Breaking up is never fun. No one really looks forward to them. In fact too many men and women stay in a failing relationship way too long for many reasons.
Something I cover in this post: Shouldn't Getting Into A Relationship Be Harder Than Getting Out?
I was seeing a woman for about two years. We were exclusive and faithfully committed to each other but we recently broke up and now it's time to move on.
I'd like to share with you my private and personal thoughts on it which will give you much more than just a peek into a guy's mind right after a breakup.
It could help you get over some ex you've been having trouble letting go.
It could help you get closure over an ex-boyfriend or husband if you didn't understand exactly why it happened.
It could even help you get him back if that's what you're looking to accomplish in the next step of your life.
It can and will help you better understand men and the emotions they feel.
The first part is MY view and an account of my feelings, what I felt, how I was getting along and what it all meant to me.
The second part I'll give you a generalized view of ALL men and what I believe they too go through after a breakup.
Here we go...
But before we start, this experience is based on a breakup that happened a while ago. I am happily married now.
I feel like I'm still in relationship mode. Like it's hard to imagine what life will now be without a girlfriend.
It feels as if my "game" isn't what it was and I have lost the edge I had before we were together.
When I was out constantly flirting with women and doing my whole "attraction" thing which took me so long to learn I felt ready to take on any woman who wanted to "spar flirt" with me. In other words, I felt rusty.
On top of that I feel like going out to enjoy a few casual sexual affairs with no strings attached but that's a problem because I'm in relationship mode making it much more difficult to shut off the after feelings.
I start searching for women who are young apparently easy or who are looking for something casual like me but I'm finding myself trying too hard.
Perhaps I'm doing it on purpose as if my heart hasn't moved on yet and getting through the pain by sleeping with lots of women "probably" won't help erase the pain anyways.
My mind seems to know that all too well and could be sabotaging me.
It all kind of feels like I'm going through a mourning phase with the anger, regret, then acceptance thing. I'm sure that's playing its part but there's certainly more to it.
I'm screwing up or off my game because I know if I go out and sleep with lots of women right away, it will feel like I'm degrading the relationship I just went through - as if through casual sex it will feel like she didn't matter to me or wasn't an important part of my life. Which is far from the truth.
So - screwing it up is perhaps a fail safe to protect what was once there AND to make it fully real that is was worth trying - it DID matter - it WAS important to me... she WAS important to me.
If I hold off a little - give it time to all settle in - it can feel like it meant more.
It's another way of not admitting I was wrong AND how I DID try hard enough.
What I see, right now, as a guy...
I am destined and slightly determined to stay in relationship mode for a certain period after the separation.
On the side: I cover dating and relationship modes in my silent man membership book if you're interested in learning about them.
I'll contact a few past girlfriends for anything I can get from them like support or intimacy to get back the lost feelings I enjoyed in the relationship which just ended.
If that doesn't work I'll end up accepting rebound sex or even a rebound partner and it's usually not about sex - it's about getting those wonderful feelings of intimacy and closeness back that are no longer at arms length everyday.
So NOW what happens as I progress and look for someone else to fill the now void.
My identity feels like it's missing something - my other half.
Maybe I changed during the relationship a little. I'm certain we ALL do so it's safe to assume I did at least a little.
I didn't plan on losing a part of me - it kind of just happens - we give and take so much in a relationship that part of you has to go along with it AND when it's gone...
It's feels a little empty.
So the onward search for identity becomes part of the whole "getting over it and moving on process" AND depending how deep I went OR how much of me I let go OR who I believed I was before AND who I think I am now - has to come together.
The pieces must be put back together stronger and hopefully better than they were before so I can avoid making the "mistake?" again with another woman in the future.
Which bring out the pondering and overthinking about the MISTAKES:
- Could I have done things differently?
- With all the good and bad that happened... were the choices I made the right ones?
- Did I screw it all up?
- Did she screw up more or less?
- Who is at fault here?
- What really went wrong?
- Could I have saved the relationship?
- Should I have tried harder to save it?
- Was it really worth saving anyways?
It's obvious some mistakes were made - most likely by both - by does thinking about it all make it better or worse?
Does it help me move on or does it make the process longer and more difficult AND add the awful possibility of becoming bitter and despondent and scared of getting into another relationship.
Yet the mistakes still rattle in my brain and sting my heart so they MUST be waded through sooner or later.
Perhaps I'll wait - perhaps I won't - I'm just not sure and not thinking too clearly anyways.
How long will these feelings last?
There's no appropriate time table that you're "supposed" to suffer through after a break up.
If it happens too quick - it feels wrong - since I'm still in relationship mode and meeting another woman right now would almost feel like I'm cheating on my ex.
It it takes to long - I'll suffer more needlessly - that I know for sure.
It wasn't a bad break up...
Things just didn't work out like we has planned and it's BETTER that we went out separate ways.
How long does relationship mode last?
Who knows - the strange part of it is I KNOW for a fact even after I make my way to feeling single again - I'll once again find myself searching to be back there - to once again switch over to being a partner - hopefully a loving one at that.
As they say - only TIME WILL TELL but for now it's keeping it a secret and with probably a good reason too.
That was my EXPERIENCE at this moment.
Although re-written years later I can tell you it wasn't very long and I did move on from the update, married for the first time with a wonderful family and a loving, caring, amazing, and beautiful wife.
So as I promised in the beginning, the first section was all about me, my first person perspective on the break up I went through.
The next part I'll give you a generalized view of all men so you can relate to it better and hopefully clear up any and all questions you have about what really goes on inside a man's mind when the relationship is over.
What Happens To a Guy When He Experiences A Breakup.
A man will remain in RELATIONSHIP MODE for quite some time after the breakup depending on the severity of it, who broke up with whom, how long the relationship lasted, and how much of his identity was lost during the relationship.
He will feel like he's off his "game" even if he didn't have any before.
He will screw up more after to protect and to give value to what it was and how much it meant to him.
He will search for the intimacy he lost that is no longer within arms reach at any given moment.
He might have lots of rebound sex in order to feel something, anything, and to be felt by someone else. His search for comfort and empathy will in all likelihood run his life for a while.
He will think about the mistakes and question what it all meant, if it was worth it, who screwed up more, and what all of it will mean to any future relationship AND it certainly will make some men much more hesitant or even scared to enter another relationship anytime in the future.
I'm POSITIVE he feels bad for the loss. Who wouldn't?
Which also means he MUST experience ALL the stages of grief BEFORE he'll move on and during that process he may do some stupid things, drink more, smoke more, sleep around more, AND is more likely to try and rekindle the relationship.
There's denial... thinking maybe he's made a mistake.
If you broke up with him, then he wants you back and will deny the breakup and do smart or stupid things to win you back.
Then anger comes along rearing its ugly head.
He'll either be angry with himself or angry at you. Either way it's going to happen and I'm sure you've gone through it too being on one side or the other.
Bargaining comes along...
He's thinking, "What can I do to make this better?" OR "How can I fix this problem?" OR "What do I have to do to...?"
Yes you guessed it... "WIN YOU BACK!"
In reality, he might not be trying to fix it at all, although sometimes I'm sure he does mean it.
What he's really bargaining or trying to fix is how BAD it feels losing someone close to him and trying to erase feeling BAD.
When those options are played out entirely, IF he finds a way to move on, then comes...
Some men turn to alcohol. Some men turn to sleeping longer, skipping work, binge-watching shows, ANYTHING which gives him time ALONE away from everything that reminds him of you.
Except most of the time he's sitting around looking at everything which DOES remind him of what once was... back when you were together.
Eventually - for some - ACCEPTANCE will finally come along..
The process (not being too predictable) makes it hard to determine a time or moment when it happens.
One consistent thing among ALL men is that even if he gets through the process in a reasonable amount of time, the FEELINGS will linger and outlast the grief because men don't process emotions as efficiently as women do. (VERY generally speaking of course.)
Here's a quote which explains why it takes so long for guys...
Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington says women can both enter and recover from extreme emotional states a LOT faster and easier than guys can.
If you think about it, it makes sense.
We’ve all seen a woman burst into tears one moment only to be totally fine 5 minutes later.
But when it comes to emotions, guys are a lot more “fragile.”
Gottman says it’s because of evolution. Guys were evolved to be single taskers. To push everything out of their mind except the one thing they’re hunting.
And because of that men are slower to GET INTO an emotional state and MUCH slower to get back out of it once they're there.
Imagine an emotional state is like swimming.
Getting “emotional” for women is a lot like jumping off a dock into a lake. You get wet, sure. But the dock is right there and just a few seconds later you’re safe and dry…
But for guys, “getting emotional” is like getting dropped in the middle of the ocean…
Bobbing in the water.
Surrounded by sharks.
With land nowhere in site."
This "holding on to their emotions has a good side and a bad side.
There's the good side ... getting him back.
Getting Your Ex Back
If you want your ex back, all other things considered, it's certainly a possibility.
I don't have much at why do guys that I've written personally but I have lots of great material posted up that you can go through:
The bad part or side (of men holding on to their feelings for so long) is, if you don't want him back, expect it may be some time before he gets over you and it also explains ONE reason why it takes so long for a guy to commit to you.
Based on any experience you might have with break ups, I'm sure you have noticed they are very similar to what you go through.
Men are NOT exempt from the process.
They experience many of the same emotions you do and one of the few differences may only be how long it takes them to get over it and move on.
Plus one more VERY important difference...
Men are extremely uncomfortable opening up to others about their breakup which leaves them very little or even no outlet to release their pain or to talk it out with another person.
I am the exception.
Just because I can write it all out doesn't mean another man has the opportunity or is secure enough in his masculinity to talk about his feelings - especially publicly.
This typically leads to bitterness, more anger, more frustration, going out and doing stupid things to distract themselves and YES - not giving themselves the opportunity to get over it and move on successfully.
You don't have to feel sorry for them - that's their choice to remain silent and to bottle it all up.
BUT you must understand that since many men have been through some form of breakup in their lives - it WILL have an impact in his future relationships and if that happens to be you, HOPEFULLY today's post has helped you see things from HIS perspective so you can understand him better and make the transition easier for both of you.
I'm NOT excusing men for their fears of commitment.
Simply helping you see where it all comes from in a limited way because I have barely touched the surface today of what goes on inside the mind of a man when the relationship ends.
- Secret Surveys - What Men Want to Desperately Tell You But Won't - Why Men Lie - Information product video from the John Gottman quote above.
- Dr. John Gottman - Information on Wikipedia.
- Dr. John Gottman - The Gottman Institute Homepage.
- Dr. John Gottman - Books written by Dr. Gottman you can buy on Amazon.
- Second Chances - How To Win Back The Love Of Your Ex - Mirabelle Summers and Meet Your Sweet Video from article link above.
- Relationship Rewrite Method - Video by James Bauer in support of article link above.
- The EX Factor - Video and guide on how to get your ex back - noted from article link above.