They Do Exist.

From The Men: Break-Ups Hurt Us Too

Editor’s Note: It is so easy to feel like a break-up is the worst for you, that your ex-boyfriend feels nothing – and that it’s unfair. Several women in our community have sincerely asked, “Do men have a hard time with break-ups?” and Stephen Green has done an awesome job of answering this question for us. – Lauren

Dear Women:

My name is Stephen. I’m writing this letter because I want to share a little bit of truth about the male gender that seems to be so misunderstood.

A lot of women think that when it comes to breakups, men are emotionally unattached and simply “move on” from the relationship. If only it were that easy. It is often forgotten that men are emotional creatures just as women are, but culture teaches us to suppress our emotions or to give off a persona of being “tough” and unmovable.

Over the summer a friend of mine had a terrible breakup with his girl friend of 7 months, and when I saw him at the beginning of the school year I could tell that something was, at the very least, bothering him. We had a brief conversation about it and he told me that he was going to be fine and that he was moving on. We went our separate ways and the next few times I saw him he was his typical, outgoing self. About 2 months later, however, I was sitting out in my car with my friend talking when he pulled his car into the parking lot and parked just a few spaces over from me. I looked over and I saw the tears running down his face. I called him over to my car and he admitted to having been crying over the girl that he had broken up with at the beginning of summer. He and I talked again a couple weeks later over the same reason.

Men are not emotionally unattached, even if we appear to be. While it is possible that they have taught themselves to be numb to the pain, it still has an effect on our souls.

As for me, while I’ve never experienced the pain of a break up, I have repeatedly experienced the pain of rejection. And most recently I have been found in a situation in which I like a girl and she likes me, but she has decided that it is unwise for us to date and has chosen not to enter into a more serious relationship with me. Even though this is technically not a breakup, it seems to me to be just as severe and I have cried several times over the matter. I have taken a stab to the heart by someone I have been close to for a very long time and have come to have a great deal of love for.

From my perspective it seems like she is far less hurt or emotional concerning her conclusion (which is based off of her plans for the future rather than not actually wanting to be with me), but I am careful not to assume that she is emotionless.

As a disclaimer: there are men out there that seek to date for physical pleasure and never enter into a truly emotional state within in the relationship, and he was therefore half hearted in his dating. If a man is truly unemotional (not just in look but in reality) then he was never really committed and dated for a self-centered reason, which is hardly dating in my opinion.

There were several topics I could have shared on, but unfortunately I couldn’t possibly write on all of them in one letter. So I end with this: remember that men have emotions. Perhaps they are not “as emotional” as women, and perhaps even unwilling to reveal what they believe to be “weakness”. But even if you can’t see it, the emotion is there.

Please do not play with our emotions. A lot of men play with the emotions of women, and they are most recognized and despised, but people seem to excuse women when they play with our hearts and it does a great deal of damage. (I have seen with other friends of mine do this in order to simply get the attention of guys to make her feel better.) This also affects our opinions of women, which can be just as twisted as women’s perspectives on men.

God loves you, and there are good men out there. God will lead you to the right person, and there might be pain in that process. But in the end you will be unified with the one who will complete you and in your relationship bring to you a better understanding of God, because in our unity with our spouses we experience a measure of what it means to be the Image of God.

With Love and Sincerity,

Stephen


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19 Responses

  1. Stephen, thanks for being frank about this! Being told (or expected) to "man up" when facing deep emotional pain and hurt and not show any tears is something that constantly plagues men. Hiding genuine emotion only leads to added stress, fear, and even physical, medical problems.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

  2. meganleiann

    This is really good.
    I didn't realize the full extent of my husband's emotions until years after we were married. He's an energetic, out-going and very open man- a musician as well, but there was a deep, deep part that never surfaced. I realized the power my words have on him and HAD had on him while we were dating and first married.
    If this is true of all men (and I suspect it is) we women really need to rethink our words and the way we think about men. They are not strong, protective robots, nor are they selfish animals. They are human beings- made in the image of God and worthy of our respect.

    March 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm

  3. leeleegirl4

    Suddenly, so much I have noticed and thought about men make so much more sense. Thank you for being brave enough to share this.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm

  4. Tracy

    I really needed to read this. Thank you for unveiling your heart…it is so helpful to know…you (men) can appear so invincible at times.Thank you for a new perspective….sorry for your hurt. Sure hope you find peace and God brings you much encouragement in the midst of your situation. ;-)

    March 27, 2012 at 2:26 am

  5. I understand this…and I see where this is coming from. What I don't understand is how a guy who initiates the breakup can feel worse about it. 6 weeks ago I went through a completely unforeseen breakup (he was about to propose and panicked at the last minute), but the guy seems to feel/be taking it even worse than I am (which is a feat in itself–I haven't exactly been rainbows and sunshine for the past 6 weeks. XD). But on the flip side, he doesn't think he can do anything about it. It's such a weird dichotomy. :/

    March 27, 2012 at 8:45 am

  6. Daniel B

    I'm confused at why women even wonder about this. About 70% (I've read very good statistical evidence of this, by the way) of breakups in heterosexual romantic relationships are done by the woman – presumably in most of these cases the male wanted the relationship to continue, since almost all relationships (and this isn't statistical, just experiential) are started by the guy initiating it, which usually means the guy was also the one who more strongly or first wanted the relationship to happen. So how would women think breakups don't give men any negative feelings? I'm honestly not sure where that impression would come from.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    • Every aspect of our culture portrays an ideal that women are depressed for months, even years after a breakup, and men move along immediately by sleeping with the next girl and getting wasted with their friends. I think ultimately all women would agree with the generalized "men have emotions too" statement, but when thinking about their individual relationship with an ex, it's easy to feel like it isn't hard for him too. :\

      That being said, women seem to be more vocal about pain in a breakup than men do, as a WHOLE – there are definitely plenty of exceptions to this – and I think that also contributes to the cultural belief of women having 'more emotions.'

      October 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    • Jim

      Hi Dan,

      I totally agree with you on that 70%. My ex-girlfriend decided to call it quits after 5 years of relationship because I was financially broke. She kept nagging for a breakup since knowing about my situation. She doesn't give a shit on all the things that I have done for her ( Financially ) during our early years.She just never gave me a chance to recover from my loss and kept saying that I am useless and that a breakup is the best thing for her. Can you imagine how I feel everytime she mention that word ? It felt like her hand squezzing your heart from the inside of you. Now I know why man would rather getaway from it all or rather drown their pain in booze. As for me, I posted a reminder note on desktop that says …. '' Alone Again Naturally ''.

      January 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  7. S

    My ex-boyfriend (who said he loved me and even referenced "our" hypothetical wedding) broke up with me and has seemed entirely stoic about the whole thing. I will say, though, that I do hope he's secretly crying himself to sleep. It's hard to not be bitter when I feel like he's totally f***ed me over. I'm freaking exhausted of trying to find love anymore. My heart's been shredded too many times. I actually used to agree with the topic of this post, but the older I get the harder it is to see men in a positive light b/c they really do just seem like a bunch of heartless drones.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    • Sheri G.

      AGREED!

      October 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

  8. Le Soleil

    Grace is finding that even though a guy you date shreds your heart, he is still not the one who can put it back together. Only God can.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm

  9. Transmutating

    Um, good women project? How about a good luck finding a good man project? I mean, women's shelters exist because men abuse us. And I agree with S. My ex left for another girl after two solid years, and I don't think he's suffering much banging her. Nor did he suffer in bed with me two weeks before giving me the great news that he was seeing another girl. And mind, this was a good one, good boy, not a womanizer. Good women project? I think men should start suiting themselves up for the job.

    November 30, 2012 at 1:03 am

  10. Flux

    NOT ALL MEN ARE BAD!!!

    Women do equally evil things to men!!!
    Don't pretend that women are somehow better human beings than men!!!

    Women's violence against men is just as bad, but we don't have any men's shelters, let alone an ounce of sympathy for abuse against us!!!
    Society thinks its funny to abuse men, and then turn around and ridicule and shame men who are victimized!!!

    Perhaps women should "suit up" as well!
    Or we could just call it a tie, and admit that we all suck!
    We should spend less time pointing fingers at each other and more time holding ourselves accountable.
    When you see other women treat men badly, don't rationalize it and say its okay!!!! Tell them to stop!!!!
    Women should be calling each other out on all their BS.
    Men should do the same!

    I'm sorry your boyfriend left you!
    One helpful idea might be to ask yourself if you did anything to cause him to leave. Men aren't so one-dimensional that they would leave a two-year relationship just because of physical sex (especially if he was already sleeping with you). And this is even more true since he was a "good man" as you stated. He most likely had other REAL significant reasons for leaving, which you should find out.

    Don't make the assumption that your happiness during those "two solid years" also meant that he was happy.
    Too many women define the relationship status and even his feelings by whether or not they (women) are happy.
    Sadly, many women don't care or never bother to find out if their man is actually happy in the relationship.
    Those women are too busy thinking only about themselves!

    Don't just be angry, become informed! Fix things about yourself before your next relationship!

    Based on your short paragraph, I'll make the quick random assumption that you were either spying on/accusing him of stuff he was not yet doing, being really negative, critical, or judgmental, disrespectful, and/or super selfish and needy.

    You might also seem disappointed/frustrated that you weren't able to manipulate/control him through sex into staying in the relationship.

    Who knows? I could be totally wrong. That's for you to figure out!
    Good luck!

    January 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

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  13. Laura

    Stephen thanks for sharing. Just wondering that guy that cried over breaking up with his girlfriend, did he get back together with her?

    April 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  14. Ruth

    I jst broke up with mine cos i got tired of doubting if he loves me or not even though he kept tellin me he does bt he jst acts the oppisite..so i broke up with him and @ first he tot it was a joke nd when i made him realise it wasnt all he said to me was ‘Better for you’ obviously he never really loved me and that jst cleared my doubts..bt then,i still belive not all guys are the same if a guy really loves you i belive he would hurt over the break up..

    December 18, 2013 at 2:57 am

  15. Ruth

    I jst broke up with mine cos i got tired of doubting if he loves me or not even though he kept tellin me he does,bt he jst acts the oppisite..so i broke up with him and @ first he tot it was a joke nd when i made him realise it wasnt all he said to me was ‘Better for you’ obviously he never really loved me and that jst cleared my doubts..bt then,i still belive not all guys are the same if a guy really loves you i belive he would hurt over the break up..

    December 18, 2013 at 2:59 am

  16. Ruth

    I jst broke up with mine cos i got tired of doubting if he loves me or not even though he kept tellin me he does,bt he jst acts the oppisite..so i broke up with him and @ first he tot it was a joke nd when i made him realise it wasnt all he said to me was ‘Better for you’ after the breakup i felt bad bt immediate ly he said that i felt stupid 4 feeling bad nd cryin and the wasted time i spent with him…obviously he never really loved me and that jst cleared my doubts..bt then,i still belive not all guys are the same if a guy really loves you i belive he would hurt over the break up..

    December 18, 2013 at 3:01 am

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