For women, going through a breakup tends to be a little easier because everyone knows there’s a narrative template in all forms of media that shows how women deal with heartbreak. For men, however, the story is very different. Their side of the story is often unseen and unrepresented, but we have to remember that two people go through a breakup, not just one. Here’s an insight into the stages a guy might go through after a breakup.
- Anger It’s the first stage that everyone knows well. It’s also an easy emotion to associate with men — possibly the only emotion that they’re routinely shown expressing. That said, it’s the first stage for women too — we all want to break a glass or throw a plate when we feel strong emotions, but we have to learn to temper those impulses. The anger isn’t usually directed at anyone in particular, but more at the situation. You might think it’s personal but it rarely is. Don’t take it to heart, but it can be cathartic.
- Denial Lots of guys go through this stage when, upon having responded with all the anger and frustration in their locker, they’re only left with their raw emotions. Raw emotions, that is, that they do not want to deal with. As a result, they will turn off their emotions like Damon in The Vampire Diaries and try to get by.
- Heartbreak There’s no point pretending that guys don’t get just as heartbroken as women during a breakup. Yes, even if they’re the person doing the breaking up. Once you start to let the emotions and vulnerabilities in, they all come. It’s like Pandora’s Box. Or London buses. Either way, you’ll find them just where you are, ugly crying into a box of ice cream on the sofa on a Saturday night.
- Numbness Although we all think we’re emotionally resilient, it turns out, emotions are really hard things to deal with. We certainly can’t package them up neatly into a box and move on just by sheer force of will. No. That means often people will backslide into numbness after getting a taste of the raw side of a break-up. Maybe it will prompt them to swear off women altogether, or alcohol. Either way, people will resort to strong action to avoid feeling that heartbreak again.
- Hoe phase This is generally the most fun stage. Theoretically, anyway. The mitigations of a global pandemic, as well as the feelings of guilt and rejection endemic to the breakup, do generally slow the process down. However, rest assured he will go out on the town with his friends and get wasted. He’ll probably go on the pull too. It won’t necessarily mean anything. It’s just to get these feelings out of his system. Some hoe phases last longer than others, but it can be very therapeutic after a break-up, no matter who you are.
- Wanting to talk This is a tricky stage because it’s probably more about feeling better about himself than actually wanting to give you closure. Maybe he regrets things that he did, but it isn’t really in your interest to dig up the past so soon after it happens. Let the sleeping dogs lie and let the dust settle so you can gain some actual perspective later.
- Drunk texting Failing that, if he doesn’t have friends around him to ward him off this embarrassing, but common, behavior, you might find yourself on the receiving end of an ‘i miss you’ text at 3 am. It might mean that he has unresolved feelings, but don’t use that sign of weakness as a suggestion that he’s suddenly emotionally available or ready for a relationship. Stay strong.
- Asking your friends about you This is a stage of insecurity that we all go through, but if you find your friends reporting back with intel from across the way, you are allowed to feel a certain amount of satisfaction from that. It doesn’t mean that you should ask about him, but it maybe means that you’re more over him than he is over you. You will also realize all the ways your relationship wasn’t totally healthy. Look for better.
- Acceptance This comes in its own time and takes as long as necessary, but everyone does eventually reach this stage. Don’t rush the feelings and don’t pressure yourself to feel anything. Accept help when it is offered to you, and let yourself be distracted by the friends and family who care about you.
- Moving on We will all get there, newly affirmed by our identities and what we want to prioritize in a relationship. We’re better off.
So, in many ways, guys are just like us, but we knew that. Give them time and we can all be emotionally-realized individuals and look for a more successful relationship. Take care of yourselves out there.