17 Signs He’s Hurting After the Break-Up

Let’s face it; a breakup is never a joyous affair. 

At least one, if not both parties involved, will feel heartbroken or betrayed. 

So if you’re about to end things with your significant other, do you know what to expect? 

Do guys hurt after a break-up?

They often do, but it can be hard to tell when there’s a wall of anger in the way. 

Men tend to hide their true emotions behind a mask of fury, which can be confusing and difficult to navigate. 

Even more mysterious is the shroud of apathy that can sometimes overtake them, leaving you wondering if they’re even feeling anything at all.

In this post, we’ll look at the signs he is hurting after the break-up and heartbroken over you and determine if he still carries the weight of losing you.

17 Signs He’s Hurting After the Break-Up

Depending on the type of person your significant other is, the signs he’s hurting after a break-up can vary.

But if you notice a few of the clues here, it’s likely he’s feeling the pain of losing you.

1. He Acts Distant

One of the most common signs he’s hurting after the break-up is that he suddenly becomes distant. 

If your formerly-chatty beau suddenly seems to be avoiding conversation, it could mean his heart is still breaking from the split, and he’s trying to process things on his own.

2. His Emotions Are All Over the Place

Is your ex going from tearful to angry in a matter of seconds? Or do you find him laughing one minute and then crying the next? 

These extreme changes in his emotions can be a sign that he just doesn’t know how to handle the pain of the breakup, so it manifests itself in different ways.

3. He Invents a New Look or Persona

If your previous boyfriend has suddenly changed his hairstyle or completely overhauled his wardrobe, it might be an attempt to distract himself from the breakup. 

However, this is actually an avoidant coping mechanism, so don’t be fooled; he’s still feeling the pain of your split.

Becoming a new person emanates from within, so this superficial change only buys him time as he distracts himself from his broken heart.

4. He Withdraws from Friends and Family

You may have heard from mutual friends that your ex has been pulling back from loved ones. 

He doesn’t want to admit that he’s struggling, so pushing away the people closest to him can be his way of protecting them from his pain.

Especially if you’re close to his community, he may feel threatened or afraid to connect.

5. You Catch Him Peeping at You Online

Have you noticed him watching your social media accounts or checking in on you online?

Even if he doesn’t admit it, this can be a sign that he still has feelings and is aching to keep tabs on you. 

It’s easy to get lost in the internet labyrinth, thinking you can watch from a distance and not get hurt.

6. He’s Always Angry When You Talk

Anger is a protective emotion that often masks the pain of a breakup. He may be using it to hurt you back and make himself feel better while avoiding the real hurt underneath. 

This behavior will ultimately make your ex feel worse and eat away at his self-esteem.

7. He Gives You the Silent Treatment

While taking space after ending a relationship is normal, if your previous partner has completely shut down on you and refuses to talk, it could be a sign that he’s still feeling the pain. 

man looking sad with a glass of beer signs he's hurting after the break up

He may need more time alone to process his emotions and come to terms with the end of the relationship.

Being at a loss for words is normal when someone is overwhelmed with emotion.

8. He Acts Like the Relationship Has a Future

Maybe your ex acknowledges that the relationship is over, but he still mentions that trip you both had planned with a group of friends in a few months. 

It can be a bit awkward to hear when you know it’s over, but it could indicate that he’s still clinging to hope that you’ll reconcile.

9. He Overindulges or Parties

One of the most common ways to numb out after receiving bad news is by leaning on substances. It could range from food to shopping, drinking, and drug use. 

It’s unsustainable and can quickly get out of hand, so being aware of this potentially serious sign of a breakup is essential.

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10. He Immediately Starts Dating

Does your ex already have his dating apps turned on? Has he called an ex? Is he flirting with everyone he meets? 

It’s doubtful he’s doing this because he’s entirely over you. It’s usually a sign that he’s trying to move on too quickly because he can’t pause the pain of being alone or without you.

11. He Talks About You Behind Your Back

When a guy is upset after a breakup but non-confrontational overall, he may do what he can to get back at you by talking about you behind your back

Hurtful statements could include gossiping, posting stories on social media, or even sabotaging your social or professional relationships. It’s a way for him to cope with the pain, but it’s also quite hurtful and immature.

12. He Begs to Stay Together

Sometimes desperation can do the talking, and a guy may do anything to keep you.

He may want to stay in contact, call or text often, or even try to be in your presence whenever possible. 

This behavior can become obsessive and can be pretty damaging to the relationship, indicating a lack of respect for your boundaries.

13. He Blocks Your Number and Socials

Your ex may be blocking you because he knows he won’t be able to resist the temptation to reach out to you. 

Whether he wants to avoid sending you angry messages or tries returning to the relationship, he’s feeling the pain of the breakup and doesn’t want to succumb to it.

14. He Always Asks Your Friends About You

It can be hard to go from being intimately involved with someone to not knowing anything about them. 

woman with smudged mascara signs he's hurting after the break up

He can keep tabs on you by asking your friends and knowing what’s happening in your life. He’s still attached to your life, so he may be struggling to let go.

15. He Refuses to Give Your Stuff Back

One of the final steps of a breakup is returning the items you used to share. If he continues to hold on to your stuff, it can indicate he’s not ready to part with you yet. 

Even if it’s something as simple as a t-shirt or a pair of earrings, he may subconsciously be using it as an excuse to keep you in his life a little longer.

16. He Blames You For Everything

When we’re dumped, our first response may be to feel like a victim. That feeling gets stronger when we blame the other person for the pain we are experiencing. 

If your ex starts to do this, it’s a sign that he’s bottling up his emotions and has yet to process the breakup.

17. He Won’t Forgive Himself For Losing You

If your ex has low self-esteem and is hard on himself, he may have difficulty accepting that the relationship is over. 

He might feel like it was his fault and that he didn’t do enough to make it work, so he’s punishing himself with hurtful words and self-destructive behavior. 

He may even hope that you feel sorry for him and come back to him out of pity, although this rarely works.

Break-Up Stages for Guys

Break-ups are a process, and men experience them as intensely as women. Here are the six stages a man will go through during a breakup:

  • Denial: Men tend to deny the truth of the situation at first, avoiding any thought or discussion related to the split. They may say things like “we’re still together” to protect themselves from the pain associated with heartbreak.
  • Anger: After the denial fades, anger will bubble up in its place. This is often expressed as vindictive words and actions towards the other person. When a man is angry after a breakup, he’s really expressing his hurt and pain as the truth settles in.
  • Bargaining: Some men may attempt to bargain with their former partner in hopes of reconciliation or repairing the relationship. He might offer extravagant gifts or promises of grand gestures in exchange for forgiveness and a do-over.
  • Depression: A man may feel deeply depressed and regretful after a breakup, mentally replaying memories of happier times. He can’t live in the present because he’s trapped in the past.
  • Acceptance: This stage comes when the man accepts the relationship is over and tries to move on with his life. He has a bit more energy and restored motivation.
  • Resolution: He finds closure and resolves any unspoken feelings he may have had about the relationship. At this point, it may be possible for him to become friends with his ex again, but if not, he has moved on and no longer harbors resentment or apprehension.

There’s no set timeline for when a man should go through these stages, as everyone is different.

couple talking by a shelf of books signs he's hurting after the break up

But do know that even if he doesn’t express it outwardly, he’s transitioning from heartbreak to resolution in his own time.

What to Do If He Is Hurting After a Break-Up

You may feel helpless or scared to do anything if your ex is clearly in pain over the breakup.

But there are things you can do to help him that can make you both feel more at ease:

Allow him to have his feelings.

Do not brush away his emotions when you break the news to your ex or when he’s still dealing with the aftermath of your split. Don’t tell him what he can or can’t feel; it’s not in your control.

Ask him if he has questions. 

Simple as that. Ask if there’s anything you can say to give him clarity about the breakup and be ready to listen with an open mind and heart. He may circle back with questions after he has time to process the situation.

Set firm boundaries. 

It may not sound like the kindest thing to do, but setting firm and clear boundaries with your ex is a must for both of your sakes. This way, you will know what’s expected of each other and what is off-limits.

Try to avoid anger. 

You don’t want to do or say anything that you’d regret down the line, so do your best to stay calm and collected if he lashes out at you. Walk away if things start to deteriorate.

Remember, it won’t last forever. 

He may be in a lot of pain right now, but remind yourself that this, too, will pass. He will eventually get through the stages and work towards healing independently.

While you’re not responsible for your ex’s emotions, remember that breakups hurt, and it’s essential to be understanding of the pain he is going through.

You can help him find peace and closure by showing compassion and being supportive.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal for a man to go through a rollercoaster of emotions after breaking up with someone he loves.

But when you can identify the signs that he is hurting, it can help you better understand your ex’s experience and do what you can do to get him through this tough time.

Stay mindful of your feelings regarding the breakup, as your emotions during this time are equally valid.

The journey of healing is unique for everyone, so do take the time to nurture and care for yourself as well.

Are you unsure if the breakup has affected him? Find out the signs he's hurting after the breakup as you read this post.

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