How a Breakup Feels for Men

Ever wonder why some men seem perfectly fine after a breakup, while others spiral into weeks of introspection? The truth is, breakups are a roller coaster, and not everyone's ride has the same highs and lows. In this article, we'll peel back the layers of psychology and biology that explain how men uniquely experience the end of a relationship. Plus, we'll offer some real-talk advice to help you navigate the emotional maze that is a breakup.

    How Men React to a Breakup: The Psychology

    So, we all know that most men seem to live their best lives right after a breakup. They're single, free and ready for a new challenge. But what's really going on here?

    Society tends to typecast men as stoic figures who should move on quickly, often driving the narrative that emotional processing is not 'manly.' This mindset can lead you to suppress your feelings, thinking you're doing the right thing by moving on swiftly.

    However, this is where attachment styles come into play.

    Whether you're securely attached, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, or disorganized, your attachment style can drastically influence how you cope with the end of a relationship.

    For example, if you have a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, you might initially feel a sense of relief or emotional distance. But these feelings can be deceiving.

    Here's the twist: Men often experience the trauma of a breakup with a delayed fuse.

    While the initial reaction may seem composed, even indifferent, the emotional aftershocks can hit you months later when you least expect them. This is not just emotional but profoundly psychological—stemming from the fact that suppressed feelings have been accumulating in your subconscious mind.

    The Role of the Subconscious Mind

    Your subconscious mind operates like a high-stakes vault, storing all the suppressed emotions and experiences you've chosen not to deal with. And these aren't just inert memories; they're active influences that shape your daily thoughts, behaviors, and emotional reactions.

    When you're navigating through life, especially new relationships, this backlog becomes your invisible baggage. You may not feel the weight immediately, but the longer you ignore it, the heavier it gets.

    Awareness is the first significant step you can take to unlock this vault. Recognizing that you've stored away these emotions allows you to deal with them constructively. Techniques such as shadow work can be invaluable here.

    This practice enables you to tap into your subconscious, identifying and confronting these bottled-up emotions and traumas. By doing so, you pave the way for emotional freedom and healthier relationships moving forward.

    The Biological Differences Between Men & Women

    So, you've unpacked some of the psychological layers that come into play during a breakup. But what's happening under the hood, so to speak? The brain is a neurochemical orchestra, with different hormones and neurotransmitters setting the tone for your emotional state. One key player is testosterone, which generally runs higher in men than in women.

    Elevated testosterone levels can influence risk-taking behaviors and can sometimes contribute to emotional suppression, nudging you towards acting out or isolating yourself rather than talking through your feelings.

    On the flip side, women often have higher levels of oxytocin—the bonding hormone—that encourage emotional expression and connection. The differences in these hormonal profiles can create contrasting emotional landscapes for men and women after a breakup.

    The Stress Response

    Ever heard of the fight-or-flight response? It's your body's natural reaction to stress, governed by a surge of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Now, interestingly, men and women can have different stress responses.

    Men are generally more inclined to the 'fight' aspect, which can manifest as impulsivity or even aggression. On the other hand, women might lean more towards the 'flight' or 'tend-and-befriend' responses, fostering community and seeking emotional support.

    This stress response can be particularly activated when you're grappling with a breakup's emotional toll months down the line. You might not even realize it, but those stress hormones can prompt behaviors that are not necessarily in your best interest.

    Being aware of this biological tendency can help you make more informed choices during those turbulent times.

    How to Get Over a Break Up For Men

    Now that you're armed with insights into the psychological and biological dimensions of breakups, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Because knowledge, while powerful, is only the first step. The real change happens when you take action.

    Observing Your Thoughts

    Before you can change your emotional state, you have to understand it.

    Start by becoming an observer of your own thoughts and feelings.

    When an emotion surges, don't just react—pause and identify it. Is it loneliness, anger, regret?

    This practice enables you to disengage from the emotion momentarily, giving you the space to decide how you want to handle it.

    Engage in Healthy Coping Mechanisms

    It's tempting to slide into unhealthy behaviors—be it binge-watching, overeating, or excessive drinking—as a way to numb the pain. But these are temporary escapes that often leave you feeling worse in the long run.

    Instead, engage in activities that promote physical and mental well-being.

    Exercise, meditate, journal, or even engage in meaningful conversations with trusted friends and family.

    Embrace the Power of Community

    Don't underestimate the power of a supportive community when you're navigating a breakup. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and offer a safe space to express your feelings.

    Whether it's a close circle of friends or a dedicated men's group, the essence is to be around individuals who enrich your life rather than drain it.

    Shadow Work and Self-Therapy

    When you've built up a habit of suppressing emotions, merely observing them isn't enough.

    You'll want to dig deeper to understand their origins.

    This is where shadow work and self-therapy come into play. With a focused set of prompts or guided exercises, you can confront your hidden fears and suppressed emotions. By doing so, you'll be working to release the emotional clutter that's bogging down your subconscious mind.

    How Self Therapy Journaling Helps Men Going Through a Breakup

    Going through a breakup is an emotional rollercoaster that can leave even the strongest individuals questioning their emotional stability. That's where the power of self-therapy journaling shines.

    How to Get Over a Breakup is designed to facilitate this deep dive with shadow work prompts that help you understand and heal from the root causes of your emotional pain.

    By putting pen to paper, you're not only articulating your complex feelings but also gaining invaluable perspectives on your emotional journey. So, if you're navigating the emotional ups and downs of a breakup, consider journaling as a powerful tool to help you take control of your emotional well-being.

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    Final Thoughts

    At this point, you might feel like you've been through an emotional marathon, and that's perfectly okay. Understand that healing is a process, not a destination. Whether it's been weeks or months since the breakup, each day you make the conscious effort to understand yourself better is a victory in its own right.

    But what's next? Well, the real work begins now—applying what you've learned. It's one thing to know about the impact of neurochemistry, societal norms, and suppressed emotions, and quite another to act on that knowledge. This is your call to action: revisit these insights, engage in self-reflection, and commit to practices like mindfulness and shadow work regularly.

    Remember, the end of a relationship isn't a dead-end; it's a fork in the road, offering you multiple paths. Some may lead you back to old habits, but others can guide you toward a new, emotionally healthier version of yourself. The choice is yours to make, and you're now better equipped than ever to make it a good one.

    As you navigate this emotional terrain, keep this mantra in mind: You are not defined by your past relationships but by the wisdom and resilience you gain from them.

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    Author Bio

    I went into the field of neuroscience not realising the profound connection between science, spirituality and ancient tradition. I share some fascinating connections between science and spirituality that will hopefully shift your perspective on what it means to be spiritual.