Breaking Up is Hard to Do: How Men and Women Differ in Coping and Moving On

Break up And Loss

Gender Differences in Post-Breakup Pain and Coping Mechanisms

Breaking up is hard to do, whether you’re the one initiating the split or on the receiving end. The aftermath of a breakup can be a rollercoaster of emotions, with ups and downs that can make you feel like you’ll never get over it.

But did you know that there are distinct gender differences in how men and women experience breakup pain and how they cope with it? In this article, we’ll explore the different ways men and women handle the post-breakup process.

Pain Quotient

It’s a common understanding that women experience more pain than men after a breakup, but have you ever wondered why that is? Well, according to research, it’s because women tend to experience more physical discomfort alongside emotional pain.

This double whammy can create a sense of heartache that lasts longer than the emotional pain itself. Women are also more prone to ruminate on their pain, which can prolong the healing process.

For men, on the other hand, the breakup aftermath can feel more like a relief initially. After the initial phase, men can spiral into depression and intense longing for what they’ve lost.

This can happen even if the relationship wasn’t satisfying, further complicating the healing process.

Seeking Support from Loved Ones

Societal expectations often dictate that women should reach out to loved ones for emotional support. While women tend to confide in their friends and family, men, on the other hand, can find it challenging to open up about their pain.

This is because men are often socialized to project a tough guy facade, which can make asking for help seem like a weakness. But in reality, acknowledging and sharing your pain can be an important step in the healing process.

Different Stages of a Breakup

Grief has many stages, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While both men and women experience these stages, the way they manifest can be different.

Men tend to face the denial and anger phases more strongly, while women tend to struggle more with acceptance. Women might feel the need to go back and re-play the relationship in their minds, with a view to finding out where things went wrong, while men are more likely to attempt to pick up the pieces and move on, without ever entering the acceptance phase fully.

Shattered Self-Esteem

Breakups can leave people feeling lost, hopeless, and with self-doubt. Women tend to be more affected by this aspect of a breakup as they see the relationship ending as a direct reflection of their own self-worth.

Men, on the other hand, tend to be more concerned with the practical aspects of the split, such as dividing up belongings or managing finances. That said, rebuilding self-esteem and a sense of self-worth is an essential part of the healing process for both men and women.

The Stress of a Breakup

The stress of a breakup can have long-term consequences, which can be difficult to escape from. Women, in particular, can struggle with stress in the aftermath of a breakup.

They may find themselves struggling to cope with everyday life, like work, friends, or even the simplest tasks. This is because of a combination of the physical and emotional pain they experience.

Men, on the other hand, may seek out ways to cope that include alcohol, drugs, or risky behaviors. However, these methods only provide temporary relief, and it’s critical to find healthy coping mechanisms that can help them get back on track.


Anger is a common emotion after a breakup, and its manifestation can show gender-specific differences. Men tend to resort to violent tantrums, vandalizing possessions of their partners or seeking revenge.

Some men may even use revenge porn or resort to stalking after a breakup. Women, on the other hand, tend to publicly blame or shame their partners.

They tend to display a more passive-aggressive version of anger.

Wanting to Get Back Together

After a breakup, some people may feel the urge to get back together with their exes, despite it often being a terrible idea. Men tend to be more vocal about this urge than women.

They often resort to drunk texting or dialing to reach out to their exes when they’re lonely. Women may feel the urge to reunite, but typically take a step back for the sake of their own sanity.

The Healing Process and Moving On

Moving beyond a breakup takes time, and healing fully takes even longer. Men are often the first to start dating again, hoping to fill the void left by their exes.

Women, on the other hand, may take their time and contemplate what they need from their next relationships. An irreplaceable loss is often acutely felt by women and men, but their coping mechanisms and attitudes towards it vary.


The journey of moving on from a breakup can be challenging, but understanding how different gender roles shape the experience is a crucial first step. As we’ve seen, women and men can experience a breakup differently on multiple fronts, including pain, coping mechanisms, and how they move on.

Ultimately, it’s essential to take time to heal, no matter your gender. Only then can you work through the shattered sense of self-worth and heartache that follows a painful breakup.

3) Main Differences between Men and Women After a Breakup

The end of a romantic relationship can be a difficult and painful experience for both men and women. However, research suggests that men and women tend to experience and cope with breakups differently.

In this section, we will explore the main differences between men and women regarding pain and emotion, seeking support and being open, stages of breakup, self-esteem, and coping mechanisms.

Pain and Emotion

Both men and women experience emotional pain after a breakup. However, research shows that women tend to feel the pain more intensely and for a longer period than men.

Women are more invested in their relationships due to the attachment they feel towards their partner and the time and emotional investment they put in the relationship. This investment makes it harder for women to move on and cope with the pain of a breakup.

In contrast, men tend to detach themselves emotionally from the relationship, and therefore, their emotional pain tends to dissipate faster. It’s worth noting that women tend to experience physical pain after a breakup, in addition to emotional pain.

This physical pain can manifest as headaches, sleep disturbances, stomach discomfort, and even heart palpitations. Men tend not to experience physical pain as a result of their breakups, which could also explain why they recover emotionally faster.

Seeking Support and Being Open

When it comes to seeking support and being open about their emotions after a breakup, research shows that men and women have different approaches. Women tend to confide in close friends and family to seek emotional support and share their experiences.

Women generally have more substantial social support networks, which they use to cope with the pain of the breakup. Men, on the other hand, tend to keep their pain to themselves and do not share their emotions as openly.

This is because men are typically socialized not to express their emotions and to remain tough.

Stages of Breakup

The stages of a breakup are similar for both men and women, but the way they express and experience these stages can differ. Men usually experience denial and anger more intensely than women do.

They may try to distract themselves from the pain by engaging in activities like drinking or partying. Women tend to experience more sadness at the end of a relationship, and they require more time to heal and move past the grief.

Women are usually more introspective and will often go over what happened to understand the end of the relationship better.


Breakups can have a significant impact on one’s self-esteem and self-worth. Women often take a breakup more personally and may blame themselves for the end of the relationship.

Women tend to have a stronger investment in their relationship, which may cause them to feel a sense of loss after a breakup. Men, on the other hand, may feel a sense of failure or frustration if they were the ones who broke up the relationship.

Coping Mechanisms

Men and women also have different coping mechanisms when dealing with the aftermath of a breakup. Men tend to resort to aggression, anger, and other destructive behaviors such as substance abuse.

Alternatively, they may also try to move on quickly, trying to adapt to the new normal. Female coping mechanisms tend to be more introspective and focused more on growth after the unpleasant experience.

Women might take a step back and avoid dating until they completely heal. It’s worth noting that women are also more likely to seek professional help to cope with their feelings effectively.

4) Man Vs Woman Post Breakup Reactions Summed Up In An Interesting Infographic

Breakups are hard, but they can be even more challenging to navigate when you factor in the gender differences in how men and women react to breakups. Understanding these differences can help to arm you with the tools you need to cope healthily.

This infographic presents an overview of the different ways that men and women react to breakups, and how they cope with the aftermath. The infographic highlights that women tend to experience emotional pain more acutely and for a more prolonged period than men do.

Women may withdraw from social interactions and experience physical pain, which could explain why they tend to rely more on social support than men. Men tend to cope with breakups by engaging in self-destructive behavior or, alternatively, trying to move on quickly.

The infographic also shows that both men and women can benefit from seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to cope with the emotional fallout of a breakup. It’s also essential to stay mindful of specific toxic behaviors like stalking, public harassment with the intent of revenge, controlling behavior towards an ex-partner, and so on.

These behaviors may offer temporary relief, but in the end, they only prolong the healing and even cause damage to oneself and society. Regardless of gender, healing from a breakup can be a journey, but with healthy coping mechanisms, we can move on and lead fulfilling lives.

In conclusion, understanding the different ways that men and women experience breakup pain and cope with the aftermath can help to navigate this tricky time. The best approach is always to reach out for help in your networks, be open to vulnerability, and use healthy coping mechanisms.

Finally, it’s essential to remember that breakups are a normal part of life, and with time and effort, we can emerge on the other side stronger and happier. In this article, we have explored the significant gender differences in how men and women experience and cope with the pain and aftermath of a breakup.

Women tend to feel pain more acutely and for a more extended period of time, while men tend to detach themselves emotionally. Women often require a more significant support network to cope with the emotional fallout, while men can be more inward-looking.

Both men and women experience the classic stages of a breakup, but they may experience them differently. The loss of self-esteem is a common feeling that both genders experience.

Healthy coping mechanisms such as seeking professional help and generally focusing on growth after the end of a relationship can help with recovery. Amid all these heartaches, it’s reassuring to know that pain is temporary, and we can emerge from a breakup stronger and wiser.

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