The Male Psychology After a Breakup & Things Guys Do to Get Over Heartbreak

Wondering what are the things guys do to get over a heartbreak, or when a relationship ends. Here’s how male psychology after a breakup works.

Male Psychology After a Breakup and things guy do to get over heartbreak

If you’ve just gone through a breakup and find yourself nursing your broken heart while listening to every single song that reminds you of him, you’re likely wondering, “Is he even hurting the same way I am?” To answer that, we’re diving headfirst into the topic of male psychology after a breakup.

With research-backed insights, let’s shed light on what men are really experiencing after a relationship ends. Let’s get into it.

[Read: The first week after a breakup – The hardest parts and 15 steps to survive and heal through it]

So You Guys Broke Up?

Ah, the aftermath—the time when you’re left staring at your phone, debating whether or not to send that “Hey, how are you?” text. Emotionally, it’s a storm. You might feel a mix of relief, sadness, and anxiety churning inside you.

Psychologically, it’s akin to withdrawal. When you’re in love, your brain is like a little dopamine factory, producing this feel-good neurotransmitter that keeps you all warm and fuzzy.

Now, post-breakup, it’s like your dopamine production lines have gone on strike, leaving you in what we might call a dopamine drought.

This drought isn’t just a metaphor, it’s a neurological reality. Your brain has to readjust to not receiving these frequent dopamine and serotonin boosts from lovey-dovey moments, touch, and affirmations.

Imagine going from a buffet of feel-good chemicals to suddenly being on a ‘neurotransmitter diet.’ It takes time for the brain to adapt and find new sources of pleasure and satisfaction, hence the emotional upheaval you experience.

As for the ladies, it’s quite common to find solace in emotional support networks—cue the endless phone calls with friends. [Read: Female behavior and 21 things girls do immediately after a breakup]

On a psychological level, you’re going through what’s known as emotional regulation, actively seeking ways to understand and manage your feelings.

And oh, how we wonder about what he’s doing. Is he moping around or living it up? This curiosity is often fueled by what psychologists call social comparison theory.

Basically, you’re trying to assess how you’re handling the breakup compared to him, often as a way to gauge your own emotional well-being.

But the burning question remains: What is he going through? Is his emotional and psychological experience parallel to yours, or is it a path less traveled?

The Emotional Rollercoaster – What Guys Think Post-Breakup

Ladies, wonder no more. Thanks to the wonders of psychology, we have some answers about male psychology after a breakup.

Now, remember, we’re not generalizing all men. We’re offering a broad overview based on research and psychological principles.

Immediate Reactions: Denial and Ego Protection

Initially, the male ego takes the front seat. Common ego defense mechanisms like denial and repression come into play.

He might avoid talking about the breakup with his friends or even go out for a night on the town as if nothing has happened.

In his mind, phrases like “She wasn’t even my type,” or “I didn’t see a future with her anyway,” become self-soothing mantras. But make no mistake—underneath this bravado, feelings are brewing.

Weeks 1-2: Emotional Numbness & Cognitive Dissonance

During this phase, many guys might plunge into work or hobbies to sidestep the emotional vacuum. Thought processes at this stage are a tangled web.

There’s cognitive dissonance, which means he could be texting another girl while stalking your social media, feeling both liberated and trapped by his actions.

He’s not yet ready to reconcile these conflicting emotions, so emotional numbness acts as a temporary buffer.

Weeks 3-4: Reflection and Nostalgia

Then, the nostalgia hits. This is when he might go through old texts, look at pictures, or even drive by places that hold memories.

His thoughts could range from “Did I make a mistake?” to “Those were good times.” Psychologically, he’s experiencing the peak-end rule, and don’t be surprised if he reaches out for a casual catch-up.

Yes, ladies, this might be the “Hey, how’ve you been?” text phase. [Read: 24 honest & sneaky reasons why your ex still texts & stays in touch]

Weeks 5-8: Rationalization and Reconstruction

Here’s where the mental script starts changing. The guy begins to fixate on things that went wrong, perhaps blaming external factors like timing or even painting you as the villain *temporarily, hopefully*. [Read: I hate my ex: Reasons why it’s okay & steps to handle the rage positively]

This behavior is fueled by confirmation bias, as he cherry-picks memories that validate his decision to break up.

The things he does? Maybe writing angsty poetry, hitting the gym hard, or making plans that are all about him and his growth.

Months Later: Acceptance and Moving Forward

Finally, emotional resilience kicks in. This might manifest as less stalking of your social media, investing in new hobbies, or even starting to date again.

The thoughts shift from “What if?” to “What’s next?” He starts understanding his emotional landscape better, which could range from relief to lessons learned.

At this stage, he might even reach out for closure or keep his distance, accepting that it’s time to move forward. [Read: Most healing questions to ask your ex after a breakup to find closure]

Actions Speak Louder – What Guys Do Post-Breakup to Heal

Ever wondered what your ex is up to while you’re dissecting every moment of your relationship with your besties? Well, you’re in for a treat *or perhaps, a reality check*.

From hitting the gym to hitting the ‘like’ button on some random girl’s photo at 2 a.m., we’re exposing the good, the bad, and the downright ugly things guys do after a breakup.

Let’s get this show on the road!

The Good: Self-Improvement & Emotional Growth

So first, the promising stuff. You know that friend who suddenly turns into a gym rat after a breakup? Yep, that’s no coincidence.

In male psychology after a breakup, it’s common to turn towards self-improvement. Exercise is often the go-to, not just for those mirror selfies but also because it releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones that act like emotional Band-Aids.

Some guys might also pick up a new skill, like cooking or playing an instrument. The aim? Emotional well-being and, let’s be real, making you regret your choices just a tiny bit. [Read: Breakup advice and 22 things to do after a breakup to feel great and hate less]

The Bad: Rebound Relationships & Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Now, let’s get into the messy bits. Rebound relationships are a common phenomenon among things guys do after a breakup.

While it might seem like he’s moved on at the speed of light, what’s often at play is the misattribution of arousal theory. He might mistake emotional turmoil for passion and dive into a new relationship without much thought.

And let’s not forget the other coping mechanisms like excessive drinking or diving deep into the abyss of Tinder. It’s not so much about the new girl or the booze but a way to numb the pain. [Read: Why it’s normal to feel strange when your ex dates someone new]

The Ugly: Social Media Stalking

Hold onto your seats for this one, because some guys go full-on detective mode post-breakup. Yep, we’re talking social media stalking.

In the realm of male psychology after a breakup, this obsessive behavior can be attributed to operant conditioning. Each new photo or status you post acts like a reward mechanism, keeping him hooked on checking your profile, even if he knows he shouldn’t.

The Unexpected: Emotional Outlets

Finally, the curveballs. Believe it or not, some guys get in touch with their inner poet or artist after a breakup.

Ever received a heartfelt letter out of the blue? Thank emotional catharsis for that one. Writing, painting, or even talking openly about feelings can serve as therapeutic emotional outlets. [Read: When does an ex start to miss you & truths that make them want you more]

In psychology, this is known as catharsis, a way to purge emotions and achieve a sense of closure.

The Sad Reality: Demotivation and Emotional Dips

In contrast to those who hit the gym or create art, some guys face a plummeting motivation level. They might skip work, neglect responsibilities, or even fall into a depressive state.

This is often an overlooked aspect in the list of things guys do after a breakup, but it’s a reality for some.

The Return of the Ex: What Are the Odds?

Now, the juicy part: Is he going to come back? The allure of rekindling an old flame is an age-old conundrum.

While every relationship and individual is unique, psychological patterns can offer some clues. [Read: Will he come back? 20 truthful signs to know if he’ll come back or not]

The Signs He Might Come Back

Ever found yourself checking your phone way too often, secretly hoping for that one message? Yeah, we’ve all been there. This section is for those holding onto that shred of hope, wondering if he’s also having second thoughts.

We’ll delve into the emotional and psychological factors that could tip the scales toward a sequel in your love story. Fasten your seat belts, we’re entering the land of potential comebacks.

1. The Eternal Dilemma

When it comes to male psychology after a breakup, cognitive dissonance often makes a second appearance. If a guy is still experiencing internal conflict about the breakup, he may lean towards rekindling the relationship.

He might re-watch your favorite Netflix show alone or listen to “your” song, all while questioning his decision to break up. [Read: Will my ex come back? 26 signs and reasons why they may still miss you]

2. Cognitive Reappraisal & Emotional Re-evaluation

In psychology, cognitive reappraisal refers to the process of changing one’s emotional response to a situation by altering the interpretation of it.

If your guy finds himself thinking more positively about the relationship after some time apart, the doors may swing open for a return. Essentially, he’s mentally rewriting the love story with a different ending. [Read: 25 signs your ex wants you back & just can’t stop thinking of you]

And don’t be surprised if this cognitive shift manifests in actions like him reaching out to mutual friends or liking your new profile picture. These subtle actions can often be signals of an emotional re-evaluation.

3. Attachment Styles: What’s Pulling Him Back?

Attachment theory is key in understanding male psychology after a breakup.

If he has an anxious attachment style, he might realize that the emotional security your relationship offered is hard to come by. He may even keep a shirt or two of yours, just to feel that closeness again.

4. Action Over Words: Behavioral Indicators

Lastly, let’s talk about the things guys do after a breakup that might indicate a potential return. Is he still keeping in touch, commenting on your social media, or even showing up at your favorite hangout spots?

If yes, these might be signs that he’s re-evaluating his decision and contemplating a return. [Read: 40 signs to tell if your ex is over you or only pretending to have moved on]

The Signs He Might Not Come Back

Now, onto the sobering flip side. Sometimes, that silence from him isn’t a strategy but a statement. Let’s see the psychological elements that suggest he’s turning the page, rather than revisiting the last chapter.

It might be a tough pill to swallow, but understanding this could be the key to your own emotional freedom. Prepare yourselves, because we’re about to address the “not-so-likely-to-return” scenarios.

1. Emotional Resilience: A One-Way Ticket Forward

For guys with strong emotional resilience, the focus often shifts towards personal growth and new relationships. He might channel energy into his career or start a new hobby.

Even though he thinks about you, the thoughts become less frequent and less intense, as he starts to accept the new normal. [Read: When does an ex start to miss you and 8 truths that make them want you more]

2. The Ex-Change Equation: Old vs. New Life

Sometimes, a man’s new life without you actually meets or exceeds his expectations. When this happens, the chances of him looking back lessen considerably.

He might start dating someone new or simply find happiness in his independence, making the return to old patterns less appealing.

3. Emotional Self-Preservation and the No-Return Zone

In some cases, a guy may make a conscious decision not to return, rooted in what psychologists call emotional self-preservation.

This is when he determines that the emotional toll of the relationship is too high and that staying away is in his best interest for mental well-being.

You might see him disconnecting from mutual social circles, unfollowing you on social media, or even moving to a different city. These are not necessarily acts of malice but rather self-protective strategies to prevent further emotional entanglement. [Read: 42 mistakes to avoid and the helathy ways to make your ex want you back]

Advice on Navigating Post-Breakup Emotions

Okay, queens, it’s introspection time. Ever find yourself fluctuating between “I’m so over him” and “I’ll never love again” multiple times a day?

This emotional rollercoaster isn’t just you; it’s science, darling. Let’s unravel the emotional maze and get you on the path to a more stable, happier you.

1. Understanding Emotional Baggage

The term affective forecasting might sound like something out of a weather report, but it’s actually a psychology term related to emotional expectations.

After a breakup, it’s easy to predict eternal doom and gloom, but affective forecasting suggests we’re notoriously bad at predicting our own emotional future.

So, that feeling of “I’ll be forever alone” will likely change. Trust the process and don’t be too harsh on yourself when navigating the labyrinth of male psychology after a breakup.

2. The Importance of Closure

So, what’s the deal with closure? In the world of psychology, we talk about ambiguous loss, which is basically that nagging, unresolved feeling you get when there’s no clear ‘end.’

Without closure, you’re left wondering, overthinking, and probably overeating ice cream. [Read: Closure after a relationship: 29 signs you haven’t got it & ways to move on]

Getting that sense of closure is crucial to move on because, let’s face it, not knowing is often worse than knowing something painful.

3. Seeking Professional Help

There comes a time when talking to your friends, or even your mom, just doesn’t cut it anymore. When should you bring in the big guns and consult a psychologist or a counselor?

Well, if you’re finding it hard to function daily or are increasingly feeling disconnected, it’s time. And no, seeking professional help doesn’t mean you’re “crazy”; it means you’re sane enough to realize you need guidance.

Why Not Focus on Yourself?

Alright, ladies, we get it. The itch to know every thought crossing your ex’s mind post-breakup can be all-consuming.

But hey, let’s flip the script. Instead of being the leading lady in his breakup drama, why not focus on your own blockbuster life?

[Read: Still attached to your ex? 26 signs, why it happens and how to break free]

While understanding male psychology after a breakup is tantalizing, and sure, knowledge is power, remember that the most transformative power comes from understanding yourself. So, go ahead, pour that energy into something that makes you fabulous. After all, the best project you’ll ever work on is you.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...