Breaking up is hard to do.
While some parties manage to go on with their daily lives, some continue to be stuck in the past.
With all the memories — good and bad — it’s understandable that you want to remain on good terms with your ex. Sadly, this can be hard if your former flame does not feel as friendly.
More often than not, it’s largely because your ex is still disgruntled with the breakup.
So before you try and make amends, you should read these “19 signs that your ex is still bitter” first.
Why your ex might still be bitter
It’s normal to feel bitter after breaking up. Why this happens, however, is due to several reasons.
According to breakup coach Natalia Juarez, it’s often due to victim mentality. In her interview, she explained that these people feel that they were wronged. Because of this, many exes eventually become embittered.
In bad breakups, this resentment often comes from the other party’s betrayal. If your ex cheated on your or betrayed you, you can’t help but feel angry towards the person.
Some exes, on the other hand, feel that their previous partners didn’t try that hard to salvage the relationship. This “imbalance” — where one person becomes more invested in the other — can lead to the bitterness of the “over giver”.
Now that you know the reasons why your ex feels bitter, you need to be on the lookout for these outward signs:
1) Your ex doesn’t want to communicate with you
It’s normal to want some space after a breakup.
The usual sign is your ex’s hesitancy to talk to you even if you try to extend the olive branch yourself.
This avoidance is not limited to calls though.
Your ex may try to avoid you on all communication channels — SMS, email, social media. And, should you successfully manage to break through, this person might just leave your messages on “seen” (or maybe even unread).
That said, your bitter ex needs some time away from you to heal. You can help him/her do so by giving that much-needed space.
2) Your ex keeps on asking about you
One of the best ways to get over a breakup is to keep your distance from your former lover. This is why many exes go for sign number 1, which is to avoid total communication.
Some bitter exes, however, will just try to keep on asking about you.
Your ex may ask your friends or family who you’re dating, what you’ve been up to, or why you’re doing this or that.
The reason for this is simple: Former partners want to know how their exes are doing.
Are you miserable like them? Then good. Both of you are on equal footing.
If not — say you’re genuinely happy — then this ex may use this knowledge to turn your world upside down.
How, you ask? For one, this person may try to make your life difficult.
For example, your ex might deliberately forget to return the things you’ve asked. Your former partner may even badmouth you or even ask your friends to choose.
Basically, your ex may end up doing the things stated below.
3) Your ex is trying hard to make you jealous
Psychology experts define bitterness as a “chronic and pervasive state of smoldering resentment”. They’re pretty much one of the most destructive emotions, and as such, comes with a high emotional toll.
According to these experts, bitterness can make one vengeful.
Unsurprisingly, many exes take this revenge by trying to make their ex-partners jealous. In this effort to make you jealous (and bitter just like them), exes may try to:
- Post pictures or videos with a new partner. Yes, I’ve moved on! Revel in it!
- Exaggerate how happy he/she is. I don’t need you to be happy. I’m all smiles!
- Wear revealing clothing. Sorry boo, you just missed your chance.
- Show off new friends. I am having a better life without you!
4) Your ex is trying to make your life difficult
As previously mentioned, a bitter ex is often vengeful.
Your former lover will try to make your life a living hell. Remember, this person feels that you deserve the things you did to him/her.
Say that you’re still living with your ex and you’re running in late for work. This individual may deliberately “lose” the keys to the car he/she parked behind yours.
“Oh! I’m so sorry honey, I’m afraid you need to take the bus or the train.”
In case you don’t live with each other, exes may refuse to return their partners’ important belongings (if they haven’t destroyed them yet).
“Your driver’s license? I’m sure you can line up in the DMV for 5 hours to get a replacement.”
5) Or your ex might be making his/her own life difficult
A bitter ex is often out for revenge. But instead of directly affecting the person, some may want their former beaus to feel guilty instead.
Some people do this by deliberately making their own lives difficult. They may end up doing harmful vices, such as alcohol or drugs.
The reason behind doing so is quite simple.
Alcohol can impair memory, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. What they wouldn’t give to forget you — even if just for one night!
Drugs, on the other hand, can make people feel euphoric — albeit briefly. Yes, happy days are here again!
Drugs can also impair memory and decision-making, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Apart from taking their minds off heartbreak, such vices can essentially make their partners feel bad about this downward spiral.
6) Your ex speaks ill of you
An ex who’s over you won’t speak badly of you. A bitter paramour, on the other hand, will habitually talk smack behind your back.
Psychologically, badmouthing can let a person down. It can also create an uneasy environment along the way.
“Oh yes, my ex doesn’t do well in the bedroom.”
The bad mouther (or your ex), as a result, ends up feeling empowered. After all, this gives him/her the ability to influence how things go.
This can get pretty bad if you share common friends or if you work in the same office.
Your ex’s remarks may even draw your friends or officemates away. You end up isolated, which is what your former partner might have felt when you guys broke up.
7) Your ex is passive-aggressive when it comes to you
Say you asked your ex to return your important work stuff. This person agrees, but when it’s time for you to get your belongings, your ex says that he/she is out of the country for 2 months.
And yes, he/she brought the house keys with him!
“I’m sorry dear, I’ll send you a message as soon as I get back.”
You then repeat your request, which is usually met with a positive response. But then your ex-partner backs out (often intentionally) at the last minute.
If your ex is just contradicting everything he says, then this is a sign of passive-aggressiveness.
Dr. Daniel Flavin of the Mayo Clinic describes this as “indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of addressing them openly”.
While this is the opposite scenario of an ex trying to make your life difficult — it’s still a sign of bitterness.
For some people, passive-aggressiveness is a way to blame other people. In your ex’s case, this may be his/her way to say that it’s all your fault.
8) Your ex keeps on telling you that he/she is over you
So your ex tells you that he/she is over you.
Sure, big deal. You’ve moved on too. You’re dating somebody else. So far, so good.
If your ex, however, keeps on emphasizing this fact over and over again, then it may be a sign of bitterness.
In most cases, it’s the way for people to convince themselves that they are indeed okay. After all, Psychology shows that by persuading others — you can eventually convince yourself.
Although this is a red flag, this self-persuasion may help your ex let go of the bitterness he or she feels eventually.
As an old Aesop saying goes: persuasion is more effective than force.
Just let your ex rant about being over you. Later on, he/she will eventually find this mantra to be true.
9) Your ex has turned your family and friends against you
As if badmouthing you personally is not enough, your bitter ex may try to rally family and friends against you.
A resentful ex will try to pull out all the stops just to hurt you. He/she might even fabricate stories just to turn your loved ones against you.
“Your sibling cheated on me with a workmate.”
“Do you know that your friend had an affair with his employer?”
The goal here is to isolate you and make you miserable. That way, you feel what your ex felt when you got up and left.
10) Your ex is making your friends choose
The psychology of choice shows that having a lot of choices can be overwhelming. For the most part, the way to address this is to make the person choose.
For former couples with bad blood, however, this can be a disastrous event.
Bitter exes will want common friends to choose — it’s either them or you. While this is good for business, it can be detrimental for you emotionally.
Your former partner is basically telling them that they could either hang out with him/her or you. Some may even guilt these people into choosing them.
“Remember? I was the one who introduced you to my ex.”
Just like turning your loved ones against you, this tactic is all about isolating you and making you feel just as miserable.
11) Your ex has returned all your belongings
A bitter ex will not want anything that reminds him/her of you. As such, your ex-lover will try to return your possessions to you — even if you don’t need them back.
In some cases, exes will even return something that they have been using for so long.
The curtains you bought? I don’t care if the sun blinds me.
The couch? It’s okay, I can sit on the floor.
Addressing these trivial matters might be a way for them to get rid of every reminder of you.
12) Worse, your ex has destroyed all your belongings
Breakups can make people petty. And for some exes, the only way to appease this bitterness is to destroy every reminder of you.
While some exes will try to return, say, your curtains, these exes would rather see them burned to the ground — literally.
If your ex says that he/she has disposed of (in other words, destroyed) your belongings, it’s usually because they resent what happened.
They don’t want you to be happy. They want you to be just as miserable as them.
And if your ex can make you feel bad by destroying your prized possessions, this person will do so without batting an eyelash.
13) Your ex has deliberately left his/her things at your place
Bitter exes often try to get rid of their former partners’ belongings — either by hook or by crook. But for some people, leaving their things behind is a way for them to win you back.
That’s because these things can potentially trigger nostalgia.
Although nostalgia was thought of as a psychiatric problem in the 17th and 18th centuries, a report has shown that this could actually have some positive effects. Well, at least for your ex.
A bitter ex who wants you back may use this nostalgia to lure you in.
According to the said report, this trip down memory lane may increase the feeling of being loved. Should this work on you, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in your ex’s arms in no time.
14) Your ex is doing things he/she initially despised
Maybe you tried to convince your ex to go hiking with you. But no matter how hard you try, he/she just won’t budge.
“I have a bad back.”
“I always shoot hoops with my friends every weekend.”
“I just want to relax this weekend.”
Then you break up. And now, this person is hiking with your friends — or a new partner, perhaps.
You scroll Instagram and you see your ex’s post with the hashtag #hiking.
Expectedly so, this can make you furious. You tried to convince your ex for almost a year! And now, this person is hiking with your buddies?
Could it be that your ex’s new partner is better at convincing? Well, it’s not always the case. In most instances, it’s a sign of resentment.
Bitter exes do this because they want to elicit a reaction from you. And should you react negatively, this person essentially gets what he/she wants.
The moral of the story here is to not lash out.
Yes, just be happy that your ex finally decided to do some hiking.
15) Your ex picks on your new partner
Even if you have parted with your ex amicably, this person may continue to feel bitter especially if you’ve found somebody else.
And to show his/her disdain, your ex may end up criticizing your new partner. Psychology points it to be an easy form of ego defense, after all.
“Your new boyfriend looks scary.”
“I thought you like tall guys? He’s just a 5’7 midget.”
These criticisms stem from the fact that your ex sees your new partner as a form of insult. Now that you have a new beau, your former partner suddenly feels devalued.
So if this person tells you your partner is ugly, uneducated, or unlike your ex, just shrug it off. It’s this person’s way to defend his ego. Your ex will eventually come into grips with this pettiness soon.
16) Or your ex’s new partner picks on you
If your ex’s new beau hates you so damn much, it could be a reflection of your ex’s resentment over the relationship.
“I’m prettier than you, isn’t it obvious?”
“It’s a good thing you guys broke up! You don’t deserve him.”
Your ex might have talked about your relationship with such disdain that it has made the new partner just as mad.
Then again, it could be your ex talking about you incessantly — so much so that the new partner has just gotten fed up.
17) Your ex shares “bitter” love quotes on social media
Some exes will try their hardest to hide their bitterness. Some people, however, will bend over backward to make this known.
You may see your ex posting:
“Love is like heaven, but it can hurt like hell.”
“Love is like war: easy to begin but hard to end.”
Resentful exes do this by sharing bitter love quotes all over social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’re sure to see a remnant of such posts.
For these exes, it’s a way to get sympathy from the people around you. Concerned family and friends — distraught over these parts — may try to intercede on your ex’s behalf.
“Why did you guys break up? He seems so sad, I think you should get back with him.”
On the other hand, it may be your ex’s way to rally family and friends to condone you.
“You broke his heart! How could you?”
Essentially so, posting bitter quotes may be one of your ex’s ways to shake you up.
By acknowledging this hurt, your ex-lover can try and manipulate you into doing something you may regret soon.
18) Your ex stalks you on social media
For some bitter exes, pouring feelings on social media is not a viable option. This is why they resolve to something else: Digital stalking.
According to a Forbes report, digital stalking is on the rise.
In the UK alone, events in 2018 have risen to over 10,000 — from only 2,800+ in 2014.
Stalking someone digitally has also become easier compared to before. After all, people give a wealth of information on their social media accounts.
Some people can even track locations simply by studying the reflections on the person’s eyeglasses!
And for bitter exes, digital stalking can pave the way for exacting revenge.
For example, your ex might track your location so that they (new partner included) can casually run into you.
While stalking is often harmless (and often a result of pettiness), this can take a gory turn.
So before you share everything online, do remember the Briton who found (and murdered) his ex-girlfriend after monitoring her social media activity.
19) Your ex acts a certain way
Actions speak louder than words.
What exes say (or not) might not be telling of what they actually feel. If you want to know for sure, then you need to observe your ex-partner’s gestures.
The one you should be looking for is what experts call adaptors.
According to the experts from the University of Minnesota, these are behaviors and movements that indicate anxiety.
Here are some “physical” signs that hint that your ex is still bitter — even if he/she doesn’t explicitly say so:
- Whenever he sees you or talks to you, your ex either touches his/her face, plays with his/her hair, or compresses his/her lips.
- Your former partner keeps on blinking when talking to you. Expectedly so, your ex often might try to avert his/her gaze when conversing.
- Bitter exes often have repetitive hand movements (like rubbing hands together). Your ex might also be looking at nails or cracking knuckles frequently when talking to you.
- Your ex-paramour often rocks, shakes or crosses legs, or shifts in the chair.
- Your previous partner shows a lack of care by yawning, stretching, or sleeping. Your ex might even try to exclude you from the conversation.
Breakups, no matter how amicable, can make an ex bitter.
You can see this simply by observing the way your ex acts or talks.
For some, it’s all about cutting all communication ties, making the ex’s life miserable, and being passive-aggressive (among many other signs).
For the most part, you need to try and understand why your ex is resentful. After all, this might be this person’s way of getting over you.
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