First off, I’m absolutely not trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator here, and this article isn’t aimed at feeding false hope or denial, just to temporarily make us feel better about our breakup. Just to be clear:
- Just because they miss you doesn’t mean you’ll ever know about it (there are many variables and obstacles in play that may prevent communicating this turn of events; pride, fear, resentment, e.t.c).
- Just because they regret leaving doesn’t mean they want back in. Sound like a contradiction? That’s love for you. Some breakups are objective in nature (mind over heart), and are attempts to move on to something more fitting, even if it means taking a hit in the short-term.
- Just because they can’t let go, it doesn’t mean they miss you as a romantic partner, they might well miss their friend. Or miss some otherwise non-romantic element of the relationship.
I could go on, but you get the point. Consider this my disclaimer. What this article is, is my personal shot at detailing behaviors and signs that I feel show that they genuinely regret leaving, come what may, reconciliation or oblivion.
Putting You Down, Puffing Themselves Up
Boasting or bragging is usually a product of wavering self-esteem, so if they’re bragging about how many options they may have after a breakup, your large bright red bull-crap meter should be beeping rather loudly.
The same can be said for attempts to bring you down; trash-talking you publicly or over a social network is a timeless classic of insecurity and despite the sordid intention of trying to “win” the breakup, most people will see it for what it is. A crutch.
What’s going on under the surface? Chaos. To put it simply, if they genuinely wanted nothing to do with you, and their beautiful new life without you is/was so engrossing and liberating, then you simply wouldn’t hear from them. Any attempt, even if it is rooted in resentment, to bring you two together is exactly that; an attempt to bring you together. It’s just another way of refusing to let go.
They Hate You
Hating anything requires a great deal of energy, the kind of energy you wouldn’t bother investing in something of no value to you. As mentioned above, the main reason hate is so widespread after a breakup is because it functions well as a way to bait a reaction, so your connection (even if strained) remains intact, even if the message is repulsive rather than attractive.
In short, you don’t hate something you don’t care about.
The other function of strong emotion is as a stress vent. Perhaps they feel that unloading their resentment on you will bring your “perceived” value down, or perhaps the hope is that by saying what needed to be said in that moment a weight is lifted. Either way, this impulsive lack of self-control speaks volumes about how they feel.
An ex who has let go will usually be either indifferent or pleasant, for their own sake if not for yours.
They Talk About How They’re “Over It” A lot
Or even more simply, they talk about you a lot, in whatever form it takes, positively or negatively.
By parroting on incessantly about how life is better without you, or how easy it was to move on, they’re only really showing the world one thing; that you are constantly in their thoughts.
Sure, no matter how unhealthy the relationship was, they are bound to compare every aspect of their new life to “ye olde relationship”. It’s unavoidable. However, if life truly was as exciting or ripe with opportunity as they may imply, they wouldn’t be talking about it quite as much, they’d be busy being engrossed by it all!
Our words and expressions betray our thoughts, and if there’s a lot of the past in their current vocabulary, it shows what’s on their mind: You.
Emotional Blackmail And Other Mind Games
Most mind games are a last desperate plea to regain control of a situation, albeit in a selfish way. And again, as echoed throughout this article, a mind which has resorted to approaching problems in this way is a mind that is fundamentally afraid to lose what little it has left.
Even worse though, is that the greater the fear, the greater the predisposition to mind games. The good news is that should you reject playing along or being baited into a battle of their choosing, the house of cards will eventually collapse and they will either be forced to play the honesty card, or fold. They simply have no other choice if they want to reach the endgame.