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Songs are inspired because of this. Hearts are broken as a result of this. Lives are changed irrevocably because of this. Women tend to display their gloom more when this happens; men tend to be cooler. How many times have we seen the power couple break up, only to have the guy with another scarlet on his arm a week later? Ryan Phillipe and Brad Pitt must make women cringe everywhere. I am sure women everywhere can relate to Jennifer Aniston, and think of Brad as heartless. But is Brad really suffering? Do men cry? How, pray tell, are men able to rebound so quickly?

Well ladies, the answer is not as simple as one would think.

Allow me to take a stroll through history.

In the European culture, men historically have been conquistadors. They have conquered lands, buildings and people – which include females. Females have always been an extension of the male ego, thus making females more like objects than actual humans. Women have always outnumbered men and were considered more disposable. When you do not consider a woman a valuable commodity, how could losing that commodity hurt you? You could get another one!

It is a reason why prostitution by women is known as the world’s oldest profession. Women have been objectified since the inception of time – Rahab is a prominent example of a Biblical prostitute –and has contributed greatly to the dynamics between male and female interaction. Females have always been bred to look for a man’s approval before they could do anything. Therefore when approaching relationships, women have historically in typical manner acquiesced quickly to a guy’s demands.

In the natural state, men and women are not wired that differently. The value systems that society instills into each sex are what separate them. Men cherish and yearn for companionship just as women do. But that is where it ends. Society will not let men remain that way, so they hunt as they are taught.

Fast-forward to 2007. We are in progressive times, but old ideals still cling stronger than a cat hanging off a tree. Men are bred to be emotionally detached in the their interactions with their inamorata. Until they find that ‘One.’ And therein lies the rub.

For every man, from pimps to celebrities to mailmen, there is always that one person that can get them wrapped. When I say wrapped, I mean that this woman penetrates all pre-conceived notions of “masculinity” and gets to the crux of a man. So women beware! Because once a man is hurt or breaks up with this ‘One,’ all hell breaks loose. Some men go into a shell, some have sex with as many females as they can, some stalk, some kill, some cry all day. If you are lucky ladies, your break-up partner will just be bitter and not talk to you.

Because the subject of breaking up is so complex and subjective, I solicited a few opinions from three fellow men that have loved and lost.

(I am talking about break-ups from years together, not months. Months don’t really count. In general, men get over shorter relationships faster than longer ones. But there are always exceptions to this rule.)

For privacy reasons, I am using different names, because after you hear some of these responses, their privacy will be needed. So contrary to ubiquitous opinion, men generally do not take these breakups well.

David D (from Atlanta, GA) says:

I just focus on all the bad qualities and traits of her. Keep myself as immersed in as many activities as possible. I can’t even allow myself to go over what happened in my head, because if I do, then I would want to call that [expletive] and curse her out again. It’s too bad man, because actions of one chick can mess it up for the whole sex. I was good to her too, I really was. I doubt if I could ever open up to anybody like that again.

Jimmy S. (from East Point, GA) says:

I don’t know man. On one hand it was liberating, on the other hand it felt like I lost a part of myself. When you talk to someone everyday for three years, and then you are no longer talking anymore, it is a huge adjustment process. I guess that is why so many people who break up never really break up immediately. They have to gradually wean themselves from each other. I was no exception to this. But it eventually got to the point where we HAD to break it off, so we did. I am not going to even lie; I have spent many nights misty-eyed thinking about the times that we shared.

Lawrence (from Knoxville, TN)

I recently broke up with a woman with whom I shared everything. We were each other’s first love, first everything. It was hard man. I mean, we have been apart for a year, we are both in separate relationships, and I still feel the effects of our broken relationship. I don’t regret anything that happened, because it was a learning experience. I wish her the best in life and she wishes me the best. We broke up at the right time, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wish things would’ve turned out better.

So, as you see from these responses, paradigms range from the rational mature to the irrational immature. So don’t buy the hype, it isn’t as easy as we make it. I guarantee you that most would never know the pain a man goes through after a relationship invested in has failed. Facades work mirages, so take this column as a transparent reminder that a heart broken is a heart broken.

No matter what gender it is in.

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  • Indianred

    I really appreciate this article as well as this site. I am recently separated from my husband of only one year, but we were together for four. We have a small child together. Often, I wonder if he is in the pain that I am in. This article gave me a range of responses to where I can really pinpoint what he would say. Now I know that men have feelings also, but just don’t display them like us women do. Thank you and I have let all my girlfriends know about this mag! Us women of color need this positive, enpowering material to keep us fly no matter what our pockets are looking like! Keep it up!

  • TB

    I appreciate the openess of these men to let their feelings be known. As someone who recently parted ways with a long time love, one of my greatest fears was thinking that he would never hurt the way I was hurting.

  • Who knew they men DO cry over women!! I would have never gussed it.

  • Of course men cry over women. And men cry in General! A lot of us think that men are made out of iron when they are human beings who get rejected, hurt, abandoned as much as women do.