13 Signs He Is Hurting After the Breakup

How do you know if a guy is hurting after a breakup?

If you’re concerned about his well-being or wondering whether he’d like another chance with you, this article is for you.

Although men tend not to show how much they suffer emotionally after a relationship ends, studies indicate that they might actually be more hurt than women.

Men may feel emotionally hurt to a higher degree and experience physical symptoms as well, such as chest or stomach pain (you might be familiar with those, too).

But why do you think this happens?

The most common reason is men’s lack of a support system. 

As a woman, you probably have a few good female friends that you can talk to about the breakup and how you’re feeling. They’re most definitely trying to make you feel better and distract you since the break up. 

The same goes for your online friends. They support you with comments and posts meant to express consolation and encouragement.

What about him, though? Does he even have a best friend to support him in this agonizing situation?

If he does have a best friend, he at least has the option to talk to someone. However, there’s a catch: As you may know, men rarely talk about their feelings. Their friendships are different compared to ours.

So, your ex-boyfriend might not even tell anyone about the breakup, at least not immediately, and suffer more because of both heartbreak and loneliness.

Is he really hurting? Let’s find out!

13 Signs He Is Hurting After the Breakup:

1. He has become withdrawn and avoids communication

The first sign your ex is hurting after the breakup is when he becomes withdrawn and avoids all means of communication with you.

Especially if he is a communicative guy, the fact that he has become distant and withdrawn into his shell is a sign he doesn’t know what he’s feeling or how to process his feelings.

He might be so overwhelmed with emotion that simply talking to you could have major negative effects on him.

or, he just want to give you silent treatment hoping that he would get your attention.

While it’s normal for both men and women to take time alone and come to terms with the end of a relationship if he is completely shutting you off, it can only mean one thing: he’s devastated.

2. He tries to stay in touch with you

What else could give his feelings away? Your ex’s attempts to talk to you and see you. 

As I was saying, after a break up, both men and women need to spend time alone to process their feelings of grief.

If he’s not doing that, and instead he’s calling and texting you, and telling you how much he misses you, he might be wallowing in self-pity.

On top of that, he could use other means to soften you up. He could send you sad breakup songs or memes, hoping you’ll react positively and want to meet him.

If he acts like this, you must know that he is still unable to accept that things are over between you and him.

3. He is having hard time accepting the end of the relationship

You broke up. Even so, he won’t let you go. 

If he still loves you very much and he disagrees with your decision to end things with him, he might try to convince himself that you’ll change your mind… and succeed!

In case he can’t directly communicate with you because maybe you blocked him on social media and his number, too, he could contact your friends and ask them about you.

Conversely, if you kept all communication lines open, you know how many times he’s been contacting you to check up on you.

In a way, he might act as if you weren’t serious about breaking up. The same could happen if he dumped you. He might realize he made a mistake and try to behave as if he didn’t mean it.

4. Your ex-boyfriend experiences extreme mood swings

Look, if your ex’s mood changes from one moment to the other, he might be hurting more than you think.

Because of his inability to process his emotional suffering, he reacts inappropriately. He is basically not aware of what his feelings mean and how to deal with the pain.

That’s why he could be taken by surprise and feel overwhelmed by various stimuli. To be more precise, his emotions are all over the place whether he’s talking to you or other people.

Having the chance to see these behavioral changes by yourself or hearing about them from mutual friends are both clear indications your ex doesn’t take your breakup lightly and feeling worse.

Whether he likes it or not, he clearly expresses the emotional imbalance he’s going through due to the break up.

5. He says hurtful things about you online and IRL

At some point, your ex-boyfriend has to tell the others that you two are no longer together. However, if he’s hurting after the break up deeply and he’s angry at you, he might not tell them the truth.

It’s possible for him to try to justify the breakup by bad-mouthing you. He might say you weren’t a good girlfriend, that you two weren’t compatible, or even go as far as saying you cheated on him.

He can say virtually anything he wants and feel entitled to do so. This could make others comfort him and temporarily change his mood for the better.

Or, maybe he doesn’t tell them, but you change your relationship status on Facebook and then everybody knows…

That’s when he could start posting negative comments about you just to win other people over to his side. You can look at it as a form of revenge for hurting his feelings.

6. Your doesn’t talk with mutual friends anymore

It’s another one of the most common signs a guy is hurting after a break up.

It’s a known fact that men prefer not to show their vulnerability… not even to their friends. Instead, he could try to push them away, reassuring them that he’s not struggling.

But in reality, he is struggling and he just doesn’t want to get other people involved. 

Look, your ex might not understand what is happening to him. He could feel pain both emotionally and physically and not know what to do.

On top of that, if you have mutual friends, he could fear opening up to them. What if they take your side and blame him?

With so many uncertainties going through his mind, he finds no other way to cope than to completely disconnect from you and his friends.

7. He wastes no time and goes into a new relationship

As I mentioned before, heartbreak is not the only reason men suffer emotionally after a break up. They also go through profound feelings of loneliness.

And, instead of trying to process their grief, or talk it through with their friends, they choose another path. 

Maybe your ex chose the same path. He got himself into a rebound relationship soon after the breakup.

He might already on be on dating apps.

Does this mean he’s over you? Probably not! 

You see, he is in a new relationship to fill the void you left in his broken heart. It’s a way for him to relieve his pain of rejection – a coping mechanism.

But, regardless of how much his new girlfriend appreciates him and makes him feel loved, there is something she can’t do: She can’t heal the wound you left inside him; she is only patching him up.

8. Your ex-boyfriend drinks alcohol or uses substances to cope

Another sad and highly probable sign he is hurting is when he finds ways to distract himself from his true feelings.

Your ex partner might not be strong enough to go through the break up in a healthy way. That’s why he might get into the habit of drinking alcohol, or worse… consuming psychoactive substances.

If you hear about it from other people or if he confesses that to you, don’t take it lightly. It’s a reason for concern!

He’s not only hurting because the relationship ended. He’s hurting himself by engaging in self-destructive behavior. 

And while that’s not your responsibility, there are ways to help him (especially if you don’t want him back).

9. He acts as if the break up is the best thing that happened to him

If your ex puts on a happy face and acts as if the breakup doesn’t affect him at all, that’s another obvious sign he is hurting after the breakup.

On the contrary, he only wants you to think he’s over you. He does this because deep down, he wants you back. 

He might tell you things like…

… I am at peace with our breakup and I hope you find happiness with someone else.

… I am actually okay with you starting to date other people. You have my blessing.

If he does, you might wonder, “Is he really over me?”

No, he’s not. He’s trying to pull you in by pushing you away first. He’s trying to make you second-guess your decision.

10. Your ex-boyfriend posts sad things on his social media

In case you’re still friends with him on social media or you still follow each other, you might have noticed that his activity online is focused on the breakup.

All of his posts are sad and they hint at you and the end of your relationship. For example, he could post photos that remind him of you and your time together and add a heartbreaking message to them.

Another post-breakup confusing behavior, what he does could mean two things:

  • He wants to draw your attention and he’s trying to communicate with you indirectly.
  • He’s simply sad about the breakup but knows that breaking up was the right thing to do.

11. He tries to make you feel jealous in the most obvious way

Is he trying to hurt you by making you jealous? This means you hurt him deeply and this guys is still hurting after a breakup.

You might think he’s over you if he flirts with other girls in front of you or online (where you can see it). However, he’s not. 

Simply put, it’s how he reacts to the emotional pain he’s feeling. To what end, though?

Possible options are:

  • He wants you to realize what you’ve lost. 
  • He wants you to regret your decision to break up.
  • He wants to get back together with you.

12. Your ex-boyfriend asks your friends about your well-being

Your ex still cares about you if he constantly asks your friends to keep him updated with info about you. 

He probably knows that he messed up or that you were right to end things with him and that’s why he’s not asking you directly.

Or, maybe talking to you would hurt him a lot and that’s why he stays in touch with your friends.

Either way, his actions point to a clear conclusion: The breakup causes him emotional (and maybe physical) pain and he doesn’t want or can’t let you go.

For now, simply knowing that you’re okay could be enough for him (especially if he’s filled with regret and thinks he can’t fix things).

13. He asks you to give him a second chance

Is he asking you for a second chance? This suggests that he feels a profound sense of loss and overall negative effects since you two split.

It is also a obvious sign that he is hurting after the breakup and regrets whatever led to the breakup and he is hurting after the breakup.

However, it’s up to you if you want to give it another try. His emotional suffering should not be the only reason you reconcile. 

There are ways to help him understand why you should part ways and encourage a more positive post-breakup dynamic.

Should I give my ex-boyfriend another chance if he is hurting after the breakup?

People process romantic rejection in various ways. The end of a relationship makes some of them react in a similar way cocaine addicts react when they stop using, according to this study.

In other words, he might start obsessing over you and resort to all sorts of desperate gestures to win you back. 

That’s why you shouldn’t give him another chance just because he’s desperate. Instead, it’s advisable to rationally think about whether the things between you and him are fixable.

In this regard, you could ask your ex to come up with possible solutions to your problems and decide based on how serious his intentions really are. 

Or, if he’s done something you can never forgive, such as cheat on you, it’s still not recommended to give him another chance just because he’s sorry. 

You know what they say, “If he’s done it once, he’ll do it again.”


While you may wonder do guys hurt after break up? The fact everyone experience feelings of loss when a relationship ends. We also feel guilty, regretful, and helpless. 

Even so, some people get over it faster than others. This happens either because they have a strong support system or healthy ways to cope with breakups. 

So, are these signs telling he is hurting after the breakup? If there is too little evidence your ex is hurt by the breakup, he’s probably not dwelling on you and trying to move on with his life.

However, if the breakup is devastating for him, you could become “the one that got away”. You could be that woman he thinks about 20 years from now.

Do you want to be that woman or will you give him another chance? Give this some thought!

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Daniela Duca Damian
About Daniela Duca Damian

A journalist by profession, Daniela has been sharing her knowledge and personal experience in the psychology of love and relationships for the past 5 years. Her work is based on facts, practical advice and is meant to help everyone achieve their romantic goals. When she isn’t writing, she challenges her friends with meaningful questions about life.

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