I received the following article request:
I’ve come across a few articles on reddit on men who have struggle moving on after a relationship has ended. Some of these men are still yearning for their exes after seven-ten years (wanting to get back together again). I don’t quite understand what the underlying issue is, but I can understand on some level.
The particular girl I discussed in our consultation (the stripper I fell in love with, if you recall) still remains in back of my head all these years despite meeting and banging other women at the moment. I don’t follow her on social media anymore, but not following her has helped me move on although I still think of her here and there. It seems like the heart hasn’t quite learned what the mind already knows. Sometimes, I’m tempted to reach out to her and reunite again, but you have informed me that nothing good will come out of it and not to reach out to her again. I don’t doubt you! So, in general, do men struggle moving on from a failed relationship more than woman do or vice-versa?
This is a multifaceted question, and there is a lot to it. In general, when a relationship ends, no matter if we are talking about a fling or something more serious, one side is more invested than the other. This is even the case when both want to move on as you can expect either the man or the woman will be more annoyed with the other. Thus, we need to distinguish two cases:
1) You left her.
2) She left you.
I will discuss both cases in turn, followed by some general reflections.
Case 1: You Left Her
Your knee-jerk reaction may be to dismiss the first case altogether. After all, you moved on, so why would it be difficult for you to get to grips with your decision? Reality is not quite so simple, though. Yes, sometimes a chick annoys you so much that you want to unceremoniously dump her. However, there is probably a good reason why you bothered with her in the first place. Maybe you liked her personality, maybe you found her exceedingly attractive, or maybe she is just a really convenient lay because she lives around the corner and always has time to come over and jump on your dick on short notice. Thus, whatever initially drew you towards her may still have a pull effect on you.
To give you a simple example: assume you have been banging a somewhat unstable chick for a few weeks. She is great in the sack, but after the act, it does not take long for her to lash out at you. At some point, this becomes too much for you so you exit the relationship. This may either be a rash decision or a premeditated one. Yet, she stills pines after your huge cock and keeps texting you, or perhaps you are bored some time later and you think that it would be great to bone her once again, for old times’ sake.
The temptation to return to her may be there, and it can be hard to not give in. Thus, it can be difficult to move on from a woman even if you really want to do so. This is nonetheless the simpler case, compared to case 2 below, because you have taken the initiative to end the relationship. You have a lot more agency in this situation. Now you only need to curtail your drive to yoyo back and forth, which sometimes goes on for a while.
What helps in this situation is to reiterate to yourself why you wanted to end this relationship. Regardless of what bothered you about her, even if it was something more remote such as uncertainty whether she would be a good wife or mother, it is the case that this issue has not been resolved. If she is begging you to come back and promises to improve her behavior, you should remind yourself of her faults. She is not going to change her personality. Maybe she will be able to play nice for a few days, but eventually all her bad habits will come out again, and more forcefully than before. Next time, though, you may get a hefty serving of her wrath on top because you bastard dumped her once, and she is a princess who does not deserve this.
Once you have made your decision to dump a chick, plan this out properly. This means that your decision is final. You block her on social media, delete her phone number and, if you happen to accidentally run into her, perhaps because she lives in the neighborhood or attend some classes together at university, you go out of your way to avoid her. Should you see her, either ignore her or acknowledge her presence, but resist the temptation of talking to her. You need to create distance between you and her, and move on with your life. You should have plenty of things to do. If you think it helps, a short vacation does wonders, and so does banging one or more random chicks, or binging on a video game. The more you focus on your own life, the less you will feel drawn to the woman you wanted to have out of your life anyway.
Case 2: She Left You
The second scenario can be a lot harder on guys because this almost always implies that they are emotionally much more invested in the girl than the other way round. There are cases where you are indifferent to her, bang some side chick already anyway, and for whatever reason just did not dump your main girl yet, perhaps because of convenience. If you are used to having fuck buddies, you may be familiar with this phenomenon. In short, you do not really care about her, and perhaps never did, and if she dumps you, it will not really affect you in a meaningful way. This can be quite comical, for instance if she wants to unload on you, telling you what an asshole you are whereas you just shrug and gently shove her out of your apartment.
If you are emotionally invested and she suddenly tells you that she does not want to continue the relationship, or just ghosts you, which seems to be the new normal, it can feel as if she pulled the rug out from under your feet. Women often do not give you any indication at all that they are unhappy in a relationship. Instead, they look for a new guy behind your back and once they have secured a new provider, they are off. She may try to boomerang back to you if the new guy somehow turns out to not be perfect either, or if he only wanted to pump and dump her.
The best course of action is to quickly come to grips with the new normal. Particularly with more serious relationships, it can take a while to untangle two lives. You need to find your footing as soon as possible. Forget about trying to “understand her reasons”, and do not fantasize about getting her back. She made her decision, so just let her go. Chances are that she could not even properly explain her actions to you, simply because some women are not very rational and instead act on impulses, unable to understand long-term consequences of their actions.
It is alright to feel strong emotions for a while. You were heavily emotionally invested in her, perhaps the separation means that there will be grave financial consequences for you. Your life could be fucked now. Still, do not get trapped in a cycle of negativity. I know of guys who almost lost control over their life due to divorce. They started to drink, got fired from their job, and took years to get back on their feet again. You need to remain strong, though. Get some distance and look at the facts. Then accept the new reality. Yes, your life may suck for a while, in our cucked Western societies, but it will suck even more if you make a string of dumb decisions.
Probably the best approach is to physically distance yourself from her. If you live with her, and she tells you she is going to move out, consider getting temporary accommodation somewhere (I am not a lawyer, but I vaguely remember hearing of situations where this was interpreted as the guy “yielding property”, so better do some research before the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan). Know where your important documents are; pack a few things, and leave. In general, it is good to think this through beforehand, just to be on the safe side. After all, there are plenty of other situations where you may suddenly have to leave your apartment, without knowing for how long. Think of water damage because of a burst pipe, or a fire in the building — I was once in such a situation.
I think that in life, you need to keep moving forward. Set yourself some new goals and work towards them. Even chasing after some “trophies” on your PlayStation is better than wallowing in self-pity for weeks. Yes, get to grips with your loss, but after a few days at the latest you need to get back on your feet again. A woman will only be able to wreck your life if you let her. Remain calm, keep your resolve, and work through your pain. Yes, heartbreak sucks the first time you experience it, and the second time it will suck less. View it as the world telling you that a hypothesis you have about life, or society, or women was not correct. Take it as a learning experience, and do not live in the past, recalling all the great times you had with her. It is quite likely that during some of the sweetest moments her mind was elsewhere already anyway.
The Male vs Female Perspective Overall
Lastly, after discussing the two scenarios above, which deal with the short term, I now move on to answering the question on whether men or women struggle more with moving on from a failed relationship in more general terms. This is not an easy question at all. I think that in the short term men often suffer more when their woman leaves them. The main reason is that most breakups are initiated by women, and they tend to come out of the blue. In contrast, in the rare cases when a man dumps a woman, he likely has given her plenty of reminders of what kind of behavior is acceptable, and what is not.
There is, however, also the long-term perspective, and this seems to be completely ignored as it is inconvenient for the mainstream: Maybe some woman who got dumped thinks that she can easily get a new guy. This may even be true in the short term. However, her ability to secure a long-term mate could be a lot lower than she believes. Perhaps you were the most patient and most loving boyfriend she ever had. Yet, she did not appreciate you enough, threw random fits, and left you no other choice than to dump her. Afterwards she gets dicked by random guys for a few years, is unable to get a relationship that lasts more than a few months, and ends up being in her 30s. This is not particularly hyperbolic because as she gets older, the caliber of man she is able to attract is only going to decline. For her, dating is a long downward slope.
A woman who is in her 30s and alone is not in an enviable spot. It will mess with her head that men ignore her, and that for years, she only ever, and less and less often as time went on, got random dick. This realization can destroy a woman. They never really get over the fact that they messed up their life by throwing away a perfectly good relationship on a whim, hoping for a better future that never materialized. Consequently, they turn to wine, cats, and SSRIs. Suicides of women in this age group have also risen quite a bit in recent years. Thus, I think that in the long term, women are in a worse position. They generally do not feel comfortable on their own. In contrast, men in their 30s or 40s can still do really well in terms of dating, and even if not, or if they have had enough of women, this will not make them feel depressed. There are crazy cat ladies and deranged wine aunts, but not weirdo cat gentlemen and unwelcome wine uncles, at least not to the extent that they become stereotypes.