Ex Boyfriends do tend to come back after a breakup. Especially, if you follow the no contact rule and give them space. But it’s not always the case.
In this article, we will explore why they come back, how many of them come back, what you can do to help your ex boyfriend come back, and mistakes to avoid that may push him away.
Do Ex Boyfriends Come Back?
Yes, ex boyfriends do come back. We conducted a study and found that around 33% of women were able to get back with their ex boyfriends after a breakup. Either their ex boyfriends came back on their own, or they were able to get them back by reaching out to them.
Out of those, 17.5% of women stayed together with their exes for a long time.
While the remaining 15.5% of women broke up again. Their ex boyfriends left again after coming back.
According to our study, men had a slightly lower chance of getting their ex back (only 24%) compared to women (33%).
We also found that it takes somewhere between 1-6 months for people to get back with their exes. However, there were some cases where it took more than a year to reconcile.
In addition, a YouGov poll of 22,000 Americans showed that 44% of participants have gotten back with an ex at one point in their life. Out of those 21% have gotten back with the same ex a second or third time.
All this evidence makes it seem promising that he will come back sooner or later.
Be Cautious of Your Desire Of Him To Come Back
But does that mean you should just sit and wait around for him to come back?
First of all, there is no guarantee that he will come back. And even if he does, the chances of you ending up in a happy and long-lasting relationship is only about 50% (according to the statistics of our study).
These surveys and polls give interesting statistics but they don’t really take into account the type of relationships, the types of breakups, and the type of people that come back together. And let’s not forget that every relationship and situation is unique.
Moreover, if you are just asking questions like
“Will he come back?”
“Will he love me again?”
“When will he come back?”
Doesn’t it seem like you are completely helpless?
Like you are a stuffed animal who has nothing better to do than wait for your owner to come back and love you?
You are more than just a stuffed animal. You are an amazing woman who has the power to take action and control the outcome of her life.
Instead of just waiting around for your ex, do things to heal from the breakup, and become a stronger, wiser, more confident woman.
If he comes back on his own, use your wisdom to figure out if he is worth your love.
If he comes back and you realize he is not right for you, have the strength to walk away from him.
If he doesn’t come back on his own, have the courage to move on from him or to reach out to him.
In either case, take control of your love life. Don’t just sit around hoping love will fall on your lap.
Why Ex Boyfriends Come Back?
For my clients and readers, their ex boyfriends came back for the following reasons. Most of them implemented the no contact rule, gave him space, and had some time apart, which helped.
1. He may come back because he misses you.
Your ex boyfriend may just miss being in a relationship with you. He may miss all the good parts of the relationship and decide to give it another shot. This is common when the reason for the breakup isn’t very serious. For example, a lot of men who leave a relationship because they are young and want to explore tend to come back when they realize they miss their exes terribly.
2. He may come back because he is lonely.
Some men come back because they feel very lonely after a breakup. In fact, according to the BBC Loneliness Experiment, young people are more lonely than they have ever been.
If he comes back because he was lonely, you should be a little bit skeptical about taking him back. The relationship can still work but you need to make sure that you have both fixed the issues that lead to the breakup in the first place.
3. He may come back because his new relationships didn’t work out.
Sometimes, he will get in a new relationship and it won’t work out. And when that happens, there is a good chance he will try to bounce back to you.
Jenna, a participant in our study, who is 34 years old and was in a relationship with her ex for 3 years says this after her ex boyfriend came back,
“Girl he was in a rebound relationship with ended it with him, saying he wasn’t over me, He thought he was. He came back to me and we just started our relationship again.”
It’s worth noting that while Jenna and her ex boyfriend continue to stay together, she does not consider herself happy in the rekindled relationship. The reason for this could be the fact that she took him back without really considering whether or not he is good for her.
4. He may come back because he finds it hard to get over you.
Just like in the case of Jenna, a lot of men realize after a breakup that it’s hard to get over a girl when you really love her. In a 2015 study conducted at Binghamton University in New York, researchers found that while women are hurt more after a breakup, they tend to recover more quickly and fully. But men, don’t really process the breakup and recover fully. Instead, they just pretend the breakup isn’t affecting them.
As a result, they may find it hard to get over you and return after a few weeks or months. It’s especially true if they find it hard to find another girlfriend or they feel lonely.
5. He may come back because you both finally talk about the things that broke you up.
Healthy communication is the foundation for a healthy relationship. A lot of women report that their ex boyfriends came back once they spoke in detail about the issues that lead to the breakup.
Here are some responses from our survey from women whose exes came back.
“Finally openly talking about things that broke us apart helped us most in getting back together.” – Leona (28 years old), together for 1.5 years before breakup. Separated for More Than 1 Year Before Getting Back Together.
“We analyzed the relationship and improved things that caused the arguments. I stopped getting angry at little things and tried to understand his point of view. He started being more open about how he feels.” – Grace ( 33 years old), together for 1 year before breakup, separated for 1 month before getting back together.
“We just talked it out. It was a long conversation but we both realized we wanted to be with each other.” – Leah (45 years old), together for 3 years before the breakup, separated for 1.5 months before getting back together.
All these women reported that they were happy in the new rekindled relationship and they are better at handling relationship conflicts.
6. He may come back because he has become mature and has grown.
Self-Improvement and personal growth are strongly correlated to reconciliation. When people improve their flaws and work on their issues, they open the possibility of getting back in a relationship that broke up because of those flaws or issues.
For example, if your ex boyfriend was insecure in the relationship, and he has learned to manage his insecurity, he may want to come back to you and give it another shot.
Similarly, if he was not good at communication or understanding your perspective, self-growth and maturity can help him see things differently and he may want to come back and try again.
Fiona, aged 24 was in a relationship with her ex for 10 months before the breakup. Her ex boyfriend came back after 9 months (I know that’s more than the average of 1-6 months). And here’s what she says about her reconciliation.
“What helped most was the time for maturing for both of us. We both worked on our individual self-improvement. I also went to therapy to work on some internal issues that were creating a problem in my relationships. So did he. We stayed in touch on and off during these 9 months.”
Fiona reports her new relationship to be better than ever. And when asked whether she would consider herself to be a happy person who is satisfied in her new relationship, she reports a resounding “Yes, I would”.
7. He may come back because he got jealous.
One of the reasons a lot of exes come back is jealousy. Jealousy is a strong emotion and it may propel him to come back to you.
One of the respondents from the study, Heather (age 21 years), was in a relationship with her ex for two years before the breakup. Here’s what she said about her ex boyfriend coming back.
“He found out that I was getting close to someone else. He came back asking for another chance and I gave it to him.”
Again, it’s worth noting that she and her ex had been together for more than 1 year after he returned. And she reports that she doesn’t think she is happy in her rekindled relationship. She also reported that both she and her ex did not do any self-improvement or growth.
Here’s the lesson you can learn from Heather’s case:
Jealousy can bring him back, but it will not make your new relationship a strong one. If your ex boyfriend comes back because of jealousy, you should be very skeptical about getting back with him.
8. He may come back because he feels you are over him.
Again, a lot of men tend to come back when they feel you are getting over them. In a way, this reason may not look very different from an ex coming back due to jealousy. But there is a subtle difference here.
Jealousy means your ex is coming back because he is afraid of someone else having you. He is coming because he doesn’t want you to stop caring for him.
When an ex comes back because of jealousy, they do it because they want to control your life. Some exes think they own you even after a breakup.
But some men just don’t want you to stop caring about them even after a breakup. When they feel you might get over them and move on, they may come back because they don’t want to lose the love and care you give them.
Here’s what our Community Member radiantrisa has to say about men coming back after she chose to walk away,
“Every guy that I’ve had somewhat of a serious interest or relationship with has come back.
But nothing was done on my part…so it made me think, do ex’s have a sixth sense? Do they have some sort of feeling when you are over them? Because they always seem to come back at the point when you rarely ever think about them anymore.”
In most cases, when enough time has passed and they don’t hear from you, men often start to wonder whether or not you have moved on and they reach out to see if there’s hope of getting you back.
43 Year Old Kelly from Australia, who was in a relationship for 4 years with her ex boyfriend and waited for him for more than a year after the breakup, also chose to walk away from him and found that her ex came back after a week. She says,
“I gave up and told him I have no desire to be with him anymore. A week later he called.”
Unfortunately, she also reports that there were no changes in her and her ex. She is not sure if her newly rekindled relationship is worth staying in. She reports they are still working things out but doesn’t consider herself to be happy in the rekindled relationship.
Signs He Will Come Back
While the signs that he will come back can be comforting, it’s important to remember that every situation is different and they don’t guarantee he will come back. As I said earlier, it’s better to focus on things you can control rather than just hoping that your ex will come back.
Signs based on the type of breakup
1. It was an on/off relationship
If your relationship has a pattern of breaking up and getting back together, then he may come back again.
2. The breakup happened in the heat of the moment.
A lot of times, ex boyfriends leave after a bad fight or argument. If the breakup happened because of a heated argument, then he will most likely come back.
3. The relationship was intense and you both felt that you were gonna stay together for a long time.
If you and your ex both agreed that this relationship was truly special and you both had a strong feeling that you were going to be together for a very long time, then there is a chance he will come back eventually.
Signs based on your personality and your ex’s personality
4. Your ex has an anxious attachment style.
A Study conducted by the Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University in 2022, concludes that people with an anxious attachment style tend to want to get back with their exes. The 2015 study conducted at Binghamton University in New York also came to the same conclusions about attachment anxiety and the desire to get back together.
If your ex boyfriend has an anxious attachment style, he will most likely come back. But it doesn’t mean the new relationship would be healthy. Take your time to think things through before taking him back.
5. He doesn’t use his support system to process the breakup.
According to sex and gender researcher from the Department of Anthropology, Binghamton University, Craig Morris, a lot of men tend to just bear the breakup and not really process it. They spend time with friends but don’t really talk about what happened and how it affected them. As a result, they never really get over the breakup. If this is the case with your ex boyfriend, he will most likely come back eventually.
6. You both have a lot of respect for each other.
This is something I have noticed with my clients and readers a lot. If they have enormous respect for each other, they have a tendency to reconcile. Respect is a feeling that can survive the test of time and some argue it’s much more important than love in a relationship.
7. He used to panic at the thought of you being with someone else.
This again ties to your ex having an anxious attachment style. If he was afraid of losing you to someone else, he may come back when he thinks you are dating someone else or if he thinks you are going to get over him.
Again, don’t get back based on anxiety. Think things through before taking him back.
8. Your previous exes have come back to you.
If your previous exes have come back, then there is a chance this ex will also come back. The reason is simple, we tend to date people similar to our exes and follow the same relationship patterns. And more often than not, those patterns include exes coming back.
Signs based on how he has been behaving after the breakup
9. He has been contacting you more frequently.
As time goes by, most exes tend to stop contact with each other or reduce contact. If your ex boyfriend has been contacting you regularly and has recently started contacting you more frequently, then there is a good chance he will come back.
10. He likes and comments frequently on social media
As part of healing from a breakup and moving on, most people tend to avoid social media. But if he is actively following you on social media and interacting with your stories, then there are chances he will come back.
11. His friends and family keep in touch with you.
Unless his friends and family have a solid reason to stay in touch with you, this could be interpreted as a sign that your ex is planning to come back eventually and is keeping tabs on you.
12. He has attempted to make you jealous.
If your ex boyfriend has tried to make you jealous, he may be hoping that you would come back to him. It’s a sign that he may come back eventually. But more importantly, it’s a sign of immaturity and manipulation and you should be skeptical of taking him back.
13. He has been keeping tabs on you through your friends or family.
If your ex has been keeping in touch with your friends and family and has been asking about you regularly, then there is a chance they are thinking of returning eventually.
These signs are similar for all exes who come back (ex boyfriends or ex girlfriends). Read more about the signs that your ex will eventually come back.
Why Did He Leave In The First Place?
Ex boyfriends leave for a variety of reasons. In this section, we will explore why exes leave and how it relates to their chances of coming back.
According to a recent survey conducted in Britain, couples said these were the major issues that lead to a breakup.
- Couples Grew apart or they lose feelings for each other
- There were a lot of Arguments
- Infidelity or Unfaithfulness
- Lack of respect for each other
- Different interests in hobbies/ Not spending enough time together
- One of them Moved to a new location
- Money problems
- Not sharing housework
- Sex Issues
- Domestic violence or Abuse*
- Not having children
- Drinking/drugs/gambling or other addiction
Out of all the above issues, your ex boyfriend is most likely to come back if you both broke up due to arguments, money problems, difficulties with sex, drinking/drugs/gambling and different interests.
On the other hand, if you think your ex boyfriend has lost feelings for you, then chances of him coming back are less. However, a lot of people who think they have lost feelings often are just tired of arguments, fighting, or insecurity.
And when you give them space and spend some time apart, those feelings that he thinks he lost tend to come back.
It’s important to understand that whatever the reason for the breakup was, you shouldn’t get back with your ex unless you see potential for a healthy relationship. The choice of taking him back may seem tempting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will both have a happy and healthy relationship.
And like I said before, you are an amazing woman who deserves to be in a happy and healthy relationship.
It’s also important to note that the above reasons are rather simplistic and they don’t really go into details of why couples breakup. Dr. John Gottman has a much more in-depth resource about what makes a partner leave.
According to Dr. John Gottman’s theory, couples end up in separation or divorce when they feel the “Story of Us” is more negative than positive.
Ask yourself, when you think about the story of your relationship, do you think about the story of love, happiness, good memories, overcoming struggles, and growth?
At some point during the relationship, your ex boyfriend started thinking about the relationship in a negative light. The arguments, the neediness, the contempt or the resentment may have become the main theme of the story whenever he thought about the relationship with you.
And after he left you, his perspective about everything might change. As he stays away from you, the main theme of the story may again change to the positive aspects that he may have felt at the start of the relationship. He may start thinking of the times he chased you, the happiness he felt with you, the elation he felt when you both first kissed, etc.
And when he starts seeing everything in a positive light, he may choose to come back.
But unless you both learn and grow from your mistakes, your new relationship is doomed to repeat the same patterns. In our study, we’ve found that getting back together doesn’t work because couples tend to repeat the same relationship patterns.
Do Ex Boyfriends Always Come Back?
There are a lot of stories on the internet about people claiming that exes always come back. While it may be true for some people, it would just be silly to assume it’s true for everyone.
One study found that most people tend to date people with similar attachment styles and personalities. So if one of your exes has come back, there is a chance your future exes will also come back.
So the next time someone claims that all their exes have returned, ask them if all their exes had some other similarities (such as jealousy or insecurity). Chances are, they followed the same relationship patterns and post breakup patterns that made their exes return.
So it’s true that all the ex boyfriends can come back for a few women, it’s also true that ex boyfriends don’t come back for some women.
I know that statement may sound confusing so here’s an attempt to explain it with examples of two women.
Woman 1 – Her 1st ex-boyfriend (with control issues) comes back. Her 2nd ex boyfriend (who was always extremely jealous of other guys) also comes back when he finds out she went on a date. Her 3rd ex boyfriend (who was extremely insecure about losing her) comes back after six months. She firmly believes that all exes comes back. Note that all her ex boyfriends were jealous, insecure, or controlling. She has no experience in dating men with a secure attachment style who don’t try to control and manipulate their girlfriends.
Woman 2 – Dates a secure man who breaks up with her due to too many arguments. She asks Woman 1 for advice and she says not to worry because ex boyfriends always come back. She waits for her ex boyfriend to come back but he doesn’t even after years have passed.
Lesson – Don’t wait for your ex boyfriend to come back based on advice from other people. Do the no contact rule, focus on self-improvement and move on if you have to. And if all your ex boyfriends come back, ask yourself what’s common in your relationship patterns and what you need to do for a healthy long term relationship.
For a lot of women, their ex boyfriends come back a second, third, or even a fourth time. But if you have broken up more than once, then you should seriously reconsider getting back together because on/off relationships are extremely stressful and not healthy. A 2022 study concluded that on-again, off-again relationships can have a significant negative impact on the mental health of both partners.
Is it true that if he loves you, he will come back no matter what?
No. it’s not true. In fact, a lot of men move on from their ex girlfriends even if they were madly in love with them. They move on because they realize that the love they have for their ex girlfriend is not worth the stress and drama that comes from an unhealthy relationship.
In my career as a breakup coach, I have realized that love isn’t as important a factor when it comes to relationship reconciliation. Most people tend to get over their ex as time goes by. Love is a strong feeling but it often fades away after a breakup.
But some feelings are more reliable and resistant after a breakup. These feelings include mutual respect, attraction, and admiration. If your ex was very attracted to you, admired you, and respected you; then there is a good chance he will come back.
Why Some Women Have a Strong Feeling Their Ex Boyfriend Will Come Back?
If you have a strong feeling that he will come back, it’s most likely coming from a variety of reasons such as
- Your previous exes coming back.
- Your current ex coming back after a previous breakup.
- You are seeing signs of him coming back.
While it’s true gut instincts are powerful and you should not ignore them. A lot of people tend to confuse their desperation and neediness with instincts. If you don’t relate to any of the above points, then you are most likely experiencing a psychological phenomenon called Denial After a Breakup.
Don’t beat yourself over it though, it’s very common after a breakup. Consider taking this quiz and subscribing to our emails to find out your chances of getting him back and a plan to help you get through this breakup.
Why Do I Want Him Back So Badly?
A lot of women want their ex boyfriends back badly because the breakup is extremely painful for them. Some women tend to confuse this pain with love.
To understand the reason why you want him back, ask yourself questions like,
Are you extremely terrified of losing him?
Are you lonely without him?
Do you feel extremely anxious without him in your life?
For them, an ex partner almost feels like a drug and they feel they need to get him back to prevent the withdrawal symptoms.
In fact, there has been research to prove this. Researcher, Helen Fisher and her colleagues used MRI scans to find out that romantic rejection or a breakup has similar effects on the brain as that of a drug addict suffering from a withdrawal.
If you relate to this, then it’s of paramount importance that you stop all contact with your ex so you can think clearly before you make any decision of getting back with him. I recommend that you follow the no contact rule which essentially means not contacting your ex for 30-60 days. There are many benefits to doing so which I explain in my article on the no contact rule.
Signs He Will Not Come Back?
Some signs are a clear indicator that he will not come back. These signs include.
1. He has a history of cutting off his exes.
Some men have a rule to not be in touch with their exes at all. If he had such a rule, he would have probably shared it with you at some point in the relationship.
2. He is in a new relationship for a long time.
While it’s true that rebound relationships don’t last a long time. If his new relationship lasts for more than six months, then you should consider it a sign he will never come back.
3. He has told you to move on in a calm way after enough time has passed.
Exes say and do a lot of things after a breakup when emotions are high. However, if enough time has passed (more than two months) and he tells you calmly that he has moved on and you should too, it’s a clear sign that he will never come back.
4. He has had commitment issues for a while and he is not really keen on changing that
While some men with commitment issues want to work on themselves and change that (by going to therapy and working on self-improvement). Some men have had commitment issues for a long time and they don’t take any action to rectify that. If he is one of them, don’t expect him to return anytime soon.’
5. You Both Broke Up Because Of Differences in Core Values or Compatibility Issues
Some people breakup because they are just not compatible with each other. For example, one of you may want children and the other one didn’t. One of you may be very religious and the other one isn’t. If that’s the reason you both broke up, then the chances of him coming back are very slim.
What Helps in Getting an Ex Boyfriend Back?
This website actually has a lot of resources on this topic. The most important thing that helps women is doing no contact and giving him space.
Step 1 – Stop pushing him away by acting needy, desperate or insecure.
Step 2 – Start no contact. Give him some space and time to process and heal from the breakup.
Step 3 – Focus on Self-Improvement, Healing, and Spending Time With Your Loved Ones
Step 4 – Reach Out To Him When You Are Ready (In Case He Has Not Come Back Yet)
Step 5 – Consider if he has changed and if he is ready for commitment. Rebuild Attraction, Connection, and Trust.
These five steps are laid out more clearly in this ultimate guide to getting back with an ex.
Of the above, the things that I want you to focus most on is Step 2 and Step 3. That is implementing no contact and focusing on self-improvement and healing. We’ve found that self-improvement and no contact are critical in getting back with an ex in a healthy relationship.
What Stops Ex Boyfriends From Coming Back?
A lot of women tend to do things that push their ex boyfriends away and actually stop them from coming back. Here’s a list of things you should avoid if you want him to come back.
- Calling and Texting Him Constantly
- Begging and Trying To Use Pity To Get Him Back
- Letting Him Walk All Over You By Agreeing To Everything He Asks
- Showering Him With Affection or Confessing Your Love For Him All The Time
- Freaking Out If He Dates Someone Else
- Getting Angry At Him
- Obsessing Constantly Over Him and Not Focusing On Yourself
These mistakes are explained in more detail in the first step of this guide on getting back with your ex.
In addition to the above mistakes, the thing that stops a lot of ex boyfriends from coming back is using manipulation of any kind. This manipulation includes things like,
- Trying to make him jealous by posting pictures with other guys.
- Blocking him to get a reaction out of him and then unblocking him again. (If you want to block him, do it for yourself. Not as a tactic to manipulate him).
- Acting Indifferent when he reaches out even though you are still in love with him.
It’s important to practice honesty, set clear boundaries, and focus on creating a healthy foundation for your next relationship, even if it’s with your ex boyfriend. And manipulation is not the foundation of a healthy relationship.
Sometimes, an ex boyfriend wants you back but doesn’t come back because they are scared. This usually happens because they are scared of repeating the same relationship patterns. In most cases, they don’t come back because they don’t believe that anything has changed and that the arguments will continue the same way.
If the fear of repeating the same patterns is stopping him from coming back, you should talk to him honestly about the issues that lead to the breakup and how you can resolve them. Like we saw in the case studies above, talking it out can lead to an amazing and fulfilling relationship.
What To Do If He Comes Back?
As we saw in the examples of our participants above, getting him back does not always equate to a healthy and long lasting relationship. Some women find themselves trapped in an unhappy relationship even after their exes come back. For some women, they break up again after their ex boyfriends came because the issues remained unresolved.
You can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress and possibly another heartbreak if you follow these tips for creating a healthy relationship with your ex if he comes back –
1. Understand your reasons for wanting him back and figure out if it’s a good idea to get back together while you are broken up and doing no contact. Read – Should I Get Back With My Ex? 3 Case Studies and 7 Questions To Help You Decide.
2. Make sure that you both agree on what caused the breakup. If you can’t agree on the reason for the breakup, then you can’t agree on fixing those reasons.
3. Figure out a plan to fix the issues. Things don’t automatically change. You need a plan of action. For example, if you were arguing a lot, you both need a plan to help improve your communication. You can do things like, going to couples therapy, hiring a relationship coach, taking a course on couples communication, reading books on communication, etc.
4. If he says things like, “I have changed”, be skeptical. It takes time and perseverance to make lasting changes. He may just be afraid of losing you and is saying that just so you take him back.
5. Don’t be scared of going to couples therapy. According to, arguably the most trusted expert on the topic of couples conflict, Dr. John Gottman, couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy before getting help. That’s six years of resentment, contempt, arguments, and just overall nastiness before couples get help. In some cases, that six years includes a lot of breaking and getting back together.
Don’t be like those couples. If you love him and can’t figure out a solution for the issues in the relationship, ask him to go to couples therapy with you. If he refuses, then he is not committed to making it work and you should leave him.
Important Note: The Will My Ex Come Back Quiz will give you a pretty good idea of your chances of getting your ex back. It will also subscribe you to the free EBP Basics Email Course that has helped hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. See the reviews here.