Anyone you talk to, regardless of their gender, will tell you that breakups are pretty terrible for everyone involved. Depending on who initiated the breakup, however, the pain isn't always 50/50. More often than not, it's women who get the bad rap for acting "crazy" or some how irrational post-breakup — this, of course, is a generalization. But for the ladies out there who are wondering how guys get over a breakup, Elite Daily spoke with a few male dating experts to get to the bottom of some of the most common ways men cope with breakups.
According to dating and relationship writer Demetrius Figueroa, how men deal with breakups is usually determined by the particular relationship in question and how things ended: "Ultimately, I think that some types of men are more likely to try to move on in a specific way, but the deciding factor will come down to the substance of the relationship, its end, and how those things may have impacted him."
There you have it, folks. Although there isn't any surefire way to know how any one guy is going to get over a particular relationship, there are some recurring tactics men use to sever the ties to their ex.
1. The Rebound
One of the ugly truths of dating is that most people have at one point or another been either a rebounder or a reboundee, and for those of you lucky unicorns who have managed to dodge this doomed-from-the-start situation, let me tell you — it sucks. There's just something particularly heinous about using a completely different, unsullied person to fill the hole in your heart left by an ex.
According to online dating coach Eric Resnick, rebounding is one of the most common approaches men take to getting over an ex. "Honestly, this isn't a great plan. Along with just being a jerk move, it can backfire and just make [them] miss [their] ex that much more," notes Resnick.
The main issue with rebounding is that instead of working through the personal issues that are often left in the wake of a messy breakup, guys who end up rebounding are just looking for someone to quickly fill the void while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of an ego boost. Oftentimes, this leaves a completely confused new woman wondering WTF is up.
2. The Trip Down Memory Lane
There's nothing like enjoying a delectable happy hour, only to unsuspectingly glance down at your phone and notice the name of an old thang pop up that you haven't seen — let alone heard from — in ages. But before you get too excited, chances are, they just got dumped. Apparently, nothing sends some guys running for their little black book like a breakup. Especially if things ended badly and a guy is eager to get his most recent ex out of his head. Sexing up past lovers definitely isn't out of the question.
"If someone prioritizes sex more than intimacy, they’re more likely to try to move on by using sex, whether it’s by seeking something casual with someone new or reconnecting with former flames," says Figueroa.
3. The Free-For-All
Sometimes, a trip down memory lane just isn't enough. After getting out of a relationship — particularly if the relationship was long-term and took them out of the dating game for a bit — a guy might decide to dive headfirst into a bunch of casual sex scenarios.
At this point, it would be nice to think that anyone, regardless of gender, can openly express their emotions and engage in vulnerability without judgement. But Ritter points out that there is still a stigma when it comes to men and emotions: "Many men have [still] been taught that emotions aren't masculine, and many haven't been taught how to constructively confront, process, and accept how they feel."
4. The Shut Down
According to Resnick, some breakup scenarios cause the pendulum to swing in the completely opposite direction. Depending on the situation, it's not uncommon for some guys to completely shut down their dating lives and throw themselves into another aspect of their life entirely — like work. This is another less indulgent way of avoiding their feelings by using work as a much needed distraction from the pain of a lost love.
Resnick points out that there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing this particular coping strategy, but it shouldn't become the norm. "If [a shut down] goes on for too long, [they] run the risk of developing unhealthy habits that could make it harder to get back out there and meet someone in the future," says Resnick.
5. The Crazy
Although I wish we could pretend we lived in a world where men taking their anger and feelings of rejection out on women was an unfortunate relic from the olden days, this sadly isn't true.
"When some guys are dumped, their instinct can be to get angry. Sometimes this means publicly airing dirty laundry (i.e., texts/photos) on social media. Sometimes it means more destructive and inexcusable behavior," warns Resnick.
It can be hard to imagine the awful things someone could do in the midst of a nasty breakup. It's important to know that any kind of slander or slut-shaming perpetrated by an ex is purely a reflection of some serious psychological issues on their part. There's no reason anyone should be guilted for intimate things they shared with their partner in private.
Resnick's message to men you've retaliated like this: "If you've ever acted like this, it is time to take a serious look at why you did it and consider reaching out to your support system, because this behavior will only serve to put all of your relationships at risk."
6. The Healthy Way
No one is perfect, but that doesn't mean we can all strive to improve how we cope with breakups and the rebuilding that happens in their wake. A more mature man who's in touch with his feelings might take some time to process his feelings and reflect on where things went wrong. Ritter says men who can use their past relationships as learning experiences for future ones are going to come out of the mourning process much more evolved and in touch with their wants, needs, and personal shortcomings.
Ultimately, if you're interested in someone who has just had a breakup, it may be a good idea to pump the brakes to avoid ending up as a rebound. Figueroa recommends steering clear of a man who is still getting over an ex: "You’ll be able to tell that they’re still getting over their ex based on their behaviors. Are they still in close contact with their ex, especially if they don’t need to be? Do they frequently bring up their ex, or their past relationship unprompted? When you ask them what they’re looking for, are they ambiguous about what they want?"
If you think you might be dating someone who is still getting over an ex, then Figueroa suggests seeing other people but keeping an open line of communication for the future. Or, continuing to date them, but holding off on any commitments until you're certain he's over his ex.
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