What To Do When Your Ex Contacts You Or Offers Breadcrumbs

Last updated on : September 27 2020

Heart shaped red ballons floating in the sky

Receiving Breadcrumbs During The No-Contact Period

This article gives you a clear strategy for when your ex contacts you while you are in no contact or offers you breadcrumbs. We've written it for the person dumped by their ex and now in the safety of no-contact. It applies to both men and women.

Firstly, realize that when someone contacts you, they are looking for your attention. And this goes for your ex too. And so it's possible that your ex is reaching out to you for your ex's benefit, and that the contact might not be in your best interests.  

Secondly, any contact will prolong your hurt, increase your anxiety, and be very bad for your mental state if it leads to another rejection.

Therefore you must get to the bottom of your ex's intentions as quickly as possible when they contact you. In so doing, you minimize any damage to your recovery and mental health. 

If your ex is genuinely looking for reconciliation, then it's safer to resume contact with your ex. However, under all other circumstances, you need to ignore or decline further contact with your ex and put yourself back into no-contact politely. 

This article supports our overall approach to getting your ex-back and recovering from a breakup fast.

The Strategy

Chess pieces on a chess board

Here is the strategy summarized.

Step 1 - Understand why exes make contact generally and the nature of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, your ex's breadcrumbs are unlikely to represent them wanting to reconcile with you. Being prepared for this is essential. 

Step 2 - If you want your ex back, you must test the nature of your ex's specific communication and whether it represents a genuine attempt at reconciling with you or not. 

Step 3 - In all circumstances, consider your mental state at the time of contact. If you did not recover enough from the breakup, it's better to refrain from further contact until you have.  

Step 1 - What Are Breadcrumbs And Why Do Exes Make Contact 

Breadcrumbs are short quick messages, usually sent by text or through social media. You know your ex is sending you breadcrumbs when it's unclear what the underlying message to you is.  

You might think receiving breadcrumbs from your ex is a gift, but in reality, these small pieces of usually meaningless communication can damage you badly.

They'll give you the drug fix you need, will keep you second-guessing what they mean and could lead you to break no contact when your ex has no intention of reuniting with you. 

The one thing that all breadcrumbs have in common is that they send mixed messages – when you are looking for certainty.

They convey a message that your ex is thinking about you or even cares about you, but not why. And this missing reason can drive you crazy trying to work it out, and unfortunately, will reignite your hope for reconciliation and prolong your recovery. 

You see, your ex sends you breadcrumbs because of how your ex feels about themselves, not how they feel about you.

When your ex sends these messages, they are in effect checking up on you to:

  • understand whether you are ok because your ex feels guilty and is looking to ease their guilt or pain.
  • understand whether you still have feelings for them because your ex feels lonely and wants your validation.
  • soothe their anxiety from any life issues they may be experiencing, including the breakup of a new relationship.
  • understand whether they can trust you as a friend or to rekindle the relationship. Under this scenario, your ex either misses your friendship or is interested in reconciling again. 

If you want your ex back then, given the nature of breadcrumbs, it's essential to understand whether they represent an attempt at reconciliation or not. 

You gain this understanding by testing your ex's intentions. 

Step 2 - Understand Why Your Ex Is Contacting You By Testing Them 

This step will help you quickly understand why your ex is contacting you, allowing you to take the right action without too much hesitation.

When making the assessment, you can take a lot from the message itself. Some communication you can ignore, and some you can test for your ex's true underlying intentions. 

Ignore The Following Types Of Messages

Ignore short messages, particularly late night or drunk text messages like "Hey" or "Hi" or any message that isn't asking for a direct response from you. 

These types of communications include the following, no matter what the content (unless a life-threatening emergency):

  • Any liking or comments on your social media posts.
  • Any messages from mutual friends
  • Anything indirect that you construe is done for your benefit - like a post on social media conveying your ex is sad or even remorseful. Or your ex updates their profile picture to something that only you might understand.
  • Any public posts or messages that you think are subliminally directed at you.  

Test The Following Types Of Messages For Underlying Intent

For this step you are only interested in messages that come directly from your ex to you, no matter what the medium is. 

Test any message that directly conveys how your ex is feeling. These are the "I love you," "I miss you," or "I'm sorry" type messages. 

Also, test any messages that come to you directly, but are indirectly showing interest in you. These are messages, perhaps asking how your dog is, or sick uncle, or reminding you about a time you spent together.

"I just want to let you know that my fish died," or "I found an old pair of your socks in my wardrobe" are examples of these types of messages.  

How To Test

You test messages by directing the conversation to meet up on a date, and seeing how your ex responds. You can either ask your ex out immediately or exchange a few pleasantries first, then ask. 

It's acceptable to ask your ex on a date under these circumstances, whether you are a guy or a girl.

However, if you are a girl, you need to be sure you are not inadvertently arranging a date for sex. A guy ex could easily use you for this or misunderstand your intentions. An easy way to avoid a sex date is to ask to meet for a coffee in a non-romantic setting. 

However, in all scenarios, you need to be clear your meeting is a date and not an exploration of friendship. You don't want friendship right. 

If your ex agrees to a date, then they've passed the test, and for the moment, you can assume their intentions represent a desire to reconcile with you. 

Your next step is to get through the time to the date, and the date itself. We'll cover this as a later blog topic because you'll need a strategy for this too.  

If your ex doesn't agree to a date, you will politely decline any further contact putting yourself back into no-contact. (See bonus section below). 

Step 3 - Consider Your Mental State At The Time Of Contact

Under all circumstances, ask yourself how you might react to another rejection from your ex?

You see, to test your ex's underlying intentions, and if necessary, to follow through on a date, you have to expose yourself to the possibility of being rejected again. 

If the contact comes when your anxiety levels are high, and the possibility of rejection exists, it's better to decline further communication politely or entirely ignore your ex's messages. In this situation, you don't do any tests. 

You might choose this behavior if your ex's contact comes soon after the breakup, or if you know you will not handle rejection well. Realize that it's incredibly dangerous to be in touch with your ex, and staying in no contact is, for the most times, a better choice. 

Be honest with yourself, and if you're unsure about how you will feel, it's better to decline further contact politely. Your mental health is the top priority, and staying in no-contact is a safe place to be. 

You will be in a much better position to reconcile when your anxiety levels have passed, or your ex is chasing you. It's not a missed opportunity, and we explain why below.  

The Benefits Of Declining Further Contact With Your Ex

Islands alone in a peaceful sea

When your ex contacts you while your anxiety levels are still high, you risk making mistakes, leading to further rejection. Being rejected again can easily take your recovery back to the day of the breakup and significantly increase your anxiety levels and healing time. 

Your priority is you, and it is much safer to decline further contact with your ex than jeopardize your mental health. So be ready to say no more to your ex, and to put yourself back into the safety of no-contact.

You might think declining further contact is a flawed strategy because, after all, your ex contacted you, but it's not. And it could certainly work in your favor.

Here is why.

  • Politely refusing further contact is, in fact, you politely rejecting your ex. And this rejection shifts the power balance a little in your favor, making your ex wonder where your strength came from, potentially arousing your ex's curiosity and levels of interest in you, and possibly even leading to them chasing you.
  • Going back into no contact and insisting on staying in it will throw a spotlight on your strength, possibly driving your ex to chase you more and leveling out the power at a faster rate. 
  • If your ex is chasing after you, then the power is in the process of rebalancing. Your anxiety levels will fast dissipate when you see how much your ex wants you. And at this time, you are in a safer place to resume more meaningful contact. 

So don't be afraid to tell your ex that you don't want any more contact from them. 

How do you politely refuse further contact with your ex?

You say. "Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate you making an effort. However, I'd prefer that you didn't contact me at the moment." 

If they ask why, don't respond. Your objective is the safety of no contact.

Repeat variations of this message if your ex continues to contact you, or until your ex's tone changes to become more genuinely about reconciliation. At this point, test them by asking them on a date. 

Bonus Section - The Risks Of Reconciling Too Soon 

Even if your ex agrees to the date, there is still a substantial risk that your anxiety levels will lead to mistakes and further rejection. Getting back together with an ex when your anxiety levels are high is reconciling too soon. 

When you are anxious in a relationship, you will be looking over your shoulder, be needy, and likely jealous. These emotions will make you unhappy, put your mental health in jeopardy, eventually cause another separation, and lead to loads more pain. 

At a minimum, a proper and successful reconciliation needs both you and your ex to want each other equally, or for your ex to be chasing you - preferably like a drug addict, desperate for reconciliation. 

Yes, the best time to consider reconciliation with your ex is when you are completely over them. At this time, you will be your most desirable to your ex, with the highest likelihood of having your ex chase you.   

So don't get too satisfied when your ex agrees on a date, your journey, unfortunately, is just beginning, and the road dangerously filled with potholes if you start the journey too early. 

So be sure to consider your anxiety levels and how you might handle another rejection. Retreat into no-contact safety whenever you face uncertainty because being in no contact will benefit you every time - and lead you to the perfect time for reconciliation.

Conclusion

Love yourself etched in a pavement

It's not necessarily a gift when your ex contacts you or sends you breadcrumbs while you are in no-contact. But it does require you to deal with the issue.

Your choices are to either ignore the messages or test them for underlying intent. If you establish that your ex is not genuinely interested in a reconciliation, you must politely decline further contact with your ex and retreat into no-contact safety. 

No matter what, you must always assess your anxiety levels and your ability to handle rejection again. Your mental health is a priority, and you should not risk putting it in danger. 

Remember, you are always better off in no contact than in risking a reconciliation with your ex.

Most reconciliations fail because they happen too soon. So don't be afraid to retreat into the safety of no-contact, and wait for the time when you are completely over your ex because this is the best time for reconciliation - if you want it by then, of course. 

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