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Breaking Up, What It Feels Like For A Man

December 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Okay folks, one more time. I just can’t help it, so let me explain something before I get into today’s post.

The guy who writes the “F*ck Yeah Menswear” Tumblr (check out the latest ones if you haven’t already) keeps posting up gems, inspiring me to try to do it myself, for creative purposes only. These days, everyone talks about originality, wanting to be innovative, and not realizing sometimes their innovation sucks.

People always ask me, how did I find my voice, and I tell them the first thing I did was read a lot more than I wrote. Nowadays, I write a lot more than I read and the voice with which I write is a combination of influences I’ve acquired over the years. But I still stay in search of more voices, more writing, and when I see some truly great work, I can’t help but want to take a bit of it for myself and see what their magic is to create more magic for myself. It’s kind of like the way all great jazz players study the Charlie Parker Omnibook.

And I know all of this may sound like some unnecessary explanation for writing in this form, but I want to be clear: It’s never cool to copy a writer’s work word for word (as I have previously explained) but there is nothing wrong with letting other work influence your own.

Today, another post inspired by the great work of the anonymous writer at “Fuck Yeah Menswear”. Whoever you are, if you’re reading this, keep doing your thing, dude.

Breaking Up, What It Feels Like For A Man

Here’s the first thing we do

Not give a f*ck.

Then cry.

Or not.

But definitely go off on someone for no reason.

Like at all.

If it was one of those really bad breakups.

Something like one of us got caught doing something we shouldn’t have been doing.

We hurt.

Whether we’re the victim or the culprit.

We hurt.

So now it’s recovery time.

Putting the pieces back together, trying to make sense of the mess we made time.

Here’s how a man does it.

We play a lot of Madden and think about how when we were with our girl, we played a lot of Madden.

At least Madden doesn’t talk back.

Sometimes it doesn’t let us beat a team we know we’re better than, but that’s a different kind of pain.

Back to the pain of dealing with a break up.

It’s something women never think about. Never think a man is hurting.

They be thinking we actually wanted to be single.

On some, “Isn’t that what every man wants?” type deal.

We fight to stay together

She be like


Soon as gets through this, he’s going to enjoy his freedom.

First drunk night he has


First drunk night he has, he wants to drunk dial her and say “F*ck you”

The only reason why I’m out in these streets drinking

And buying drinks for girls with last names I don’t know

Is because of you

Just because he’s not in bed, sick, doesn’t mean he’s fine.

Usually around 10:00 pm, it gets bad.

He knows he’s not about to get any sleep for a good five hours.

He be thinking about her one minute.

He be thinking about how to not think about her the next.

You women need to understand.

Dudes may like to be single.

But dudes don’t like breaking up.

Not ever.


No process update today, but I would like to ask everyone to please listen to the latest Poppin Questions Podcast. FIFTEENTH EDITION! Listen here, please!

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  • Kae-Toya

    well if you guys not like breaking up you make it too easy to do so and make us feel you enjoy it. so blah.

  • Lady D

    Hmmm i am currently going thru a break up and i am not sure how i feel about this post…. Everyone hurts during a break up and sure we all show it in different ways but sometimes like to play a “role” thats makes it seem like “Yeah B***h Im Gonna Show You” and then they show their ass… Hmm this one made me think this morning

  • Teddy

    #Random but I just checked out ol dude’s tumblr that u put the link up for and it’s soooo *dope*!!!….seriously.

  • Jae

    My ex made it seem like he hated me after the break up, and he’s the one who broke up with me! He would call me after on a friend tip fishing for things, what I just don’t know. But if I called him on a friend tip asking how was he and his son he had a major attitude and seemed different and distant. Who knows what goes through the minds of some people!

  • PA

    this is cool. I like how it doesnt focus on who’s to blame for the breakup but just the difference in how men and women handle the breakup, and the way you wrote shows that there is not that much difference at all…it just hurts.

  • Keith Reed

    Good hit, dude, per usual. My thoughts on this were summed up by one of my best female friends in a conversation we had after my last breakup. I was going through those real serious throes, and in the middle of our convo, she says, “Wow, you know, I never knew men felt like that. I actually know y’all have emotions now.”

    Mind you, this woman is in her early 40s, was once married, is raising a teenage son and has daily conversations with her own father. I would have been astonished or bewildered at the idea of a woman with so much life experience confessing that she had gone her entire life believing men were incapable of emotion. Then I realized: every woman I’d ever dated, and particularly my ex, were fairly callous or ever oblivious about how I felt. I hate generalizing, except when it’s true, and I’ve found it is here: women, as a rule, don’t believe men are capable of emoting, and as such, their actions toward us are often dictated by a combination of the sense of righteous indignation and that whatever they say or do to us really won’t matter.

    Glad you wrote this.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s easier to say men don’t care after a break-up b/c half the time they try to act like they don’t have emotions during the relationship. Men usually experience pain after a break-up in one of two ways:

    (1) Some men usually don’t show any sadness about a break-up until later. When they’re the ones who initiated the break-up they usually think you’ll be crying over them for months, but once you stop crying and they hear about then they want to tell you how hurt they are/were when things ended. They also start to second guess if they made the right decision. “Should I have ended things just b/c all my boys were saying I was whipped? I didn’t mind doing what she asked me until they said something.”

    (2) When a guy is done wrong and/or the girl ends things I KNOW they’ve got to feel hurt. Maybe they walk around smiling, but behind closed doors when they’re alone their minds wander. They think the same thing women do. “Was it something I wasn’t doing? Should I have changed? Am I not good enough?” Of course women don’t like to think about this because in (some of) our opinion(s) “He had to be doing something wrong.” Nope, newsflash! There are women out in the world he act just like men. Women who end things b/c someone else caught their eye, they cheated or they think being single is better.

  • JC

    That line about women thinking men don’t have feelings is WAY too much of a general statement. I know men have feelings, men can be more sensitive than women at times.
    Depending on the break-up either party (guilty or not) will do destructive type ‘ish

    Side-note…lately your post have had this underlining hint of anger…You seem like you got some angst going on. If you do you aren’t alone…I’m single (and looking) and the holidays suck when single.

  • KitKatCuty84

    I don’t know about all women being callous towards men, but y’all do a good job of ACTING like what we say/do doesn’t matter, especially during a breakup/fight. Why, then, wouldn’t it be a surprise when a woman gets a peak to see some dudes genuinely did care, despite appearances? I know if I ever found out my ex cried after our breakup, I would faint from the shock. ‘Cause from his behavior? He is apparently a borderline sociopath.

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  • Keith Reed

    You make some good points, but not the one about men trying to hide or not expressing our pain after breakups. That’s a misconception that I think goes hand-in-hand with the idea of women not believing men have feelings at all. We have feelings, and we show them. We just don’t show them in ways many women recognize or acknowledge.

    When men break up, we hurt, but our way of expressing it is generally to seethe, not spaz. We’ll talk about it, but not in a room full of our boys while eating ice cream and watching emo-comedies (stereotypical, yes, but you get the point). Our expressions of hurt are a lot more introverted than the “I’m-chopping-off-my-hair-and-getting-a-new-attitude” public expressions that many women make when they’re hurt.

    Most of the time, we’re actually telling you that we’re hurt and how much we hurt from the minute we realize the break-up is imminent. Whether women recognize what we’re saying is a different issue.

  • cancergirl08

    I have a close relationship with my father and my brother, the two most important men in my life. Period. However, I have both hurt them with my words at one point or another. It was never intentional, but because they are good at HIDING their feelings and not expressing their emotions, I just thought I could say things all willy nilly. But because they love me, of course it hurt. I know vulnerability is not a man’s strong point. In fact, society discourages vulnerability in men. Much to their detriment, I might add. And that of us women, who might be more sensitive to your feelings if we knew what you were feeling. I”m learning that men do have feelings, I just wish they felt more comfortable sharing them with us. And for all you men, if you do share your innermost feelings with a woman and she clowns you, LEAVE her. She wasn’t for you. Express yourself fellas!

  • Keith Reed

    Much of what you’re saying here was addressed in my post and my reply to another commenter. First, I never said all women were callous toward men and I don’t believe that. What I said was that the women I’ve dated have exhibited callousness and some indifference to what I felt, and that was likely because they didn’t understand or believe they could hurt me. Some of them have said as much.

    As far as your ex, nobody can say what went on in his head but him, so I’ll have to take your word for it on how he behaved during your breakup. That said, there’s always two sides, and my guess is his perspective on whether he communicated what he felt is likely to be very different from yours. And remember: men seethe, not spaz. I’d put crying in the latter category as far as men’s emotional responses, so while he may not have cried, that doesn’t mean he didn’t emote. It’s a huge mistake for women to believe that we will show our feelings in the same way you do. We don’t.

  • Lena

    Interesting post. I wonder how or whether the pain is different when the guy is the dumper vs. the dumpee. Is the pain any more or less intense? More apathy in one vs the other? I’d love to hear anyone’s take.

  • Ne

    I have to agree guys do make breaking look & feel easy. But hey, Jozen might have point, its all act.

    Now, the real question is do guys get over the break up quicker than their counterparts, hmm…

  • Sanchezmeli

    Hmm…So this is what my ex-husband was feeling like when I caught him cheating on me. Welll maybe he shouldve kept his wanger to himself. Smh! Men get no pity from me.

  • Miles

    With situations like yours, the only thing that can fix this situation is your actions. It’s not really a pride thing, it’s more of a trust issue. You lied AND got caught. It’s less about what you did, it’s more about breaking your promise. The best way to fix it is not drive the whole fact that you want to get back with him, just be there and be sincere. He said he wanted to marry you and if a man says that, he usually meant it. He was hurt so saying “taking it just fine” is based on outward appearances only. Your definition of space isn’t the same as his. So, all you can do is prove your dedication by being there and not getting frustrated and giving up. He has to FEEL and BELIEVE your apology, not just HEAR it. You can cry and express until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t change he has to trust you. Stand on your word and you’ll be okay. But it takes time.

  • BoomShots

    Having been in a similar position as your BF in a break-up with someone I was thinking of possibly marrying and finding out they had been dishonest with me. The big thing for me is not that I no longer had love for her but I was greatly disappointed in her. Like me part of his love for you maybe tied to his admiration of you as a person if you shattered that it gives the sense that the person is not even who you thought you knew.

    My ex also tried to make her dishonesty my fault, she never felt she could be honest because I never made her feel secure…sometimes women don’t think men feelings are as legitimate. Especially if we do not react as they would.

    I am one of those stoic dudes, the more I feel the more stoic and serious I become. I talk out my feelings with other people, generally female friends because i want to try to understand where that woman was coming from in our break. I am never going to make a show of how bad I maybe feeling to her or anyone, so yeah it may seem like I don’t hurt too but hell that how I do me.

  • mimi

    Awwww!! this was cute.

  • ♞ they call me kj ♞

    i like the style man, it’s kinda like a running train of thought…thats how my brain works a lotta times.


  • Lady J

    I truly believe men don’t like breaking up. A man doesn’t want the guilt of a break-up on his conscious, especially when his actions are the reason for the break-up. I notice that a lot of men remain friends with their ex’s, and have a tendency to get back with them when playing the field doesn’t provide the same satisfaction (mentally and emotionally) as the ex did.

  • Jewel

    We all make mistakes and disappoint others. Love ain’t no joke! You gotta be *strong* to do it (whether to your s/o, child, sibling, friend or a stranger) because Real love takes forgiveness; to forgive is to truly love.

    To think no one will (or should) ever hurt you is like thinking you will never hurt anyone. And yet, when you do (because we all do, eventually), don’t you want to be forgiven? I think that’s why, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” is so profound… because when we truly see ourselves and think about the times when WE’VE messed up – how WE hurt and disappointed someone – it makes it easier to forgive. Why? Because we finally get our eyes off our own pain. just. long. enough. to EMPATHIZE with the fact that we, too, have given pain & disappointment to someone before. And we remember how we wanted forgiveness.

    Do unto others…

  • Jewel

    “And that of us women, who might be more sensitive to your feelings if we knew what you were feeling. I”m learning that men do have feelings, I just wish they felt more comfortable sharing them with us.” << Co-signed & notarized!

  • BoomShots

    Do women ever consider that the way men are socialized and the roles we generally play in life, if we were as sensitive and demonstrative in expressing our feelings the world would suffer for it.
    Picture this:
    Woman: Baby it was really stressful at work today, I had to just take a break and cry..
    Man: ahh, my day was tough too, I would have wished you waited so we could cry together

    An exaggeration but just imagine.

  • Jewel

    *slight chuckle @ exaggerated image*

    But seriously… pray tell, how would “the world” suffer for it, Sir?

    Personally, I think the world would be a better place if more sincere thoughts and emotions were shared. If honest expressions of feelings were exchanged, instead of people walking around w/ pent up frustrations, brewing resentments and jumping to conclusions (just because they can’t read someone else’s mind). Nothing good have ever come from that way of relating to people. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Jewel

    While I respect your opinion, I must say all this “guys express their feelings differently” by “seething” mess is for the birds! Call it whatever you want, but “seething” is hiding. Playing Madden ain’t telling nobody that you’re hurt. #promise. Bottom line is: If she can’t understand you, it’s your job to make her understand you. No actor on God’s green earth would EVER be cast in a production if his audience couldn’t recognize what he was doing! Men talk all this game about “being logical” (mostly as a means to devalue emotions/feelings), but how much sense does that make?

    Keith, please, share with the class… how do y’all show it? I sincerely want to know. Because even in Jozen’s piece, it’s all internal – and the things done externally are just a cover.

  • Tezzy

    My ex is doing me the same way! He only talks to me when he initiates it but if i call or text him I get all kinds of unnecessary attitude. I broke with up with him and understand being upset at me but its so annoying that he acts that way. I want us to get back together and work things out but the only thing i can get out of him is “I’m hurt”. I believe he wants to get back together too but his pride is getting in the way. Idk so I’m just giving him his space since he is not willing to express himself to me. So yeah I too don’t know whats going on through his mind and im tired of trying to get it out of him. *shrug*

  • Tea

    “It’s something women never think about. Never think a man is hurting.

    They be thinking we actually wanted to be single.

    On some, “Isn’t that what every man wants?” type deal.”

    Dopest three lines in this post… ’cause they’re true.

  • Funmi

    I guess that’s why a lot of guys like to play the let’s stay friends’ card so they can still have us in their lives somehow….. but then you guys look like you are fine with the breakup

  • Anonymous

    You forgot to list: working out like a maniac to get it crazy shape. So you can post a shirtless pic on Facebook and have all your female friends comment show her what she’s missing out on.

  • Katsalive4ever

    hello everyone- i am setting at home toniight by myself. have been for six weeks now. I am not going to pretend to know anything about relationships. I am older. I am stubborn and hard to handle.When we first broke up l felt Ok. I need to say that this is the 4th breakup this last year. All my ideal. We are two people that fell in love with nothing else in common. Its horrible. I am dealing with all kinds of feelings and emotions but, I have no ideal how he feels. I don’t know if he feels. I read some of your opions and l am sure that is where he has been and going. But, I have stopped being an ass long enough to even begin to try and think about what he feels and thinks. I think as women we think that men should think as we do. They don’t. We need to focus on what we were doing in the relationship. Its easier to blame than it is to look at ourselves. I really loved this man. And now its over. And, its really over. Sure I will go on and do what l need to but oh the lost. But, l will have my life the way l built it. In the end l wonder will it matter.