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"With friends like these, who needs enemies."

A Hoover is a person (often a woman, can be a guy) with narcissistic/behavioral personality disorder who, during (or after) a breakup, wants to get back together with their former lover.[1] The name Hoover is in reference to a famous vacuum cleaner brand. These narcissists are rather good at "sucking" a former lover back into a relationship.


Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's idealized self image and attributes.[2] Narcissist don't like to feel vulnerable or lonely, and the prospect of being out of a relationship scares them. Wanting to avoid feeling vulnerable, they will attempt to re-enter a relationship days or weeks after a break-up.

Hoovers can be the ones who break up the relationship, but is more likely their partner has due to it being a toxic and/or abusive relationship. They believe love to be unconditional, that their partners should love them automatically no matter what they do, or rather not hold them responsible for their actions.

Five Fears

The actions of a hoover (hoovering) is caused by primitive psychological fears that existed long before the break-up occurred. Their fears are centered on one (or all) of five fears:

  1. The fear of abandonment.
  2. Loss of control over others.
  3. Loss of resources (e.g., money, social status).
  4. Feeling or appearing inferior or inadequate.
  5. Public exposure.


It is rather easy to determine a hoover. Your relationship with them is rather toxic and/or abusive. Nothing you do for them is good enough. When it they are once again single, their behavior changes and they become more agreeable. They may act more loving and kind towards their former partner, wanting another chance. They hope that by "changing", this will prove they deserve another chance. This change is short-term, and can last up to a year (at best) before they return back to their selfish ways. They will employ a series of manipulations to get their former lover back.

Honeymoon Phase

The Honeymoon Phase of a relationship is right at the beginning when things are new and exciting. It is more about lust and exploration than actual relationship building. Many relations continue on beyond this phase, but lose much of the connection experience during the Honeymoon Phase. This is also known as New Relationship Energy (NRE).

When a Hoover manipulates their former lover in rekindling their romance, they may enter into a Honeymoon Phase once more, where the relationship is fun and exciting. During this phase, the hoover becomes the Nice Hoover, and everything seems like it once was at the beginning of their relationship, improving over the negative aspects that led to the break-up to begin with. This can be seen with great sex, lavish gifts, or constant positive reinforcement.

The duration of the nice hoover is rather short, lasting a few months. Once the threat of break-up or divorce passes, they go back to their old ways by becoming their toxic selves once more. There is also a chance they become meaner as a result, resenting their partners for their need to please them for so long. Had their partner not tried to break up with them, they wouldn't have to work to keep them. They also hate being on their best behavior at all times and kissing up to anyone for any reason, even though they voluntarily did so to keep their partner.


Preemptive Hoover

A preemptive hoover is a narcissist who will see that the relationship is likely to end, and will do whatever they can to keep it from happening. This often results in a drastic change in personality, going from toxic to being nice. This can also be done through making promises of changing and doing extra actions to please their partner, whether it is giving a blow job or buying them gifts. Anything they can do to keep the relationship going.

A preemptive hoover might well be the first to admit that they are wrong for each other and they shouldn't continue on with their friends, but their fear of not being in a relationship outweighs all logic.

Delayed Hoovers

While most hoovers occur right before a break-up, or during; some hoovers can be a delayed hoover. A delayed hoover can return months or years after a relationship, likely that they just ended a relationship with someone (or are about to). Fearing being lonely, they go after someone they feel they can manipulate back into a relationship, indicating the time away has allowed them to change. They are likely to have done this with many of their exes until they find one that will take the bait.

The Personal Tragedy Hoover

The Personal Tragedy Hoover, also known as The Something Bad Happened to Me Hoover, is one who uses some sort of tragedy to get sympathy for themselves in order to reinsert themselves into their former lover's life. This can be a legitimate tragedy, or a made up tragedy. The made-up tragedy can be form of Munchausen Syndrome as something they do themselves in order to get sympathy, or be an outright lie that they have some serious ailment. This can also be in the form of a fake pregnancy or pregnancy from a different man if they were cheating on their partner. The bad thing can also be rather mundane, such as they can't program the clock on their microwave.

This tactic is used as a fishing expedition. They may single one partner out or several, to see if any respond at all and if they show any kind of sympathy. Once there is two-way contact, the Hoover begins the sucking procedure.

Concerned Hoover

A variation on Personal Tragedy Hoover is the Concerned Hoover. The Concerned Hoover may show concern over a legitimate problem, but are just as likely to create a problem their partner has in order to show concern for them. This can be done by taking their actions to demonstrate they have a larger issue. Such as not responding to texts right away might be an indication their partner is angry with them, which could then mean they have anger issues and they want to help them get the help they need. This often employs mental gymnastics to go from something innocuous to grandiose, in order to show support for them that they are the caring type. If their partner disagrees, they can easily counter in anger that they were only trying to help.

The basic idea of the concerned hoover is to make one look bad either by being on the defensive or accept they have something wrong with them and need the hoover to set them right.

National Emergency Hoover

When tragedy strikes a person, their toxic ex hoovers their way back into their life. This might be from losing their job or being socially isolated due to the Coronavirus. Whatever tragedy befalls a person, the hoover does their best to try to be there for someone. Their former partner is under a lot of grief or likely depressed, and doesn't have their guard up. This allows a hoover to get back into their lives.