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Sex + Relationships

Guys’ Take On: What Happens After a Break-up

It happens all the time. You hit that bump in the road just big enough to break up with your (now ex-) boyfriend. We won’t spend time making you wait for the answers on this one.

Cutting right to the chase: here’s what our 14 surveyed guys had to say about topics like when he might (or definitely doesn’t) want to see you after a break-up and if he ever thinks about getting back together – one of the questions some of us collegiettes would pay good money to find out the answer to.

On Where He Hates Running into You

Imagine, a few weeks after a break-up, you’re out on the town with the new guy you’re hanging with. He’s cute. You’re happy. And then you see your most recent ex. We can bet he’ll feel like he was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. With that awkward moment in mind, we asked the guys what other places they don’t want to see you right after a break-up.

Here’s where they hope they won’t bump into you:

  • “For any type of get-together for [her] accomplishments, or running into [her] with [her] new significant other.” – Matt, University of Wisconsin
  • “Pretty much anytime I’m by myself.” – Robert, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • “When I’m with my new girlfriend.” – Greg, Ulysses S. Grant High School
  • “In line at a store, or anywhere where you are with another girl.” – Joe, Syracuse University 
  • “As much as you don’t want to feel it, seeing your ex anywhere just after a break-up with someone new gives that stomach-churning feeling.” – Jim, Syracuse University 
  • “Drunk. There are too many emotions after a fresh break-up and you tend to voice them (good or bad) when inebriated.” – Francois, Syracuse University 

On How Long He Needs To Cool Off

We asked the boys if, given some time, they’d be fine seeing you in the places they listed above. 42 percent said they need a few weeks at least. This is totally fair, and to be honest, it’s probably good for you as well. 14 percent of them said to leave him alone for a year; then if you still want to, call or Facebook message him to catch up. That year gives him a chance to meet new people and get back on his feet. If you do decide to call him up, keep it to a low-key how-have-you-been convo to set a casual, friendly tone. You don’t want him to feel like he’s jumping back into anything. Francois from Syracuse University said to take into account each break-up situation. “Sometimes you aren’t too emotionally invested, therefore less time is needed. Sometimes it can take days, sometimes months or a year” before you’re both ready to see or talk to each other again.

On Where He Won’t Mind Seeing You, Post-Break-Up

Even when we’re hurt, or upset, or mad after it ends, sometimes we secretly hope we’ll see him, right? Well here’s when he kinda’ wants to see you, too.

  • “At a party with mutual friends.” – Matt, Syracuse University 
  • “Catching up over some food.” – Mike, Northeastern University 
  • “If we’ve ended on good terms and have both grown past it. After all, we were obviously very close friends before so why would we want to throw that away?” – Jim, Syracuse University 
  • “While I’m taking to someone else at the bar.” – Robert, Syracuse University (We can understand the make-her-jealous tactic here – sometimes it just makes you feel better.)
  • “If the reason we broke up was resolved.” – Greg, Ulysses S. Grant High School 
  • “If we ended on good terms.” – Rory, Syracuse University  

The two answers, “At a party with mutual friends” and “Catching up over some food” both have one thing in common: casual settings. After a break-up, if you’re going to meet up with each other – or you do just by accident – keep the conversation low-key to avoid bringing up any issues or making him feel uncomfortable.
On Hooking Up Post-Break-Up

It’s happened before: you swore you were done talking to him, then you’re back at his place by the end of the night. We asked the guys if they were still into hooking up after a break-up (and no they didn’t all say, ‘Hell yeah!’). 22 percent of them said that if they break up, that’s it, no hooking up afterwards. No games for those boys, please. 36 percent of them said they might hook up if they were drunk – even more of a reason to tell your girlfriends your game plan before you head out in case you also get a little… off track. Another seven percent of the guys said that if you’re still game to hook up after a break-up, so are they. To some of the guys, the type of relationship it was matters: “If it was a real relationship, no, but otherwise yes,” says Joe from Syracuse University. We’re guessing this means that if you were dating for a while, it’s probably out of the question because too many feelings are involved. If you were more casual or only together for a few months, though, some post break-up hook-up action might be on his mind.

On Getting Back Together

The question of the day. We asked the boys if they ever think (or hope) they might get back together with an ex. As tough (or apparent…) as it may be initially after a break-up, sometimes it’s just not meant to work out. 30 percent of our guys seem to feel this way, saying that they’re not ones to wish things would go back to the way they were. Their take is: if you broke up, there’s a reason for it. And they might be right. Another 36 percent say that they might miss you for a little while, but then they’ve moved on. It might not be what you wanted to hear, but it’s a totally healthy approach – neither of you should spend all your time wishing to have the other back! Realize what was good, and not so good, about that relationship and take your lessons learned into the next one.

On If He Still Facebook Stalks You

Surprisingly, 36 percent of the guys said they won’t be checking your every uploaded picture. A bit of a relief, perhaps. But still, we kind of wanted him to see that cute new guy we’re hanging with! Another 15 percent of them, however, said they might look at a couple of your photos for a few weeks, but not all the time. Francois, Syracuse University, ’11 said, “If I start stalking, I have to delete that person. You can’t move on if you’re still hanging on.” He’s right, and it goes both ways, ladies!

On When He’s Jealous of Those Pictures You Added

Even during a relationship, you’re probably tagged in or uploading pictures of you and other guys – friends, or otherwise. We wanted to know, after you break up, what types of pictures make him jealous. (Because even though he might not stalk you, he’ll probably see a few photos of you on his newsfeed.)

Here’s what the guys spilled:

  • “If she seems more in love with that guy than she was with me.” – Greg, Ulysses S. Grant High School 
  • “If she’s smiling the way I used to make her [smile].” – Thomas, Vermont Technical College 
  • “When she does things that were OUR thing with her new guy.” – Mike, Northeastern 
  • “If she’s hugged up with another dude or if she’s with someone I was already suspicious of in the relationship.” – Rory, Syracuse University 
  • “All the time. Especially if you think the guy is better than you or would win in a fight. Guys want to think they’re the best at everything.” – Aaron, LeMoyne College 

If you’re posting photos of you and another guy soon after a break-up (and you’re trying to make your ex jealous), based on these guys’ responses, it could be working. If you want to stay on good terms, though, or are hoping to re-spark the relationship anytime soon, we suggest holding off on photos in which you’re doing anything more than just smiling and standing next to another guy. At least for a few weeks.

On Hooking Up with His Friends

We’re just going to say: know what you’re in for if you decide to hook up with your ex’s friends. All 14 guys surveyed said this is clearly against bro code. Matt from Wisconsin University summed up the gist of all of the responses: “No sex with a bro’s ex.” Since he expects his friends to keep their hands off of you, it’s best not to tempt them. If you want to stay on your ex’s good side, we’d 100% advise not calling up one of his friends after a late night out. Even if you don’t care what your ex has to say anymore, be aware of the bro code and that the rest of the friends won’t be fans of this new fling either. It’s sure to be a bumpy ride if you’re going after the friend of an ex.

Here’s our quick take-away on what these guys taught us about handling a recent break-up: do your best to avoid seeing him for a while; if you do see him, keep things causal and brief; don’t think he’s Facebook stalking you, because he’s probably not (but it’s best to avoid posting sensitive photos right away if you want to remain on good terms); and don’t, under any circumstances, find a reason to hook up with his best friend.

Heather is a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School with a degree in Magazine Journalism. Growing up in southern Vermont, she learned to appreciate the New England small-town life. During her time at SU she served as Editor-in-Chief of What the Health magazine on her college campus and was a member of the Syracuse chapter of ED2010. This summer Heather is exploring the world of digital entrepreneurship at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY where she is Co-Founder of Scrapsule.com. Aside from social media and home decor, she loves vintage jewelry, strawberry banana smoothies, running, and autumn in Vermont.
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