Everyone wants their ex to regret taking them for granted.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to get your ex back or trying to get over them, it can be pretty cathartic to hear them say “darn, I made a mistake and feel like a fool now!”
So how do you make that happen?
Well, today I’m going to take you through the psychology of regret and share tried-and-tested real-life things that you can do to make your ex regret leaving you.
Probably the best place to start is by looking at how regret works different for men and women.
You need to understand the differences and react according to your and your ex’s gender.
Understanding How Genders Differ With Regret
According to Psychology Today, studies on gender differences in regret show the increased value that women put on relationships and how women may have more difficulty disengaging attention from past relationships.
Overall, 44 percent of women surveyed in one study had romantic regrets, versus just 19 percent of men.
This is actually perfectly in line with our traffic patterns and program sales.
We definitely see more women come through our businesses than we do men.
I always chalked that up to the fact that men don’t like to talk or think about breakups, but in reality, it has more to do with the timing/psychology of regret in women and their dominant attachment style.
Women generally have anxious attachment styles so they experience immediate regret after a breakup and that’s when they look up things like “how to make my ex miss me” or “how to make your ex regret taking you for granted.”
Men, on the other hand, tend to let their feelings simmer and they usually distract themselves to avoid thinking about the breakup.
Understanding the Basis for Regret
I’ve talked about regret a LOT on my website, YouTube channel, and podcasts but it all really boils down to one core concept:
The easier it is to envision a different outcome, the more likely we are to regret the lost opportunity.
Your ex will only regret losing you if they can romanticize about a potentially different outcome. They need to imagine what could have been so they kick themselves for letting go of you. That fuels their regret and ultimately makes them want to come back to you.
Now I know what you’re wondering…
How Exactly Do I Make My Ex Envision A Different Outcome So They Regret Taking Me for Granted?
First things first, I don’t have a magic bullet phrase or action for you that will instantly make your ex regret their choices.
That said, we have done extensive research about regret and found that it’s less about a specific action or set of words, and more about inspiring thoughts of a different outcome with a combination of actions and mindset changes.
Five Things to Make Your Ex Regret Breaking Up with You
Here are the five things our team boiled down to maximize your chances of making an ex regret breaking up with you:
- Identify the Type of Regret Your Ex Is Likely To Have
- Time Absolutely Must Pass
- Romanticizing The Past
- Feeling Regret Is All About Highlighting The Consequences
- Embody The Secure Attachment Style
Allow me to expand.
Thing #1: Identify the Type of Regret Your Ex Is Most Likely to Have.
According to James Tobin, Ph.D., there are really two types of regret,
Action Vs. Inaction
- Action-based regret: Regret for what one did not do, including missing/not taking advantage of opportunities when they arose
- Inaction-based regret: Regret for what one did, including mistakes, poor choices, missteps, etc.
Let’s see examples of how this applies to breakups:
Inaction-based regret in a breakup: An ex regrets the decision to break up AFTER they’ve already broken up and realized the grass is not greener on the other side. This typically happens when you’ve moved on or are improving your life and your ex regrets missing out on those opportunities with you and regrets not treating you like they should have.
They envision the missed chances to work on your past relationship and everything they could have done to make it work.
Action-based regret in a breakup: This is most typical in breakups where an ex cheated on you. The ex probably regrets cheating and how they ruined the relationship. This kind of regret is often coupled with a lot of self-loathing.
Another common example of regret we see is when men break up with their pregnant partners.
This involves both action and inaction regret.
The first part is action regret because they realize they should not have broken up with their partner when she was pregnant because it’s way worse physically and emotionally. The second part is inaction-based because the breakup probably created a lot of friction so now the ex doesn’t get to be a part of their child’s life. They miss out on their child’s accomplishments and growth.
You need to understand what type of category you’re more likely to be in because that’s the type of regret that you’re going to have to put most of your effort behind.
Thing #2: Time Must Absolutely Pass
Regret is ultimately about missed opportunities and a little bit of self-loathing or feeling bad for yourself. The interesting thing about a missed opportunity is that it’s in the PAST. People conveniently gloss over this one crucial fact when talking about regrets and missed opportunities:
That fact is time has to pass for us to feel we’ve had a missed opportunity.
This is very difficult for a lot of our clients to accept because they’re usually very anxious and want to fix things right away. Those anxious tendencies don’t mix well with our first recommendation to everyone after a breakup – enacting a no-contact rule.
The no contact rule is an amazing tool that allows you to give your time ex to realize missed opportunities while you actively work on outgrowing them.
Time needs to pass because your ex probably won’t wake up the night after a breakup with strong regrets. That’s why you should do a no-contact rule as soon as possible.
Thing #3: Your Ex Must Romanticize the Past
So one of my favorite topics of discussion recently has been about avoidant exes and their thought process. Most of my clients have avoidant exes so it makes sense to delve deeper into how avoidants think and experience regret.
If you have an avoidant ex their mind works differently than yours. For example, a lot of times avoidant exes have to feel like you have gotten over them completely until they feel comfortable romanticizing the past.
This works perfectly with the concept of letting time pass too. If you don’t allow your ex to have any time they’re not going to romanticize the past because they’re hung up on how overbearing and insecure you’re being right now.
So instead pulling back is one of the smartest things that you can do because that allows them to feel safe to miss you.
Thing #4: Feeling Regret Is All About Highlighting the Consequences
Making an ex regret via consequences really boils down to opportunity cost.
When your ex broke up with you they made a calculated decision that they can do better than you. When they go out there to play the field and see if they can truly do better the only way they’ll regret their decision is if they look back at you and see they’re seriously missing out.
This is why we believe social media is one of the best ways to highlight this opportunity cost. You’re making them realize that your social stock went way up while theirs stayed the same or went down.
Sounds simple enough but here’s where most people get stuck – they can’t be instantly sure if it’s working.
There’s a lot of guesswork and taking it on faith with social media because your ex won’t immediately react to your posts or declare how much they regret their decision. This will probably make you double down on your insecurities of thinking your ex wouldn’t want you back if they broke up with you. That’s not really how it goes though.
Most exes need sustained exposure to your awesome new life on social media to start seeing the consequences of their choices.
All you need to do is live your best life and make it a pattern to post on social media. You don’t need to rub it in your ex’s face or overdo it. Just go with the natural flow of things and remember:
You need to SHOW your ex what they’re missing, don’t just tell them.
Thing #5: Embody the Secure Attachment Style
Attachment styles basically relate to how we interact in relationships, especially on a romantic level. There are four different kinds of attachment styles, with the secure attachment being the healthiest one.
The four types of attachment styles include:
- Anxious attachment style- People who go through a breakup and immediately want to fix things. Usually described as clingy, desperate, eager.
- Avoidant attachment style- People who want to be independent and run away from problems and emotions. Usually described as dismissive, aloof, uncommunicative.
- Fearful attachment style- Fearful attachment is a combination of both anxious and avoidant attachment styles, basically the worst of both worlds. Usually described as unpredictable, confusing, exhausting.
- Secure attachment style- The holy grail attachment style that everyone should strive towards. Usually described as confident, self-reliant, assured.
People with a secure attachment style are no-drama and they don’t attach their self-worth to others. This allows them to grow as individuals within their relationships without being overbearing or too aloof. These qualities make everyone automatically gravitate towards secure attachment styles. After all, who wouldn’t want a partner that loves you but still lets you do your own thing?
Your ex will only regret their decision to break up with you if they see you’ve changed your anxious or avoidant tendencies into strong, secure ones. The more secure you seem the more your ex will want to be with you and regret ever leaving you.
The ultimate test to see if you have a secure attachment style yet is asking yourself if you’re truly okay with not getting your ex back. If your answer is along the lines “sure, I loved them and did my best to get them back, but I’ll be okay without them”, then you’ve achieved the most desired secure attachment style!
Regret is all about making your ex envision a different outcome so they feel like there’s a lost opportunity. These are 5 basic things you need to do to make your ex regret leaving you:
- Identify the type of regret your ex is most likely to have
- Time must pass
- Your ex must romanticize the past
- Highlight the consequences
- Embody the secure attachment style