Whether love is gone or a big bang is left at the end: processing a breakup is not an easy task and involves a lot of pain. The usual union now becomes a felt loneliness. Men and women perceive this change very differently. How long does it take for the pain to subside and what are the gender differences?
A breakup often turns your own life upside down. So it’s no wonder you have a lot of questions right now. How long will it take to process the separation? And how does it work to overcome it? Men and women often perceive a relationship very differently – knowing these differences and our tips can help you reconcile with your old relationship and look forward to it again.
Five stages of separation
Breakup really upsets your own emotional state, which is why we usually go through several phases to get over it. In psychology, dealing with a breakup is most often compared to the five stages of grief. These are:
“We broke up, but in a few weeks we’ll be together again.” These thoughts are typical of the first phase, where you just don’t want to admit the breakup. Classically, this phase also includes trying to suppress the emerging pain, occupying yourself as much as possible and distracting yourself from your feelings to protect yourself.
If understanding of your breakup settles in the second stage, there will be a lot of generalized ex-boyfriend anger. “How could I have been with a person like that for so long?”, you may ask yourself now, and at the moment you only see the evil of your previous relationship. This anger is an important feeling in the process of coming to terms with the separation. So give him space and breathe, but absolutely refrain from acts of revenge – otherwise they will only fall at your feet later.
In the third phase, you look kindly on your former relationship and ask yourself, “Couldn’t we try again?” But make sure you take care of yourself here, because if he or she has already drawn a clear line, it can really erode your own self-esteem.
“I can’t live without him/her!” The sadness phase is what is seen as a typical longing for love. You feel left alone, you are extremely sad, and you may not even be able to imagine how things will get better. This separation phase often feels like the worst, but it’s also one of the most important in helping you process the pain of the breakup. Because then you recognize the end of the relationship and you are already on the path to overcoming the breakup – even if it is not so for you.
“We had a lot of fun together, but life goes on.” If at some point you can think like this about your relationship, then you have accepted the end of the relationship and are looking to the future again. Now you can focus on your own life. Thoughts about your ex no longer trigger extreme feelings in you. This phase is the final step to fully process the separation and close it for you.
This is how separation phases affect men
While separation stages are not gender dependent, there are definitely differences in how men and women process a relationship. Perhaps you’ve noticed in your circle of friends that men seem to get over their breakup faster than women?
At first glance, it seems so, because men often go through a short, violent phase of love after a relationship ends.. However, this is suppressed as much as possible by distraction – for example, throwing yourself at work, partying excessively, or playing sports.
Also, not to show any weakness externally. So it could very well be that a newly separated man enters a new partnership right after the previous relationship. However, here appearances are deceiving, because this way of dealing with separation does not automatically guarantee that the man will process it more quickly, but above all that it suppresses it.
This is how women deal with separation phases
Women think differently because they take a breakup much more emotionally, experience a roller coaster of feelings and live them intensely. In addition, women deal with their lack of love more openly than men, involve friends or family in their feelings, and thus seek support to face the separation. It takes longer for them to feel ready for a new partnership – but then they actually break off the old relationship.
There is even scientific data for this gender difference in a study of nearly 5,700 participants. This proves that women suffer more emotionally from separation and often experience feelings such as fear, worry and depression. However, it also helps them process them better. Men, on the other hand, tend to feel lost and angry and don’t directly deal with a breakup, but repress it for a while. In the end, they suffer less, but take much longer than women.
These 9 tips will help you get over your breakup and move on again
The good news: you don’t have to silently accept the stages of separation and wait for everything to pass. Sure, breaking up is painful and upsetting, but with a few tips you can help yourself get over your sadness and your ex faster. That’s how it works:
- Do what’s good for you
A short vacation to get away, a new sport that clears your head or funny love movies with ice cream and popcorn? No matter what it is – treat yourself right now to exactly the things that are good for you and listen to your gut instinct
- Don’t question yourself.
A failed relationship simply means that the two of you weren’t right – not that you were a bad person or not good enough. So under no circumstances say something like that to yourself. You are wonderful!
- Take a Realistic View of the Relationship
A breakup sometimes makes us tend to suddenly idealize our ex. Here, it is helpful to have a realistic view of the partnership. What was beautiful, what did you find tiresome, where did you have to retreat?
- Think of yourself.
Speaking of stepping back: Were there things you wish you had done while you were together that you didn’t do for yourself or your ex? Now is the perfect time to live it!
- Don’t call him or her.
Yes, it’s tempting – especially when you’re in the negotiation phase. But by letting the contact rest as much as possible until you get over the breakup, you’re making things a lot easier on yourself.
- Pack a keepsake box
If you find pictures or memorabilia every time you look at your apartment, you won’t be able to look into the future. You don’t have to throw these items away, but you should at least get them out of your sight as quickly as possible. Pack a box with all the things that remind you of him and put it in a place where you won’t trip over it every day.
- Spending lots of time with friends and family
Surrounding yourself with people you trust shows that you don’t have to go through the breakup alone. And don’t worry about the sadness you bring down on those around you – your friends and family will be only too happy to support you and help you deal with the breakup.
- Be open to new acquaintances
Allowing new acquaintances into your life helps you look into the future and realize that there are other amazing people besides you or your ex. It could be a lunch break with a new teammate or a post-practice beer with your volleyball team. By the way, it’s not primarily about finding new love directly. Instead, new people often bring new impetus to our lives.
- See the happiness in the little things
Nostalgia often makes everyday life feel like a dark cloud – it happens quickly that we don’t even notice the positive things . So mindfulness is particularly important after a breakup. Does someone smile at you, do you get compliments from your work team, do you enjoy the evening in the sun at the park? Look out for these little moments of happiness – they show that life has many beautiful sides, even without your relationship.
Process separation phases – how far are you?
Ending a relationship is never easy. But there are different phases that lead to new happiness when dealing with separation. Because one thing remains certain: every end is also a new beginning and has the potential to be the beginning of something really big. Now it is important to find out how you can overcome your lack of love and whether the pain of separation will soon pass.
Bottom line: Take the time to get over your breakup – so you can look to the future more candidly later.
A breakup is painful and messes everything up. So it’s no wonder that it takes a while for feelings to return to normal and thoughts of the past relationship no longer hurt. Along the way, we often go through the five stages of separation: denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance.
Men tend to repress their feelings after a breakup, while women experience the end of a relationship with all its ups and downs more intensely, but can end it better after the necessary time. It’s helpful to allow your own feelings and take your time – the best thing to do is listen to your intuition. You can also support the processing process, for example:
- spends a lot of time with friends or family
- lets you stay in touch with your ex for now
- there’s no room for doubt
- focus on what’s good for you at the moment
- put ordinary souvenirs in a box
You will realize that you will be able to conclude more and more with the partnership and that you will soon look to your future with good feelings.