Do exes come back? What do the stats say? - PsychMechanics (2023)

Relationships are an enormous time and energy investment. It’s easy to have a crush on someone, but if you want a relationship with them, numerous factors come into play. It becomes an important decision and you have to weigh many factors.

When a relationship ends, it’s a huge loss, especially if the relationship was good. Instead of putting in time and effort to find a new partner, it’s understandable why people sometimes prefer to get back together with their ex.

Do exes come back weeks, months, or even years after the end of their relationships?

The short answer is: Most of them (around 70%) don’t but it depends.

It depends on a lot of things. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a decent idea about the chances of your ex coming back.

But first, let’s look at some facts statistics. If you’re like me and like numbers, you want to know how often do exes come back. While every relationship is unique, looking at these stats does give a rough idea of your chances.

Summary of stats on exes getting back together

I’ve combined data from multiple large-scale surveys done on this topic that interviewed thousands of participants. I removed all the fluff and unnecessary details, so you can get straight to the good stuff.

Here are some interesting and noteworthy stats on getting back together with an ex:

People who think about their ex too much71%
Willing to get back together with their ex after being dumped60%
People who did not actually get back together70%
Got back together but broke up again14%
Got back and stayed together15%
Men who regret breaking up45%
Women who regret breaking up30%

According to a survey conducted by, following are things people are willing to overlook when they’re considering getting back together with an ex:

Excessive drug or alcohol use69%
Caught them lying63%
Financial instability60%
Caught them cheating57%

Here are the things people can’t overlook when they consider getting back with an ex:

I no longer find them attractive70%
They were physically violent toward me67%
They no longer found me attractive57%
We have different long-term goals54%

Factors contributing to success in getting back together:

  • Being aged 50 or above
  • Length and quality of the prior relationship
  • Getting back together within six months of the breakup
  • Self-improvement
  • Commitment level
  • Attraction level

Making sense of the data

A lot of people think about getting back together with an ex. We’ll dig into the reasons for this later, but the primary reason is that finding a new relationship is complicated. When people think of entering a relationship, they think about their ex because it’s an easier and more accessible option.

Young people with their raging hormones enter and exit relationships all the time. Their mate value is high, and they know they can attract many potential partners. They have the energy and time to invest in new relationships.

Older people, however, are pressed for both energy and time. Therefore, if they choose to get back together with an ex, they’re more likely to hold on to the relationship. This explains why people over 50 are much more likely to get back together with an ex successfully.

The prior relationship’s length and quality are strong predictors of exes coming back. Again, it’s easier to lean on something that has worked in the past than to put effort into finding a new relationship.

The fact that people aren’t willing to overlook the loss of attraction when thinking of getting back together with their ex shows how important attraction is in a relationship. If people are attracted to their ex, they may be willing to overlook lying, cheating, and even drug addiction.

This shows how the mind places a premium on reproducing with an attractive potential partner and is ready to make major sacrifices in its attempts to pursue that goal.

Since women are choosier than men when it comes to picking relationship partners, they usually break up for good reasons. Since their overall mate value is higher than men’s, they can easily find a new partner. Thus, they’re less likely to regret breaking up than men.

Why do exes come back?

Other than finding a new partner being a considerable time and energy investment, the reasons that motivate exes to come back include:

1. Residual feelings

When your ex still has some residual feelings for you and hasn’t completely moved on, they’re likely to return.1

2. Familiarity and comfort

Humans are naturally averse to unfamiliarity and discomfort. It’s easier being with someone one has known and reached a level of comfort with than to start a fresh relationship with a stranger.

3. Emotional and other support

When a relationship ends, it becomes harder for a person to deal with life’s challenges. Your ex may come back to you for emotional support if they hit a low point in their life.

Your ex may also come back for meeting their other needs like physical intimacy, a place to stay, or companionship. If this is the case, they might dump you again when their needs are met.

4. Failed relationships

After breaking up with you and entering a string of new relationships, your ex may realize that you’re the best option for them. They’ll regret breaking up with you and come back.

Humans can’t resist comparing their new relationships to their prior relationships. It helps us to learn from our mistakes and make better decisions.

5. Self-improvement

Self-improvement is the most critical factor that helps exes get back and stay together. It’s because when a breakup happens, it often has to do with one or both partners lacking in self-development.

As soon as this issue is fixed, the reason for breaking up disappears. There’s nothing that stops the exes from giving it another go.

Also, if your mate value increases significantly during the time after the breakup, your ex will likely want to get back together with you.

For instance, you get a promotion at work if you’re a man or lost weight and are in great shape if you’re a woman.

Of course, overall mate value depends on many other things. This is only a simple example.

6. They broke up for a silly reason

Your ex may come back if they realize they broke up with you for a silly and petty reason like being angry or having an argument. If the overall relationship was good, then one little argument shouldn’t overturn the entire relationship.

7. Wanting what they can’t have

Humans tend to take the things they have for granted and think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s possible that now you’ve broken up, they want you back for this reason.

8. They’re jealous

If you entered a new relationship and are happy, chances are your ex won’t take it well if they still have feelings for you. They may try to sabotage your current relationship by asking to get back together.

If you find yourself ambivalent and confused, it’s likely that you, too, have lingering feelings for them. If you were sure about your new partner, you wouldn’t pay any attention to your ex trying to get back together with you.

Increase the chances of ex coming back

If you improve yourself and move on, you put yourself in the best possible position to get your ex back. What you don’t want to do is beg your ex to get back together with you. Such ‘low mate value’ behavior almost guarantees your ex won’t come back.

If you want your ex to come back, you have to give them a good reason for doing so. They have to think of you as a worthwhile option. If you broke up because of a flaw of yours, it’d help if you showed them that you’ve changed.

Communication is everything

If your ex keeps you in their life, it’s the biggest sign they may come back. Not always, though. Sometimes, exes can pop into your life after months or years of no contact.

There are several reasons why people keep their exes in their lives ranging from ‘it’s the civil thing to do’ and ‘wanting to stay friends’ to ‘keeping their options’ open.2

If your ex kept you in their life because they wanted to keep their options open, they’re likely to come back to you if their new relationships don’t work out.

They’ll keep the lines of communication open with you. If they flirt with you during this phase, it’s a dead giveaway that they still see you as a potential partner.

If they genuinely only want to be friends, they won’t flirt.

If your ex has closed all lines of communication with you, it’s a strong signal they’re done with you. If they delete your number and block you on social media, it’s unlikely they’ll come back. They don’t want anything to do with you.

Cons of exes coming back

As they say, relationships are like paper. Once you squash a paper into a ball, it can never go back to its plain, original form no matter how hard you iron it.

Studies show that couples that break up and get back together have higher rates of conflict, including serious disputes involving verbal and physical abuse.3

Also, breaking up and getting back together leads to increased psychological distress when couples get stuck in a pattern of breaking up and getting back together.4

The more you break up and get back together, the less devoted you are to your partner and the more uncertainty you feel about the relationship’s future.5

This doesn’t mean all on/off relationships are doomed. If an ex comes back to be with you, you have to make sure they’re coming back for the right reasons.


  1. Dailey, R. M., Jin, B., Pfiester, A., & Beck, G. (2011). On-again/off-again dating relationships: What keeps partners coming back?.The Journal of social psychology,151(4), 417-440.
  2. Griffith, R. L., Gillath, O., Zhao, X., & Martinez, R. (2017). Staying friends with ex‐romantic partners: Predictors, reasons, and outcomes.Personal Relationships,24(3), 550-584.
  3. Halpern‐Meekin, S., Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Longmore, M. A. (2013). Relationship churning, physical violence, and verbal abuse in young adult relationships.Journal of Marriage and Family,75(1), 2-12.
  4. Monk, J. K., Ogolsky, B. G., & Oswald, R. F. (2018). Coming out and getting back in: Relationship cycling and distress in same‐and different‐sex relationships.Family Relations,67(4), 523-538.
  5. Dailey, R. M., Rossetto, K. R., Pfiester, A., & Surra, C. A. (2009). A qualitative analysis of on-again/off-again romantic relationships:“It’s up and down, all around”.Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,26(4), 443-466.

Hanan Parvez( Author )

Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur.


How likely is your ex want you back? ›

Yes, exes do come back. They do it all time. We conducted a study and found that around 30% of people get their exes back after a breakup. But out of those 30%, only 15% stay together in a healthy relationship.

Do exes come back after losing feelings? ›

Dozens of examples show it's definitely possible to get an ex back who lost feelings for you. But it's also unpredictable. If you have a very specific idea of exactly how things will go, you're setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment and frustration, and making it very hard for yourself to succeed.

What is the percentage of an ex coming back? ›

According to much research, about 40 to 50 percent of couples get back together after a breakup. While this is positive, many factors determine the chances of getting back together after a breakup. To begin with, most people get back together with their ex because they still harbor some feelings for them.

What are the signs that my ex is coming back? ›

Signs Your Ex Will Eventually Come Back
  • 1 They leave your number unblocked.
  • 2 They're sad weeks after the breakup.
  • 3 They're active on your social media.
  • 4 They haven't returned your things.
  • 5 They keep in touch with your friends and family.
  • 6 They initiate contact regularly.
  • 7 They reminisce about the past.

Does my ex still think about me? ›

If your ex is trying to contact you, or maybe even trying to speak to you at weird hours, then it might be a sign they still think about you. Another big sign is social media. If they somehow didn't get rid of you via an unfriending or straight block, it might mean they miss you.

Do dumpers miss their ex? ›

In most cases, if you give your ex enough space, they will at some point miss you. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to get on their hands and knees and beg for you back. For some the “missing emotion” can be fleeting.

Do exes come back psychology? ›

Key points. Research finds that 40-50 percent of people have reunited with an ex to start a new relationship. On-again relationships tend to suffer lower relationship quality and worse functioning than never-broken relationships. People often resume relationships with ex-partners because of lingering feelings.

How long does it take for an ex to regret losing you? ›

The answer is different for everyone, but many men will experience a pang of regret within about a month to six weeks after breaking up with you. Dumper's remorse, as I call it, is very real. It happens to pretty much everyone who ever dumps a person.

Can exes get back together and be happy? ›

The survey showed that 77% of the participants who got back together with their ex were happy, while 23% weren't. It takes a lot of work to fix a relationship that ended, and most of that has to be pretty self-reflective. Even if you do work on yourself, there's no guarantee your ex will do the same.

How often do exes reunite? ›

A study of 3,512 people found that only 15% got back together with their ex. Another 14% briefly reunited only to break up, and a whopping 70% called it quits for good after their break-up.

What causes an ex to come back? ›

It could boil down to a few different things. Maybe they genuinely miss you and want to get back together with you. Maybe their heart is broken from another relationship and they're using you as a rebound. Maybe they're manipulative and want to keep you interested even though they're never going to treat you right.

How long do ex usually come back? ›

How Long Does it Take After a Breakup to Get Back Together Your Ex? In most cases, couples get back together within 1-6 months of the breakup. This statistics only includes couples who stayed together in a long term relationship after getting back together.

What are the signs that your ex will never come back? ›

18 Signs Your Ex Is Never Coming Back
  • There's no communication. Save. ...
  • Your conversations have gone dull. ...
  • You have been friend-zoned. ...
  • Your ex is enjoying life after separation. ...
  • They have blocked you on all the social media platform. ...
  • They speak ill about you. ...
  • They return all your stuff. ...
  • They avoid your family and friends.
Dec 15, 2022

What are the signs that your ex is not over you? ›

Signs to look out for:
  • They're giving mixed signals.
  • They blame you for the breakup.
  • They're angry with you.
  • They're keeping in touch with you.
  • They flirt with you.
  • They're bringing up memories.
  • You still have some of their things.
  • They're sabotaging you.
Jun 27, 2021

Does my ex miss me even though we don't talk? ›

Yes, an ex misses you during No Contact. They miss you because they no longer have what they used to have. Your ex misses you even though you don't talk because they have time to adjust to your absence. This will help them reflect and miss you more.

How to make your ex miss you? ›

How To Make Your Ex Miss You After A Breakup
  1. Do Not Try To Contact Them. ...
  2. Do Not Receive Their Calls And Respond To Their Texts. ...
  3. Reinvent Yourself. ...
  4. Meet New People And Make New Friends. ...
  5. Talk To Their Friends. ...
  6. Check Out The Outside Dating World. ...
  7. Take A Vacation. ...
  8. Be Active On Social Media.
Dec 13, 2022

Do all exes think about you? ›

If you two have been out of the relationship you had for a long period of time, the odds that they think about you often, other than a passing moment here or there, is slim. But if it's been days, weeks, or less than 6 months from the breakup, the odds are that your ex thinks about you quite a bit.

How do I stop obsessing over my ex? ›

What To Do When You Start Thinking About Your Ex?
  1. Do something you enjoy to help you get your mind off your ex. Work out, start a hobby, hang out with friends, or do anything else that's good for you.
  2. Practice meditation and mindfulness. ...
  3. Avoid talking to them or lurking on their Facebook. ...
  4. Seek help.

Do dumpers ever feel guilty? ›

Guilt: Many times the person who ends a relationship feels intense guilt over causing harm to someone they care about.

Do dumpers regret later? ›

Generally speaking, some dumpers regret their decision to break up only weeks after the incident. Other dumpers need years to feel that way. And some never even arrive at the final stage of dumpers remorse. Instead, they move on to someone else — be it a rebound or not.

Do dumpers regret when you move on? ›

Both the dumper and dumpee experience a range of emotions after a breakup. Dumper's remorse doesn't happen in all relationships, but there's a good chance that your ex experiences some uncertainty and regret after ending things.

Will he come back after no contact? ›

Yes, they can. People find their way back to their ex if they realize how much they miss her. This may happen if you spend much time together during your dating phase. Also, if he keeps seeing something that reminds him of you, it may be hard to let go.

Do soulmates break up? ›

But if we happen to face reality, we don't always end up with our soulmates. It can be absolutely heartbreaking to let go of someone so precious, but sometimes, it's probably for the best. You have to know this always: just because you two are soulmates, doesn't mean you two will be soulmates forever.

Can a breakup make a relationship stronger? ›

' Although ending a relationship can be painful, a separation can give a couple space to work on personal issues that have been harming the relationship. 'It can help individuals reassess their priorities, helping them to know more about what they would like to get out of a relationship,' says Fredrickson.

How do I get my ex back without begging? ›

5 Ways to Get Your Ex Back—Without Looking Desperate
  1. Start Seeing Another Woman.
  2. Make Yourself Interesting Again.
  3. Get in the Best Shape of Your Life.
  4. Ask Her Out.
  5. Have the “I Want to Get Back Together” Conversation.

How often do dumpers come back? ›

If you average all the reputable research on the ex recovery process and chances of getting your ex back, there's about a 43.5% chance your ex will come back without doing anything. Those aren't exactly betting odds. That means six out of ten times you're probably not going to get your ex back.

What is the success rate of no contact? ›

What is the success rate of no contact? The success rate of this rule is usually almost as high as 90% because the person who has broken up will inevitably contact you for one of two reasons.

How long does the no contact rule last? ›

The no-contact rule refers to cutting off all contact with an ex following a breakup, and it's the best method for moving on from an ex. No contact should last for a minimum of 60 days, and it includes no texting, no calling, and no interacting on social media.

Will my toxic ex miss me? ›

Your ex probably won't miss you if your relationship was short (1-3 months), a rebound, or strewn with toxicity (i.e., cheating, lying, abuse). That said, walking away and letting them go still gives you the best chance of making them miss you.

What are the signs your ex moved on? ›

Signs Your Ex Is Over You
  • Communication Dwindles. Relationships are built on interactions, and if you're not in touch in one way or another — in person, on the phone, or elsewhere — there's not really a relationship. ...
  • Interactions Become Less Fun. ...
  • Interactions Become Less Awkward. ...
  • They Get Serious With Someone Else.
Jan 16, 2020

How do you know if a guy is heartbroken? ›

If he avoids seeing you at all costs even though it is important, it is one of the signs he is heartbroken over you. He knows that when he sees you, the memories will come flooding, and it might be too much for him to handle. Also, he would ensure avoiding places where you are likely to show up.

What are the signs that your ex still loves you? ›

Signs Your Ex Still Has Feelings For You
  • They keep texting or calling you. ...
  • They follow you on social media. ...
  • They don't return your stuff. ...
  • They contact your friends, or their friends contact you. ...
  • They cross your path. ...
  • They get jealous or want to make you feel jealous. ...
  • They are not moving on.
Feb 22, 2023

When we miss someone can they feel it? ›

Definitely, not all people but some people can sense it, especially empaths. An empath or someone you're in sync with can catch your vibrations easily and this can often clue them into what you are thinking or feeling.

How long will it take for an ex to want you back? ›

There are many factors that go into this, but the answer usually ranges from 1 to 6 months. It depends on whether or not you have an emotional connection to your ex, if there is still any unresolved conflict between you and your ex, and how much time you can dedicate to getting them back.

How long on average before an ex comes back? ›

In fact, based on our research you can expect the average ex to begin missing you anywhere between 2.5 to 5.2 months after a breakup assuming you put forth signals that you are “moving on from them.” We're going show you how we came to this conclusion by drawing on our knowledge on, Attachment Styles.

Do exes come back after 6 months? ›

How long before exes usually come back? We conducted a study on people who get their ex back and keep them and we found that most people who get their ex back and stay with their ex, took at least one month to get back together. In most cases, people reconciled within 1-6 months of breaking up.

What is he thinking after 2 weeks of no contact? ›

What is he thinking after 2 weeks of no contact? He starts to sense that maybe you might be gone forever. The No Rule Contact will help you see if the strings are attached in your relationship. If he doesn't hear anything from you, no calls or texts in two weeks' time he will start to worry.

How long should no contact last? ›

The no-contact rule refers to cutting off all contact with an ex following a breakup, and it's the best method for moving on from an ex. No contact should last for a minimum of 60 days, and it includes no texting, no calling, and no interacting on social media.

How do you know if a breakup is final? ›

8 Signs that Your Breakup is Permanent

You feel better apart than you did together. ... Your friends and family haven't been the biggest fans of your ex. ... You've already moved onto someone else (or your ex has). ... There is a clear misalignment of fundamental values and life goals.

What is 3 month rule after breakup? ›

What the post-breakup 3-month rule basically means is that all parties previously linked must wait three months before dating again. The reason for this societal dictation is to give the people involved a breather, some lead time, maybe a little room for forgiveness.

Why did my ex come back after 7 months? ›

Your ex might return for various reasons. For example, they could miss you, still feel in love, or want to work on the conflicts that ended the relationship. In other cases, they might feel lonely, don't want to take responsibility for their actions, or feel the breakup wasn't permanent.

How often do exes come back after no contact? ›

If the relationship was good and the breakup response was decent by no contact being implemented soon enough, the odds are about 70%. So the best-case scenario of the No Contact Rule is a 70% success rate in getting an ex back.

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