10 Signs Your Ex Is Miserable

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Want to know how your ex is coping after a breakup? If they’re struggling? Miserable? Likely to want to come back? Then you’ve stumbled across the right article. In this post, we’ll run through the key signs your ex is miserable, plus – what to think / do about it. (And whether you can or should do anything at all!) So let’s start at the top…

Signs Your Ex Is Miserable

Now before we jump in, let’s get clear on what exactly we’re looking for here. See, this isn’t just the signs your ex is hurting after the breakup (to a natural / normal degree.)

This is the signs your ex is miserable – they’re really not coping at all.

Why Does It “Matter?”

This raises the question, of why this matters to you. What brought you here?

  • Is it because you still care about them, on a friendship level? They were a big part of your life and you don’t like the thought of them struggling or being upset?
  • Is it because you’re miserable? You’re struggling to feel better after the breakup? And so it would feel like some sort of comfort to know that they feel the same way?
  • Are you still in love with your ex? And so you’re wondering if they feel the same way?
  • Do you want them back? And so you’re hoping they’re miserable as you think it will mean that they’ll want you back too?

These are just three examples. Three of the most common reasons. But three very different reasons none of the less. So let’s break each one down.

1) If You Don’t Like The Thought Of Them Being Upset

This is the best possible reason for you being here, right now, searching to try to find out if your ex is miserable. 

It’s driven by love (although not necessarily the romantic love anymore) and – even more than that – care. These are great qualities to have. And qualities strong / deep enough that you’re acting on them now.

What becomes difficult however is the fact that – in all honestly – there’s not really anything you can do to help them now.

You can’t be with your ex, and as a result, if you tried to be there for them, it would only make it harder for them to get over you. 

So I know it’s tough. It’s tough for everyone. But you have to focus on yourself now. 

So long as your ex has their own support network, you have to trust that they will be there for them, and remember that they have the strength within them to get through this in their own time too.

Focusing on the past, won’t enable you to fully move forward. So try not to give this TOO much focus. Okay?

Because even if your ex is miserable right now, this is still for the best and they will be okay.

Recommended Read: Can You Be Friends With Your Ex? If So, When & How?

2) If You Want Them To Be Struggling As Much As You

Next up then, it could be that you’re hurting, so you want to know that your ex is too.

  1. This could be driven by hate and anger.
    “This isn’t fair! I don’t deserve this, but if I have to feel like this – so should they!”
  2. It could also be driven by sadness and fear. You may associate your suffering as a reflection of what the relationship meant to you. It therefore makes you feel pretty lousy to think that your ex is actually getting on pretty well without you, andyou start to worry they didn’t love you as much as you loved them. (Which is never a nice thought, right?)

There’s a couple of things I want to say to this though. First up:

“You can’t be bitter and expect your life to be sweet…”

I love this quote. Another similar one, from Buddha actually…

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.””

Powerful, huh? But write them down. Let that sink in and stick in your mind. As wanting your ex to be miserable just because you are, will only keep you in that place for longer.

If it’s not about that, and more about you worrying that you didn’t mean as much to them, well – that’s probably not the case at all.

  1. You don’t ACTUALLY know how they feel inside.
  2. Just because they’re dealing with this better than you, doesn’t mean they aren’t still hurting.
  3. And even if they do move on from this faster, that doesn’t change anything or take away how they felt when they were with you.

Every person is different. Everyone has different levels of resilience, and different ways (and speeds) of moving on from things.

Also – how your ex feels now (or felt when they were with you even) is actually irrelevant. This isn’t about looking back anymore, but instead looking forward.

So if you’ve found yourself here because your ex is still consuming your mind – read this article to gain CLARITY, but then decide to let it go…

3) If You Want Them To Want You Back

Last but not least then, before we move onto the signs your ex is miserable – if you want them to be miserable because you want them back, I want you to take a step back.

After all, what you want and what they want, isn’t actually the biggest thing here. It’s not about what you WANT. It’s about what’s BEST. What you NEED.

I mean, if I always got what I wanted, I’d be 50 stone plus by now, after all the chocolate I’d end up eating! But I don’t always eat it – even when I want it. Because I know it wouldn’t be good for me. And it’s the same thing here…

Why did you break up? Why did you have to break up? What led you here? And why might this be for the best?

Getting over this misery should be the goal – not trying to temporarily escape it by taking a step back. So it doesn’t matter if you miss your ex or your ex misses you.

Whether your ex is miserable or not, it should not actually change the situation right now – because you’d be driven back together for the wrong reasons.

Signs your ex is miserable

10 Signs Your Ex Is Miserable

You should have a little more food for thought now, so I think we’re ready to look at the signs your ex is miserable. These are the key giveaways that your ex – actually – isn’t really dealing with this breakup well at all.

1) They Say They’re Miserable

So let’s start off with the most obvious sign your ex is miserable, and that is (as you can imagine), when they tell you.

Now this is always a tricky one, because even if you’re dealing with it better than them – it doesn’t mean that it is EASY for you. Breakups are very rarely easy for anyone involved.

But if your ex has reached the point that they’re telling you – in those exact words – that they feel miserable now, it shows they’ve hit a pretty low point. Pretty low indeed.

They’re telling you out of desperation:

Because they literally don’t care how they’re coming across anymore.

They feel miserable – feel lost and helpless and so they’re reaching out to you in the hope of you hearing it and being able to ease the pain.

They could also be doing it as a form of guilt tripping however:

This is something to bear in mind. See, your ex may also be telling you they’re miserable, firstly because they are, but secondly because they want to make you feel bad about it.

In most cases they hope that this will inspire change, but it’s the wrong way to go about it and really isn’t fair on you.

2) They’re Desperate To Get Back With You

Another clear sign your ex is miserable, is if they desperately try to get you back.

Now this is different to them dealing with their grief, working on themselves, and then telling you they want to try again. 

Because yes, they could still do all of this and still feel miserable by the time they talk you about it again – but it will come from a more rational, level-headed place. And their approach is less likely to be as frantic.

When your ex is desperate to get back with you again – it’s like they HAVE to, they NEED to, they simply can’t cope being apart from you. You may have:

  • Incessant messages.
  • Begging to see you.
  • Pleading to change your mind.
  • Trying to prove to you it would be different.
  • Trying to remind you of all the things that were good.

It’s tough to see how much they’re struggling, but you have to remember – if you got back with your ex who they were in this frame of mind, it wouldn’t be the best moment (or idea) anyway.

Because yes there will be pain. But if it broke down in the first place, you have to know that it would be different the second time. 

If your ex is DESPERATE to get back with you, it means they’re not coping. And so it would be very difficult to create a healthy relationship from that regardless.

Recommended Read: 20 Signs Your Ex Is Waiting For You To Get Back Together

3) They Act Up

What other signs are there that your ex is miserable after the breakup? Well, you may notice they start to act up.

Perhaps they get jealous, or try to make you jealous. Maybe they have lots of rebound relationships or do things to try to get a reaction from you.

You may also find they start getting in fights or making a “scene” in social situations. There always seems to be drama, or something new happening.

It can become pretty draining. But the truth is, they’re just unable to deal with the relationship being over. They don’t want it to be and are struggling to come to terms with the realisation.

4) They’re Full of Anger

Next up, there’s the anger! And this is common after a breakup. There’s always a degree of anger or frustration. It’s one of the stages of grieving, so that you can work through it.

But if your ex is miserable, sometimes they can get stuck in this stage.

They’re angry at how things worked out, they’re angry at the things they thought you did wrong, they’re angry at the mistakes they made and they’re angry that they’re still feeling like this now!

So you may find they say nasty things or lash out at you. They may then go back on these things – feeling bad because they didn’t really mean it.

Or maybe they don’t. Maybe it carries on, fuelled by hate and resentment.

Recommended Read: 10 Signs Your Ex Hates You

If your ex is stuck in anger amidst their misery, they’re also likely to try to make things difficult for you. It goes back to what we said at the start…

“Why should they be able to move on and be happy if I can’t? How is this so easy for them?”

The thing is, it’s hard to be kind and understanding when their pain is driving them to do things that aren’t very fair.

You may notice they’re not just treating you badly as a result – but others too.

Maybe they’re snappy with friends, difficult to be around, picking fights with others or starting on strangers. This leads me to my next point…

Signs Your Ex is Miserable

5) They’re Going “Off The Rails”

If your ex is miserable after the breakup, they’re likely to “let themselves go” a little. See, they just don’t care anymore. They don’t care about anything. So they might start:

  • Not turning up for work.
  • Drinking more or taking drugs.
  • Excessively partying.
  • Leaving drunk messages.
  • Doing things out of character.
  • Getting into trouble.
  • Sleeping around.
  • Neglecting their commitments.
  • Bailing out of things.
  • Making poor decisions.

I mean, some of these things you may not actually be aware of. You may look in and think your ex is just making the most of being single again – being wild and free.

But often, they’re not. They push it too far or are going overboard for the wrong reasons.

This destructive behaviour? It’s a coping mechanism. A need for an escape.

So if you notice their character changing, or them starting to do things they wouldn’t do before, ask yourself why. It’s not always the answer you think.

Signs Your Ex Is Miserable After the Breakup

We’re half way through the signs your ex is miserable now. It’s not the nicest topic to hear and remember – it’s not something you should be focusing on. Instead, once you get to the end of this list… “put it to bed”, or so to speak. Unfortunately, this is something that – right now – is out of your control…

6) They Won’t Let You Move On With Your Life

Another key sign your ex is miserable is if they won’t let you move on with your life. Why? Because they can’t seem to move on with theirs.

One of the most common examples of this, is holding on to your things, never quite collecting all of theirs, or finding excuses to have to try to see each other again.

They drag things on, purposely, because they’re not ready to face the reality of you being out of their life completely.

They’ll also make situations more difficult than they need to be – again for the same reason. And in most cases, they will almost definitely snooping through your social media channels.

They’ll keep tabs on what you’re doing, they’ll read into the different things you say and share. They’ll obsess over you.

And you’ll start to notice this by – for example – them being one of the first people to view your story, or always seeming to be online (especially if they weren’t 24-7 before.)

7) They Speak Badly About You

Next up, next up, if your ex is miserable there will be bad-mouthing.

They’ll speak badly about you – both to you and behind your back… And this won’t just be when asked, they’ll bring you up in conversations to try to slate you then too.

They’ll paint a picture around the breakup and what happened in your relationship – one which won’t necessarily be completely accurate or true, and will certainly be one-sided.

It will be fuelled by bitterness, resentment and that undeniable sadness, of course. And if you move on and develop new romances – they’ll likely to speak badly about them too.

They’re hurting. That’s what it is. But it actually ends up reflecting worse on them, than you.

See they may also start sharing negative things on social media – sad quotes, angry quotes, public Facebook status’s shaming you even. It’s uncontrollable, and that’s because their emotions feel overwhelming.

They won’t care how it looks or what you think anymore. In fact, they may actually be trying to get a reaction from you. But rise above it. Let it go.

They’re only trying to make themselves feel better, although in most cases – it won’t really be working.

Recommended Read: 10 Signs Your Ex is Bitter After The Breakup

8) They’re a Shell of Themselves

On the flip side, if your ex is miserable after the breakup, they may completely go in on themselves and show no emotion at all.

Instead of lashing out, they’ll become a shell of the person they were before.

So you may notice things like:

  • They’re not going out anymore. They don’t want to do anything with anyone.
  • They’re isolating themselves, as they’re in a state of self-preservation. They just don’t want to deal with anything anymore. It’s simply about surviving each day.
  • If they are still going out, perhaps people are picking up on the fact that they’re not quite themselves. They’ve lost their spark. Yet they won’t let anyone in.
  • They may also lose interest in the things that are important to them, or the things they used to love, and lose focus on their work or goals.
Signs Your Ex is Miserable

9) Or They’re Trying To Prove Something

Another contrasting way of coping after a breakup, that actually still reveals they’re really struggling, is if they go to the extreme – as if they have something to prove.

So you’re over, it’s done, yet they couldn’t seem happier. They put on an act, a pretence – both for you and for others (there will also be an element of them trying to kid themselves too!)

They make out they’re living their happiest life, the breakup was the best thing, and everything is fine and dandy… when you know, just as well as they do, how hard this really is.

If they start dating new people, or move things along too fast and get into a rebound relationship (that of course will then seemingly be the “BEST relationship ever!”

The truth is, they’ll be trying to make you jealous, or trying to convince themselves they’re over you.

Similarly, they may become obsessed with dating – where you hear about someone new every week!

There will be a lot of rebounds and (from the outside) it may look like they’re loving their fun, new single life… but if it’s taken to the extreme, it’s more likely just their way of coping.

You know your ex better than anyone (in most cases anyway) so you know when it’s not real… and you’re not buying it. They’re pushing themselves too far, trying to cope – but it’s an escape.

10) You Hear Things From Others

Now, many of these signs your ex is miserable – you’ll find out from other people. After all, contact with your ex after a breakup is likely to be limited.

But what you hear can also be a give-away in itself.

  • Is your ex asking your friends about you? Are they asking how you are, how you’re coping, if you’ve said anything about them or if you’ve met anyone new?
  • Are they more focused on you than themselves?
  • Or maybe it’s their friends asking you to check in on your ex? They’re worried about your ex, and – although this is one of the last things they want to do is to get you back involved – they’re running out of options and don’t know what to do anymore… That’s when you know your ex really has hit rock bottom.

Signs Your Ex Is Miserable

So here’s the 10 key signs your ex is miserable – not just struggling after the breakup, but actually in a pretty terrible place.

It’s not a nice thought… even if you are angry with your ex… it’s not nice to think of anyone feeling like this. But like I said at the start – it’s important to establish why you’re here, right now, reading this.

Why do you want to know if your ex is miserable?

Because once you know this, you then know what YOU need to tackle, yourself.

Are you unable to stop thinking about your ex? Are they taking over your mind? Do you feel miserable too? Are you concerned they didn’t care as much as you? What is it? What’s driving this?

Whatever it is – understand it and work on it. Because that’s what will help you to let go and move on.

Struggling with this? Get in touch. Reach out to me and we’ll work through it together.

Take care. Thinking of you.


Signs Your Ex is Miserable
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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