Is There a Reason Why Your Ex is Hanging On?

Ex Still Hanging Around?
By Erica Conte for BounceBack.com

When it comes to an ex who seems to be hanging on after a breakup, the obvious reason for this seems to be because he or she is not over the relationship - but is that all?

During a breakup, it is important to understand and prepare yourself for the possibility that your ex may not respond the way you had anticipated in your mind. You yourself may respond entirely differently than you had envisioned as well. That's the thing with feelings; they aren't right or wrong, they are just there. When these feelings arise, it is good to take careful notice of them to help explain where both partners are coming from after breaking apart.

In many instances after a split, even an apparently cordial one, one of the two people in the former relationship is left hurt and confused at the situation. This confused partner then proceeds in contacting the ex in hopes of answers and more importantly, the hope of getting back together. When an ex is hanging on to the possibility of rekindling the flame, and the other person knows or senses this, their behavior and responses to the ex's outreach are crucial.

Typically exes fall into one of three patterns when it comes to post-breakup contact - the recipient of the contact welcomes the attention, completely rejects it, or combines the two. If the wrong pattern begins, it could start a vicious cycle that helps explain why the ex is hanging on in the first place. Read the three scenarios below and decide for yourself which is the best method for your breakup:

Scenario 1: You call me = I ignore/block you.

Rejecting this type of lingering and hopeful attention means the obvious; you have completely left the relationship without looking back. In situations like this, the dumpee is either aware and refuses to acknowledge the reality or is aware and wants to resolve this. When this occurs, it is best to ensure that you have made it clear why the relationship has ended. If the lingering partner chooses to remain blissfully unaware, then you've done everything you can, and their continued strife is now their own problem.

Scenario 2: You call me = I answer.

No matter how determined and composed you were when breaking up with your ex, all of this is thrown away when you continue corresponding with him/her. Has there ever been a successful breakup where both exes continue to communicate? My point exactly. There needs to be a period of "You don't exist" or "You don't exist right now" to help affirm your breakup and essentially motivate you to move on. By falling back into old patterns, not only are you contradicting yourself but you are giving your ex a reason for holding on. We can be so quick to play the victim (it's human, for it's comfortable and safe at the time) but your ex may only just be responding to the signals that you've been giving him/her.

Scenario 3: You call me = I answer. I ignore you. Repeat.

Going against your word is one thing but going against your word and then committing to it again only creates a mess between you and your partner. When this 180 degree behavior occurs, it means that the relationship should quite possibly end but the lack of closure undoubtedly brings the two of you back together again. Situations such as these ultimately require a calm and honest conversation face-to-face in order to fully understand your inconsistent emotions and your ex's obsession with contacting you regardless. Once this has been brought to the surface it will enable the both of you to articulate what you need right now in order to move forward. Whether it is cutting the person off or starting over with them completely; a consistent choice needs to be made.

Understanding why an ex continues to hang on is more complex than meets the eye, for a relationship involves two people and a breakup involves two people. If you're going through a split, know that your actions weigh heavily in the mind of your now or soon-to-be ex, so make sure that you can make a decision about contact with them post-breakup... and stick to it.

BounceBack.com helps people find happiness in the right relationship. If you've been through a breakup, divorce, or just haven't been able to find happiness in your love life, BounceBack is a place to tell your story, get community support and advice from experts, and find the confidence and strength you need to move forward. Check out our Facebook page.

More articles on BounceBack.com:

The Betrayal Test: Can You Pass and Move On?

Does Love at First Sight Exist, or is it Lust?

5 Breakup Movies that are So Bad, They're Awesome

"Sparking" an Interest: Are we "over" Nicholas Sparks?

Bringing "Ex-y" Back: Is it a Good Idea to Date Your Ex?

What NOT to say to the Recently Dumped

The 10 Worst Ways to Break Up With Someone