What is ‘hoovering’, the toxic relationship trait, all about?

relationship, ex couple, ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, manipulation, hoovering, toxic relationship, indian express, indian express news

If you get a text from your ex out of the blue, know that you may have been 'hoovered'. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Sometimes, when relationships fall apart, couples give each other another chance. They reach out to one another and try to make amends. While it can be a sincere attempt, sometimes an ex partner can reach out randomly because they want to suck you back into a toxic, manipulative relationship. This desperate attempt is what relationship experts call 'hoovering'. Read on.

Imagine the scenario wherein you get a text from your ex, out of the blue, asking you how you are, when a considerable amount of time has passed since you last spoke. It can mean nothing, maybe just a genuine effort to establish contact again. Or it can be a way to lure you back into their life. To actually understand if you have been 'hoovered', you have to take into account your relationship, your partner's past behaviour and how they have made you feel.

ALSO READ | Signs you’re not ready for a relationship

Re-establishing communication

As mentioned before, contacting you out of the blue, and pretending that nothing has happened, is a classic sign of hoovering. If your ex wants you back, they ought to straightaway say so. Twisting the conversation and asking, for instance, if you still have something that once belonged to them, or saying they dreamt about you, is a manipulation tactic.

Declaration of love

If they begin to proclaim their love for you — after you have broken up — consider it to be a twisted strategy of trying to reel you in and remind of you of 'good ol' times'. This should be especially bizarre if, in the past, they have struggled to admit their feelings.

relationship, ex couple, ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, manipulation, hoovering, toxic relationship, indian express, indian express news

Elaborately-long apologies may not be sincere, especially if your ex partner has not been good to you in the course of the relationship. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

The repentance

They are suddenly repentant and are being overly apologetic for their past mistakes. As such, they are trying to convince you they have changed and there will be no repeat of past mistakes. These apologies may have manipulative undertones. Try giving them a piece of your mind; if they get defensive know their apologies aren't sincere.

Threatening to harm themselves

They want you to give them attention. So they may threaten to hurt themselves so as to force you to respond to them. If you do not answer their calls and texts, they may suggest something dramatically extreme. If you think they are at risk and are risking the lives of others around them, contact emergency services.

ALSO READ | These bad habits could be ruining your relationship; find out

Using others to get to you

If they are directly not in touch with you, they may ask other people to reach out to you on their behalf. This way, they may get to play the victim and arouse sympathy from your friends and family. For instance, they may tell your parents how much they miss you, and your friends, how much they regret letting you go.