It was only a few weeks after the breakup and my ex’s relationship status went from “in a relationship“ to “single“. Photos of him partying with friends and some unknown women were cluttering my news feed. His texts stopped coming and it seemed like he was over me just like that. In the blink of an eye, all the love he swore he had for me was gone and he moved on.
Meanwhile, I was still halfway through my second container of ice-cream, fighting insomnia, crying nonstop, talking to my friends, overanalyzing the breakup and the relationship, trying to make some sense of what had just happened. Trying to get to the bottom of things.
“How can he move on so fast? Did he ever love me? How can he be so heartless? Where did his love go?” and surely enough “Does he even miss me?” were just some of the questions echoing in my head and making everything so much more difficult for me. But they wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t silence my mind. I couldn’t stop the pain that was just getting deeper.
My world was falling apart and he was having the time of his life. I couldn’t grasp it. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what was going on in his head. It’s maybe not a good thing to confess but if I had known I wasn’t the only one hurting, if I had known that he was going through something similar, maybe it would have been easier to get over the breakup.
I know that a lot of women can relate. And a lot of them are wondering, “Why is this so? Why do men and women handle breakups differently?” This is what I have found out:
1. Initial reactions
Right after the breakup has happened, a woman will analyze and try to make some sense of the situation. She will talk about it openly with her friends in a way to make things easier for herself. On the other hand, men will fight their feelings. They will ignore them and put them aside. They will avoid the subject and try to move on as fast as they can because that’s what men do. They don’t display their feelings publically or go into in-depth analyses with their friends.
Looking at it long term, women have better results in overcoming a breakup. It might take a long while, but they process their feelings. By talking about them, they, in a sense, let the pain slowly leave their systems. They come to some meaningful conclusions which help them have better lives because of it.
2. Realization time
While that initial blow is harder on women, that doesn’t mean men are unaffected. A breakup doesn’t spare anybody—it’s just the difference in timing. Women are more affected at the beginning and men later on.
While women are going through the grieving period and dissecting the entire relationship with their friends, they are actually healing themselves in that process. They realize it is over and why it had to be that way. On the other hand, men are too busy running away from their feelings and distracting themselves, so that the realization of the breakup and the fact that there is no going back comes later.
3. Coping mechanisms
This is probably one of the most important differences. After the breakup, men are guarding their pride and self-esteem. They can experience anger and resentment if they weren’t the ones who did the breaking up. So their coping mechanisms are bit more destructive. They hide their feelings, go out partying, are more prone to rebound relationships, etc. So, they don’t solve the problem. They are not healing—they are avoiding dealing with the breakup.
Women, however, do the complete opposite and most of the relationship experts agree that women’s way of coping with breakups is more constructive. By turning to other people in their lives, by talking about their feelings and analyzing them, they try to give themselves some kind of closure. They learn their lessons, try to see the silver lining in all the pain and grow as the individuals.
4. Specific perceptions of a relationship
Men and women have totally different outlooks on the whole concept of a relationship and entirely different expectations. Most women, usually without any real intention of doing so, look at a relationship as something long-term right from the start. Because of it, they invest so much more in relationships than men do. And that is all natural and normal, but a great beginning of a relationship does not guarantee that you are where you are meant to be.
That’s why when the relationship breaks up, women have this feeling that they have lost so much more—the potential of the relationship and everything they thought that relationship could become has gone down the drain. By default, the pain is so much greater for it. On the contrary, men are less affected and less hurt because of their perception of a relationship. They go one day at a time without thinking too much of where the relationship is headed, especially early on.
5. Emotions vs. reason
Most women are more in touch with their feelings than men are. As a result, they are also better at facing those same feelings rather than fighting them. Men will push their feelings deep down They will do everything not to feel anything and when they finally stop with all the partying, rebound relationships and all the other distractions, the reality will start to kick in.
Men are more likely to follow their minds than their hearts. That’s why they might have it easier when they get to the point of thinking about why the breakup was inevitable and why it was the best thing possible. The bad side is that the reasoning kicks in late and they might regret breaking up and losing a great woman
What I realized eventually is that my ex cared about me, but he had a different way of coping with the breakup. Men and women are by default different in most of things—after breakup periods are no exception. So, it’s no wonder that men and women often fail to understand each other.
All along, I thought my ex-was moving on so fast after the breakup, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The thing is while I was processing things, he was ignoring them, blocking all the memories of us and putting on a show for himself, his friends and me just so he could prove he was a ‘real man’ who gets over things so easily.
Long after our breakup when I had already mended my broken heart, realized why the breakup had to happen and learned my lessons, he confessed that the breakup had just started to get to him. All along, he was pretending he was over me, avoiding dealing with his emotions. Only when he stopped pretending is when it hit him that he has lost me for good and that there is no going back. His healing process had just begun.