5 Painfully Obvious Signs Your Ex Never Cared About You (According To A Therapist)

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Most of us were raised on fairytales. Maybe that’s why we naturally prefer a story to the truth of our relationships.

We need a narrative to cling to, one with clear roles assigned. The villain, the victim, the hero, the fool, the loser, the victor, the mark and the magic.

When relationships come to an end, we get to choose from so many narratives. Some of them may even resemble something close to the truth.

For some, the story is obvious: They are the victim, their ex is the villain, and although they feel like a fool, they will come out the victor as their ex lives to bitterly regret it.

For others, the story is a tragedy — a tale of star-crossed lovers who were thwarted by circumstances beyond their control.

But the truth eludes us, because we really only ever know our half of it. We might even leave a relationship wondering if our ex ever cared for us at all.

While we cannot truly claim to know someone else’s feelings, there are some clear indicators that a person never really cared about us in the first place.

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Here are 5 painfully obvious signs your ex never cared about you, according to a former therapist:

1. They showed a disregard for fidelity

Someone who doesn’t care about you will show a casual disregard for fidelity.

You might be in a relationship, or they might be. It doesn’t stop them from pursuing a connection with you.

It might start as flirty messages — the micro-cheating that isn’t micro at all to the partner being deceived. They might make a direct overture to get you to leave the one you’re with.

It doesn’t matter which one of you is in a relationship. They are showing that they don’t respect relationships, boundaries or the feelings of other people.

You might try to justify this by saying their feelings for you were so strong, but in the end, this behavior often shows that they care more about their own experience than anyone else’s.

If they truly cared about you, they wouldn’t reach out when you’re in a relationship. If they truly cared, they certainly wouldn’t put you in the compromising situation of being the other woman when they’re the one in a relationship. 

Infidelity is a warning sign that they might not have cared about you at all.

2. They misrepresented themselves to trick you into the relationship

This is one of the most hideous relationship betrayals. I say this from deep personal experience. I once was in a relationship that would never have happened if the person had been remotely authentic.

Sadly, this is a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy studies girl. Boy tricks girl into thinking he’s the one she wants by being someone else entirely.

Switch out the genders if you like, and the equation still works.

There’s not just an effort to cover up a few undesirable traits. There’s an entire misrepresentation meant to trick you into a relationship with them.

Someone who does this might think they care about you, but utterly deceiving you is not caring. It’s not considerate. It doesn’t take your feelings into account or factor in how betrayed you’ll feel when you learn the truth.

3. They were never honest or faithful

Someone who has never once been honest or faithful during the relationship didn’t care about you.

They might have thought they did. You might have thought they did. But a person who cares isn’t going to consistently betray you or lie to you.

If the deceit goes all the way back to the start and continued through the relationship, you have every reason to believe they never cared at all.

This isn’t how you treat someone you care about. It is how you treat someone you don’t respect, care about or understand.

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4. They ghosted you

Ghosting is one of the most disrespectful, inconsiderate, and immature behaviors in dating.

Unless there’s a history or fear of abuse, there’s no reason to disappear without a conversation.

It might be uncomfortable to hear that someone is no longer interested, but it is preferable to have someone ghost and leave us wondering what we did wrong and why they felt they had to leave that way.

Ghosting shows a complete disregard for the feelings and experiences of others. It’s taking the easy way out while leaving the other person to deal with the consequences of that decision.

If someone does this, there’s a very good chance they never cared about you at all.

5. They have never attempted to right their wrongs

Some people have just enough accountability to realize that they were in the wrong — but not enough to attempt to apologize or make amends for what they’ve done.

They could go back and try to make right what they got wrong, but they don’t. They just move on — even if you’re left struggling with the consequences of their actions.

It is one of the most awkward conversations to reach back out to an ex to attempt to make things right, but I can say from experience that it’s worth it.

It doesn’t matter if they understand or if they forgive you. It’s part of the process of being able to forgive yourself. It’s showing care and consideration to validate their feelings and let them know you messed up, that you understand that, and that you’d like to make it right.

No one owes you their time, attention or forgiveness, but don’t they at least deserve the attempt to make repairs?

Someone who doesn’t care about you won’t care about making it right. Someone who cares a great deal will do what they can even if you’re not open to hearing it. They’ll make an effort because it matters — and because you do.

When you realize that your ex never cared about you at all, it can feel devastating. It can even undermine your trust in yourself.

But there are some things you can do once you realize they never really cared.

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Here are 5 things to do when you know that your ex never cared about you:

1. Be honest with yourself

You might want to spin a pretty fairytale about star-crossed lovers or even a villain who took advantage of a damsel in distress, but I strongly encourage you to find enough perspective to see something a little closer to the truth.

We are all human. We all make mistakes. Be honest with yourself about your mistakes, about theirs, and about the truth of the relationship.

2. Practice forgiveness

You might want to hate them for not caring about you in the first place. Don’t.

It won’t make you a better person or a kinder human. It won’t make you happy.

Learn to forgive yourself for not knowing the truth any sooner. Forgive them for being a person who could treat someone with such disregard.

Know that forgiving them is something you do for yourself and your peace of mind — not for theirs.

3. Let go

Grieve, feel all your feelings, process them, and then let them go.

Let your ex go. It truly hurts to realize that they never cared about you at all, but you get to choose what you do next. 

Are you going to let it make you bitter? Are you going to learn from the experience? Will you be able to believe in love again and move on to better, healthier relationships?

Only you can answer these questions.

4. Allow perspective

The truth is that we cannot truly know what’s in someone else’s heart. People with a lived history of trauma often hurt others and don’t even understand why.

It’s possible that they cared about you and hurt you. Both things can be true.

In the end, does it even matter if they cared? Does it change what is, or what will be?

Allow yourself to be generous with your thoughts of others and to consider that the hurt caused could actually have been unintentional.

5. Learn the lessons

It might hurt to understand that they likely did not care about you — not even in those early days when you were falling for them. It can feel like someone ripped out your heart and stomped all over it before returning it to you bloody, bruised, and battered.

If you’d known it would end like this, you’d probably have skipped it all, wouldn’t you? But you’d have skipped the lessons, too.

So, learn them. Find a way to connect with the good memories of the relationship, and put away the rest.

Don’t let it make you a person who doesn’t care. Care deeply. Be the partner you want out there in the world, treating people the way they should be treated.

Let it make you more compassionate, not more guarded.

It’s a sad reality that we might encounter partners who don’t really care about us.

It can hurt deeply. Yet, it can also help us realize the red flags we sometimes ignore, identify the weak areas in our boundaries, and even shape us into better future partners.

It might not be an ideal way to learn these lessons or grow, but it’s certainly effective.

Maybe your ex never cared about you at all. Will you let that fact break you or will it serve as a reminder that you need to treat others with care?

Facing the truth might not be as pretty as a fairytale, but it’s infinitely better to see the truth of who you are and how you treat people in your life.

You can, of course, spin the fairytale instead. Just take care that you aren’t the villain in someone else’s story while you’re making yourself the hero of your own.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist and the author of the Heart of Madison series. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, and Mamamia. 

This article was originally published at The Truly Charming. Reprinted with permission from the author.