How Do You Move On After a Breakup?

She Said

That’s a hard question with many possible answers.  They say divorce is right up there with the death of a loved one as one of the most traumatic experiences that anyone can go through.  When you add children, it becomes heart wrenching because you are not only impacting your own life but the lives of innocent children. So why are people so quick to get back into a relationship after one ends?  Loneliness, low self esteem, companionship, to name a few reasons.

Statistically, men are more likely to remarry, and when they do, they do it much sooner after divorce than women.  Women, on the other hand, are more likely to wait to seek out another partner until they can emotionally connect with someone else, which is hard to do if you’re still hung up on your ex.  Why is that? Emily V. Gordon, a therapist and Huffington Post blogger thinks it may be because men don’t have the same support network that women do.  All the resources out there seem to be geared toward women, and women are more likely to lean on friends to get them through the grieving process.  That’s not to say that women don’t jump into rebound relationships; it’s just that those relationships are less likely to result in marriage.  

Then you have the guys who just want to “keep it light” and try to have “relationships” but not get emotionally involved.  Who are they kidding?  They are just masking the hurt, refusing to fully embrace the grieving process and are more likely to eventually end up in the same type of unhealthy relationship that they left because they haven’t done the personal work that needs to be done in order make them a healthy person that is capable of a healthy relationship.

In my humble opinion, while men appear to “move on” more quickly, they really haven’t moved on completely. And in the process they have simply prolonged their own grieving process.   Men are very good at compartmentalizing.  They can go on to have another relationship and sleep with another woman, while inside they are still grieving for the past relationship.  Women can’t do this as easily.  

So how DO you move on?  Allow some time to pass.  It’s a slow, painful process that you can’t avoid but must take one day at a time and allow yourself to process the pain and resentment, explore who you are as a person and the role you played in the breakup, and then and only then are you ready to move on to another relationship.

So, in sum, I think men and women take about the same amount of time to heal emotionally, but men try to rush the process and simply do themselves, and those with whom they get involved, more harm than good in the process.

He Said

In short, you say, screw it, screw her, and you move on. Eventually, anyway. I understand; easier said than done. But realistically that’s all you can do. Purely from a man’s perspective, you don’t have time to sulk, and you can’t go crying to friends.  But you can’t hold onto the pain. Therefore, a man has to find a way to overcome the emotional strain tied to the breakup; otherwise, we become emotional prisoners liable to lose control – as evident in cases of abuse, murder, suicide, and depression.

It isn’t an easy task dealing with emotions. Many men are not equipped to face our emotional baggage quite so easily. We might have the desire to face what’s in our emotional bank, but we don’t have the strength to pull it out. Therefore, this puts us at a disadvantage compared to women when it comes to moving on after a breakup. We have a need to replace the broken relationship quick, fast, and in a hurry.

While men might call women emotional creatures, the truth is we are all emotional creatures. But dealing with our emotions is a son-of-a-bitch. It is painful. Often times men will deal with tough situations by becoming cold and heartless. This is merely an attempt to discount any emotion we might feel during these tough times, and it feels easier to cope. One of the hardest things I personally have ever had to cope with is my emotions.

When a man moves on after a breakup, he ultimately brings in a companion to help ease the pain. This companion, whether deeply rooted in his life or not, serves as an incubator for the man to slowly face his pain. This process is akin to the rehabilitation of ex-cons; you have to slowly introduce them back into society so they can become meaningful contributors once again. The problem with getting into relationships without dealing with the emotional pain is it produces the same results as before. You fall back into old habits, nothing gets solved, and history is repeated.

Having a strong sense of self is necessary to pull oneself out of the hole of depression – which many men do not even recognize they are in – and elevate oneself to a healthier disposition. The longer term goal is to become that contributing member of society.

I can think of a few things to help get men back on track after a breakup. The following items can be a guide to how a man can better handle a breakup.

  1. Be thankful. Many times we do not allow ourselves to see the good that has come out of the bad.
  2. Learn to grieve. It’s okay to show emotion – it’s a natural part of human nature.
  3. Confront your emotions. It may be painful at first, but in the end it will make you a stronger person.
  4. Learn to relax. Take time out of your day and release the stress.
  5. Take measures to heal. Whatever it is that gives you a sense of accomplishment, serenity, or peace, work those items into your life to get you back on track.
  6. Surround yourself with companions, male and female. Take time to go out and reacquaint yourself with friends.

3 Comments

  1. I went thru a divorce with my 1st husband and lost my 2nd one to death when he was 48. Each left gut wrenching pain. You’ve put together a very helpful list of guidelines and I pray you will follow them even in the times you won’t feel like, like when anger is the emotion taking top billing. And I am one of those who believe things happen for a reason and I pray that God will send his comfort and blessings on you while He is directing you to what the reasons are. May God bless you each and every moment.

    Like

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