When An Ex Contacts You Years Later (18 REASONS!)

It always catches you off guard. You’re going about your business on a random Tuesday and then *bloop bloop* a text. But not just any text.

A text from an ex. Yes. THAT ex.

The one you haven’t spoken to in YEARS.

What could they possibly want?! And why now?!

Honestly, there could be a million reasons why an ex reaches out to you years later.

He could have lingering feelings, be going through a rough patch, or simply be curious.

One of the main reasons an ex will reach out to you years later is out of pure curiosity.

They may want to find out how you’ve been doing since the breakup and if you’ve continued with your life the way they’d expect. They may want to know if you still have romantic feelings for them or if that door is completely closed.

They may also be curious to see if you’re in a new relationship or have changed in any way.

Understandably, it can be a bit intrusive, but curiosity can be a powerful motivator to reach out to an old flame.

Among many, many other reasons which we’ll go into right now….

What It Means When An Ex Contacts You Years Later

Girl checking her phone - Featured In : When An Ex Contacts You Years Later


They Want To Know What You’ve Been Up To

It may be that your ex has been keeping tabs on you, but if they contacted you years after the breakup, they might just want to know what you’ve been up to.

For some people, it’s a combination of curiosity and wanting to make sure that the other person is doing okay even though the relationship ended.

They might want to get caught up in your biggest news and find out who else is in your life now.

It’s important to remember that if your ex reaches out after a long time of no contact, they may only be curious and not necessarily looking for something more.

It could have stemmed out of pure boredom, especially if you haven’t spoken since the break up.

They Want To Know If You’re Still Single

An obvious reason your former significant other might reach out to you years later is that they are wondering if you are still single (and interested.)

If the relationship ended on good terms and no hard feelings, finding out if the possibility of getting back together still exists can be a reason for an ex to reach out.

After so much time and life experience has passed, seeing if there’s still chemistry can be an interesting surprise.

It could also be because your former partner is curious about your own lifestyle, success, and accomplishments since the breakup.

It can be very reassuring for them to hear about how well you’ve done for yourself or that no one has taken their spot in our life.

Everyone loves to hear how someone they used to know has grown and changed since the past – especially if it’s in a positive way!

The good news is that feeling compelled to contact someone they dated a while ago most often means they still think fondly of them and want to stay connected on some level.

If it leads to sparks flying again or even just renewed friendship down the line, it’s nice to be able to look back and see what sparked this reconnection in the first place!


When an ex contacts you years later, it’s often for the purpose of reminiscing about the past. Memories of shared experiences and feelings can be evoked, bringing a flood of emotions and thoughts from the past.

There can be many reasons your ex is contacting you and make sure you are protected. Let’s explore the 10 reasons why an ex may contact you after years of no contact.

They Want To Reminisce About The Past

If your old flame contacts you after years of being out of touch, one of the reasons they may have reached out is to reminisce about the past.

They may be feeling nostalgic and want to go down memory lane with you.

For many, there was a beautiful connection at one point in time and they may simply want to reclaim that good feeling.

It’s possible that you don’t even feel the same way anymore but rather than let your old partner settle for finding someone new, your ex wants to take advantage of what originally drew them to you.

They could be looking for closure or looking for a reason why things ended between you two or even just be curious about what things would look like if the two of you reunited.

No matter why exactly it is that your ex wants to reminisce, it can make for an emotionally raw situation and one that should probably end quickly if you are not interested in reconnecting with them.

They Want To Relive The Memories

One of the reasons your ex may contact you years later is because they want to relive the memories.

When someone contacts an ex out of the blue, it can signify that they’re feeling nostalgic about past relationships and maybe hoping for a chance to re-experience that spark.

It’s possible to experience these memories without actually reconnecting, such as through photos or music from the time.

However, if your ex reaches out with a message or video chat request, they may want to try to recreate those feelings by conversing with you directly.

While this isn’t guaranteed to occur in every situation, it’s good to be aware of this possibility so you don’t get too invested in their future intentions.

Keep the conversation light until it becomes obvious what their endgame is — a potential reunion or just some simple nostalgia?


Girl checking phone with friends in background - Featured In : When An Ex Contacts You Years Later

Jealousy is a common emotion that can drive an ex to contact you after years of no contact.

It is normal to feel jealous when an ex moves on with someone else, especially when you thought that you were still together.

This can lead to an ex wanting to reach out to you to see if you are still interested or if they still have a chance.

Let’s take a closer look at jealousy as one of the reasons an ex contacts you years later.

They Want To Know If You’ve Moved On

When an ex contacts you years after your breakup, jealousy may be one of the main motivations.

This emotion can be hard to resist and it arises when your ex realizes that you’re happy without them.

Research has found that people often react with both conscious and unconscious desires when faced with jealousy, with many attempting to reduce the feeling of envy by changing the situation in their favor.

Your ex might reach out so they can find out if you have moved on – if you have a new partner or are seemingly content without them.

Or, they may want to explore the possibility of getting back together – a ‘reunion trial’ in which they test how much (or little) affection you still have for them.

This type of contact is a way for people to sidestep fear and vulnerability associated with admitting they still care – while also maintaining their pride and reputation should it turn out that feelings no longer exist between the two of you.

Other times, it may be a way for them to relive memories from happier times or alleviate feelings of emptiness associated with lost love.

They Want To Know If Someone Else has Replaced Them

No matter the circumstances of your breakup, an ex reaching out to you after many years has been gone could be driven by jealousy.

As a result of staying away, your ex may still have certain insecurities about the relationship and/or feelings for you that he/she can’t let go of.

They are likely to have questions about who (if anyone) has filled their place— this could include potential romantic partners or just plain curious about what changes might have occurred in your life since then.

Even though moving on from a past relationship is beneficial for both parties, some people can’t quite seem to shake their unresolved feelings even years later.

Questions such as ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ or ‘Have you thought of me lately?’ may not be directly asked but can easily be inferred from the conversation and messaging.

Finding closure is important so don’t shy away from expressing any personal growth and stability that has come as a result of no longer being together.


Guilt is a common reason why an ex may reach out to you after years of no contact. They may feel guilty for how they treated you, or for the way things ended between you.

They may be seeking closure, or hope that you will forgive them for their past wrongs.

There can also be other reasons why an ex may contact you after such a long time. Let’s take a look at some of the other emotions that may be at play.

They Feel Guilty For How They Treated You

One of the underlying reasons why an ex may contact you years later is because they have immense guilt over how they treated you.

Over time their feelings of guilt may have grown and become so strong that they decide to reach out to apologize.

When it comes to break-ups people often don’t take into account the feelings of their ex and can be selfish, immature or thoughtless in how they handle the situation.

Your ex may feel the need to apologize for this, even if it has been years since you last communicated.

The guilt that your ex might feel could also be due to them never properly communicating with you about how unhappy or dissatisfied they were in the relationship.

They might find that expressing their thoughts and feelings long after communication between your two selves has ceased, is a way for them to put an end to this mental conflict.

By apologizing for their wrongdoings, your ex seeks inner peace within themselves by making amends with you however late it may be.

This type of guilt stems from your ex not expressing themselves openly and understanding what happened in the past when relationship issues were present.

There might have been misunderstandings where the communication broke down at certain times which would make them feel regretful now when there’s nothing left between both of you but part-time memories and distant conversations.

Either way, it shows that deep down your ex wants closure on any unresolved matters so a sense of ease can set within themselves again as time passes by – sometimes more than others depending on each individual’s emotions and temperament.

They Want To Apologize

One of the most common and obvious reasons an ex may contact you years down the line is to apologize.

This could be because they are feeling guilty about how they handled your breakup, what they said and did, or even just because they didn’t stay in your life like they promised they would before.

If an ex contacts you with an apology and expresses their regret, then it may be worth listening to them and forgiving if it is possible.

It is important, however, to remember that an apology can only go so far. While having closure is important, don’t rely on an apology from your ex as the only form of closure.

Even if you do forgive them for their past mistakes, it does not guarantee a good relationship in the present day, or even a civil one for that matter.

An apology from them may be instrumental in allowing you to move on from any anger or hurt feelings that linger from your previous relationship but it will ultimately depend on the individual situation between both parties.


Man and woman, flirty on table - When an ex contacts you years later, it could be simply to rekindle the romance

Wanting to rekindle the old flame may be one of the biggest reasons an ex reaches out years later…

They Want To See if There’s Still A Spark

It’s possible that your ex may still have feelings for you and, rather than reach out openly, they decide to test the waters and see if they can rekindle some of the same old magic.

If you fell short of being a perfect partner back when you were together, now may be an opportunity to make up for them.

Or maybe it’s been some years since you both parted ways and now that everyone has had time to mature and develop as an individual – it’s given them a spark of hope that maybe things can work out differently this time around.

No matter their reason for contacting you, if your ex is asking about how you’re doing or reconnecting in any way, then it’s safe to assume there is still something there between both of you.

If this is the case, use caution; don’t lead them on but be honest and polite. You never know where the conversation might lead.

You also don’t have to immediately respond, or respond at all.

Some things are better left in the past.

They Want To See If You’re Still Interested

It can be flattering – and a bit perplexing – when an ex contacts you years after the relationship has ended.

While there may be dozens of reasons why an ex returns, many times it is because they want to know if you’re still interested in rekindling the flame.

Sometimes they simply want to feel validated and once they get that reassurance from you, they move on again.

Checking in on exes can be a very selfish thing to do, especially if all you’re doing is stroking your own ego.

However, this has become fairly common in modern dating.

People seek validation and sometimes that comes from an ex.


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Boredom is one of the worst reasons why an ex may contact you years later, but fairly common.

In today’s world, people often find themselves looking for new ways to pass the time.

Without something to fill the hours, they may turn to try to re-establish a connection with you.

As a result, they may reach out to you out of boredom and have no regard for your wellbeing or have honest intentions.

They’re Bored And Looking For A Distraction

It may seem like a strange reason to get back in touch with an ex, but boredom is one of the biggest reasons people reach out.

If they’re not happy in their current relationship (or situation) and you’re the first person that comes to mind, they might reach out — either for advice or just for a distraction.

Whether it’s through text, email, or even a phone call, those impulse bursts can often be linked back to boredom.

They may be trying to fill the void that their current situation isn’t providing them with enough stimulus or excitement.

This can lead them down a road of frustration and misplaced messaging as they try to rekindle something from their past which has already come and gone.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation, take your time and think about if taking on these conversations at this point in your life is really worth it.

Remember that you don’t owe anyone anything if it no longer works for you — it always starts with setting boundaries that support the wishes of both parties involved.

They Want Someone To Talk To

For some people, the best cure for boredom is to reach out to an old flame. Being with someone they once loved can be a great way to pass the time and provide some interesting conversations.

If your ex contacts you years later, it could be because they are looking for someone familiar that they can talk to.

It might not seem likely that they just want to chat, but it can certainly be one of the reasons why your ex has decided to get in touch after so long.

Talking to an ex who already knows them and their past can be comforting and a great immediate distraction from boredom.

Plus, if you were all friendly enough when you were together before, that conversation may have been the push needed for your ex’s sudden contact over such an extensive time gap.

In any case, if your ex is reaching out due to boredom, chances are their intentions are not romantic in nature—they may simply be trying to find someone who can listen and empathize with what’s going on in their life right now.

This might become apparent during your conversation as well; however, if you’re OK with catching up every now and then without expecting too much from this reunion—it may prove very rewarding in terms of closure—you ought to accept their call for chitchatting positively.


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Just like boredom, attention (or lack thereof) can be one the biggest motivators to reach out to an ex.

Maybe their love life is stale. Or they have a current partner who isn’t fulfilling all their needs.

So they selfishly reach out to an old flame to stroke their ego..

They Want Attention And Validation

It can be very confusing when an ex contacts you after years of silence, but in many cases it can be traced back to one simple thing — they want attention and validation from you.

It may not just be attention and validation that is sought directly from you; it could also involve their inner desire to feel needed again.

In some cases, the attention and validation that the ex seeks is rooted in loneliness and a need for comfort.

They may never have let go of the strong connection that was once between them, so reaching out after some time has passed can serve as a way to confirm whether or not that same bond still exists.

It’s also possible they are feeling nostalgic and reliving a past experience with you even though much has changed since then.

Regardless of what someone’s true underlying motivations may be for contacting an ex after the relationship has ended, it’s important to remember that such contact usually doesn’t end well.

By responding or engaging with them, they will only feel encouraged to become more fixated on reestablishing a link between the two of you which may simply not exist anymore or is no longer positive or healthy for either person involved.

To avoid getting hurt even further down the line, take into consideration how your decisions regarding making contact could affect your emotional wellbeing.

They Want To Be Reminded That They’re Still Wanted

Your ex may reach out years later to try to stir up nostalgia and be reminded that they’re still wanted.

Sometimes it is a genuine attempt to connect with you, but often their ego is in need of an ego boost or they are feeling down on themselves and are hoping your positive energy will help.

They may ask questions about your life that don’t seem pertinent to the conversation, but if you answer them fully then they will feel connected to you.

Even if the relationship didn’t end on a good note, they might want to take advantage of the fact that they still know you well enough to get useful and comforting information from you.

They may want reassurance of how important and attractive they still are so when talking about friends or relationships, be sure not to over-romanticize yours too much or put theirs down in order for them not to feel inadequate.

They can also sometimes contact you because being in touch with someone who knew them for a time when things were simpler can be soothing for them as well as heartwarming.

A conversation and catching-up session might just make their day brighter! If this happens, don’t jump into anything serious straight away – allow things progress naturally over time as this could help lead the relationship into more positive directions than previously experienced before.


Oh nostalgia… How you lie to us.

They Want To Feel The Nostalgia Of the Past

Many of us have experienced an ex-partner contacting us, months or years after the relationship ended.

The motivations to contact an ex can differ, however, it is often argued that nostalgia for the past could be one of them.

When someone contacts their ex, it may be due to them feeling a strong emotional connection and desire for the relationship they used to have, wanting to recreate those past feelings.

There are countless more reasons why somebody would want to contact their ex and some may even include returning back together.

An individual may also be feeling lonely or simply reminiscing about a happier time as perhaps this is when things were going better in their life at that period.

The feelings induced by nostalgia are usually warm and pleasant although lacking a degree of realism; we all tend to remember good moments but forget difficult times which might have been experienced during the relationship.

It is possible that because of this sense of romanticized nostalgia people might find themselves considering a reunion with an old partner if it will lead eventually either on a long-term basis or even just short term.

This can lead people on a path that could ultimately not benefit them as they remember what made them so drawn to each other in the first place; such as similar values and interests shared while overlooking any other issues they might have had during their time together.

The strong tug towards our former relationships can be daunting however we should all think rationally when making decisions concerning our old partners, criteria such as whether these feelings are fulfilling now in comparison to what it used to feel like then, should be taken into consideration before deciding upon the advancement of any potential reunion with your ex from years beforehand.

They Want To Remember How It Felt To Be In Love

When someone contacts you out of the blue after years apart, often their motivations are complex and difficult to untangle.

It’s not always easy to pinpoint exactly why an ex would reach out, but one explanation could be that they are feeling nostalgic.

For many people, feelings of nostalgia can be extremely powerful and drive them to re-connect with loved ones from the past. Reconnecting allows them to remember how they used to feel in a prior relationship and how it felt to be in love.

This can provide an emotional boost that small talk or catching up might not offer — reliving old conversations, moments of affection during difficult times, or when life felt simpler than it is today.

Spending time with an old flame can stir up some incredibly intense emotions: joy, sadness, anticipation, excitement — these all take hold again and reopen wounds long since healed. The bond formed between two people remains strong even over months or years apart — sometimes even longer.

The good news is that when feelings come flooding back like this, there’s a chance for healing as well as learning more about yourself and what you truly want from life.


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Sometimes an ex wants to maintain the friendship.

However, word of caution… Being friends with an ex is messy and likely not good fot you in the long-run.

It’s also highly unlikely he just wants to be friends and there is no ulterior motive at play

They Want To Be Friends

It’s not uncommon for some exes to check in with you years after you’ve broke up.

Although it can be difficult to read their intent, most of the time, someone contacts an ex because they want to try and spark a friendship.

People change a lot over the years and an old flame may reach out as part of a process to make amends, as part of a fair closure or just out of curiosity.

If this happens, consider it thoughtfully and give it appropriate consideration before making any commitment.

You don’t have to take them up on the offer if you don’t feel comfortable or the timing isn’t right but now might be perfect opportunity for two people to reconnect over shared memories and create new ones.

They may be looking for casual conversations without any obligation or expectations, as they want to reestablish contact with someone they felt connected or attracted too at one point in their life.

If you decide that giving being friends a chance could work out well then stay away from topics related to past relationship issues or hurtful memories and focus on current topics such as updates about your lives and career paths both have chosen since meant fairly separate ways due to obligations from university, work schedules etc.

After all, who knows what can sprout from having had such an intense relationship back in time?

They Want To Stay In Touch

Staying connected with an old friend is a common reason people reach out. Even if the two of you didn’t end on the best of terms or haven’t spoken in years, they may want to get back in touch to see how you’re doing and catch up on your life.

They could be feeling nostalgic and missing a friendship they once had. Or maybe they recently came into some new money or success and want to show-off.

Regardless of their motive for reestablishing contact, it is important to consider that this person was important enough to them at one time that they actually reached out and your ex may just be trying to make amends or would like the chance to start fresh.

If you think back, chances are, somewhere along the line, there were good times between you two, despite the eventual parting of ways at some point in time. Perhaps your ex is looking for more than closure and maybe even a sort of reconciliation.

The reason might not be clear at first so it can be helpful to offer a non-committal reply.

Showing kindness as well as understanding will always leave the door open if your ex wants further conversation so you can decide together what would work best while preserving both parties’ feelings in the process.

What To Do When An Ex Contacts You Years Later

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This is completely dependent on YOU and the relationship you had with your ex.

If your ex was toxic, manipulative, mean, etc. then please, please, please do not respond to that text message!

Plus if you have old wounds that haven’t healed, it may be best to ignore the contacts as well.

But if you’re in a good place and don’t want your ex back, or are willing to hear them out, then you can talk to them.

Be very cautious, as old feelings seldom go away completely and it can be a slippery slope.

Also, if you have a new partner, you will want to make sure you aren’t sabotaging your new relationship.

Talking to an ex when you’re dating someone else can cause problems in even the most solid of relationships.

When an ex contacts you, I highly recommend taking an hour (or even a day) before deciding what you want to do.

You haven’t spoken in years, he can wait a couple of hours. Get your head on straight and decide if a conversation with them is worth it in any way.

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