It can come as a shock when the person you admired and loved so much suddenly turns on you and becomes a person you would never have fathomed interacting with.
They act like a jerk and hold a lot of resentment toward you when they once promised that they would love you forever. You wonder: how did we get here?
They Are Hurt
When people are hurt, they tend to need to release it in some way. Preferably they find a healthy way to channel it. When the pain is too overwhelming, some people tend to lash out instead.
They feel like they desperately need you to feel the same kind of pain they’re feeling.
They Need Space
If you’ve been pushing for conversation or reconciliation, they may be trying to get you off their back.
Although the right thing to do would be to simply express their need for space, they may not know how to, so they figure if they’re a jerk, you won’t want to talk to them anyway.
They Have Unresolved Feelings
If the breakup was sudden and they didn’t get a chance to make peace with it, they may be struggling to sort out how to now separate their feelings and the life you built together.
They may still be hoping for closure.
They Know They Can’t Have You
They know they can’t have you and they’re mad about it. However, if they can’t have you, they want to make sure you’re also not in a position to go for anyone else.
If they make your life miserable, then maybe you’ll want to stay sad at home and be too distracted to go on dates with other people.
They Don’t Want To Admit Their Wrongs
Acting like a jerk is an attempt to hold the power and deflect from what is actually happening.
They might be trying to gaslight you or flip the table on you so that they don’t have to take accountability for their actions.
They’re Revealing Their True Colors
This is sad to think about, but it’s possible that the person your ex becomes after your breakup is the person that they’ve actually been all along.
They may have just been putting up a persona to try to keep you around.
They’re Trying To Spite You
Some exes become really nasty after a breakup.
There may be no real reason that they’re being a jerk other than trying to get some form of revenge so that they can feel like they “won” the breakup.
They’re In Denial
They may still be holding onto hope that they can be with you so they’re in denial that you’re actually now broken up.
Ironically, the fact that they can’t come to terms with it actually being over is making them come off as a jerk.
They Can’t Handle Being Denied
This is a huge red flag that you might’ve noticed while you were still dating. Some people just can’t handle being told no in any circumstance.
This is the case for narcissists, for example. Rejection or a breakup can be a huge hit to their ego.
They’re Picking Fights To Maintain Contact
They would rather piss you off so that you feel angry enough to respond than not talk to you at all.
At least that way they feel like they’re somehow still a part of your life and can maybe apologize and turn that argument into positive content.
It’s Bringing Up Past Issues
Breakups are extremely painful and they’re often compared to the same pain felt with grief. When in that state, it’s not uncommon for other past pain and trauma to resurface.
This may be bringing out any abandonment or attachment that they already had.
They’re Ignoring You To Punish You
The silent treatment is actually a common means of punishment. This is quite toxic. It means one of two things.
Either they’re upset and don’t know how to express their feelings so they’re closing up, or they’re using it as a form of power and control.
They’re Trying To Let Go
Take it from someone who acted like a jerk themselves:
“After my ex broke up with me I’ve been acting like she doesn’t exist. I feel a need to just detach myself completely from her and not care what she thinks of me anymore; maybe I seem selfish to her.” —Tangerinoo / Reddit
They’re Protecting Themselves
Hurting you before you can hurt them may be their rationale for protecting themselves.
It’s a way of taking control and putting up walls so that they can predict your behavior rather than wonder if you’ll ever come back.
They’re Trying To Numb The Fact That They Miss You
Men especially are conditioned to act tough and immune to emotion. They may actually be missing you and longing for your company but refusing to say that outright.
They overcompensate for that feeling by then acting like they couldn’t care less, which makes them come across as a jerk.
They’re Trying To Make You Look Bad
If they know that everyone thinks of them as the bad guy in the breakup, they might embrace it.
Their hope is that since they have nothing to lose, they can wind you up and get you to yell or be vindictive back so that you look bad as well.