As men, we typically aren’t that skilled in dealing with emotions. Hell, we often aren’t that skilled at noticing our emotions. But no event has the more power to force us to notice and feel our emotions as a breakup.
Whether you’ve been together for three years or three months, hearing those words “I think we should break up” can destroy a guy’s world. I’m not here to teach you how to get the girl back, or what went wrong in the relationship. I’m here to help you find a healthy and effective way to deal with a breakup.
First let’s discuss what not to do.
What better way to numb yourself than with an endless supply of hot virtual women ready to do whatever you want, whenever you want? Or getting wasted out of your mind and partying like you’re back in college? Or playing Call of Duty every night until 4am?
All of above (ideally not at the same time) may distract and numb you for a while, but they prolong the inevitable and necessary process of healing through your emotions.
What do many guys do when their buddy gets dumped? Their ‘helpful’ advice sounds something like: We need to take you out and get you laid.
While bringing home a cute brunette for a night of sloppy, drunk sex might please your body, it won’t please your heart or your soul. You’ll just end up comparing her to your ex anyway. Like pornography, binge-drinking and video games, one-night stands are little more than a distraction from the pain you’re experiencing.
All the sad, self-defeating thoughts you’re having? Get them out of your head and onto paper. So much of our emotional suffering is caused by the thoughts we allow to ruminate in our mind. During a breakup they are like pouring gasoline on the fire. Your thoughts become an endless loop of doubts, regrets and fears.
Byron Katie’s The Work questions are a powerful tool. It is a laser-like process where you investigate, one-by-one, the thoughts that are causing you pain, stress and suffering. All you need is a pen and paper. The video below shows Katie leading a man through the process and was powerful tool for me.
You need to keep up your self-care. Or for some you, actually start a practice of self-care. The most important step you can take is to make sure you are eating natural, non-processed food. Limit your sugar and caffeine. Transmute your period of suffering into a period of catapulting you into peak physical fitness.
Few things feel better than running into your ex a few months later when you look like Brad Pitt from “Fight Club.” Speaking of “Fight Club,” taking up a martial art might be another healthy way to let go of any anger or aggression.
No matter what the circumstances of the breakup, you need to forgive yourself for anything you did or didn’t do during the relationship. You did what you did with the awareness you had at the time. Regret just keeps you stuck in the past.
If you really want to move forward fast, forgive her too.
Our friends and family may love us and support us, but there are sometimes limits to how they can be there for us; and relying on your buddy for you to dump your sob story for the 127th time can take its toll.
So if you feel that after a while you’re not able to function in your daily life or you don’t feel yourself improving emotionally, seek out the support of a good therapist or coach. There are tons of people out there who can provide the third-party perspective you might need. It could be a safe, loving space for you to heal from your emotions. Or it could be the tough, no bullshit kick in the ass you need to buck and get on with your life. Either way, you’ll get the support you need to truly move on.
Jeffrey Platts is a men's coach and authentic communication expert who is passionate about helping men create amazing relationships with women. With over 20 years of personal study and transformational training, he has led nearly 200 workshops and retreats on personal growth, dating, and communication. Jeffrey's work and writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, ABC News, Authentic Man Program and the Good Men Project. He brings a rich toolbox of insights and experiences to his facilitation, integrating his adventures as DJ, amateur stand-up comedian, salsa dancer, yoga teacher and world traveler.