Dealing with breakup

20 Signs He Is Hurting After The Break Up (And What To Do)


Breakups bring heartbreak or relief, sometimes both at the same time. You might part ways on friendly terms or your relationship might end in a vicious fight – whatever the reason or the way you broke up, it’s never easy to deal with a breakup.

If you’re wondering whether your ex is hurting, you’re still not over it. Ending a relationship takes time to deal with, so curiosity about how the other side is doing is natural.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wondering because you worry about him, because you want him to be in as much pain as you are, or because you want to get back together. Whatever your reason, you’ll get your answer by paying attention to his behavior for the signs he is hurting after the breakup.

20 Signs He Is Hurting After The Break Up

upset man crying in dark

How do you know if your ex-boyfriend is hurting? It’s not difficult to pinpoint the signs he is hurting after the breakup because they all have one thing in common: he’s not staying away.

When someone is over you and doesn’t want anything to do with you, he goes on with his life without concerning himself with what you’re doing. All the signs he is hurting after a breakup also show you how involved he still is in your life.

1. He blocks you

If he blocked your number and on social media, he’s hurting and most likely wants to get over you. Cutting off all contact is one of the signs that he’s in pain and trying to stay away to protect his feelings.

The no-contact rule is one of the most effective ways to deal with hurt feelings after a breakup. He’s trying to stop himself from contacting you by blocking your number and he’s trying to avoid seeing updates about your life on social media.

If he didn’t care about contacting you, you’d know that your ex has moved on.

2. He ignores you

When he ignores you when you contact him or when you run into him, he’s trying to hide his true feelings. He’s hurting and seeing you brings him even more pain, so he’s avoiding you.

If you run in the same circles and can’t help seeing each other, this will be even more obvious. It might seem childish when he just passes by you pretending you don’t exist – he’s sulking and ignoring you because he’s hurting and seeing you just makes him feel worse.

3. He withdraws from everyone

One of the telltale signs that a guy is hurting is if he disappears completely. His ego and his feelings are both hurt, so he’s hiding from everyone until he’s recovered. If he’s not only hiding from you, but also ignoring his friends, he needs time to process his feelings.

He’s hurt and ashamed, so he doesn’t want to talk about it to anyone because it will only make him feel worse. If anyone gets in touch with him, he’ll probably lash out at them or be completely listless.

4. He’s in denial about the finality of your breakup

Denial is one of the sure signs that he’s hurting. If he’s acting like your breakup is temporary and not a big deal, he’s not taking it seriously. He’s either going through the stages of a breakup and will eventually accept it, or he’s just incapable of dealing with how he feels about losing you.

If he’s the dumper, it might also be a sign that he’s playing with your feelings. If he thinks that he can break up with you only to have you wait for him to change his mind, he’s in denial and considers your breakup a game without thinking about what it’s doing to you.

5. He shows up where he knows you’ll be

man looking at woman in train

You go to your favorite coffee shop at your usual time, and he’s there. You’re meeting a friend for lunch, and he shows up at the same restaurant. You see him hanging around your neighborhood or near your workplace.

One of the signs that he can’t stop thinking about you is if he’s always around. If you’ve blocked him, he might be trying to get in touch with you. If he’s the one who broke up with you, he’s regretting it and trying to catch a glimpse of you or talk to you.

6. He won’t stop texting or calling

Looking for excuses to contact you and can’t move on with his life is a definite sign that he’s in pain. He doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings and he’s trying to keep you in his life.

If he’s texting or calling you as much as when you were together, or even more, he’s unable to accept that you’re over. He either thinks that he still has a chance or he’s hoping to convince you to give him one.

7. He tells you he misses you

When he outright tells you that he misses you, it’s a sign that he can’t deal with his feelings any more. It might be a moment of weakness and he still wants to be over you or he’s really reached a point where he doesn’t want to be without you any longer.

On the other hand, it could be a manipulation tactic, so be careful. If he’s the one who broke up with you and left you heartbroken, then suddenly starts to miss you, you can’t trust him until he proves to you that he really means it.

8. He begs for another chance

Begging you to take him back is an obvious sign that he regrets losing you and it hurts him to be apart from you, but you shouldn’t take his words at face value.

If you decide to give him another chance, he should first earn it, starting with a proper apology. The purpose of an apology isn’t to make him feel better or to acknowledge your reaction. A real apology shows that he’s genuinely sorry for his actions and that he wants to make it up to you.

9. He gets into a rebound relationship

A new relationship immediately after a breakup is a coping mechanism meant to distract from the pain. If he’s dating someone else before a certain amount of time has passed, it won’t end well for anyone involved.

First of all, it won’t help him deal with his feelings – it’s well known that rebounds make you miss your ex more. Not only that, but he’ll also hurt the other person he’s dating and, if you let it, this situation will also hurt you.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to ignore his actions and stay away from the whole mess. Don’t let him drag you into it. Your ex and his new relationship are none of your business because you have better things to do.

10. He speaks ill of you

sad woman sitting curled up on sofa

Anyone who’s trash-talking their ex-partner is angry and trying to hurt the other person’s feelings. Unless he’s a narcissist running a smear campaign, badmouthing you isn’t a calculated plan to make your mutual friends hate you, but a reaction to his pain.

He’s overwhelmed with how much he’s hurting, so he’s trying to make you feel the same. He also might be desperate to believe in the words they’re saying or looking for sympathy. Don’t let the things he’s saying get to you.

11. He distorts the truth about your breakup

There are plenty of reasons for breakups, some of which are more painful than the others. Sometimes things seem fine, but underneath it they’re not working and you realize that it’s time to break up. It can be mutual or it can be a result of something one person did.

Whatever the reason for your breakup, if he can’t deal with his emotional pain and he’s trying to make you seem like the bad guy in the breakup, his behavior is toxic and you shouldn’t accept it.

If he’s trying to paint himself as a victim and blame you for everything that went wrong in your relationship, you can talk to him and ask him to stop or you could ignore him completely.

He can try to put it all on you, but people who know you won’t believe him. If he manages to convince them, you can talk to them and tell them what’s going on, but it’s best if you don’t get involved at all. Live your life unbothered.

12. He tries to hurt you back

If he’s miserable without you and the only way to deal with his pain is to try to hurt you back, you shouldn’t give him the time of day. Some ways he could be doing this is by damaging your reputation or property, threatening you, harassing you or sabotaging you.

Watch out if his way of thinking is “If I am hurting, so should you”. He’s a toxic person who won’t stop hurting you even if you reconcile. He might be in pain, but that’s never an excuse for hurting others.

Seeking revenge for the breakup and trying to teach you a lesson are signs that he’s someone you should stay away from.

13. He stalks you

A clear sign that he’s not over you and that he’s hurting is if he’s up-to-date with everything that’s going on with your life. If he’s taking notice of all the small details that someone who doesn’t care about his ex-girlfriend or boyfriend would ignore, it’s obvious that he’s still very much invested.

Whether he’s stalking your social media or if he’s everywhere you go, you should be careful. If his pain is combined with anger, he might not stop at keeping tabs on you. If he disturbs or harasses you, don’t try to deal with it alone.

14. He meddles in your life

How do you know if your ex is still stuck on you? If he can’t seem to stay away. He can do this in many ways, but one of the most annoying and possibly upsetting things he can do is to meddle in your life.

He might ask around about you, try contacting your new partner, making judgmental comments, bother you, text you excessively, get in touch with your family, try to involve you in his life, and so on.

What can you do if you want to move on with your life? You must be very strict about enforcing your boundaries. Let him know that it’s over and that his input is not welcome.

If you want to get back together, you should talk to him and openly discuss both of your feelings.

15. He pretends that he doesn’t care

man sitting on bench looking into distance

Pretending that he doesn’t care is one of the more subtle signs that he still has feelings for you, but some of his actions will give him away. If he’s trying too hard to make it seem like he’s over you, he probably isn’t.

Unless you’ve hurt him in a vicious way, he has no reason to pretend like you don’t exist. Insisting that he’s okay and trying to prove to everyone that you don’t matter is a way of coping with his hurt feelings.

16. He’s lashing out

If he’s hurting and has no one he can reach out to after the breakup, he might be feeling isolated and alone. If he has no outlet for his feelings, it’s possible he doesn’t know how to deal with them.

Anger is one of the most common reactions to a broken heart. If he’s lashing out or being mean, it’s possible that he doesn’t know how to handle his emotions. He might also become withdrawn and unapproachable.

Depending on your feelings and wishes, you might stay away or reach out to him. If you still have at least friendly feelings for him and want to help him, you could encourage him to talk to a therapist.

17. He slips back into his bad habits

Relationships change people. We all adjust and make compromises, which includes changing our habits to accommodate the other person. If he used to do something that bothered you and stopped and is now back to doing it, it might be a sign that he’s hurting.

This is especially true if it’s something self-destructive that he’s using to deal with negative emotions, such as excessive drinking, smoking or substance abuse.

If you’re worried about him, but don’t want to get involved, you can tell one of your mutual friends to pay attention to his behavior.

18. He tries to make you jealous

Is he flirting with others where you can see? Are you specifically informed about him being with someone else soon after your breakup or are your mutual friends telling you how he’s going out every night and hooking up?

Trying to make you jealous is one of the biggest signs that he didn’t get over you and move on. If he was, he wouldn’t feel the need to let you know about it. He wants to manipulate you by trying to make you regret the breakup.

19. He makes a big change

A big life change can be a sign that he’s hurt and trying to deal with his feelings. If he changes his job, moves long distance or makes a radical change in his appearance or behavior, he’s going through heartache and trying to deal with it.

This way of handling his pain can be effective. Post-breakup, everything reminds you of your ex, especially if you were in a long-term relationship. If you went through many experiences together, he’ll want to create new memories that don’t include you.

20. His friends ask you to talk to him

If his best friend or your mutual friends contact you asking you to talk to him, it’s a sign that he’s been hurting and that they know all about it.

Maybe he’s been wallowing in his pain because he regrets losing you or he’s been self-destructive, but either way, if his friends are concerned enough to ask you to interfere, it’s serious.

It’s up to you to decide what to do. If there’s no bitterness between you and you want to help him deal with his feelings, you can accept their request and talk to him, but you must be emotionally prepared and secure in what it is that you want from the relationship.

What To Do If He’s Hurting After The Breakup?

man crying on sofa

After a break up, you either want to stay broken up or you want to get back together. Depending on what you want, there are different routes you can take, but whichever you choose, it’s important to do the following:

1. Establish boundaries

The most crucial piece of relationship advice you’ll ever get is that you must know your boundaries, communicate them to the other person and enforce them. This is the basis of healthy relationships and keeping your mental health.

Whatever it is that you need from your relationship with your ex, you must let him know how you feel and remind him not to violate your boundaries if he forgets. This is how you protect yourself and keep toxicity out of your relationships.

2. Take care of yourself

Your self-care and self-esteem must take precedence over anything else. Do things that nurture your health, that give you a sense of purpose and that bring you joy. Be kind and patient with yourself without being overindulgent and neglectful. Express your feelings.

If you prioritize your relationship with yourself, all your other relationships will benefit. You’ll have an easier time getting over a breakup and understanding where other people are coming from.

3. Respect each other’s needs

If your feelings regarding getting back together aren’t the same, it’s important to respect each other’s decisions. For example, if your ex wants to get back together, but you don’t want to stay in touch at all, you have no obligation to do so, and vice versa.

It’s a good idea to take some time away from each other even if you want to get back together. This will give you both a chance to think about everything and decide what you want to do. Distance might make you change your mind if you see things from a different perspective.


These three rules make every relationship easier, but it’s especially beneficial when you’re in a breakup situation. Based on how you want things to go forward, there are different points to consider.

• If you’re not interested in being friends with your ex:

If you just want him out of your life, the most effective way to handle this is to cut him off completely. The more you stick to the no contact rule, the faster you’ll get over him.

Instead of thinking about him, focus on yourself and look for things that make you happy. It’s difficult, but it will get easier with time.

• If you want to stay friends:

Being clear and strict about your boundaries is of utmost importance. Relationship experts recommend establishing rules and guidelines that will set your new relationship with each other apart from the one you had.

It’s important to give each other time to heal after the breakup and avoid doing things that would be considered romantic, such as cuddling, providing emotional support or anything that reminds you of what you were like with each other while you were in a romantic relationship.

See also: Why Doesn’t My Ex Want To Be Friends? (Fully Explained)

• If you want to get back together:

Getting back together after a breakup sounds easy, but if you want to stay together this time, you need absolute willingness on both sides to make things work.

Prioritize communication and look for ways to solve the problems that caused the end of your relationship. Only after you’re able to start over with no resentments should you consider getting your ex back.

In Conclusion

young man sitting in cafe thinking about something

If you still feel connected to your ex, knowing that he’s heartbroken is probably making you sad too. On the other hand, if you’re happy about getting rid of him and think he deserves it, it might make you happy if you notice signs he is hurting after the breakup.

Either way, your ex guy’s behavior is the key to knowing how he feels. Some of the things he’s doing because he’s hurting are surprising, some are just as you would expect. Don’t let his actions influence your feelings.

For you it’s most important to take care of yourself and let him do the same. If you want to get back together with him, it has to be mutual or you’ll be only hurting yourself. Both of you need to be willing to deal with your problems or leave things as they are.

Category: Dealing with breakup

Roberta Carroll

My approach is eclectic and holistic with a focus on mindfulness. I have received certifications in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (trauma), among others. I spent over 10 years at the Veteran’s Administration in Louisville, KY, working as a psychotherapist with veterans of all ages and genders on a wide variety of issues. Prior to that my focus was on young adults and their families and older adults dealing with loss. Individuals have met with me for help to address depression and anxiety, grief, trauma and relational issues as well as work-related/everyday stressors. The therapeutic process provides a safe place for the client, in collaboration with their therapist, to process distress, discover areas of “stuckness” and move forward into a life of increased meaning and joy. Accepting our imperfections and practicing self-compassion can be a difficult as well as rewarding process. I have lived and worked in different areas of the country, have come to understand how regional differences affect our outlooks and appreciate the contrasts. I have relished the opportunity to assist clients as they carry the burdens of life. It would be my privilege to hear your story.

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