By Chris Seiter

Published on September 15th, 2023

Today I’d like to answer one simple question.

Do men still think about you after a breakup?

Men definitely still think about you after a breakup but the journey they often experience revolves around if they were the ones to break up with you or not.

So, I feel like I have a pretty interesting perspective on this because in conjunction with ex-boyfriend recovery, I also run a website called ex-girlfriend recovery, which is predominantly designed to help men get through their breakups.

Not only am I studying men’s reactions when they’ve been the ones to break up with my female clients, but I’m also studying the men’s reactions when they were the ones who have been broken up with.

I think traditionally, men experience a similar trajectory to women when they’ve been broken up with, with a few notable exceptions, and we’ll take a look at the experience of each.

But what I would like to do for this discussion is essentially divide it up into two parts.

  1. I’d like to look at the thoughts or reactions that men have when they break up with you and how likely they are to still be thinking about you after the breakup.
  2. And I’d also like to look at the thoughts and reactions that they have when you’ve broken up with a man and if they’re likely to think about you more.

Alright, enough chit chat. Let’s get to it.

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When A Man Breaks Up With You

So let’s start first with men who break up with you.

Now, our polling shows that they tend to be avoidant by nature to the tune of about 67%.

And for reference, the poll that I’m talking about above was predominantly filled out by women about their male exes.

So the really important thing to understand about the avoidant attachment style is it’s really steeped in an avoidance need for independence. They just like being not necessarily alone, but they like to be in relationships where they still feel like they have their independence. And oftentimes the paradox is that in relationships you aren’t as independent anymore and so they resist against that.

And ultimately what that means is a dismissive avoidant is going to be moving through what I lovingly refer to as the dismissive avoidant death wheel, which is this graphic right here.

So there are eight main stages to it and I’ve talked about these stages in almost every single article that I do now because it’s so relevant to pretty much everything that we talk about.

But essentially the eight stages are:

  • Stage one, I want someone to love me.
  • Stage two, hey, I found someone, my troubles are over.
  • Stage three, oh, I’m starting to notice some worrying things about my partner.
  • Stage four, I’m thinking of leaving.
  • Stage five, I’ve decided to leave this relationship.
  • Stage six, I go through the separation elation phase, I’m so happy that I left.
  • Stage seven, I’m starting to feel kind of lonely.
  • And stage eight, why can’t I ever find the right person?

So essentially what I’m arguing is that most avoidant men who’ve broken up with you, they don’t start thinking about you or missing you until that separation elation phase is finished and it’s backed up by outside research as well.

I came across this really great article that was breaking down this very complicated study on men and women during breakups from the Times of India.

And the study basically indicated that women, when they go through a breakup, they actually do get more negatively affected both emotionally and physically by the heartbreak.

So women actually rated their emotional anguish to be 6.84 post-breakup, whereas that figure turned out to be 6.58 for men.

Now I’m going to take a quick side note here. That’s not far off from each other. While women definitely had more emotional anguish after the breakup, men also had emotional anguish as well, just not as much, just a minuscule amount less.

And I think that’s going to be really important for some of the studies, personal studies, I’ve done that I’m going to be referencing later. But to kind of carry on, women suffer more on an emotional and physical level after a breakup, but they tend to recover more fully and ultimately come out stronger from the experience.

So we think this is because women channel their emotions during the breakup phase and try to understand themselves and their needs from a relationship better.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Whereas men have a completely different way of dealing with the situation.

True to an avoidant style, they don’t channel emotions, they kind of bask in that separation elation phase and try to push them away. In fact, they say that men either experience nothing or may resort to alcohol, drug abuse, or violence, and they’re actually a lot less likely to come up with any kind of personal realizations.

Again, this is very avoidant behavior.

The research has also indicated that men take longer than women and struggle more to move on.

In fact, the researchers observed that many of the male participants suffered from PRG, which is post-relationship grief at the time of the study, even if they had parted ways more than a year ago.

Once again, it’s really going through that avoidant death wheel. And I think kind of the important thing that you have to understand is oftentimes a man who’s broken up with you is thinking about you.

They’re just not going to be reaching out to you and talking about it. And that’s the big misunderstanding people tend to have.

They tend to take their ex’s silence as an indicator that they meant nothing to that ex, when the opposite may in fact be true. It just may be that the avoidant doesn’t have a really great way of reaching out and trying to talk about that.

Usually the time that they do reach out is after they have gone through that separation and the loneliness begins to kick in. And what they do instead is they kind of paint you as this phantom ex, which makes them a lot more likely to reach out. But in most of the cases that I’ve studied, my clients have to be the ones to reach out to their ex-boyfriends if they want to reconcile or have a conversation.

So that’s kind of my take on if a man breaks up with you. I think very much that they are thinking about you, but they’re not going to outwardly talk about that.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.

When You Break Up With A Man

Let’s look at the situation where you actually break up with a man.

So essentially, I study this all the time with my other website, Ex-Girlfriend Recovery. And one of the things that really shocked me when I started that website in 2013 was how similar the queries were.

So take this example and then put the graphic in right here.

My girlfriend broke up with me a few months after we’d just moved in together (6.5 year relationship). She told me she was more than happy for me to keep living with her so I did. she started hanging out with one of her guy friends straight away whose part of a friendship group I hate. I never had an issue with him but certainly with some of his friends. Anyway I ignored that situation so I didn’t seem jealous. However things seemed to be progressing with my ex and we decided we’d both still go to a concert out of town together that we already had tickets to.
Everything was all good until we got there and she started acting sour, then she ditched me and my mates and I found her hanging with the dude. I was shocked, was already drunk not knowing I’d be in this situation. Since I didn’t ever have a issue with him I went and said hello to both of them and after 2 minutes he started being a dick and things got massively blown out of proportion(she was screaming at me by the end even though he was the one being a dick). I think I may have ruined my chances by interfering with the rebound. The next night at home I calmed the waters, she was okay and happy enough.
A week later I moved out, when I was leaving with the last of my stuff we had a good conversation which she kept on extending and extending.
I immediately started no contact (just over two weeks ago) she sent me one meaningless message 4 days in and since then I’ve heard nothing.
Do I still have any descent chances of getting her back since I not only interfered with her rebound but he’s also part of a group who don’t like me?!?!?
Things were looking good before that incident.
Any advice would be appreciated

So that example almost sounds identical to the many different women writing questions in the comments section of Ex-Boyfriend Recovery or even in our community.

And that sort of leads me to my next point.

Psychology has clearly shown that individuals with the anxious attachment style tend to be the victims of breakups. In relationships, predicting who’s more likely to initiate a breakup is quite complex because it really depends on a myriad of factors, including personality traits, attachment styles, relationship dynamics, and external influence. That said, we can glean some insights based on the context of attachment styles when it comes to breakups.

Anxious Attachment Style

Some of the main characteristics that are attached to the anxious attachment style are people who tend to be more concerned about the status of the relationship tend to have anxious attachment styles.

They tend to have a deep fear of abandonment and they often need constant reassurance and validation in the relationship. So if you were in a relationship with a man who was constantly concerned that you were going to break up with them, who was deathly afraid that anytime you talked to someone else they would just blow up because they were so frightened of losing you, and would constantly seek reassurance and validation while they were together with you, then most likely you were dating someone with some anxious attachment style tendencies.

This actually makes a man, if they exhibit this behavior in a relationship, more likely to be the victim of a breakup for a lot of different reasons.

Likelihood of Being the “Victim” of a Breakup:

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There’s the idea that individuals with anxious attachment styles are probably more prone to experiencing breakups initiated by their partners, probably due to the stressors their anxieties place on the relationship.

The constant need for reassurance, the persistent fears of abandonment, can often trigger other people and be quite annoying. It kind of creates what I call a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The anxious person’s fear of abandonment creates this sequence where their anxieties and behaviors push their partner away, ultimately resulting in a breakup. It happens over and over again, whether it’s in the same relationship, if they’re in this on-again, off-again phase, or if it’s in a different relationship.

People with anxious attachment styles are probably more likely to end up in relationships with avoidantly attached individuals.

This ultimately creates a cycle of push and pull that can end in a breakup.

Seeing how most of our clients are the ones broken up with, to the tune of about 80%, it makes sense that most of the men on Ex-Girlfriend Recovery are exhibiting anxious attachment styles.

You can even see from just looking around at our community, this is definitely the case. Does that mean that all men have anxious attachment styles?

No. But if a man was broken up with and they didn’t want the breakup, and that’s the key component here, then they’re likely to go through the eight stages of the anxious death wheel,

Which starts with:

  1. “I want someone to love me”,
  2. “Hey, I found someone”,
  3. “I’ll make this entire person my focus”,
  4. “Ooh, I’m sensing that they’re going to leave me”,
  5. “Oh no, they’ve actually left me”,
  6. “Oh, I’m going to do everything I can to win them back”,
  7. “Oh no, it’s not going well”, “I feel so alone”,
  8. “Will I ever find someone?”

And I don’t know about you, but in those stages, the anxiously attached ex-boyfriend is constantly thinking nonstop about their ex.

But my research is a bit flawed.

The Flaw With My Thinking

I can only study with the data that I have.

And the problem I see with the data that I have is the major difference between searches that women do online versus what men do online.

I mean, it’s no mistake that this website, Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, is so much larger than the other website, Ex-Girlfriend Recovery. And that’s partly due to my time commitment.

I commit a lot more time to this website, but the reason I commit a lot more time to this website is that there’s actually a lot more people searching, or women searching online for breakup help. And I think this kind of goes back to some of those other studies that I was referencing where men don’t like to talk about the problems that they’re having.

They like to solve them themselves. And so the men that are probably going online and searching for help on breakups or how to win their ex back and things like that are only going to be the anxious men.

So, of course, the data that I have is mostly from anxious men. And this is problematic because it doesn’t necessarily mean that all men who you break up with are going to react in an anxious way.

There might be a situation where you break up with your ex because you’re holding a boundary and they were incredibly avoidant and you just can’t take it anymore. Yes, I would argue the avoidant person still thinks about you.

I don’t think that’s in question here. I think how they think about you or how they react when they think about you is what’s in question here. So those nuances matter. And I think it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re considering looking for signs that they’re thinking about you.

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