Why Men Become So Needy After A Breakup

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needy man after a breakup looking over his shoulder
Heartbreak

After spending your entire relationship trying to get your man to give you more attention, it’s only after your breakup that he won’t leave you alone.

He wouldn’t dare post a photo of you on social media when you were together. Now, all of a sudden, he’s commenting on all of your posts and tagging you in memes. 

Your mutual friends constantly tell you your ex has been asking about you and he’s blowing up your phone when before you couldn’t even get a good morning text out of him.

Why do men become needy after a breakup?

RELATED: How Guys Really Feel After A Breakup, According To Men

1. Men become needy after breaking up because their ego is hurt. 

As Clinical Hypnotherapist Keya Murthy explains, “A breakup affects the guy's ego more than anything.” 

A lot of this has to do with the way men are raised in our society (more specifically in the traditionally patriarchal American society). 

“Men in their minds grow up from a prince to a king. If his mother treated him like he could do no wrong, then he expects his partner to treat him that way too,” Murthy says. “If a breakup is initiated by the woman, his first reaction is ‘what or who are you leaving me for?’”

Or, “If his mother treated him badly,” says Murthy, “then when a breakup is stirring up or has occurred, he feels abandoned all over again by a woman he thought he loved or trusted.”

A man with a hurt ego will do just about anything to soothe it — which includes constant phone calls, texts, and DMs designed to get your attention so he can prove to himself that you do need him.

It’s possible that in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, your ex’s behavior might make you wonder: do guys even care after a breakup? This is also a tactic men use to patch up their broken ego. 

“Guys need the space after the breakup. It’s like when you have a physical wound, you need a bandage, a cover for the wound to heal before letting it air dry,” Murthy explains. “Guys when dealing with a breakup have a gaping emotional wound that needs a bandage in the form of the space to heal the wound. Distance and time help them drive the past away, so they can move forward with their life.”

But don’t be fooled — “Guys care a lot after a breakup,” Murthy says. 

“They care who their ex is with. Their biggest care is who has replaced them. If the new man in your life feels like a ‘threat’ to their machismo,” she explains, the neediness begins. “They will come to tell you that the other guy is not good for you.”

RELATED: Do Guys Think About Their Ex After A Breakup? 13 Brutally Honest Reasons They Want To Get Back Together

2. Guys take a while to realize they can’t replace you.

While women feel the pain of a breakup immediately, you’ll notice that men often have a delayed response to heartbreak. This is especially true if you’ve implemented the “no contact rule,” and when you’ll start seeing the neediness kick in. 

“After the initial feeling settles in, they sometimes also have a change of heart, so they reach out to cling to the person who just left them,” David Helfand, relaxation and relationship psychologist, explains.

In fact, a 2015 study found that the negative emotions stemming from a breakup last a long time for men — sometimes even a lifetime. 

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"The man will likely feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it ‘sinks in’ that he must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what he has lost — or worse still, come to the realization that the loss is irreplaceable,” Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author on the study, says.

3. Leaving a codependent relationship can cause a man to become needy after breaking things off.

A healthy relationship is made up of two people who are secure in themselves and who don’t rely on each other to fulfill any internal needs such as happiness or self-esteem. 

A codependent relationship, however, is characterized by an intense need for validation from each other. 

Think back on your relationship and look for any signs of a codependent relationship that you may not have noticed. If they were present, it’s possible that your ex has become needy post-breakup because he doesn’t feel whole without you.

While this may sound romantic, codependent relationships are inherently unhealthy. So before rushing to get back together with your ex, consider learning more about what a healthy relationship looks like

RELATED: If Your Ex Comes Crawling Back, It's For One These 4 Reasons

Micki Spollen is an editor for YourTango. She also runs the travel blog Where In The World Is My Drink.