Many people have this false idea that guys have an easy time handling breakups; they are often seen partying and enjoying their lives without caring about the hurt breakups cause.
But that’s just one side of the story. Guys do get vulnerable post-breakup but don’t often confide in their close ones.
How do the guys grieve their loss of the relationship, then? That’s the untold story of guys that I’m going to tell in this article.
There are many emotions men experience while navigating the toughest part of their relationship. You can think of them as different stages men go through after a breakup.
What are those different stages of breakup for a guy, and how long does it take for him to recover from the post-relationship grief? Let’s know about it.
Table of Contents
How Long Do Guys Take to Overcome a Breakup?
Research shows that women often initiate the breakup, and the men on the receiving end have a hard time moving on. That suggests guys can take more time to heal from the breakup trauma. Delaying the grieving process is also why guys take longer to overcome the breakup crisis.
The time that guys take to recover from the breakup differs for each one of them. It also depends on the quality of the relationship and how long it lasted.
If a guy has faced cheating by their partner, it can give him trust issues, and the rejection will hurt for a long time.
Some guys feel a sudden void after parting with their partners, while others don’t even realize that their relationship has ended even after months.
The whole process of breakup follows a few stages. Remember, not every guy would experience each stage, and the order in which he undergoes the stages can also differ.
Stages of Breakup for a Guy
Below are the 9 stages of a breakup for a guy.
1. Male Ego in Progress and Denying the Breakup
A man’s ego and denial of the breakup can be interconnected. Firstly, he doesn’t even realize that he’s now out of that relationship or doesn’t want to realize it. For him, a breakup might feel temporary, and he might treat it like any other problem in the relationship.
Even if he knows the relationship has ended, his male ego doesn’t let him accept the reality as he tries to escape the pain. And the cycle of denial and covering up the feelings continues.
Doing this can show that he isn’t affected by the breakup and has no feelings.
Guys brush their pain under the carpet because it’s what their male ego tells them to do and it’s what society teaches them.
2. Blaming the Ex to Reassure Himself
So far, he’s escaping the breakup and his emotions. Still, there might be a little realization of emptiness in his partner’s absence.
And there’s always some reflection on whether his decision was right or not. That is when the guy is the one who initiated the breakup. In this case, the guy would reassure himself that he made the right choice because he wouldn’t want to second guess himself at this stage.
Besides, he’ll blame the breakup on his partner even if he’s the dumper. That’s because taking responsibility for something negative doesn’t produce happy hormones, so escaping the responsibility for the breakup is also a way to cope for the guys.
Toni Coleman, a relationship coach, shares that men are less likely to take responsibility for the relationship loss and thus play the victim.
3. Rebound Stage
With this victim mentality, guys want to take control by getting wild. It can also be seen as revenge on their part as they try to show their ex how happy they are, even if it might not be true.
Being overly social and engaging in rebound romance are other ways for the guys to cope after a breakup, which gives the assumption that they move on easily.
But that doesn’t mean he was not into the relationship that had just ended. Instead, he’s trying to fill the void resulting from the breakup.
He replaces grieving the heartbreak with socialization.
Or he might spend time overworking himself till the point that he’d forget the pain, but all of these are temporary solutions to an issue that needs immediate care.
4. Realization of Breakup
After running from his emotions for a long time and even potentially hooking up with girls, a guy realizes that he can’t handle his struggles by focusing outwards.
All he needs is acceptance of the breakup and healing from within. At this stage, he realizes that everything isn’t the same as before in the relationship.
The guys don’t know how to cope when this realization hits.
That’s because the realization brings a lot of other emotions – emotions like fear, loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety, and whatnot.
5. The Anger Stage
When a guy finds himself overpowered by negative feelings, he tries to hide behind the strong, so-called manly emotion – anger.
He gets angry when he realizes he can’t go back to his ex or change reality.
You must have seen kids how they get angry when they don’t get something they desire. Guys (or adults) also get angry when they realize that the relationship they cherished once has ended, leaving the hurt behind.
The anger is nothing but a mask for some hidden emotions such as sadness and hopelessness that are sure to follow from the breakup trauma.
Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP, a clinical psychologist, explains that people face anger before they accept other deep emotions like shame and hurt.
6. The Period of Nostalgia
Nostalgia hits when a guy realizes and knows that his partner has gone, and now he’s all by himself. He’ll start living those memories when the relationship was thriving and would crave it. But what has gone is gone.
The good old memories of the ex will start creeping in. And he’d start to wonder whether the two of them could be together again because he’s unable to look beyond the ex and the relationship at this point.
7. The Chasing Begins
When nostalgia hits hard, he might rethink his breakup.
And instead of focusing on moving on, he’d think of going back to his ex to ask for another chance. He’d begin to look for reasons to reignite the relationship. He’d try to do everything and make big promises to return to the same place.
By doing all the chasing, he tries to escape the awful period of discomfort that follows as the breakup becomes more evident.
8. Breakup Depression
Now comes the most obvious stage that’s considered synonymous with the breakup. The dull and lonely days without ‘them.’ This happens when he has tried every possible escape to forget the girl and attempts to win her back again.
But nothing works. All he has left with is sleep, sleepless nights, and lots of alone time, which adds up to depression and other mental health issues. The trauma of the breakup lasts so long that the guys may feel issues in starting a relationship all over again.
Richard Matzkin, an ex-group leader for men’s therapy, claims that men aren’t very emotionally strong compared to women. Society doesn’t encourage men to open up about their traumas. That’s also the reason why men face difficulty in going for therapy.
9. Accepting the Breakup and Recovery
The last stage of breakup for a guy is accepting & recovering. Acceptance of a broken relationship comes after a long time. There’s a lot a man goes through before they finally reach this stage and decide to move on. After reaching this stage, he realizes that he’s better off without his ex and that his life needs this change.
At this stage, a guy decides to change his current state and start finding some hope. Reaching this stage early or late isn’t the same for every guy. The acceptance doesn’t mean that the guy won’t have any memories, but he’d be able to make peace with them.
Men vs Women after a Breakup
Breakups aren’t the same for men and women. Both genders have their own way of coping with the breakup trauma.
Women are the ones who mostly start a breakup, meaning men face most of the rejections. A survey of 5,705 people from 96 countries showed that women tend to become more emotional after a breakup as compared to men. But men take longer to process the breakup and be done with it.
Women rely on their social circle to get help with breakup grief, while men are criticized for being too emotional and ‘obsessing’ over their feelings.
Overall, a breakup is a difficult experience for both genders. Women wrestle with it initially and recover faster, while men don’t seek healing for a long time and delay it.
Breakups are a big deal for guys and can affect their physical and mental health.
Even if the ladies think the guy they dated had no feelings when they saw him occupied with work or busy partying, the reality can be far from the common notion. A guy after a breakup can look happy, but know that he’s hiding the pain behind the carefree look.
The above 9 stages of a breakup for a guy offer unique insights into the psychology of men dealing with a breakup, which is nothing short of a trauma.
Have you ever seen a guy grieving his breakup with you? Think about it!