Why Do Breakups Hit Guys Later? 7 Intriguing Reasons

December 7, 2023 |
why do breakups hit guys later
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As you decide to move on with a heavy heart, you notice that your ex seems unfazed. When you finally make some progress, that’s when he shows signs of crumbling. You’re probably wondering, “Why do breakups hit guys later? Why does it take so long for some men to know what they’ve lost? Are they heartless?” Decoding the reasons for this delayed effect may leave you firing blanks, and that’s where we come in.

When he’s not reacting to the breakup in the way you hoped he would, it may start to seem like he never loved you at all. How guys feel after a relationship ends is a bit of a mystery. When you are locked in your room, depressed, with a large tub of ice cream, your ex-boyfriend is probably out there hanging with the boys. It is easy to assume that he is unaffected or he is trying to portray it that way just to have an upper hand over you. However, it’s important to note that everyone has a different way of dealing with numbing pain, so they can survive the next day with a smile.

It is quite easy to generalize behaviors by associating them with gender roles. What’s challenging is trying to explore the situation from the other person’s point of view. We are glad that you are taking this time out to read and understand how guys process breakups beyond the realm of preconceived gender roles and generalization. It simply means that you validate and accept that men and women operate differently when it comes to emotional matters.

So, why do guys feel the breakup later after all? It doesn’t seem right to assume that all guys are cold-hearted beings who are just not affected by the end of a relationship. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions regarding men and breakups. In this article, we answer the most burning questions that people have regarding how men feel after their partner leaves. Do they feel remorse or pain? What are the reasons behind a delayed response to breakups? In the process, we’ll clear a few of the prevalent misconceptions as well.

What Stage of Breakup Am I in?

Stages Of Breakup For Guys

Before we dive into the burning question at hand – why do breakups hit guys later – let’s first address a few other important ones: How do men deal with breakups? What do guys think after a breakup? What are the different stages of breakup for guys? Breakups can be emotionally overwhelming experiences for anyone, regardless of gender. Men, too, undergo distinct stages while navigating the aftermath of a breakup. Understanding and acknowledging these stages can offer insights into their emotional journey:

  • Initial shock and denial: The initial phase of a breakup often involves a struggle to come to terms with the reality of the situation. Denial becomes a common response as it’s difficult to accept right away that a relationship, once significant and meaningful, has come to an end
  • Anger and sadness: As the realization of the breakup sets in, intense emotions start to surface. Regardless of who dumped whom, frustration, resentment, and anger may arise, directed toward the circumstances, the other person, or even oneself. Some may resort to rebound relationships or casual hookups. When does the breakup hit the male dumper? This is when it starts to sink in
  • Confusion and self-reflection: During this stage, a person might seek to make sense of the breakup by questioning the reasons behind it. Self-reflection becomes crucial as they analyze their own role in the relationship’s challenges. During this stage, the urge to bypass the negative emotions through rebounds also subsides and they could even confess that they’re not interested in dating after breakup until they heal and grow
  • Healing and acceptance: Gradually, the intensity of emotions begins to subside, allowing space for the healing process to begin. Acceptance starts to emerge, signaling an acknowledgment that the relationship has indeed concluded
  • Moving forward: The stage of moving forward involves actively embracing change. Men begin to immerse themselves in new activities and hobbies that might have been put on hold during the relationship
  • Embracing acceptance: At this juncture, individuals arrive at a place of full acceptance. They let go of lingering attachments to the past and come to terms with the reality of the relationship’s end. This phase involves opening up to the potential of new connections while appreciating the lessons learned from the past
  • Positive transformation: The final stage encapsulates the growth that arises from the breakup experience. Individuals embrace personal development and self-improvement, incorporating the insights gained from the journey

It’s important to recognize that each person’s journey through these stages is unique and might not follow a linear path. The way people act after a breakup has a lot to do with their conditioned coping mechanisms, thought processes, and experiences. Seeking support from friends, family, or professionals can provide a significant source of comfort and guidance during the challenging process of healing from a breakup. The lack of willingness to seek help and support is the basic reason behind the delayed grief after a breakup, which renders guys helpless when they try to come up with tools to cope with it healthily.

Related Reading: How Soon Can You Start Dating Again After a Breakup?

Why Do Breakups Hit Guys Later? Exploring The Reasons

Stella, a reader from Arizona wrote in an email to us saying, “I don’t understand. When we broke up, he seemed all composed and detached. Almost unfazed. I asked myself why is my ex-boyfriend acting like he doesn’t care. When I asked him, he said, “I don’t feel sad after breakup, whatever happens, happens for the best.” We stopped talking soon after this conversation. Out of the blue, 4 months after the breakup, he texts me saying he’s sorry for everything and that he misses me. I am so confused. Why are all guys like that?”

To make sense of any of it, you need to know the answer to an extremely pertinent question: How do men deal with breakups? It is not that they are insensitive or heartless but that their coping mechanisms work differently. When put under stress, people act in the way their conditioning allows them to. And we know what most guys are conditioned to be in the emotional intelligence department.

Breakups can have varying impacts on individuals, and it’s often observed that some guys might experience the emotional effects later in the process. Several factors contribute to this delayed response, which can be attributed to psychological, societal, and personal dynamics. Here are 7 main reasons why do breakups hit guys later:

infographic on why do breakups hit guys later
How do men handle breakups?

1. Inept at processing emotions

Men’s ability to process emotions can be slower, causing a delayed reaction to breakups. When a person takes longer to process complex feelings, it’s only natural they won’t be able to wrap their head around the enormity of the breakup or the intensity of feelings it brings in its wake. This delayed response might lead to a more thorough exploration of emotions as men gradually come to terms with the situation and the openness to look for healthy ways to cope may come even later. Why do guys regret breaking up with a girl later on? This is one of the key reasons why.

2. Social expectations and stoicism

Social norms have conditioned men to believe that they must be stoic and hide vulnerability. Sadly, from a young age, men are actively and passively taught that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. This conditioning can lead to an initial suppression of emotions and an inability to process emotions efficiently, but these feelings can resurface later when the facade weakens.

The struggle to conform to these societal norms can hinder immediate emotional expression, causing a pent-up that can burst out in the most unhealthy ways later on. The general expectations of being ‘a man’ and moving on quickly after break up just add to the pressure, dysregulating their emotional coping further.

Related Reading: 21 Signs Of Lack Of Respect In A Relationship

3. Loss of emotional support

Men may rely heavily on their partners for emotional support. When that support disappears after a breakup, the absence becomes more noticeable and can result in delayed emotional distress. The absence of a close emotional confidant might make men more aware of their emotional needs, triggering a delayed sense of loss and longing.

You’d naturally ask why don’t they go to their friends for emotional support, right? The better question to ask would be, do guys talk about their feelings with their friends? Let’s just say, owing to the pressure of not showing any sign of vulnerability or weakness, sadly, very few do.

4. Revisiting memories and triggers

When a guy is unable to process emotions while dealing with heartbreak or separation, the good times, memories, places, or objects associated with the relationship might trigger emotions later on. As men encounter these reminders, the emotions tied to them can intensify over time. The revisiting of shared experiences and places can evoke bittersweet feelings, causing emotions to resurface with renewed strength.

5. Facing loneliness and isolation

Once the shock of the breakup fades, men might find themselves facing loneliness and isolation. This newfound solitude can magnify the emotional impact of their loss, leading to delayed emotional responses. Instead of asking for help, they tend to clam up. This causes the feeling of isolation to amplify over time, resulting in a breakdown long after the breakup. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do guys say hurtful things after a breakup that they don’t mean?”, it is usually for this reason. They aren’t properly equipped with tools to navigate unpleasant emotions.

Related Reading: How To Know When A Relationship Is Over? 25 Signs That Indicate So

6. Realization of change and loss

Over time, men may fully grasp the depth of the changes and losses caused by the breakup. This realization can result in delayed emotional reactions as the magnitude of the situation becomes more apparent. The gradual understanding of the profound shifts in their lives can lead to a delayed emotional reckoning. While they are coming to terms with the whole scenario, a lot of our male readers have reported that they’re not attracted to anyone after breakup. And this leaves them hanging between the thoughts of ‘what if’, ‘what could be’, and ‘what will be’; making it even more difficult for them to cope with the separation.

Breakup Counseling

7. Reassessing identity and future

Men might take longer to reevaluate their identity and future plans after a breakup. This reevaluation can trigger delayed emotional responses, as they navigate the uncertainty of a changed future.

The points discussed above should give you a sneak peek into why do guys feel the breakup later. Now you’d be able to understand and empathize with guys in general if they don’t show an overbearing response to breakups in a healthy way you’d have expected. Let’s just agree on the fact that men and women after a breakup cope differently, so we can go through the rest of this article with an open mind…

do guys hurt after dumping you
How soon a guy moves on depends on his personality

How Long Does It Take For A Breakup To Sink In For A Guy?

With a deeper understanding of why do breakups hit guys later, let us explore other factors like sensitivity, moving-on mechanisms, and the breakup timeline for guys. We’ll try and answer questions like how long does it take for a guy to regret breaking up, who moves on faster after a breakup, when and why do guys rebound after a breakup, etc. The time it takes for a breakup to deeply affect a guy’s emotions is influenced by a range of factors, as highlighted by several studies.

Initially, a sense of shock and denial might prevail. A study published in the Journal of Loss and Trauma (2016) noted that this phase could last several weeks, as individuals grapple with the sudden change in their relationship status. Even if it was a short-term thing, the first 2 weeks after a breakup are weird as guys gradually transition from denial to acceptance.

From a young age, men are taught not to show emotion. Imagine how overwhelming it would be to find yourself in desperate need of emotion regulation and you don’t even know how to process emotions effectively. It takes time to come to grips with it all, sometimes it takes a long time.

The emotional impact typically becomes more pronounced as time goes on. Another research revealed that, on average, it takes about three to six months for the emotional distress of a breakup to peak. During this period, emotions like sadness, anger, and loneliness might be experienced more intensely. So yeah, guys do feel remorse after a significant relationship in their life ends.

Factors like the duration of the relationship and attachment levels also play a role. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2010) found that individuals who were deeply attached to their partners and had an anxious attachment style, tended to experience a longer period of emotional adjustment after a breakup.

The timeframe for a breakup to truly sink in for a guy varies based on factors like shock duration, emotional intensity, attachment, and coping mechanisms. While there is no fixed timetable, understanding these dynamics can aid in navigating the challenging emotional journey post-breakup. Let’s delve deeper into some more questions that you may be grappling with: Do guys hurt after dumping you? Do guys move on faster after a breakup? Do guys feel bad after a breakup?

Related Reading: Making Peace With Your Past – 13 Wise Tips

Do guys hurt after dumping you?

To be able to address questions like do guys hurt after dumping you or when does the break up hit the male dumper, it’s vital to bear in mind the social constructs around dating and romantic relationships. Social norms still often place the onus of initiating dating pursuits on men. As the ones initiating romantic pursuits, they also frequently face rejection, which leaves them dealing with emotional distress, leading to heartache.

So, while men do experience post-breakup pain, their accumulated experience in handling the pain of rejection enables them to conceal it and cope pragmatically. Unless they rid themselves of a toxic relationship, men usually experience anguish after ending it. Notably, women often have stronger support networks for post-breakup solace, while men typically grapple alone with intense emotions. This difference in coping makes it quite difficult for both genders to understand and empathize with each other.

on being dumped

Guys indeed feel upset and hurt post-breakup. Whether they’re being dumped or doing the dumping, they hurt, especially when they understand their actions hurt their partner. The struggle to express emotions can exacerbate their distress. Sharing breakups with friends is tough for men, often hindered by the difficulty of opening up.

Dumping someone presents challenges too. It’s a difficult task, indicating a perceived lack of compatibility or romantic interest. Feeling guilty after breakup for hurting someone dear is common in situations like these. So, keep this in mind when you ponder over the question: Why do breakups hit guys later?

Related Reading: 25 Most Common Relationship Problems

Do guys move on faster after a breakup?

Guys’ behavior after breakup is often generalized. The idea that guys move on faster after a breakup is one such stereotype that oversimplifies emotional experiences. Everyone copes with breakups differently, regardless of gender. Emotional healing depends on individual personalities, attachment styles, and the nature of the relationship. Generalizations can be misleading and don’t account for the unique emotional journeys of individuals.

Do guys move on faster after a breakup? Maybe! Do guys cry after a breakup? A solid, yes! Men may cry yet prioritize moving forward. Emotional detachment after a breakup helps them navigate the setback and becomes a mechanism for surviving heartbreak. Even if they act all cool and unaffected, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they move on faster and aren’t hurt.

Key Pointers

  • Breakups universally entail pain; they offer no joy, irrespective of whether one is initiating it or getting dumped
  • It may seem like guys are unaffected and/or cold, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface
  • Societal norms and past rejections can lead to men masking their emotions, causing breakups to hit them later
  • The time it takes for a breakup to sink in varies based on individual emotional processing and relationship dynamics
  • It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a guy to fully come to terms with the emotional impact of a breakup

Now that you have the answer to questions like “Why do guys regret breaking up with a girl later on?”, “Why do breakups hit guys later?” or “Do guys take longer to get over a breakup?”, you know what’s going on in his mind a bit better. If you know someone who’s struggling to cope with a breakup or if you’re going through a tough period yourself, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you paint a path toward recovery.

This article was updated in August 2023

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