Why Do Toxic Exes Keep Coming Back?

Toxic. Narcissist. There are many words to describe romantic partners – especially those who become exes.

While narcissism itself is a diagnosable mental condition with specific symptoms, your ex doesn’t have to be a narcissist to be toxic.

Toxic people are those who treat you poorly and disrespect your boundaries. So while your ex doesn’t have to tick all of the boxes to be considered a narcissist, that doesn’t mean that they are easy to deal with following a relationship.

One thing you may notice post-break-up is the fact that they seem to keep crawling back. In order to figure out how to deal with this behavior, it’s best to understand why they are doing this in the first place.

So let’s look at the reasons why your toxic ex keeps coming back:

1. You’re Not Over Them Yet

Even though you and your ex are officially broken up, it could be that they are lingering because you haven’t moved on. When you still show interest in their life, toxic exes will see that as an opportunity to continue to involve themselves in yours.

So if you are liking their photos on Instagram, sending them Snaps, or texting them occasionally, they are taking this to mean that you are open to trying again or, at the very least, maintaining communication.

Toxic people crave control, and if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. It’s best to completely shut down communication.

2. You Weren’t Clear About Your Boundaries

Okay, so maybe you did spell out the end of the relationship to your ex, but toxic people either have no sense of boundaries or no respect for them.

They will keep crawling back if you’re not perfectly clear about what you want and what you feel.

If they’re not getting the message that the relationship is over, you need to be direct. Tell them it’s over.

And you don’t owe them a long-winded explanation! Simply state that the relationship is done because you didn’t like the way you were treated.

3. You’re Scared to Be Alone

It’s normal to be scared following a break-up. Even if you’ve been alone in your life before, the thought can be terrifying.

So it’s possible that your toxic ex keeps coming back because you really do miss them. This is normal too! Ending a relationship requires grieving, just like any other type of loss.

Plus, because toxic people are controlling, it’s possible that they created an environment in which you became dependent on them and forgot how to function on your own.

Letting go is hard, but you have to do it in order to untangle yourself from your ex and begin to heal.

4. Your Toxic Ex is Jealous

Whether you are progressing in your life or have started dating, your toxic ex may come out of the woodwork because they are jealous.

When they see you moving on in your life, they may feel like they have truly “lost” you, like you were something that belonged to them.

Your toxic ex may try to shower you with flattery and attention to woo you back, or they may talk bad about you to stagnate your growth.

The best thing you can do in either situation is to ignore them and keep focusing on yourself!

5. It’s Human Nature

Whether your ex is toxic or not, it’s simply human nature to yearn for something we cannot have. It’s how we deal with the situation that highlights our true character.

So if your toxic ex is simply yearning for you, this is natural. Treating you poorly and acting hostile because of it is not.

Signs that Your Toxic Ex Isn’t Coming Back

If you’re worried that your toxic ex may display some or all of the above behaviors, here are some sure signs that they are not going to make a reappearance in your life:

  • They are involved with someone else soon after the break-up. This may be a ploy to get you jealous but usually, it’s a good sign that they have moved on.
  • They never read or respond to your messages. If your toxic ex wants back in your life, they will take advantage of your attempts to reach out to them. An ex who is not coming back won’t respond.
  • They were public about the break-up. If they are openly admitting that the relationship is over, it’s likely they won’t come crawling back and admit that they were wrong.

Hopefully, if you dealt with a toxic individual during your unhealthy relationship, they won’t come back. But, if they do, you now understand why and have a better idea of how to deal with it!

Are you dealing with a toxic ex in your life? Share your stories in the comments below:

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