This is the question that plagues you when you can’t sleep and when you are out at dinner with friends. When you are watching a romantic movie or when you hear your song and well just about every minute of the day. Both men and women try to handle a break up with similar feelings of sorrow and loss. However, while women consume tubs of ice-cream and grieve the “death” of the relationship, the newly single man reacts in a very different way. Men are emotionally wired differently to females, and this affects how men deal with breakups. Breakups are actually tougher on men.
Men seemingly bounce back right away from a breakup, but is this all a façade? A guy’s immediate reaction to a breakup is to “move on” to go out with friends, and even begin dating again. He doesn’t show any remorse, guilt, or sadness. Instead, he is acting like he doesn’t care, and he possibly doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean his bravado persona will last.
It is no secret that men and women process things differently, and a breakup is no exception. In my book This Girl’s Got an Ex I discuss the six stages of a breakup for a woman which are;
Phase 1: Shock
Phase 2: Denial
Phase 3: Self- blame
Phase 4: Heartache
Phase 5: Anger
Phase 6: Acceptance
When this breakup happened, you most probably started this journey off in a state of shock. Regardless if you were dumped or forced to break up with your ex, it was an unsettling experience. You tried to immediately make sense of all the emotions that come after the shock of the breakup. You were in denial and hurting, and you might have done irrational things. Your instinct was to try and fix things because you were reacting in an emotional way instead of a logical one.
After the breakup, you were at the bottom of the ladder, and you may still be at this phase. You felt like you hit rock bottom while he is right on top of the ladder, accepting the breakup. He is socializing, sporting a new haircut, and already has a new rebound girl. It appears as though his happiness is elevated, while you feel as though you have been knocked to the ground.
You might be thinking he’s already moved on and doing better than ever. But the reality is when on top, there is only one way to go, and that’s down.
His Phase 1: Acceptance
If he was the one who broke up with you, he has had a head start with coming to terms with the relationship ending. This means he has been emotionally distancing himself from you for a while. So, the reality is you are feeling more pain because it’s fresh and new to you. If you broke up with him, he might have a stubborn acceptance. He thinks, “Oh well, whatever, I am not going to chase after her, I accept that I am single now, so I will do what I want.” During this time, the man in both situations may be enjoying being single. He might feel pleased because he is free to do what he wants. This is the “fun” period, which is usually short-lived because the reality of what he’s done will start to set in bit by bit.
His Phase 2: Anger
While you think he’s already moved on, the reality is he’s starting to feel conflicted. A few days/weeks (depending on the man) have passed, and he expected you to chase after him. He thought by now you would be begging for him back or telling him you miss him. He’s starting to see a stronger side of you that he isn’t used to. When he sees you “moving on,” he will get angry. Angry at you. Mad at the new guy you are paying attention to, raging at your friends, crazy at the loss of his control over you. Angry at everyone besides himself. You see, he expected you to chase him and “stalk” him. He has not learned how to love and respect you yet. He is only starting to realize what he’s lost, and your ex doesn’t like the fact that he’s losing his grip on you.
His Phase 3: Heartache
During the heartache stage, the emotional delay starts to creep in. The newness of being single wears off. During this time, your ex will begin to feel the consequences of his actions. He will start to feel the pain of not having someone familiar in his life.
Men are emotionally dependent on their girlfriends. They have fewer alternative sources of support. Men aren’t used to seeking emotional help on their love life from their loved ones or circle of friends. His buddies are focused on having fun. They are more interested in partaking in competition with each other. They are not inclined to provide sympathy or emotional support. As women, we can quickly turn to other women for help, but men don’t communicate with each other the same way women do. When girls are sad, we get cuddles, compassion, and lots of chances to talk about it with our girlfriends. Men don’t generally have the same type of support. His life now is one big question mark. There’s a hole in his life shaped like you, his ex-girlfriend, and he’s trying to figure out how to fill it.
Take this as a warning; he might start messaging and texting different girls. He might like all their Instagram pictures or befriend them on social media. These over the top demonstrations of “moving on” can sometimes signal he’s hiding the pain of the rejection.
His Phase 4: Self – Blame
Dating isn’t as fun as he expected because he compares everyone he meets to you. The new women lack familiarity with him, and this makes him feel detached from anyone new he meets. He wants the same sort of connection he once had with YOU, but this takes time. He’s starting to realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. This is when he truly begins to regret his actions and understands that you are a woman of high value. He knows he messed up and he is kicking himself for it.
His Phase 5: Denial
You can take comfort in the fact that after a few weeks, he is going back and forth in his mind about getting back with you. Though, he still believes that you cannot live without him. He thinks you will break and is waiting to see if you will make it easy by chasing after him. He is starting to view you as an unpredictable woman, but he still wants to cling onto the control he had over you. He tells his friends,” She will chase after me, you’ll see.” He still thinks you couldn’t possibly be happy and move on with your life.
His Phase 6: Shock
You have remained silent and haven’t reached out to him. You are working on yourself and staying in control of your emotions. You are living life with passion and looking great while doing it. He is feeling blown away by all the things you have accomplished during your separation.
By this point, he has recognized your value and importance. He has realized what he had was irreplaceable. He let you go, and now you have “moved on,” and he can’t believe that this is actually happening. He’s lost his dream girl!
If you believe there’s a chance for you to be a couple again, let him ride this rollercoaster of emotions. Allow him to reflect on his actions, miss you, and realize what he has lost.
All men think that they want to be single, that is until they are. Until loneliness, separation anxiety, and meaningless interactions with incompatible women make him realize the single life wasn’t what he thinks it would be.
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