Navigating the maze of emotions that hit you post-split can be challenging. It’s even harder to figure out WTF is going on when you’re trying to decipher your ex’s behavior. Does he miss you? Is he hurting as much as you are? Or has he moved on like it was nothing? While every individual is different, there are some general behaviors a man will exhibit after a breakup. In other words, assuming that he’s not Going Through It is a big mistake — they’re just not as open about it.
How many of these things a given guy will do after ending a relationship depends on his particular personality, but most men will move through pretty much all of these stages before he’s entirely over what went down.
How does a man behave after a breakup?
- He bottles up his emotions rather than dealing with them. Men often feel societal pressure to appear strong and stoic. After a breakup, many choose to bottle up their emotions rather than openly process their pain, making it difficult to gauge how hurt they really are.
- He probably has a few rebounds. Jumping into a new relationship shortly after a breakup isn’t uncommon. It can be a way for some men to cope, distract themselves, or even make their ex-partner jealous. Rebound relationships never work out long term, and they often make the rebound feel like crap.
- He does a deep dive into his hobbies. To divert their minds, men might immerse themselves in hobbies. Whether it’s hitting the gym harder, playing video games, or picking up a new skill, it’s often a refuge from confronting their feelings.
- He stalks his ex on social media. Yes, ladies, men do it too! Some men will check up on their exes online to see how they’re coping. It’s a digital way to remain connected, even if just from a distance.
- He goes silent and says nothing at all. The emotional chaos can make communication hard. Some men go into complete silent mode, avoiding mutual friends, gatherings, or even social media to avoid any reminders of the relationship.
- He starts sending his ex late-night texts. Those 2 AM texts saying “I miss you” or “Thinking of you” aren’t uncommon. Sometimes loneliness and memories hit harder at night, prompting these vulnerable messages.
- He avoids having serious conversations. Post-breakup conversations can be raw and painful. Some men will avoid these at all costs, sticking to superficial topics when they have to interact. They simply don’t want to deal with it.
- He starts playing the blame game. It’s a defense mechanism. By putting the blame on someone else (often their ex), they protect their ego and avoid confronting their part in the breakup.
- He looks to his boys for comfort. Just like us, men need their squad. A breakup might see them spending more time with friends, seeking advice, or merely distracting themselves from the pain.
- He parties excessively. Hitting the clubs or bars more often can be a way to escape reality. The blend of music, drinks, and new faces might provide a temporary relief from the breakup blues.
- He reminisces about the good times. There will be moments of nostalgia. Men might revisit places, songs, or even scents that remind them of the happier times in the relationship.
- He’s filled with regret and second guesses the decision. Was the breakup the right decision? Some men grapple with this question, leading to a roller coaster of emotions, from longing to acceptance and back.
- He makes big changes to his lifestyle. Post-breakup can be a period of self-reflection. Don’t be surprised if he suddenly changes jobs, moves to a new city, or even gets a new hairstyle.
- He digs his heels deep into denial. Before accepting the reality of the breakup, there might be a phase of denial. During this period, he might act like everything’s fine, even when it’s not.
- He starts acting out and being a bit of a jerk. Anger and frustration can manifest in unexpected ways. Some men might act recklessly, pick fights, or engage in risky behaviors as a way of coping. He doesn’t know how to handle his emotions so he acts out of character (and usually not in a great way).
- He seeks closure even if it’s in vain. Everyone needs closure. Some men will seek it by trying to have that final conversation, penning down feelings, or even seeking therapy.
- He embarks on a journey of healing. Like all wounds, time does its magic. While the healing process varies, eventually men do find their peace, accepting the breakup, learning from it, and moving forward.
- He goes into self-improvement mode. This is one of the most common ways a man behaves after a breakup. Sometimes, a breakup becomes the catalyst for self-improvement. You might see him taking up a fitness routine, enrolling in self-help workshops, or engaging in activities that promote personal growth.
- He tries to avoid things that trigger his feelings for you. Movies, songs, or even restaurants that were once shared experiences may become temporarily off-limits to him. It’s a way to prevent flooding back those memories and feelings.
- He becomes more reserved. Some men might pull back from sharing their feelings, even with close friends. This reserved behavior is often a protective shell to guard against potential emotional pain.
- He works himself into the ground as a form of distraction. Drowning oneself in work is a tactic some men use to distract from the emotional turmoil of a breakup. By being busy, they hope to avoid facing the feelings head-on.
- He might go through a creative phase. For those with a creative streak, pain can transform into art. He might channel his emotions into writing, music, painting, or any other art form.
- He keeps a hold of physical items that remind him of you. Even if he’s not reaching out, holding onto shared memorabilia – be it gifts, clothes, or photos – might be his way of holding onto the memories.
- He spends a lot of time on his own and doesn’t want to be around anyone. Some men find solace in solitude. A solo trip, a retreat, or simply spending time alone can be therapeutic and a way to process the breakup.
- He overcompensates on social media. While some men go silent online, others might be overly active, posting about every outing, every thought – often to portray that they’re doing ‘better than ever.’ It’s essential to remember that social media often shows a filtered version of reality.
- He starts being all philosophical. Breakups can lead to profound self-reflection. It won’t be unusual for him to engage in deeper conversations, ponder about love, life, and everything in between.
- He reaches out to make amends. After some time has passed and emotions have cooled down, he might reach out to apologize, clarify misunderstandings, or merely make peace with what happened.
What should a guy be doing after a breakup?
Men, just like anyone, have their coping mechanisms — some healthy, some not so much. But let’s break down what the ideal post-breakup path might look like for guys, from a perspective that’s sensitive to their emotional needs.
Firstly, introspection is key. While it’s common for men to dive straight into distractions, it’s essential they set aside quiet moments to reflect. This doesn’t mean they have to journal or meditate (though both are great options!), but simply taking time to understand what went wrong and recognizing what they’ve learned from the relationship can be invaluable for personal growth.
Seeking support is another essential step. While the “bro-huddle” is a classic, men should be encouraged to expand their emotional support circle. This could mean opening up to family, seeking out a therapist, or even joining support groups. Breaking the mold of the stoic male figure, it’s healthy for guys to remember that vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness.
Self-care isn’t just for the ladies. Whether it’s dedicating time to a favorite hobby, picking up a new skill, or even pampering themselves occasionally, men should prioritize self-love and self-worth post-breakup. This helps rebuild a sense of identity that might’ve been lost in the relationship.
Lastly, while it’s tempting to rebound or retreat, finding a balance is crucial. Instead of immediately diving back into dating or shunning it entirely, guys should listen to their inner feelings. If they’re not ready, that’s okay. Taking time for oneself, fostering personal growth, and building stronger relationships with friends and family can be just as fulfilling.
In short, while every guy’s journey post-breakup is unique, the overarching theme should be one of self-reflection, growth, and prioritizing mental and emotional well-being. And for all our female readers supporting their male friends through breakups, remember: a little encouragement and understanding can go a long way!