Why the F*#k Do Men Always Come Back?!

In today’s new video, I talk about 5 possible reasons why they come back.

What’s been your experience with people who just can’t stay away? Let me know in the comments!

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Why do they always come back? What is this phenomenon? Someone breaks up with you, they decide they’re no longer interested, and then you can set your watch to it, days, weeks, months later, at some point you get that text. So first, let’s deal with why they come back. Five reasons. 

Number one, they’re horny, and they’re also selfish. If someone is coming back just to use you for sex, just to use you for that hit of validation, they have to be both horny and selfish. It’s a unique pairing of a toxic kind. They don’t make the calculation that what is simply going to be a hit of validation for them is going to be incredibly jarring or potentially even scarring for you. And we also know that there is a particular kind of intimacy and sex that comes after a breakup.

My friend, Aubrey Marcus, introduced me to this phrase “reclamation sex,” which is the kind of sex that you have with someone to feel like you are reclaiming them after you lost them. So what can be particularly selfish about someone coming back because their horny and want a hit validation or intimacy and intimacy is that it can be a heightened because they’ve lost you. But that makes it all the more selfish, doesn’t it, that I want to come back because it’s exciting to have that sex? But it’s not really with any intention. It’s just to have a heightened experience. 

Number two, they come back because single life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. In a relationship, it’s easy to glorify what we would be doing if we weren’t in a relationship, or who we would be doing if we weren’t in a relationship.

We can think about the freedom, because that’s what it really represents, isn’t it? Feeling like, “Oh, I really want to get with that person or this person or this person.” It’s not really about that person. It usually is a representation of a kind of freedom that’s been lost that someone wants to exercise, and it’s a fantasy. Being single and trying to get sex as a man isn’t easy for a lot of men so a lot of men experience that kind of anti-climax. I’m on fire today with these. But even if a guy is the kind of guy for whom sex comes easily and they can go and be with whomever they want, it doesn’t change the fact that that’s not a recipe for happiness. It’s not like that worked for him before. And sometimes when a man is in a relationship, he loses touch with the idea that, that didn’t make him happy before and it becomes this idea of something that, if I could only do that, if I could only hook up with whoever I want, I would be happy, life would be great.

And, of course, a lot of guys end up getting out of a relationship, they do that, and it doesn’t work. And when it doesn’t work, when the shine of that fantasy is taken off, they’re left with the reality that, wow, turns out happiness isn’t easy anywhere. So if they’ve taken away that variable that being single is the thing that’s going to make me happy, it’s very easy to then start to gravitate back to the thing that you left in the first place, which partly leads us to the third reason that people come back. It’s comfortable. If they are now single and lonely, it’s comfortable for them to come back to you to reconnect with that validation and that good feeling and that feeling of home that they miss. It’s also possible that they go out and meet somebody else and have their own heartbroken or experience a kind of denial or rejection that makes them want to run back to that feeling of home, run back to that feeling of comfort.

It’s also possible that they need to continue being single to work through the kinds of demons they have about being alone, the fear they have of being alone with their thoughts, their emotions, healing their trauma so that they can be a better person in a new relationship. It’s possible that they go to do that work, but the work is just too hard and too scary and so they come running back to the salve, the thing that’s going to distract them from all of that internal work that they have to do. That’s, of course, extremely dangerous for you because it doesn’t mean they’ve actually healed anything. It doesn’t mean they’ve actually made any progress. It’s just a snap-back motion to the path of least resistance. The fourth reason they come back, which, of course, is connected to number three, he genuinely misses you.

I say connected to the last point because it can be hard to distinguish sometimes between someone really missing you and really missing the comfort they get from you. And it perhaps could be argued, what’s the difference at a certain point? But to be a bit more optimistic, there is the situation where he just genuinely really misses you as a human being. Not just what you give him, not just the comfort you give him or the feeling of home, but you as a person, your qualities, your traits, your personality, your unique energy that he has felt the light of in his life and he’s scared to lose that energy. He misses it. He’s scared to lose it. We could almost add that as a separate point, really, the idea that he’s just scared to lose you to somebody elsewhere he’s, A, going to be incredibly jealous and territorial and, B, he loses the opportunity to have you back. So there’s a one leads to the other.

Feeling like you are this unique, wonderful person who he misses gives rise to that territorial, competitive panic buying state of then I need to make sure that she’s still there. I need to make sure that I can still reach out and touch her, that she’s not drifted too far for me to get her back. And a lot of the time when people are reaching out, there’s that quote in Swingers, isn’t there, that they always seem to know the moment you’re just about to get over them, the moment you’re just about to be fine again. The ex always seems to know, and that’s when you get the phone call. Well, I think there’s something to that. There’s something to someone’s instinct that you are no longer reaching out to them. You’re no longer texting them. You’re no longer calling them.

You do have an instinct that, “Oh, they’re no longer reaching out to me anymore in pain, which means that day by they must be drifting further, and therefore it’s just a matter of time before they end up meeting somebody else and then the option to have them back will be off the table entirely, and I can’t have that.” So then a guy rushes back, not out of genuine intent, but out of panic, which brings us to the fifth reason someone comes back, they have come to the realization that you genuinely are what they want. So this is the combination of number four, they miss you, with the realization that they don’t just you miss you, they don’t just want to reach out and touch you and make sure that you’re still there and available. They genuinely want you back for a real relationship to give you what they couldn’t give you before.

Now, we still have to point out an obvious danger with this category, the danger that, well, firstly, they have a retrospective ignorance or forgetting of the issues that broke the relationship up in the first place. In other words, he is forgetting the feeling that he had that made him want to run away that will inevitably appear again if he hasn’t done any work on himself, or he’s forgetting the parts of you that he decided weren’t right for him, that were the reason he left, and in the missing you and the distance from you and the romanticizing of the relationship, he’s grown distant from that feeling, that logic. So there’s that danger and there’s also the danger that he can’t deliver. There’s the danger that though he may genuinely believe that he wants you back and wants a relationship that he can’t actually deliver on that promise, that once it gets into it, he’s not going to be capable of giving you any more than he was before. Perhaps because he hasn’t actually changed or actually done any healing, hasn’t actually had any growth since the two of you parted ways before.

So these five things give rise to the question, what do you do if someone tries to come back? Should you take them back? How do you know the difference between whether they’re horny, just not liking single life, just want comfort, just miss you, or want a genuine relationship? And even if they want a genuine relationship with you, how do you know they can actually deliver on that without getting your heart broken again? So if you are going to let someone back into your life, follow these three principles. Number one, let them back in slowly and don’t in the process update your perception of who they are or what they’re capable of too quickly. Number two, look for evidence of change over proclamations of desire. They may feel strongly that they want you back, but that does not mean they have changed, and real change can only be measured in actions over time. It cannot be measured on the day someone wants you back.

And number three, set a new standard for what you need from them in to even entertain letting them back into your life. And whatever that standard is of what you need, it needs to be communicated to them in a way where they confirm that they’ve heard and understood it and confirmed that they are willing to live to that standard. That not only raises your value, but it gives you your exit strategy if at any point this person isn’t living to that standard. Now, let me be clear, the only way for you to actually do the three things I just mentioned is by making sure that they are underpinned by a genuine level of confidence in you. If that isn’t there, then these standards will disintegrate as soon as he tests them. Now, the only way to have that confidence is to not need this person when they come back you may want them and the fact that you’re even willing to entertain letting them back in is evidence of the fact that you want them and you want to see where the relationship goes, but you can’t need them.

That means that you and your life have to be in this robust and sturdy place so that when someone comes back to you, they can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice that you are serious about this new standard and if it isn’t met it is game over. Now, if you want to get your confidence in your life to a place that means you don’t need this person, I have something for you. Three habits that if you follow them will build your life and build your confidence. And they are all in a free guide that I have for you over at 3SecretsToLove.com. Go download it now. Make sure whatever else you do, you follow this guide so that you can build up a life that allows you to say no, because only when you are capable of saying no can you say yes in the right way.

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21 Replies to “Why the F*#k Do Men Always Come Back?!”

  1. Hi can relate to all you have said and even thought it myself the one thing in my situation is it hasn’t been just weeks days months
    My ex recently got back in touch in 2021 Christmas Eve then again 2022 march after been split since 2020 July but we have never actually met up again so far leave it then he messages again weeks after but never actually arranged a meet up so I never get to set the standard the tone this is where I am right now reluctant to pursue and be told after that he never said this or that etc

    1. It’s a hit of validation and comfort, but not real interest in anything other than the moment. You have to decide if your fine with those moments or not.

  2. I have a feeling my ex will try to come back into my life. I was married for 28 years. I do not want him back ever. My marriage was sexless for many years, it hurt me a lot. So I shut down mentally and physically. I more or less was living a separate life. I was separated in January 2021 and my divorce was in September 2021. I have had lots of disasterous relationships since joining date sites, the men were players. I have met a wonderful man now, we have been in communication via Gmail and what’s app. We hope to meet up soon. We both feel the connection. It feels amazing. I have had to kiss a lot of toads to find a prince.

    1. Be careful! You’re in a vulnerable place still and more so due to the other disastrous relationships. Have you at least video chatted? On average the recommendation is 1 year of single work for every 5 years of married life. I was married for 24 years and divorced in January 2020. The desire for true intimacy is strong, but protect yourself, take it slow, and communicate / date others. I hope you have some wonderfully strong female friends in your life as you continue on this journey. Wishing you all the best!

  3. My ex started texting back to me saying I have changed and beautiful now and he still does have feelings for me. And we continuously text for few days and then he started ghosted me again. I don’t know I feel pull you him that I don’t wanna to get in a relationship with any other man. It’s confusing. His hot and cold behaviour makes me hurt so much. It’s been two months from breakup now.

    1. Nova, I know you’re hurting and it’s confusing. I just want to say, “Run!” I have know idea what you have been through or are going through, but you deserve better. His behavior is not kind, considerate, nor is it honoring or cherishing you. Whatever else this is, it is not love. I hope you endeavor to find peace and healing as you move forward.

  4. Be consciously aware of them knowing precisely when to renter your life at a time they may be wary of you slipping away. The timing may not always be a coincidence but moreso probably a narcissist’s attempt at ‘hoovering’ you back into their lives therein perpetuating the toxic cycle of keeping you in their lives as their narcissistic supply. This signifies the restart of the idealisation phase, which is followed inevitably by devaluation and then discard, after which the cycle is repeated (rinse and repeat) followed with more hoovering. Dr Ramani articulates this cycle really well in her videos. On a brighter note, we don’t wish to eliminate the potential that there are more genuine intentions behind their return. Methinks we need to have the core confidence to trust ourselves enough to assess exactly what is driving the return and to ensure that we don’t compromise our core values in the process.

  5. Wow, i should have had these statements last year… My ex contacted me after 11 Years (married, 2kids). We didn´t have a real relationship (when i look back), but i loved him very much – but he destroyed very much inside of me – so the last 11 years i was single, with a few men in my life, which didn´t count.
    Like u said, when i was angry and wanted to talk with hin, he dissapeard and after typicly maybe 2 weeks later, he messaged me (back in the days) – my anger was gone, so i let him always back in – till the day he was gone for 11 years.

    He told me now – just like you said – he changed, and he was an idiot, and on and on…. i thought this could be our chance, because there was always a bond between us…. 7 month later – after beeing an affair (still married and living at home) i stoped everything. I blocked him at social media (the only way he could reach me) – he nows where i´m living.

    The best part: i told hin from the very beginning – i do not need him. And thats the fact. He showed me trough his actions – that he ist not able to deliver. I can live by my own very well, he maybe not-but that is not my problem.

    Some days i still think of him, and always tell me all the things i found out for my self. If he´s not able to change and deliver-he ist not the guy for me… I DESERVE BETTER!!!

  6. I was off and on with a love for 10 years. I literally though we would get married one day- the “off and on” was bc it was always he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore so I would go on and then he would contact me and things never get discussed. This last time was in January 2022 I went out with a friend and he called me- my phone was in my purse I didn’t hear it/when I finally saw it I text back if things was ok- he said yes- so I stayed with my friend- next day I get a text saying he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me and too keep the same energy from yesterday. I decided I was sick of his shit and said ok. Three weeks ago he sent a text his daughter was missing and text the missing poster- I text to see if she had a phone- he gave the number and I text her/ she responded and I told her they were looking for her and she should call- next day he sent a text to thank me- I said no problem and that’s it. This week he sent a text that he hasn’t forgotten about money he owed me and will send it soon- I didn’t respond bc it’s either send it or not (I never asked for it). I’m just wondering if I’m doing right by not responding? I am just trying to move forward from him breaking up with me via text and feel like there’s really nothing to say.

    1. Cynthia I see me in you. Move on my dear. 10 years doesn’t look so long until you meet your friend who has a 10 year old kid. 10years is far too long. Sorry if I sound harsh, its just that I have been there. I have just finally gotten over him. But I regret losing all those years letting him come in and out. You will be alright girl, the right guy that will never waste a day without you is out there. As long as we let them, they steal our time. We deserve better.

  7. Wow did you just describe my break up. I got the first message which was kind of a G.I. Miss our communication. The second message I wanna move in with you because with you I had a financial safe net but I don’t really wanna commit. I actually appreciated that honesty. Then it was you know I can help you while you’re going through cancer. My response to that one was thank you but I have a good team in place. The fourth time I just ignored it. I sincerely hope she got the message. But I appreciate having language to describe what I was going through with all these weird random texts at odd times. The one thing that I will note is that she always managed to do it on a date that was kind of special like my birthday or close to a holiday. It really felt like such manipulation

  8. My ex did this to me over the years. We dated for 9months, long enough for me to fall in love with his kids and then he broke it off over something trivial. It seems silly that something so short lived would be so devestating but It took years to get over him. I’d get little touches from him now and again but he’d never follow through with an actual meet up. Eight years later, I’m engaged to an amazing guy and the day I’m going to try on wedding dresses I get a text from a number I don’t know but it looks familiar. A total sinking feeling when I realize it’s him. It’s to congratulate me on my engagement. I haven’t seen his face in eight years, why even??? Shook it off and enjoyed my day with my girls and even found my dream dress. But UGH .

  9. Okay, I have a question! My ex and I are split for a few months now, we still talk to each other and sometimes he is a bit more forward and romantic towards me, but then he switches back to being just grinds with me. He says I tick every box if he starts thinking if what he wants in a woman, but doesn’t understand himself and needs to be okay being on his own. I am very understanding person and I will always be there for him. I just want to know what causes this switch in his moods? Reaching out for me then pulls back? My intuition is telling me he is scared.

    1. The problem is as you said you’ll always be there for him and he knows that. You shouldn t be there for someone who doesn t prioritize you similarly. Invest in those who invest in you, and I mean actions, not words. Good luck!

  10. It’s been 20 years and my ex keeps coming back again n again. My entire healing process goes bonkers. Now he is back saying his marriage is over and he wants to spend rest of his life with me. I know I need to block him right away but I love him and he knows that.

    1. It’s not love. Love heals not breaks people apart. This man is a narc, 20 years is a long time. Find someone who cherishes you. You deserve it. Block. Check out videos on healing CPTSD, removing yourself from Trauma Bonds… and hang in there. I understand how you feel and I urge you to love yourself as I love you enough to spend time replying to you on a busy Monday morning. You are worth it. You are enough. You are incredible. Release him, free yourself, and you will find that goodness comes to those open to it.

  11. I started dating a coworker in Oct 2021 after starting the job in July 2021. First time dating a coworker, first dating experience since getting sober, first time I shared that I have Major Depression Disorder and former sexual abuse plus, it was over 3 years since I had been with anyone. In Nov he texted that he needed time to see if was ready for a relationship, I had not even brought up the conversation, then we started dating again in mid December. 2 weeks ago he texted me again that he was too self-centered & no where near being ready for any type of romantic relationship. Again I hadn’t brought anything up but apparently my “behavior” was overbearing- if pop by his office in the am to say hi & text him after work but we hadn’t been together for 2 weeks before he ended it. We met for some “closure” where I said I wasn’t feeling things either because I was in one of the depression lows & not feeling myself. We never said let’s be friends or just coworkers. He texted me as soon as I got home & I replied & he responded but I didn’t again. This was a week ago and then he emailed me some jokes in St Patrick’s Day with a note “I came up to your office to see how you’re doing. Just to say hi in person. Hope all is well.” He did stop by & was flagging his arms to get my attention but was in a meeting & just waved. I haven’t replied to the email. Want to and try to establish a friendship (I don’t want anything romantic with him) and I really miss our conversations but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or it’s too soon or he’s testing me and I want to have some respect.

  12. My ex has been turning up at my house, because he was on block and I wasn’t visible to him or contactable. I listened to what he had to say and after a few times of coming to see me he broke my barriers down. I gave him a chance and spent time with him, but soon found out that it was all lies (the ghosting started again) and he was actually still with his new girlfriend. I told her what had been going on and that he had said he wanted me back and had been seeing me, to which she broke the news ‘we’re off on holiday this weekend and moving in together’. I feel sick and stupid that I let him do this to me (after his multiple cheating before). anyone even thinking of letting men back in please be extremely cautious because this has been very damaging to me. I’m now trying to heal once more – but this damage is deeper because it was own fault for even listening in the first place. This man is extremely toxic (text book narcissist).

  13. Thank you so much for this video Matthew. It really speaks to me. Married 25 yrs, I moved out 12 months ago with 2 kids for good reasons. It was not easy but by God’s grace, things worked out and I also stumbled upon your Virtual Retreat!
    Within 6 months I received a 3am call from him crying over the phone. I was worried for his mental well-being. Managed to convince him to see a counsellor but he thought I agreed to marital counselling together. Fortunately the counsellor rang me up to check and I said ‘no, I’m not ready to do marital counselling with him. But I’m concerned about his well-being and thinks he will benefit from your help, first’
    Now another 6 months down the track.. You said
    1. Let him in slowly, very slowly
    Question: Is 12 months slow enough?

    2. Look for evidence of change.
    Dilemma: I see some evidence but also reversion to old patterns.. how do I know the change is sustainable? I have changed too , for better, (not bitter I hope)
    Question: Should I agree to see marital counsellor together? If so, what are my standards?

    3. Set my standards clearly…
    Yes I need to work on this.. I feel so much of my time and energy taken up by this relationship; when there are many other things I’d like to grow and work on.

    I’m a returnee to your Retreat. Unfortunately with work and no more lockdown, I had to miss chunks of it.. hoping to catch up on replays

  14. My ex let me go about 5 months ago we still talk but he says he does not love me and dies not feel the same way I feel but he sends me pictures of him take it he is 56 and I’m 49 years old he says he wants to try somebody else so that he can be happy I had gave him space to be with someone else before when he left me the first time and that lady was cheating on him while she was with him that so called relationship only lasted 2 weeks then she ghosted him because he lives off ssi and works one day a week at some rehab center and volunteers as a ranger but dies not get paid for it so he lives on a low income because of his crones disease and I have been there for him I was even willing to give him part of my liver he still up to this day says he does not feel the same about me so he says I met someone been talking to him but I have no connection with him like I do with my ex but my ex told me last night to go for it and date this other guy but when I Said okay he starts texting me more with pic of tinka my favorite puppy in the world which is his dog! And pic of him working at a ranger activity in chandler AZ helping police guide traffic then I said good Night and he texts me which I did not respond please help what should I do i want to let him go I’m hurt and heart broken don’t know if he is playing games with me I have lost the love of my life in war Ling ago and finally met this ex I have only been in 1 other dating relationship before this guy and after losing the love of my life to war in Afghanistan please help me to understand this dating stuff its hard and I really like my ex but all he does is sit at home when he don’t do his ranger meeting or activity or his 1 day job is he stays up all night playing video games sleeps all day I don’t know what to do or what is wrong with him and why he chooses to date other woman and as he says he flavors them to chocolate or vanilla is what he told me but he says he likes having me as a friend what does that mean so confused and just such a weird thing so I would appreciate the help thanks sincerely Esther Marie

  15. Why does someone finish with you. Walk out your relationship. Block you on social media..
    THEN unblock you, message you on your birthday – which with others including his kids he forgets..
    Baring in mind two years before you got back together he admitted he had watched you on social media….

    This guy has been in and out of my life since we were teenagers. Married three times, got divorced to be with me then when he wasn’t getting his own way – he bailed out….
    Broke me so badly I didn’t want to live…

    What is he doing????

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