People deal with breakups in a myriad of ways, and if someone is looking to save face, then yes, they certainly may act like everything is fine and dandy. They may hold feelings of bitterness, want to get back together, or simply want to maintain their pride. And that goes for the person who was broken up with, and also for the person who did the breaking up. After all, ending a relationship isn’t necessarily easy, and it still takes time to bounce back.
As therapist and relationship expert Ken Page, LCSW, tells mbg, there are different ways people pretend to be over someone, whether they’re lying to themselves, their ex, or other people in their lives. “And we do that because we want to be resilient and because it hurts so terribly to go through a breakup,” he explains, adding it’s not uncommon to try to move on quickly to a place of being over someone. Almost universally in the early stages, he says, we are not as “over” the person as we act like or rationalize we are.
Psychologist and relationship expert Margaret Paul, Ph.D., notes that pretending to oneself is the most common pretending of all. “I have worked with people who kid themselves into thinking they are over an ex when they really aren’t,” she says. “Many people don’t want to do the inner work to really be over an ex” and simply pretend to have moved on.
Now, it’s important to note that while people may be pretending or kidding themselves, this isn’t always the case: It’s possible that they have truly moved on. But to be sure, the following signs likely indicate your ex hasn’t actually moved on and is at least partially pretending.