By Chris Seiter

Published on August 28th, 2021

In today’s post I’m going to show you exactly what happens after a breakup for guys.

In fact, a lot of people don’t know this but most guys go through eight distinct stages post breakup.

  1. The Alone Time Stage
  2. The Reassurance Stage
  3. The Reliance On Friends Or Family Stage
  4. The Blame Stage
  5. The Rebound Stage
  6. The Void Stage
  7. The Nostalgia Stage
  8. The Acceptance Stage

Let’s dive right in and talk about each of these stages in-depth.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Stage #1: The Alone Time Stage

Where they feel they need some time alone to process due to their avoidant behavior.

Around 80% of our clients are the ones who were broken up with, so they often think their exes won’t need to be alone after a breakup because they should be happy, but that’s not the case.

Even exes who initiate breakups need time to reflect on their decision. How much time they need alone is an interesting question because it really varies based on your ex’s personality style.

So, for example, if your ex is extroverted, they’re probably not going to have a ton of alone time where they’re sitting and trying to process their emotions.

On the other hand, if you have an ex who is very introverted, they’re going to have a longer stage of being alone and thinking through things.

It’s important to mention that there are some cases where your ex may completely skip a stage or even jump back and forth between stages. Sometimes you’ll notice people skip this first stage of contemplation and jump right to our next stage…

Stage #2 The Reassurance Stage

They need to reassure themselves that they made the right decision in breaking up with you.

This will often happen when your ex is alone. I’ve sent these stages up to function from a causality perspective – cause and effect.

So, we have the first stage of alone time, and your ex spends it contemplating their decision. They ultimately sit there and think to themselves whether they made the right choice.

No one wants to make the wrong decision and be in a situation where they realize they have to go back and beg for their ex back to rectify their mistake. So, in this stage, your ex is trying their best to reassure themselves that they made the right decision.

This is often where you’ll get mean responses back if you are still in contact with them. They’ll push you away to reaffirm their decision because they’re possibly having doubts. As I said, 80% of our clients are in a scenario where their exes have broken up with them, so there’s a high chance you are in the exact same scenario.

This stage is also where the concept of winning the breakup comes into play. We all want to win the breakup, and so when any kind of doubt creeps in, your ex overcompensates to reassure themselves that breaking up with you was the right choice. This leads seamlessly into the next stage

Stage #3: The Reliance on Friends or Family Stage

They tell their friends or family about the breakup and try to seek validation that they made the right decision.

When we try to internally sort our feelings out but are unable to do so immediately, we often seek validation from people outside of ourselves. This is where you’ll hear me talk about the sphere of influence.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Sphere of influence – those people with whom one surrounds oneself, including family members, best friends, and sometimes people they even admire. These are the people we trust, listen to, and take advice from.

Your ex will go to these people and indirectly ask for their opinions about the breakup. They typically won’t disclose who initiated the breakup; they’ll just say it was mutual and gauge people’s response.

What they want to hear:

  • “So glad you two broke up; she was bad news!”
  • “It’s good that you’re away from that person now.”
  • “She was so manipulative, and you were always fighting, good riddance.”

What they don’t want to hear:

  • “Oh, that sucks, you guys were made for each other”

Usually, your ex will hear exactly what they need to hear to get validation. No one wants to create a conflict, so they’ll probably convince your ex that breaking up was the right decision.

Stage #4: The Blame Stage

They start blaming you for their decision to break up.

If we’ve learned anything from our studies here at ex-boyfriend recovery, the last place you should seek validation is from outside yourself.

The only thing that really matters is if you have validated yourself from within. So ultimately, your ex can get all the validation and support from their sphere of influence and still have a nagging doubt in their head that takes over…

“What happens if she finds someone new? Did I make the right choice to leave her?”

This is where they play the blame game. Even if there’s a little bit of doubt, your ex will not blame themselves; they will blame you.

It’s a lot easier for them to get angry at you or something else as opposed to blaming themselves for their decision. I have seen this occur in some of the most ridiculous situations.

Let’s take an example of a cheating ex.

Rather than taking responsibility for their actions, they shift the blame onto you. Here’s what this sounds like: “Yeah, I cheated, but you made me do it. You put me in a situation where I wasn’t happy, and you weren’t fulfilling my needs.”

This is an extreme example, but exes will almost always find a way to blame you for their decisions because it’s easier than holding themselves accountable.

Stage #5: The Rebound Stage

They either try to find someone new, or they need to distract themselves with something else like obsessing over work.

The rebound stage is all about distraction.

Your ex doesn’t want to feel guilty or doubtful about the breakup anymore, so they seek validation from a new romantic partner. Being with a new person comes with a rush of temporary excitement – the honeymoon period. It still feels like you’re chasing them, and they’re not a known commodity.

It’s exciting to wake up excited every day to learn something new about this particular person.

However, if your ex is on the rebound, this honeymoon period will not last long, especially compared to people in genuine relationships.

Eventually, the distraction from the new person will wear off, forcing your ex to realize this new person doesn’t make them happy, leading into the next stage.

Before we get to the next stage, I want to point out that the rebound stage isn’t just about new romantic entanglements.

Your ex may also distract themselves in this stage by throwing themselves into their workplace or something else like their fitness journey etc. Ultimately, they will experience some level of burnout, though.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Stage #6: The Void Stage

This stage creeps in either with the new person or the depression of not finding someone new.

If your ex moved on to someone new, this stage happens when their initial honeymoon period is wearing off, and they have their first argument.

That’s when the cracks start to form, and they’ll realize this isn’t what they signed up for. Once they have this realization, they enter into a state of depression, realizing that they were just trying to distract themselves from the pain of losing you.

If your ex chose to focus on work to distract themselves, they would still enter this void stage because they won’t stop thinking about you. This realization will ultimately lead them to the next stage.

Stage #7: The Nostalgia Stage

Nostalgia can hit your ex happen as early as the rebound stage or as late as the void stage.

We’ve talked a lot in the past about attachment styles, particularly people with avoidant attachment styles. We find that most of our clients tend to exhibit anxious behaviors while their exes exhibit more avoidant behaviors.

When you study avoidant behaviors, it actually fits perfectly with the stages that we’ve talked about here.

The big misunderstanding people have about avoidant exes or people with avoidant attachment styles is that they don’t seek love, attention, or relationships. That’s not true at all. They want all those things, but they don’t want to sacrifice their independence to get them.

Avoidants have an intense fear of losing themselves in a relationship, so they freak out when someone gets too close. Their natural response is then to push people away. However, eventually, with enough time and effort on your part to make it look like you’re moving on, your avoidant ex will get nostalgic about your relationship.

Exes with avoidant attachment styles only allow themselves to miss you when they think there is no chance of getting back together.

When you remove the chance for emotional intimacy and lost independence, your ex will start creating “what if” scenarios with you as the ultimate Ungettable girl who got away. Avoidants really want what they can’t have, and this is the stage for that.

This is the stage where after going through the emotional roller coaster of avoiding you, seeking validation from others, distracting themselves, and admitting they made a mistake, your ex will finally daydream about “what could have been.”

That nostalgia makes this the perfect time to reach out to them and show them that their “what could have been” could still be a reality if you come back into their life.

They’re a lot more receptive towards restarting a relationship at this stage, and if you miss the boat here, the next stage will ruin your chances forever…

Stage #8: The Acceptance Stage

Even extreme avoidants will not wait around forever and stay nostalgic.

At some point, they will begin to move on and accept the reality that they may have messed up a good thing or made a mistake, but that isn’t necessarily enough for them to act and try to correct their mistake.

More people die with regrets than you could imagine, specifically when it comes to lost love.

People with these regrets were too afraid to act on their feelings and admit they made mistakes. This is why we find it’s actually really effective if you were the one to reach out and extend that olive branch.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

But of course, you have to time yourself correctly to optimize your chances of success.

The acceptance stage is basically where your ex accepts that they may have made a mistake and ultimately begin to move on and forget about you.

How Long from Start to Finish Do These Stages Last?

Recent research has indicated that it takes an average person who’s going through a breakup (not a divorce) anywhere between three to six months before they get over it.

If we go by this timeline, we can estimate how long these stages will last.

On the low end, you can expect three months before your ex goes through all of these stages, and on the high end, it can take a 6-month detour.

The important thing to remember here is that this range is an average.

There are some cases where it can happen a lot faster or a lot slower.

Some exes skip stages entirely or jump back and forth between stages, so you need to understand that each person has a unique situation!

What to Read Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 thoughts on “What Happens After A Breakup For Guys”

  1. Kita

    October 3, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    My ex and I just broke up and neither of us wanted the break up. His parents don’t accept me (religion and ethnicity difference). He said he wants to take the time apart to determine if he can accept leaving his parents behind. He said he believes he will fail to stay away from me and will return. He is grieving the break up as well. Just wondering if he will follow the stages of a dumper or dumpee since he it was his choice to break up but not technically what he wanted to do. We’ve broken up in the past when we were younger due to the same issue, and he came back as well.

    Notes: We’re both 24 with good paying jobs, and stable in life. We’ve dated for 3 years. We were very happy together and always wanted a future together.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 4, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      Hey Kita, I would still say that he was going to feel as the dumper as he chose to end the relationship to please his parents. I would also suggest that you take this on board, if he chooses to not to go against his parents wishes, then I would suggest that you consider moving on as this is going to be an ongoing issue in your future relationship with this person.

  2. Jeff Jones

    October 1, 2021 at 7:54 am

    I messed this relationship up three times .the third time I lost her . I had a few under lieing issues that help me sabotage my relationship. I know I love her and miss her . I told her “I would do what ever i could to fix us . But if you don’t think that will work let me know. I ll move on ” I haven’t heard from her for 30 days I guess it’s over

  3. Bethany

    August 29, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    How do you know when to reach out? Like when the nostalgia stage is occurring? My boyfriend of a year and a half grew up in a strict home and is on his own freshman week of college and left me on the second day of his classes saying I was constantly taking my emotions out on him and I never changed. I tried to show him I could change. I’ve been going to therapy. It hasn’t been a week since the breakup and he told me the day after the breakup he was willing to see if I could change to revisit the topic of us. Now yesterday four days after the breakup he said he didn’t want a relationship at all right now and he felt like he was obligated to text me in the relationship and call me at night and hangout with me all the time on the weekends. What’s weird is he is the one who wanted to text and call and hangout. I wasn’t very clingy. Well yesterday night he started partying and had three girls over with a few of his guy friends. He’s a college athlete and watched his roommates have all these girls they could text whenever they wanted to party. And I think he wanted to experience that. He officially ended things and today is the first full day of no contact. The past four days since the breakup we had talked once a day and I would reach out first but when I left him on read he would double text and continue the conversation. He is a very emotional guy and used to cry a lot when we would have issues. And right now he’s showing no emotion and said he’s doing so much better than he thought he would and it isn’t bothering him at all. He said he has no feelings for me left which makes no sense because last weekend I spent four days at his house and everything was normal. This was out of the blue after a small disagreement we had Monday night after I got home where I was frustrated that I was always driving to him and he never came to me. We live two hours away. I want him back desperately and I’m doing no contact but what if he doesn’t reach out to me first? I watched Sarah “buffys” video about her ex contacted her after a few days. But I’m not sure he will do the same. And if he doesn’t reach out I’m not sure when I should.