Why Won't Your Ex Talk to You?

Why won't your ex talk to you? We're going to explore four of the most common reasons. Alternatively, is it you who's not talking to them?
Why Won't Your Ex Talk to You?
Laura Ruiz Mitjana

Written and verified by the psychologist Laura Ruiz Mitjana.

Last update: 07 June, 2023

When you’re going through a breakup (especially if it’s recent), you might find yourself asking the question of why your ex won’t talk to you. Before exploring the possible explanations, we must make it clear that your ex shouldn’t have to speak to you. Moreover, you shouldn’t feel bad or sad about it (regardless of whose decision it was to end the relationship).

The fact that your ex won’t talk to you doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not grieving over the loss of your relationship or that they’re insensitive, or have stopped loving you. But, you shouldn’t be expecting them to contact you. Your relationship has ended, especially if you’ve already said your farewells and it was you who brought the relationship to an end. In fact, talking to each other can create even more anxiety along with feelings of loneliness, anger, sadness, and frustration. Furthermore, it blocks you and prevents you from facing the grieving process.

In light of this, rather than asking yourself why your ex isn’t talking to you, you should ask yourself why someone who’s no longer a part of your life should be expected to speak to you. And, if you ended the relationship yourself, there’s even more reason not to expect them to contact you as they’ll be doing their grieving in their own way.

girl looking at mobile

Why your ex doesn’t talk to you

If, even after all of the above, you still want to understand why your ex isn’t talking to you, here are some more possible reasons:

They’re grieving

Whether they left you or you left them, one reason why your ex won’t talk to you could be that they’re grieving. In other words, they’re trying to come to terms with the breakup and integrate it into their life.

Therefore, they may have decided to apply the zero-contact rule to minimize their suffering. This means they cut off most or all means of contact with you. Obviously, in some cases, such as when there are children involved, it isn’t possible to sever all forms of communication.

With zero contact, they’ll stop contacting you. It allows you both to start accepting the new situation. If this is your case, it’s best to respect your ex’s decision and not make a fool of yourself. That’s unless you intend to return to the relationship (if you did the leaving).

They’re over the breakup

Perhaps your ex is in a post-grieving stage (more specifically in the last one: acceptance) and has already recovered from the breakup.

According to a study conducted by University College London (UK) and Binghamton University (USA), published in the journal, Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, it takes between six months and two years to get over a breakup.

However, obviously, we’re all different. So, regardless of how long it’s been since you split up, your ex may already have recovered from the breakup and is moving on. Therefore, this could be another reason why they no longer talk to you.

Although it’s hard to accept the fact that your ex doesn’t talk to you anymore, sometimes it’s best to let go.

They’ve met someone new

Another possible explanation for them not talking to you is that they’ve met someone new. If this is the case, it’s perfectly normal for them to lose (and not seek) contact with you, since they’re beginning a new stage in their life.

It’s completely normal for someone new to come into their life. In fact, the best thing you can do is try and move on too.

“Growing up means learning to say goodbye.”

-Anonymous-

They’re either angry or resigned

Another reason for a lack of contact with your ex could be that they’re angry. This could be for many reasons. It could be because you left them, because of how the relationship turned out, because of the time you chose to leave, etc.

On the other hand, they may have resigned themselves to the situation. Unlike anger, resignation doesn’t necessarily lead to a negative situation As a matter of fact, some experts believe that resignation in the face of certain uncontrollable situations helps us to accept new realities that we can’t change.

“When we talk about resignation, we are talking about a passive position with respect to what happened. It is similar to saying to ourselves: “Well, this is what has touched me and I can’t change it.”

-Antonio Guerrero, psychologist-

worried boy

What to do if your ex won’t talk to you

There really are no rights and wrongs in these circumstances. It all depends on each individual and the specific situation. However, here are some questions you can ask yourself that’ll help you reflect and maybe find an answer:

  • What phase of the breakup are you in? If you’ve only just broken up, it’s best to keep your distance and respect the decision of your ex not to contact you. When a certain amount of time has passed and they’ve given themselves the opportunity to process and overcome the pain, the situation may change. Their emotions will no longer be on the surface and they might find it easier to speak to you.
  • Have you tried contacting them? You shouldn’t complain that they’re ignoring you if you haven’t tried to communicate with them either. But, if you’ve tried to contact them and they’ve ignored you, then it’s best to respect their decision and give them their space.

After analyzing the situation, you’ll probably realize that it’s understandable that your ex doesn’t want to talk to you and that you should keep your distance. We know it isn’t easy, but, with the passage of time, you’ll be able to move on and forget about them.

How about if they contact you?

On the other hand, if your ex, after the breakup, decides to get in touch with you again and starts asking questions (to check if you’re still ‘there’ or available and still waiting for them) or tries to maintain a friendship with you or starts to pester you, etc, you must be careful. Make sure you don’t feed them with false hopes. Remember, if they really wanted to be with you, they’d communicate it in a firm and direct manner with no half-measures.

Take the time to think about what’s best for you. If your ex contacts you, before responding, think about what you want, reflect on your feelings, and make a decision based on what you discover within yourself. Don’t rush to strike up a conversation with them.

“Whatever the reasons are that you don’t know anything about your ex, the only tangible thing is that this person is allowing -with their silence- that you can get over it.”

-Cristina Lago, emotional coach, and writer-

Conclusion

There can be any number of reasons for your ex not wanting to talk to you, from the fact that they’re grieving to them simply not being interested. The best thing you can do is accept and respect their choice, give them the space they need, and focus on yourself.

Finally, remember that the pain of a breakup can also be an opportunity to grow and learn. However, if you need help in processing your emotions, consider talking to a mental health professional.

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The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.