How Men Get Over Break-Ups

Men Cry, Too

The man’s handbook of getting over a break-up is a short read. It’s about two pages long, and encourages men to be thankful for their freedom, fall into a drunken stupor, and wake up next to a one-night rebound feeling great about themselves. This is the handbook that has been written by such known ladies’ men as Warren Beatty, Tiger Woods and Wilt Chamberlain. However, there is also another handbook hidden in the closet of the average guy. This is the one that gets used the most. Allow me to highlight a couple of pages and clue you in on what men actually go through each time their relationships move south for the millennium.

Stage 1: Ambivalence & The Drunken Stupor

According to an online survey by Men’s Health, over a quarter of men go out on a drinking binge to ease their pain after a break-up. These guys are looking for an easy way to feel better, and since they don’t feel comfortable with showing weakness in front of their friends, they let alcohol do the cheering up for them. Unfortunately, for many men, it is his main squeeze who he shares the majority of his feelings with. When she is no longer around to console him, he may feel like there is nobody else to turn to.

Sugar Coats it

In the same Men’s Health survey, it was also discovered that a surprising number of men (36 percent) take the news of a breakup as a welcome invitation to find someone better, have more sex, and hang out with his single buddies. In some cases, these guys claim to have actually smiled, said they understood, and then casually sauntered away into the sunset. This is how he made it appear, anyway, as this was often to mask his true panic, frustration, and discomfort. If a man can sense a break-up is coming, studies suggest he will become more proactive towards finding a solution. These are the moments when a guy may beg, plead, and offer suggestions for the problems he’s been ignoring.

Denial and Panic

Studies suggest that the guys who have no idea they are heading for a collision course to bachelorhood, are surprised when a woman throws up her hands and runs for the hills. These are the guys who will be in denial after the initial talk (or text), and may need to be in touch with his ex several times before he realizes this is the real thing. When a man is rejected, it damages his self-image, and he will do whatever he can to reclaim it. Sometimes this means panicking, and sending her daily messages on Facebook; other times, he may join a dating website to hook up with a rebound.

Stage 2: Acceptance & The One-Night Stand

Similar to the drunken stupor, some guys look for instant gratification following a break-up, focusing on the one intimate activity he will miss the most… the sex. A one-night stand may seem better than a gallon of ice cream and a few Chuck Norris flicks, although it fails to address his feelings, so it can end up prolonging his suffering. This is where a guy can get himself into more trouble if he goes home with a bad girl who decides to take advantage of his crumbling ego. She may give him what he wants, but he will pay for it with his time, dignity, and sanity.

“Set a deadline on grieving [over a broken heart]. We’ve all done it. Your heart is broken and you just can’t seem to drag yourself off the couch or bother to shower and get dressed. You can’t eat or you can’t stop eating. You don’t answer your phone or call your friends. It’s ok to grieve when your heart gets broken but when you wallow in it too long it can lead to a nasty depression. Don’t give them that kind of power over you. Make a pact with yourself that on day two or three you will get up, get dressed and call a friend to go somewhere, anywhere. Take a walk, go to a movie, go to the pool or go ice skating, dress up and go out to dinner with someone. Re-engaging in the world is the way back into the light.” – Chloe ext. 9421

Realizes Those Sugar-Coated Prospects Are Going to Take Time

This is the moment when a guy realizes that it is going to take time to get back to the level of intimacy and security he was used to. This can be depressing. However, this can also be the moment when he decides it’s time to reach out for consolation from a friend or family member.

The Dam Eventually Breaks

It’s not until a guy gets past his initial reaction, that he can mourn the loss of his love relationship. He may approach one of his alternative female support networks, including his mom, sister(s), or close friend, and confesses his true feelings. Once he has had a chance to gush, he can take his ex off her pedestal, gather up the objects that remind him of her, and get them out of his sight.

Stage 3: Motivation

This is the final stage where a guy will look within himself, learn from his mistakes, and emerge a new man. While his initial feelings of the break-up may have turned his energy towards destructive activities, he is now motivated to use this time to better himself. While wanting to succeed in order to gain revenge for being dumped may not be an ideal reason, it can create the opportunity for a lot of personal growth, which will make him a tastier batch of leftovers when he’s served up the next time around!

“Like with all things, it has to start with us, but a heart is not forever broken, unless we allow it to be.” – Lacy ext. 5494

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37 thoughts on “How Men Get Over Break-Ups

  1. Ben Gallardo

    My girlfriend of two years left me out of nowhere. We were in love in high school but when I went to college and she was a high school senior we grew apart. It hurts more and more everyday but I feel like there is someone better for me out there.

  2. Sherry

    I find for the most part that a guy’s first reaction is something that feeds his ego. It could be anything from playing the “blame game”, to sleeping with their ex’s friends or family. I don’t think that anything like that makes anyone feel better or hurt less (in fact most of these actions just cause pain), but it always seems to be a man’s “go to” move.

  3. Leo

    Agree, very true. It’s been a little over 6 mos since I walked out a 10 yrs of marriage with a cheating wife (2 yrs) that admitted she never loved me, shame on her, I enjoyed every moment, at first I was angry, didn’t find myself deep into alcohol, it’s not my thing but I have suffered a lot, at the end of the day I understood and realized that after all it was a blessing, I’m finally cured and ready to go on with my life. I really think that the only person that you really need in your life is the one that shows you that needs you in hers.

  4. kris33

    yah,it is really really tru when someone breaks your heart it is very difficult to stand again,like what happen to me and my ex-husband,coz he lied to me from the start we got married,and i didnt notice that coz i love him a lot,until i found out that he left me and my son it hurts me too much,but what can i do, is to accept the fact that his not worth it.Now im happy to be a single mom to my only son and hoping to find someone who can really give his tru feeling.

  5. mary

    I was with a guy for several months I knew I loved him from the start , but he never said he loved me even though his actions said the opposite but I needed to hear those words and since I didn’t ever hear them I broke up with him , I now I know that I broke his heart and mine in the process I hope some of you guys out there catch this and please think ,if you feel it say it! before it’s too late.because It hurts too much afterwards.

  6. Melissa

    Something I need to bring attention to that I neglected in the above post-I specifically liked the quote that “a heart isnot broken forever unless we allow it to be”.
    Right on.

  7. Melissa

    My ex of 3 years has called a few times over the years to say Merry
    Christmas, Happy Birthday, that sort of thing, but the last call he had tears in his voice when he told me that even if we couldn’t be together he wanted me to know that he loved me.
    We had been together for 10 years, he saw other women during this time, and never thought I would leave him.
    I have not moved on really, even though I have had a few dates here and there, they led to nothing.
    I believe it is true that men grieve, tell you that it was not what they wanted, it was their idea, is it possible to reconcile, all that.
    Enjoyed your article,

  8. Saggie Sister

    Can you write more about NPD? This is the first I have heard of it and it is ringing so true, both with my own father and my ex – who is currently trying to ‘squash’ me despite the fact that he’s moved into a new relationship, has my children in his custody and has what I thought was an okay life…
    I want to know more so I can read the signs since I”m about to enter into a relationship with a guy who I consider to be very different, but what if I’m just attracting the same ‘type’ – I want to know the tell-tale signs which I have not had tell me anything so far…
    Thanks and great insight into men’s behaviour and psyches.

  9. raymond

    well this topic is much needed. I have fallen in love with a person who wants to sleep with everyone and everything and have cried many nights over this. I have accepted that i could not be loved in the way i wanted to. Some people do not possess the capacity to love so here is my advice. Take this time being single and fall in love with ……yourself. recommit yourself to you. If you gave your best, trust its there loss and when they try to comeback in your life, dont let them. there are billons of people in the world. all your asking for is to have one of them love you sincerly. life will give us that

  10. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Dear Marcia,
    I’m so sorry you are going thru this ordeal…..

    ….but I have to say that I agree with what Ginny posted to you.

    You may find that a bit of counseling or therapy is neccessary get past this and start the healing process.

    Hard to believe right now I’m sure , but this too, in time, shall pass and when you are healed and ready, you will go forward with your life and find somebody who loves and will cherish you, and all that you have to bring into a healthy and loving relationship.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose

  11. misty

    Dear Abbey,

    I would like for you to help me to understand men……My question is, “When first meeting a gentleman and discuss a relationship whether friendship or marriage..Is it always necessary for him to introduce his friends over her to try to figure out whether we were meant to be together or not? In the past, I had fallen deeply for a beautiful intelligent man and became stunned from the way I approached by him….I’ve been trying to hang in there with him and get to learn his ways but the pressure of his friends has been very disturbing to me. I like them and I know they love him….but I felt like going through hell without a major cause….I still love him but I feel like whatever he throws at me I’m am ready to face….I still am deeply in love with him…but i’m also feeling like his damn fool…and this is what being in love can do to people….He is very angry inside and I am also….but true love always seems to find it’s way if it was mean’t to be……I don’t wallow in my sorrows as much…I try to stand strong in knowing that I’m always trying to be the be the best I can for him whether it’s over or not…..breakups are tragic…especially when someone has never even met the person in the first place…Maybe that’s even more worse..My love for him will never die…but the decisions we make are very critical…because it does leaves us with the thought, ” What if things were done more differently?” I feel like whatever we do…that thought in our heads will forever linger no matter what the decision of having someone or not…Love is not a game…breakups are morbid…. I have to be strong and take the kicks and the punches in the mist of confusion…I keep trying to be better everyday to strengthen myself so I can be better for that any special that is truly mean’t to be for me in this lifetime…there’s is always hope for everyone….Sometime’s when a man brings his friends a new person to meet..a woman seems to lose a sense of pride…but…also .. she is there to give support over his decisions as his friend even though it ends up in total chaos…I had, also, felt a lack of communincation because of his decision…’s is a total shock to me how miscommunication can play a great role in destruction in relationships….The mind begins to play a great part of confusion over many MATTER….makes sense? I think my love buckles has created me to be his monster…it’s not easy not knowing feelings in a true upfront manner….I guess I’ve been dodging his bullets……but I’ll always love him whatever our decision my be in this world….


    Confused and Surprised

  12. Steev

    I was wrong about the 40 years of not crying – i cried when my little sister died and that was about 25 years ago and i cried when my dad died 15 years ago. But the point of revealing this is the fact that all those cries were based on death, not a relationship status change.

  13. Shyann

    I have rarely found any male worth two cents. Their true colors don’t show at first.
    And by then they have u hooked. Now they can play with u like a cat plays w/ a mouse !
    I don’t know how those men can behave that way.. but it has alot to do with how they
    are raised. And the relationship w/ their mother means everything. It’s to bad most men
    have been raised to be barbarians. If I ever find someone who is genuine and caring, I
    will let u know. Ps. I have two grown son’s who treat women w/ respect and love. So, I
    did teach them and talkd to them about females, because I didn’t want them to be jerks.

  14. Lori

    Y do men cheat? Because they r insecure and shallow and they r trying to fulfill their egos. They r missing something in their life and Unfortunatly we get hurt in that process. I do agree With a lot of this article and I would like to think they do hurt when it’s over. But I feel they only miss the attention they use to get from us. I’ve learned to get out of a relationship as soon as the first red flag goes up. If ur uncomfortable with something – walk away – ur instinct is correct and u’ll save urself the heartache!!! That’s the best way we can protect ourselves from telling our friends yet another story about another guy who broke our hearts. They will never be satisfied until they see their faults and address them. Just sayin.

  15. Dave

    Great artical. I was dumbed by my Ex and went threw the stages, the denial thing , being just friends and distancing our selves with less contact. Finally the reality and the break down.
    Which was a first in my life. I was a basket case . What an eye openning experience and I never thought it could happen to me. The release was a good thing and it helped me move on.
    Make better choices and respect peoples feels more. The human contact thing took it’s time and I got back on my feet with a better relationship.

  16. Byron

    I appreciate this article because it addresses a very taboo situation among men that we have difficulty admitting to and that is our feelings after the break -up.
    Our support systems are sometimes nonexistent orseem unavailable when needed.

    I have been here many times but each time I have grown as a person

  17. Steev

    I guess I’ll never understand how men can cry over a lost love, i just recently had to put a bullet into my dogs head ( it was BY FAR the hardest thing i’ve ever done in my life ) i cried for the first time in 40 years over that ! Instead why not feel joy for the time you and your girlfriend/spouse had together rather than the time you no longer share ? Barring a premature death of them – i really think your being a little selfish. I do not put animals and human beings on the same level of existance, but the emotion involved with the two situations are very similar. Your’e life aint over, so ” sac ” up and carry on !

  18. corie

    The truth is they have no feelings. They’re selfish introverted and interested in meeting their own selfish needs. I’m nearing 70, and I found this out the “HARD” way.

    They just don’t give a dam..

    What we do about it, is try and stay calm, to deal with an unemotional uncaring,

  19. ginny


  20. Gregory McCartney

    well i can relate to this article since i am a man who has had his share of heartbreak..and for me it does not get easier with each one..i do not drink or smoke so how i deal with it is pray to my Heavenly Father for help..i was treated terrible by my first wife..we had sex only 3 times..and twice we had a child..she did not want it,but i was not aware of what to expect because i nwas not told about things like that..i read things about sex and women whan i was in my late 20’s..i was very naive and still am to an extent..i am the kind to stay and try to amke it work,but aftyer 22 yrs,we were second wife passed away in Feb 2011 from kidney and liver failure,but she was the love of my life and my best friend..i am now hoping to find someone so that i can give them all the love that i have inside…so there are a few of us that take being in a committed realtioinship serious..and i do find myself crying at times over things that still hurt or affect me

  21. Marc from the UK

    Being a man I can find it difficult to talk about things to other men, but with practice it can become easier, I have female friends also so I find they are streets ahead of me and can offer an invaluable insight to the femail mind!!! Like all humans we go through stages of mind set and feelings, BUT we must allow ourselve’s times to grieve and then buck up and get on with it, the invaluable lesson is to learn from it and be honest with yourself.

  22. firegirl

    Regarding guys with NPD- regardless of where they appear in your world, boyfriend, boss, co-worker, relative… remember one thing. It will ALWAYS be 100% about them. Everyone in their world falls into two categories- people who are in their world to provide their Narcissistic Feed, or those who are worthless to them. The first category is filled with the Yes Men with whom they surround themselves, or people they’re trying to use to get what they, the Narcissist, wants. The yes-men get something that looks like friendship, and those that have something the narcissist wants get the full-on charming act. Once the narcissist has what they want from that person, they are either relegated to the narcissist feed provider group, ignored until they are needed again, or dumped on the worthless pile. I’m sure that Dawn has expereinced the back and forth of Needed and Ignored.
    The only thing worse than this back and forth is when the Narcissist realizes that you are not susceptible to their ‘charms’, aren’t a yes-man, and won’t be ignored (you speak up for yourself when the situation requries it). Whether a co-worker or family member or romantic partner, this situation will send the narcissist into attack mode. They will do whatever they feel they need to do to obliterate you- emotionally, in your career, and worst of all, physically, if it comes to that. And they will never admit they’re wrong or behaving badly or unethically unless saying that will get them what they want. There is NO WINNING with these people, and the only thing you can do is get away from them and take whatever measures you need to do to protect yourself from the barage of hate that will follow. (read “restraining order”)
    Good luck Dawn.

  23. barbara fifield

    I dated a guy for two years and broke up with him for a few months during that time because he cheated on me with many others. After I broke up with him for good, he called and emailed me for two years. He also sent me pictures of him with other women to make me feel guilty. But because he had cheated on me when we went together, I figured he was a hypocrite and didn’t reply. We have to see others for what they are. Barbara

  24. Marcia

    Married 4 11 yrs. Took marriage revows (his idea that every 5 years we would to this)in Sept. First week in Jan. he wanted out. Said it was no ones fault.But it had to b on his terms. Has not filed 4 divorce yet. Is being helpful with moving me out, leanding me $, telling me it will b alright.There is no other woman he says,but I found a love note speaking volumes to me.Wants to settle things peacefully with just one lawyer. I am devastated and unfocused.He keeps saying he is there 4 me but he is always busy when I do reach out to him. I still love him and I took my vows seriously.I am moving for the second time out os state to start over.I did not c this coming. I know I should let go and move on. I love him ebough to give him his freedom, but how do I move on when I still feel this strongly about him? How can I trust him when he tells me we can b friends? I can’t get past the hopes, pland and dreams we had 4 our future, how can they just stop being? How can he just NOT want to be with me after all we have had and planned on having together?

  25. ginny

    okay now what happens when he has an affair and the wife finds out and dumps him. and she is desperately hurt by what he did. he was the no 2nd chances guy.

  26. Kimberley

    What about a guy who “never” accepts the break-up? Who continues his invasion into your life when you’ve made it abundantly clear that its over? And this goes on for years? What’s a girl to do?

  27. ramesh

    I have more frequency but no longer, It is true one may begin to use drink to avoid stress or feeling week performance. There is female who give him or support him .

  28. Luis

    OMG a broken heart is not an easy thing to deal wit it un less u didmt love that person, but wen you do its another story, it feels like earth and heaven collapse and there is no or nothing that help you to make it better…

    eventually u will get over but its a long way and a harsh road to walk on it.

    good luck and stay in love so that will never happen.

    ps somethimes we should be like a parrot wen they find they mate they stay wit it and are faithfull for the rest of their days, that is nature pure ans simple.
    God bless you out there with those <\3 hearts

  29. Dawn Olson

    This certainly applies to normal men, I’m sure.

    Not to the men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder – the type I suspect I have engaged with repeatedly, all my life, because my dad was one, and I think I have only just recently awakened to that fact.

    So I’d love it if you’d write about women (as the great majority of NPDs are males but I wouldn’t mind a bilateral discussion either) who are trying to release themselves from the spell of an NPD.

    I think I’ve finally done it myself. Finally.

    Thanks for your fun articles.

  30. pashie

    This is not always compleatly true because I have many guy friends and after they through a bad breakup they either go and get drunk or they go and have sex and that is with most of my guy friends and I am close with all of them. But most of them are softeys but they all still come to me and get drunk or they go out to a bar and get drunk most of them come and talk to me about it but they all still go and do that. The only people I have seen or heard cry are my fiance James and one of my good friends Eric. But my fiance after his last breakup with this girl he went and got drunk then he came to me and talked to me.

  31. Pamela Sandra Dovell

    I liked the article but still don’t understand why, a man would go back months later. Do they really think it will work the 2nd time around? Or he goes back just to break up with her. The Ego?

  32. joe

    x navy x employee been in same place more then i want to remember heck i even went throught a divorce alone andgot remarried to a beautiful woman and it ait no bed of roses we have a few ruff times but we are still hanging in their & to short phrase it life and love aint for no pussy get over it

  33. warren

    Im going thru the first week of a brack up it FN hurts I find myself shedding tears here and there but at least im not cryn to her n givin her more power life goes on even when we feel like discarded trash maybe the next one will work better hang in there guys it sucks big time just cry in private till it all out warren


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