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“Guess what! I swear all my ex are getting hotter after breaking up with me!”
I was meeting a guy friend of mine on a Sunday brunch to check on him after learning that he had just called it off with his last girlfriend recently. He came in the café and immediately order a pint of beer.
Speaking with alcoholic breath, he started venting to me, “Hey, can you tell me what is wrong with me? Why is it that every girl who broke up with me either gets hotter or goes on to achieve something life? Why didn’t I see their potential when we were together? But after we broke up, the more I look at them, the more I like them?”
As it turned out, he just went on to check on his ex-ex-girlfriend’s Instagram a week ago and saw that she became much more athletic and is even a Pilates trainer now. The most recent ex-girlfriend also just announced on her social media that she got accepted by a prestigious law school and will be going overseas soon. He even quoted a much earlier ex who went for a boob job a while back and is now posting frequently on her social media flaunting her new assets. Only he is still living his old life—working at a corporate job, coming back home to fried chicken and watching a game, then repeat.
He reminds me of the fundamental change that takes place in a woman’s and man’s mindset after a breakup. Men always leave an inkling of the ex in their mind after the breakup, and if they see their ex becoming better, it fires up their desire to get her back again. Women, on the other hand, can neither forget the hurt they went through in the relationship / during the breakup nor can they wholeheartedly trust the man to have changed entirely for the better since the breakup. As a result, women are less likely to desire their ex as compared to man. Although definitely not an absolute truth, it does reflect the general psychological changes of many people.
Take this friend of mine as an example.
During courtship, making the woman happy or impressing her was all that he could think of. He always gave the “Good morning” and “Goodnight” messages promptly, because she was literally the first and last thing on his mind each day. He took great effort to plan each date because he sincerely wanted to create meaningful memories with her each time.
However, as things cooled down eventually in a stable relationship, the woman and what she thought of him started to take a back seat in his life. While it is definitely unrealistic to demand anyone—regardless men or women—to keep up with the initial passion throughout the course of the entire relationship, making someone a continuous deteriorating importance in one’s life certainly calls for a bigger problem down the road.
After breaking up, as he watched the ex-girlfriends move on well in their lives, he started to be intrigued by their lives again and the more they better themselves, the more he sees them as someone he needs to impress them again—and hence, the seed of desire to get them back is planted in his head...
The fact is, a breakup is always difficult and no one can become better/more attractive/more successful overnight. But when the two people revert back to normal friends again, she becomes someone whom he can’t attain again and watching someone he can’t attain gets better each day just gets to him.
The women were actually the same woman when they were with him. It is just that he chose not to take the effort to see them or take the effort to see their potentials underneath. He made his own choice back then to a blind eye to appreciate the reasons why they got together in the first place, and instead, chose to dream about the greener grass on the other side.
That being said, no relationship is a single-dimensional case-study that can be concluded by a general rule. It just falls back to the one golden lesson to remember to appreciate someone and your time with that someone while you still have the chance to.