Every breakup is unique and painful in its own way.
But guys have a process of breaking up that almost all of them follow.
Here are the stages of a breakup that a man usually goes through.
What are the stages of breakup for a guy? Everything you need to know
A lot depends on who broke up with who. But nonetheless, a breakup is going to hit a guy hard, even if he’s the one who wanted it.
Every guy has his own process for processing a breakup, but the main stages go in the following way.
First of all, there is going to be some surprise that the relationship is over.
A breakup is never easy, and even if the breakup could be seen coming from a long distance away, it always comes as a bit of a shock.
Planning to say goodbye and then breaking up and realizing it’s really over and that you’re not getting back together is a jolt to the system.
The first stage a guy is going to go through in a breakup is shock and some sense of unreality that it’s really over.
It will take at least a few days for it to really sink in. And even after that he’s going to find himself a bit stuck in shaking his head and wondering if that all really happened and he’s really done with you.
After surprise the next emotion that’s likely to kick in is:
Next up after surprise is likely to be some denial, either about the breakup itself or about why it happened.
He may think that you’ll just get back together soon anyhow.
Or think that the breakup was just because you were too busy with work or didn’t listen to him enough or whatever reason, even if it’s entirely inaccurate.
This is basically a way of blocking the pain.
But it’s also a psychological mechanism for him to try to stick to the patterns he’s accustomed to which the breakup is revealing.
By denying what really happened or why, he hopes to stop the pain.
But the pain of you not being around is still there, like a burning coal in his chest.
And sooner or later it’s going to start burning a hole.
3) Understanding male psychology in a breakup
The stages men go through in a breakup can be hard to understand, particularly if you’re going through them.
You may wonder why you’re feeling this way or whether other guys have been through something similar as well in the wake of romantic disappointment.
Chances are they have.
And the best way I know to speak to somebody who understands is to reach out to a certified relationship coach.
It sounds like a big step, but it’s actually very easy to do.
I recommend the love coaches at Relationship Hero, a website where accredited professionals who understand the stages of a breakup are there for you to talk to and receive support from.
How do I know?
Well, I reached out to them last year after going through the worst breakup of my life that left me feeling like I was walking completely in the dark in life and love.
The coach helped shine a light and help me understand what was going on and why I was reacting in the way it was.
Most importantly, she helped me see what I had to do next and how I could deal with the breakup in a more productive way.
Next up after denial is likely to come anger.
Something you want badly has been taken away and that’s just about one of the worst feelings anyone can have.
No matter how confident a man is, try watching him before and after a breakup with a woman he loves.
It hits hard. Nobody comes out unscathed from parting ways with somebody they truly care about.
It’s a walk-through fire.
And it brings out fiery emotions of anger and rage about being left behind and things not working out, often regardless of the logic about why they didn’t work out.
Love is anything but rational, after all.
“Realizing your ex is gone for good can trigger some pretty intense feelings of betrayal, frustration, and anger.”
The anger you get from a breakup may vary based on your personality, but even the most mild-mannered guy is likely to feel some resentment and anger at what he’s lost.
Next up after denial is likely to come disappointment when the anger mellows out a bit.
It’s still there, but it’s not burning quite as hot.
In its place is a kind of blind disappointment that just wants you back or at least wants some kind of other chance or redo.
Sadly, life rarely works that way.
And even getting back together rarely turns out quite the way either person hopes.
It’s a rocky road to love and disappointment often follows anger as the days alone begin to get longer.
Is this really how it’s going to be?
The mind starts kicking more into gear and a guy is likely to begin intellectualizing more.
At this point the habit of self-isolation becomes likely.
Alternating between frustrating and plain disappointment with lots of sleep and spending time away from others and out of the public eye.
Social media posts may taper off to almost nothing and communication with friends and family is likely to be at a minimum.
The main exception here is if he speaks more in-depth to a close friend.
But most guys are likely to be really overthinking by now and picking apart the relationship.
What happened and should they try to walk it back and fix it somehow?
This is where the next stage comes into play.
The next stage of breakup for a guy is bargaining.
This is where he’s likely to ask a girl to get back together, start liking her posts, watching all her stories or trying to bump into her and ask her friends about her.
Whatever gives him some imagined chance of getting another chance or seeing if things could be better this time.
This is a refusal to really accept the breakup and comes after the other initial reactions, often within only a week or two, although the timeline varies depending on every guy.
The truth is that bargaining is a natural instinct when you lose who you want.
But instead of bargaining, there’s actually a much better idea.
It’s something I discovered from the renowned Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me to see through many of the self-sabotaging beliefs I had about love and the socially-conditioned myths that were keeping me down.
As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, many of us have been sold a pack of lies about love and end up trapped in very bad relationships or with endless heartbreaks that don’t seem to ever improve.
But he shows the solution through a surprising process of turning the tables on loneliness and heartbreak.
When bargaining doesn’t work, a guy is likely to try to actually chase his ex in some way, especially only and through messaging.
Depending on the guy this might include love bombing, pleading, pressuring, playing mind games, sending jokes to lighten up, trying to seduce or posting photos and trying to make his ex jealous.
These are all examples of tactics to try to amp up the jealousy and tense vibes as the breakup lengthens.
He may also show up at places she is and try to be around her or engage his ex one on one in conversation or an interaction.
If and when this doesn’t yield the results he’s hoping, a guy is likely to descend into the next stage.
This next stage involves a lot of drunken nights and probably some pretty reckless behavior physically and emotionally.
Rebound relationships and sex are another attempt to block the pain.
They’re a reset button that a guy hopes will fast forward all the tough emotions he’s feeling and frustration.
The rebound period may last a few months or sometimes even longer.
It’s basically about trying to seek solace in the arms of a stranger and replace who you really wanted with people you don’t really want.
Sometimes rebounds even become long-term relationships, but if you’re still in love with someone before them, it can still be a dealbreaker.
As the late and great country singer Earl Thomas Conley sings in this song, rebounds are unsatisfying and even when you meet someone who’s great and who you’re fond of you ultimately have to let them know your heart’s not in it.
As Conley sings:
“The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do
Is holding her, and lovin’ you…”
10) Deeper sadness
When bargaining and chasing don’t pan out, deeper sadness is likely to set in and even more self-isolation will take place.
This is like a bad fever that feels as if it will never burn off.
He’s likely to have friends and family worried as he disappears from view and goes through a heart-wrenching process of trying to come to terms with the breakup.
It is at this point that he may begin feeling that there really is nothing he can do.
Therapy and more help may be necessary, as well as understanding the truth about finding love and intimacy.
Ultimately it all leads to the next stage…
When a breakup can’t be changed and you’ve tried denying it, raging at it, shutting yourself away from it, dating your way out of it and lying around until the pain goes away, there’s nothing else to really do but accept it.
This doesn’t mean the pain goes away or it suddenly all makes sense.
It simply means you accept that this event and relationship happened and is now over.
No matter what he does, a guy has to face that all that’s in his control now are his decisions and actions going forward.
Any reconciliation or other chance at the relationship is going to have to come from her side, because he’s now accepted that he can’t control the outcome or another chance.
Brutal, sometimes very hard to find acceptable. But it must be accepted at least as an objective fact which occurred in your life in order for there to be any latitude to move on from it.
Nostalgia is a sort of aftereffect that’s very common in the stages of a breakup for a guy.
If he really loved an ex he’s never going to forget her fully.
Certain places and times and sights and smells are going to bring back those memories and even make him tear up from time to time.
The times that he shared with an ex may be over and may be gone into the past, but they’ll always live in his heart in some form even if they pass the stage of being obsessive or full love.
Those special moments they shared and what they meant to him deep in his heart are going to stick around even though they’re lost in the depths of time now.
The nostalgia will always be there, even if it’s just catching his breath when he hears a certain song…
Or always feeling a rush of emotion at the place where he first met his ex.
That nostalgia won’t go away.
“This is the stage where after going through the emotional roller coaster of avoiding you, seeking validation from others, distracting themselves, and admitting they made a mistake, your ex will finally daydream about ‘what could have been.’”
It’s all over now, baby blue
The end of a relationship is sad.
The only upside is that it’s also a time of potential for something new.
Maybe a new relationship, maybe a new lease on life and new directions and goals.
The stages of a breakup are tough to go through, but it’s all part of the growing process.