24 Signs Your Ex is Trying to Get Your Attention on Social Media

Last Updated on December 30, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester

What are the signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media? There are many possible reasons for your ex to reach out to you online. The question is: in your situation, what’s their reason?

It’s important to know because different reasons require different responses. Breakups are complicated and painful, after all, and they can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful.

In all cases, you don’t want to get stuck in a compromising position, right? You’d rather have things work out than get worse. That’s why it’s important to know precisely why your ex is trying to get your attention. That way, you’ll know what to do based on what you want to happen.

And that’s what this article will help you do. You’re about to learn:

  • The four reasons your ex is trying to get your attention on social media
  • The 24 signs to watch out for
  • Exactly what to do depending on the signs you see

Let’s get started.

24 Signs Your Ex is Trying to Get Your Attention on Social Media

24 Signs Your Ex is Trying to Get Your Attention on Social Media

The first question to answer is why. Why does your ex want your attention in the first place? And why do they try to grab it on social media, of all places?

It all boils down to one of four major reasons:

  • 1st reason: They regret breaking up with you and now they want you back.
  • 2nd reason: They’re sorry for the breakup, but now they want to be friends.
  • 3rd reason: They want to get sympathy or support from her social media contacts.
  • 4th reason: They’re mad about the breakup and want to hurt you for it.

Let’s look at each reason in turn, plus the signs that tell you the real deal behind your ex’s actions.

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(H3) 1st Reason: They Regret Breaking Up with You

They Regret Breaking Up with You

The following eight signs show some regret on your ex’s part. They realize the breakup was a mistake, they miss you, and now they want you back. If you spot any of the following eight signs, you can be sure this is the reason why they’re trying to get your attention on social media:

Sign #1: They Comment on Your Photos Together

When you didn’t delete your old photos with your ex together, you might be surprised to suddenly, one day, receive a “Like” or comment on some of them. And when you check who it was, it’s your ex.

This simply means they’ve been checking your profile after the breakup. And not just your most recent updates, either—your ex is going deep into your profile, checking out even your old photos and posts.

Why would they do that? Simple—they regret the breakup, and they’re bringing attention to your old photos together. They’re hoping you’ll miss the old times, too, and rekindle the relationship.

Sign #2: They Try to Force a Chat with You

Often, you get random “Hey” and “How are you doing” messages from your ex. They’re incessant, and they keep coming even when you don’t reply to them. If it feels like they’re trying to force a chat with you, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

They’re clearly obsessed with you. That’s not a good sign, and the unhealthy attention-seeking will likely continue even if you got back together. Consider yourself warned.

Sign #3: They Bump Into You “By Accident”

Picture this for a moment.

You’re in town one day, just minding your own business, when your ex bumps into you out of the blue. The interaction is short and nondescript: A simple, “Hey,” and you both go on with your days. You think no more about it.

Then, a few days later, it happens again. They bump into you, and this time, the interaction is longer than the first. As you go on with your day, you can’t shake the feeling you’ll be bumping into them again soon.

That’s when you realize that your ex might be tracking your movements through social media, and purposely going to your destinations to bump into you.

It’s a clear sign of stalker-level obsession. If you don’t want it to continue, change your social media settings.

Sign #4: You Catch Them Viewing Your Old Content

This is like Sign #1, except your ex doesn’t just comment on your old photos. They even view your mundane posts and photos from over three years ago. You catch them because, out of the blue, you receive a social media notification of a “Like” from them on one of your older posts.

Then, when you check on the post in question, you find their Like has mysteriously disappeared. That means they might have clicked the Like button by accident, and nervously canceled it to cover their tracks.

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Too late for that, though. You’ve just caught them viewing your old content, and you now know they’re stalking you.

Sign #5: They Try to Schedule Dates

Sometimes, your ex won’t stop at randomly messaging you. They’ll actually strike up a conversation to schedule a date with you. They might say they just want to “catch up” or something—but you know better.

An insistence to meet up with you is a sign that they regret the breakup, they miss you, and they want to get back together. Depending on how your relationship and breakup went, whether to give them that privilege is up to you.

Sign #6: They Match with You on Dating Apps

It’s normal to try online dating after a breakup. After all, a good percentage of dating app users are there to meet new friends and casual hookups—helpful for getting over a failed relationship.

What’s not normal is for your ex to find you on the dating app you’re trying and matching with you. What’s going on?

At best, they had the same idea to try online dating, and just happened to find you there. Then they matched with you as a joke.

At worst, they purposely tracked you down, found the dating apps you’re trying, and matched with you. They might even say stuff like, “This feels like destiny, doesn’t it?”

Whatever it is, it’s smart to assume it wasn’t an accident.

Sign #7: They Find You on Other Platforms as Well

This is when, before the breakup, you were connected with your ex on only one social media platform. Then, after the breakup, they started adding you on other platforms and apps as well. They actually made it easier for themselves to get a hold of you—which is strange to do after a breakup, wouldn’t you say?

Obviously, your ex doesn’t want to get out of touch. By connecting with them on more social media platforms, you’re maximizing their access to you without knowing it. This gives them more chances to stay in touch with you and, it’s safe to assume, try to get back together.

Sign #8: They Talk About You a Lot

This one’s the last sign your ex regrets breaking up with you: They talk about you a loton social media. Many of their posts go along the lines of:

  • “We all get broken in some way, but what matters is how we get back up and put the pieces back together.”
  • “We started with a simple hello but ended with a complicated goodbye.”
  • “Sometimes, two people have to fall apart to realize how much they need to fall back together.”

…you get the idea, right?

These are clear signs of regret. They’re clearly still thinking about the relationship and breakup, and they’re pondering the possibilities of “falling back together” with you.

And the reason they’re posting these messages on their public timeline is simple: They want you to see them.

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Now, you might wonder: “Are you sure these are signs of regret? Because some of them sound like they’re throwing shade at me.” The latter may be true, especially if you shared many mutual friends with your ex. They may be gathering sympathy or trying to get back at you.

To know for sure, check out the other 16 signs, which we’ll now cover in order. Let’s start with the five signs under the second possible reason:

2nd Reason: They Want You to Know They’re Sorry Without Telling You

They want you to know they are sorry

The next five signs (Signs #9-#13) are indications your ex might want to patch things up with you. The breakup might have been unduly harsh, and now they want to apologize and be friends with you again.

There’s just one problem for them: they don’t exactly know how to start the conversation. And so they turn to social media and start exhibiting the following five signs:

Sign #9: They Post Content They Know Will Grab Your Attention

Let’s say you like astronomy. You notice your ex has started posting links to NASA news and photos of space photography. If their posts are all on their public timelines, it means they’re trying to keep it low-key. They’re hoping you’ll notice their post and send a message to them, hoping it’ll lead to the “can we still be friends” talk.

Their intentions are much clearer if they directly send the photos and links to you via private message. They might say something like: “Hey, I saw this bit of news and thought you might want to read it. Anyway, I hope you’re doing fine. Take care.”

It’s a friendly, no-pressure way to initiate the talk.

Sign #10: They Post Content They Know You’ll React To

This goes up another level. Your ex likely knows what triggers you, and they’ll use that information to force a reaction out of you on social media.

Let’s say you like dogs, and photos of puppies trigger uncontrollable waves of good feelings in you. Your ex then starts sharing photos of cute dogs, knowing what effect they’ll have on you.

They know you’re likely to react and comment on the photos. The ulterior motive is clear, though—they hope you’ll chat, patch up after the breakup, and make friends.

Sign #11: They Stay in Touch

Sometimes, your ex might forego the low-key attempts at getting your attention and just stay in touch with you. They’ll pop in for a chat in your DM’s, asking how you’ve been doing and avoiding any mention of the relationship.

They might even have the courage to tell you directly: “Can we still be friends?” There’s nothing wrong with that, except maybe the fact that being friends means you’re one step closer to becoming a couple again. And that may or may not be what you want at this point.

Sign #12: They Like and Comment on Your Social Media Posts and Photos

Breakups are normally awkward between couples. So, what does it mean if your ex reacts to and comments on your social media content like nothing happened? It likely means there are no hard feelings between you. The breakup wasn’t as awkward as most.

That means you can take it as a sign that they do want to stay friends. You tried the relationship out and it wasn’t to be, so it’s okay to take the next best thing.

Sign #13: They Try to Get Closure Over Chat

The fifth sign your ex is apologetic and/or offering an olive branch is this: they’re trying to get closure. Some things about your recent breakup might be hard to talk about, but you need to talk about them nonetheless, if only to properly close the book on the relationship.

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Should you give them the closure they want? There’s no reason not to, especially since it goes both ways. You lose nothing besides maybe an ounce of pride, and it’s better to part on good terms than to harbor hurt feelings for potentially years.

Those are the five signs your ex is sorry and wants to be friends. Compared to most of the other signs, these are quite good, and they often lead to healthy friendships. They’re also good for your mental health, and that’s not a small benefit.

3rd Reason: They Want Their Followers to Sympathize or Cheer Them Up

They Want Their Followers to Sympathize or Cheer Them Up

The next three signs (#14-#16) are indications your ex is fishing for sympathy. The breakup hit them pretty hard, and they need their social media friends to cheer them up.

The only problem? You’re still connected with each other, and you’ll likely see everything they post. And that can lead to some awkward situations.

Is the need for sympathy and support the reason why your ex is trying to get your attention on social media? Watch out for these three signs:

Sign #14: They Drastically Change Their Online Behavior

If their social media activity used to be sporadic before your breakup, but now they’re posting 10 times a day, you know something’s up.

Or perhaps they used to post cheery jokes and funny pictures, but now they’re posting toxic memes and controversial quotes, it’s the same thing.

Or it could be the other way around. You simply notice a sudden change in your ex’s online behavior, and you don’t understand why. And then you realize their new posting habits are generating dozens more comments and reactions—and everything becomes clear.

They’re trying to get sympathy and support from their social media friends, and they want you to see it.

Sign #15: They Make Sappy Posts about Breakups, Nostalgia, and Apologies

Speaking of new posting habits, you might notice your ex is posting more of the following:

  • Sappy and self-righteous sayings
  • Passive-aggressive quotes by “anonymous”
  • Quotes about breakups, lost love, broken trust, etc.

It helps to pay attention to precisely what your ex is posting. If it’s the type that gets their friends to agree with them, support them, and cheer them on—especially in your full view—then they’re likely fishing for sympathy.

Sign #16: They Try to Talk About Your Past Relationship

The third sign they want sympathy—and they want you to see them get it—is when they keep posting about their past relationship. Their timeline is filled with sayings, quotes, and memes about “lessons learned” and “emerging stronger” and such. And, yes, they’re all filled with supportive comments from their friends.

If you see any of these three signs, you can be sure your ex is trying to gather support and rub it on your face. What you do with that information is up to you, but do stick around ‘til the end of this article for some “best practices” to consider.

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Now, let’s cover the fourth possible reason your ex is trying to get your attention on social media. This one’s the stickiest situation to be in:

Reason #4: They Want to Hurt You to Feel Better

They Want to Hurt You to Feel Better

Now, you might wonder: Why in the world would your ex want to hurt you?

As the saying goes, only hurt people hurt people. Your ex may feel hurt, offended, or humiliated by the breakup, and the only way they’ve learned how to cope with the pain is to inflict even more pain. And their target? You, because in their mind, you caused the pain.

It’s the “eye for an eye” mentality, and these are the eight signs your ex is stuck in it:

Sign #17: They Post About You

They make posts that are obviously about you. For instance, if most of her friends know you as her boyfriend, a post about her “ex-boyfriend” is immediately clearly about you. And the posts aren’t mundane or neutral—they’re nasty, accusatory, and borderline libelous.

Speaking of libel, inflammatory posts like that can be considered a crime depending on where you live. It’s up to you whether to go that far, but it’s good to know whether it’s an option you can take.

Sign #18: They Tag You in Posts, Forcing You to Respond

Sometimes, your ex might kick things up a notch and tag you in a nasty post. It’s like they’re putting you on the spot, forcing you to respond just to save face.

It’s annoying and confrontational. As tempting as it is to think of a witty or scathing response, it’s often just best to block them from all your social media profiles.

Why? Simply because tactics like tagging you in an inflammatory post are meant to do one thing: to trick you into discrediting yourself. Your emotions are high, and you’re liable to say something that—believe it or not—might be used against you in a court of law.

Don’t you take that bait. Block them and never hear from them again.

Sign #19: They Try to Make You Feel Jealous, Envious, or Regretful

You might have noticed that most of your ex’s posts on social media seem to be about how they’re “doing just fine” after the breakup. Or they might even post photos showing how “awesome” their life is now that they’re single.

And, yes, all while you’re still connected.

It’s all an attempt to make you regret breaking up. They’re trying to bait you into missing them and asking them to come back.

When you do that, though, you put yourself completely at their mercy. And once they reject you, they’ve won—they’ve gotten the revenge they wanted.

Again, don’t take the bait.

Sign #20: They Share Their Dating Life a Bit Too Openly

Did your ex recently meet a new partner—or even just a potential partner? And have they posted photos of themselves with their new beau, complete with a sassy caption about “trading up” or “changing for the better” or such?

One look and you know that post was meant to make you feel bad. Again, it’s best not to take it personally and just block or unfollow them. (And yes, maybe say a prayer for the poor sod who’s about to replace you.)

Sign #21: They Make Sappy Posts Implying Your Guilt

Sometimes, your ex might share a quote or post that blames or accuses you indirectly. The post might say something like: “Learn to accept the apology you never got.”

Posts like that imply they deserve an apology. For what? If the most recent grievance in their life was your breakup, that’s obviously it.

The thing is: Do you even owe them an apology? Unless you do, then posts like these are inappropriate.

Either way, it’s often best not to respond to such sappy posts.

(QUICK NOTE: To learn how to make your ex stop making you feel guilty, click here.)

Sign #22: They Bait You into Making Them Feel Better

Here are a few more indications they’re baiting you into sympathizing or making them feel better:

  • They post about how they’ve lost or gained weight since the breakup
  • They complain about how depressed they feel or how they’re “no longer themselves”
  • They make vague posts about feeling suicidal

It’s all a trick to force you to reach out and make them feel better. And that’s precisely what you’ll do once they rope you in, force you to admit your guilt, and then reject you in the end.

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Remember: It’s all about revenge. Don’t take the bait.

Now, you might wonder: But what if their suicidal thoughts are real?

If you want to step in and do something, be sure to do it through a proxy. Ask a mutual friend or two to look into your ex and see how they can help. If their depression is real and you’re the cause of it, it’s probably not a good idea to get involved.

Sign #23: They Want to Show Off Their New Love Life

This is when your ex has gotten into a new relationship with a new partner, and they’re starting to show off on social media. They’re posting photos of fancy dates, gifts received, vacations, and so on.

Is it possible they’re posting all that just to hurt you? The answer is yes. It might be a bit of revenge to make themselves feel better, especially if their new relationship started right after your breakup.

On the other hand, it’s also possible they have no hard feelings for you. They might simply be happy about how their luck in life turned, and they want to share the good vibe.

What should you do? It helps to feel good for your ex. You can think, “I’m glad it’s working out for them.” Any bitterness or jealousy will only make your situation—and potentially theirs—worse.

In other words: Don’t take the bait, even if might not be bait.

Sign #24: They Want to Show Off Their Recent Achievements

The last sign your ex is trying to get revenge is when they show off their recent life achievements. They might have:

  • Gotten a promotion at work
  • Advanced their career in a major way
  • Achieved a personal goal like buying a car or house
  • Finding a new partner and getting engaged
  • Going on a vacation

If you’re still connected, they’re trying to rub it in your face. They’re sending the message: “I’m doing better without you.”

Again, as with the other seven signs they’re trying to hurt you: Don’t take the bait. (I hope I’ve said it enough!)

And there you have it: The 24 signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media. Now, let’s answer some frequently asked questions on the topic, as well as some best practices to consider doing:

What If They Post About Their New Boyfriend/Girlfriend?

If this is your current (or biggest) problem with your ex’s social media activity, kindly refer to Signs #23 and #24 above. Your ex is posting about their new love life for the same reason: To hurt you, or at least try to. Their motivation is to exact a bit of revenge.

This is often the case if you initiated the breakup. They felt slighted by it, and now they want to get back at you.

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On the other hand, if they initiated the breakup (or if it was a mutual decision), then your ex’s social media activity is probably not malicious. To know for sure, check the captions: If there’s any trace of “finally found a good one” or “making a change for the better,” then you can assume some bad intent on their part.

This leads us to the next question:

Should You Make Them Jealous Too?

Should you play the revenge game?

My advice: Probably not, for several reasons:

  • It’s a waste of time
  • You’re adding loads of unnecessary stress to your life
  • They’ll win in the end no matter what

Again, instead of trying to solve the problem, it’s better to make it irrelevant. And that’s by blocking your ex on your social media platforms and cutting all ties with them. If you want a clean separation, cut ties with your mutual friends, as well.

What to Do If Your Ex Tries to Make You Jealous

Again, the best solution is to make the problem irrelevant. There are many benefits in doing so overplaying the revenge game:

  1. You save hours, days, and perhaps months of stewing over your ex’s slights
  2. You save energy, which you can spend on more productive activities (e.g. making new friends, making a ton of money, etc.)
  3. You’ll win. That is, the only way to win the game is to be unaffected. Blocking them is the fastest and easiest way to guarantee your victory.

Yes, breakups can be painful, but they don’t need to be more painful than necessary, do they?

How to Tell if Your Ex Wants You Back?

To find out, pay close attention to Signs #1 through #8 above. These are the telltale signs they want you back.

Here’s the more important question: Should you get back with them? That’s totally up to you. It helps to weigh the advantages of getting back together against those of staying apart.

What’s more, it helps to think of the long-term. No sense doing something that fixes a short-term problem but jeopardizes the long-term in any way.

Regardless of what you plan to do, open and honest communication is a good tool. As long as you and your ex can keep things cordial and civil, anything can be talked about. That way, you’ll both arrive at a decision that’s good for all parties concerned.

I hope this article helps you make sense of your ex’s social media activity. Good luck!

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

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