I know there are fewer things you want to think about when you’re going through a breakup than the other person involved, but here we are. There’s this big misconception that only women experience complex emotions when a relationship breaks down. However, it’s the 21st century, so we know that’s not the case. No matter what the situation, it’s normal that big emotions are brewing on both sides post-split. Here’s a quick insight into how guys deal after a breakup in ways you might not expect.
- They can’t talk to their friends. Once they get used to hanging out with their partner, it can be hard to go back to platonic relationships. I know everyone loves their friends, but it’s just not quite the same level of intimacy. They don’t know how to deal with this sense of loss when their friends aren’t on the same wavelength. This is intensified because lots of their friends won’t quite understand, and while they will sympathize, they might not be the best voice of reason.
- They go out constantly. This is linked with the previous point, where lots of times alcohol is the only therapy that some guys are willing to accept after a breakup. Particularly in the early, raw stages of a break-up. Rather than come to terms with things or vent their feelings, they’re packed away. Numbed. I’m not going to pretend that we don’t all do that, but it’s a bad habit to pick up. Don’t ignore the problem.
- They feel like they’re the victims. Relationships are tricky things. No matter what the circumstances of the break-up, both parties are going to feel hurt. Heartbreak. Regret. Guilt. Love. These are tricky emotions at the best of times, let alone when experienced in sequence. Moreover, unpacking one thought from another in this tangle of emotions can often leave guys feeling a sense of unexplored victimization. This is where they start to deal with their sadness by blaming the other party, even though it isn’t a fair assessment. Guys will often have a long line of crazy exes for this exact reason.
- They regret hurting you. Even if they were the person to press the ‘eject’ button on the relationship, that doesn’t mean that they stop caring about you. They will feel bad, even if it was the right decision for them. That relief doesn’t mitigate their regret for the way that things turned out, though. Heartbreak is a mother – it’s always the way.
- They lose faith in relationships. The thing about men is that they’re a bit trigger-happy. Once they get hurt by something, they quit cold turkey and swear it off. They insist that they only want casual relationships because they’re scared of getting hurt. However, what they really want is to have their hair stroked on a Friday night in front of FRIENDS reruns. Don’t we all?
- Their female friends abandon them. Maybe they made mistakes in the relationship, but that’s when you most require support and friends to rally around you. Even if it’s to help educate or correct or unpack previous behaviors – they’re there. When your friends leave you to your own devices it can feel very isolating.
- Their male friends are bad influences. After a breakup, guys tend to act out in weird ways. Apart from a select (but growing group) of men who have put effort into developing themselves, the majority of men in group environments will not offer great advice. They will all follow the leader, and no-one will want to break ranks and suggest a spa day or an open forum of thoughts and feelings. It’s difficult for guys to find safe spaces after a break-up to actually come to terms with what happened.
- They cry to romcoms with a tub of ice cream too. This is how a quote-unquote real man expresses himself. Once they’re home alone on a Sunday night, still nursing a hangover from the night before you will find them in their dirty PJs scooping out the last of the ice cream just as Ross says the wrong name at the altar. Some things are simply universal. We as a society need to acknowledge that they were definitely on a break.
- Men feel like they aren’t allowed to feel emotions. Lots of men will deny their emotions and it screws you up if you can’t tap into that. Emotions are wonderful, complex things, and we all – women included – need to embrace them more. Even – especially – when it hurts.
All this to say – men have feelings too. But we knew that, didn’t we? Just spare a thought for your guy friend who’s going through it missing his ex. Invite him over for game night and hot chocolate. It’ll mean the world.