Few things in this life are certain, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Every single person that has ever gone through a breakup has wondered if it was the right call or not.
But people react to breakups in all sorts of crazy ways.
How do you know if your ex regrets the breakup?
How do you know if he wants to get back together?
Well, here are 20 “warning signs” to watch for if a guy regrets letting you go.
1. He Stays Single
After you spend a great deal of time imagining a life with someone, it can be pretty hard to imagine a life without them. For some, jumping back into dating is their way of trying to move past it. However, if your ex seems to have had an impossible time moving, he could be holding onto the hope that that future could exist.
Don’t just assume this is the case. Sometimes, especially after a rough breakup. Some people remain single simply to protect themselves from having to deal with the pain of being hurt again.
If your ex has hopes of reconciling, then it is more likely that his singleness will manifest with one or more of these other signs, not on its own. So, don’t go jumping to conclusions without something else to back this one up.
2. He Tries to Hold Onto a Connection
He’ll fight to stay in your life through friends. He’ll fight to stay connected through family.
This will become obvious when you notice him reaching out and getting cozy with people that he wouldn’t normally get cozy with, then you can bet that his goal is to keep you close.
3. He Tries to Right Old Wrongs
If he is regretting the breakup, then you can bet that he spends a lot of time thinking about how he could have screwed things up. You can bet he’s going to try and apologize for them. Heck, I’ve heard of exes coming back and apologizing for eating the last of the cereal and think that that will get their foot back in the door of their old relationship.
If your ex starts coming up with all sort of apologies and trying to fix the problems of a relationship that has already ended, this just another way for him to stay connected.
4. He Can’t Accept the Breakup
We all do stupid stuff. We make the wrong call only to realize it later.
Occasionally, there are people who, instead of addressing the issue or admitting that they made a mistake, will act like it never even happened.
But how do you know if that’s what has happened?
Here’s a little personal perspective.
I’m the kind of person who has to have something to occupy my hands pretty much all the time. Usually, it’s a water bottle or cup. It keeps me from using my hands too much when I talk. It is a nervous thing I do that usually results in me spilling things.
Anyways, I am constantly trying to drink out of empty glasses and then trying to play it off like it never happened. Even if you ignore a mistake, it still happened. You can’t pretend it away
If your ex is trying to act like you didn’t break up, then you can bet that he either sees the whole breakup as a mistake or the reasoning behind the breakup didn’t pan out.
5. He Acts as if it is Temporary
We’ve all seen or at least heard about the FRIENDS episode where “We were on a break!” originated.
So many people just expect their ex to just sit and wait for them while they’re off living life.
In college, I went through my first big heartbreak with a guy who is now one of my closest friends. He used to give me every reason why we had to break up.
He wasn’t ready.
He didn’t deserve me.
He was moving and didn’t believe that long distance relationships could work.
But, when he felt like it, he would come back and we’d be back together until he decided he wanted to leave again.
Forgive the language, but it was all such BS.
He wanted to go off and live his life without the burden of being tied to someone until it was convenient for him.
I loved him so much, and he knew it. He turned my blind love for him into a revolving door. He came and went and was shocked when I wasn’t there waiting for him.
If your ex broke up with you, but he’s put some kind of expectation of being able to walk back into the relationship at any moment, then you have more power than he wants you to think you do.
6. He’s Overly Negative
Everything in his life has fallen apart and suddenly you are his therapist.
He comes to you to talk about every single thing that goes wrong, whether it’s something minor or really really big.
News flash, he wants to stay connected and he thinks the only way you’ll do that now is if you feel sorry for him.
I have this one friend who’s boyfriend broke up with her, but then made her think his life wasn’t worth living if she didn’t stay in it.
This is flat out manipulation.
It’s nice to feel needed, but putting this sort of pressure on a relationship is dangerous. Returning to this sort of relationship won’t be good for anyone involved, even if you want to get him back.
In situations like these, I suggest letting his friends and family know that he’s having a tough time and that you need to take some time to yourself.
While you’re doing No Contact, hopefully, he takes the time to learn to stand on his own two feet before you ever talk about getting back together.
If he doesn’t, it might be best for you not to get back into that kind of relationship.
7. He’s Overly Positive
He’s doing great!
He doesn’t need space from you at all.
You can be friends, and talk every day.
In fact, he lets you know that the sun is out and it’s shining.
Things are just great.
He just hopes you are having as good of a day as him.
Or at least that’s what he wants you to think…
This is pretty common these days. The goal is to make you feel as if your life pales in comparison to what it was without him and as he is doing better without you.
No one wants to feel like they held someone back or as if they are happier without us.
Basically, he’s painting his grass greener so yours looks dull and colorless. It’s a sneaky way of making you miss him. And making you feel like the excitement that is missing from your life clearly went with him when he left.
8. He Tries to Force You to Miss Him
After a breakup, we’re generally all a little guarded. But he seems to have no problem laying it all out there. I am literally watching this play out between two of my friends that split up about a month ago.
He’s a semi-famous local musician and she’s from a prized athletic family. Both of them are well-known and beloved by many. Their relationship was pretty visible.
They were those annoyingly cute couples that posted about how in love they were constantly. It’s like eating a whole pack of Oreos by accident. You’re happy they’re there, but you are kind of sick from all the sugar.
He just posted a pic on Instagram of the two of them and tagged her AND her new boyfriend.
If you think that’s a bold move… you’ll never guess what he did next.
He linked a new song he wrote about her to it.
He’s trying to tug on her heart strings and make her miss him.
If your guy is doing this kind of thing, then there isn’t a single doubt that he’s regretting letting you go.
9. He Bargains to Try and Get You Back
If your ex seems to think that the reason the two of you didn’t work out was because of some shortcoming, then it is likely that he will try to get you back by fixing whatever issue he perceives as the cause.
As I am sure you are aware, most people are impatient. We don’t like to put effort into something unless we know it is going to pay off.
It comes across as a weird type of bartering where they tell you their plan to make things better. They are looking to you to tell them if it’s worth the effort or if they’re even on the right track.
He’ll say things like,
“If I give up smoking would you give me another chance?”
“I’m thinking of going back to the gym and getting back in shape.”
“I’m thinking about getting a real job and moving out of my mom’s house.”
10. He Keeps Showing Up
You know how this one goes. You go to get coffee. He’s there.
You go to your favorite bar and he happens to be there.
He somehow makes you think about him even when he’s not there.
This move is typically a sign that fear is his biggest motivator.
He’s afraid that he’s lost his place in your life and that you will find someone else to fill that spot. Making himself indisposable to you is his way of making it impossible to imagine anyone else in his place.
You see his goal here.
11. He Shifts Personalities
He was one person when you were together and now he’s someone else completely. It almost seems like he’s become the man you’ve always wanted him to be.
Sadly, no matter how hopeful these changes might make you about reconciling, they are never permanent when they are made simply to get you back.
Keep in mind that changes in character take time and won’t happen overnight. If it seems like it has, it’s likely a short time until he goes back to being his pre-breakup self.
If you give into this play, and that’s all it is is a play, then at least you know what you are getting yourself into. So, tread carefully and don’t take the decision to let him back into your life lightly.
12. He Makes Grand Gestures
Anyone who’s seen a good old-fashioned chick flick knows what a grand gesture is.
Skywriting something romantic across the sky.
Holding up a boombox blasting some sappy song outside her window.
Giving up a major addiction.
Or making some seemingly selfless gesture.
But, like the previous point, this doesn’t fix anything. It’s simply a catalyst to get you to come back to the relationship.
Making professions of love and dramatic gestures don’t fix the problems that existed within the relationship and probably caused the breakup.
13. He Makes Excuses to Touch You
This is something that happens before the dating even starts. It’s an animalistic instinct to touch the object of your affection. The underlying reason behind this drive is because of the chemical oxytocin. This is also known as the “Cuddle Hormone.” Basically, being close to someone makes you feel connected to them.
Ironically, the thought process behind this notion is ingrained as children from being held close by loved ones. Your brain is basically hardwired to think that by touching people you create a connection with them. Oftentimes, this is true.
14. He Starts Showing More Interest
When you were together, he didn’t even know your friends’ names or your hobbies.
At the beginning of the relationship maybe, but over time he stopped paying attention or caring.
Suddenly though, he has taken an interest in EVERYTHING you are up to. He knows who your friends are and what all of you are doing pretty much all of the time.
While I’m happy to say that that means he’s still interested in the relationship, it also means he seriously took you for granted. Just something I think you should keep in mind.
15. He Asks Your Advice on Everything
Asking for your help is his way of laying prostrate at your feet, giving you the power over the direction your relationship is headed.
By making you feel like you are needed he’s trying to make you feel like he can’t function without you. That responsibility is meant to keep you from walking away.
Yes, it’s manipulative.
In this case, it’s not usually something that is done on purpose.
It’s a natural reaction to wanting to keep you close.
You just have to pay attention to what is in your best interests and take this into consideration when you make decisions instead of allowing feeling responsible to cloud your judgment.
16. He Fights to Stay Connected to You
As soon as any distance grows between you, there he is, swimming against the current.
You will know that this is what’s going on because he will make an absolute fool out of himself. Even if he’s outside your window right now blaring “In Your Eyes” he will do even more over-the-top things to keep your focus on him even if it’s “just as friends.”
Basically, anything that will make it really uncomfortable for you to even consider replacing him.
He’s holding onto hope.
17. He is Jealous of Your Attentions
You two aren’t together. It doesn’t matter if it’s been two days or two months. Suddenly, he’s eyeballing every single man in your life as if they are a threat.
You may not even be interested in anyone, but in his eyes, anyone getting close to you is a threat to him taking back his place.
It could be a friend.
It could be a classmate.
It could be a family member.
It’s silly, but he’s basically just afraid of losing you.
18. He Tries to Impress You
Have you ever stopped paying attention to a kid who wants your attention? I assure you it makes for a very uncomfortable road trip.
When I was a kid, my mom babysat almost every kid in our town. And I was older than most of them. So, I was constantly hearing, “bet you can’t do this,” or “hey look what I can do!”
Basically, that is exactly what your ex is doing when he calls to tell you how great he is doing. He wants you to pay attention to him and maybe realize that you miss him. Or to realize that he might have something to add to the relationship this go around.
19. He Works Hard to Get a Reaction
This one is a little similar and a little different from the last point, because, in the event that impressing you and getting your attention doesn’t work, it’s likely that he will take to being mean.
Sometimes this happens as a last resort. For some people, though, anger and lashing out are the only way they know how to express their emotions.
I know that that whole “he’s picking on you because he likes you” thing from the childhood playground may, in this case, be true. But that doesn’t mean that you should give in.
You’ve heard of positive and negative reinforcement.
Giving him what he wants because he’s stomping his feet and throwing a fit will only ensure that, for the continuation of the relationship, he will continue to act out towards you.
20. He’s Angry
As I said before, anger can be a sign of many things.
However, this anger doesn’t seem to be directed at anything in particular.
He’s angry at life.
He’s angry at you.
He’s angry at himself.
He’s angry at pretty much anything and everything.
He’s dangerously close to becoming that grumpy old man that stands on his front porch and shakes his fist at people as they walk by. This is simply self-pity manifesting as anger.
We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, the only way to get past moments like these is to make it through them.
Where Do We Go From Here?
So, what do you do with this information?
How do you use it?
Well, the first step is easy. You have to figure out what it is you want. I mean we already know that your ex wants to get back together. And you might think that your decisions remain between whether you want to get back together or not. But it isn’t that simple.
When my friends have found themselves in similar situations they generally ask me what I think and we have come to fondly call this notion “Defining Your Terms and Conditions.” These are the rules of the relationship that you are going to stick to whether he read them or not.
In my case, my T&C break down to respect, understanding, and communication.
Without those things, I wouldn’t return to a relationship no matter how much I missed it.
You have to decide what you will and won’t accept because ultimately it’s about what you want. You don’t just have to accept things the way they are.
My suggestion is that you define your T&C’s and write them down. According to a study published in Forbes, writing down your goals makes you significantly more likely to achieve them.
In the same sense, writing down what you want out of the relationship and what you are willing to accept will make it more likely that you will stick to them.
So, once you figure out what you want and how you are willing to get it, all that is left for you to do is to go after what you want.
I know how scary that can be, so I have some good news. We are here to help you in whatever way we can.
Feel free to let us know what C&S’s you came up with. And, as always, I suggest you start No Contact if you haven’t already started it. And remember, we are here to help. So, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have.