By Chris Seiter

Published on May 1st, 2023

Today I will describe how men feel when a woman leaves them.

We all know that breakups can be challenging, no matter who initiates them. Still, seeing as this website is titled Ex Boyfriend Recovery, most of our focus is rightfully on how women feel after a man leaves them.

But have you ever stopped to think about how a man feels when a woman abandons him? When a partner leaves, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions, such as rejection, loss, and sadness, but how do guys deal with these feelings?

Today, we find out, as I’ve listed, the 15 most likely emotions a man will feel when a woman leaves him.

  1. Shock and Disbelief
  2. Slow Painful Heartbreak
  3. Denial
  4. Living in Anger
  5. Pain of Rejection
  6. Questions Self: Insecurity
  7. Succumbing to Sadness
  8. Falling in Loneliness
  9. Build Resentment
  10. Betrayal
  11. Reflect on Guilt
  12. Feeling the Numbness
  13. Fear of Being Replaced

Let’s take a closer look.

Shock and Disbelief

According to this study, when a man’s relationship ends, he will likely experience disbelief and shock over the situation.

In fact, it can take men longer to get over a breakup than a woman.

Turns out that classic meme was right,

Imagine this situation momentarily: He’s going around thinking everything is fine and that you’ll be together forever.

But then ‘BAM’ here you come saying, ‘Let’s break up; I’m leaving you.’

Your sudden announcement could catch him off guard. He may feel like the rug has been pulled out from under him and struggle to process what is happening.

This leads us quite nicely to our next emotion.


Denial is a common coping mechanism that can prolong the healing process and make it difficult for someone to accept a painful event in their life.

Despite no signals of reconciliation, a person in denial may try to convince themselves that their former partner will return or that the separation is only temporary.

They may continue to treat their former partner as if they are still in a relationship, maintaining their usual nightly and morning calls, among other things.

However, it’s important to remember that,

Change is the only permanent thing in the world

And a breakup may not be a temporary situation.

Persistent denial can make it challenging for someone to process the sudden change in their life and accept that the relationship is over. As a result, the heartache slowly seeps in, adding to the difficulty of moving on.

Slow, Painful Heartbreak

As the new reality without you sets in, he may begin to experience a slow, painful heartbreak.

This is essentially him coming to terms with the loss and realizing the relationship is over.

The pain can be excruciating and last for an extended time.

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Researchers find heartbreak can affect your physical health as you tend to fall into depression due to “the sudden loss.”

Our founder, Chris Seiter, did some fascinating research related to this.

Take a look at this graphic,

This is what’s happening neurochemically to the body after a breakup. Your cortisol is significantly elevated. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.

And to quote from one of Chris’ recent videos,

It can take three to four hours for your cortisol levels to return to normal after a stress response (like an argument or high-stakes meeting). Still, if your levels have been high for some time, it can take up to six months to balance them out.

If you live in this elevated cortisol stage, it will prolong the breakup experience even more.

Living in Anger

When we feel anger, it can feel like a fire is burning inside us. Some people even describe it as a “fire between their eyebrows.”

It’s a strong emotion that can be disruptive and even dangerous, depending on how we handle it.

Breakups tend to trigger intense feelings of anger.


Well, at their core, most breakups are about rejection. One person saying, “I think I can do better than you.”

This rejection is obviously personal.

One of the common post-breakup behaviors we notice after breakups is men bombarding women with phone calls and text messages, accusing them of being the root of all their problems.

Pain of Rejection

Rejection in a breakup is the emotional equivalent of getting punched in the stomach.

Being rejected is like having the rug ripped out from under you.

He may go from feeling on top of the world to drowning in grief and despair.

Through this process, he may question everything about himself – his looks, personality, and worth.

Am I not good enough?

What did I do wrong?

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Did she find someone better?

Oh, not to mention the song effect. You know, you are busy going about your day, and then a song on the radio reminds you of your partner.

Every happy couple you see on the street – reminds you of them.

Questions Self: Insecurity

After a woman leaves him, a man may feel insecure about maintaining future relationships for fear of getting hurt again.

Some of the biggest questions that might be on his mind are:

“Will I ever be able to maintain a healthy relationship?”

“Am I even worthy of love?”

“What if I’m just not cut out for relationships?”

This concept is actually pretty reminiscent of Ex Boyfriend Recovery’s relationship death wheel,

Basically, in that circumstance, we are studying avoidants and their thought processes, but what’s interesting is if you look at the top of that wheel, it’s always spurred on by some thought of,

“Why is this always happening to me?”

Brought on by profound insecurity.

Succumbing to Sadness

After being left by the woman he loves, a man may feel like his world is ending due to her physical absence and the corresponding emotions.

To cope with the pain, he may distract himself from work or spend time with friends, which can provide temporary relief.

However, as the day ends, he may find himself alone with his thoughts, and sadness can slowly creep in.

He may replay every moment of the relationship, wondering what went wrong and why she left.

It’s okay to feel sad and mourn the loss of the relationship, but surrendering to sadness is not the answer. It’s essential to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and with time and effort, it is possible to move on and heal.

Believe in yourself and your ability to overcome the pain. You are strong enough to weather this storm and emerge even more robust on the other side.


After being left by a woman, a man may succumb to loneliness.

It could be a particularly gut-wrenching experience for him if he invested a lot in the relationship – emotion, future, effort, and time.

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He may struggle to find joy in his life.

He may even feel a sense of emptiness for being reminded of her everywhere, and the nights can be even worse, lying in bed and wondering what went wrong.


The bitterness a man may feel after being dumped by a woman is a complex and nuanced emotion.

It can be influenced by various factors, such as the man’s personality, the nature of the relationship, and the conditions surrounding the breakup.

As time passes, a man may resent the woman who left him. He may feel mistreated and harbor feelings of anger towards her for ending the relationship. This resentment can significantly impact his mental well-being and overall quality of life.

Acknowledging and processing these emotions is essential, as repressing them can lead to further resentment and bitterness.

Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can help facilitate healing and promote a healthy emotional state.


A man may also feel a sense of betrayal after being left by a woman.

He may feel like she cheated or betrayed him, which can lead to feelings of distrust. He may struggle to trust others in the future and feel a sense of caution when entering into new relationships.

He may find faults in past arguments, memories, or anything that could lead him to justify why the woman left him.

One exciting thing that I think doesn’t get talked about enough regarding attachment styles is that most people’s natural assumption about them is that you are born with an insecure attachment.

Or that your upbringing really affects it, but that’s not how they work.

All kinds of things can cause your attachment style over the years.

A breakup can be one of those things.

Consider for a moment a guy who goes through a breakup and is consumed with these thoughts of betrayal. One unhealthy coping mechanism that may develop out of that is the need for independence.

Which is a very avoidant approach.

So yes, a nasty breakup can actually trigger what could have been an utterly secure man and turn him into an avoidant one.

Reflect on Guilt

Sometimes, after a breakup, a man may spend a lot of time reflecting on his behavior during the relationship. In doing so, he might feel guilty about things he did or didn’t do, which can be tough to navigate emotionally.

The guilt can lead to regret and sadness, and the man may think that he could have saved the relationship if only he had acted differently.

It’s important to remember that a relationship takes two people, and both parties have a role in its success or failure.

While it’s natural to feel guilty about the end of a relationship, it’s also crucial to recognize that factors beyond your control likely contributed to the breakup.

Working through these emotions can take time, but it’s an essential step in healing.

Feeling the Numbness

After experiencing the above intense emotions, a man may start to feel a little numb.

There is no joy or pleasure in life after the breakup. And weirdly, some men may take solace in this fact. They may enjoy being numb because it means they don’t have to “feel” anymore.

It’s important to remember that this is a natural response to the emotional trauma he has experienced.

Fear of Being Replaced

It is common to experience a fear of being replaced after a breakup, especially if the relationship ended unexpectedly.

One look at the Ex Boyfriend Recovery community can prove that:

“Is anyone else scared their ex will move on and find someone else? I’m trying to block it out of my mind, but it’s constantly there.”

It’s a common fear, but the more exciting part is how many comments that post got. Over 90 people yelled their agreement.

Common Behaviors Men Exhibit After Being Left By A Woman

In addition to listing out the most likely emotions men will feel after a breakup, I decided to go above and beyond and list out the most common behaviors you can expect from them,

  1. They can distort the truth
  2. Act like a victim
  3. Act like a villain
  4. Social withdrawal
  5. Invest in new hobbies
  6. Try to win their ex back
  7. Engage in self-destructive behavior
  8. Seek Reassurance

Distorting the Truth

He may lie about why his partner left him to save face or protect his ego. He may twist the truth into lies and makes the woman the “bad guy” in the relationship when the facts might be different.

We’ve even seen some men lie about who broke up with whom.

Acting like a Victim

Some men may share their breakup stories with others to seek sympathy and support. In doing so, they may exaggerate their sadness or misrepresent what happened in the relationship to cast themselves in a more sympathetic light. While this behavior is understandable, it can be seen as manipulative since the person may be trying to shape the narrative of the relationship or elicit a particular response from those around them.

Acting like a Villain

For this one I’d like to take a direct quote from the Founder of Ex Boyfriend Recovery,

“Sometimes, one of the most common coping mechanisms we see from men is to demonize their exes. After all, it makes them feel better to put the blame onto someone else.” – Chris Seiter.

To deal with the separation, some guys may malign their ex. By vilifying their ex-partner and portraying them as the primary source of the relationship’s issues, the individual may be able to shift blame away from themselves and avoid accepting responsibility for any mistakes they may have made.

They may blame the woman for everything that went wrong in the relationship or depict them as villains to feel better about themselves.

Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is a typical response to a breakup, especially for men. It refers to actively avoiding social situations and preferring to spend time alone.

See our research on avoidants,

It can include skipping social events, avoiding friends or family members, and spending more time in isolation than usual.

Men may choose to withdraw socially after a breakup for various reasons.

For example, they may be embarrassed or ashamed of their divorce and wish to avoid questioning or criticism from others. They may also find it difficult to express their emotions or to burden others with their difficulties. They may avoid discussing the split or being around people who remind them of their ex-partner.

Exploring New Hobbies

Not all men respond to a breakup by turning to negative behaviors. Some do exactly what they’re supposed to do: focus on themselves.

They may try new hobbies or activities to keep their mind off their ex-partner. There are many options, from physical pursuits like working out at the gym, running, or taking long walks outdoors to mental challenges like learning a new language or picking up a musical instrument.

Traveling is also a great way to invest in oneself – exploring new places, trying fresh foods, and meeting new people can be a rewarding experience.

In fact, a breakup may be just the push someone needs to take that much-needed vacation. But all joking aside, taking care of oneself is essential during this difficult time.

Trying to Win Her Back

Ah, the classic “trying to win her back” move.

It’s a scenario played out in countless romantic comedies and dramas.

Say anything, anyone?


Pulling it off in real life can be trickier.

According to this podcast,

The standard benchmark between success rates that you can expect to get throughout your attempt to get your ex back ranges from 37% to 65%.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Self-destructive behavior is a typical response to emotional pain, especially after a breakup.

Men, in particular, may turn to excessive drinking or partying to numb the hurt they feel.

While these behaviors may temporarily relieve the initial pain, they ultimately do more harm than good.

Even if the pain is intolerable, drink responsibly. Your health is wealth.

Seeking Reassurance

Men may seek validation from other women to improve their self-esteem and feel better about themselves. This can manifest in various ways, such as flirting with female colleagues or seeking attention from other women on social media.

Men may even turn to female colleagues or acquaintances for validation and attention, regardless of their relationship status. This behavior may stem from a lack of confidence, past relationship trauma, or a general need for attention and admiration.

While seeking validation from other women can provide a temporary ego boost, it can also lead to slippery slopes that can result in infidelity and cause relationship issues. It’s essential to address the underlying issues that drive this behavior and find healthier ways to improve self-esteem and gain validation.

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1 thought on “How Does A Man Feel When A Woman Leaves Him?”

  1. Mick OConnor

    October 7, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    I feel all of the emotions (except bitterness). Thing is, they’re all combobulated – happening simultaneously and not one after the other. It is very confusing and hurting but above all sad.