All right. So, who hasn’t been part of a relationship where you break up but maybe it isn’t for a lack of feelings? Maybe it’s for the opposite. Maybe it’s for an abundance of feelings that breed to create more feelings and in turn, more chaos. Maybe there are so many damn feelings you can’t even function in your day to day life or achieve your own individual goals because you’re consumed by all of the feelings. Either way, I think we can all agree that sometimes we end relationships in spite of there still being love and emotion there. In my recent experience, when this happens, there is a bit of an aftershock. Like an earthquake hits, you feel the rumblings of it for a few days to follow. Maybe there is a relationship equivalent to that. For me, the relationship aftershock usually consists of three things:
1. Enlisting my girlfriends to creep him on all forms of social media while simultaneously spamming my own social media to make it look like I am living my absolute best life
2. Looking at old pictures and being irrationally sad whilst I drink wine and romanticize the entire relationship
3. Sometimes items 1 and 2 will prompt a few moments of weakness where I send a late night text message usually consisting of the three words, “I miss you”
How long this pattern goes on for is directly correlated to the way I felt about the person, and not always the length of time we were in a relationship. I think this ritual is fairly universal to most women. Our day and age have allowed for us to really embrace our wallowing and self-indulgence, even making it weirdly socially acceptable to embrace our inner alcoholic while we are licking our wounds. The first thing my besties did in my recent break up was offer to bring me a bottle of wine. Who knew there were boozy goody bags involved with heartbreak?
The thing we talk about less than this whole “babes supporting babes” movement through the mending of our broken hearts, is what does the relationship aftershock look like for men? And I am here today to volunteer my ex man as the test subject, in the spirit of uncovering this widespread mystery.
What I have learned as of late, and as my friend Dierks Bentley would say, it is “different for girls” but only sometimes. Here are 3 things I believe to be part of the universal man relationship aftershock:
1. They totally jump on the social media creeping frenzy but follow the “be cool” principle.
Meaning, they absolutely want to know and absolutely care what you are up to, but they will never be caught dead letting you catch on to that. Sure, they will view your Snapchat stories on the reg but will never again “like” one of your selfies. I think this is a pride thing. They know you’re hot but would rather pretend you got spontaneously ugly post-breakup. It helps their fragile ego.
2. They will not walk, they will run, sprint and/or FLY to a rebound girl (or girls).
Again, I think this stems from having a fragile ego. It’s easier to distract themselves with a new, probably younger girl to pine after them than realize they lost someone real and amazing. Even if the breakup happened for legitimate reasons, men would rather pretend they never cared about you than deal with the sadness they so obviously feel. They are human after all, but they don’t get the same privilege us women get in our breakups. It isn’t macho to drink wine and look at old photos and cry to every Adele song. So, their default move is to move on, even if we all know deep down it’s only masking their true feelings.
3. Which brings us to the third and final point…drunk dialing.
This one is a bit new for me, but thank you to our test subject, I have 2 months of viable research material on the matter. Sometimes there is a voicemail left. Sometimes it’s 5+ calls in one evening. Sometimes you answer, but most of the time you just wake up to it the next day feeling validated and full of false hope and promise. But, what I have come to realize is that a man’s drunk dial is different than a women’s wine-fuelled but innocent “I miss you” text. This is not to say he doesn’t miss you. Of course, he does. You are a goddess. He misses you in ways he probably does not even comprehend because he’s too busy acting cool on social media and frolicking with his flavor of the week.
But, the difference between the two acts is the sober intentions.
When women send an “I miss you” message, it is likely because we have thought about almost nothing else all day, or all week or all month. We can acknowledge that we genuinely miss him, whereas, I am not convinced that men have this ability, or at least not to the same extent. When he drunk dials you, it’s a carnal instinct. He’s drunk, he’s relying on his primitive nature to help him walk, so dialing a phone is no different. So when he drunk dials you and says all the right things, we as women have got to be prepared that he will do everything in his power to forget it the next day. He will not want to have a follow-up chat about it. He will not want to tell his rebound girl about it. He will effectively want to act like it did not happen, until the very next weekend when he just can’t help himself.
So, there you have it. My not-so-expert guidebook to men’s earth-shaking relationship aftermath.
Ultimately, nothing will shake you enough to get rid of the pain, and ultimately, this is their journey as much as it is ours no matter how hard we try to decipher their weird macho code. But maybe that is the point. Maybe the world needs a bit more “bros supporting bros” to avoid all the confusion. Maybe they need to learn how to embrace Adele and put down the Jack Daniels. Or maybe this is all nonsense and my ex is a total anomaly. I guess we will never really know but, for any girl out there on the receiving end of a drunk dial, my advice to you is to turn up the Adele and drown that shit right out.