Breakups aren’t exactly fun, to say the least. If they were a walk in the park, you could be sure people wouldn’t dread them as much as they do.
The truth is, breakups are awful. No matter how amiable you both are in the end, there’s going to be a little pain over the end of a committed relationship.
You or your ex-boyfriend might succumb to unusual behavior while you cope with your emotions. You might even notice that your normally nice ex-boyfriend is acting like a jerk.
Why does this happen? We’ll give you a much-needed window into his mind here.
The Difference Between Actual and Perceived Jerkiness
First things first: let’s talk about when you think he’s being a jerk versus when he’s actually being a jerk. Breakups stir up our sensitivities, so it’s entirely possible you’re seeing some of his actions as being crueler than they truly are.
For example, if he’s just taking a longer amount of time to answer you via text or message than before, consider the possibility that he’s busy. Even if he’s not, he might be just as upset about the breakup as you are, and he’s getting some space.
What if he’s seeing other people? That’s not necessarily a jerk move, unless he started dating again immediately after you called it quits with him. Even then, the new girl could be a rebound.
One way you can tell for sure he’s being unnecessarily mean is if he’s picking fights with you. In his own pain, he might be lashing out at you, saying mean things, or repeatedly dredging up painful parts of your relationship.
He may also joke about serious things in a mean fashion…if he’s even talking to you. Maybe he’s completely avoiding you or ignoring you. Both are signs of a jerk.
Why is My Ex-Boyfriend Acting Like a Jerk?
Now it’s time to look at the reasons behind why your ex-boyfriend has morphed into a jerk. There could be several causes:
- He’s in pain and missing you.
- You attacked him first, so he’s protecting himself.
- He needs some space.
- He’s trying to cause you hurt.
- He’s trying to get even.
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He’s in pain and missing you.
Men oftentimes like to think of themselves as tough and immune to emotion. We could easily write a novel about the societal conditions and stereotypes that make them think this way.
But the bottom line is, men aren’t emotionless – far from it. Your ex could be hurting after the relationship ended. One way people who are in pain make themselves feel like they’re in power again is by lashing out.
This could be especially true if he thinks you’re doing just fine without him. He may be jealous of your wellbeing.
You attacked him, so he’s playing defense.
We can’t always assume he’s just being mean for no reason. Think about the last few times you communicated with him.
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Were you being critical, or worse yet, did you attack him? If you realize that you were the one lashing out at him first, know that he might simply be responding in kind.
It happens to the best of us. We all sometimes give in to our negative emotions, for better or worse.
He just needs some space.
When we’re hurting, it’s perfectly natural to seek some kind of shelter to recover. Whether it’s lying down, cutting ties to social media, or seeking the comfort of the outdoors, sometimes it feels healing to be alone.
If you find your ex-boyfriend is taking a really long time to answer you, or he’s ignoring you completely, this is likely the reason why.
Don’t always jump to the worst conclusion. There’s a good chance he just needs a little room to breathe and sort through his thoughts.
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The negative: he’s trying to cause you hurt.
The previous causes we mentioned don’t seem too bad, do they? That’s because they’re completely normal reactions to emotional stress.
However, people don’t always do things for understandable reasons. If your ex-boyfriend is verbally attacking you for seemingly no reason, bringing up painful memories, and disrespecting your feelings, there’s a possibility that he’s doing it simply to hurt you.
Why would he do this? It might make him feel like he’s in a position of power when he does these things.
He’s trying to get even.
This is kind of like the previous cause, but with some differences. If he’s attacking you and mistreating you post-breakup, he might not be doing it with the sole intent of bringing you down.
He might be doing it because he’s righting what he feels is a wrong. If you’ve lashed out at him in the past or you know he’s jealous, being a jerk could be his way of getting even with you.
Regardless of the cause, make no mistake that you’ll likely have to communicate with him. You’ll need to do so extra effectively, especially if you want him back.
We always recommend Amy North’s Text Chemistry program for tips and advice on how to text men in a way that they understand perfectly. The program will help you get into his head so you know exactly what to say to him.
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What Can I Do to Get Him to Act Nicer?
Okay, now that you know the why’s, you probably want to know what you can do about it. Because yes, you don’t need to just sit there and accept the fact that your ex is being intolerable.
There are a handful of things you can do get him to behave.
Give him (and yourself) some space.
The first step is to make sure both of you get the space you need to heal. This will give you both time to think over how you’re feeling and how you want to proceed next.
We actually recommend doing a no contact period whenever possible. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all, and your distance could make your ex-boyfriend realize just how much he misses you. In that case, he’ll hopefully see that being cruel isn’t the way to go about winning you back.
Tell him how his actions are making you feel.
One of the simplest things you can do (and a great starting point) is simply telling him how his actions make you feel. If he’s being a jerk, tell him!
No, this doesn’t mean call him names or do anything with the intent of making him feel bad. Otherwise, you just become the jerk instead of him.
Try and keep your explanations to him neutral. Just explain to him what he’s doing and why it’s bothering you. Avoid using any inflammatory words or phrases that could be taken as insults.
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Don’t let his jerkiness get to you.
No matter how mean he is, don’t let it get into your head. We know that’s easier said than done. As your ex, he likely knows exactly how to push your buttons, so not blowing up on him in response is a testament to your strength.
But if you give in and attack him back, it’s just going to get worse. Don't start the cycle -be the person who rises above and breaks it.
If you’re the one who fired the first shot, apologize.
Remember, it’s normal and human to be in pain. Sometimes, we do things we regret later as a result of the emotional turmoil…such as verbally attacking our loved ones.
If you recognize that you’re the one who started it, then first congratulate yourself for being self-aware. That’s the first step to fixing it. Not many people are even willing to acknowledge when they’ve done wrong.
The next thing to do is to apologize sincerely. Don’t apologize just because you think it’s what he wants to hear – you need to mean it.
He’s dated you before. He’ll know when you’re just making it up.
Develop the Ability to Make Yourself Desirable to Any Man
At the end of the day, if you’re going to keep talking to him, you’re going to need to understand male psychology so you don’t hurt him or yourself. Even if you’re going to cut him out of your life, an understanding of the way men think will be useful in future dating.
For that, we’ll always suggest turning to the experts, like romance specialist Amy North. She’s created a whole course called the Devotion System which was written to teach women how to interpret a man’s thoughts and respond accordingly. Using her system, you can be sure to get any man hopelessly devoted to you.
Further Reading: Why is My Ex-Boyfriend Always in My Dreams? (Your Dreams Decoded)
My name is Jenny and I love helping people with their relationships. I believe a few simple tips can help people massively improve their communication skills with their partners and really express themselves. Thanks for visiting!