Why do guys realize when it’s too late

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Recently I found myself in an all too familiar position. It’s a place I suspect women since the dawn of time have become acquainted with. I liked him, and although I think he liked me too, ultimately not enough.

I waited around as long as I could, trying to justify to myself why I wasn’t being a total fool. But eventually, I had to face the fact that it was time to move on.

Every high-value woman who knows her worth has probably noticed that sometimes he has to lose you to realize what he had.

For some reason, he couldn’t see what was standing right in front of him. But why?

It’s incredibly frustrating, but the truth is that plenty of guys only realize what they have when it’s too late.

7 tragic reasons guys realize what they have when it’s gone

1) He figures out the grass isn’t greener on the other side

More so than ever before, modern dating creates the illusion of limitless choice.

Your grandparents might speak about how once upon a time you would meet a special person, court them, and settle down. But for most of us, that world seems a very distant memory.

As studies find meeting online has now become the most popular way couples connect and open relationships also become increasingly popular (especially amongst men), the face of dating has undoubtedly changed.

Research on mate selection has shown that men are more likely to want to couple up when there are fewer choices for female mates. It’s not very comforting reading when you consider the endless stream of profiles a guy encounters daily on dating apps.

Science has a name for this common swipe-happy phenomenon happening. It’s called “the paradox of choice”.

It basically says that whilst we generally see variety as a good thing, it actually makes our decisions harder. Author of ‘The Paradox of Choice’ Barry Schwartz says it leaves some people endlessly searching for someone who is a better fit for them:

“Maximizers treat relationships like clothing…(they) expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit. For a maximizer, somewhere out there is the perfect lover, the perfect friends. Even though there is nothing wrong with the current relationship, who knows what’s possible if you keep your eyes open.”

How long does it take for a man to realize he messed up? Probably about the same amount of time it takes for him to understand those so-called “better prospects” perhaps weren’t so great after all.

But as with all of life, often what sounds good on paper doesn’t quite live up to the expectation. When that happens, don’t be surprised if he tries to come crawling back.

2) He misses the chase

When we talk about “the chase” we’re really talking about men who like the challenge but back off as soon as things heat up.

Whilst they are not always bad guys, they usually are emotionally unavailable.

These types of guys like the newness, the lust, and the glory of winning. This is what keeps the thrill alive for them when real feelings aren’t there to back up a deeper connection from their side.

Sadly, a lot of players will still pop back up again after they think you’ve moved on to try and reignite this endless game.

They manage to walk the fine line of keeping things going, just to get their dose of ego-boosting, without getting too close that you start to demand commitment from them.

Ultimately, he likes attention, and he’s going to get it wherever he can. If that means he’s not currently getting it elsewhere, he may make efforts to backtrack and find it from you again.

Men like this don’t like to see attention withdrawn from them. It’s why they seem to have a sixth sense and will send that text asking how you are at the exact same moment you emotionally move on from them.

Unfortunately, when this type of man acts like he now regrets not pursuing a girl, it’s less likely to be sincere.

He didn’t choose you in the first place, and that’s unlikely to change in the future either, but he still wants to keep you as a backup plan.

3) You showed him you were a high value

As soon as you see signs that you are not being treated right, the only real option is to walk away (Of course, sadly, this is also often the hardest option).

It’s only human to be plagued with doubts like “why doesn’t he want to be with me?” or start to question yourself and wonder “why am I not enough for him?”.

But once you understand that how he treats you actually has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him, it’s easier to connect to your own self-worth and value. 

The funny thing about moving on is that it often has side effects. Men end up regretting losing the women who have moved on from the relationship.

If you have truly moved on (rather than just pretending) you show him that you have self-respect, boundaries and are prepared to prioritize your own needs and wants.

That’s a big wake-up call for many men about what a high-quality woman they have lost. 

Guys are never going to admire girls they see as doormats who they can walk all over.

When he sees how much you value yourself, all his bad behavior and mistakes will start to play over again in his mind. It’s then when guys regret letting a good girl go.

4) It’s human nature to want what you can’t have

They say that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

But the reality is that as well as triggering some complex feelings, leaving someone behind can also trigger some very primitive natural responses in us as humans.

Anyone who has ever found themselves craving the only thing on the menu that the waiter tells you isn’t available today will tell you — we want what we can’t have.

When he felt like you were an option, he may have made very little effort. As soon as he thinks you might have moved on and are no longer a possibility, he wants you again.

Research has found that we want the things we feel are rarer. They call this the scarcity effect.

In short: the less available something seems, the more we want it.

It’s a common desire that is tapped into in marketing to make us want the latest gadget or trend. 

If he feels like you have moved on, you suddenly become more attractive to him and he’s more likely to realize what he lost.

5) He’s jealous

The little green-eyed monster has a habit of helping guys see the error of their ways

Men are much more territorial than women. Although more research needs to be done in humans, it’s been found that this protective area of the brain is larger in male mammals than in females.

It means that guys often don’t like to see other men sniffing around their turf.

When you walked away from him, he didn’t come running after you. In fact, not only did he let you go rather than fight for you, it seemed like he didn’t even care that you’d gone.

But at the first sign of interest elsewhere, or as soon as you find a man who is prepared to treat you right, he will slide back into your DM’s.

It’s one of those glaring signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship.

All of a sudden he is sorry for the way he treated you. But apparently, this revelation coincides with you being happy with someone else.

Whilst feeling jealous can sometimes confirm that we really do care about somebody, it’s sensible to be cautious.

Beware the guy who needs to see you with someone else to appreciate what they had.

Jealousy is less about true affection and more about attachment and feeling like something belongs to you. That’s why jealousy is usually driven by the ego rather than the heart.

6) He wasn’t really ready for a relationship

Everyone is walking their own path in life and has their own unique timetable.

Sadly, yours isn’t always going to match up with someone else.

Being open to and actively ready for commitment has been found to be one of the important factors in whether a relationship works out.

Writing in Psychology Today, Jeremy Nicholson M.S.W., Ph.D. highlights several reasons why:

“Those who are ready for a commitment are more likely to actually commit to a relationship within a short period of time. When they are in a relationship, they are also more likely to disclose things about themselves, accommodate a partner, and sacrifice for the good of that relationship. Finally, they are also more likely to choose to keep the relationship going, rather than end it. Thus, from beginning to end, those who are ready for a commitment are also more motivated to be better long-term relationship partners too.”

Genuine feelings may still exist, and a guy might realize the true extent of them once it’s too late, but he just wasn’t (and still might not be) ready to settle down.

Sometimes there are genuine signs that he has feelings for you but isn’t ready for a relationship.

But the problem is, him understanding this at a later date doesn’t change anything if you are ready for commitment.

A guy might realize he loves someone years later, but you can’t wait around wasting your life in the vain hope he may one day be ready.

7) You’re not actually “the one” for him

It’s a difficult thing to hear, but at the end of the day, he realizes when it’s too late because ultimately he didn’t have strong enough feelings for you to realize at the moment when it really counted.

There is undeniably a lot to be said for the “right time and place” when it comes to romance. But that can all too often become a smokescreen for what actually matters most.

Behind all the excuses and explanations, when you meet someone and you want something enough, all the “obstacles” tend to melt away.

Why? Because you are both invested in it, so you place one another high on your priority list. You are both working together to make things work.

It takes that amount of energy from both sides to create a successful relationship. If for whatever reason there is an imbalance, the relationship is one-sided and doomed to fail from the start.

You cannot make him change his feelings, and pick up the slack for his lack of effort.

It’s so difficult for us to accept this when we care about someone and want to be with them. But the hard truth is often that you are not the person for him that makes him want to show up with this amount of effort, energy, and commitment from the start.

This is exactly why it’s better to move on and find someone who does feel this way about you rather than looking back.

Why do guys come back when it’s too late?

There are plenty of reasons why guys realize when it’s too late and why they then try to come back. Some of those reasons may overlap.

Romance and love are full of complicated twists and turns, and whilst they say the course of true love never runs smoothly, you should also never have to doubt how a man feels about you.

If a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship or isn’t ready to be exclusive and you do, let him go

If a guy consistently fails to meet your standards of how you should be treated, walk away.

It’s important to keep your head held high, know your worth and practice plenty of self-love.

Do guys ever realize what they lost? Yes, definitely sometimes they do, but not always. And even if he does, there’s no guarantee when it will happen —  it may be in several weeks’ time or several years.

One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t be waiting around for him to come to his senses.

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.

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