Has a guy ever let you down badly?
Chances are the answer is yes.
But one thing that provides some comfort is when you know he truly feels sorry for what he did or didn’t do and regrets hurting you.
Here’s how to tell if that’s the case.
20 signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you
1) He says he’s sorry
Whether you’ve broken up or just had a bad fight, saying sorry does matter.
Of course, an apology alone often isn’t enough.
But it can be a start.
And in order to be a real start it should begin by being 100% genuine.
One of the top signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he apologizes from the bottom of his heart.
He may cry, he may not. He may say a lot, he may say a bit.
The sincerity is to be judged from your impression looking him right in the eye that he means this and it’s important to him.
Is he just trying to get out of trouble? Lying? Half-assing what he says to have sex tonight?
That’s all unacceptable.
If he’s truly sorry for what he did, his apology needs to be unconditional, sincere and direct.
2) He is honest about what happened
Another one of the strong signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he’s honest about what happened.
Here’s the thing:
He may honestly believe he’s not to blame. And he may be honest about his belief that whatever happened is not fully his fault (in his opinion).
But if he’s genuinely sorry, he will stop focusing on this and be up front about the ways in which he let you down.
He will not try to extract tit-for-tat apologies from you or shame and guilt you into seeing that “both sides” are responsible.
If he upset you enough for you to break up or have a major fight, he’s going to own that.
And he’s going to be honest about the ways he let you down and what he wishes he had done better.
Anything less is him trying to worm his way out of this situation.
3) He leaves you space to heal
One of the top signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he’s willing to give you the space to heal.
The fact of the matter is that problems with love can hurt us to our core and damage us in future relationships.
And if we don’t learn from our disappointments and frustrations, they can often keep repeating in the worst ways!
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4) He tries to make it up to you
Actions speak louder than words, it’s true.
And one of the crucially important signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he tries to make it up to you.
This could be doing something extra nice for you. It could be a heartfelt apology. It could be building you a gazebo in his spare time off work.
The point is really more about his level of effort and care, rather than the finished product.
It will be quite obvious to tell whether he’s gone out of his way to try to make things up to you or not.
A few empty words and a nice Hallmark card isn’t going to cut it.
But a long-term amount of attention and care towards you as well as going the extra mile when you need it can certainly be a welcome experience.
So keep an eye out for what he does out of the ordinary to really try to make it up to you.
5) He makes amends to your friends and family
Depending on what happened, your guy may also make amends to your friends and family.
A lot depends on context here, so it really depends.
Say, for example, that he cheated on you.
One of the signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he will go to those who care about you most, look them in the eye and say he’s very sorry for what he did to you.
Maybe you haven’t yet accepted his apology or talked to him.
This still won’t stop him from contacting those he can and letting them know that he’s taking responsibility for his actions and owning up to them.
Another example could be that he lost his temper and yelled at you, causing a huge fight or breakup.
He will ask to talk to your family and friends and if they say yes he will be honest that he fell short of who he wants to be and that there’s no excuse for his behavior.
Even if it doesn’t lead to a second chance, he will want those who care about you to know that he is atoning for his bad behavior.
6) He cares a lot about how you feel
If he’s genuinely sorry about what he did and how he let you down, he’s going to also care a lot about how you feel.
Let’s be honest:
Maybe he thinks you’re blowing this out of proportion, maybe he’s not a very emotional guy.
Maybe he just ranks low in emotional intelligence.
But if he’s really sorry about what he did and knows how bad it was, then he’s going to be really concerned about how you’re feeling.
He’s going to want to do what he can to make your life a little easier and less dramatic for the foreseeable future.
Let’s face it:
Sometimes the best thing he can do is stay the hell out of your way for a while.
And if he truly respects and cares about you and that’s what you ask, that’s exactly what he should do.
7) He helps you move forward in your love life
Another one of the vital signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he helps you move forward in your love life.
This may be by finding a way to get back together with him, or it may be in you becoming clearer and finding closure on why you can’t be with him.
The fact of the matter is that he respects you enough and regrets what happened to want to make your love life a little better.
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8) He makes you a priority
One of the most important signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he makes you a priority.
He doesn’t beat around the bush, focus on work or start dating someone new to make you jealous.
Nor does he play a lot of mind games and mess around with your emotions.
He makes you a priority both physically and emotionally.
In many cases this can mean being literally physically present to hear you out and be a listener.
In other situations it can mean that he gives you a ride, a loan, cooks for you, invites you out to special occasions and becomes a better person.
And he does all of this while not conditioning it on you forgiving him.
Because the truth is:
If he makes you a priority and becomes a more responsible loving man only as a condition of you forgiving and loving him in return…
Then you’re right back in the kind of toxic transactionalism that destroys relationships to begin with.
9) He gives you the confidence boost you need
When you’ve been hurt, it often leads to a feeling of being unworthy.
Even if he hurt you by being emotionally or physically absent…
Or hurt you by mistrusting or doubting you during a difficult time…
It can be hard to shake the feeling that you may be to blame for feeling upset.
The saddest thing to see in relationships (and life) is exactly this:
Well-intentioned, honest people who gaslight themselves for somebody else’s problems and misdeeds.
Instead of realizing that you truly aren’t to blame, you focus in on what you could have done, should have done, would have done…
And you feel like crap.
That’s why one of the top signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he gives you the confidence boost you need.
Not only does he take responsibility for hurting you, he also lets you know in no uncertain terms that you are not to blame.
And he means it.
10) He doesn’t push you to forgive him
As I said earlier, any kind of apology and expression of regret has to be independent of expectation.
If he’s saying sorry as a transaction to get forgiven, he’s not sorry.
Or if he is sorry, he should be a lot more sorry.
And that’s the thing:
One of the most crucial signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he doesn’t push you to forgive him.
He says sorry and he means it.
He tries to make up for it because he can and because he feels awful.
He never says “am I in your good books yet?”
Nor does he rant and rave like a petulant bully if you’re having a bad day or need your space.
If you’re taking time apart or broken up, he respects that and doesn’t try to use his regret as part of a comeback tour.
Even if he wants to get back together and has made that clear, he fully leaves it up to you and respects your refusal or your need for more time to decide.
11) His contrition is obvious from how much he tries to help you out
There are times when a broken or troubled relationship gets to be overwhelming.
The longer and deeper you look at it, the more confused you become.
It’s like you’re staring at some alien artifact with unintelligible writing all over it and no decoder ring.
Who knows what it all means at this point, you think, I give up…
But if you watch closely, you may notice that he’s trying to help you out in various small ways.
There’s actually an important reason for that…
You see, for guys, it’s all about triggering their inner hero.
I learned about this from the hero instinct. Coined by relationship expert James Bauer, this fascinating concept is about what really drives men in relationships, which is ingrained in their DNA.
And it’s something most women don’t know anything about.
Once triggered, these drivers make men into the heroes of their own lives. They feel better, love harder, and commit stronger when they find someone who knows how to trigger it.
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12) He’s respectful and affectionate toward you
Never underestimate the power and importance of basic respect.
These days, especially, it seems to be in short supply.
And that’s why one of the key signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he treats you well.
He doesn’t rant at you or get angry out of the blue.
He doesn’t come out of nowhere with accusations.
And he doesn’t dump his problems on you.
Whatever he’s going through in his life, he lets you know that he’s dealing with it on his own and that it’s not your issue.
And he never even remotely tries to use his own struggles as a justification or excuse for what he did.
Let me be clear about this:
I have friends who have been sexually abused as kids and had their abuser try to explain it away as them going through their own crisis at the time…
It sickens me to even think about this type of self-justifying shit.
And even if this guy hurt you in a less visceral way, you need to keep an eagle eye out for any accountability dodging.
Ain’t nobody got time or energy for that kind of weak-ass nonsense.
13) He’s not focused on sex or casual fun
One of the other very key signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he isn’t focused on hooking up with you.
If you had an active sex life that’s interrupted due to the issues you’re having, he respects that.
He may still be extremely attracted to you, but he puts his lust on the backburner and respects the hard time that you’re both going through.
If he tries to apologize to get sex, you know he’s not for real.
But another thing to watch out for is a bit more subtle and even harder to spot.
How it works is this:
He tries to seduce you and stimulate you with intimacy in order to worm his way out of having to face what went wrong.
Essentially, this guy may try to use sex as a get out of jail free card.
And if you’re still highly attracted to him you could fall for it.
So be careful and watch out for him coming across overly sexually, as this could be a tactic he’s using to try to get you to forgive him without actually addressing how he hurt you.
14) He’s not hinging his happiness on you
Knowing somebody cares about you and is attracted to you can be a wonderful feeling.
But knowing that you hold someone’s happiness and wellbeing in your hands can be overwhelming and upsetting.
Why should you be responsible for someone else’s fulfillment in life?
It’s actually really unattractive in a potential mate, and equally unattractive in a partner who we’re with or were with.
That’s especially true when it’s a guy who’s sorry for what he did and wants to let you know it, but is clearly basing his own happiness on you taking him back and giving him a clean slate.
This is where some outside help can come in handy.
Sometimes you just need to know whether he really regrets hurting you or he’s just feeling sad and lonely.
It can make a big difference for whether your relationship has a real chance.
This relates back to the unique concept I mentioned earlier: the hero instinct.
When a man feels respected, useful, and needed, he’s more likely to really want to get back together with you and feel bad about letting you down.
And the best part is, triggering his hero instinct can be as simple as knowing the right thing to say over a text.
You can learn exactly what to do by watching this simple and genuine video by James Bauer.
15) He wants to become a better man
This one is a bit tricky, so let me explain:
One of the important signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he wants to become a better man.
The thing is this:
It’s fine if that’s motivated by seeing where he fell short with you and let you down.
It’s not fine if that’s motivated by the idea that he can upgrade himself and find his way straight back into your loving arms.
True self-development happens when we drill down to our deepest essence and push ourselves to the limit for ourselves.
When we do it for someone else or to gain validation, forgiveness or attraction, it’s ultimately hollow.
So pay attention and try to figure out his motives for becoming a better person, because if it’s dependent on your stamp of approval it’s worthless.
16) He wants to get back together but he’s not pressuring you
It’s great if he wants to get back together and is honest about that.
But you should never accept pressure in this regard.
If you haven’t broken up but he’s still pushing for you to forgive him and go back to “the way things were,” that’s also a red flag.
You shouldn’t feel compelled to do anything.
You should be free to decide if and when you let this guy back into your life, and what context it will be in.
He has no rights to you.
And even if you’re married, there are some relationship traumas that can be too much to bear and lead to divorce.
That’s for you to decide, and no matter how sorry he is, there isn’t always a path forward.
17) He remains in touch with you even if it’s over
Another one of the important signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he stays in touch with you even if it’s over.
If you’ve decided to part ways and end this relationship, he not only accepts that, he also still answers your messages and behaves civilly towards you.
He doesn’t freak out or become abusive.
He keeps it cool even though you can see there is a lot of emotion running underneath the surface.
But he controls himself and remains disciplined to try to stay in touch with you, especially if you share possessions or share custody of kids.
18) He sometimes loses his cool and displays extreme emotions
On the other hand, one of the unfortunate signs that he’s truly sorry can be that he does sometimes lose his cool.
Although he remains there for you and in touch, there may be situations where he becomes so upset that it’s painful for you to even speak to him.
Every relationship problem is different, but sometimes being sorry isn’t a nice or comfortable thing.
It can manifest with him breaking down in tears, getting angry or saying stupid and unfair things.
This isn’t what any woman wants to hear, but if it’s any consolation, it does usually mean he’s genuinely sorry and regretful about his bad actions in the past.
Even if he’s no closer to solving them in the present.
19) He wishes you well if you have someone new
If you have parted ways with this guy, then you may be dating someone new.
One of the signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that even if he really wants to be with you he will accept if you’ve moved on.
Maybe he can’t change how he feels and will always love you.
But he cares enough about you to give you your freedom and wish you well on the journey of life.
That’s definitely something, and it’s worth a lot.
It’s also clearly sincere, since there is so much more potential for him to act bitterly or resentfully.
But when he chooses not to and gives you his blessing, it’s crystal clear that he truly regrets his past actions and only wants the best for you going forward…
Even if it’s not with him.
20) He actively avoids hurting you again
As I said earlier, actions speak louder than words.
Perhaps the most important of the signs he knows he messed up and regrets hurting you is that he actively avoids hurting you again.
He can be as penitent as a medieval monk on a pilgrimage wearing a hairshirt, but if he does the same hurtful things to you again it’s worthless.
He may have said he’s sorry and meant it…
He may have taken action to make it up to you…
He may have been remarkably patient and sincere…
But if he does the same things that hurt you again, none of that really matters.
So what are his actions? Because if this guy is serious about treating you better he’s going to actually do it long-term, not just talk about it and posture.
Do you want him back?
So he’s truly sorry for hurting you.
That’s important. That matters.
But if he wants to get back together, that’s something else entirely.
You need to decide for yourself whether this is what’s right for you (and him) right now.
Maybe it’s not.
Maybe it is.
Just remember, that sometimes you need to do the right thing even when it’s hard.
Even when a guy messed up and knows it, it’s up to you to decide whether that means there really is hope for the future of the relationship.
The thing about being sorry for hurting someone is that it can start taking up all your time and energy.
And the more you try to figure it out, the more confused you feel.
Still, there is hope.
By now you should have a better idea of how to tell if a guy is truly sorry for hurting you.
So the key now is getting through to your man in a way that empowers both him and you.
I mentioned the concept of the hero instinct earlier — by appealing directly to his primal instincts, you won’t only solve this issue, but you’ll take your relationship further than ever before.
And since this free video reveals exactly how to trigger your man’s hero instinct, you could make this change from as early as today.
With James Bauer’s incredible concept, he’ll see you as the only woman for him. So if you’re ready to take that plunge,be sure to check out the video now.
Here’s a link to his excellent free video again.
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…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
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