Today we’re going to talk about a topic that comes up a lot.
Why men always seem to come back after you’ve moved on.
The Ex Recovery Team and I have noticed a huge trend where men seemingly always like to come back after you’ve already moved on.
And to make matters more complicated, everyone in the breakup industry basically accepts this as a universal fact but no one really goes into the why and how this works.
So today, we’re going to do all the hard work for you and dissect exactly why this tends to occur.
Understanding Why Men Come Back After You’ve Moved On
This past year I’ve talked a lot about this concept because we interviewed several success stories who got their exes back and this was one of the most common patterns we saw.
Our clients would give up and then BOOM, the ex would come back.
Initially, the main purpose behind interviewing success stories was to share hope with all of you to show you how well our process works but another hidden agenda was to see exactly what differentiated successful and unsuccessful people in trying to get their exes back.
The pattern we noticed is something we weren’t exactly expecting – most of our success stories had let go of their breakup and moved on from their exes when their exes came crawling back into their lives.
In the past I’ve called this process “moving on without moving on” and the psychological backbone of this process is fueled by the fact that my clients gained normative leverage through changed perspective after moving on from the breakup.
Don’t worry I’ll break it down for you.
What Is Normative Leverage?
To answer that let’s first look at the three main types of leverage you can potentially have:
- Positive leverage: you have the ability to give someone what they want therefore you have leverage over them
- Negative leverage: you have the ability to hurt someone therefore you have leverage over them
- Normative leverage: you use your counterpart’s norms to bring them around.
Using your ex’s norms means that you have empathy towards your ex’s circumstances.
You have special insight into how they see and react to the world. Usually, people lose this leverage immediately after a breakup because it’s hard to see your ex’s point of view when you’re reeling from the emotional knee-jerk emotions of your breakup.
Your emotions are running high after your breakup (especially if you were dumped). You have no insight into why they broke up with you other than what they told you – which could also have been a lie.
You don’t even know exactly what your ex is feeling because they may be masking their true emotions with hurtful words. Being in the dark about the breakup, coupled with post-breakup emotions, makes you lose any normative leverage you may have had.
As time goes on and your emotions level out you can get some perspective so when you have conversations with your ex again you might be able to say things like “I see what you were talking about there.”
When you understand what your ex is going through, you gain normative leverage.
Here’s a prime example to put this concept into practice – Let’s say that you and your ex had a long-term relationship.
You dated for 3 years total, but things just ran their course and your ex was no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with you. They decide to break up with you, but they’re scared of two things:
- They don’t want to hurt your feelings
- They don’t want to be looked at as the bad guy because they have a hero complex
To avoid the embarrassment, they approach the breakup in the most immature way possible – they text you to break up and then ghost you.
Let’s say 4-6 months go by and you have given up your quest of getting them back.
You’ve decided getting them back isn’t worth your time and energy, but you’d still like to remain friends, so you talk to them.
As you talk to them you find they’re a little more responsive and that’s when you can make a comment like this:
“I see why you broke up with me the way you did. You were just afraid of hurting my feelings and I think that means you’re actually a good person.”
As soon as they hear this statement they’ll think “wow she really understood what I was going through” and that makes them attracted to you again.
Now you may not agree with this statement, but it shows insight into their world view that you need for normative leverage.
It will make your ex feel like you understand them on a level not many people do.
This naturally draws them back to you but the one thing that I want to make clear here is that this can only occur with perspective and time.
So, gaining normative leverage is a part of why men come back after you’ve moved on, but the other part of the puzzle is the psychology behind attachment styles.
Attachment Theory And “Moving On Without Moving On”
I’ve recently talked a lot about attachment theory in articles on my website, YouTube videos, and even my podcasts because it is such a great explanation of why people behave in certain ways in relationships.
There are 4 types of attachment styles:
- Secure attachment
- Anxious attachment
- Avoidant attachment
- Fearful attachment
The main goal is to have or mimic a secure attachment style because none of the other 3 will work to re-attract your ex after a breakup.
Having a secure attachment style means that you’re allowed to go through pain like everyone else, but you handle the pain properly and have the fortitude to get over it.
If you have an anxious attachment style, you’d probably blow up your ex’s phone 24*7 trying to get their attention and fix things right away because your whole life revolves around this relationship.
That’s not what we’re going for because it can come off as extremely clingy.
On the flip side of anxious attachment, we have avoidant attachment which we also want to steer away from. An avoidant attachment style means believing in extreme independence from your ex to the point of avoiding any conflict when things get hard.
This isn’t ideal because it comes off as too aloof and your ex might not want to get back with you if they think you will not make any effort.
Fearful attachment basically combines the worst parts of anxious and avoidant attachment styles so you’re always going through a pendulum swing of extreme emotions and behaviors. I’m sure you can imagine why no ex would want to get back with someone having a fearful attachment.
Most of our clients are anxious attachment styles and it totally makes sense if you think about it. The type of people that are going online and browsing through our articles or videos to get their exes back are people who care deeply about their relationships.
This is a huge strength in my mind but sometimes they go off the deep end and blow up their ex’s or friends’ phones trying to put a relationship back together. A lot of time our work, when we end up doing one on one coaching with them, is moving them from anxious attachment to a secure attachment style.
Here’s the thing: moving from an anxious attachment style to a secure attachment style doesn’t happen overnight.
There’s a lot more to it than people assume as we’ve heard people say, “oh that’s simple, I’ll just be more secure in how I handle problems.” If it was that easy everyone would have a secure attachment style.
Attachment styles are inherently linked to our childhood and how we saw relationships around us so changing your attachment style involves a lot of work, self-recognition, and asking yourself the right questions.
The right questions are often the scariest to ask.
Oddly you have to go through the misery of introspection and understanding why you have a certain attachment style to then transition to a secure attachment.
After time goes by and you’ve moved on, you’ve exhibited that you are secure about how this breakup went down, regardless of who was in the wrong. Men are automatically attracted to women who display this kind of security and confidence.
So, to tie it all together, your ex has this perception of you when they break up with you – they believe that you are this anxious individual. Subconsciously they understand this, but they don’t know how to say it out loud, so they point to specific actions when they explain why they are leaving you.
A classic example of this is a trope you usually see on TV shows where a character breaks up with someone in public to avoid a scene.
That idea is based on an anxious attachment style – someone is going to have a huge emotional outburst, so you break up with them in public, forcing them to tune it down.
Men find it extremely off-putting when women are overly emotional and that’s why our program teaches you to fend for yourself.
We teach you to be secure about how you approach life and to focus more on yourself than your ex and your breakup.
Your ex was only a small part of your life and you should never let them define your identity. As you become a more emotionally secure and confident woman, your ex will take notice and start romanticizing about the past they had with you and they’ll want to come back.
You Begin To Outgrow Your Ex
Another way of looking at why men come back after you’ve moved on is to think of yourself as outgrowing the breakup. Sure, the breakup was devastating for a while, but you found the inner strength to overcome it.
Here’s what one of my favorite psychologists and philosophers had to say about the concept of outgrowing things:
“The greatest and most important problems in life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.” – Carl Jung.
I think that’s a beautiful principle to apply here.
Most of us are so obsessive about our breakups that we never outgrow them.
We’re constantly thinking about them and imagining what we could have done to prevent the breakup. But there’s really nothing you can do to change the past.
All you can do is realize that you’ll be okay no matter what happens next. That’s when you outgrow your breakup and stop giving your ex power over you.
Ultimately that’s also the point most of our success stories described as being the turning point of their ex being interested in them again. After all, there’s nothing men find more intriguing than a woman who’s just not that into them anymore.
Men come back after you’ve moved on because the time and perspective you gain after letting go of your breakup gives you normative leverage over them and makes you more attractive.
They see you outgrowing your breakup and outgrowing them, and they want back in because they are naturally pulled to your new-found secure attachment style.