Today, we’re going to talk about, what to do when you go through a breakup with your boyfriend and they go back to their ex.
This is always a difficult situation because, without a doubt, the number one fear most people have when they go through a breakup is, what if they find someone better than me. And this fear is made doubly worse by the fact that your ex went back to someone that maybe you had an issue with, their ex.
Someone that they have a romantic history with.
And it can feel sometimes like they found someone better in their ex. And it makes you feel less confident in yourself.
So, today we’re going to talk about why they do this, but also how to handle a situation where your ex does move on to someone new, and that someone new being their ex.
Now, I’ve been doing this a long time. Pretty much for the past decade I have dedicated all of my time, effort and energy, in to understanding breakups. What works with them, what works to get over an ex, what works to get back with an ex, we sort of cast a wide net.
And what’s interesting is when you have an audience they ask you lots of different questions.
And specifically when it comes to a scenario like this, we get a lot of different questions.
- “My ex went back to his ex. Will it last?”
- “He went back to his ex but he still wants to be friends. Should I be friends with them?”
- “My ex has this new girlfriend, but does he miss me?”
- “Well, he went back to his ex but he still calls me, what should I do?”
- “Well, he said he loved me so much but he still went back to his ex.”
- “Why does my ex keep contacting me when he has a girlfriend? Isn’t that a bad sign?”
So, we’re going to talk about every single one of those questions.
So let’s just start from the top.
If Your Ex Went Back To His Ex Will It Last?
Your ex went back to his ex, will it last?
So the interesting thing about scenarios like this is actually determining whether you are the rebound relationship or your ex’s ex is the rebound relationship.
This is a unique scenario in the fact that usually most of the clients that we’re dealing with who have ex’s who move on to someone else definitely fall into that rebound category.
Where their ex moves onto someone else trying to distract themselves from the pain of the breakup. And it’s pretty obvious that it’s a rebound.
Usually with women specifically, you’ll see them hyper analyze the new girl’s photos and say, “She looks just like me.”
Now, how many of us have done this?
This is a scenario where this might not be the case.
It’s actually a little up in the air whether or not you were the rebound or your ex’s ex is the rebound.
So, before I talk about rebound relationships and how long you can expect them to last, let’s actually determine whether or not you were the rebound or your ex’s ex is the rebound.
So I think the number one way that we can help determine something like this, is actually first by understanding the length of time your ex’s ex was with him and you were with him.
So the way I’m thinking is if you want like a simple approach, Occams Razor, “The simplest explanation often is the right one,” the best probably way to approach this is by saying,
“Look, if I was with my ex for three years, and my ex’s ex was with him for one year, it’s more likely that my ex’s ex is the rebound.”
Then we also have to consider the fact, well, how quickly did my ex move on from his ex to me? Or did he move on from me to the ex? I know this is kind of like word jumbling, but basically those are the two factors that you are going to want to sit back and think about when you’re determining whether or not you are the rebound or not.
So, most likely in this scenario where you were with your ex longer, you most likely are not going to be the rebound. The only scenario where that maybe is not the case is how quickly he moves on to his ex.
So what you mean by that is, if you’re with your ex for three years, and your ex’s new girlfriend was with him for three years or two years, excuse me, before he moved back onto her, the big determinator on understanding whether or not your ex is actually in a rebound with this new girl is, of course, I mean, you were the tiebreaker, you were with him longer. But the issue I see is, if it has been like a year since your breakup, all of a sudden, this is a different question.
So the length of time on how long it takes him to move on to this new person matters as well. And then once you understand that, you can understand how long the rebound will last.
So if you believe that you were not the rebound, but your ex’s new girlfriend is the rebound, the typical rebound relationship is going to last anywhere between 5.2 months. And sometimes in certain cases a little bit longer.
So buckle up because a lot of people think like rebounds are like a one week type thing. They’re usually not. Usually in my experience, people or exes who have rebounds will love the joys of the honeymoon phase or the honeymoon period. Where the dopamine levels are just like off the charts. They’re really enjoying their time with this new person.
They see this new person with rosy colored glasses. Everything seems to be going well. And this is actually hard for a lot of our clients to hear. Because 5.2 months is half a year, basically. But this is how long we’ve determined that the average rebound relationship last. You can also consider if your ex is with this new person, one other factor that you need to think about is, how long this new relationship with this new person’s lasting. If it lasts longer than 5.2 months, all of a sudden it’s charting away from rebound territory, if you get my meaning. So those are three factors you really want to look at. How quickly they move on to this new person. How long you were with him versus he being with the new girl in the past. And if they’ve been with this new person for longer than 5.2 months, it’s not necessarily a rebound relationship anymore.
So, hopefully that answers your question on how long this rebound relationship with your ex will last.
Let’s tackle the next big question.
If Your Ex Went Back To His Ex But Still Wants To Be Friends
“Well, he went back to his ex, but he still wants to be friends. Should I do it?”
Yes. You should.
The story I’m going to tell you right now is actually the introduction to the being there method. So, if you’re not familiar with the being there method, it’s without a doubt one of the most important strategies that you need to wrap your head around if you have an ex who has moved on to someone new.
No matter what circumstance you were in, the being there method is going to be the most important strategy for you to conceptualize and implement.
And if you want to learn more about the being there method, I’ve written an entire article, basically detailing what you should be doing if you are in a situation where your ex moves on to someone new. Whether that’s with his ex or with someone completely new, doesn’t really matter.
But the being there method is an important part of the strategy.
Why? All right. So when I first started taking on coaching clients, my wife actually helped me. And we first started looking for coaching clients in our private Facebook support group. You hear me talk about it all the time.
Currently there’s over 6,100 members in it.
It’s a great community. And back then, though, it was a little bit different, because it was actually a small community. We had just started it up. There was only a couple hundred people in it. So we knew almost every single person situation really, really well.
And so, when I actually implemented coaching for the first time, we started mining first or giving first-mover status to people in the Facebook group. And an interesting thing happened, my wife was helping me, so I would take clients and my wife would take clients.
And I noticed one of her clients was in a really difficult situation. One of her clients actually was in a situation where her ex broke up with her and literally moved in with this new person. So, literally, it was like all set up during the breakup.
So, as you can imagine, it was just like one thing after another. And it was just devastating for this girl. And we recommended a longer period of no contact for her, thinking maybe that if we were able to do a longer period of no contact, it would help her emotionally.
But something interesting occurred.
We noticed that after the long period of no contact, the more she stayed in touch with her ex, the better things seemed to go.
So we actually just followed that curiosity thread and introduced her to what soon became the being there method. “Hey, why don’t you just be friends with them and constantly be a secure presence in their life?
You don’t necessarily have to become physical with them or give them emotional support, but you’re just there, and see what that does to the relationship with the new girl and him.” And it worked brilliantly.
The new girl imploded. And really, we were trying to understand like, why? Well, obviously there’s kind of a gray hat approach here. This is not necessarily morally perfect. If you get what I mean.
We don’t recommend people cheat or anything like that. We were just very curious to see how this would approach. And ultimately, when we learned more about attachment styles, we learned this is maybe why the being there method works.
Okay. So, what we know about attachment styles, is there’s basically four core attachments.
- Secure attachment, which is like the secure person, like the holy grail. This is always what you want to aspire to be.
- The anxious attachment style, which is people who are extremely anxious in relationships. Their whole identity is made up of the actual relationship and they’re the ones who are most likely to get blocked after a breakup, because they’re the ones that blow up their ex’s phone or beg for their ex’s back and things like that.
- Avoidant attachments, which is basically people who value their independence so highly that anytime they get into a relationship and begin to grow more emotionally intimate, they get scared because they feel like they’re not going to have their freedom anymore, so they bail.
- And then you have fearful attachment, which takes the worst categories from both anxious and avoidance and combines them together.
Now, we usually don’t talk a ton about fearful attachment styles because only 7% of the entire human population has exhibited them.
So it’s extremely rare. It can have, and we have seen a few over the course of the years. But one factor remains true no matter what. And this is something that we’ve been calling the secure attachment gravity.
If you’re able to shift your anxious attachment style, your avoidant attachment style, or your fearful attachment style towards more of a secure attachment style, something interesting happens. Your partner begins to mimic those secure factors.
Also, in the being there methods case, if you are able to become more secure with yourself and then communicate with your ex, the fact that you are so secure, not only draws your ex to you, but it intimidates the new person.
Because generally speaking, the new person is not going to have a secure attachment style.
They’re not going to be cool with an ex talking to their ex. They will become incredibly threatened, give their ex an ultimatum. This will cause fights and friction. And ultimately your ex is thinking, “What am I doing with this person?” And they start to compare you to the new person and you compare very favorably. And that’s exactly what happened in our client’s case.
And the being there method has been without a doubt, one of the most successful strategies that we’ve come up with when it comes to literally having an ex who moves on to someone else. So, if your ex wants to be friends with you, it is a perfect segue into the being there method.
You should do it after a no contact rule, of course.
Can Your Ex Miss You When They Are With Someone New?
So, let’s move on to the next question. “My ex has a new girlfriend. Does he miss me?” I think in cases like this, where your ex is moving on to his ex, the truth is they’re going on the rebound to try to forget you.
And that’s maybe a hurtful thing to hear, but bear it out.
They aren’t going to miss you at first.
This is an important thing to consider, because I think there’s this misconception people have when their ex moves on to this new person, the new person doesn’t measure up to the expectations that your ex maybe had. And they begin to miss you.
That seems to be what happens, but it happens on a much longer scale than you can possibly imagine. So, if your ex does have this new girlfriend, and this new girlfriend is their ex, it is possible that he will miss you but it will not happen right away.
In fact, the chances are actually higher due to normal circumstances or due to the abnormal circumstances you find yourself in because your ex is going back to a known commodity.
What I mean by that is, the honeymoon period or the honeymoon phase that they’re likely to experience is going to be a little bit shorter because they’ve already experienced a honeymoon phase with this person. And after that honeymoon phase is over, it’s usually when they began to miss you or begin to harp on the alternatives factor.
What do we mean by that?
Well, there’s this concept called the interdependence theory, which basically helps us understand why human beings make commitment decisions. Basically it says, human beings make commitment decisions based on costs and benefits scenarios.
So they’re always trying to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs. And the way they grade this in their heads subconsciously, is through three external factors. How satisfied they are in the relationship with the person that they’re with.
How much they’ve invested into the relationship with the person that they’re with, money or emotions. And then, of course, alternatives. Is there someone out there better?
Well, at some point your ex thought there is a better alternative to you in another relationship. This is why he went into a relationship with this new person. But the same can also be said when he moves on to the new person.
Eventually they don’t start seeking out other alternatives or having the idea of other alternatives until satisfaction comes down. And satisfaction usually comes down when the honeymoon phase is over. And this is an important thing to understand, because satisfaction itself won’t cause an ex to want to break up with their new person and come back to you.
What ends up doing that, is when they began to realize they’re investing more time into you via the being there method than with the new person.
Then all of a sudden you look like the best alternative. So that’s when you can expect an ex to begin to miss you.
Ah, but what if they go back to their ex and still call you, what should you do? This is, again, a variation of the being there method. After our no contact rule, of course, you want to gain a monopoly on your ex’s time.
So this goes back into that interdependence concept of satisfaction, alternatives, investment.
You want your ex to invest as much time into you as possible.
So if they’re calling you and talking to you, it’s always a very good sign. But why is investment so important? Well, they’ve done studies and realized, people will stay in unhappy marriages where they definitely believe that there’s a better alternative out there for them if they feel like they’ve invested so much into the relationship.
Because they don’t want it to be for nothing.
So, if you’re to grade these three factors of the interdependence theory and try to understand which one matters more, it would definitely be investment.
Because even if satisfaction is low, alternatives are high, they will still stay in an unhappy relationship because they don’t want their time to be wasted.
This is important to understand, because if you’re able to take the monopoly on your ex’s time, all of a sudden you remove that off the table, and they really start to make decisions based on how unsatisfied they are with this new person and how you’re the better alternative out there.
Why Did My Ex Say He Loved Me But Still Went Back To His Ex?
So, let’s go with the big million dollar question of, “Why is it that my ex said that he loved me but he still went back to his ex?
There’s a lot of different reasons, but I think ultimately understanding attachment styles is the number one thing that you can do to help navigate the understanding of men and break up. So, one of the cool things about having an audience is, we have a lot of data to sort through.
We have a lot of experience to sort through. We noticed earlier last year when we started really diving into attachment styles, that most of our clients have anxious attachment styles, and most of their exes have avoidant attachment styles. Now, why is this important?
Well, people with anxious attachment styles value relationships pretty much more than anything else in their life, almost to an unhealthy level. They become almost very possessive of the person that they’re with. This often leads them to extreme bouts of jealousy, extreme bouts of possessiveness, controlling, things like this.
In their minds, they believe that they’re doing it to create a meaningful connection with the person. And that the connection is this mass thing that is amazing. This is the exact opposite of what an avoidant ex wants, or an avoidant person wants. An avoidant person wants space every once in a while, because they feel they value their independence more than anything else.
So the irony is, avoidance and anxious people are drawn to one another, but they’re doomed from the outset because their natural attachment styles just grate on each other’s nerves. So, why is it that your ex says that they love you but they go through this breakup with you and then go back to their ex?
Well, I think it’s an understanding an avoidance need of valuing their independence. Sometimes when things get so emotionally intimate between two people, an avoidant will literally start to think, “Oh my gosh, I’m getting too close.” Or, “Oh my gosh, what happens if I lose my independence? What happens if I’m no longer able to do this or no longer able to do that.”
And they freak out and leave.
But the interesting thing about avoidance is, a lot of people misunderstand and think that they don’t want an intimate relationship.
They want an intimate relationship more than anything else, but they are stuck in the self-fulfilling cycle.
Where they start out wanting an intimate relationship because they’re tired of being alone, but they do value being alone at the same time. So they enter into a relationship with someone who gives them all of the intimacy that they are seeking.
Someone who is an anxious attachment style. But when the anxious attachment style person’s tendencies begin to grate on their nerves, they start to realize what a mistake it was to get into a relationship and they bow out of the relationship.
Of course, then they start to feel bad about themselves and feel sorry for themselves and create this self-fulfilling narrative in their head of, why is this always happening to me?
And then they start to look for someone else. But what about the known commodity where they begin to realize, “Hey, remember my old ex, maybe I’ll try things up with them?”
And this actually completely is understandable if you understand how avoidance tend to miss people. So, avoidance are famous for literally loving these, what if scenarios.
They love to admire from afar, to have nostalgic reverie from afar, when there’s no chance they could ever get back together with you is oftentimes when they begin to miss you because it’s safe to miss you.
So, then when they get out of this relationship with you and they begin to think back on their whole relationship status, it makes complete sense that they would want to go back to an ex because they begin to have nostalgia about maybe the good times with this one ex.
Of course, interestingly enough, if they get into this relationship with this one ex, and if that ex, this new person that they’re with, has anxious attachment styles it’ll eventually grate on their nerves and they will be stuck in the same process again. And ultimately, maybe want to come back to you.