I know, I know. Breakups suck. There’s no good way to get through them. Even if you were the one who did the breaking up, it still takes some time to get over it. If you were the one who got broken up with, it can make you feel physically ill. It can even feel like a small death, and it is. You’re mourning the death of the relationship. Which begs the question: How to get over a breakup for men who just want to move on?
How to Get Over a Breakup for Men: Should You Start Dating Again?
There are a few things that I recommend when this happens to you. Firstly, give yourself permission to mourn. Allow some time to work though the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
The five stages sound different for everyone, but your thoughts may sound something like this:
- Denial: “She is going to realize what a big mistake she made.”
- Anger: “This is bullshit! I was the one that should have broken up with her!”
- Bargaining: “She hated when I went out with my friends. If I tell her I won’t go out with my friends, maybe she’ll take me back.”
- Depression: “I spent so long in this relationship and now it’s gone. I’ll never find anything like it.”
- Acceptance: “I guess she was serious and I guess I’m single now. So…what next?”
For many, trying to understand how to get over a breakup for men can last anywhere from a week to a year. It all depends on how long the relationship was and how serious it was. During this time, there are a lot of things that you can do to assuage the pain. Go out and reconnect with your friends. Lose yourself in your work for a bit. Go on a vacation.
Betty White opines that “The best way to get over a man is to get under another one.” While you may have to adjust this advice slightly when answering how to get over a breakup for men who are straight, even then it doesn’t work for everybody. Some just can’t bring themselves to do it. Note, this does not say “date” another person. Your feelings are still raw. If you do seek comfort of the flesh, be careful to keep it superficial, with her full awareness. You may want to plug the hole of emptiness in your chest, but it’s like a wound. It needs to heal over first before you can get out there.
How Long Should You Wait to Date?
There is a rule of thumb that it takes ½ the amount of time of the relationship to be over it. Obviously this is dependent on a whole host of things. However, it can give you an approximate timeline. In order to go out and date again, you need to be dateable, and that can only come with some time and perspective.
One of my ex-friends didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t understand this concept. After getting divorced from his second wife (that all of us told him was a bad idea), he immediately got ready to move in the next woman that he had started dating before the divorce was even final. You cannot be the best version of yourself without time to process all that has happened to you.
How do you know if you’re finally ready to get back out there again? Ask yourself these 5 questions:
- “Do I understand why my last relationship didn’t work out?”
- “Am I looking to date because I enjoy someone’s company and not just to not be lonely?
- “Can I think about my ex without a crushing hurt in my heart?”
- “Have I addressed problems on my end that may have contributed to the break up?
- “Is a woman going to enjoy being around me?”
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, that will give you a good idea that you’re ready to get back out there again. However, beware of these traps:
1. Don’t rush to get to a relationship
Yes, I know how good it feels to be in a relationship and share everything and cuddle all day on a Sunday. Still, you can’t just jump right back in. You have to build it back up again. There will be first dates. Let them be light and airy. You can’t force a relationship too quickly, but you can push her away from you by being too pushy.
2. Practice a response for when people ask you about your breakup
People will ask you about it all the time. Friends, family and even strangers will want to know what happened. The best way to respond is to memorize one simple statement and repeat it as many times as necessary until it is right there on the tip of your tongue. Think KISS: keep it simple, stupid. “Well, we broke up. We realized we were moving in different directions and decided to end it. I learned a lot from the relationship, and I look forward to the next one.” If they keep prying, keep repeating it. They will get the hint. Eventually, you can go into more detail if you start growing close to someone new.
3. Don’t badmouth your ex
It can be tempting to unload a month’s worth of vitriol about you ex, especially if she hurt you badly or did something egregious. However, unless it’s to your best friend, don’t speak negatively. No one likes to hear someone ranting about their ex, especially on a date. Any future partner will just think you’re full of anger and will badmouth her if/when you break up.
4. Don’t stew in you bad feelings
As much fun as it can be to turn on some depressing music, light some incense and candles and just mope around. After your mourning period, it does you no good. You need to consciously get out and do things that you find fun. You need to replace bad memories and bad feelings with new memories that are fun and happy. Join a group, pick up a new hobby, read that book you’ve been meaning to. Just do something!
We here at A Man’s Quest want to make sure we answer your questions. If you still need guidance on how to get over a breakup for men, be sure to leave a comment down below.