Breakups can bring even the strongest man to his knees.
When somebody he cared about has left his life for good, he can become a shell of who he once was.
The thing is that many men are professionals at hiding their pain and heartache.
Here’s how to tell if he’s hurting after a break-up, even if he’s trying his best not to show it.
17 signs he is hurting after a break-up
1) He disappears from you and his friends
When a man is hurt he’s like a wounded animal: he disappears from view and goes to lick his wounds.
People ask about him now and then, but calls go unanswered and days turn to weeks.
“Whatever happened to…” becomes an increasingly rare question.
Anyone who knows about the breakup figures he’s just hurting a bit and wanting a time out.
They’re absolutely right.
There’s no guy who disappears from everyone’s life because he’s so happy.
If he’s not even answering any calls then it’s because he got crushed.
2) He deletes you from his digital life
Another one of the top signs he is hurting after a breakup is that he deletes and blocks you from his digital life.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Discord, Slack: whatever!
It can be a bit of a shock, but you have to realize that sometimes lashing out like this can be one of the last reactions a man feels is at his disposal.
If he doesn’t want to communicate or he feels like nobody understands, he may just burn down all the online bridges in order to try to make a clean break.
Will it really work? It rarely does…
Memories aren’t as easy to erase.
But that won’t stop him from trying.
“A good example of your ex’s suffering is when your ex ignores you and blocks you on social media.
“It portrays so much negativity that you don’t need your ex’s verbal explanation to understand that he’s suffering.”
3) Want advice specific to your situation?
While this article explores the main signs he is hurting after a breakup, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
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Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like breakups. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.
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4) He moves to a new place or starts a new career
Another one of the most important signs he is hurting after a breakup is that he makes a major life change.
This often comes in the form of moving to a new city or taking a new job, but it can also be radical changes to his appearance, interests, and friend group.
Suddenly this guy is just up and gone or went from being a mechanic to working in a bar.
You may be thinking what the hell, but keep in mind that men tend to have more trouble expressing emotions.
Instead of verbalizing his pain, he’s channeling it into a complete makeover of his life.
The more you notice unexpected and strange occurrences in this man’s life, the more chance it’s evidence that the breakup shook him to the core and he’s grasping around to find solid ground.
5) He pursues other girls and parties to make you jealous
There is such a thing as moving on. Some guys are better at it than others.
But when you’re looking for signs he is hurting after a break up then look no further than his behavior around other women.
If he’s completely avoiding dating it’s a red flag, but if he’s jumping back into dating and sex like a maniac then you can be sure he’s hurting.
No man is this callus, except maybe James Bond.
But seriously: it’s a real sign that he’s trying to force himself to be over you even though he’s not.
So he goes out chasing anyone with two legs and partying it up like a madman in the hopes that this will ease his troubled heart and make you green with envy.
“You can tell when an ex is actively trying to make you jealous. Swinging by where you’d be with a rebound relationship would be an apt place to start.
“Also, talking to you about ‘how much he’s moved on and how life has been beyond great after the break up is another sign he’s hurting and probably not over you,” notes April Maccario.
6) He tries to sabotage your life or job in some way
There are some nasty breakups out there, and that’s no joke.
One of the worst signs he is hurting after a breakup is that he makes attempts to sabotage your life or career in some way.
This can include negative reviews of your products or services online, coming to cause disruptions at work, literally following you around and harassing you, or actually doing property damage.
Needless to say, some of these things could require intervention by law enforcement.
Hopefully, however, it never gets to this point and your ex does not try to wreck your life.
But as a realistic guide about a man who’s not over a breakup, keep in mind that hurt people do things to hurt people.
This is why it’s good to always be cautious and never underestimate the damage that a broken heart can do.
7) He starts bumping into you all the time by ‘coincidence’
When men are hurt from a breakup they sometimes get obsessive. This can include things like staging ways to run into you.
If he starts popping up in all sorts of places where he formerly had no interest in being then you know this is what’s going on.
He wants you back or at least wants to let you know that the relationship isn’t really over or resolved for him.
He wants to make it clear that he’s hurt and get more answers or closure.
“For example, you know he never goes to your favorite coffee shop, especially to just lounge about and do nothing.
“But all of a sudden, there he is.
“Sitting there, sipping his coffee and pretending to be surprised that he’s bumped into you.
“Like he doesn’t already know that this is where you get your after-work caffeine fix with your girls.
“So he says hi, chats you up, and marvels at this wonderful coincidence,” writes April Callaghan.
8) He throws himself a giant pity party and makes sure you see it
Sometimes a guy will show that he’s hurt from a breakup by…literally showing it.
He’ll post all over social media, tag old photos, put the saddest music on planet Earth anywhere he can, and altogether throw a pity party.
He wants to make sure you and any mutual friends see just how sad he is.
He also wants you to feel guilty about ruining his life.
Let’s be honest: this is an easy way to feel bad about what happened between the two of you.
And you may feel tempted to respond: do so if you wish.
Just keep in
9) He erases your couple footprint altogether
Another aspect of him deleting and blocking you on social media is that he might completely delete every couple of photos and videos of you that ever existed.
Online and offline, he wipes away all traces that you were ever an item.
It hurts and it can be easy to feel guilty about whatever caused him to want to delete the memory of you existing in such away.
The truth is that he’s likely just very hurt.
“It hurts him to see pictures of the two of you together pop up in his feed and his Facebook memories.
“The easiest way for him to avoid that pain is to delete the photos altogether.”
Is he still saving one or two photos that he went and had printed out in hard copy at Staples? Or does he still have a USB stick with some nostalgia on it?
Who can say, really…
10) He starts doing everything you always said you hated about him even more
If you always hated the way your boyfriend went out late on Fridays or ate a pizza he might start diving into it.
Whether you hear through friends, see online or see him in person, you may notice that everything you hated about him is suddenly his new favorite thing.
He eats pizza every meal and stays out until 4 a.m. on Fridays now.
He may also be dating someone new who is everything you said you ever hated in another person.
It can seem like he’s basically doing it to spite you and here’s the thing: he probably is.
11) He avoids you at all costs
One of the additions to point one is that sometimes a man who is hurting after a breakup will avoid his ex at all costs.
But he will still be perfectly sociable with everyone else.
If you share mutual friends, then you’ll notice this even more acutely.
He’s still very much down for doing whatever they want, but you’re persona non grata to him and don’t exist.
Why does he have to cause so much drama?
“As much as he tries to look like he’s fine, not being able to face you again means that he’s not okay.
“I understand It’s not easy to stop caring for someone you shared so much experience with.”
12) He rebounds in record time
Another of the signs he is hurting after a breakup is that he rebounds rapidly.
This point is not about him trying to make you jealous, really, it’s more about his desire to immediately jump into someone else’s arms (and bed).
Since it’s over with you he’s seeking another safe harbor.
When somebody rebounds that fast there’s one thing I can guarantee you: they’re not doing OK about the breakup.
Not at all.
“Immediately embarking on a new relationship is not what you would expect from a guy that is hurting.
“But we have all heard of the rebound relationship and this is a typical example of one,” writes Sonya Schwartz.
13) He tries to show off that he’s doing great
Sometimes a guy who is hurting after a breakup makes a conscious effort to project a perfect image.
This sign can be confusing because it’s the opposite of a sign:
It’s him looking completely fine, sounding completely fine, and expressing no really strong emotion about what happened.
The red flag here is if he seems to be just a little bit too OK.
He’s almost definitely not, especially if he goes out of his way to say he’s doing great.
“Men’s feelings after a break up are very complex as well, but many men have an uncanny ability to bury these emotions and make it seem like they’re totally fine.
“In our society, men are taught that they need to be “tough” and “manly,” and that they shouldn’t show emotion.”
14) He says he’s really sorry about what he did or didn’t do
Another one of the top signs he is hurting after a breakup is that he apologizes to you about what he did or didn’t do in the relationship.
He’s sorry he never helped or cared what you were saying: he wishes he’d been more attentive.
Or he’s sorry he constantly talked about an open relationship, it wasn’t serious and he was just joking and really loves you and knows it’s not your thing.
Well, whether or not he’s sincere, these attempts at apology show he’s not feeling great.
“As he’s hurt, he’s trying to seek an honest apology from you and help himself shed off the guilt that has consumed his heart and mind.”
15) He texts and calls with emotional outbursts
Calls and texts at odd hours expressing strong emotions are one of the classic signs he is hurting after a breakup.
When he bears his heart to you in emotional messages and conversations he more than likely is feeling like shit.
There’s just no reason to open up to someone so much if you’re basically doing fine.
“Most times, there won’t be any valid reason why he does that other than the fact that he needs emotional support from you.
“If he’s doing this, then it’s a clear sign he is hurting after the breakup. It’s now up to you to decide whether or not you want your ex back.”
16) He begins to indulge heavily in alcohol and drugs
If a man is hurting after a break up he will sometimes turn to Dr. Jack Daniels to heal the pain. Or he may consult with Dr. Daniel’s cousins Dr. Powder, Dr. Pills, and Dr. Kush.
It doesn’t work, but it may help him lose some short-term memory.
It’s sad when a guy tries to self-destruct, but don’t spend your whole life thinking you can fix him or blaming yourself.
It’s still his choice.
The truth is that this can backfire pretty badly, especially if we end up self-isolating and self-medicating to excess.
“Don’t underestimate the importance of the people around you, and remember to reach out when you need to talk – either to friends and family, or professionals like a counselor, psychotherapist, or coach.
“It’s absolutely fine to give yourself a few weeks of grieving, crying and hiding away from the world, but try not to isolate yourself too much or too for long,” notes Sarah Graham.
17) He’s a complete trainwreck and everyone knows it
There’s another thing that happens when a man is hurt from a breakup.
It’s different than a pity party because it’s not at all about getting attention, in fact, he may be deeply ashamed of it.
This is that he simply becomes a walking trainwreck.
He carries sadness and resentment with him like a dark cloud, and people shift out of the way when he walks into a store.
He’s bristling with hurt energy and anger, and everyone can feel it.
He stops looking after himself and seems to want to destroy his own life.
It’s sad, it’s very real and it happens much more than we’d like to think. In many cases, it’s because he’s deeply wounded by a breakup.
How do you know when he’s ready for love again?
It’s hard to gauge exactly when a man is ready for love again.
One school of thought says the right person will snap him out of his funk, but another philosophy would say that there’s just a certain amount of time every man needs to come back from heartbreak.
In the end, every guy is different.
Some are dealing with other life issues in addition to the breakup, while others will be ready to bounce back within several months.
At the end of the day, every heart is different, and all you can do as a friend or potential partner is show compassion and patience for the hurt he’s going through.