It takes 2.38 years on average to get over a serious relationship, but most men don’t feel the pain right away.
If you’ve experienced the creeping pain of a breakup, you know it sneaks up on you.
At first, it’s nothing. Not a big deal, nothing to write home about. You might be shocked, but not much else. It hurts, but not as badly as you might have expected.
But then one day you’re going about your business and it hits you over the head like a brick.
“Holy shit, she’s gone”
And all at once, you’re floored by waves of pain.
The first time I went through a breakup, I had the same experience. It wasn’t fun. It took about 3 weeks to really smack me upside the head. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I would later realize my situation is not unique.
As much as I love being a millennial snowflake, I wasn’t special.
Oh well, time to find my safe space.
While all relationships are different, I’ve noticed that most men have around a 2-3 week lag time after a breakup before everything really hits them. In some cases it can be because of unclear circumstances, or a lack of acceptance of the situation.
There’s no one right answer to this question, but there are a number of root causes.
1: Men process breakups differently than women do
Women are used to protracted cycles of emotional anguish and are well prepared to deal with it. Women tend to feel the full effects of a breakup upfront, where they register higher levels of emotional pain than men do.
If you think about it, there’s an evolutionary basis for this. Even a passing encounter with a man can leave a woman on the hook for 9 months of child-rearing. Women tend to be more choosy about their men for this reason, and they feel more pain upfront because of it.
However, they tend to recover fully afterward and forget about the relationship. Because they’re able to express all of their emotions upfront, they don’t hold on to emotions that can trigger painful thoughts later on. By feeling all of their emotions, they heal.
Plus, she’s going to have a whole lot of meat in her face shortly afterward. I don’t know about you, but I always feel pretty good when I’m stuffing down a 16oz porterhouse steak.
On the other hand, right or not, men are taught to just get over it. When I asked for advice from my guy friends, they just shrugged.
“Move on bro, get some new pussy”
Men on the other hand don’t process all of their emotions upfront like women do. Because we’re taught to just get over it, there’s no real recourse or system for us to cope.
(By the way, that’s why I created this website)
Most men also lack the proper coping mechanisms. Whether that’s hitting the gym,
In my experience, men have to grind through the experience as it sinks in. It’s hard to describe the feeling until you’ve been through it, but it’s a combination of loss coupled with the realization that it could be awhile before we’re able to get a woman of the same quality.
Of course, these thoughts are just limiting beliefs personified, but it doesn’t make them any less painful. It also doesn’t make watching your ex-girlfriend move on hurt any less.
2: Watching your ex-girlfriend date someone else before you do
If the pain of a breakup is a right cross, watching your ex-girlfriend easily move on to another man is like taking a wound-up left hook.
When it comes to moving on from a breakup, women really have the upper hand. They recover faster, and they’ll get more attention from the opposite sex right away.
While I don’t advise dating anyone seriously after a breakup, having a couple of casual relationships can help tremendously. Women know this, and women have them often.
That’s why we have gems like:
Now, if you didn’t listen to me, and haven’t gone no-contact, you’re about to be in for a world of hurt.
When I was suffering through this stuff for the first time in 2015, I actually had another woman with me when I found out my ex had moved on to a new guy. This woman was hotter than my ex, and it had been about 6 months since our relationship had ended.
Still that shit stung.
The worst part about watching your ex-girlfriend move on is that it never seems to happen right away. It always happens right when you’re finding your stride again. Even if it’s been several months, watching her date another man can bring back emotions you haven’t dealt with yet.
Which brings up my next point, men don’t often have an extended emotional support network like women do.
3: Not having an extended emotional support network
My girlfriend spends about 2 hours on any given day talking to her best friend on the phone, and they spend at least half that time talking about how they feel.
I talk to my best friend maybe once a week, if we’re both free. I don’t think we’ve talked about feelings in almost 3 years, and he’s the type of guy I can talk about anything with.
Women talk about their feelings with their friends and family members all the time. It’s almost expected of them. Talking about your feelings helps you release emotional pain and recover from a breakup faster.
Women have tons of these connections. Chances are if she’s got 5 girlfriends, she’s talked to 4 of them about how she feels at least once this week. Think about your own buddies. When was the last time you had a serious discussion about your feelings?
With that being said, when I was struggling I had a great extended support network with many close friends and a great relationship with my family. But outside of my mom, I had no idea how to broach the topic to my other friends. I wore a mask and handled my shit in private.
I had no experience in how to ask my extended network for support, whereas women are trained to ask fro day one.
I ended up holding on to emotions that I could have otherwise expressed if I had talked about them, which led to me feeling breakup pain further down the road.
4: Men don’t have coping strategies
Women go through emotional pain on a regular basis. It’s part of being a woman, and most women have better mechanisms for handling pain than men do.
Whether that’s aggressively eating Ben and Jerry’s while watching Friends reruns, or having it go down in the DMs, women know what they need to do to feel better.
But as a guy, ask yourself. When was the last time you were truly sad?
Unless you’ve gone through a family death, you probably can’t think of one, can you?
I sure couldn’t.
Now that I know how to handle my emotions, handling a breakup is like any other bump in the road. Yeah, it slows you down a little bit, but you just keep on trucking.
Here’s the thing though: what do you do if you don’t know what to do?
You sit and do nothing, or do things that are ineffective. You’re spinning your wheels, but not getting anywhere fast, using proven strategies to forget your ex. It’s this lack of awareness of what it really takes to get better that holds us back, and causes our pain to compound over time.
Talk soon my friend,
PS: Need help processing the breakup so you can get back to feeling like yourself again? Click here to learn how I can help you.