Sometimes you simply have to trust your intuition and declare, "I am doing great/good/happy" or "I am still hurting/angry/confused" and let things unfold as they will. But if you want an emotionally intelligent response, say something like, "I'm doing the best I can." This simple statement shows that you're aware of his or her feelings and also gives the other person some control over the situation.
If you want to go further than this, you can say something like, "It sounds like you're going through a hard time." This acknowledges the other person's feelings while at the same time showing that you're there for them. It also lets them know that you respect them enough to not try to fix their problems for them.
Finally, if he or she has been hurt before, you can say, "I hope you're happy" or "I hope you get what you need". This shows that you're willing to let bygones be bygones but also respects their right to have feelings about the matter.
Overall, responding to an ex asking how you are is a difficult task for many reasons. First of all, because it requires you to look into yourself and find out how you feel. Most people would rather not deal with this type of introspection. Secondly, because most people don't want to hear about others' problems. What seems obvious to one person may not be to another.
Here are four ways to respond to an ex's question about how you're doing:
Increasing one's understanding
Giving a Standard, Brief Response "Fine, thanks," or "I'm fine, thanks," are appropriate responses. You can use these replies if you are chatting to someone you do not know well in a social environment, such as an acquaintance at a party or someone you met while out and about. If you have a more in-depth conversation with this person later, then you could say "I'm great" or "I'm having a fantastic time."
If you want to be more personal than that, you can say something like "I'm doing very well, thank you," or "I'm not doing so well but hopefully things will get better." Be aware that if you give a too-personal response, this may put the other person off talking to you again.
Finally, if you are asked how your family is, it is polite to answer this question. You can say that they are fine or asking about you. If you would rather not talk about yourself or your family, then just say so.
Overall, respond to questions about your health with answers that are brief and concise. Make sure that you are giving proper attention to others by listening to what others are saying, too.
Three Conversational Techniques Frame the dialogue positively, highlighting your desire to collaborate on this issue. Say something like, "I don't want to appear like I'm nagging you, but I really need to be reassured that it's me you want to be with, not her," or "I feel horrible when you're continually talking about so-and-so."
Use the word but to frame your reaction to what he says. For example, if he mentions his ex and you aren't sure why he's upset, say something like, "It makes me sad when you talk about her. I know we agreed not to talk about her, but I just want to be clear on why that makes you sad."
This technique is useful when you want to encourage your partner without appearing like a pushover. It shows him that you are paying attention and that you are not simply trying to change the subject.
Talk about relationships in general, rather than specific people. This gives your boyfriend the message that you are interested in more than just his problems with one woman.
If you find yourself getting frustrated by his conversation about others, take a break. Focus on other things for a while (such as a project at work) to give yourself time to calm down before having another conversation.
Stop attempting to solve problems and simply listen while dealing with emotions.
Inquire sincerely about their well-being.