Stages of heartbreak for a man: 9 stages

In this blog we will discuss the various stages of heartbreak for a man.

Along with a brief discussion about all the stages of heartbreak, we will also discuss some ways a man can cope with heartbreak. 

Stages of heartbreak for a man: 9 stages most men go through

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr... x
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Here are the various stages that most men go through following a difficult heartbreak:

Overwhelming Ego

When the break up is initiated by their partners, for men, their heartbreak starts off with the complete masking of one’s feelings. 

This is usually because of societal pressures on men to be “tough” “strong” and in most cases because they have been fed the idea that “men don’t cry ”.

So what is important to them at this stage is to gain control over their lives and they choose to do that by masking their feelings, going into their shell, and putting up a brave front. 

They might appear fine, and also appear to have accepted the situation for what it is and pretend that they are okay with the break up; however, like any normal human being, they are also going through the pain of loss albeit silently for most men. 

Part of the reason why men have such a hard time moving on and healing from heartbreak is because of their tendency to suppress their feelings and avoid their own grief. This makes it harder for them to move on as opposed to women. 

Drive to socialise

While women might react to break up with outward grief, men do not react the same way. 

What they do is they cover up their feelings, mask their pain, and in order to protect their fragile ego, they will choose to shrug off the break up and act like nothing can hurt them. 

Part of the process of doing this is to start socialising with others- be it a one night stand, or a casual partner or multiple partners, and also go on multiple “boys nights”.

They will try to cover their pain by distracting themselves with other things- gaming, hunting, meeting other women or other men- not in the hopes of falling in love again but rather as a way to fill the gap they have been left with or to distract them from the hurt they are experiencing. 

Denial

Now, after the initial confusion has abated and they have come to a point where they realise that the break up has happened for whatever reason, the next stage of the break up often involves denial.

Here the main thought is “It can’t be true. This isn’t happening!” Here, the men are unable to accept the fact that this is happening and this is one’s way of holding on to the hope that one can save the relationship. 

So as they deny, they also postpone coming to terms with it and accepting the fact that it has happened because it is too painful and too disorienting to consider that they no longer have a future with their partner. 

Bargaining

The next stage, after men have come to a point where they can clearly see that the break up has happened, they might seek to bargain with their ex-partner or whatever higher power that they be given a second chance.

Here they are willing to do anything to avoid the thought of never getting back together- so they might bargain with their partners that they will be a better partner, that they will do anything to have them reconsider the break up. 

This often happens because the thought of breaking up for good is so painful for the men who experience them that are willing to do anything to make the pain go away by winning back their partner. 

At this stage, the individual is not being logical and the desperation of wanting their partner back tends to consume their life- often impacting their ability to reason and make logical decisions. 

Anger

When the bargaining stage has ultimately failed, they begin to realise that they matter too and as a result fear and anxiety of never being with this person again is replaced by anger for what they have been put through. 

Oftentimes this anger arises from the feelings that one has been slighted by not being given a chance to defend one’s self, or because as they struggled their way through the stages they realise that they have lost sight of themselves. 

Depending on their temperament, life, and family experiences, as well as the break up itself, the anger that men feel could be directed towards their ex, their situation, or themselves.

This anger that one feels can either be a negative and destructive anger however it has the potential to be empowering for the person who feels it. 

If the anger is towards themselves, it can be challenging for these men to move on especially if they add guilt into the grieving process. However, as they allow yourself to grieve- through anger, sadness, and guilt as well- there is hope that it will move them in a direction that is positive.

This positive direction can encourage men to look at the break up in a new light and consider the various possibilities that they have with the new found freedom of singlehood.  

Realisation that one is alone

Once the initial overwhelming emotions have abated, men will come to a point where they begin to realise that they have just been broken up with and now they are truly alone. 

At this point they might try to do things that can be completely different from what they used to do. Some might become depressed, take up unhealthy habits whereas others might choose to make positive changes like join the gym to deal with their pain or start therapy to gain perspectives. 

Acceptance

The first kind of acceptance that one might feel post a break up often comes in the form of surrender and the acceptance of one’s defeat.

Here, this acceptance means that these men will stop bargaining as well as let go of whatever anger they might be feeling and instead choose to play out their part in the break up- they let their partner go. 

At this point they might recognize that they are not meant to be with this partner and so, men will let go of your partner as well as the dreams and hopes they had for the future they envisioned with them. 

Over time and with effort, their initial form of acceptance begins to develop into something more of a conscious choice as they realise that holding on to their partner is not good for them. 

So this form of acceptance is the starting point of moving forward for men after a break up and taking steps to carry on their life, on their own terms, and for themselves.

New hope

Part of what makes breakups so painful and difficult is that your hope for the future that includes both partners has been shattered.

The last stage of a broken heart involves finding new avenues of hope and discovering the possibility that they just might be okay without their ex- that they can build a new future for themselves. 

This finding of new hope and new optimism can take time- months, years even- however they allow themselves to move forwards in acceptance it is likely that their broken heart can begin to invest itself in a whole new direction. 

It could be towards a new partner, a new career, a new found vision towards one’s self etc. as they build on acceptance and choose to be more proactive and self-protective it is likely that they will be able to see the break up as a new beginning.

Coping with the pain of heartbreak: Tips for men

The best thing you can allow yourself to do after a break up is to give yourself grief. This will involve you taking effort to acknowledge your emotions and your feelings no matter how painful or vulnerable you might be feeling. 

You will also need to accept the loss of the relationship and the pain you’re feeling instead of pretending that you are unaffected. 

It is understable if you are having a hard time accessing your emotions because of how society demands men to be- tough and strong all the time. However, you have to understand the grief one feels in the face of loss is a human experience that knows no gender. 

To grieve is to be with your feelings and there is no hard and fast rule that says that only a certain gender can do it. 

So take time out of your day to grieve, let yourself cry, get angry, and experience all the uncomfortable feelings that you are feeling without judgement- write about it if you want to, use art to express how you feel. 

Talk to a professional if you think that you are not getting enough support and guidance from your friends and family. 

Meeting a professional to talk about your depression, grief, and loss of the relationship is something that you can give yourself as an act of self-love and self-care. 

Get in touch with a therapist or a psychologist and take effort to work with your emotions, grow towards self-acceptance, and move towards rebuilding yourself and your resilience. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed the various stages of heartbreak for a man.

Along with a brief discussion about all the stages of heartbreak, we also discussed some ways a man can cope with heartbreak. 

FAQ related to Stages of heartbreak for a man

Do guys think about their ex after a breakup?

Yes, men also think about their exes after break up like any normal human being they too have feelings. They might experience feelings of grief, longing, sadness, as well as anger. 

Can you love someone forever after a breakup?

Yes and no. While it is normal for one to feel care and some type of love for their ex, it is unlikely that you will never feel love for anyone else other than your ex.  This means that you can feel some type of love for your partner till the day you die however, you will still be capable of falling in love with someone else too. 

Do men regret breaking up?

Yes, at some point after their break upm men do regret their decision to leave their partners especially when they are having a hard time adjusting to the changes after the break up and when they notice that their exes are faring much better than themselves. . 

References

Wood.R. 7 Stages All Men Go Through While Recovering From A Tough Breakup. MensXP. Retrieved on 3rd APril 2022. https://www.mensxp.com/relationships/break-ups/48271-7-stages-all-men-go-through-while-recovering-from-a-tough-breakup.html

Suzanne Lachmann. The 7 Stages of Grieving a Breakup. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 3rd April 2022. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/me-we/201406/the-7-stages-grieving-breakup

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