It sure is great being in a relationship. You two are happy together and getting along fine. Then something happens. All of sudden you’re not all that happy, and, eventually you break up. To be blunt, breaking up sucks. While you may want to get back together, you may be wondering “does my ex want to get back with me?” Knowing the answer to that question makes it much easier to decide what you will do next. So, how can you tell?

The simple answer is to watch their behavior. If they show some interest when they are around you, if they talk to you in a friendly manner, or are even a bit flirtatious, then these are all positive signs. However, it’s not enough to know for sure. Maybe they have already moved on, but want to show you and others that there are no hard feelings over the break up. The trick is to not assume they want to be with you again, but rather to step back from them a bit and see how they react. It’s sort of like playing hard to get, but to a lesser degree.

See, when you accept any positive signs as proof of them wanting to get back together, you run the risk of pushing too hard. Play it cool instead. As you back away, literally or figuratively, take note of how they react. Do they stop their positive behavior altogether, do they keep coming after you, or do they turn on the charm even more? The better you are at reading their reactions, the better your chances of making things work out. Even they are not giving you the right signals, that can help you determine your next steps.

After a break up it’s common for both parties to miss each other. Even if it was a bad break up, just not being with the other person can leave each of you feeling an empty spot in your lives. How much time you spent together and how happy you were will have a strong influence on how strong these feelings of loneliness are. Naturally, the more lonely each of you are, the more appealing the idea of getting back together will be. In other words, if you want to patch things up, there’s a good chance that your ex will want to do so also.

While this all sounds pretty straight forward, there is a catch. There are some case where an ex will display all of the positive signs mentioned above, and will pursue you as you try to move back. But they are just playing game. Maybe they need the attention, maybe they want to tease you as a passive -aggressive way of getting even with you. Whatever the reason, don’t be let down if you misread their advances. Just be aware that it is a very real possibility.

The final step to answering the question, “does my ex want to get back with me?” is by accepting their advances. If you have read the previous signals clearly, then this step isn’t nearly as risky as it may sound. Besides, it’s the only way to know for sure. And if it leads to getting back together and being happy, then it’s definitely worth it.