Is there any other reason to keep social media operational after a breakup than to see what our ex is up to? Probably not. Is it healthy? Probably not, but either way, there are certain transparent ways that you can tell someone feels bad about what went down between you and is sad about their part in the breakdown of your relationship. Here are some signs he feels bad for hurting you and wants to make amends.

He starts calling you.

There’s nothing I hate more than cold callers. Except, perhaps, unsolicited contact from your ex. Maybe it’s an “I miss you” text or, a “let’s talk” voicemail. Beware both. You want to feel that you have your own space in the fallout of a relationship in one respect. But, I’m big enough to admit that, on the other hand, it’s nice to know they’re thinking of you too. It’s not just you that’s elbow deep in a new tub of Ben and Jerry’s; or, four hours into the FRIENDS Season 4 reruns on TV.

He’s stalking your socials.

It’s like seeing a dog return from a walk with their tail between their legs after they spent the whole time barking at squirrels and tugging at the lead. They know his owner saw him but he did it anyway. Sure as you like, there’s their icon on your recently viewed story stats. It’s with only a small sense of satisfaction that you note this. You’ll know this because you were checking every hour to see that he saw it, of course, but that’s between your Instagram and god. None of our business.

His friends start reaching out.

This is one of the biggest signs he regrets hurting you and it’s particularly shameless because they’re roping their friends in to do their dirty work. If he’s particularly cowardly, he might even play the middle school card and have his friends relay the message through your friends. Either way, you will hear through the grapevine that he misses you and that he feels bad about what happened. It just matters which of those sentiments comes first, though. Regret is not reinvention, ladies. It’s just one of the stages of a breakup.

He reinvents himself.

If he means business, he’ll have a haircut, get therapy, and rope his friends into taking up running with him… or so your friends say. If you suddenly see him sporting a new look, boasting about a new promotion and wearing those shoes you always told him looked good with his chinos, you can know he’s trying to reinvent himself. It shows that he regrets his behavior and feels awful for hurting you and wants to distance himself from it by moving forward. As long as he has changed for the better inside and emotionally, you can give him the time of day. He’s trying and that is more than you can say about the majority of the population. Just make sure he owns his past mistakes.

He turns up at your door with flowers.

Okay, we dance with the line between safe spaces and big romantic gestures here, but hey it’s something. If he regrets being inattentive and distant before, then think of it as actionable movements towards something better. Trying to make the effort to serve your needs better shows that he’s willing to make mistakes in the process.

He starts listening to Taylor Swift.

‘nuff said. The man knows that he’s feeling some strong things and needs an outlet. He’s starting to embrace his emotional side and he’s not shying away from it. This is one of those signs he regrets hurting you, yes, but he’s also getting in touch with his sensitive side, apparently.

He starts therapy.

Well isn’t that the same thing as the previous option? All jokes aside, he is trying to be better for himself first before thinking about relationships. Being open and honest with other people is the first step to self-realization. It’s his way of compensating for not being honest with you before.

He suddenly gets honest.

Beware of the honesty that serves him and releases him from guilt while dumping on you his darkest thoughts and feelings. That isn’t serving you. But, that said, there is a brand of honest that shows great emotional change and maturity. That another one of those signs that he regrets hurting you in the past. He needs to be honest with himself, first and foremost. Then, and only then, he will be ready to see what he needs and find out how to go about getting it.

Make sure you don’t gaslight yourself into ignoring the problems of the past, but if you see these signs that he’s changed his ways and regrets his past behavior, give him a chance.

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