By Chris Seiter

Published on August 11th, 2023

Today I’m going to show you the many reasons for why an ex would sleep with someone right after the two of you broke up.

For those of you who might be too strapped for time to read the full list. Well, here it is,

  1. Overcorrecting On Their Newfound Independence
  2. Jumping From Honeymoon Period To Honeymoon Period.
  3. Monkey Branching Approach
  4. Using The Other Person To Seek Validation
  5. They Were Already Involved/ Cheating

But, then I decided I was going to do something really outside the box. I got curious to see what AI thought. So, I spent maybe an hour asking it questions and got the following answers,

  1. Attachment Theory
  2. Psychoanalytic Theory
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Perspective
  4. Social Psychological Perspective
  5. Humanistic Perspective
  6. Evolutionary Psychology
  7. Biopsychosocial Model
  8. Neurobiological Perspective

So, here’s what we are going to do. I am going to break down my reasons for why an ex would sleep with someone else so quickly after a breakup and then after that I’ll cross reference my answers with the AI answers to really hammer my points home.

And also show you where I disagree with the AI.

You ready?

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Reason #1: Overcorrecting On Their Newfound Independence

If you’ve been familiar with my website, you’ll know that I talk a lot about dismissive avoidance and fearful avoidance, and there’s a very clear reason for this.

When we poll our community, many of our clients believe that their exes have these specific types of insecure attachment styles.

I’m famous (and sometimes a little annoying) for consistently reciting the same literature over and over and over again.

From this poll, most of our clients back in 2021 believed that their exes have dismissive avoidant attachment styles.

As you can see from this poll that was conducted yesterday, most of our clients still believe that their exes have dismissive avoidant tendencies, but they also believe that their exes have fearful avoidant tendencies.

The one thing that’s clear from both of these polls is that many of our clients believe their exes have one of these insecure attachment styles, but specifically, I’d like to talk about the avoidant aspect of the insecure attachment styles.

One of the really interesting things you can learn about dismissive avoidance is the fact that they always have a core wound that revolves around independence.

I’ve talked a lot about this on my YouTube channel,

I often in the past have talked about how every avoidant will have these trigger points where if you push them too far and threaten their independence in some way, that’s usually when they break up with you or walk away or pull away or whatever.

And they often will go through the relationship constantly wanting to take their independence back but being afraid of a confrontation because, after all, they are avoidant; they don’t like confrontation.

Yet something eventually pushes them to the brink, and they break up with you. And when they break up with you, they don’t usually grieve.

This is a hard thing for many people to wrap their minds around, but what usually happens is they go through this period of separation elation.

You can clearly see this defined in the avoidant death wheel that I talk about time and time again.

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I always explain to my clients that the separation elation period is essentially a second honeymoon period, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

For the purposes we’re talking about here, where your ex has slept with someone right after they broke up with you, one of the top reasons I believe they are doing this could be the fact that they are in the separation elation period.

They are overcorrecting with their newfound independence. They felt bottled up while they were with you, and it’s not necessarily anything against you. This might just be their makeup or their attachment style. And when they get that freedom back, they overcorrect by going wild.

You’ll start to see them party, go out, jump from relationship to relationship, and this is all an overcorrection because they’ve finally got that independence back.

And it usually happens during the separation elation period.

Reason #2: Caught Jumping From Honeymoon Period To Honeymoon Period

The second big reason is they are caught in a cycle where they’re jumping from honeymoon period to honeymoon period.

As I said, this is common for people with insecure attachments like avoidance or fearful avoidance, and they’re using this as a coping mechanism to help them grieve.

Look at this graphic.

This graphic is the avoidant death wheel, but I’ve specifically shown you where in the avoidant death wheel the honeymoon periods take place.

The honeymoon period usually takes place right at the beginning of a relationship with you, but then your ex breaks up with you, and then they go through another mini honeymoon period during the separation elation phase.

What I’ve found is really interesting behavior from fearful avoidance or dismissive avoidance is that they tend to jump from honeymoon period to honeymoon period, constantly going on the rebound with different people because that’s all they’re interested in.

And from an avoidance perspective, this makes total sense.

What they really want is a relationship where they don’t feel threatened, or at least their independence doesn’t feel threatened. And the one thing that’s clear is that usually, during the honeymoon period with someone, you’re not talking about big picture things.

You’re just staying in the moment, enjoying the moment.

There’s not much pressure, and this is the ideal part of a relationship for someone with a fearful avoidance attachment style or a dismissive avoidance attachment style.

They’re going to bask in it, and usually, when the honeymoon period ends, you start having those deeper conversations, and that’s when the ex can get scared, jump to a new person, sleep with them, enjoy that honeymoon period, and on and on it goes. But I don’t want you to confuse this with monkey branching. That’s different.

That’s the third reason we’re going to talk about here: the monkey branching approach.

Reason #3: The Monkey Branching Approach

I wrote an article earlier this year on monkey branching, and I think it’s pretty darn good.

(That’s my lame hint to tell you to go read it.)

So, monkey branching is essentially when one person moves from one relationship to the next, similar to a monkey swinging from one tree to another. Often, someone who engages in monkey branching will start preparing for their next potential partner while they are still in a relationship with their current partner.

And it’s that end statement that I think is important to discuss here.

I can’t tell you how often we’ll hear from our clients who have just broken up, and they’ll say something along the lines of, “He moved on,” or “She moved on to someone else, and it was this person they met at work.”

This is the monkey branching approach.

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In fact, I believe this is the most common scenario for people who find themselves in situations where their ex has moved on to someone else post-breakup.

That ex is always lining that new person up during their relationship with you.

What’s really happening here is an exacerbation of the “grass is greener” syndrome.

So, if we assume that our polling and statistics are accurate – that your ex has an insecure attachment style, whether they’re dismissive avoidant or fearful of attachment – at some point, when that avoidant side gets triggered, they’re going to ponder, “I wonder if I could do better.”

Without leaving you, they probe and flirt with others to test this hypothesis.

They might find someone who offers them a taste of a mini honeymoon period, for instance, and that becomes exciting for them – so exciting, in fact, that they end up leaving you and moving on to this new person.

But, much like the honeymoon period, it’s a coping mechanism.

They’ve done this throughout their entire life, and you can study their past relationships and the timelines of those relationships to see if this pattern emerges.

Reason #4: Using The Other Person For Validation

The fourth common reason is that they might be using the other person for validation.

After a breakup, some exes might feel rejected or have low self-esteem, so sleeping with someone else can provide a temporary boost in self-worth or validation.

There isn’t a plethora of research on this, but the closest piece I found was a Psychology Today article a few years back.

It discussed rebounds and how moving on to someone new, though initially stressful and unsettling, is in the long run one of the most effective ways to move past an ex.

Consider if your ex inherently figured this out via a monkey branching approach: they might simply be using the other person for validation so they don’t have to face the grief of the breakup.

Reason #5: They Were Already Cheating On You

The fifth reason is probably the rarest of the bunch, as you’d likely know it – the possibility that your ex might have already been involved with or cheating on you with this person.

In some cases, if the breakup stemmed from infidelity or emotional detachment, they might have been involved with this other person before your relationship officially ended.

As I mentioned, this one’s the rarest of the reasons we’ll address today.

But now, I’d like to switch gears for something fun and a tad unique.

Let’s Look And See What AI Has To Say About Exes Sleeping With Others

So, when I typically write an article like this, I invest a considerable amount of time in the research phase.

I aim to uncover a fresh perspective to introduce to the conversation. However, for this particular article, I encountered challenges in finding that unique angle.

Eventually, I grew restless and turned to AI for insights.

To my surprise, I was presented with intriguing answers.

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My intention now is to juxtapose the AI’s responses with some of the primary reasons I’ve just shared with you. I believe there’s a wealth of knowledge to be extracted from this comparison.

To satiate my curiosity, I reached out to ChatGPT, which I currently regard as one of the premier AI chatbots available. Eager to gain insights, I posed the question:

“What would a psychologist say about an ex immediately sleeping with someone else? What might the reasons be?” Within a mere minute, it furnished me with eight reasons.

Psychologists understand human behavior through multiple lenses and theories, and their interpretation often depends on the specific framework they’re drawing from. When trying to understand why an ex might immediately sleep with someone else post-breakup, a psychologist would consider the individual’s unique circumstances, their emotional and mental state, and their past behaviors and experiences. Here are some theoretical interpretations and reasons from a psychological perspective:

  1. Attachment Theory: Based on this theory, a person’s attachment style (secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, or fearful-avoidant) can influence their relationships and behavior post-breakup. For instance, someone with an anxious-preoccupied style might seek another relationship quickly to maintain a sense of closeness, while someone with a dismissive-avoidant style might do so to prove their independence or that they aren’t affected by the breakup.
  2. Psychoanalytic Theory: A psychoanalytic psychologist might look at unconscious motivations, childhood experiences, or unresolved conflicts. The ex’s actions might be seen as a defense mechanism, such as repression (pushing away uncomfortable feelings) or acting out (behaving impulsively to manage internal conflicts).
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Perspective: From this viewpoint, the behavior might be seen as a learned response to specific triggers or situations. The ex might be using the act of sleeping with someone as a way to cope with distressing thoughts or feelings related to the breakup.
  4. Social Psychological Perspective: Here, the behavior is viewed in the context of societal norms, peer influences, and the immediate social environment. The ex might be influenced by friends or societal norms that suggest “moving on” quickly is the best way to cope.
  5. Humanistic Perspective: From this angle, the emphasis is on personal growth and self-actualization. The ex might be seeking new experiences or relationships as part of their journey toward personal fulfillment.
  6. Evolutionary Psychology: This perspective might interpret the behavior as driven by biological imperatives. An ex might pursue new sexual relationships as a means of ensuring reproductive success.
  7. Biopsychosocial Model: This comprehensive approach takes into account biological factors, psychological processes, and social influences. For instance, a combination of the individual’s biological makeup, personal beliefs about relationships, and societal pressures could be at play.
  8. Neurobiological Perspective: Some psychologists might look at neurotransmitters, hormones, and brain structures to understand behavior. For instance, after a breakup, there might be a drop in feel-good neurotransmitters, leading the person to seek out experiences (like new romantic encounters) that might boost these levels.

Again, it’s essential to note that a psychologist would look at the individual’s specific circumstances and context before drawing conclusions. The above interpretations are general and may or may not apply to any given situation. If someone is struggling with understanding their ex’s behavior, or their own feelings and reactions, consulting with a psychologist or therapist can provide clarity and support.

What Can We Learn From The AI Answers?

Alright, so what insights can we glean from the AI?

Of the eight reasons provided, I believe only three are pertinent to this situation, or are the most frequently encountered, I should say.

While each perspective—

  1. Attachment theory
  2. Psychoanalytic theory
  3. Cognitive behavioral perspective
  4. Social psychological perspective
  5. Humanistic perspective
  6. Evolutionary psychology
  7. The biopsychosocial model
  8. Neurobiological perspective

Is fascinating and well-argued, only three are consistently echoed among my clients.

Perspective #1: Attachment Theory

The first noteworthy perspective is attachment theory.

This is evident in the point I made earlier about overcorrecting.

Avoidant, or sometimes even fearful-avoidant individuals, overcorrect when they rediscover their independence. This concept is rooted in attachment theory, which posits that the central concern of an avoidant person is the fear of losing independence.

It logically follows that once they regain this independence, they go on a proverbial rumspringa.

It’s akin to the Amish tradition where youths are given freedom to explore the world outside their community.

Similarly, someone with an avoidant attachment goes on a spree post-breakup, seeking freedom and thrill.

Perspective #2: Psychoanalytic Theory

This approach suggests that unconscious motivations, childhood experiences, or unresolved conflicts can influence actions. Such actions might serve as a defense mechanism or involve repression.

The pattern I’ve observed, where exes move from one honeymoon phase to another or engage in ‘monkey branching’ to evade grief, aligns with the psychoanalytic theory.

Furthermore, there’s often a nexus between attachment and psychoanalytic theories, with the latter delving into childhood experiences, which significantly influence attachment styles.

If we assume that an ex possesses insecure attachment tendencies, it’s plausible that their methods of handling grief—whether it’s guilt from initiating the breakup, sadness, or mourning the relationship’s end—might involve distraction or avoidance.

Perspective #3: Cognitive Behavioral Perspective

Lastly, the cognitive behavioral perspective stands out. This viewpoint posits that an ex might sleep with someone else to alleviate distressing thoughts or feelings stemming from the breakup.

This behavior mirrors those exes who seek validation from others post-breakup, aiming to bolster their self-worth.

It’s truly remarkable that we’re in an era where I can consult an AI, essentially drawing on a mini-psychologist’s insights.

It enables me to discern what’s relevant and what’s not. There’s much to glean from such interactions. The recurring motif, however, is that these actions represent the ex’s coping mechanism post-breakup.

While it might not be the healthiest approach, it’s their learned response to alleviate distress.

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