Today we’re going to talk about the psychology of dumper’s remorse – what it is, how it works, and why I feel it’s one of the most important things that you need to create if you want your ex back.
But before we go into all of this, you need to know – is it a good idea to try to get your ex back?
Do you have a chance of succeeding?
You may be in one of those situations where you shouldn’t get back with your ex at all, or you really don’t have a great chance of getting your ex back.
Or you could be in a situation where you want to rebuild attraction with them and reclaim what is yours!
To help you make this difficult decision, I’ve put together a special quiz here on the website. It’s a simple, free two-minute quiz which is designed to tell you what kind of chance you have of getting your ex back, so you can decide whether you want to get them back or simply move on.
How To Create Dumpers Remorse With Your Ex
Without a doubt, one of the biggest questions I get asked is, how do I create dumper’s remorse with my ex?
We must first understand what I mean by dumper’s remorse.
Dumper’s remorse is a situation where your ex breaks up with you and a few months afterwards, they regret their decision.
I’m going to take that situation and reverse engineer the process so you can understand what’s going on in an ex’s brain, and also figure out how to give this remorse a good chance of growing.
Let’s begin by talking about regret.
Why Do People Feel Regret?
When scientists from the Kellogg School of Management looked at what Americans’ biggest regrets were, these big ones kept coming up at the top of the list:
So what can this teach us about regret?
Well, one thing scientists noted was that regret seemed to persist in situations where there was a chance of positive action occurring.
In other words, something good could happen if they went back and revisited or tried to reclaim or reframe that regret.
This makes perfect sense with regard to education.
Later in life we can all go back to school, get an education (or more education) and see the positive difference this can make in life.
It also can make sense in the opportunities of lost loves.
We can often regret a particular relationship because maybe we didn’t see its value at the time. But now, looking back on it from a different perspective we want to revisit it and potentially make something work.
Lost opportunities in relationships are often our biggest regret.
How Long Does It Take For These Regrets To Surface?
Knowing that regrets over relationships often features large in our lives can be some comfort, but it doesn’t really help us in figuring out how to manufacture dumper’s remorse in our exes.
First, we need to understand how long it takes people to start having regrets.
This is perhaps one of the most difficult questions to answer, because there are two factors involved in working out a timeline.
The first is, does your ex feel any regret whatsoever for the breakup?
There are people who will break up with you and feel no remorse whatsoever.
Others will exhibit some regret, or guilt, or say they feel bad about how things ended.
The second question that you need to answer is, did you have the type of relationship that is worth remembering?
If you dated your ex for a week, you’re not really going to have the same chance of them feeling remorse for that breakup as opposed to someone who has five years and lots of different first experiences together.
Creating an exact timeline for regret is impossible, because every situation is so unique in and of itself.
Your relationship with your ex is one-of-a-kind.
So some people will feel regret and some won’t. Some will have a long-term relationship history with a lot of great memories and important experiences embedded into it and some won’t.
If there’s one rule of thumb I want to leave you with regarding creating dumper’s remorse, it’s that missed opportunity equates to regret.
So ultimately the thing that you want to do if you want to create dumper’s remorse with your ex is to make your relationship feel like a missed opportunity.
But how do you do that?
Ultimately it boils down to our psychological decision making process.
Psychological Decision Making Process
We make millions of decisions throughout the day without even realizing we are making them. The same thing can be said of the things that we regret, or the missed opportunities that we revisit with time.
There are different types of decision-making processes that happen almost automatically that will determine whether we regret something.
- Opportunity Cost
- Self Interest
Let’s start from the top.
Psychological Process #1: Timing Is Important
Timing can relate to all sorts of things within your relationship
- How long has it been since the breakup?
- How long did your relationship last?
- How much time did you spend together during the relationship?
- How long has it been since you last talked to each other?
- How long did you beg, plead and act desperate for after the breakup?
One thing we do know about creating dumper’s remorse is that enough time has to have gone by for them to feel like they’ve missed an opportunity.
When you first break up with someone, the pain and possible drama of the breakup creates even more negative feelings than those that led up to the breakup. Your ex is likely to remember all the bad things and forget the amazing aspects of your time together.
It’s difficult to have patience when you want your ex back, but it’s a huge mistake to not allow enough time for their dumper’s remorse to develop.
On average, our successful clients take around three to six months to get back with their ex, and this starts from the time they implement a successful No Contact Rule.
That means that if they come to us and it’s been eight months since the breakup, they heard about the No Contact Rule at the eight-month mark and decide to do a No Contact Rule (and follow the rest of our process), that means it might take closer to eight months, maybe even a year, to see results.
Doing a No Contact Rule for the correct amount of time is key (and the Ex Boyfriend Recovery Program goes into a lot of detail on how long you should do it), and all the timing factors above go into that equation.
Psychological Process #2: The Context of Your Relationship
The next decision-making process we make when deciding whether or not we have missed an opportunity is context.
Context relates to the specifics of your relationship and includes aspects such as:
- Was there cheating involved?
- Were you long-distance?
- Is one of you in the military?
- Are there children involved?
- Do you work together?
- Do you attend school or college together?
- Do you share pets?
- Do you live together, or co-own property?
- How close were you to his family and friends?
So think about all aspects of your relationship, and how they bind you and your ex together even though you have broken up.
Some of these might be seen by your ex as negatives – e.g. that you were so far apart. It’s important that you look at things from his point of view here, so that you can try to change that perspective.
For example, if he starts to look forward to seeing you at work instead of trying to avoid you, you can subtly change the context, and maybe initiate some of that precious dumper’s remorse.
Context can definitely help or hinder you in your quest.
It can help if you have a lot of good memories that you can work with, or even hard times that you successfully supported each other through, things that made you closer than ever and helped you to get to know each other deeply.
What I find is that people get tunnel vision and only take their own experiences out of the breakup, failing to take their ex’s into account.
Usually you are on different wavelengths when a breakup occurs; you are out of sync with each other.
What you’re looking to do is get on the same wavelength, so it’s important to take a step back and look at things from your ex’s perspective.
This is another reason that the No Contact Rule is important…their perspective might differ wildly from your own.
You want them back, and you remember all the great things. They broke up with you (or even if they didn’t) and only remember the bad things that happened towards the end of the relationship.
So once again – give them time to get over this and start to remember the good times.
Psychological Process #3: Opportunity Cost
The next process that we see a lot of exes with dumper’s remorse go through is the idea of opportunity cost.
Essentially this boils down to an ex wondering – if they took the time they used to spend with you and spend it with somebody else, would that give them a better experience?
Oftentimes we find that exes think the answer is yes, so they break up with you and move on to someone new (often pretty quickly).
We also call this the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome. They think the grass is greener on the other side so they start dating a new person.
This is a well-known concept.
It’s also well-known that, as time goes by and the honeymoon period wears off, they start to realize that maybe the grass was actually greenest right where they were.
They initially felt the opportunity cost was better with someone else, but often we don’t feel regret until we have really lost that thing.
You can show your ex that you aren’t still waiting around for him and that you are the best opportunity cost by implementing a No Contact Rule and making yourself into the Ungettable Girl, the best version of yourself that you can be.
This will prompt him to think about you and wonder if he made the right decision after all.
And once a seed of doubt creeps in, the dumper’s remorse has room to grow right alongside it.
On a quick side note, this is the very reason when, when we’re dealing with a client who has moved on to someone new, we actually recommend going into a slightly longer period of no contact, because we want that opportunity cost regret to kick in.
We want them to go through the full post-breakup rollercoaster, including maybe dating someone else, so they can look back on your experience together with a fairer eye.
Psychological Process #4: Self-Interest
The fourth psychological process that we see people go through is pure self-interest.
It might sound like this is a hard one for you to benefit from, but bear with me.
We commonly use the phrase ‘when emotions run high, logic runs low’ to remind clients that they need to take their time when making decisions regarding their ex.
But the phrase also relates to how your ex deals with you and the breakup.
We all try to make decisions logically, using all the facts we have, and taking into account our feelings as well.
In our own heads, we think we are being logical, but often we aren’t.
While going through these psychological processes and making what we feel is a logical decision, we are actually using emotions as the main parameters for that decision.
It’s something we can’t help doing.
But if you are aware of it, and you can take the time to try to separate the emotion out of the decision, you can make better choices.
For example, instead of saying, “He hates me! He’s blocked me on everything and never ever wants to talk to me again!”, you can tell yourself, “He’s blocked me on social media because he’s emotional, and because he thinks it’s the best thing for him. It’s not because he actually hates me.”
Looking at it the other way around, you might be thinking, “I’ve been ill/anxious/had this bad thing happen – I need to speak to him.”
If you can recognize the self-interest and emotion that is bringing you to that decision, you can say, “I am in No Contact, and I have to stick to it. I will speak to my friend or EBR buddy instead, to make myself feel better.”
Another aspect of this self-interest that we often see is exes making emotional decisions based on unrealistic expectations.
For example, how often have you heard of an ex saying, “I just suddenly fell out of love with you”?
Your ex might have said something similar to you. It’s certainly something we often see on the Facebook support group.
What does it mean, and how can that happen?
It means that they got a huge boost of happy hormones through the honeymoon period, and they expected to feel that way all the time.
It created unrealistic expectations, so when they came back down to earth and started to feel normal again it was jarring.
When we’re looking at people who are basing their decisions on emotions, emotions change constantly, so oftentimes a breakup can occur when they’ve gone back down to the baseline.
They feel like they’re supposed to feel the highs of a new relationship all the time.
These people are like pogo sticks – they jump from one relationship to the next to the next looking for that initial high of the honeymoon period.
Once they drop back down to normal where everything isn’t perfect, they might break up with you.
And oftentimes what they’re basing their decision on is emotion as well as grass is greener syndrome.
So does your ex fit that mould? Are they constantly moving on to someone new then breaking up with them after a few months?
A lot of women call these guys players, and sure, there are some sleazy scumbags out there doing it on purpose, but more often than not, it’s just having unrealistic expectations when they enter into a new relationship.
They have the honeymoon period then can’t cope with a more normal relationship.
If you are in this position, you have to ask yourself if the person is worth it, and if they can move past that need to always be in that roses-and-rainbows period.
Assess all of these aspects of dumper’s remorse, and see what you can change to help the process germinate and grow in your ex.
It might take some time and soul-searching, but if you really want your ex back, it will be worth it.