mixed signalsThis is a common problem I’m asked to help solve – why is my ex sending me mixed signals?

After a breakup, your ex may often send you confusing signals. They may be very angry one day, then sweet and gentle the next. It can drive you insane trying to figure out what they want and why they’re doing it.

One day, your ex may want to see you. The next they may be throwing your possessions into a pile and setting fire to them!

People can be crazy. But stop to think about it for a moment. How did you feel right after you broke up with your ex? This is why keeping a diary can be helpful, even a short one, after a breakup. You write a few brief notes each day about how you’re feeling, and about what you’re thinking about your ex. You can go back and look at your own confused feelings and see that it’s all perfectly normal to feel differently on different days, particularly after a wrenching emotional experience like a breakup.

One day you may write how much you miss your ex, the next you may write how angry you are at them, or how much you hate them.

Turn this around, and you’ll begin to understand why your ex is sending you crazy signals, telling you, “I miss you!” on Monday and “I wish you’d never been born!” by Wednesday. Your ex is a human being going through a tough time.

Your ex could even regret breaking up with you and could be hoping to get back together. But it’s too soon to say. [RELATED: How to Win Your Ex Back ]

So, you ask, how do I handle these weird mixed messages from my ex?

The nice thing is that you should handle “I miss you” and “I hate you” the same way – with no response at all.

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Because both of you are going through hell, struggling with crazy waves of emotions, it’s vital for you to keep away from each other and to not communicate. And since you have no control at all over your ex, you must strictly observe this silent period yourself. I suggest a full month.

Your ex may send you plenty of mixed messages during this time. But you should not respond, especially to texts or phone messages or letters left or written in the heat of the moment. That won’t help. Even if your ex says something provocative or cruel, you ignore it. Take the high road. Just because someone throws a turd in front of you, you don’t have to pick it up. Those angry or emotional messages are turds, and if you pick them up, you have only yourself to blame.

Couple on couch talkingTaking that month off will give you a chance to clear your head and your heart. It will also give your ex a chance to do the same – to vent whatever rage they may be feeling, or sadness, or whatever. If they still miss you after a month of silence, then that might mean something. Not before.

After that safe month of silence, you can ask yourself whether you are still interested in a relationship with your ex. If you’ve been going out and living your life and having fun, perhaps taking a trip or learning something new, then you will be in a much better place to answer that question honestly. Maybe the answer is no, and that’s fine. Be honest with yourself.

If you do decide you want to try again with your ex, then it’s OK to resume contact, though you must do it carefully. I suggest some casual, non-threatening, non-demanding text messages. Once they reply, you can start from there. Remember to be careful and not to over-analyze the messages you are getting from your ex. Saying “I miss you” means “I miss you.” That’s it. It doesn’t mean “I want to get back together with you and have a serious relationship.” It doesn’t mean “I want to sleep with you.” It doesn’t mean “I love you.” [RELATED: How to Get Your Ex-Boyfriend to Reply to Your Text Messages ]

That month of silence – while vital for giving you both the best chance of moving on in a healthy way or of starting over on the best foundation – isn’t a silver bullet that will make mixed messages go away. People who are married and love each other very much still send mixed messages. Don’t get me wrong.

Try to be honest with your ex if you start renewing your relationship, and try to listen honestly to them. All of us send mixed messages sometimes, because we’re all mixed up human beings. But the messages right after a breakup will be more mixed than ever, and that’s why it’s best not to engage with your ex during that time.

  • TIP:  take this free quiz to figure out whether or not you still have a chance at getting back together with your ex.