Often, men start appreciating someone after they lose them. That’s exactly why every guy who broke your heart will eventually come begging for your forgiveness. There is no exception here – they all come back sooner or later.
But, how do you know if he is really sorry for what he did? Does he regret losing you or has he just run out of options?
What are the signs he knows he messed up?
Luckily, I’ve got you covered. If you read on, you’ll get an insight into male psychology, and figure out whether your ex is a changed man who regrets losing you for real.
How long does it take a man to realize he messed up?
Most guys will start feeling remorse after a month or month and a half since the break-up. This usually happens when the initial single life excitement disappears and when the denial phase is over.
At this point, most men will try and get their ex back. If nothing else, he’ll test the waters to see if she misses him as well.
However, there are guys who suffer in silence. They know they messed up, but their pride doesn’t let them admit their mistake. So, they just grieve their loss and repeat their actions without actually doing anything about it.
Signs He Knows He Messed Up
1. He engages in self-improvement
When a guy becomes aware that he has lost the love of his life, he suddenly decides to make himself better. He is not doing it for his own sake – he just wants you to see that he is worthy of your attention.
I’m not only talking about the things he does for you. Instead, he will invest extra effort into becoming the best possible version of himself.
He knows he can never have you back until his life changes. So, he does everything in his power to improve himself.
Also, this could be one of the tactics he uses to forget about you. He keeps himself busy and focuses on self-progress so he has less time and energy to think about you.
Some men hit the gym and change their diet. Some make career progress. Some start learning new things and work on upgrading their education.
The point is the same – he is trying to become boyfriend material for you.
2. He’s still single
If your ex-boyfriend is still single, even though you two broke up a while ago, it’s one of the signs he knows he messed up. It’s not that he can’t find a new girlfriend – he doesn’t want to do it because he still has feelings for you.
This guy knows he messed up very badly. But, deep down, he thinks that he still has a chance of getting back together with you. Nevertheless, even that slightest chance would disappear if he started seeing someone new.
He wants you to know that he’d rather be single than with any other girl besides you.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s totally off the market. He probably enjoys his single life, so it’s likely that he’ll have random hookups or casual flings.
Nevertheless, he refuses to engage in a serious relationship. For him, that step would mean that he’s ready to replace you, which is not the case.
3. He goes out of his way to contact you
Either way, your ex-boyfriend has to go out of his way to contact you. You’re not easily reachable and certainly not a phone call away.
Well, this guy showed a lot of imagination ever since you two went your separate ways.
He keeps on sending you essay-long emails, contacts you on apps that even you forgot you had installed, sends handwritten letters to your home or work address, leaves post-its on your car…
Or, maybe he creates fake social media profiles just so he can DM you. If he’s really serious, he’ll even get a new number to call you.
Whatever he did to you in the past, you must give him credit for one thing: he is really putting in extra effort to come back to you.
4. He apologizes sincerely
People say that they’re sorry all the time. Sadly, in most cases, they don’t mean it; they apologize just because it’s the right thing to do.
However, things are different with your ex. When he apologizes, you know he is sincere.
After all, nobody knows him better than you do. If he were lying, you would feel it for sure.
But, deep down, you know that he really is remorseful. He regrets everything he did to you, and he isn’t afraid to say it out loud.
You didn’t get a simple, plain “I’m sorry” from him. Instead, he wrote you a heartwarming text or a letter where he begs for your forgiveness.
Let’s not forget one thing: he didn’t stop apologizing just because you didn’t forgive him the first time. This man keeps on fighting for you, and he is ready to do whatever it takes just to get a second chance.
5. He’s ready to compromise
When a man regrets hurting a good girl, all of his stubbornness vanishes in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, he’s more than ready to meet you halfway.
Actually, he’s the one offering an olive branch, so he’d agree on doing everything your way as well.
After he has finally realized that losing you was the biggest mistake of his life, he will be ready to make all the necessary adjustments for a healthy relationship.
That goes for you two getting back together as well. He will let you determine the pace, and will want to do it all under your circumstances.
Are you still not ready to be in a relationship, but you want to be in touch? No problem. Do you need more time to make up your mind? Fine by him.
The only thing he doesn’t accept is you telling him to give up and stop trying.
6. He makes excuses to reach out
You two aren’t in a romantic relationship anymore. Besides, he put you through a devastating heartbreak, so I assume he is not your favorite person in the world.
Well, he’s perfectly aware of that as well. That’s why he can’t expect you to reply to a typical good-night or good-morning text.
Instead, he has to be a little more creative than that. It’s clear that he needs an excuse to talk to you or to be near you despite the way things ended between you two.
Remember that old sweater of his that was lying around your apartment for ages? It looks like now is the perfect time for your ex to drop by and get it.
All of a sudden, you’re the only one who can help him; he is in desperate need of your advice, or maybe his health is in danger.
Sometimes, you won’t even be certain as to whether he’s making all of this stuff up or if he really needs you this badly.
7. He’s ashamed of what he did
When a guy truly repents of his actions, he’ll be ashamed of them. Let’s say that this man’s infidelity caused your heartbreak.
You can bet me on this one: he won’t go around bragging about what he did. He won’t present himself as this big player who was with two women at the same time.
Instead, he’ll try hard to hide his mistakes from the rest of the world.
Don’t worry… he’s not doing it to make himself look better. He’s not trying to put the blame on you.
He’s just embarrassed by everything he did. He, himself, can’t believe that he let such a perfect girl as you slide.
If this is the case with your ex, it’s one of the obvious signs he knows he messed up. It’s clear that he sees how much harm he has done.
8. He owns up to his mistakes
Toxic people have a special way of saying that they’re sorry. Somehow, they avoid admitting their mistakes.
So, instead of saying things such as: “I’m sorry I broke your heart.”, they’ll say “I’m sorry your heart got broken”.
At first sight, you might see this as an irrelevant difference. You might think that the same thing has been said in both sentences.
Well, it has not. In the first case, the person is owning up to their mistakes, while in the other, they try to present everything that went on as an unfortunate set of events.
Therefore, if you pay close attention to the way your ex-boyfriend apologizes, you’ll figure out if he really is sorry or if he is just using it as a way to get a second chance from you.
If he’s really sorry, and if he’s aware of what he did, he won’t look for excuses. He won’t try to justify his behavior.
For example, if you catch him texting other girls, he won’t do his best to manipulate you. You won’t hear empty phrases such as: “That wasn’t cheating.” “She’s the one who texted me first.” or “You weren’t giving me enough attention, so I was forced to do it.”
Instead, he’ll own up to his mistakes. He’ll say things such as: “I know I was wrong. I should have never done something like that. Now, I know that you’re the one, and I’ll never repeat my mistakes.”
Do you get the difference?
9. He changes his ways
Let’s be honest here… words mean nothing. Yes, it’s nice to hear these apologies and love declarations.
Nevertheless, they’re completely worthless if they’re not backed up by actual action.
But, your ex doesn’t only do the talking. If you get the smallest insight into his personal life, you’ll see that he really did change his ways.
And, you know what’s the best part? It’s the fact that he is making the exact changes you wanted him to make.
For ages, you felt like you were talking to a wall. You asked him to be different, but he never listened.
Now, you’re finally being heard. He does all of this for your sake because he thinks it’s the best way to get you back.
10. He throws you romantic surprises
This guy was never overly romantic. But, after you two went your separate ways, that changed.
It’s obvious that he spends a lot of time thinking about the best ways to surprise you. He sends you flowers on a daily basis, writes you love poems, and uses every chance he gets to tell you how much he loves you.
All of these grand gestures are a good sign your ex wants you back. Suddenly, he turned into the Prince Charming you’ve always wanted him to be. You’re not sure whether this is a fairytale or real life.
And, you know what’s the best part: he asks for nothing in return. Even if you ignore his efforts, he continues to throw you surprises.
For him, giving up is not an option, and that’s a clear sign he regrets losing you.
11. Your loved ones tell you how sad he is
This man’s whole life has become wreckage ever since you left him. Yes, everything that happened is his fault, but that’s what makes him even more depressed and devastated.
His sadness can’t go unnoticed. You see it whenever you run into him. But, that’s not all.
Everyone you two know also tells you that he misses you like hell. Your mutual friends and family members beg you to give him another chance, and they claim this has to be true love.
Yes, this includes even the ones who know exactly what he did to you. This man’s pain is so overwhelming that he simply has to share it with everyone around him.
Of course, he also hopes to get pity from you. He misses you, and he counts on these people to tell you how sad he is and help him change your mind.
And, that’s exactly what they do: they keep on telling you that your ex regrets hurting you, and that he is truly sorry for the pain he put you through.
Even though your love life is none of their business, keep in mind that these people wish you well. They wouldn’t advise you to get back together with him if they didn’t see that he has truly repented.
12. He wants to start over where you left off
This guy hasn’t moved on and he isn’t over you. And, to be honest, he doesn’t let you move on either.
All he wants is to pretend that your relationship never ended. He wants you back. He wants you to forgive him and forget what he did, so you two can start over exactly where you left off.
So, he constantly reminds you of your past together. It’s mostly about little things, but the bottom line is that he hopes to awaken nostalgia in you.
Maybe he’ll randomly send you a song that will make you remember the beginning of your relationship. Maybe he’ll continue calling you by that cute nickname that only he was allowed to use. Or, he’ll ask you out at that exact restaurant you had your first date at.
If your ex was concerned, he’d be more than happy to act like this was nothing but a bad nightmare he wants to wake up from.
13. He knows everything about your life
Let’s call things by their real name: this guy is stalking you. No, he’s not some creep who shows up at your window late at night.
He is just interested in your personal life because he wants to make sure you’re not seeing some new guy. Besides, he still cares about your well-being. Also, he can’t get used to the idea that you’re no longer in his life.
If he keeps up with you, he misses you less. He feels like you’re still around, and that’s what keeps him alive.
Sometimes, you feel like you two never broke up. He is familiar with your whereabouts, knows what you’ve been up to, and is introduced to all of your life changes.
He asks your mutual friends about you, he shows up at the places he knows he’d run into you, and he stalks your social media.
14. He tries to be friends.
Ending up in the friendzone is probably every man’s biggest nightmare. But, your ex would settle for being your best friend if you don’t take him back as a boyfriend.
At first, when he made you this suggestion, you thought it was a trap. You were sure he was manipulating his way back into your life just so you two could eventually get back together.
But, trust me… he’s being honest. He just wants to be around you and have you in his life one way or another.
And, if that means becoming your best friend, it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make.
After all, you two have been friends besides romantic partners for ages. If he can’t keep the intimate relationship alive, he’ll settle for a platonic friendship.
This is one of the biggest signs he knows he messed up. He is aware that you’re not ready to forgive him, but he doesn’t want to lose you no matter what.
Whether you like it or not, social media is a huge part of modern dating. This is where it all goes down, and breaking up is no exception.
Your ex’s social media profiles can give you loads of information about whether he regrets losing you or not.
First of all, you should check for signs of a new relationship. Does he have a new girlfriend? Does he post pictures with this new girl?
Did he delete everything connected to you or are traces of your relationship all over the place?
Also, pay attention to his status updates. He’s probably using his platforms to express his true feelings.
If he keeps on posting sad quotes, melancholic songs, or likes articles about getting an ex back, everything is pretty clear.
What is also important are your social media profiles. This man is the first one to watch all of your stories, and he likes everything you post.
The moment you unfriend or block him, dozens of fishy profiles appear in your requests. Isn’t it obvious that he’s trying to stalk you?
16. He doesn’t accept that it’s over
If this guy regrets what he has done, he won’t accept your break-up just like that. He won’t give up without a fight, and he’ll invest all of his energy into making you change your mind.
I’m not saying that he’ll get violent or try to force you to be with him. This is abuse and something you should never put up with.
Nevertheless, your ex is different. It’s just that he can’t seem to grasp the idea of you two not ending up together.
A break or a break-up?
In his head, this is just a short break, and everything will soon be in perfect order.
Let’s begin with the fact that he doesn’t refer to you as his ex-girlfriend. As far as he is concerned, you’re his current romantic partner.
He didn’t call off any of the plans you two had together. Maybe you booked a trip a few months from now while you were still together.
Did he cancel it? No, because he expects things to go back to normal by then.
Is his best friend getting married? He doesn’t even think of finding a new partner because he is sure you’ll go with him.
The examples are endless, but you get the point: this guy still sees you two as an item.
17. He tries to make you miss him
Your ex has one goal only: to make you miss him the same way he misses you. If he manages to do that, it will be easier for you to forgive him, and you’ll eventually take him back.
So, he does everything in his power to remind you of the good old times you had together. It’s like he’s telling you: “Let’s go and take a walk down memory Lane.”
His goal is to make you forget the way your relationship ended. He wants to erase all the bad memories from your mind. He wants to make you fall back in love with him.
Suddenly, he becomes the man from the beginning of your relationship. He begins by making you laugh to chase away your anger.
He brings you small gifts, remembers little things about you, and gives you his undivided attention. Even if you try to avoid it, before you know it, those old butterflies in your tummy come back to life.
18. He makes future plans
You’re the one for this man. He might try searching for you in every other woman, but at the end of the day, all of it will be pointless because he sees only you as his soulmate.
For him, this break-up is nothing but a bump in the road. He sees it as an obstacle that will make you two even stronger in the future.
And, the future is exactly what he’s focused on. Even though you two are no longer together, he still uses “we” when he talks about it.
He sees himself as a part of the team. In his eyes, you two are a couple, and there is nothing that could change that.
He makes short-term plans, such as including you on his next vacation. But, that’s not all. He also makes long-term plans with you.
He still doesn’t make any huge decision without consulting you. He wouldn’t move to another city or change career paths if that wasn’t fine by you.
19. He hides his new GF from you
We’ve already talked about that type of guy who remains single and doesn’t move on. But, not all men are like that.
There are also men who will find a new partner. But, if he still wants to get back together with you, he’ll hide his new girl at all costs.
He doesn’t see this relationship as something serious. The last thing he wants is for you to find out about it because that would ruin his chances for making up.
He doesn’t tell anyone about her nor does he post her all over social media. Even when your family members or mutual friends see him with her, he says she’s nothing more than a friend.
It’s obvious that this girl means nothing to him, and that he’s just pretending to be over you. In fact, he probably didn’t even give her the title of ‘girlfriend’. Maybe they’re friends with benefits or have a no-strings-attached kind of thing going on.
Maybe he’s just using her to get over you easier. Trust me, if he is still contacting you, this is just a rebound relationship you shouldn’t be worried about.
20. He finally sees all of your qualities
During your relationship, you felt like your boyfriend never saw your true worth. He didn’t treat you the way you deserved, and he never gave you first place in his life.
But, after the break-up, all of that changed. Now, he sees what he has lost, and he has become perfectly aware of all of your qualities.
Finally, he realized that you’re one of a kind. He learned he should have appreciated you while he still had you, and he’s terrified that now, it’s too late to make a difference.
Despite that, he tries hard to make you realize that after all this time, he perceives you the way he always should have. If these aren’t the signs he knows he messed up, I don’t know what are.
How do you know if a guy is hurting?
If you’re wondering whether your ex is really hurting, don’t pay attention just to what he’s saying. Instead, take a close look at his actions. If his deeds match his words, and if he really tries hard to make things right in practice and not only in theory, his pain is honest.
Also, remember that men express their emotions differently than women. Therefore, if he breaks in front of you or if he starts crying, it’s the real deal.
Do guys ever realize what they lost?
Without a doubt – yes. Sooner or later, every man in this world will regret losing a good girl who loved him like no other.
Some come to this realization soon after screwing up while some don’t admit their mistakes to themselves right away. Either way, they always realize what they lost.
At some point in their life, they wish they could go back in time and correct their wrongdoing. But, you know what’s the catch? They usually come back when you forget about them.
To Wrap Up:
It’s clear: he displays all of the signs he knows he messed up. But, is that a guarantee that he won’t do it again?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but this is the risk you’ll have to take. Nobody can tell you if your ex will go back to his old ways once you give him a second chance.
All you can do is trust your gut and hope you made the right call.