This site runs best with JavaScript enabled.

Breakup advice for men: 7 steps to recovery

Jesse Martin

October 11, 2012

In this article I've tried to summarize a lot of the concepts I talk about on this blog into the most important breakup advice for men. Going through a relationship breakup is excruciating. Feelings of incomprehensible sadness permeate every aspect of your life. There is no doubt in my mind that it's one of the most painful things there is in life. But - maybe for that reason - over time, it has the capacity to become one of the most profound and inspirational experiences you'll ever endure. Too many guys out there, however, end up suppressing their grief and do not use the recovery period to learn more about themselves, relationships and themselves in relationships.

Step 1: No Contact

This is the hardest thing to do, but it is also the most important step you can take to get over your ex girlfriend. You need to break off all contact with your ex. (In some cases, for instance divorce where children are involved, no contact is not possible. In these cases, keep contact to a bear minimum.)

[no-contact-after-a-breakup] means, no contact with your ex in any form whatsoever. No checking her facebook, no viewing old pictures and definitely not texting her goodnight.

Even the briefest contact with her fires up the circuits in your brain associated with romantic love. These incidents tend to reset your recovery and draw you back into a state of intense grief. That's why, if you want to recover, you must break off all contact with your ex. It's the most important piece of breakup advice for men.

Action Steps

  1. Send your ex girlfriend a concise, to-the-point message, explaining that you will now be breaking off contact in order to take some time for yourself to fully recover. Explain that you hope that she can respect this and wish her well in her recovery (Always take the high road).
  2. Make a conscious decision - and a commitment - that from now on you are going no contact for 30 days. If you make it 30, go for a another 30 days. Using time frames makes it somewhat easier. If you break no contact - that's alright. Figure out where it went wrong, and reinitiate.

Step 2: Remove All Evidence

You need to get rid of everything that reminds you of your ex - at least until you've fully recovered.

Not only seeing your ex will trigger an intense, visceral emotional reaction - things like pictures, songs and maybe even certain locations, can do the same.

The antidote is simple, remove any chance of being reminded of her from your daily existence. Avoid places where you might walk in to her, or might be reminded of her.

Don't leave pictures on your computer and don't stay friends on facebook. Don't rely on self-discipline to stop yourself from indulging in reminiscing. Prepare yourself for your future weaker you. You don't want to hear about her moving on, you want to focus on YOU moving on.

Action Steps

  1. Call up a friend and have him help you gather all the stuff you still have that belongs to your ex-girlfriend or that reminds you of her.
  2. Have your friend hold on to all the stuff that reminds you of her, and have him give back all the stuff that belongs to her.
  3. Prepare yourself for your future weaker you. Do not rely on self discipline.

Step 3: Don't Try to Stay Friends

Quit any attempts you're making to stay friends with your ex, and do not engage in any attempts she makes. Staying friends after a breakup is a fallacy. It is a desire rooted in insecurity about moving on. Just because you're broken up, doesn't mean you're feelings are now turned off. The opposite is in fact true, your brain circuitry for romantic love fires up even more when you're faced with rejection. But the point is, you can't be friends while you still have feelings for her.

Let your ex girlfriend know that you do not believe that it is not possible to stay friends while trying to get your lives back on track. Beware! You might get some resistance on this. Women tend to want to preserve relationships and get along. The likelihood of it working out, however, is small. Chances are you're going to get confused, hurt and disorientated in your recovery.

Action Steps

1 In a concise, and to-the-point manner, let your ex-girlfriend know that you don't believe you can maintain a friendship while at the same time recovering from a breakup. Let her know that you'll be going no-contact and that you hope she can respect your decision.

Step 4: Leverage Your Support Network

Your support network consists of your family and friends that you can turn to in this tough period. These are your life lines and can make or break a swift recovery. Being among those that love you reminds yourself, at a very basic, primal level, that there are people that care about you, and that will always be there for you. They will help you move on.

When you're going through a breakup, you might not know it, but you're craving to be loved. You tend to be obsessed by getting that love from your ex-girlfriend, but love from friends or family comes a long way.

Action Steps

  1. Get in touch with your friends and family and arrange to see them. Let them know what you're going through. Talk about the breakup, but allow yourself to be distracted too.

Step 5: Keep Busy

It's important to stay busy. Distract yourself. Push yourself to make plans for most of your waking hours.

The negative emotions you experience during a breakup are associated with plummeting levels of dopamine. When  you focus your attention and do new things, you elevate this feel-good substance, boosting energy and hope.

Do anything that forces you to concentrate your attention.

Action Steps

  1. Call up one friend you haven't talked to in far too long
  2. Start learning something new today, like playing the guitar

Step 6: Allow yourself time to grieve

Staying busy is important, but it is critical that you allow yourself time to grieve.

A breakup is in many ways a traumatic loss which is stressful and emotionally taxing.

By allowing yourself to grieve, you're acknowledging your feelings and coming to terms with them. Understanding and interpreting your feelings will stimulate your recovery and will allow you to learn from the experience and is the key to healing a broken heart. Failing to do so, will increase your chances of repeating past mistakes.

Action Steps

  1. Send your ex girlfriend a concise, to-the-point message, explaining that you will now be breaking off contact in order to take some time for yourself to fully recover. Explain that you hope that she can respect this and wish her well in her recovery (Always take the high road).

Step 7: Exercise

Both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise are invaluable tools to the recovering man.

Your brain recognizes exercise as a moment of stress. It then starts releasing proteins and endorphins that protect your brain from stress and block pain. Resistance training will pump up your testosterone levels, increase your lean muscle mass and allow you to shed excess fat. It will not only make you more fit, it will make you look better. Seeing a notable difference in your physical appearance will boost your confidence - which is often a well received perk during a breakup, especially for someone that's been dumped.

Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to clear your mind. It has a meditative effect that was instrumental in my own recovery. I would go out and run for 45 minutes almost every day. I would come back, and no longer be frustrated, conflicted or mad.

Start exercising today!

Action Steps

  1. Start with a small routine and slowly expand on it from week to week.
  2. Track your exercises and log them at the same time after every exercise.


In summary, you want to start off by cutting off all contact with your ex-girlfriend. It's super hard, it hurts like hell, but it's what's best for your recovery. No contact with your ex-girlfriend isn't enough, you need to get rid of anything that might remind you of her and avoid places, people and things that would do the same. Trying to stay friends doesn't work. Even though you're broken up, you're still in love, which makes friendship an impossibility. Now that you're cut off from your ex, spend time with friends and family, allow yourself to feel loved. Allot one time per day that you allow yourself to grieve. All of your other waking hours, you must keep busy and make sure you exercise. That concludes my breakup advice for men.

Let me know what you're struggling with in the comments

Share article

Get her out of your head

Jesse Martin © 2021