When men break up, do they go through the same stages of grief as the female of the species? Do we feel the same as women, or does our behaviour confuse how others perceive it?
Both women and men break up stages are a roller coaster of emotions and both sexes go through the same general stages of grief. Scour the internet or buy any book for this subject and most writers have a general agreement, nevertheless I’ll go through the stages and my interpretation of them. I’ve made it no secret that I have issues with a lot of information on post men break up ‘advice’ (the very little information that there is).
On this occasion I am in common agreement with the majority regarding what the stages of a post breakup are, my beef is the lack of information for how to get through these stages and how the main help is catered towards women. Even worse, the wrong information such as “how to win her back” is banded about in cruel profusion, which in turn adds false hope and more potential misery.
Stage 1 – Denial
(Also know to men as the ‘heavily drinking to suppress the pain’ stage).
Although you are aware your relationship is over it doesn’t ‘feel’ over. You’re receiving the sympathetic, head-tilted stares and “how are you” questions from caring family and peers and you’re answering in blinded optimism.
People close to you are questioning your sanity as you haven’t seemed to come to terms with what’s happened. Don’t worry, you’re not a nutcase and this is completely normal for a broken hearted human being and all of the symptoms have an uncanny similarity to the stages of bereavement. Denial is your brain carrying out its job of providing a defense mechanism to a sudden nasty event. To put it another way – it’s simply a subconscious technique to help cushion the blow.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a big part of you believes she’ll change her mind, or call. If you were the dumper you might even call her and talk to her like nothing has changed. The good news is this process doesn’t last too long and the men in white coats won’t be coming to your door (probably).
Stage 2- Anger
(Also known to men as the ‘acting like a crazy bastard’ stage).
We’ve already covered our difficulty of getting in touch with our emotions, but the one sensation that men have no problem recognising is – anger!
You’ll know when the denial stage is over when the red mist has arrived. You’re angry at her. You’re angry at yourself. You’re angry at the world. You try to hate her because you think it’ll be easier, but it has the opposite effect. You may feel the need to compete with whats-her-name and may search for a rebound girl just for the feeling of bittersweet revenge.
This slightly psychotic stage is potentially the most damaging out of the five post break up stages for men. Be careful of your actions and stay away from excessive alcohol for now. Your choice. In a weird double-edged sword twist, feeling anger could be seen as a bit of positive news. The reason I say this is because it’s obvious that the ball is rolling and that you are processing through the breakup stages, however you should look to get through this cancerous stage as soon as possible.
Stage 3- Bargaining
(Also known to men as the ‘acting like a complete pathetic pussy’ stage).
If you are the dumped one, you have a desire and a blind hope of faith that you can somehow still work it out. You become a full-time negotiator and find yourself saying embarrassing things like “I can change” or “it’ll be different this time, I promise.” Even if you’re not chasing her about, you have this assertive feeling inside that if you change your strategy – you can get back together.
If you’re the dumper, you’re doubting your decision and thinking “she can change.” The bargaining stage can turn the very best of us in to a crumbling, pleading, begging, wuss of a mess and our dignity can go well out of the window. Ride it out and keep your chin up.
(Also known to men as the ‘I want the world to just fuck off and leave me alone’ stage).
This is by far the longest and toughest of all of the break up stages for men and women. It’s not abnormal to feel the lowest you ever have in your life at this point. You feel worthless. Motivation and confidence is at an all time low and you can fall victim of an identity crisis. Anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness have the capacity to turn you in to a hermit.
And now for the good news; regardless of what you hear, there IS a time limit for this horrible feeling and the advice in this guide is catered mainly for this stage. What you experience here is reactive depression, which is the most common form. This is when a state of extreme sadness is triggered by an external event of trauma such as a death, an attack or of course – a break up of a romantic relationship. The very words (reactive depression) sound serious, but don’t worry; it’s completely normal and you shouldn’t be ashamed of being human.
Don’t listen to bullshit like “it will take a month for every year you and whats-her-name were together in order to feel better.” That is recycled and unfounded trash; it’s your reaction to the reactive depression that decides how long it stays for! Hold on to your objective, this awful stage won’t last forever. At the same time, it’s not a bed of roses and you’re going to have to have a bit of fight in you.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
(Also known to men as the “I’m smiling again and life is awesome” stage)
The acceptance stage is what it says it is; you haven’t forgot what happened but you are able to move forward with your life. You don’t spend any more time thinking about her and life is carrying on with the focus being on you. This should be every broken hearted man’s goal here and it feels like a heavy chain has been removed from your neck when it happens.
You can think about your ex girlfriend and feel apathetic, instead of pathetic (Aaah come on, I’m allowed to say that because I’m also poking fun at the former me). Although this might seem very far away or even impossible; it’s very attainable and the sooner you help yourself, the sooner you will be at this stage.
The chances are quite high that you’ve all found this guide at different stages of the breakup process and you might be thinking along the lines of; “I wish I didn’t do this/that when I was at that stage.” Well cut that thinking out for a start. It’s never too late to wipe the clean slate and start doing things properly. Choose now.
*Warning* If you do things wrong, there is always risk that you can go backwards in stages. For example; if you wallow too much in the depression stage (four) you can find yourself bargaining and back at stage number three. When men break up they can lose the plot too much at the anger stage (two) and you could find yourself back in denial (back to square one). Think of it as a league table, with the acceptance stage being the championship and everything else being relegation.
. Both women and men break up stages are generally the same, women just seem to do it that little bit better
. You now know the stages and can use this chapter as a reminder to where you are
. If you’ve acted a little crazy or out of character – you’re not alone, don’t beat yourself up
. Without the proper action you can get ‘relegated’ to a stage you’ve already been through
. After reading the chapter on the stages of a breakup, which one do you think are you at right now? Click on which of the following, it will take you to the correct stage in the forums where this site can aid you further;
. When you register in the ex girlfriend forum you have an option to choose what stage you are currently in. If you haven’t already, select the appropriate stage.This will act as a reminder and you’ll be able to use the guide more effectively and relate better to others