Will An Ex Boyfriend Break Up With You To Protect Himself?

“I want to break up…”

They are the five little words that any woman who wants to have a long lasting relationship will dread.

If you have had the misfortune of being on the receiving of those words you are most likely left reeling and wondering what went wrong.

The truth is that there are literally thousands of reasons that a current boyfriend can break up with you. In fact, throughout the history of this site I have covered a lot of these reasons,

  • You being needy..
  • Him being needy…
  • You being emotionally unavailable…
  • Him being emotionally unavailable…
  • Cheating…
  • I think you get the idea here.

Well, today I am going to be focusing in on one specific reason and I have YOU to thank for that.

You see, a few weeks ago I sent out an email to my newsletter and asked you one very simple question,

“What do you want me to write about?”

In total, I got something like 500 responses all asking me to write about specific topics. Out of those 500 responses I chose the very best ones and it just so happened a lot of people were wondering if their ex boyfriend was breaking up with them to protect himself.

Diving Deeper Into This Guide

This guide is meant to accomplish a few things.

Firstly, like always, I want to teach you about men and how they think. However, since we are covering a specific situation here with men who break up with you to protect themselves I want to teach you about the minds of the men who could potentially be doing that to you.

In short, this guide is going to cover the following topics,

  1. Is it even possible for a man to break up with you to protect himself ?(The answer is yes. ;) .)
  2. What is going on in his head to make him do that?
  3. What can you do about it if it does happen to you?

Okie dokie.

Lets get started!

Can Your Ex Boyfriend Break Up With You To Protect Himself?


A lot of you may be wondering why I even chose this topic.

I mean, why would I make such a big deal about one small little situation.

I’ll admit that I am kind of shocked to be dedicating so much time to this little question but as I said above, this is what a lot of you wanted.

When I asked you ladies a few weeks ago what you wanted me to write about this particular situation came up on more than one occasion. In fact, it came up so frequently that I absolutely had to write about it. There was no other choice.

So, is it even possible?

Can an ex boyfriend break up with you in an effort to protect himself?

The answer to that question is a resounding YES.

Of course, you know me.

I don’t just stop at the yes. I give you more and more and more. So, in an effort to provide more value to you I have decided to inform you at how often this particular instance can occur.

How Often Will An Ex Boyfriend Break Up With You To Protect Himself?


In a perfect world I would be able to assign a certain percentage value to the reasons for breakups.

For example, I could make some sort of claim like,

“10% of breakups occur because someone cheats and 20% occur because men are protecting themselves.”

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and as hard I tried for you guys I can’t assign a percentage for the protecting reason. The world and relationships are just to muddy for that. What I can do for you though is generalize things based on my extensive experience in dealing with thousands of couples.

While a generalization is not ideal I have found that more often than not my generalizations prove to be right.

In my opinion, men who break up with you because they are protecting themselves while not overly common are more common than you think.

I know that really doesn’t help you very much, does it? Well, it’s just that men who are protecting themselves are very hard to track.

For example, if the two of us were dating and I wanted to break up with you to protect myself I probably wouldn’t tell you that was the reason. What I probably would do is make up some fake reason so your feelings wouldn’t get too hurt.

Of course, this still really doesn’t help you very much does it?


Ok, here is what I am going to do.

I am going to give you a little cheat sheet. Think of it like me lending you my awesome brain for a few seconds.

This cheat sheet is going to teach you everything you need to know about what situations to look out for and in what situations your ex boyfriend is more likely to protect himself in.

The Cheat Sheet- What Situations Will Your Ex Boyfriend Be More Likely To Protect Himself In?

cheat sheet

In my experience there are certain situations that will make a boyfriend more likely to break up with you to protect himself.

I plan on covering those situations in this section.

Want to know what the situations are?

  • He Finds Out Your True Colors.
  • He Doesn’t Want History To Repeat Itself.
  • He Is Scared Of Getting Into A Deeper Commitment.
  • He Is Scared Of Your Past.

So, the purpose of this section is to give you a quick little cheat sheet that you will be able to glance at and determine if your ex could have potentially broke up with you to protect himself. In other words, if you were in any of these situations and your ex broke up with you when you seemed to think things were going well then you might want to take note.

Lets take a look at the situations now,

He Finds Out Your True Colors

true colors

What does that even mean?

Your ex boyfriend found out your true colors?

When everyone first starts dating they are on their best behavior. For example, when I first started dating my wife I didn’t want her to know that I was susceptible to a little jealousy here and there.

(Psst… I still don’t want her to know so don’t tell her.)

Anyways, when we first started dating I tried to remain as calm as I possibly could when any mention of one of her guy friends would come up. While I am very confident in myself I definitely don’t want to spend my days thinking of my (then) girlfriends guy friends. Heck, If I had it my way she wouldn’t say anything about them at all.

So, I would remain very quiet and standoffish any time the topic would be brought up. Now, I am not the type to tell a woman what to do in a relationship. I like it when people come to conclusions on their own so I just remained mum about the topic for the longest time hoping it would go away.

Eventually though, my wife started learning that I was not very responsive when it came to that topic and she found out my true colors…

My True Colors- I am definitely not a fan of listening to stories of my wife and other guys having a good time. Past or present. In other words, I can get jealous.

Look, I know that probably isn’t the best thing in the world for a relationship advice guy to admit but I know exactly how I am.

I get jealous where maybe someone better in that area wouldn’t.

I am a Taurus after all ;) .

Your Ex And YOUR True Colors

No one in this world is perfect.

Everyone has their flaws.

Some people are needy.

Some people are jealous (slow, embarrassed hand raise here.)

Heck, some people are just downright mean.

Now, here is the scary part. It is impossible to really know someones true colors until later on in the relationship.

(Remember, everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning.)

I want to run a scenario by you.

Lets say that you and a new boyfriend just started dating and everything is great.

You love him…

He loves you…

All is right in the world.

You two are in that mushy stage where you can’t keep your hands off each other and you are always whispering things to each other like,

“Your the most amazing man I ever met.”


“Your the most amazing woman I have ever met.”

You get the idea.

Of course, a few months later your boyfriend begins to notice something. He begins to pick up that you are extremely needy and high maintenance. Now, some men can deal with needy and high maintenance girls but your boyfriend isn’t one.

In fact, out of all the qualities in the world.

A needy high maintenance girlfriend turn him off the most.

Now we have a bit of a problem.

All of a sudden that mushy happy stage where the two of you are living in La La land where nothing can go wrong ends and your boyfriend begins to think to himself,

“Oh my god… I can’t be with a needy high maintenance girl.”

This singular thought evolves and soon he comes to a sad conclusion…

“I need to break up with her to protect myself.”

Do you see how that worked?

Happy Stage Dissipates (leads to) Realization Of True Colors (leads to) Him Breaking Up With You To Protect Himself

He Doesn’t Want History To Repeat Itself


History is a funny thing when it comes to relationships.

Any time I write an article for this site I am drawing on my own past experiences either through my own life or through this site. In other words, the past I have experienced affects me and what I write.

Your ex boyfriend is no different.

It is entirely possible that he could be protecting himself with a breakup so his own BAD past experiences don’t repeat themselves.

Now, I actually have a real life experience to draw from to prove that this particular outcome does exist.

A good friend of mine ended up getting married at a really young age.

What is a young age?

Well, I personally think marriage around the age of 21 is a little below the norm.

Anyways, my buddy got married when he was 21 years old and he was with his wife for a total of three years. While I am sure they certainly had their honeymoon period that was abruptly ended when he ended up walking in on his wife and his best friend in bed.

She then proceeded to tell him that his best friend wasn’t the only guy that she had been with.

No, she had ended up cheating on him eight times with eight different men.

(FYI I have told this story on this site before if you were wondering.)

I don’t care who you are, an experience like that definitely makes an impression on you that will last forever.

How did my friend react?

Not well…

In fact, he ended up protecting himself so much from relationships that he hasn’t even been on a date with a girl in five years. Yes, you read that right FIVE YEARS.

What Kind Of Experiences Can Make A Man Protect Himself?

The way this works is actually quite simple.

If your ex boyfriend was dating you and he kind of gets the feeling that his own unfortunate history in relationships is about to repeat himself he will decide that the fastest way in which he can protect himself is to break up with you.

What I would like to do now is give you a list of all the types of experiences that can have this type of affect on a man.

  • If he was cheated on.
  • If he was in a long relationship that ended really badly.
  • If he had an abusive ex girlfriend (not you.)
  • If he was stuck in a relationship where he felt trapped or bored but didn’t do anything about it.

My point in giving you that list is actually quite simple.

If your ex boyfriend sensed any of these things during his time with you then he might take action to nip things in the bud so history doesn’t repeat itself.

For example, if he was with you and during your relationship you were constantly hanging out with other men then he is inevitably going to have this train of thought,

“I wonder if she is cheating on me? She is always around these other guys? What do they have that I don’t?”

Pretty soon, if the debacle continues then he is going to convince himself that you are indeed cheating on him or that you are a high risk of it.

So, what is it that he does to take care of this little problem?

Yup, you guessed it.

He will break up with you to protect himself.

He Is Scared Of A Deeper Commitment

star wars commitment

Some men are commitment-phobes.

In other words, they will break up with you because they are scared of commitment and this can be looked at as a way of them protecting themselves. In other words, a man who is truly a commitment-phobe is going to be protecting himself.

But what defines a commitment-phobe?

What is going on a mans head to make him a commitment-phobe?

Oh geez… don’t get me started.

Well, firstly you know you are dealing with a commitment-phobe when he has the following qualities,

  • Doesn’t Want Titles
  • Very Standoffish
  • Act Like They Don’t Care About Anything
  • The Marriage Factor

Like always, I am going to dive deep and flesh out each one of these bullet points. Lets start with “titles.”

They Don’t Want Titles


Men who are commitment-phobes aren’t going to want an official title.

You know, the boyfriend title?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on why men won’t want to update their Facebook status to say “in a relationship” and usually an underlying cause of that is the fact that they are terrified of being labeled because in their warped mind being labeled a boyfriend can potentially end with them being hurt.

So, the best way to protect themselves is to not label the relationship.

After all, if you aren’t officially labeled as a boyfriend how can you get hurt, right?

They Are Very Standoffish

I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten an email like this,

“Chris, I have tried everything in my relationship to make it work but no matter how hard I try my boyfriend never lets me in. He is always so standoffish and any time I try to have a meaningful conversation he just shuts down.”

This is classic commitment-phobe behavior.

Usually you will get a guy who gives you mixed signals or is very hot and cold too.

For example, one moment the guy will be all into you and the next he is sad or depressed and its not even like he has to say anything for you to pick up on it. I mean, It’s almost like you can feel the energy between the two of you shift from a positive vibe to a negative one.

So, what the heck is going on for a guy to do this?

Well, usually what happens to a commitment-phobe is that he will go into a relationship (even if its not official) with his guard up.

gsp guard up

Then what usually happens is that your amazing personality, looks and charm start to work their magic and slowly but surely that guard begins to drop. All of a sudden he begins to have fun with you and starts to think that life with you isn’t so bad.

But then the worst thing ever happens.

A singular thought enters his mind…

“What if she hurts me?”

In other words…


So, what happens is after he has this thought he will put his guard back up and become very standoffish towards you.

This creates this hot and cold effect that you are constantly worrying about.

They Will Act Like They Don’t Care About Anything

I dont care

Last year I met a guy who I liked very much.

He had a good personality, seemed very family oriented and made everyone laugh a lot.

“Ok Chris whats wrong with him?”

Geez, you guys are harsh…



Ok, there was something a bit off about him.

He was haunted by his divorce and as a result kind of became a commitment-phobe to his current girlfriend. Of course, it wasn’t his girlfriend who told me this but it was him himself.

He actually told me without telling me.

You see, every time he would talk about his girlfriend he would constantly tell me things like,

“I don’t care what she does. She can go out to the bar any time she wants or flirt with any guy she wants.”

I remember at the time just nodding my head in agreement to not start an argument but the truth of the matter was that I was thinking,

“I definitely wouldn’t be ok if my woman started flirting with any guy she wanted. I think he was lying.”

Of course, the more I thought about it afterwards I began to see what was really going on.

This guy was absolutely burned by his divorce and it affected him on a deep level. So, in an effort to cope with it he put his guard up in a very unusual way. He began training himself not to care about anything bad that could potentially happen to him.

For example, if his girlfriend cheated on him he was training himself not to care.

If his girlfriend was emotionally or physically abusive, he would not care.

It was all an effort for him to protect himself by not getting attached to her so he wouldn’t end up feeling the sting he felt during his divorce.

The Marriage Factor


Here’s a fun fact about men that you won’t hear anywhere else.

Men are scared of marriage.

Actually, that’s nothing new…

However, what I want to talk about is the WHY!

Why are men so afraid of making the biggest commitment of all?

Why does it freak them out so much?

Well, it freaks them out because of a little something I like to call,

The Marriage Factor

What is the marriage factor?

I am so glad you asked!

The marriage factor is a certain thought process that a man goes through when he considers marriage to a woman.

I feel very qualified to talk about this since I just got married last year to a woman who completely destroyed my marriage factor.

Ok, the marriage factor goes like this,

Most men enjoy being single.

They like the way it makes them feel. They like that feeling of being free without having anyone to answer to.

I mean, when you date someone you have to basically check in with them a lot to let them know what you are up to. For some men this can be kind of annoying and makes them feel a bit trapped.

Oh, and in case you are wondering I am not even talking about marriage yet. Nope, I am just talking about a good old fashioned relationship.

Now, when the thought of marriage does enter the picture a man will usually get freaked out by a few things.

  • Marriage = A Lifelong Commitment To Just ONE Person
  • Marriage Usually Leads To Kids
  • His Way Of Life Is Gone

Marriage being a lifelong commitment is an obvious one. What isn’t obvious though is the kids factor. Call me crazy but I have a deep belief that most men out there are very protective towards their family and will do anything for their kids.

(There are definitely exceptions to this rule.)

However, when push comes to shove a lot of men step up and become great fathers to their kids. Of course, the introduction of a child into the mix means that a man can no longer hold on to his own selfish ways.

A man will have an innate belief that his every waking moment will be dedicated to his child and while being a father can be a very fulfilling thing you can understand how it won’t be appealing to a man who enjoys the freedom he has as a single guy.

Marriage usually leads to children…

Do you see where I am going with this?

When a guy starts to get wind of the fact that his significant other wants him to propose the marriage factor thought process is going to go through his head.

MF Thought One- “Oh my god…  I am going to have to be committed to her for life. What if things change?”

MF Thought Two- “First comes love… then comes marriage… then comes the baby in the baby carriage…. If we have a child my life is going to be over…”

MF Thought Three- “I am going to lose my friends… I am going to lose my late nights out… There is no way in hell she is going to let me keep partying the way I am now…”

So, with all of these scary thoughts swirling around in his head what does he decide to do?

Yup, you guessed it.

He decides to break up with you to protect himself.

He Is Scared Of Your Past


Usually when you talk about the past the first thing most people think of is men.

“He has some serious baggage…”

“He just got divorced…”

“He won the Nobel Peace Prize a few years ago…”

Wait.. that last one doesn’t quite fit.

Let me clear something up.

When I talk about someones past I am not referring to their past accomplishments I am referring to their past relationships. More specifically, their past failed relationships and any baggage that goes along with those relationships.

Like I said above, most people immediately point the finger to men and the baggage they bring.

“Oh, he slept with 20 women in the past…”

Well, I hate to say this but women are just as guilty as men when it comes to their pasts. In fact, sometimes a woman’s past can be such a hard thing for a man to overcome that he will talk himself out of the relationship.

Let me give you an example.

Real Life Example

As many of more avid readers know I actually run two fairly large relationship websites, this one, Ex Boyfriend Recovery and another one called Ex Girlfriend Recovery. Well, my other site, Ex Girlfriend Recovery, deals specifically with helping men get their ex girlfriends back.

(Funny Story- A few weeks ago a woman from Ex Boyfriend Recovery told me that her boyfriend went to Ex Girlfriend Recovery trying to find advice on how to get her back. Meanwhile, she was on Ex Boyfriend Recovery trying to find out a way to get her boyfriend back. They were both using the no contact rule on each other when both of them wanted each other back. Of course, after the NC rule was completed they did get each other back but I digress…)

There is one fellow that specifically sticks out in my mind when I think back to my other site Ex Girlfriend Recovery.

You see, this guy got so freaked out about his girlfriends past that he ended the relationship to protect himself.

What was her past?

Well, lets just say that she was more experienced than him in certain aspects of love. More specifically, she had cheated a few times in the past.

Pretty soon this guy was convinced that his girlfriend would cheat on him no matter what he did since she cheated on her exes in the past. So, he broke up with her to “nip it in the bud” before the bud nipped him.

In other words, he was protecting himself…

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