Relationships do not always have to be linear: first date, second date, dating, moving in together… Sometimes life has other plans for you. You might be too busy for a relationship. Or your boyfriend moved to another city and you find long-distance relationships too hard.
Short breaks from romantic relationships are not uncommon at all.
Oftentimes, the reason for these temporary separations is simple: something was not working right.
It could be that your values were not aligned. Or that your boyfriend was a bit of a jerk and you needed to move out. Maybe he was too clingy and did not leave you any space.
But just because he treated you badly does not automatically mean that he did not have any redeeming qualities. In fact, if you tallied all the good and the bad moments in your relationship, the former would probably come up on top.
Which is why you most likely still have feelings for your ex.
However, if you already broke up once, things were not all rosy either. You will be on guard because of the memory of the bad behaviors and how it affected you.
If your ex-boyfriend comes back and asks you for a second chance, you should be cautious. So, do your due diligence even if you really want to get back with him. That might just save you from some additional trauma.
To help you protect yourself against another disillusion, here are 10 signs your ex has really changed and how to know if he is faking it.
One of the surest signs your boyfriend is immature is when he is constantly blaming others for his shortfalls.
Whatever it is, no matter what happened, it is always someone else’s fault. Hence the classic: “I cheated on you because you were not paying enough attention to me,” (which is a bad excuse, just in case you were wondering.)
So, one of the biggest signs your ex has changed is when he takes full responsibility for what he did wrong.
Rather than putting the blame on you, he readily admits to his mistakes and tells you how sorry he is.
If you start hearing things like: “I know how what I did was wrong,” or “Now I realize how much that hurt you,” you might decide that it is worth hearing him out – if only to get the closure you deserve on your relationship.
As hard as it is to admit, your ex-boyfriend will rarely be 100% responsible for the failure of your relationship. A part of the fault lies with you too.
But here is the thing: if your ex – or current – boyfriend has changed, he will not try to make you feel bad about it. He will not stay mad at you. There will be no demands for you to apologize or admit to what you did wrong. None of the: “Well, what I did was crappy, but you also did this bad thing and that…” which inevitably leads to more fighting and resentment.
On the contrary, while your ex might be taking the blame for your relationship falling apart, he will consciously refrain from generating this sort of conflict.
What’s more, is that if you start saying things like: “You know, I have been thinking that I have my part in this fiasco as well,” he will not only not push the issue, he will actively try to look past it. To forgive and move on.
When you start apologizing to him, the signs he has changed will include him saying things like: “You were just doing your best, let’s move past that,” or “That’s water under the bridge now,” for example.
Harboring resentment or jealousy are bright red flags when dating someone. Don’t ignore them.
It is possible for your boyfriend to put on an act, but that can only be temporary. If he has not changed and you have enough conversations with him, sooner or later, you will notice some cracks start to appear.
Did you break up because he was too controlling? And now he is negotiating with you not to go out with your friends tonight?
Or maybe he is getting irritated when you mention your new life: the new things you enjoy doing (which don’t include him), the new people you are seeing (who might also be guys), etc.
If something makes you feel good, and he is not on board with you doing it, that’s generally cause for concern. It will cause issues down the road if you get back with your ex.
Which begs the question: how to know if he has changed? Simple: if he is happy to see you doing well. When he truly wishes the best for you and encourages you to keep doing things you enjoy. Even if it is not what he was wishing for initially.
Imagine you are texting with this guy and still on the fence about when to see him. He has a tendency to be too pushy and that is why you are being careful not to go too fast in your relationship with him.
Him: Do you have a moment to grab a drink tonight? Would like to chat with you…
You: Sorry, I am going to the movies with a friend. Maybe next week?
*He has not changed*
Him: What friend? Can’t you cancel? Is it someone I know? Are you dating someone?
*He has changed*
Him: Oh sweet. You should watch the new Top Gun. Sure, catch you next week!
Now, one instance where he does not blow up your phone with questions does not mean he has changed, but it is a good sign.
If he consistently shows the same type of behavior, he has probably done the work to change.
And if you are not sure how to tell the difference between the two types of men in this example, maybe it is because you need a bit more dating experience.
By signing up to a free dating site like Vidamora, you will quickly be able to talk with lots of good and respectful guys – and see first-hand the kind of behavior you should expect from the person you ultimately choose to date.
If someone is acting and faking it, he might be able to fool you in the short-term with his words.
What is much harder to fake, however, are his actions.
Contrary to what you say, your actions are usually guided by your belief system and core values. A good piece of advice to know if someone has changed is to pay attention to what they do, not what they say.
And because his life is the direct result of his actions, if you notice that it starts to improve, it could very well be because he is a different man now, with different values guiding him towards more positive and constructive behaviors.
Could he still be deceiving you? Sure. But that would be much, much harder too.
Looking inwards is not easy to do. We do not always like what we see when we really try to take a hard look at ourselves.
Nevertheless, that is often one of the best – and very few – ways to truly grow.
If he has changed, truly changed, it might be because he worked on himself. He put in the time to look in the mirror and understand his shortcomings. His triggers. The why behind his actions. What he needs to avoid and the sort of behaviors he should try to emulate.
Armed with a new perspective on himself, he looks and feels like a different person on the outside.
But that is first and foremost because he did what needed to be done on the inside.
Another big way to know your boyfriend has changed is his attitude towards criticism and his ability to have calm and peaceful discussions about the future.
Because of that, he does not have the need to “win” during your conversations. There is no need to be right and debate endlessly, no need to “finish a fight”. Which means that he is now able to:
In short, his mindset is now future-oriented. And you can see that when he says things like: “How do we move forward?” and “What can I do to make things better now?”
If you felt wronged and disappointed by how things went down before breaking up, you might not be ready to jump right back into a relationship with this guy.
Even if you like him, you need time to process your emotions. To rebuild your trust and confidence and to start feeling better.
If he has changed, your boyfriend will not pressure you.
Instead, he will accept that you need to take things slow. He might even try to work with you and help you in any way possible: If he was too clingy, he might agree to leave. you space when you need. He could also decide to show you his phone whenever you ask if there were trust issues.
And if he also keeps his cool when you feel angry or sad – both pretty common emotions in this situation – then you know he has changed for real.
Trust is one of the hardest things to rebuild in a relationship.
To really trust that your boyfriend – or ex boyfriend – has changed, he needs to prove it to you by being honest. Lying or hiding things need to stop immediately, otherwise you will never really be able to believe him when he says he has changed.
That includes answering all your questions – even the not-so-pleasant ones, – and being able to back up whatever he tells you: if he says he is hanging out with his brother at home, he better not be out at a bar when you call him. Even if it is an innocent white lie, any deceitful act like this will put into question his integrity and trustworthiness as a partner.
If he manages to ease your concerns long enough and never give you a reason to suspect he is lying to you, then feel free to relax. Double-checking what he tells you all the time would be exhausting mentally.
This is no secret: humans are inherently social.
Because of that, the people you choose to spend time with have a big influence on how you live your life. They will affect your values, your character, even your weight!
This means that if your boyfriend has shady friends, he will be under their negative influence.
For example, if all his friends are unfaithful, party-goers, and unemployed, then there is a bigger chance that they will push him to hang out late, to go out on a weekday, etc. That could be a terrible idea if he has a full-time job, and that would wreak havoc on your mental state because you would always wonder if he is becoming like them, a person without character.
On the other hand, you might notice that your boyfriend has new friends now. They seem more balanced, happily married, respectful.
Now that is a big clue that he has changed.
Even if he still needs to work on himself to become a more virtuous person, his friend’s good influence will definitely help.
As with most things in life, it’s the time that counts.
Things that can be faked once or twice become much harder over time. Your ex/boyfriend might be able to keep his calm or admit fault when you see him, but if he has not really changed, eventually, he will lose control and be mean.
He might show you how his behavior has improved and that he hangs out with a different group of friends. But if he is secretly doing things behind your back, eventually, he will slip up and you will find out.
What this means for you, is that when you notice a constant change in your boyfriend or your ex, it might be real.
Being able to consistently show an improved character, day in and day out, over a long period of time. You only see that happen if he has really changed.
Which inevitably brings up another question: if your ex has changed, what do you wish to happen?
You could decide that the new person you have in front of you is not enough to mend the hurt he caused you in the past.
And that is okay.
Or you might find that you quite like the new and improved version of the person you used to know.
And that is okay too!
Whatever you choose, whether you give him a second chance or not, the most important thing is that you are doing this for yourself.
And that this is what makes you really happy.
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