11 Reasons You Regret Breaking Up With That Jerk, Even Though You Know He's Awful

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Breaking up is hard to do... even when you know it shouldn’t be. I’ve been in abusive relationships and cried when the relationship in question came to a close, to the point where I could regret a breakup entirely, especially in a toxic relationship.

Logically, I knew that the guy in question wasn’t good for me, but emotionally, it hurt. It felt awful, and to a point, I found myself wondering if I was really being unreasonable for expecting to have a guy treat me well.

The weird thing about this is that I probably should have been way less upset than I was when I decided to break things off with a lot of the guys. For a while, all I could do is ask “Why?” Why did he do this? Why me? Why was I “irrational” for expecting to be treated well?

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Perhaps the biggest question of all, though, was why it hurt that he was gone, even though he was a waste of air.

Over the years, I kept asking those questions. Eventually, I realized they did what they did because they were broken, hateful people that will likely never actually have inner peace. They targeted me and others because we were happy and kind and because they just couldn’t tolerate that.

The most startling revelation, though, came to me when I realized why I felt sad after breaking up with my abusers. I ended up narrowing it down to a number of studies, facts, and fears. Here’s what I learned about breakups and why we tend to regret a breakup, even the worst ones.

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Here are 11 reasons you regret breaking up with that jerk, even though you know he's awful:

1. Losing the lifestyle perks you had and mourning the good times is often what most people will notice first

It’s not only about the “new normal” you have to create. Even the worst relationships tend to have a perk or two, and when you’re dealing with a breakup, the first thing you’ll notice is those perks getting withdrawn.

2. Just like with any other sudden change, breakups are jarring

Not many people like to feel like they have their lives suddenly change and have their world shift under their feet. It messes with you, even if the breakup is better for you in the long run than you’d think it is.

3. A large part of the pain we feel during a breakup with a bad person is the feeling of failure

The weird thing about bad relationships is that we often take it as a challenge to make the relationship work. Society has this weird way of making us feel like failures if we’re single, or if we can’t “make things work” with a person who’s bad for us.

This really hit me the hardest. The reason I was crying was because I felt like a failure, even though I wasn’t.

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4. If you were gaslit, it’s normal to feel crazy for breaking up with your partner

They basically trained you to feel like you are crazy. People who were victims of gaslighting are far more likely to feel regret or want to second-guess their choice to dump someone who wasn’t quite good to them.

5. That feeling of failing is often what causes the self-doubt

This is why you often wonder if you may have “jumped the gun” on the breakup. Trust me, if you broke up, you probably did so with good reasoning behind it. It’s best not to make the same mistake twice, don’t you think?

6. But there’s also something pretty hurtful about the loss of your “normal” too

There’s something innately terrifying about having to create a “new normal” once a breakup happens. You got used to seeing this person and though it may not be great, you know what to expect from them.

It was the way things were. When you break up with someone, that vanishes from your life and you never know what to expect next. That’s terrifying and also painful.

7. More often than not, though, it’s that feeling of losing the person you wished your ex would be that hurts the most

It took me a long time to realize this, but it’s the truth. When we break up with someone, even when we know it’s the best thing, we feel robbed of the potential of a happy ending. That’s why you hear so many people mourning a breakup by saying something like, “We could have had it great if only he changed!”

Logically, we know that person isn’t going to really change, but that won’t change how we feel.

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8. We can get addicted to feelings of love and companionship, which is why we act crazy when we miss our exes

When we’re with someone and embrace them, our bodies release feel-good hormones like oxytocin. These hormones often act as painkillers and make us feel great.

When we break up with someone, our supply of oxytocin tends to go away, which causes reactions similar to drug withdrawals.

9. Rejection causes signals similar to physical pain in our brains

Breakups are rejection, plain and simple. Even if you are the one doing the rejection, it hurts. If you’re an empath, then it’s even worse because you feel the other person’s hurt, too.

Either way, that pain tends to make us wonder if we really should just stay with them.

10. You might be mourning the lost years, opportunities, and friendships, whether you realize it or not

It took me a while, but once I realized this, breakups became a way more logic-based endeavor than they used to be. It’s really upsetting realizing that you spent all that time and effort just to end up empty-handed.

11. The good news is that time and looking at the reality of what life’s like without the ex will make you snap out of it

It won’t be easy, but these feelings are totally temporary, and that means you’ll feel great about dumping him in a while. 

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.