Sometimes, when you part ways, you’re done for good. And if the relationship was toxic or abusive, it was probably for the best. But other times, there’s a glimmer of hope that with just a little bit of time, you and your ex can rekindle the relationship you once had.
If you’re really hoping for a reconciliation, it may be hard for you to move on and date other people. If the split ended on awkward terms (such as Ross and Rachel’s famous “break” on Friends) moving on quickly may send the wrong message. But if it’s no longer mentioned on Facebook and truly official, dating around may be a healthy way to cope. Not only will you be able to reevaluate what you’re looking for in a relationship, but it may help you appreciate your ex even more.
It’s also common to have no idea where your ex stands. If that’s the case, here are a few signs that getting back together isn’t out of the cards.
1. They still text you when something happens.
Whether it’s good news or bad news, you’re still in the circle. Unless it’s a vengeful text, like “I’m dating someone way better than you,” a text about a promotion or family news means that they still want you to be part of their life. The easiest thing to do is to not send a text, so if they took the time to keep you informed, they know the information may be relevant to you too.
2. Their friends tell you they’re, “Doing fine.”
If you happen to catch a mutual friend and ask about your ex, “doing fine” means that they’re successfully living without you, but aren’t all that happy about it. If they were the one who initiated the split, it could mean that they’re starting to regret that choice. If there was no hope in getting back together, those friends won’t be shy about telling you whether or not your ex has met someone new. That juicy information is code for “time to move on.”
3. You’re still friends with their mom on Facebook.
If you haven’t cut the virtual cord with their parents by now, there’s a good chance that the relationship may be saved. And if they still like and comment on your statuses, that’s an even greater sign. No parent would try to maintain a friendship with their child’s ex if they didn’t see any sort of future there.
4. Photos you took together are still on Instagram.
After a breakup, it’s pretty common for someone to scrub you out of their life via Instagram. It’s often a courtesy for the next boyfriend or girlfriend, even though it’s not all that necessary. When celebrities pull this act, it’s a huge sign that things are over for good. But if your vacation photos are still present, it means they don’t want to pretend your relationship never happened. Even if they try to date someone new, they don’t want to forget you were a part of their life.
5. They still make sure to remember your birthday.
And not just as a lame Facebook comment—as an actual text or phone call. With all the information we have to store these days, birthdays are often forgotten. But the fact that they went out of your way to connect on your special day means that you’re still an important person to them.
6. The split was amicable.
Sometimes, two people just aren’t in the right place in their lives to really connect. If both of you started feeling a little bit of burnout, it makes sense that you’ll be able to revive the fire you once had. If there was an incident involved—say, one of you cheated on the other after a night out—it’ll be a lot harder to forgive and forget. Deep wounds take a long time to heal. But if you both left the relationship with a healthy amount of love and respect for each other, it’ll be easier to jump back into dating.
7. You’ve realized how much you actually appreciate them.
The band Cinderella said it best—sometimes, you “don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” When someone is out of your life, you may be able to really assess how important they are to you. This is all part of growing up. And sometimes, it takes a step like separation in order to come back a stronger person. It’s possible they’re thinking the same about you. If you’re really banking on getting back together, telling them how much you miss their cooking, or their attention to detail when it comes to making plans, or their spunky sense of humor, may just be a great conversation starter.
8. They still have stuff at your house.
If they haven’t been totally proactive on picking up the stuff you know they love—like, their favorite sweater, a pair of glasses, or a backup Kindle—it means they still have hope that things will work out. Usually, when you get a box of your stuff back, it’s a sign that things are over for good.
Some of the strongest couples have overcome breaks before. Just know that if it was really meant to be, you’ll both find a way of working it out. Often, it takes a little more time than you want — but with a little bit of patience, you and your ex will have the ability to carve out your own path to happiness.