When do guys start to miss you after a breakup? We have all heard the stereotypes about men after a breakup, such as, “He is probably out drinking with his friends right now”, “There is no pain a pint of beer can’t cure”, or “He’ll just get with someone new and move on”. While some of these statements may appear to be true, the fact is that breakups hit guys later and that’s why they seem nonchalant or unfazed immediately after a breakup.
In reality, guys go through a lot after a breakup, most of which goes unaddressed or unacknowledged. An interesting study points out that men view their ex-partners more favorably than women. This may have raised a host of questions in your mind. Will he come back after the breakup? And how long does it take a guy to realize he wants you back? We’re here to help you find the answers and understand the behavior of men after a breakup.
When Do Guys Start To Miss You After A Breakup? 11 Possible Scenarios
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How long does it take for someone to miss you? Typically, how guys react to a breakup is different from how women do because the realization hits them a lot later. That is not to say that men are heartless and don’t care about their relationships. Naturally, when men become newly single, the stereotype of single men being “players” makes them think they’re now free. As if they were “tied down” before.
However, that feeling of being free lasts only so long. When they’ve exhausted their efforts of running away from their thoughts and emotions by partying, drinking, hooking up, etc, the breakup will finally hit them like a truck. That is when a man misses you. In short, 8 weeks is roughly the answer to the question, “How long does it take to miss someone?”
Related Reading: 12 Ways To Find Happiness After Breakup And Heal Completely
If you’re wondering, “Why does it take guys 8 weeks to miss you?” Know that, this is an average we’re talking about. Some men definitely take more time, some take less time too. The real question at hand is: What happens when a guy starts missing you after a breakup? Does he realize that he made a mistake and wants to come back? Let’s delve deeper into what makes a man miss a woman after a breakup, to find out:
1. When do guys start to miss you after a breakup? When it finally hits them
Growing up on Johnny Bravo, idolizing James Bond, and wanting to be like Dan Bilzerian, the newly single man will fancy himself as the player:
- He’ll take pride in all the freedom he now thinks he has, even if he did not lack any in the first place
- Looking at the “bright side” of the breakup is a common strategy men use to distract themselves from the pain of heartbreak
- He’ll say, “She tied me down bro, she wouldn’t let me out of the house!”
- Men jump into new relationships after a breakup but those, typically, won’t last very long
Eventually, reality sets in, after they’ve tried all the evasive measures they could’ve thought of, and that’s what makes a guy miss you. If you are wondering, “Does absence make a man miss you?”, the answer is, “Yes, when the enormity of the loss hits them, they do miss their former partners”. Now comes the part where they actually have to confront what they’re feeling, which can get very, very hard for some men.
2. When you stop talking to them for good
When you cut a guy off and stop sending text messages, he will naturally become more curious about what you’re up to. As long as guys can see your social media stories and drop in the occasional “Hi”, they won’t realize they have lost you for good.
Someone who strictly follows the no-contact rule is the kind of girl guys regret losing. Cut him off, he will miss you! When he doesn’t get the answers to the questions he has in his mind, he’ll grow frustrated. Maybe even ask your mutual friends about you. And that is one of the signs he will come back.
3. When wishful thinking sets in
Once a little more time passes, a guy starts to reminisce the great moments and how emotionally attached he was:
- Men forget the painful memories, choosing to only focus on the good times
- Some might even doubt themselves and wonder, “Maybe I was the one who was wrong the entire time”
- This thought process can make men realize they made a mistake and want their ex back
This is also the stage where you might probably receive an “I miss you” or “I’m sorry I treated you so badly” text. That’s because most guys convince themselves that they were not in a healthy relationship to be able to move on. Once they realize that that wasn’t necessarily the case, you can probably see a story or two on their social media about certain things you did as a couple.
So, when do guys start to miss you after a breakup? It’s when they realize that their relationship wasn’t as bad as they thought it was and their nostalgia-riddled mind can’t break free from the memories of the time you both spent together.
Related Reading: This Is How Your Breakup Affects Your Pet: A Dog’s Point Of View
4. When they realize being single isn’t all that great
It’ll take a little time, but guys eventually come around to realizing that the single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, there is the so-called freedom but it comes with missing out on the happiness and contentment of having that someone special in your life.
When he realizes he now has to do his shopping based on his judgment of fashion, all hell breaks loose. Expect the next few t-shirts to be extremely ill-fitted and the color scheme all over the place. This makes him want you back after the breakup because he can see that he was living his best life with you.
The answer to the question, “How long does it take a guy to realize he wants you back?” is when he starts missing the relationship. Once a guy realizes he longs for companionship once again, he understands that the only person he wants it with is his ex-partner. That’s why rebound relationships don’t work out.
5. When you upload that Instagram selfie with a new bae
Guys start missing you when they see you smiling with your new boyfriend. There’s nothing in the world that stings more than this. Especially, if there’s zero contact between the exes. Whether he’s stalking his ex on social media or not, that new photo of you with your new love interest will find its way into his phone and it’ll leave him shattered.
A Reddit user wrote, “I recently got back to my school, tonight as I was walking through the dorms saw her and some guy walking out of the building together. Something about this hurt me in a way I’ve never been hurt before. Just thinking about the two of them stirs up all this rage and anger and hurt inside me, and the thought keeps surfacing. It’s like a splinter.”
6. When he goes through a challenging phase in his life
A Reddit user wrote, “Men get most of their emotional support from their SOs, and very little comparatively from their friends; so they lose a significant emotional outlet in a breakup that I feel a lot of women don’t to the same degree.” So, does absence make a man miss you? Yes, especially when:
- He’s going through something challenging and needs to talk about his emotions
- He needs to be vulnerable with someone, without being judged for it
- He wants to cry his eyes out and rant about his distress
This eventually results in men having no idea how to get help from male friends in times of emotional crisis. This is when guys start to miss you after a breakup. Men don’t experience the kind of support they get from their girlfriends anywhere else.
7. When do guys start to miss you after a breakup? When loneliness hits
Loneliness is what makes a man miss a woman after a breakup. When a man misses you, he will crave the cuddles and the emotional stability. Guys will miss the security/sexual intimacy that they shared with you. This is when they start wishing they treated you better so they could still have the emotional support and the sex. This can take anywhere between 8-16 weeks, depending on a man’s personality, the nature of the relationship, and the reason for the breakup.
8. When he gets to see you
Maybe you’re wondering, “He broke up with me, will he come back?” On this, a Reddit user wrote, “One time I went to a party at my ex’s house. Didn’t really know that many people. Got way drunker than I should have been, and sloppily explained to her that she should ditch that other loser and date me again.”
Yes, this often happens. When guys run into you (by accident/by choice), all the memories come flashing back. If you happen to run into your ex this holiday season, here’s what you should do:
- Take a deep breath and be kind to yourself (it’s natural to feel uneasy)
- Remember why you guys aren’t together anymore (self-worth comes first always)
- Don’t go out of your way to impress/get back your ex-boyfriend
9. When something reminds him of you
According to research, long-term love is related to dopamine-rich rewards and maternal attachment. So, your wide smile, piercing green eyes, and unique scent have created neural fingerprint-like effects on your ex’s brain. This means every time he comes across visual cues, sounds, or odors related to you, he will miss you. Maybe that’s why he keeps playing the song Cold/Mess on repeat.
10. When do guys start to miss you after breakup? When they get drunk
Will he call after the breakup? A Reddit user wrote, “I still get the occasional drunk emails from exes I haven’t seen in like 5+ years, it’s fine.” No, it’s not fine if you keep wondering, “Why is he texting me after the breakup?” Since he hasn’t made peace with the relationship’s ending, it’s still making him miss you. And any intoxication, like alcohol, tends to trigger those core memories.
This is definitely not a healthy trend for him as well because research suggests:
- Alcohol problems increased for those who went from being in an exclusive relationship to being single
- Relationship dissolution in emerging adults is associated with increases in substance use
- Ones who experience breakup during the first year of college are more prone to alcohol problems
11. When he tries to be intimate with someone else
Have you ever heard about soul ties? A soul tie is a deep connection that cannot be explained (like an invisible thread/metaphorical cord tying two people together). This means your ex may still feel tied to you and even dream about you sometimes, even if you’re no longer together.
My friend, dealing with an ex hung up on her, shared with me, “He keeps texting, trying to establish contact with me. He says he wants to be friends but at the same time, says he is unable to enjoy physical intimacy with anyone else. Why is he texting me after the breakup? What does he want?”
As research points out, the bonding hormone oxytocin is released during sex. And this is why he still feels drawn and tied to you. Having sex with the same person over and over again might end up building a soul-tie-like attachment. And so when he tries to be intimate with someone else, he misses you (since his soul ties to you haven’t been broken).
How Long Does It Take A Man To Realize What He Lost?
My friend Sarah keeps asking me, “He changed his number, will he come back? How long would it take for him to realize he made a mistake and come back?” Well, there is no hard-and-fast rule about if and when a man will come back after a breakup, irrespective of whether or not he misses. It all depends on the following factors:
- Were you in a relationship for a few weeks or a few years? The longer the relationship, the harder the breakup hits a guy
- Were you in a long-distance relationship or spent a lot of time together?
- Was he in love with you when the breakup happened or did he fall out of love?
Let’s look at the various possible scenarios in greater detail:
1. Long-term relationship
If it was a serious relationship, a guy may miss you immediately and even years after the breakup. It’s very difficult to detach from a person you thought you would marry. A Reddit user wrote, “I still miss my ex after 3 years, when does it go away? I still think of them every day. It really annoys me that I still feel this way. I feel like the breakup is having a negative impact on my life after all this time.”
2. He dumped you
A Reddit user wrote, “When I was the dumper (more than two years ago), I never missed my ex because they were a bad partner and I was just miserable with them. I had tried to fix the issues and thought about it for a while and I was really sure when I broke up with them.” So, if he dumped you, there’s a possibility that he may treasure your memories but not want you back at all.
Related Reading: 10 Types Of Breakups That Get Back Together With Timelines
3. You dumped him
A Reddit user wrote, “As a dumpee, I reached out to my dumper a day after she dumped. I told her I missed her a lot. She also felt the same way. We’re back like nothing happened. It’s been a week since we got back. So far so good.” Hence, if he was dumped, he will start missing you right after the breakup and may even reach out as early as the very next day and express a desire to get back with you immediately.
4. He cheated
Cheaters may not miss you as a romantic partner. But they will crave your presence when they’re lonely. A Reddit user wrote, “Many serial cheaters are narcissistic or have BPD, in both cases, life is a movie about themselves and everybody else are extras. So they think about you but it is filtered through their mental health issues.”
5. You cheated
When do guys start to miss you after the breakup? If you cheated on him, he’s likely to miss you two to five months after the breakup. The initial months will be marked by anger at being betrayed. In the later stages, he will wonder why he was not good enough. On this, a Reddit user wrote, “She cheated on me twice and I miss my cheating ex and her family but I know I shouldn’t.”
If one of you cheated, think long and hard about letting your ex back into your life. Rebuilding love after emotional damage is going to be a complex task. One survey indicates that only 15.6 % of couples can commit to staying together after infidelity.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself After Breakup
6. Casual relationship
Even if it was a casual relationship, the no-contact rule hurts. A Reddit user wrote, “Guys always come back if you don’t contact them. Always. I hear 2-3 months is common. As a man, I have seen almost (but far from) a year. With the no-contact rule, I always see multiple reach outs. The question isn’t if they will reach out, but more if will they breadcrumb you, hopefully not. The breadcrumbing wastes your time and your life.” So, is he just breadcrumbing or will he come back after breakup? Again, it depends. If it was a casual relationship, chances are he will get over the hurt and move on.
- When a man breaks up with you, he puts a fake show that he’s unaffected
- Guys suddenly seem to be in love with their ex when she starts moving on
- Let him come to you after a breakup by using no-contact rule
- Men jump into new relationships after a breakup just to realize they didn’t grieve the old ones
- Guys start missing their ex if the breakup wasn’t their call
- It can take two weeks or even three months for him to miss you
- If he gives you mixed signals and uses reverse psychology, he isn’t worth it
- The most important thing is to protect your own mental health
- It’s a win-win situation if you give him the green light to move on
- One way to do so is by letting him go
Finally, the answer to when do guys start to miss you after a breakup varies, depending on the quantum of the loss. They will miss you first, then build you up in their heads. The kind of girl guys regret losing is one who was nurturing, a good person, loving, and just clicked when it came to a sense of humor. The idea of dating again can seem exhausting as he’ll have to connect with a different woman all over again and even then it might not last. That’s when a man realizes he lost a good woman.
Guys will then start remembering the good things about you and how you both connected. He will keep aside the qualities of you he didn’t like. However, if a new relationship does find its way into the guy’s life (which will almost always be after you’ve already moved on), he will not think about you much.
This article has been updated in May, 2023.
Yes, guys do miss their girlfriends after the no-contact rule. Cut him off, he will miss you. Guys start missing their ex if the breakup was caused by outside influences. But in most other cases guys do tend to miss their girlfriends a little after the woman has already started moving on. This is because guys tend to run away from their feelings and are not great at dealing with the difficult emotions they might have stirring inside of them.
Yes, guys suddenly seem to be in love with their ex when they try to start dating again. Unless the perfect partner comes into their life without them even trying, which is highly unlikely, they will realize that finding a partner is extremely hard and maybe they let a good girl go. On watching his ex with another person, he may suddenly realize he made a mistake and come back.
When guys start asking your friends about how you’re doing, when they send you an inconspicuous “What’s up?” to see how you’re doing and when they start being less active on social media, are all tell-tale signs of guys missing you after a breakup.
Guys might even send you an “I miss you, I wish I treated you better” message long after the relationship is over too. That’s because they miss the emotional stability and sexual intimacy the relationship brought with it.
If the relationship was unfruitful and you cheated or did something equally bad, chances are he won’t. However, he will start missing you if the breakup was the guy’s fault. Or if outside influences caused the breakup, or even if it just didn’t work out, chances are he will think about coming back to you. When a man realizes he lost a good woman, he wants to make amends.
The probability of the man acting on those impulses can never be penned down since it depends on how emotionally strong he is or how bad he wants you back. Rest assured, he will at least think about wanting you back.
Most guys tend to run away from their feelings as a defense mechanism. They assume that by never confronting the negative thoughts brewing inside of them, they’ll never have to face them. That is, of course, until they finally acknowledge and accept the breakup and reality hits them like a truck. Though some may take 8 weeks to get there, other can take a lot longer or some may even miss you a few weeks after the breakup.