remember – she may only be thinking about coming back into your life. Do you really want to overcook things and chase her right back out of it?
That’s why it’s so important to be committed to building a life of masculine happiness before you even think about trying to get back together with her. Otherwise, it’s incredibly easy to get swept off-center with her and end up ruining things because you are either too needy or too aggressive in your pursuit of her.
How To Confirm She’s At Least Thinking About Getting Back Together
The best way to see if your ex-girlfriend is at least thinking about getting back together is to invite her over to your place. This is of course assuming you want her back.
Respond to her “how are you” text with something witty designed to make her smile. Don’t be boring. Boring is the kiss of death. You know her better than I do. No pressure.
Once you’ve started a good conversation, be direct and ask when she is free to meet up. When she tells you her schedule, invite her over to your place.
Suggest it casually, as if it’s not a big deal to you.
“Hey, it’s been great to catch up – but I have to run right now. What are you doing over the next week?”
Once she hits you with her schedule…
“Great, I’m also free Wednesday evening. I’m going to be cooking [insert dish you are good at cooking] and I need my sous chef to come to help me”
You can use variations of this line, as long as they give you plausible deniability.
The one thing you want to avoid is making the date seem like a booty call. Don’t invite her over to Netflix and Chill. 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 cook dinner at home. If she still refuses, then tell her to get back in contact with you when she’s free. After that, go back to no contact.
Be calm, and confident. Remember: let her react to you, not the other way around. You’re putting yourself first now, right?
If so, then you need to know how to avoid the women that don’t want to put you first: the validation seekers.
3: Your Ex Girlfriend Is Seeking Validation
“Validation” has become somewhat of a catch-all term used to mean all sorts of different things. So to be clear, when I say your ex-girlfriend is seeking validation what I mean is:
- She is not interested in getting back together with you;
- She wants you to reinforce how desirable she is / how great a partner she was OR;
- She wants to confirm how she made the right choice to leave you;
If she falls into this camp, she’s just looking for you to kiss her ass and make her feel good about herself. She might be bored, lonely, or just seeking a little bit of excitement. It’s also possible things are going sidewise with her current guy. She’s not evil for doing it, because we all seek validation in one way or another.
But just because it’s not evil doesn’t mean it’s not harmful to you.
Your job isn’t to be her self-esteem boost. Your job is to focus on yourself and build a life of long-term masculine happiness. You can spend hours of your time validating her, only for her to vanish once she has had enough.
Luckily the majority of women aren’t like this, but there are some of them out there.
Avoid them. There are plenty of wonderful women out there who deserve your love and adoration – and will put in the effort to make you feel equally loved and appreciated instead of just talking with no concern for you.
How Can You Tell If She’s Validation Seeking?
The way to judge her intentions is to pay attention to how she approaches you – and whether or not she agrees to a date.
If she’s validation seeking, she may quickly move the conversation from asking about you to asking you about herself, or whatever it is she wants help with / validation on.
As an example from a recent email coaching session:
After she flaked out on the date I didn’t hear from her for 2 days. Then she popped in and asked how I was doing. We talked, and it turns out she had gotten back together with her new guy. She had been seeing him the entire time we had been talking. She admitted she had been leading me on and didn’t want to lose me.
If she doesn’t agree to that, you should nicely end the conversation and then return to no-contact. Don’t fall into a pattern of chit-chat. You are not obligated to talk to her, or to be her source of validation. You’ve got more important things to do for one, and you don’t need to be killing yourself chasing after a woman who has no interest in you beyond self-interest.
4: You Have Unresolved Breakup Logistics / She Needs A Favor From You
If the breakup just happened, there’s a decent chance that you have unresolved breakup logistics. If you are new to Men’s Breakup, I define breakup logistics as:
Outstanding commitments related to the relationship. Can include shared living situations, commitments (like children or pets), possessions, work-related factors, and others.
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, be nice, and see to it quickly, and then go back to no-contact. If she was only interested in her stuff, she will leave you alone.
On the other hand, some women will use “getting her stuff back” as an excuse to see you and check on how you are doing. Think about it. If it’s a year after you broke up and she wants her $47 blender back on a random Tuesday morning, do you really think it’s the blender she’s interested in?
Favors on the other hand – are in the same vein, but slightly different. There are two types of “favor” requests:
- Where she actually wants the favor;
- Where she’s looking for validation or scoping you out to get back together;
As an example – if you worked together / worked in the same industry she might reach out looking for legitimate career advice. On the other hand, if she’s trying to come over to your place to use your ironing board…I’ll let you be the judge of that.
So – How Should You Respond If Your Ex Asks How You Are?
Forget about your ex for a minute and ask yourself: what do you really want?
If You Want To Move On From Her
If you really want to move on and stop hurting, you have 2 options.
- Ignore her text – and then block her so you don’t have to make this decision in the future.
- Set an appropriate and healthy boundary with her.
If she dumped you, you don’t owe her a response in any way. If you feel that responding to her is going to damage your recovery or set you back, then don’t respond. If you aren’t sure, you are better off assuming that responding to her is going to set you back. Put yourself first.
Alternatively, you may find it better to set a healthy boundary. If you have a strong masculine center and know that the conversation won’t push you off-center, setting a healthy boundary is a great exercise in putting yourself first.
You might tell her in response:
“Hey, I appreciate that you want to check on me, but I am trying to move on with my life right now. I would really appreciate it if you respected my space and allowed me time to grieve on my own terms by not contacting me again. I will be okay, thank you”.
And then leave it at that. If she continues to contact you after you have set a clear boundary – you should block her for not respecting your space.
If You Want Her Back
If you want her back, you should only have 2 goals when she reaches out to ask how you are:
- Have some fun, lighthearted banter going;
- Invite her to join you for an excellent night of conversation, food, and fun at your place.
Your job here isn’t to tell her your life story or to beg her for another chance. If you want her back, your job is to see if she is interested in getting back together. If she isn’t interested in getting back together at that moment – put yourself first and go back to no-contact immediately.
Inviting her on a date is your vehicle to see if she is interested. If a woman is not interested, she won’t agree to the date. She still might not be interested even if she does agree, but without meeting up with her in person there is no way to tell for sure.
Don’t overthink this.
In my opinion (and this is just my opinion) you shouldn’t be trying to get back together with your ex until you have committed to building a life of long-term, masculine happiness without her. The process of getting back together with her requires a lot of emotional control that is difficult if you don’t have anything else going in your life.
So please, for your sake.
Get clear about your masculine center.
Start building a life that you love living first.
Instead of trying to get her back, start thinking of it as letting her walk back in to the golden garden that you’ve built. One that she can marvel at without needing to be told how special it is.
Or just don’t text her back. Your choice.
Talk soon my friend,