By Chris Seiter

Published on May 24th, 2022

Today we’re going to be talking about the major signs that your ex is pretending to be happy.

Now, what I find interesting about this topic is that everyone has gone a little list happy, meaning, all of my competitors seem to be in a competition with one another to come up with the most amount of signs that an ex is pretending to be happy without you.

In my opinion, there are really only five legitimate signs that an ex is pretending to be happy without you,

  1. Their Words And Actions Don’t Align
  2. They Are Caught In The Self Fulfilling Cycle Revolution
  3. The Fake It Till You Make It Approach
  4. The Societal Expectations
  5. They Are Always On Social Media

Let’s get to work.

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Sign #1: Their Words And Actions Don’t Align

I know this is going to seem like a weird ask but do me a favor, watch this,

This is a lecture by famed psychologist Jordan Peterson but it’s not so much the topic I’m interested in, rather, it’s this simple statement he made in the lecture,

I think this was derived by Jung. If you can’t figure out what someone is doing or why, look at the outcome and infer the motivation.

Essentially it’s a fancy way of saying, words are cheap, actions are valuable.

The goal of this article is to help give you the tools necessary to determine if your ex is pretending to be happy with you. I can think of no better weapon to help you accomplish that goal than simply putting Jordan Petersons words into effect.

Let’s say you have this ex literally telling you,

“I’m better without you.”

Or maybe they’ve made some Facebook or Instagram post declaring their happiness. Something sappy like this,

Maybe that particular example was too far but you get what I’m going for here.

Words mean nothing post breakup. Actions mean everything.

Look at what your ex is actually doing without you. Are they actually doing things someone happy would be doing? Sometimes mutual friends are great for this because there’s nothing people love more than talking about drama.

If you hear ex boyfriend billy is sitting home alone and putting on a front then usually that’s a surefire way to tell that they are depressed after the breakup.

But there’s also another interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed occurs after a breakup.

Sign #2: They Are Caught In The Self Fulfilling Cycle Revolution

Time to pull out the statistics that I seem to pull out every single article now-a-days.

Most of our clients tend to have anxious attachment styles,

Most of our clients exes tend to have avoidant attachment styles,

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This means the most common pairing that we see in our coaching practice is the anxious/avoidant relationship. I actually wrote a really great post yesterday on that pairing if you are interesting but it’s relevant in this discussion because of its impact on this graphic,

This is the avoidant self fulfilling cycle that we notice many of our clients exes get caught up in. There are eight main stages to it,

  1. The avoidant starts by thinking “I want someone to love me”
  2. Next when they’ve found that person they think, “This is great my love troubles are over.”
  3. Then the avoidant person starts to notice some anxious behaviors from the other person and the cracks begin to form
  4. Once this goes on long enough the avoidant person starts debating on when they’re going to leave
  5. Then they actually leave
  6. Then they feel super happy about the fact that they left. But if enough time goes by where they’re left alone they start to feel a bit lonely
  7. Which leads them to start thinking that they can’t ever find the right person for them
  8. Then they start thinking “I want someone to love me.”

Once an ex gets caught in this cycle they spin around and around in a circle devouring every relationship,

But where it’s especially interesting for our discussion is in this phase right here,

Oftentimes there’s this moment in time post breakup where most avoidant exes will feel like they are happy to have their lives back. To get more specific what they are really responding to is a feeling like they’ve reclaimed their independence back again.

Which if you know anything about avoidants you’d know that is a huge deal to them.

Their core wound revolves around valuing their own independence more than anything else.

What’s interesting though is this phase of the self fulfilling cycle is a little short lived. It just takes some time.

Eventually these phases occur,

So, my argument is a simple one. To your ex, I’m not sure if they ever think they are pretending. It probably feels real to them but they are reacting before they’ve had a chance to fully process the breakup.

Making matters more complicated is sign three.

Sign #3: The Fake It Till You Make It Approach

My colleague, Coach Anna, wrote this really interesting post in our private facebook support group, I’ve highlighted the relevant parts for our discussion,

Interestingly, this type of self-reflection is atypical for guys; ERP men appear to be more of the exception, clearly. Men usually have a different approach to dealing with their feelings. I read a psychiatrist once describe it as “Men tend to repress their grieving and take a ‘fake it until you make it’ approach…some men become dogs and go for every hookup…but they are terrified of intimacy and run like hell if a woman wants anything more. Alternatively, they party with their guy friends to drown their sorrow or bury themselves in their career or their hobbies—anything to keep their mind off their loss and their pain.”

The argument here is that it’s entirely possible that your ex is repressing the emotions of the breakup and putting up a façade that they are ok in an effort to fake it until they make it.

This would seem to track with what we know about the self fulfilling cycle.

For example, this is the stage where they are repressing the breakup,

I’m so happy I left them.

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This is the best.

I’ve gotten my independence back.

But it’s a knee jerk reaction because the full weight of the breakup hasn’t quite hit them yet. That happens here,

But let’s go a bit deeper into this discussion and talk about how society can actually play a role into this grieving process.

Sign #4: The Societal Expectations Of A Breakup

I find the irony of humanity a fascinating thing. My website, rightfully so, is often scrutinized by people. Unfortunately, most people view Ex Boyfriend Recovery as a website solely focused on helping trick your ex to come back to you.

And we all know society does not agree with “getting back together with exes.”

Except of course if it’s socially acceptable.

What’s socially acceptable you say?

Oh, how about marriage? What about stopping a divorce or trying to reconcile after a separation? All of a sudden those things are ok.

But trying to get an ex back… No, that a bridge too far.

But I’ll get down off my soap box for a moment. Here’s the point I’m trying to make. Societal expectations are a powerful thing.

The weight of the opinions of the whole crush the opinions of the individual. It’s whey we’ve seen the sphere of influence have such an impact on breakups.

The opinions of others matter to most people whether they want to admit it or not. The opinions of friends and family… well, they make a huge difference.

So, imagine for a moment if you have an ex who is being told by all the people around them, by society itself that they should be over you.

That they should move on.

That they shouldn’t be grieving you for very long. This is often what leads to that fake it until you make it mentality.

Sign #5: Your Ex Is Always On Social Media

This may seem like a deviation from the previous signs but I felt like I’d include it because it is something I have seen enough of to warrant talking about.

Your Exes Posts On Social Media = Proportional To How Insecure They Could Be

A few years ago this article was posted about social media and it said something very interesting,

After surveying more than 100 couples, researchers from Northwestern University found those who posted more frequently on social media about their partner actually feel insecure in their relationship.

Most of our clients often freak out when they see their ex has had a significant uptick in their posting schedule.

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“He never did this when we were together…”

“He seems so happy without me posting about all the fun things he’s doing…”

But they are looking at it all wrong.

Research has consistently shown that the more someone posts on their social media profiles the more insecure they are. You should be ecstatic that your ex is posting like crazy.

It means the breakup had a huge impact on them.

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