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Confused by contact from (big and important) ex

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Relationship advice To very quickly summarise, we got together in September 2010 after having - what we thought were unrequited - feelings for each other for almost 3 years.

A very passionate, intense relationship ensued, was meant to be forever etc - he was going through a divorce already, I split with my husband for him (unhappy marriage for years), so difficult times all round and he wasn't mature enough (even though we were both in our 40s) to cope with it all. I was going through health issues too, which affected my temper and I wasn't easy to be with (although I was mostly very loving and supportive). We were incredibly close and, despite us both having been in relationships of 20+ years (his ex was the only relationship he'd ever had) we'd never felt like this and we were also very naturally tactile with each other, again a first as we hadn't usually been like that.

I fell apart and was completely brokenhearted, leading to a breakdown which I have fully recovered from and my life is now full and reasonably happy. I've remained single since we split in June 2011. We live in the same neighbourhood and have occasionally bumped into each other (and I did contact him a fair bit in the early days and on very, very rare occasions since - sometimes he replied, mostly he didn't), and we even spent the night together a couple of years ago.

In November 2013, I met him for a 'closure' meeting. All very civil but I got nothing from him. I'm very much calmer than I was - I'm very much changed, and for the better - and he can't help but have noticed this. I told him not a day had passed since we split that I hadn't thought of him.

I texted him twice last year. On the first, he replied but closed down any communication with a 'take care' ending. In my last text (last August) I said 'no reply necessary, I don't need a 'take care' pat on the head, be happy'. And that would have been that, I was done.

Last month, I attended a local community meeting (a protest against possible new builds on my estate). I was very surprised to see him there but he didn't know I'd seen him but, from where he was standing, I knew he must have seen me. Shortly before the meeting ending, he sneaked out and I assumed it was to avoid me.

The next day, he texted me, which I could not have been more shocked about. A friendly text, which I replied to and several messages - banter, actually - passed back and forth, which him replying when no reply was necessary. Never has he done this since we split. And then it stopped when he didn't reply to my last message.

It was my birthday last Saturday. I'd been hoping against hope he might text me (my birthday - a big one - was mentioned during the text exchange) but I was sure he wouldn't. Again, I was shocked when he actually posted a card to my house. I texted a thank you and several texts were exchanged, friendly ones. This time, I didn't reply to the last text (one wasn't needed). He mentioned he was away on holiday with his daughter (when there was no need to tell me, nor to say who he was with).

I'm puzzled. This has come out of the blue and is very, very unexpected. I'm being guarded but would welcome some viewpoints as to what's going on. I always thought he would avoid opening Pandora's Box again - my young son, now 13, took it all very badly but is now back to being my very loving boy - by having any contact with me, let alone instigating it himself. I am still in love with him, he was my 'one' but I'm being very calm, rational and pragmatic about this contact, I cannot allow myself not to be.

Confused by contact from (big and important) ex

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So it sounds like the two of you broke it off due to him not being able to handle going through a divorce and your anger issues during an illness. Now he is slowly coming back around it seems. Plus he has had time to work through his divorce issues, I would think. It is quite possible that he is inching his way in to find out how you are doing mentally. He doesn't want to start up a relationship again until he knows how stable you are. And I don't mean that to sound like you have crazy mental issues. I just think he can only go by your past together. By keeping contact friendly and limited, he can begin to gauge it. It's like he is just looking through the window on you instead of knocking the door and coming on in. He wants to safely measure this whole thing first. So just be patient and be your delightful sweet self and play it cool. If it is meant to be, it will be. Just be patient.

Confused by contact from (big and important) ex

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Thank you, Jocelyn - that sounds exactly like him, actually, always works on logic and deep analysis.

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