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.

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9 Comments

  • InLovewithNarcissist
    Posted Oct 7, 2015 at 9:55 am 0Likes

    Hi,
    Another great article. Good insight. I find your clarifications very useful (there’s always this feeling of anxiety for me when trying to understand male mind: if men say what they mean, then all the mean things my ex said he actually meant? Horrifying thought)

    My ex boyfriend broke up with me numerous times (always over me questioning why he still talks to other women on dating sites when he’s supposed to be exclusive with me?)
    His responces to when I tell him: I can’t be with a cheater, even if he doesn’t meet them/sleep with them. Loyalty is a deal breaker for me.

    He says:
    “I’d be crazy to settle for you – there’s so much better our there”
    “You’re a f****ng parasite”
    (When I asked him to buy me a pair of cheap flat shoes when I was pregnant with his son)
    “Whore”
    (because I refused to have an abortion)
    “I told you many times: it’s either me or the baby”
    “There are younger, richer, tighter and better looking women out there – you’re a looser”
    “I told my real girlfriend all about you – she knows you are crazy and she thinks you’re a hunger on. Pathetic!”
    (the “real girlfriend turned out to be a random foto off the internet of some woman in a different country who doesn’t know he exists. He later created a profile of a “new girlfriend” and tried communicating with me from that pretending to be his own new GF after I blocked him on everything.
    He sent me ALL the gifts I ever gave him in our years together and all the romantic cards I sent him. He drive 2 hrs on impulse 3 months ago and demanded I gave him back all his gifts, including cheap gold plaited jewellry and teddy bears. I just laughed at him.
    The list goes on.
    I find it hard to believe I was once so happy with him and could see no wrong (even though I later found out he would stay up till 5 am delirious from chasing women online and masturbating on Skype with yet another sex interest and then drove to see me the next day, tired, and give me flowers while looking at me with puppydog eyes and telling me he loves me, as his phone would go crazy with texts & phone calls from women whose contact details he gathered the night before.
    He never stopped cheating. There was always frequent trips to the toilet where he’d have his secret “fixes” of raunchy texts and emails sending dick pics to them them coming back to dinner table like nothing happened (while struggling to meet my eye)

    Does he regret leaving me?
    Who cares !
    He’s never gonna change.
    I used to miss him but now I’m fully detoxed from his presence I see him exactly for what he is: insecure weak man using other people to feed his huge Ego.
    Is there better than me out there?
    I don’t care.
    I’m what I am, I’m good looking but the most important: I respect myself. I’m loyal and kind and I don’t wanna change.
    I know there us better than him out there for sure.

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted Oct 7, 2015 at 10:14 am 0Likes

      hey again!

      if men say what they mean, then all the mean things my ex said he actually meant?

      Not sure where I alluded to this, if so it was a mistake an I explained myself poorly. No, my aim with this article was to show the opposite, that often what we say and how we feel are at odds. That just because he said what he said, doesn’t mean he thinks them, nor does he think they are true.

      Regardless of this however, and I very rarely say this, personally, any one of the phrases he said to you would have sent me careering away from the relationship — love or no love. They are simply unacceptable. Even if their intent was to push you into a corner, and make you feel worthless so he had control, they denote a fundamental lack of respect. This isn’t a male or female specific thing, this isn’t even a reflection of what and who you are, it’s just a reflection of who he is. So you’re right to not identify with his words, it’s what he wants you to do.

      P.S: It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic but: He calls you a parasite yet openly admits to being one! He claims he wouldn’t settle with you yet keeps his fangs laced onto the relationship. if he isn’t in it for the long run, then he is openly admitting to using you, which is EXACTLY what a parasite is!

  • Mel
    Posted Oct 31, 2015 at 12:45 am 0Likes

    Hi James,
    I just wanted you to know when I am in a dark place I always come back to your post for comfort and to give me strength.

    Thank You

    • James Nelmondo
      Posted Oct 31, 2015 at 2:39 pm 0Likes

      Hey Mel, thanks and glad to hear I could be of use.

      For some reason the spam filter caught this and flagged it, I’ve enabled it now. Sorry about that!

  • Lost & confused
    Posted Nov 16, 2015 at 7:59 am 0Likes

    Hi there, not sure you can help but I need a man advice with this one I have been with a married man for years.. Long story but my question for now is this. He broke up with me 6 months ago because his wife was suspicious and he said he needed to distance himself. I said ok take the time to think if you ever will leave her the time is now .. I had to finally put it ou there since the timing was right. I went with no contact which was difficult. Today he texts me with generic statement and says . No need for a response. I’m soooo confused why would he reach out only to say no need for a response.. Help.. Ty

  • E
    Posted Nov 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm 0Likes

    My ex boyfriend broke up with me a week ago and said he doesn’t love me anymore and haven’t for a while now before its we broke up for a week and he was speaking to this girl which he told me when we got back together. Now we have ended hea liking her pictures and stuff again. Is he doing this to make me jealous and get a reaction or something? I’m pregnant with his second child.

  • Indya
    Posted Nov 18, 2015 at 10:48 am 0Likes

    Hello,

    I’m definitely enlightened by your male perspective insight! I’ve read some comments and concerns from the individuals here and couldn’t help but find one that CLOSELY resembled my situation! Here’s mine:

    My uncle introduced me to a guy, over twenty years ago, when I visited my family in the south. At that time, he constantly voiced how enamored he was with MY beauty. We dated while I was down there and, of couse, I came back north—to my life and moved on. So did he. (Time and distance can cause any relationship to fade). Throughout the years, when I’d occasionally visit, he’d get the word that i was in town (no doubt my uncle was the one notifying him) and he’d visit and we’d go out for a meal or just talk and catch up. Then, I’d leave and, of course, we’d move on with our lives. (Mind you, he’d always mention his strong desires for me, yet we’d move on. REMEMBER: TIME AND DISTANCE).

    Well, at some point, we became friends on FB, after I found him on there, and he was so excited. He kept asking me when would I return down south and if I was coming back to stay. (I’ve always told him that I wanted to come back to stay but never made the effort to do so).

    Well, a little over a year ago, we started talking on the phone and texting more frequently (several times throughout each day). I guess this was in an effort for us to get to know one another and eventually become an item. I’m not sure. But, I know I developed feelings for him. In one of our many conversations, he told me that he was coming off of Facebook because of its bad influences. I did as well, (I guess out of respect for him) but I subsequently returned because I felt as though I could endeavor to not allow Facebook to influence me. Anyway, So, after talking for so long, we decided to meet up. I was to take a trip down there and we were going to spend time together. However, I got cold feet and backed out. He subsequently became distant. (his phone calls and text messages waxed and waned). A week later, my uncle passed away. (Not the one that introduced us). I told him that I was coming down there to my uncle’s funeral. Subsequently he showed up at the family house! I believe my uncle called him. Whatever the case is, he showed up! We spent time together at that time, and he came another night, after he came from a long day’s work, to spend more time with me ( I could see that he was extremely tired). I was confused, because I thought he wrote me off because of my cold feet. After I returned back north, I noticed he became distant again. His text messages and phone calls, once again, became few and far between. I visited back down there this past summer. Once I got there, his interest seemed to have returned, as he visited me a few times while I was there. He took me out to dinner as well. But, again, once I returned home, up north, his texts and phone calls waxed and waned again. I subsequently requested more time on the phone just as reassurance of the security of what I thought was our relationship. During our last conversation, he asked that we slow things down. So, I agreed. I hadn’t contacted him at all! (Well, I inadvertently included him in a group text). But, other than that, no contact from me!

    Well, it just so happens, I’m finally going to make my move down there! My family begged me to move into the house that my, now deceased uncle, left vacated. So, I gave in and I will be moving there soon.

    I noticed, while I was changing my profile pic on Facebook, (one of them that he “liked” years ago) that he appeared back on Facebook again, but he blocked me! I’m confused. Because, to me when he said that we should slow down…. I slowed down! To me, when someone requests that we slow down means that he does not want to pursue a relationship. So, I granted his wishes. Again, I don’t understand why he came back on Facebook and blocked me. After all, he ended things – – – not me! Any insight?

    Signed, “perplexed”

  • Harry
    Posted Nov 20, 2015 at 2:04 pm 0Likes

    Hi James,

    Would like to get your opinion on all of this.
    I was with my girl for 5 1/2 years. We were each others first loves. She left in the august of this year and gave a multitude of reasons and days later got with a work colleague who is 18 years older than her… (typical grass is greener syndrome) I work for her dad and with her sister still (it’s not awkward) and they said for a while that she will come back round and that I should find someone else to make her jealous. Her whole family are angry with her being with this guy and apparently he can’t drive or have kids either. The sister even spoke to her at one point saying ‘tell him to move on’ because it was unfair leaving me in the dark. My ex said back that she didn’t want me to move on and when the sister asked ‘do you want him back’ she said not at the moment (I don’t know if she still feels that way). I have been in no contact for 2 months now and last night she liked two of my Instagram posts, which I find odd because that’s the first time she liked any since the breakup. I took it as a good sign but then this morning I saw she made a new Facebook and added everyone but me, my close friends, and my family. In the spur of the moment I sent a friend request and she accepted it within minutes. All the pictures of us are now gone. My problem is that I have read so much about people with grass is greener syndrome coming back to exes after the new relationship didn’t fulfill them like the old did, that I have got it drilled into my head that she will come back at some point next year.

    What do you make of all of that and what advice would you give me?

    Thanks in advance,
    Harry

  • Anonymous
    Posted Nov 26, 2015 at 12:34 am 0Likes

    Thank you a lot sir for sharing those much valuable thoughts.

    My problem and pain however is, that I luckily did not do any of the signs that shows regret, maybe because I no longer feel it, because I shouldn’t have in the first place. But back then I didn’t know I shouldn’t, because I was an extremely naive, platonic and kind person. My pain is only now in the eyes of people who think I still love him and treat me with pity, which isn’t true and I get hard time dealing with this, but I am coping.

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