It's something we all wonder. No matter how heated the break-up, most of us spend at least a little time thinking about our exes and wondering if somehow, some way, some day we'll get back together. Maybe it's because we needed a little time apart to put all the good stuff in perspective, or maybe it's because once we've fished the seas again, we realize that, no, there aren't really all that many prized species in there after all. In any case, wouldn't you like to know whether he's moved on or stuck on you? Here, some ways that can help you figure it out.
1. Decode His Out-of-the-Blue E-Mail
The two of you break up, you vow never to speak again to the lout. And you don't, until your inbox pings, his name shows up, and the subject line reads, "hey." A peace offering or a sneaky way for him to weasel his way back into your life? From what he writes, it'll seem like he's just trying to be friends (a recap of how it's going, an allusion to the woman he's dating). Not so fast. If he throws in a few mini-brags about himself (something good at work, great vacation he has coming up), he may be trying to promote the notion that he wasn't so bad after all (a new gal sees something in him, right?). He may be testing the waters to see if you're game.
2. Gauge His Emotions
You run into him at a bar, a coffee shop, a mutual friend's birthday bash. Most likely, he'll try to play it cool - pretend like he's good, you're good, everything's good. Chances are, the less he talks, the more he pines. If he's able to spend some time talking without showing extreme ranges of emotions (uh, anger) or silence, then he's probably found himself in a better place.
3. Translate His Conversation
Guys have been practicing the art of wooing women all their lives. And they know-or at least they should know-that women don't respond all that well to pick-up lines and pretentious attitudes. Guys know that one of their most effective tactics is to ask a lot of questions. So when the two of you reconnect (via run-in, coffee date, e-mail), see if he switches back to pursuit mode: if there's lots of questions and lots of conversation, there may also be lots of hope that what attracted you to him in the first place will attract you again.
4. Assume Yes
You may think that guys take break-ups easy-that they run out, throw down beers with the guys, and move on. But the truth is that men hold onto their feelings about their exes for a long time, probably because few of them let it out in the way women do: by talking to their friends, their mom, and their friends' moms. (Kidding!). I can tell you that one of the most common relationship questions we receive at Men's Health is from guys asking how to get their women back; they realized after a few months that they indeed let the best one, the right one, the essential one get away. And they might even be ready to admit they now know who handles break-ups better.