Dealing with a Breakup: 10 Tips for Men

Classic freeze-out.

The Walker Brothers famously sang “breaking up is so very hard to do.” True to a degree, but words can’t describe the devastation a man feels when he coldly receives word his services are no longer needed. Having sat on both sides of the fence, getting dumped is the pits.

The following 10 tips will help you heal, get back on your feet, and eventually be reborn, more badass than ever. Be warned: the trip will take a while. Proceed with caution.

1. Stay away from her

No, you can’t “just be friends.” Spending time with her post-breakup will not only be emasculating, it will make it impossible for you extricate her from your mind and move on. Getting dumped once is enough. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you’ll re-live painful memories of rejection each time you talk to her. Malignant feelings of unreciprocated love will sabotage any perceived positives.

2. Face your grief head-on

Many men have tried to stamp out their negative feelings of grief and anger, and many have failed. There are no shortcuts here. Your best strategy is to stare the devil in the face. Dumpees follow a natural course. As psychologist Mitchell Baris explains, you go through phases of sadness, anger, and heightened feelings of rejection after a breakup. Researcher Elizabeth Kübler-Ross authoritatively breaks grieving down into four stages: a) denial, b) anger, c) guilt, and d) acceptance.

3. Don’t slip into the dark vortex

In his classic book ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ Napoleon Hill reveals the real motivator of rich, powerful men: the approval of women. He reasons that only a woman has the ability to ‘make or break a man.’ I’ve found this to me true in my own travels. Show me a man that has slipped into the dark vortex of anguish, and I’ll show you the woman that got him there. ‘Taxi Driver’ lead character Travis Bickle was pushed over the edge after being rejected by Betsy. Watch that movie and learn its lesson well. Don’t let dealing with a nasty breakup mess with your head.

4. Reconnect with your buddies

If you’re a nice guy, you’ve made compromises in your social life while with your ex. Let’s hope you didn’t get so whipped that your friends are now a tad surly with you. It’s time to make a few calls, crack open some brews and catch up. Resist the temptation of talking about your relationship woes too soon. You’re on thin ice, dude. They’re well aware that you’re in need of emotional support. Nobody wants to feel like your safety net. Earn back their trust and focus on male bonding for now.

5. Don’t expect much consolation

What happens when a man gets kicked in the nuts on a TV sitcom? Roaring laugh track, right? Here’s a steaming cup of reality: no matter how horrible you’re feeling, you’ll receive very little sympathy. Be very selective of those you choose to discuss your breakup with. The douchebag knee jerk reaction will be to either dole out “man-up” advice or suggest that you need to get laid. Although not entirely wrong, such advice is usually ill-timed. For example, if you’re still in the resentment stage, you’ll probably make a drunken assclown of yourself if you go out and try to pick up girls. Don’t get pushed into something that doesn’t feel right.

6. Understand why the relationship disintegrated

Clearly trace the timeline of events that led to animosity or cooling off in the relationship. Breakups don’t occur because of isolated incidences, so you need to step back and look at the full picture. Examine the evidence holistically. Ignore good cop, bad cop thinking. You need to be completely honest about your actions and the effect they had on her behavior. As humans are biased by nature, and memory is far from accurate, you’ll conjure up some gross distortions. The point is to form some sort of narrative so you can close the book on the relationship.

7. Forgive her, forgive yourself

Once negative emotions have faded, there comes a point where you must decide to discharge the bad blood altogether. No matter how hurtful her actions, realize that she acted that way out of fear, self-defense, or self-preservation. Her intent wasn’t malice. When things get heavy, our lizard brain wins out. The last thing I want come off as is some new-agey apologist for bad female behavior. However, no matter how messed-up her actions were, hating her for it will only harm you.

8. Navel-gazing is necessary

It’s time to dust off your philosophy books, ask some big questions, and perhaps uncover some uncomfortable solutions. Out of the legions of women out there, you landed up with a peculiar one. Beside her obvious good looks, what attracted you to her in the first place? Were you trying to fill a void besides just a need for “love?” If she isn’t the type of woman you want to attract again, you’ll need to make some adjustments to yourself. Work towards becoming the man you’ve always dreamed of being.

9. Make positive changes in your life

Women are terribly distracting and time consuming, thus the internet meme: “disregard females, acquire currency.” In your never ending quest to get your penis wet, you’ve fallen behind. Am I recommending a life of toil and duty? Nope. Follow your bliss! Men with interesting hobbies like playing drums, sailing, and rock-climbing have a blast doing what they love on their own terms. As a side effect, they’re infinitely more attractive to women. If you prop up a vibrant setting around yourself, others will want to join in.

10. Avoid going on a toxic bang-a-thon

I’ve seen a lot of guys follow this pattern. After a breakup they’ll go into full-on creep mode, and pull some highly questionable stunts at clubs or bars. The more they loved (or more accurately still love) their ex, the more rabid they become and the more chicks they’ll try to bang in succession. I’m all for hedonism but this stuff is tough to watch. You can sense the pain and hostility they’re feeling. It can attract women because it’s mistaken for alpha behavior when really it’s a dude flying off the rails. If you want to hook up with as many women as possible after a breakup, be my guest. I’m merely suggesting that you indulge in a cool off period. Men that go on toxic bang-a-thons (or just attempt it), have a high likelihood of alienating people, making scrotes of themselves, getting in pointless brawls, etc.

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3 Comments

  1. Carlos

    All I got to say is on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUerWT_2Lbw

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  2. Thommy

    This was really well written and so true. I was heavy involved in a relation ship from age 19 to 28, 9 years. And i was totally devastated when it broke. And i did the misstake like so many guys do that i did not allow myself the “cool down period” but immidietly started to drink and chase women. Then i got involved with a woman during the 4 stage period and i was not emotionally invested at all in that period since i had not allowed myself to cool down. It lasted for 4 years, but there was more fights and dramas than i even care to remember.

    Now i am going through the 4 stages again but this time i am going to do it right and stay on the rail.
    Thank you for a great article. It really made me feel better and see things more clearly.

    Thommy.

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  3. A very useful article on break up advice for men, here are some useful tips on break up advice for both the genders written in a different perspective.

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