Podcasts/books for men about healing from heartbreak after being dumped?
April 7, 2020 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I’m 31 and was recently dumped out of the blue by my first girlfriend of ~3 years. I’m looking for a series of podcasts or books I can listen to while walking or going through an emotional crying spell that are for men. Reason for the distinction is that a lot of what I’ve found is for women. I’m not looking for a Pickup Hot Babez type of thing. I’m looking for help grieving, self love/care and getting back out there to find my future wife.

Oh, I’m also looking for any websites, Reddits, forums, (and especially) YouTube channels. Also, keep in mind that, just because I’m asking for men, I’m not exactly looking for a drill sergeant yelling at me to suck it up and stop being a pansy. Back in the day I would go to enotalone, but now when I look at it, the forum topics make me depressed because everything sounds so bleak. I mean, I imagine that’s to be expected. Also, I don’t want to go down any weird rabbit holes that lead to incel crap or the toxic Pick Up Community.

I’ve watched a video saying that men never get over breakups. That scares the hell outta me. I have my guesses, but why do you think that there is so little emotional/spiritual heartbreak resources for guys. It’s not that it has to be written or spoke by a guy. I was listening to a podcast about getting back out in the dating game after a breakup, and the lady was just strait up that she doesn’t help men. Another podcast was about learning to love yourself and, again, the lady was honest that she works exclusively with women.

Meanwhile, for men, it’s mostly about how to get laid.
posted by ggp88 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be non-fiction? Movies like 500 Days of Summer, High Fidelity, or Forgetting Sarah Marshall might speak to you more than any self help stuff. Then there are movies like Lost in Translation and Before Sunset that aren't exactly about getting over breakups, but are about knowing something can't last and accepting it for what it is.

Never underestimate the power of fiction when you encounter it at just the right moment. I'd recommend a book or two, but none are really coming to mind for me.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 9:43 PM on April 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

I bet someone could recommend you some John Prine songs. We make country and western do a lot of this work.
posted by clew at 10:48 PM on April 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

The book that I read in somewhat similar circumstances was called The Relate Guide to Starting Again by Sarah Litvinoff. My friend gave it to me who had found it helpful after his divorce, and I found it helpful too, so that's a double recommendation if you like.

It's not specifically targeted at men, but there's nothing (that I remember) which is gender-specific in the advice. It's all about learning from past experience so that you don't need to go down the same road again.

This was a while ago, it's no longer in print, but it shows up with a Kindle edition on an Amazon search. If you like the look of it & draw a blank, memail me and I'll post you my copy.

Be prepared to mourn the loss of the future you thought you had. I learned back then that two years is a reasonable timeframe for mourning a major loss. Good luck.

oh, and I like clew's advice too - the Ryan Adams record Heartbreaker was a big part of my life around then - in fact now I think of it, so was 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields
posted by rd45 at 1:59 AM on April 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

First of all: it's really, really good of you to take care of your emotional healing and growth after this breakup. Many men straight up do not do that work, as emotional labor about relationships is typically delegated to women. So, lots of books for women about understanding men; few books for men about understanding themselves. I'm glad you're asking, both for your own self, but to start to build a reading list for guys who *are* willing to go the work without falling into the red pill/incel trap.

This titles may be more general than what you're looking for, but it's a classic: When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. Likewise, Brene Brown has written some titles that would likely be good for you: The Power of Vulnerability, also Daring Greatly.

I'm aware of male authors who write for female readers about understanding men, and am not finding that they write for male audiences as well. Let me put the question to a group of thoughtful, personal growth oriented folks I know and see what they come back with.

Take care.
posted by Sublimity at 5:31 AM on April 8, 2020 [12 favorites]

Dr. Nerdlove's site is geared towards men so he has a couple of articles on dealing with heartbreak: 1, 2
posted by foxjacket at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm a lady but I really, really liked Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts. It's written by a male psychologist, Guy Winch, and while it's not tailored to men specifically, the majority of the examples he cites from his patients are men. It's available as an audiobook. Oh, and I also recommend another one by Guy Winch that's more targeted: How to Fix a Broken Heart.

The Power of Vulnerability, a talk by Brene Brown also available on Audible, is life-changing. Life. Changing.

Finally, Terry Real is a therapist well-known for his work on men's issues and couples therapy and he's written a bunch of books; this one might be the most relevant to you right now. I've also heard amazing things about Fierce Intimacy.

I'm so sorry for your breakup, and commend you for doing this work. Sending you hope and healing.
posted by anderjen at 7:49 AM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

High Fidelity - the book, where Rob clearly comes across much more as someone who hadn't learned from his mistakes. You may at least find it a little cathartic.
posted by mippy at 7:50 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry you're going through this, and also that it's so hard for you to find support. It sucks. You may find some good articles at The Good Men Project.
posted by yawper at 9:11 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Mod note: One deleted; sorry, ggp88, but AskMetafilter threads aren't really set up for OPs to do lengthy followup sharing/processing/"here are some thoughts about gender roles" stuff. AskMe threads are for asking a concrete question and getting answers that you can work through on your own, and optionally you can mark the ones that are useful to you. It's legitimate to want a forum where you can discuss/process at more length; it's just something to look for in another place.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a woman but the Chris Isaak album Forever Blue is entirely about him getting dumped and it's start-to-finish one of my favorite albums.
posted by jabes at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

There are tons of good forums on reddit that aren't red-pill/incel type places, so don't discount it. I am a woman but when I went through my breakup I got a lot of use out of Ex No Contact in particular at the time. The people are super nice (there are many nice men on there too) and let me vent. It's also a good place for re-affirming a vow to not contact your ex, which I recommend heartily. I made some good friends there.

There's also r/Breakups which is good for venting and r/heartbreak though I spent less time on there, and it was mostly posts of memes and aphorisms and stuff, it was still valuable to me.

Given this is your first girlfriend, I think you said in your previous asks, and you seemed to love her quite intensely, I imagine this must be really really hard. Hang in there. Distance is your friend-- fight for distance at all costs, don't get sucked in to maintaining friendship, contact etc. Maybe one day you can be friends again (maybe never), but definitely not now. It's a breakup because it's broken, as they say. When I went through my first break up a long time ago, that really messed me up, so other things that helped me gain perspective was to meditate and look up some Buddhist writing-- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodon is especially good, if you like things like that. When I was struggling to sleep, I found this sleep hypnosis video calming and helpful. I don't know if it worked per se, but it did help me to fall asleep, so there was that.

As for 'getting over someone by getting under someone else,' I agree guys get given this advice a lot and it's really not helpful. It's not bad advice per se, but definitely not for everyone. But for me, a few months after breaking up with the person I thought I'd be with forever-- it did help me to get out there and at least force myself to talk to other men etc even if I couldn't fathom being with someone else yet. I didn't date necessarily, mostly just talked/flirted. It was a valuable part of trying to reprogram my mindset from 'i'm taken' to 'i'm single' and eventually it made me comfortable to date again. I feel like if I hadn't forced myself to shift my mindset, I'd still be lamenting my breakup even now and i wouldn't be over it. So if you're like me and have a tendency to wallow, forcing yourself to get out there in a few months time (not that any of us are going anywhere right now anyway) might help.

Take care of yourself.
posted by Dimes at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seems like a real therapist might not be out of the question? It seems like this is a great time to start the process.

Breakups can sometimes be the jumping off point for much longer adventures of self-discovery. My life totally changed after a bad one in 2009 and it was the catalyst for a lot of introspection that will stick with me forever.

Since then, I've had breakups (including a marriage) that were a hundred million times more manageable because I had hard-won knowledge about myself and how to cope with loss.

Consider that medium-long term advice. In the short term, it's always helped me to understand that you are literally going through withdrawal from dopamine and oxytocin. I'm no scientist, but to me it feels so much like quitting nicotine or sugar. Or the next morning after a long night on cocaine or MDMA. There's a desperation and despair that you'll never feel those strong feelings again and shame that your rational mind is so out of control.

It'll pass, it always does. Takes some time. But treat it like recovery - don't fall into it with anyone else. Try not to redirect it to other addictions.

For me, intellectualizing it like that helped immensely. The last time, I detoxed as much as I could for a few months. No rom-coms, no dating or even tinder-flirting. It didn't take too long to stop feeling irrational hurt and anger and gaining some perspective about why things ended - including and especially the role I played in it.

Sorry for the ramble, HTH. Good luck!
posted by misterdaniel at 12:44 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I put out some feelers and got two recommendations so far:

John Gray, Mars and Venus Starting Over: A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again After a Painful Breakup, Divorce, or the Loss of a Loved One

Destin Gerek, The Evolved Masculine: Be the Man the World Needs and the One She Craves
posted by Sublimity at 1:44 PM on April 8, 2020

I'm a guy who was dumped out of the blue at 30 by a person I thought I would marry.
Here's a bunch of resources and then afterward, I want to share some thoughts with you...

We do need more resources for men by men in the emotional realm. Here is what I think will help

Podcast: Esther Perel's podcast Where Should We Begin is couples counseling with people going through hard times and sometimes breaking up. you will probably cry and also have some amazing insights. I would probably start here. There are only maybe 10 of them.

Podcast: Tim Ferriss in his podcast will occasionally explore emotional relationship issues , but not always. Look for his recent interviews with Kevin Rose, Brene Brown, Esther Perel, and Ramit Sethi.

Book: Brene Brown's Daring Greatly has a chapter about the world's expectations on men, which is really good.
Book: No More Mister Nice Guy
Book: Neil Strauss's The Truth - where he explores some of his troubling relationship compulsions -- might have something for you

Humans: Find some older men to talk to. Especially older men in successful, loving relationships that you admire. Not men who are bitter toward women -- anyone who tells you "All women are [negative thing]" is not going to lead you into a happy marriage. Men need big brothers (and women need big sisters). You can find them in churches, workplaces, school, volunteering at soup kitchens...

Ok, so here's the thought...
Breaking up with someone when I had just turned 30 felt really really bad. Like, oh-my-god-what-is-wrong-with-me-why-am-I-failing-at-life!? bad.

I had a vision of what 30 was supposed to be -- corner office, wife and kids.

i looked around and I had none of it and was in a relationship that had been marriage-bound but was ending.
Big difference between the plan and the reality in this milestone date.

A few years later -- and A LOT of work like the work you want to do -- I'm so glad things went the way they did. I can't imagine building a life with that person and in that way.

I want to make some suggestions...

I want to suggest that some of what you're feeling is probably not just the loss of the relationship but the loss of the vision you had for your life. You spent a lot of time believing your life would be a certain way at 30, and it's not. And there is, rightfully, mourning in that.

I want to suggest that you at 30 are better able to build a vision for your life than you were when you were in your early 20's imagining being 30. Time to build a new vision.

I want to suggest that, while marriage can be important, it is probably better to have no relationship than an unhealthy marriage. Those aren't the only two options! but if your only focus is on being married, you might make some dangerous sacrifices to get there. See if you can focus on entering into loving and collaborative partnerships first, and let marriage follow.
Let go of some of that meaning you're giving to being unmarried at 30 - it doesn't mean all the bad things your might be ascribing to it.

I want to suggest that you awesome the way you are. There is always room for improvement, and you should seek it out. But not because you are broken! Because you are awesome and growing even more awesome!

So, yeah, take some time to feel like shit. Maybe a week, maybe a month. Then start exploring what's important for you to build in your life right now -- not based on the world's ideas what looks good at 30 -- but based on the human being you are becoming and the life you want for yourself. Takes work, and you're capable of it.

memail me if you want to talk.
posted by jander03 at 10:08 PM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

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