Man Vs Woman After Break Up: 10 Main Differences

Breakup is one of the most traumatizing, and emotionally and physically draining experiences of life. All the dreams of a happy and beautiful life with our partner fall like a pack of cards. Eventually, everyone has to come to terms with the breakup and pick up the pieces of their life. In this post on man vs woman after break up, we bring you some differences in the way men and women cope with the separation. As they say, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so both these genders deal with their loss of love in their own style. Read on to know the differences.

In This Article

Man vs Woman After Break up: 10 Differences

1. Handling the pain

Research by Binghamton University and University College London suggests that women experience the pain of a breakup more acutely in comparison with men (1). This could probably be due to the woman being more involved in the relationship than the man, as he may try to withdraw from the pain of their romance coming to an end. Men can also struggle to connect with their emotions causing them to engage in avoidant behavior to distract themselves from it.

Charity Eyre Wright, a wife and mother, talks about her most recent heartbreak and shares how deeply she’s been impacted. She writes, “Most mornings over the past six weeks i’ve woken up with a heavy harrowing ache in the center of my chest – a weight that takes blistering effort to carry out of bed. a few of my recent days at school, i haven’t been able to breathe steadily and i have to work hard to mask my whimpers. There have been several occasions recently when i truly, truly felt i could not stand up because my physical frame could not sustain such crushing, crippling emotional hurt. I’ve been oscillating between feeling frozen, barren, dead and feeling so fiercely, searingly, excruciatingly alive (i).”

2. Emotional hurt

Women are more emotionally distraught

Image: Shutterstock

The study also found that women are more emotionally distraught after a breakup, as they tend to emotionally invest more in a relationship (1). While the man in the relationship suffers from loneliness, humiliation, and is also traumatized, his immediate emotional pain of a breakup could be less when compared with the woman.

protip_icon Point to consider
It is okay to feel heartbroken. But drowning in pain and not making efforts to come out of it is not okay. Instead, give yourself time to mourn the loss of love and once you feel lighter, proceed towards the road to recovery.

3. Post-breakup stress

The trauma and stress after a breakup is deep for both the man and the woman. However, men suffer more from insecurity and try hard to divert their minds and avoid the pain. Research done by Lancaster University says that women also fight the post-breakup blues but are capable of gathering themselves better (2).

4. Timeframe to overcome breakup

As per studies, men usually take much longer to come out of a breakup, as the loss hits them very deeply and lasts for a long time. On the contrary, women process the breakup by grieving and letting out their emotions of sorrow, which helps them overcome the pain sooner (1). Men struggle to process it because they avoid it, while women are able to sit with their emotion and move through it faster.

5. Expressing anger or frustration

Expressing anger, man vs woman after break up

Image: Shutterstock

According to popular belief, the feelings of anger and resentment after a relationship ends are higher in men when compared with women. Men could channelize this anger as an intent to avenge their exes, while the propensity to exact revenge out of betrayal is far less in women. Anger is often a cover emotion. Stereotypically and historically, it is viewed as more masculine to be angry rather than suffering from disillusionment or fear. It is likely that men are outwardly showing anger or frustration, but inside are experiencing more complex emotions of conflict from the break up.

6. Wanting to get back together

Generally, the desire to get back with their partner after a breakup is greater in men than in women. Initially, men love their newfound freedom, but once that wears off, they may want their ex back. Women too grapple with guilt but try to rationalize their unhappiness and get on with their life.

7. Healing process

Men never heal completely

Image: Shutterstock

Studies show that men never heal completely from a rejection as they simply learn to live with the pain (1). As children, boys are less likely to receive the tools that women do to help them move through emotion. They are often encouraged not to address emotion. On the other hand, women are wired to recover and move on from the isolation of a relationship coming to an end.

8. Dent in self-confidence

It is believed that men view a breakup as a sign of them not being attractive anymore, more so if it’s their partner who called it quits. This shatters their confidence to smithereens. In the case of women, the loss of a relationship has got to do with letting go of a deep and meaningful emotional bond.

9. Embracing the feelings

Conventional wisdom has it that while men may find it hard to embrace the pain, frustration, despair, and guilt attached to their breakup, women embrace these feelings more easily and turn the page. Women may be more attuned to reality and may reconcile to the breakup better than the man. Men may not have the skills to process the emotion.

10. Seeking support

Studies reveal that women are willing to seek the help of loved ones and their inner circle or go to therapy to overcome the pain of a misunderstanding (2). Dr. Ryan Boyd, lead researcher of the Lancaster University project, says, “Traditionally, women are more likely to identify relationship problems, consider therapy, and seek therapy than are men. When you remove the traditional social stigmas against men for seeking help and sharing their emotions, however, they seem just as invested in working through rough patches in their relationships as women.”

protip_icon Point to consider
Women who tend to be more expressive often vent out their feelings to their confidants and find a way to get over pain. If men too try to confide in someone and get the feelings out, dealing with the pain will be relatively easier and the path to healing will be smoother.

Physical And Emotional Responses To Breakup

A breakup can result in emotional responses such as anger, stress, anxiety, depression, fear, and inability to function at work. Additionally, the effects manifest in physical form in the way of a person’s eagerness to eat, reduced immune system functioning, insomnia, and unintentional loss or gain in weight (3).

Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship

Source: Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship

Source: Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship

Research shows that the emotional response to a breakup is usually similar in males and females. As the graph below shows, women’s emotional responses may be slightly more than men’s in a few parameters, such as fear. However, there is a significant difference in the manifestation of physical responses, such as insomnia and weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which gender gets over a breakup faster?

Although it varies case-to-case basis, research suggests that women may find more ways to get over a disagreement, such as relying on social support to get over their breakup, while men hesitate to seek help while dealing with a breakup (4).

2. How long does it take for a man to miss a woman after a breakup?

Men usually miss the sense of security and intimacy most after a breakup. If you have shared a long-term relationship and your man has been deeply connected to you and realizes their intention to reconnect, they may start missing you within a few weeks.

3. Can men and women benefit from therapy or counseling after a breakup?

Breakups can be emotionally challenging; both men and women can benefit from therapy or counseling after a breakup. Seeking professional support through therapy or counseling can provide a safe and supportive environment to process and navigate the complex emotions and experiences associated with a breakup.

4. How do men’s and women’s physical health change after a break-up?

Break-ups often result in emotional distress for both men and women, affecting their overall well-being. Emotional stress can trigger physical responses such as increased heart rate, headaches, and disrupted sleep patterns (5). Some individuals may experience changes in appetite following a breakup. While responses can vary, some people may experience a loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. Individuals going through a breakup may lose motivation or interest in physical activities they once enjoyed (6) (7).

5. What are the long-term effects of a break-up on men and women?

The long-term effects of a breakup can vary for both men and women, as individuals respond to and cope with relationship endings in different ways. Both men and women can experience various emotions, such as sadness, grief, anger, loneliness, and disappointment. Individuals may go through a process of adjusting to life without their former partner, which can take time. Following a breakup, men and women may experience changes in their social circles. Friends and acquaintances may take sides, and individuals may need to rebuild their support networks.

6. Are there any societal expectations or gender roles that influence how men and women deal with a breakup?

Yes, there are often societal expectations and gender roles that can influence how men and women deal with a breakup. For men, societal expectations may discourage them from openly expressing vulnerability or seeking emotional support. They may feel pressured to maintain a stoic demeanor and appear unaffected by the breakup. On the other hand, women may encounter societal pressure to process and express their emotions more openly. They may be encouraged to seek support from friends, family, or therapy. It is essential to recognize that these societal expectations are not universal, and individuals may vary in their responses regardless of gender.

7. What do men miss most after a breakup?

After a breakup, men, like women, can experience various emotions and miss various aspects of their past relationships. Men may miss the emotional connection and support they receive from their partners. They may also miss their relationship’s physical and intimate aspects, including cuddling, holding hands, kissing, and sexual intimacy.

While it is painful and heartbreaking for anyone to end a relationship they enjoyed and cherished, men and women may react differently to a divorce. While some believe that women experience more pain, Charlotte Entwistle, the lead author of a related study by Lancaster University, says, “Notably, the fact that the heartache theme was more commonly discussed by men emphasizes how men are at least as emotionally affected by relationship problems as women.” However, more than gender, an individual’s personality and emotional quotient may determine how they deal with a breakup.

Infographic: Men vs. Women After Breakup

Both men and women may be equally heartbroken after a breakup. But the subtle differences in what they feel first and how their stages of grief proceed are what sets them apart in the post-breakup journey. Explore the differences in feelings and coping mechanisms of men and women after a breakup.

men and women after a breakup (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Women tend to feel more hurt as they are often more involved in a relationship.
  • However, men seem to take a longer period of time to recover completely from heartbreak as compared to women.
  • Men usually think more about getting back with their ex than women do, as studies have shown that men never completely heal from a breakup.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Study: Women hurt more by breakups but recover more fully.
  2. Men experience more emotional pain during breakups.
  3. Craig Eric Morris et al.; (2015); Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship.
  4. Jessica Kansky and Joseph P. Allen; (2018); Making Sense and Moving On: The Potential for Individual and Interpersonal Growth Following Emerging Adult Breakups.
  5. Emotional stress: Warning signs, management, when to get help.
  6. Dealing with relationship breakups.
  7. The science of a breakup.
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