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.
- The Alone Time Stage
- The Reassurance Stage
- The Reliance On Friends Or Family Stage
- The Blame Stage
- The Rebound Stage
- The Void Stage
- The Nostalgia Stage
- The Acceptance Stage
Let’s dive right in and talk about each of these stages in-depth.
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.
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.
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.
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!