If you want your ex back, it can hurt when they pull away.
But are they over you or are they just playing mind games?
How do you know when your ex is playing hard to get?
I’ll explain to you what it means when your ex plays hard to get, how to tell the difference between someone who is playing hard to get and someone who just isn’t interested… and what you should do next to get them to come back to you.
Now, to get started, we need to differentiate an uninterested ex from one who is playing hard to get…because if your ex is playing hard to get that almost always means they’re VERY interested.
People primarily play hard to get to attract the other person so that means they want you. I’ll talk more about why an ex plays hard to get but first, let’s identify the signs…
1. Your ex is giving you the hot and cold treatment
Playing hard to get isn’t the same as lack of interest. The keyword is HARD to get. Not impossible to get. If they’re playing hard to get that means they’ll be showing some interest and then pulling away.
So some days they’re going to be friendly and willing to talk to you. They may even be affectionate and remind you of good times in the past. Then suddenly the mood will shift and they’ll pull away, leaving you wondering what happened.
RELATED: Is Your Ex Just Using You?
Don’t worry, this is an attempt to draw you in so that you continue pursuing them so try to take it in stride.
2. Your ex is being vague
Playing hard to get is all about keeping the mystery alive. If you ask your ex questions and their answers aren’t very clear, then you’ll know this is the case. If you ask them to meet up and they say “maybe,” this is another good sign. Basically they won’t give you what you want but they’ll keep having conversations with you.
This is very common early on in dating and it’s very common in this situation as well.
3. Your ex is flirting with you
I always say good flirting makes you ask “are they into me or are they just joking around?” and this is exactly what playing hard to get is all about. They want to keep you in the dark about their true intentions so that they keep the upper hand and you keep trying to win them back. So if they’re overly friendly, touchy and just generally flirty, this is a great sign that this is what they’re up to.
4. Your breakup was mutual
If your relationship ended because of a mutual agreement, then your ex is more likely to be playing hard to get. In my opinion, relationships that ended mutually are most likely to reconcile because no one has to get over being dumped.
And in this case, you and your ex are probably nervous to talk to one another because you don’t know where you stand. They’re afraid to risk rejection so they’re playing hard to get to protect themselves.
5. They’re trying to make you jealous
If your ex is trying to make you jealous when you speak to them, this is a sign that they’re playing hard to get. Essentially they want to make themselves appear valuable by suggesting that they have other options.
They might mention friends that you felt threatened by when you were together. They might hint that they’re going on other dates. They may even flat out tell you that they’re seeing someone new and then compare the two of you. These are all blatant attempts to make you jealous.
6. You’re still on good terms
As I’ve said, sometimes what you think is playing hard to get is just genuine disinterest. But if there’s still good feelings between the two of you and they keep giving you the hot and cold treatment, it’s likely that they’re playing hard to get.
On the other hand, if they really don’t like you anymore because of what happened, or if they’re still extremely angry at you, then chances are this is truly just a lack of interest that you’re misinterpreting as mind games from your ex.
7. You took a break before reaching out
If you and your ex just broke up, it’s likely that they just don’t want to talk to you right now. This is a common scenario post breakup. One person wants to stay in touch because they’re sad and lonely. The other person doesn’t want to hurt their ex’s feelings so they become distant and hope the other person gets the message.
But if you have already taken a break following the breakup then this scenario is less likely. Since you’ve both had time to process the breakup, they’re likely to be more open to communicating with you, or outright refuse to talk to you. Since you’re in a middle ground, it means they’re either unsure or are actively playing hard to get.
Why Your Ex Is Playing Hard To Get
So why will an ex play hard to get? As I said, they do it because they’re still interested in you. If they’re not interested, then they’re not playing hard to get.
In that case, they’re either uninterested in you, they’re just using you for attention, or they’re actively playing mind games with you. These are less than ideal scenarios and they can be hard to sort out from an ex who is playing hard to get.
But if your ex is playing hard to get, it suggests that they know you want them. So why would an ex play hard to get rather than just being honest about their feelings?
It’s because they’re looking for YOU to make the first move. Essentially they want control of the situation. Don’t worry too much here. They’re probably just acting this way because they’re scared.
Another factor could be that they’re not sure how you feel about them. They’re trying to test the waters without committing too hard because they’re afraid that you might shut them down.
It’s also possible that the relationship you two had was never all that solid. This means that they’re afraid to be honest with you because they’re afraid of being judged or rejected because they don’t know how to read you very well.
How To Respond When Your Ex Plays Hard To Get
How should you respond, knowing this information? Well first off, don’t overreact. Now you know that they’re interested, you can stop stressing about this behaviour.
That’s the main takeaway here: do not get upset because your ex treats you this way. If you get angry, get emotional or confront them about this, you will most likely scare them off. And as I’ve said, they’re already a bit unsure about this whole situation.
But remember that this probably means that they want you. Plain and simple. As long as you stay the course, keep your self respect and move things forward, you’re going to get the result you want.
There’s really just two key things to keep in mind when you’re dealing with an ex who seems to be playing hard to get…
#1: Keep things light and funny
You need to show your ex that you’re not bothered by them playing hard to get. You’re not angry at them for blowing you off, nor are you really upset at all.
Be sure to joke around and have fun. Remember that you’re trying to get away from the negative energy of the breakup and you won’t be able to do that if you keep taking things so seriously.
So use humour to your advantage–both to show your ex that you don’t care and to make them comfortable.
#2: Let them come to you
When you’re pursuing an ex, it’s easy to get caught in the mindset of always chasing after them and feeling dissatisfied whenever something gets in your way. It’s important to be persistent but you also need to give them space to reach out to you.
I think people who feel their ex is playing hard to get often are often being too aggressive and if they were to hold back a bit more, they’d find their exes chasing after them.
So take a few days off and see what happens. Basically, don’t play along with their “hard to get” game for a while and gauge your ex’s reaction… you may discover that they’re actually willing to take the initiative once you stop letting them string you along.
Don’t be a victim or always be willing to give your ex what they’re after when they use this kind of mind game on you.