I think we can all agree that there’s no pain quite like the pain of heartbreak.
But how do you know if a guy feels guilty? Or how do you know when a man regrets losing you?
If he feels regret and remorse then he will most likely show signs he knows he hurt you.
In this article we’ll run through:
- 11 telltale signs he knows he messed up
- 5 signs he’s not sorry for hurting you
- What to do when a guy hurts you.
11 signs he feels guilty for hurting you
1) He keeps checking on you
If he is sending you messages or calling to see how you are doing, it shows he is thinking of you. He wouldn’t bother if he didn’t have feelings for you.
The fact that he needs to make sure you are doing alright is a sign he is feeling bad about causing you pain.
He may even be reaching out and asking people you know, like friends or family, how you are. Whilst that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to get back together if you’ve split up, it does show he cares.
If he didn’t give a damn about what had happened, he wouldn’t make any efforts to try and connect with you or check in on you.
2) He’s being overly nice
Sucking up after we have behaved badly is pretty common. Most of us have probably done it as well as been on the receiving end of it.
It usually goes something like this: You say or do something you wish you hadn’t, you know you’re in trouble, you feel guilty and so you go above and beyond being super nice.
Maybe he offers to do you little favours, goes out of his way to help out, or he may just be way friendlier than usual.
It is a sign that he is making an extra effort — which indicates he is sorry for whatever he has done.
3) He tries to make it up to you
When some good old fashioned sucking up isn’t enough, he may try and pull out all the stops by “making it up to you”.
How he does that will most likely depend on whatever he did to hurt you in the first place.
This might come in the form of promises and words, for example, telling you things like “it’ll never happen again” after being caught cheating.
He might also try to make gestures like asking if he can take you out to dinner or buying you gifts, like flowers, to say sorry.
The fact that he’s at least trying to make it up to you will probably feel better than if he acted like he couldn’t care less. But it’s also important to remember that whilst this kind of behaviour may show remorse, it might not solve the underlying problem.
If whatever he did to hurt you wasn’t such a big deal, then flowers could be enough to get back into your good books.
If he really has hurt you though, superficial romantic gestures may not be enough to win back your trust.
4) Want advice specific to your situation?
While this article will shed light on the main signs he is sorry for hurting you, I’d recommend speaking to a certified relationship coach about your situation.
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5) He says he will change his ways
If he has truly been reflecting on the mistakes he has made, he may have done some soul searching and realized he needs to change.
He may want you to know that he understands how his actions have impacted you and he is unhappy with himself or disappointed about how he behaved. He may try to prove to you that he has grown or is making an effort to be better.
Acknowledging that he needs to do things differently in the future definitely shows some emotional maturity. But more important than what he says, is perhaps what he does. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Rather than just making promises to change his ways, is he taking real steps?
6) He goes quiet
Perhaps one of the more subtle signs that he is dealing with guilt is if he suddenly goes quiet or MIA. Guilt can do funny things to us.
Maybe for a while, he seemed to always be out partying and you would see him “having fun” on his social media. Then all of a sudden it’s like he disappears. No more good times, he simply goes quiet and retreats into himself.
Nobody seems to know what he’s up to and he’s no longer seen hanging out with his usual group of friends.
We all deal with difficulties in different ways. Sometimes it takes a little longer for things to really sink in for some people. Whilst it can seem like a guy doesn’t care after a breakup or a big argument, in reality, he may care more than you think.
Going out, drinking, partying, hanging out with friends or generally keeping busy are often distraction techniques that we turn to. But you can’t run from your emotions forever.
That’s why, If he suddenly goes quiet, it’s a sign things could have finally hit him.
7) He’s trying to gloss over things
If the guy in question isn’t particularly good at dealing with or expressing emotions, he may try to act like nothing happened.
Maybe he’s making lots of jokes in a misguided attempt to lighten the mood, or trying to talk about more light-hearted things instead. This seemingly casual approach to handling it can feel very blasé.
You may be wondering if he really cares about you at all?
Although it isn’t the best way of dealing with things, it can still be a sign that he is feeling bad about hurting you.
Many men feel awkward when confronted with strong emotions. That can cause him to try and minimize what has happened and want to quickly move on from it rather.
Of course, the problem with this approach is that he also isn’t taking responsibility for whatever he has done.
8) He owns up to his mistakes
One of the most obvious signs that he really does regret hurting you and is sorry, is when he can admit he was wrong.
It’s very easy to be defensive when we make mistakes. Our ego’s quickly come out to protect us. It takes self-awareness to think about what we have done, and in hindsight, what we probably should have done.
If he shows you that he really does understand the error of his ways, then he has clearly been doing some thinking about it all.
He cares about you enough to swallow his pride, and own his actions.
9) He gives you a real apology
The truth is that you will probably be able to tell deep down whether he really means it or not.
The key to a real apology all comes down to sincerity. If he is genuinely feeling bad for hurting you, he will show concern.
His “sorry” will be about more than just getting you off his back or trying to quickly resolve an argument. He will offer you reassurances and attempt to back up his words through actions too.
How do I know if his apology is sincere? Here’s what to look for:
Rehearsed apologies come across as fake or overly confident. With heartfelt apologies, it will most likely be uncomfortable for the person giving it, so he may appear more humble or show signs of shame.
- He is quick to react
If his sorry happens almost instantly it is more likely that he felt guilty straight away. If getting the apology from him was like getting blood out of a stone, it’s not a great sign.
- His body language
If he cares and is eagerly awaiting how you will respond to his apology, he will be watching you to try and gauge your reaction. If he is insincere, he may look away when he says the words to you, or you might even notice him smirk a little.
10) He’s open about his feelings
If he is sorry, takes ownership over hurting you and wants to make amends, you may find he is opening up to you more. This is especially significant if he usually finds it difficult to talk about his emotions.
Faced with the prospect of losing you for good, he could be making more of an effort to show and tell you how he really feels.
Although this doesn’t magically fix everything it shows he feels a connection to you and is prepared to be vulnerable.
We all know that communication is a fundamental part of whether any relationship will work. If you feel like he is trying harder to open up to you, it’s a sign he is feeling remorseful.
11) He’s more compromising
If he’s messed up and he knows it, he might now be going out of his way — agreeing to things he would never have said yes to before.
Maybe he’d been stubbornly refusing to go somewhere that you had been wanting to go for a while, and now all of a sudden, he is suggesting you do it.
Perhaps he’s become more enthusiastic about doing the things he never seemed to like before — like visiting your family.
Had you suggested you have couples counselling until you were blue in the face, but now he says he will go?
If he is being more accommodating, less selfish and seemingly trying to meet you in the middle, it could be because he is feeling bad for hurting you.
5 signs he is not sorry for hurting you
Of course, none of us likes to think someone we care about doesn’t even feel guilty that they have hurt us. But how a man feels when he hurts a woman will obviously differ a lot depending on the guy.
Some may not have the emotional maturity right now to accept if they are wrong or have made a mistake.
Here are 5 indications that he doesn’t really feel bad hurting you:
1) He’s taking zero responsibility
Nothing in life is black or white, it’s all a grey area.
There are two people in every relationship and both contribute to how well that relationship goes — even when one person makes more mistakes than the other.
He may be justified in not shouldering all the blame, but if he can’t accept any responsibility, it’s not a good sign.
Passing the buck, making excuses or always blaming others means he hasn’t (or isn’t capable of) really thinking about his part in it all. It’s difficult to be truly sorry when we’re not even prepared to acknowledge that we were wrong.
Even if he unintentionally hurt you, if he cared, he would at least recognize how you feel. If he is still telling you or other people that he’s done nothing wrong, chances are he doesn’t feel bad about what happened.
2) He’s all talk but no action
Some men seem to be such smooth talkers, they can chat their way out of anything.
Our words are important, but especially when we’ve heard it all before, we need it to be backed up through action too.
Is there a pattern in your relationship of him hurting you, saying he’s sorry, promising it will be different next time, but then ultimately nothing changes?
If you always seem to end up finding yourself right back at square one again, then you may be right in questioning his sincerity.
There are different levels of being sorry. A shallow sorry for messing up, when it isn’t backed by a change in behaviour, is just a token. It’s not that he doesn’t care at all, but it may not be enough to make him change his ways.
If he was truly sorry for hurting you, he wouldn’t just tell you, he would show you too.
3) He thinks you should just “get over it”
Is he downplaying the whole situation in a way that seems like he really doesn’t care?
Maybe he is behaving nonchalantly about your break up, or telling you to get over it.
If you had a fight or he did something wrong, rather than make it up to you, perhaps he’s acting like you are making too big a deal out of things. You could even feel like he is gaslighting you — pretending that it’s all in your head.
This type of behaviour can sometimes be a temporary defence mechanism to try and protect himself, which may fade in time. But either way, it shows that he does not understand how his actions have affected you and are unwilling to even try to see your side.
It is easier for him to push you away, shrug off whatever happened between you and be dismissive.
4) He’s being insensitive
If he is being insensitive or downright cruel about the whole thing, then chances are he isn’t feeling guilty right now.
When we go through a breakup or even just have fought in a relationship, it’s normal to want to blow off a bit of steam. That may mean going out with friends or taking some space to calm down.
But if he is intentionally rubbing your nose in his “good time”, then it doesn’t particularly scream remorseful.
Maybe other women keep popping up on his social media, or he is constantly bragging about how much fun he is having.
Of course, some of this could be trying to make you jealous or to get a reaction out of you.
If you really hurt him too, then him acting out may make some sense. But if he has no reason to feel angry towards you, and he knows you are hurting, this type of behaviour shows a lack of respect about your feelings.
5) It’s all “me, me, me”
If he has hurt you and is feeling genuinely sorry about it then it should be more about you than him.
If he is only talking about how he feels, what he wants and needs — it sounds like he may care more about himself.
Does he tell you he is feeling guilty, but everything seems to be about him? Maybe he is showing a lot of self-pity, or it seems like he’s trying to get your sympathy.
If he really is sorry about hurting you, his concern will be directed at you. He will check to see you you are feeling, he will want you to feel better.
Getting your forgiveness might be more about making himself feel better rather than being truly sorry for hurting you.
What to do now?
You’ve checked out the signs, and you may feel like you have a clearer idea of how he could be feeling based on how he’s been behaving.
You might be convinced that he really is heartbroken over you, or feeling pretty devastated to think that he doesn’t care as much as you wish he did. But now what?
Moving forward after you’ve been hurt by a guy
1) Decide what you want
Especially when it comes to matters of the heart we can drive ourselves crazy wondering what the other person is thinking. It’s totally understandable.
When something causes us pain and we don’t feel like we have any control over it, our happiness can feel at the mercy of what that person says and does next.
We think that it will make us feel better just to know that they care and are feeling bad too. The truth is that it probably does for a little while. But in reality, whether they do or don’t feel sorry, still may not actually change anything.
Before you decide where to go from here, you have to be really honest with yourself about what you want.
If you’ve split up, do you want to make things work and get back together? Or do you feel like things are too broken to try and repair?
Give yourself some time to choose what you honestly want from the situation.
2) Talk to him
It’s true that human behaviour can be quite easy to interpret at times, but that’s definitely not always the case.
He could give strong signs about how he is feeling, but the danger is that you may also misinterpret or read things wrong. It’s very difficult to be objective about our own love life.
Signs of guilt don’t necessarily mean he wants to get back together.
That’s why having an open and honest conversation with him about how you feel and asking him how he is feeling is the only way to truly know what’s going on.
It’s scary to be vulnerable, especially when you are feeling hurt. But if you do get the sense that he is truly sorry, the best way to move on is by discussing it with him.
3) Focus on you
The chances are (unless he really is a horrible person) he probably does care that he has hurt you. But at some point, it may be helpful to ask yourself, what difference does that really make?
If you are going to move forward together, it probably will make a difference, but if you are going to part ways, perhaps not so much.
Whilst it may give you some temporary peace, in the long run focusing on what he is feeling and thinking is a red herring.
Rather than getting distracted and pulled back into your pain by directing your energy at him, try to focus on yourself.
Show yourself love and kindness. Do things that will cheer you up. Eat your favourite foods or watch your favourite shows. Reach out to people whom you know who cares about you and who can help support you.
I know it’s way easier said than done, but the best way to heal is by thinking less about him and more about you.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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