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7 Ways How Men Deal With Breakups Differently

It’s a scene you’ve seen in many Hollywood movies. A previously lovey-dovey couple has just broken up, and the girl is now cooped up at home, wearing baggy jammies with unwashed hair and binge-eating ice cream. The guy, on the other hand, is out at a club with his friends, eyeing up pretty girls, and he has never looked better. On the surface, it looks like the guy has moved on at the speed of light, while the girl is left wallowing in misery. So why is it that how men deal with breakups differs so drastically from how women do it?

woman leaving home

Image source: Flickr

Do men actually deal with breakups better than women?

In other words, is the stuff they show in movies and on TV shows actually true? Most experts and studies tend to disagree. Yes, some women do set out on a carb fest, which is probably where movie makers got the idea from, but that’s not all there is to a breakup for men and women, but quite the reverse. According to a survey by a dating site, Elite Singles, 25% more men than women suffer when they go through a breakup. There are also vast amounts of research that prove how the health and lifestyle of a divorced man plummets far more than that of a divorced woman. So, looks like it’s the man who should be digging into that tub of Ben and Jerry’s!!

Suggested read: Breakup or Makeup – 15 signs to help make that choice

Surprising? Well, if you think about it, not really. When men and women invest equally in a relationship, the amount of hurt caused when it doesn’t work out is the same as well. Both men and women try to cope with similar feelings of grief, loss, and rejection, and the difference in feelings depends mainly upon who dumped whom. However, the different wiring in our brains as well as societal messages change the way how men deal with breakups, which is where the movies and sitcoms come in! But reel life apart, there are some distinct differences in how men handle breakups compared to women.

7 ways men deal differently with breakups

So how do men deal with breakups? If you were to believe the movies, you’d think they hit the bar with their guy friends, but that’s just one way.

1. Men don’t analyze

sad man

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

We’ve read enough jokes about women analyzing and over-analyzing every single word of their last conversation, while men barely remember a thing. The reason is that while men use only one side of their brains for verbal reasoning, women use both sides for assessing visual and emotional clues along with verbal ones. This means they can focus on body language and other cues for a more complete understanding. This obviously, is lacking in men and so you’ll rarely find them thinking about the tone of voice or the way a person moved her hands.

2. Men don’t support their friends

man talking to his friend

Image source: Shutterstock

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that guys make bad friends! It’s just that in a time that requires a certain amount of healing, like a breakup, male friends aren’t much use. However, a woman’s social network is usually stronger. A woman’s friends will immediately turn empathetic and come over with ice cream and let her cry on their shoulder. Now, if a guy’s friends are aware of his breakup and want to help, they’ll focus on cheering him up – taking him out and having fun, rather than talking and healing.

3. Men tend to ignore things

sad man

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Ah, don’t we women know that!! Everyone’s heard of the way men just ‘wall up’ when a woman is trying to talk about something, and they do it more when the topic of discussion is uncomfortable for them. This behavior is multiplied manifold when they have to face a situation that is not just uncomfortable, but painful and devastating too. Men find it easier to compartmentalize their feelings, so they box up their hurt and leave it there while focusing on anything but that.

Suggested read: The ex-lessons: 10 things to take away from your breakup

4. Men (ab)use alcohol

man drinking

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Yes, both men and women get drunk after a breakup, but for a woman, it’s probably a one time thing, after which she goes back to standard female patterns of healing. How men deal with breakups however, includes getting intoxicated out of their minds, which contributes to their need to forget or ignore, so they get drunk on multiple occasions to avoid dealing with the issue at hand. His friends are also likely to think this is a good idea!

5. Men are quicker on the rebound

couple on a date

Image source: Shutterstock

Rebound relationships are notorious for being bad ideas, but everyone still falls into them. But men are more likely to have a string of rebound relationships rather than women. Apparently, it is like a temporary band aid for a deeper wound, and they’d rather change the band aid everyday than undergo surgery to fix the problem once and for all. A rebound girlfriend boosts a man’s ego, especially if he was the ‘dumpee’ rather than the ‘dumper.’ It also takes his mind away from his ex, at least for a short while.

6. Men turn sadness into anger

man angry

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

When women are hurt, they cry; and society offers them the freedom to do so in public. But men don’t have that luxury; however, while a show of tears will be scoffed at, a display of temper is more acceptable in males. Hence, a lot of bottled up resentment turns into anger, which is why you hear stories of men smashing their ex-girlfriends’ car windows, or bitching about them on social media. Of course, not all men do this, but a man pushed over the edge by hurt (and alcohol) may try to vent his feelings through rage.

7. Men neglect self care

depressed man

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I know, we did say that women sat at home with messed up hair and old pajamas with eyes swollen from crying. But once her friends have dried her tears, she’s feeling much better, and she’ll turn to her second favorite coping mechanism – retail therapy. Her friends will say she’s amazing and deserves much better, and the end result is a more confident looking, gorgeous woman. Men, on the other hand, have been seen to outgrow beards, wear clothes that look slept-in, and generally look disheveled for longer – the effort to look good isn’t worth it and there’s now no one to nag them about it either.

Suggested read: 10 real thoughts you have when dumped in a non-relationship

Why men deal with breakups differently from women

Dealing with a breakup for men is not any easier than it is for women, although it is vastly different. Most of these different behaviors aren’t on purpose but are a result of centuries of evolution, biological differences along with societal constraints.

depressed man

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

A lot of differences in male/female behaviors can be traced to vasopressin, a neurochemical that plays a role in social bonding, mating, and sexual behavior. When men are in crisis, vasopressin causes them to appear less approachable to other men, but it works the other way around with women. This is why a woman will not hesitate to scurry over to comfort her hurting friend. The survey by Elite Singles focused on the various ways men and women deal with breakups and found that most methods had few differences, but the biggest discrepancy was in the way their friends helped them heal. Guys, it’s not your friends’ fault; it’s vasopressin’s!!

Women often spend a lot of time wondering at a man’s apparent nonchalance at the end of a relationship, but there are deeper feelings at play. Men don’t like starting over, and the thought that they’ll now have to do so with another relationship is a dreary prospect, however much they may talk about their new-found independence. Men associate their significant others with ‘home,’ which is why a breakup leaves them feeling rudderless.

Most men tend to overestimate how much a woman is interested in them, and getting dumped in this scenario can be a rude shock. This is probably due to an evolutionary thought that makes him feel that the woman considers him unfit to sire her offspring. And that can make anyone upset!

man depressed

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Speaking of evolution, men were supposed to be hunters, which required them to be hard, tough, and alert at all times. At the same time, evolution blessed women with abundant social skills and a home network of other females whom they could rely on while their men were out hunting.

While humans have evolved much beyond their hunting and food gathering days, some basic societal beliefs haven’t changed much. Men are constantly fed the message that they need to be tough, and crying or talking about feelings is mocked at in male circles. After a breakup, the general advice is to make a clean break, without getting sentimental. ‘Rip off the band aid’ or ‘Get over her already’ is what men are expected to do, to maintain an image of machismo. As is obvious, while this offers temporary relief, deeper problems still remain unresolved, and they’re the kind that can’t be fixed with a baseball game or a round of drinks or a trip to a strip club. While men can’t be expected to deal with breakups the same way as women, they do need to heal, and it’s usually something that can be handled with some time, patience, and positive thinking. And when all is said and done, a tub of ice cream does help!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
How Men Deal With Breakups - Is It Different From Women?
Breakups affect everyone involved, but how men deal with breakups differs a lot from the way women deal with them.
Fabida Abdulla

Fabida Abdulla

Fabida is an erstwhile Software Engineer and current Freelance Writer cum stay-at-home mom to her boisterous 6-year-old. In between all the writing, baking, nagging, reading, and cuddling, she manages to blog a bit about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes. []