The Male Aftermath

I thought I’d revisit the topic of how individuals choose to handle their break-ups. I’ve always found it fascinating how people navigate the treacherous break-up landscape. For some, it’s a breeze, they seemingly jump from one ship to another without a hint of a scratch, while others like yours truly, are writing Shakespearean plays on love and tragedy hoping for a twisted Romeo and Juliette ending – yes I might do this (no shame in my game).

After a break-up, I always keep a running roster of people who I regularly contact so they can listen to me wail (I know which one of you purposely ignores me – I’ve been taking notes). The advice differs greatly from my male and female friends. My female friends who are emotionally in tune tell me it’s okay to eat the pizza, it’s okay to watch the Sex and the City episodes and it’s okay to cry and to cry a lot. They also tell me to take some time away from the dating world so that I can heal. Now my male friends on the other hand, they advise me to YOLO it out and to stick it to the loser. Basically, go out, live it up and keep it moving.

So, while talking to a guy friend about male psychology, he explained that in his group of friends he sees two distinct break-up patterns. The first are the men who temporarily withdraw from women, who want ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with us (IDFWU). Then, there are those who need mindless entertainment (if you can even call it that) to keep their minds fully occupied and to stop themselves from thinking about the girl. So this “entertainment” includes strip clubs, one night stands, casual partners, you know, the works. From what I’ve been told it gets your mind off of things and keeps you clear-headed, I meditate to achieve that but hey, potato, patato. They like to make it clear that they do not want anything serious at that time and they don’t want to have to think of you the next day – it ain’t that serious. One way to explain it is that men and women approach things differently, in that men can compartmentalize and having casual sex is like going to the gym where they sweat it out, increase all those feel good hormones that they need in that moment and then they move on to the next issue on their to-do list. Which is not to say that women don’t do that as well, I mean we can get a little lovin’ to distract us as well as needed.

I’ve asked myself if I could truly go buck wild after a relationship and I don’t think that I could. I am well aware of my limitations, and knowing how emotional I am (I’m a damn Cancer), this is very much one of them. I feel that acting like one of the boys, all blasé and “ish, would be detrimental to my person and would slow down the healing process rather than allowing it to take its normal course. I think what is of most important is knowing who you are and understanding how you best cope with heartache. Sometimes we’re so lost in the moment that we forget how we may feel in the near future (numerous boxes of pizza and twenty pounds later). What may feel good now may only hurt us more later. So, be kind to yourself, do what feels best for you (and you only) and woosah those emotions out.

Post Break-Up Rituals

Chewed Him Up and Spat Him Out

“Elle get out of bed. When was the last time you showered?”
“I can’t get out of bed and I don’t know.”
“How many boxes?”
“Two. Only two boxes of pizza this time.”
“Get it together! He’s just a man! What is this like day four?!”

More like day seven. I like to feel my pain completely through. After a break-up or a love setback, I want to wallow in my sorrow before I can get back to being myself. My self-pity food of choice is pizza. Lots and lots of pizza. With every bite, I recall a story. I start talking to myself about the good and the bad, chewing him out of life with every bite I take. It doesn’t stop there, I also play sad music. I need to really and I mean really, really feel it. “Un-break My heart” by Toni Braxton usually does the trick, but “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey is my break-up jam.

There was a summer when my roommate and I had our hearts broken by boyfriends who happened to have the same name. So, we sat in our rooms each day, she would play the acoustic guitar while I would play the classical guitar and we’d belt out Mariah’s hit. Our third roommate would come home, open the door to the room, peek inside and get the hell out of there. She definitely had a few kind words for us, but we couldn’t let it go. It went on and on and on. If you’re reading this third roommate, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.

Then, once I’m done listening to Mariah, I usually order one more box of pizza and watch some romantic comedies or some Sex and the City episodes. And, to add to the torture, I load the most heart-wrenching Sex and The City episodes, you know the ones where Big breaks Carrie’s heart for like the millionth time. The episode where he heads to Paris for a work assignment, but chooses not to make his relationship with Carrie a priority usually does the trick. It’s the one where she throws a Big Mac at his face – that scene is everything! There’s also the one where he had open heart surgery and just when she thought he’d give her the happy ending she deserved, he broke her heart into tiny little pieces. There does come a point where I get tired of it all. Where I’m just tired of my bloated face, tired of my puffy eyes and I know it’s time to get up. I get up and I shower, put some makeup on because it’s time to get back to conquering the world. I might take a spoonful of vanilla cake icing on my way out, but hey, at least I’m out of bed.


Do you have any post-breakup rituals? Share below!


A Response to: But I’m Wifey Material

A reader submission

Hi Elle,

Thanks for the article; it is very interesting as usual. I just wanted to give a guy’s perspective on the matter because I understand why you would feel frustrated that some men behave that way. I don’t claim to speak for every guy; this is my understanding from my own experiences as well as from the experiences of those around me.

I want to start by saying that it is wrong to label a woman that is perceived to be wife material as boring or not fun because it’s simply not true. That being said, there may be reasons why some guys happen to run the other way when they realize that a woman is “wifey-type”. I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes when you date a woman nearing her late 20’s she may have an urgent need to have children sooner than later. And the ticking clock gets louder and louder the older she gets which translates into her becoming more impatient in the relationship as time goes by. (Elle’s commentary: Yes, I also almost screamed out loud when I read this sentence, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and kept reading and thank God I did.)

Now I understand completely that women have biological constraints when it comes to child-bearing, but the problem is that relationships cannot be rushed. I mean they can, but rather they shouldn’t be if you want to build something that will be solid even though it can feel like time is running out. Of course, every woman deals with this differently and Elle I’m sure that you know as well as I do that some women can be very impatient when it comes to the pace of their relationship. (Elle’s commentary: Again, I almost screamed out loud, but let’s be real now, sometimes we can be impatient – I know I have been before. But then again, sometimes we’re not and we’re simply letting things flow.)

If a guy is not looking for anything serious, then I can understand why he would run the other way if he knew that a woman of a certain age is “wifey-type”. Honestly, I would do the same thing myself, and that’s not because I wouldn’t find her interesting, it is mostly because I’m only looking for a casual relationship at the moment. I agree that being the wifey-type does not speak to a woman’s personality or to whom she is or the things that she happens like, it just makes it clear to men that she is looking for a long-term mate. Although being repeatedly told that they can’t be with you as they are not ready for what you have to offer can be irritating, you should be glad that these guys are considerate enough not to engage in a relationship with you knowing that their relationship goals are different from yours. Some guys don’t care that you are looking for commitment and will entertain you while being fully aware that you are only a fling.

I understand that it’s not fair to put all women in the same boat and that it’s not accurate to say that every woman who is wife material wants to rush into a relationship, unfortunately that’s how some guys will interpret it. Now is it right to jump to that conclusion? Absolutely not, but it is true that some guys will assume that about every girl. (Elle’s commentary: See, I told you it would get better. We can all relax a little now.)

What I’m trying to say is that if a guy tells you that he won’t go out with you because you are wife material, there may be many reasons for that. Yes it could be that he thinks all women who are the wifey-types are too serious, or it could be that he’s just not looking for this kind of relationship since he is not a husband-type of guy.

Just as we shouldn’t assume to know everything about a person just because they are wifey-material (e.g. boring, needy, wants to get married tomorrow, etc.), it’s not right to blame the men for supposedly judging you until you’ve had the chance to hear their explanation for not wanting to be in a relationship with a particular type of woman.

But I’m Wifey Material

What follows is a conversation that took place between a friend of mine and some dude who thought he had a chance with me:

“Elle seems like a good girl.”
“She’s great, eh?”
“Yeah, but you know, she’s wifey type – I can’t touch that right now.”
Insert confused look on my friend’s face.
“Uhm, okay.”
“I’m not trying to be all serious and shit, maybe we could work in the future.”

This was beyond hilarious to me. I wasn’t surprised when she told me about this conversation, it was one I’ve often heard before. “I want to be with you but not now, you’re wifey material.” And what does that make you – in transition?!

There are two sides to this equation: there are the men who will go around stamping “wifey material” on women who have all the supposed qualifiers and then there are the women who gladly label themselves as such (Ashley Iaconnetti from The Bachelor, anyone?). There are also people who, after checking off a list of requisites needed to play wife, automatically assume that a bevy of men will come running like the gold rush. It’s great to place a high value on yourself, but if a man doesn’t want you, the fact that you happen to be wife material will not change that at all.

I was having dinner with my best guy friend when he decided to divulge some male secrets (I milk him for all he’s worth). The most interesting nugget was that men know very early on whether they’ll be keeping you around and further, what category they’ll place you in (ex.: hit it and quit it, possible girlfriend, after midnight girl, etc.). He emphasized that it does not take them a year to figure this out, more like a month. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! He must decide to be with you as much as you decide to be with him, no excess of perceived wife material will have him stick around if (A) he doesn’t see you that way and (B) the characteristics he wants in a wife don’t line up with what you’ve decided makes you a great catch.

And another thing, when you’re labelled wifey material, it automatically seems to mean to some that it’s the end of life as they know it and with you they are doomed to a life of boredom. Can we not have a fun and stimulating relationship with a person we deem to be wife-like? Does my aura reek so much of seriousness that it puts off potential suitors? For once, I would appreciate it if before labelling me, a man could ask me exactly what it is that I’m looking for rather than assuming that I want nothing less than a marriage proposal next week. Yes I want commitment and yes I am a one-man woman, but please don’t think for a second that I want to deny myself the critical time necessary for you to go from a potential love interest to a boyfriend and to, y’know, “hubby material”.

If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. I think we often go around placing labels on ourselves and others which close us to infinite possibilities. We could miss the opportunity of meeting someone amazing just because they do not necessarily fit society’s traditional view of what qualifies as “wife/hubby material”. So what if he has tattoos? He could be a successful businessman and a hella cool dude, but you would never know because of this checklist of non-negotiables where tattoos are listed. We’re so quick to dismiss people who are not “worthy” of our time due to superficial aspects. Of course topics such as religion, values and whether you want children are understandable necessities, but when your list starts running five pages long, there’s an issue. Now, can we stop labelling people wife material based on limited information? It is beyond easy to construct a semblance of an image of perfection for the world when it could really only represent a small part of who you are.

Side note: I once had a guy tell me he could tell I was a good girl aka as wifey because of my Instagram. I rolled my eyes so far back into my head. I choose not to show myself getting turned up because I want to remain employed and employable. That’s it, that’s all. Does it mean that I’m bat shit cray? Nope, but I dibble and dabble when needed.

So the guy who thought that in a faraway future we would become Beyoncé and Jay-Z was obviously fooling himself. Little does he know that I’m an emotional eater, I’m indecisive and a bit moody. Whatever he saw in me that allowed him to confidently label me as wife material was baseless since we never spoke. Can you tell I like to only surround myself with open-minded people? Anyhoo, be open and inviting, people can and will surprise you if you give them a chance.

Kimberly Moffit is Motivating Us to Break Up and Move


Last month, I attended the “Break up and Move” event at my university where relationship expert Kimberly Moffit led a discussion about identifying unhealthy patterns in our lives that we need to let go of. Just in time for spring cleaning, Kimberly outlined four essential steps when contemplating a break up (whether with a him or with a bad habit):

  1. Visualize: You need to start visualizing how life would be without that person. When you envision your future, do you see them there or are you happier to no longer have them in your life?
  2. Research: Start taking a few proactive steps to aid you in your decision making process, which means researching your options extensively. This could include creating an online dating profile, going on Pinterest to research hair colours, etc. Inform yourself through friends and family as well. Ask them what they think of your relationship. This does not mean you solely rely on their opinions, but you can feel free to factor in how they feel about your coupledom.
  3. Break Away: Start emotionally distancing yourself from the thing or person that you’ll be breaking up with.
  4. Break Up: Finally, break up! If it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong for you. We need to get used to the uncomfortable feeling of breaking up with a person. There will be many situations in our lives where we will need to break ties such as quitting a job, so it’s best to learn to accept this uncomfortable feeling now.


Kimberly Moffit explained that break ups are hard because of the emotional attachment. The relationship is something familiar so it’s only natural to delay the inevitable, but we must always challenge the people and things in our lives in order to improve and empower ourselves. Sometimes we are scared to be alone and we’re addicted to the relationship because it’s serving us in one way or another, even when it’s emotionally draining. Since it’s serving us, we rationalize and justify our decision to stay. At times, it’s the fear of being alone so we feel the need to keep this person around until someone better comes along, rather than keeping the space empty, we depend on the relationship.

I spoke to Kimberly after the event wanting her perspective on my situation. I had made a decision recently to not date for a year. I needed to cleanse, but I also wanted to get to a place where I trusted myself to make the best choices relationship wise. I was proud of myself for stepping away from the relationship world for a while, but after my conversation with Kimberly, it was clear that my decision was rooted in fear and insecurities.


I had been dating the same type of guy over and over again, the type we would characterize as bad boys. She explained how this behaviour could wear on my self-esteem and it was important to understand the reasons why I had found these guys attractive. They were emotionally unavailable and it was a challenge – they were a prize to be won. They were the cream of the crop and somehow I depended on them to make me feel good, but they were unable to give me the attention I needed. She also explained that when a good guy is giving me the attention I rightly need, I may feel compelled to push him away because I don’t understand this sudden surge of positivity. As a result, I return to a person who will accurately mirror how I feel about myself and the treatment I believe I deserve.

So, was I taking a break because I really wanted to focus on myself or was I closing my heart to remain in control and avoid another painful heartache I believed I couldn’t handle? I had an ah-ha moment and I realized I needed to break up with the fear of being vulnerable again. I was scared to fall back into unhealthy patterns so I avoided relationships altogether, but how was I going to know how far I had come? I knew deep down I wanted more and I also knew I could control the pace and walk away when it didn’t feel right. I had the power to guard my heart, but if I did hurt again, it’d be okay because I know I’m stronger than what I credit myself for. I also needed to get to a point where I loved myself enough to accept my past and my imperfections, but to also be aware of how far I’d come.

As soon as I decided to open up my heart again, I began meeting people who found beauty in my imperfections and who were willing to hold my hand through the process. I didn’t need to be perfect first, I was perfect to them just as I was. When someone really wants you, who you are in that moment will be enough. I truly have to thank Kimberly for getting me to that point.

Interestingly, Kimberly mentioned that we can predict how we feel about someone within 7 seconds of meeting them. So, she pushed me to trust my gut instinct. She also said I should go out there and date. Further, to not be afraid to date men that I wouldn’t normally be interested in and to learn to have honest hour-long conversations with them to really learn what it is I need. It was time to get more experience, the good kind of course. This does not mean I need to be invested, if it works then fine and if it doesn’t, I move on.

It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to attending her future events.

So, I’ve decided to let go of the fear of being vulnerable, comment below and let me know what you’ll be breaking up with this year.