To be human is to feel pain; we are all hurt emotionally sometimes. However, not everyone expresses their feelings so openly. Men, in particular, can be guarded when they’re hurt.
Instead of telling you when they feel hurt, they may withdraw, lash out, or act in strange ways. These reactions can be frustrating and confusing.
But it’s important to know both the subtle and clear signs that a man is hurt emotionally. This guide will shed light on how men reveal their feelings- let’s get into what you need to know!
33 Signs a Man Is Hurt Emotionally
One moment, everything seemed fine. You two were happy, and spending time together was enjoyable.
But suddenly, he’s acting differently. You can’t exactly tell what changed, and you’re unsure why he’s having such a hard time.
Regardless of the circumstances, you must know when a man is emotionally hurt. Here are the telltale signs.
#1 He’s Stuck in the Past
Is he constantly venting about his past relationship? Do you suspect he harbors complicated feelings for his ex?
Chances are, you’re onto something. Ruminating on the past is a clear sign that he feels hurt emotionally.
Of course, most men won’t readily admit to feeling stuck. Doing so may seem demoralizing or weak.
Instead, you can usually tell because they seem to cling to both nostalgia and resentment.
Rather than living in the present moment, they continuously drop hints about the awful things that happened in the past.
#2 He’s Become Passive Aggressive
I’m fine. Nothing is wrong.
Have you been on the receiving end of his incongruent or standoffish communication? You know something is wrong, but he won’t admit it. Instead, he’s acting snarky and rude, while also telling you everything is fine.
Passive-aggressive communication is one of the most obvious signs of someone being hurt. He doesn’t feel confident telling you how he feels directly. Instead, he’s hoping that his patterns will trigger you to feel pain or experience guilt.
This reaction can be a form of gaslighting. That’s because it makes you repeatedly question your reality and wonder if you overreact.
#3 He Speaks Minimally
Are you suddenly receiving one-word answers? Does it seem like he’s distracted or annoyed when you two talk?
It’s one thing if he stops talking altogether. But if a man is hurt emotionally, he often tries to conceal his pain by pretending everything is okay. So, he’ll try his best to communicate normally, even when it’s obvious that he’s disengaged.
#4 He Starts Flirting With Other Girls
Some guys are true players. They don’t want to commit to emotional intimacy and like to keep their options open as much as possible. This behavior is often apparent to everyone around them.
But other guys only flirt or act inappropriately when they want to get back at someone. They want you to experience some of that pain if they’ve been hurt badly enough.
#5 He’s Completely Ignoring You
If he won’t talk to you, that’s a clear sign that he’s emotionally hurt. This is especially true if he ghosts you out of nowhere.
The motives for ignoring someone vary. For instance, he might want to send a strong message that you really hurt him and that he doesn’t feel safe telling you his true feelings. Or, he might hope that his actions prompt you to apologize, reach out again, or try to get back with him.
#6 He Blocks Or Unfollows You
How men engage on social media often reveals telltale signs about their emotional well-being.
So, if he’s blocked, unfollowed, or unfriended you, there’s a good chance he’s having some negative thoughts about your relationship.
He might hope that you notice and also feel upset or jealous. Or, he might just want to move on from his broken heart.
#7 He’s Changed His Texting Habits
Have you noticed that he takes much longer to respond to your messages? Are his texts getting shorter and shorter? Do you feel like you’re bothering him when you reach out?
If so, this could certainly mean something deeper is going on. In the best-case scenario, he’s just busy, and things will return to normal. But it’s far more likely that he feels irritated or hurt.
#8 He’s Posting Morbid Things on Social Media
Many people aren’t direct with their feelings. Instead, they may use social media posts to convey what’s happening.
So if he keeps creating or sharing depressing posts, you have good reason to suspect he feels hurt in real life.
This is especially true if he hasn’t blocked you- he’s hoping you see these posts and realize how your actions hurt him.
#9 He’s in a Rebound Relationship
If he’s already dating someone new and you just broke up, he’s likely rebounding to avoid confronting his own feelings. This is a clear sign of someone feeling emotionally broken.
Rebounds can temporarily boost someone’s self-esteem. But the validation eventually falls short, and the broken heart doesn’t just disappear once someone new is in the picture.
#10 He Talks Badly About You to Others
Have your loved ones told you he’s badmouthing you behind your back? Do you get the sense that he’s trying to damage your reputation?
If so, he probably still has some hard feelings about you. He may not want to confront them directly, so he’s doing it inadvertently by gossiping.
This strategy is obviously manipulative, as it’s a way to try to get a reaction out of you. He’s hoping that he has enough power and pull with others to get them to align with his thinking.
#11 He Drunk Calls You
If you’ve been broken up (or you’re currently on a break), you can tell he’s hurting emotionally if he calls you drunk.
Alcohol naturally lowers inhibition, making people feel riskier and bolder. That’s why it’s often coined as truth serum!
#12 He Acts Inauthentic Around You
A Fake smile. Stiff body language. Obvious lies. These are all common signs a man is hurt but doesn’t know how to tell you.
Like a wounded animal, we tend to reveal our pain in carrying ourselves. One of the signs you really hurt him is that he presents as helpless or physically uncomfortable.
#13 He Has Poor Eye Contact When You Talk
When we feel close and connected to someone, we tend to maintain strong eye contact with them. But the opposite can also be true- if we feel uncomfortable, ashamed, or insecure, we tend to look away.
So, if his eye contact habits suddenly change, it could hurt him emotionally.
#14 His Family Members Tell You He’s Hurting
Does his mom seem different around you? Have you heard that his sister has called you a bad person? Has a relative reached out to ask you why he seems distant lately?
If he’s close with his family, they will probably be attuned to these important signs indicating a change. So, pay attention if they ask you what’s happening (or tell you that something has happened)!
#15 He Isn’t Interested in Self-Improvement
When we feel hurt emotionally, we often feel stunted and discouraged. We aren’t motivated to be the best versions of ourselves- we’re often just focused on basic survival.
One of the signs a man is hurt emotionally is
#16 He’s Picked Up Former Bad Habits
Is he smoking cigarettes or eating lots of junk food or spending too much time playing video games?
Unfortunately, these negative habits often come out in full force when you’re dealing with an emotionally-broken man.
These habits are an attempt to escape reality. He doesn’t know how to cope with his emotional pain, so he engages in quick fixes to feel better.
#17 He’s Completely Stopped Dating
When a man is hurt emotionally, it’s hard for him to let go of previous relationships.
Pure desire isn’t enough to get back into dating. He feels bogged down by his broken heart. Such a case of pain can take months or years to recover from.
#18 He Frequently Complains About His Love Life
A broken man feels angry when he thinks about his past hurts. He looks at someone else’s dating life and wonders why his experiences feel so different.
If he vents about past relationships or feels a pervasive sense of injustice, he probably hasn’t really moved on. This ‘stuck mindset’ perpetuates more harm, but only he can change that for himself.
#19 He’s No Longer Friends With You
When a hurt man wants to gain a sense of control over his life, he often revaluates his relationships. In a sense, he feels changed forever. But he wants to restore control moving forward.
He may also reassess his relationships with everyone else- his best friend, coworkers, your mutual friends.
If he’s hurt, he probably wants to surround himself with human beings who will validate his pain and provide him with the support he needs.
#20 He’s Gone Back to a Previous Romantic Relationship
It’s fairly common to date new people soon after a relationship ends. But an emotionally-broken man may seek comfort in familiarity. Even if his ex really seemed like just an ex, his pain may reignite new feelings.
#21 His Life Seems Like It’s Falling Apart
Some guys ignore basic responsibilities and routines when they’re in pain. Indeed, you may find perspective in his true feelings by how he carries on basic tasks.
How well does it seem like he’s functioning in life? Are his other relationships a mess? Is he struggling at work or school?
In other words, if things are worsening progressively, you have some pretty clear signs that he’s hurt.
#22 He Keeps Trying to Convince Others That He’s Fine
Just like a toddler might become hyperactive when they’re tired, your ex-boyfriend might double down on his efforts to impress people when he’s struggling.
For example, he might post tons of selfies on social media. Or, he might brag about all his accomplishments at work. He may even buy a whole new wardrobe and try to present as if he’s doing physically “great.”
#23 He Always Seems Angry
Many men reveal their pain through anger. So, a broken man might not cry. Instead, he could yell, threaten, blame, or attack.
Such signs of intense rage indicate an inability to regulate these uncomfortable emotions. A broken man often doesn’t have many coping skills. Instead, he is often a victim of his own circumstances in life.
#24 He Walks Around Like He’s In Emotional Pain
Does he seem pathetic in everyday life? Is there just a pure desire to seem miserable?
These telltale signs aren’t explicit. Instead, you intuit them based on his body language and engagement in the world.
It can be hard to keep his head high if he’s emotionally broken. And so, he may give up on trying to seem okay.
#25 He’s Always Cynical
An emotionally broken man often presents as highly pessimistic. The world seems like a huge burden, and he feels like everyone (or everything) is seemingly out to ruin him. As a result, he complains often and acts as if things are entirely doomed.
One of the signs you really hurt him is a recent change in perspective. For example, if he used to be more carefree and optimistic- but no longer feels the same way- you may be the reason for that.
#26 He No Longer Engages In Enjoyable Hobbies
Emotional suffering often coincides with apathy and depression. An emotionally broken man may find his usual activities meaningless.
He may fall into a sad rut where he no longer pursues things that bring him joy.
Of course, this maintains a vicious cycle. Positive behaviors often change negative emotions.
But he will keep feeling broken and upset if he doesn’t engage in positive behaviors.
#27 He’s Suddenly Trying Really Hard to Impress You
Is he sending flowers to your work? Complimenting you all the time? Showing you off in front of his friends or family?
Men often feel vulnerable when they’re hurt. If he feels insecure in the relationship, he might be terrified of losing you. And so, he’ll throw all his energy into improving the situation.
#28 He Seems Like He’s Walking On Eggshells Around You
Emotional distress causes us to feel dysregulated. One of the signs you really hurt him is that he doesn’t feel comfortable being himself around you.
And so, he may be more passive or anxious than usual. Instead of asserting his needs, he keeps asking what you want. Or, he will continue to take great lengths to make you happy- even if you find his efforts unnecessary or annoying.
#29 He Needs More Space
Even if he doesn’t want to end the relationship, an emotionally broken man will often need breathing room to heal.
Remember that some men won’t be so direct with their requests. For example, he might make excuses when you ask to spend time together instead of telling you he wants space.
#30 He Starts Implementing New Boundaries
Of all the signs you really hurt him, him establishing new relationship limits is one of the more important ones.
When this happens, he’s realized something in your dynamic isn’t working. As a result, he’s taking proactive steps to improve the situation.
Respecting these boundaries is essential even if you don’t feel the same way. You need to reassess the relationship if you won’t (or can’t).
#31 His Self-Esteem Has Tanked
Low self-esteem is a sign of an emotionally broken man. But one of the signs you really hurt him is a sudden change in self-esteem.
Let’s say, for example, he generally seems easygoing and confident. However, after a recent conflict, he now presents as moody, anxious, and unsure of himself.
This means that he doesn’t feel as secure with himself anymore. As a result, his self-esteem is shaky, and he’s probably emotionally hurt.
#32 He’s Become Very Impulsive
Some men cope with their distress by acting extremely irrationally. So, if he packs his bags and moves across the country- or if he buys a new car that you know he can’t afford- you have some clear signs indicating his pain.
An emotionally-broken man may turn to external reinforcement to feel good about himself.
Sudden changes in appearance, exotic travel, flashy watches, and quitting his job without having another one lined up all represent telltale signs that he feels out of control with his emotions.
#33 He Tells You He’s Emotionally Hurt
One of the clearest signs a man is hurt emotionally is he tells you! You probably have all the information you need if he comes forward and outright says how he feels.
If this is the case, you must validate his feelings. If your actions hurt him, you don’t want to discredit his reaction or make things worse.
Now that you know some of the more hidden and obvious signs that a man is emotionally hurt, you might be left with further questions. Let’s review.
How Can You Tell if a Man Is Emotionally Damaged?
Emotional hurt tends to be temporary and situational. It’s usually tied to a specific event, like a recent conflict or a relationship setback. Fortunately, a man can overcome this pain with the right support and tools.
But emotional damage tends to be more chronic. Emotional damage entails deep feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger.
These men usually have low self-esteem and carry negative emotions and baggage in their relationships.
The more you spend time with an emotionally damaged man, the more exhausted you will feel.
It may seem like nothing you do can change the situation- and he may feel the same way.
Does He Hate You- Or Is He Just Hurt Emotionally?
Hate often comes from a chronic place of feeling disrespected. If he truly hates you, he will not try to take care of your emotions or get on your “good side.” Instead, you’ve become the enemy.
It’s possible for your ex-boyfriend to hate you- at least temporarily. It’s most likely to happen if he feels deeply betrayed (like if you cheated on him or ended things out of nowhere). But time often softens this immense pain.
How Do Men Feel When They Hurt a Woman?
It depends! No two men are identical, but here are some common feelings men experience if they know they’ve hurt you.
If he’s compassionate, he will likely feel guilty for what he did wrong. He may criticize or isolate himself because he doesn’t want to keep hurting you.
In moderation, guilt can be a good thing! Without it, we wouldn’t feel motivated to change our behavior or be better people.
He may be afraid of you rejecting or leaving him. This fear can emerge in desperate statements like, “do you still love me?”
It can also come out as him needing continuous reassurance of your commitment to the relationship.
Some men will respond to your emotional pain with anger. This reaction is common with abusers and narcissists.
They can’t take responsibility for their actions and blame you for being overly dramatic or irrational.
He might feel confused by your reaction. If you don’t clearly articulate why you feel upset, he may not exactly understand if he did something wrong.
Likewise, if you are passive-aggressive and try to tell him everything is fine, he may continue feeling uncertain.
What Should You Do Next If You Hurt Him?
What happens when you’re the source of his emotional pain? You will likely feel guilty and upset over your behavior if you care about him.
But you can take some steps to improve the situation and nurture your present relationship.
Acknowledge Your Part
Be clear and concise about what you did wrong. Let him know that you realize it was a mistake.
Ask what you can do to earn back his trust or forgiveness. Remember that it may take some time for him to heal.
Implement His Feedback
Consider taking his suggestion to heart if he tells you what he wants you to change.
If it’s rational and appropriate, consider how to work on it moving forward.
Prioritize Open Communication
Even in a healthy relationship, people hurt each other from time to time. It’s not a matter of if it happens but when.
That said, happy couples prioritize valuing one another and working through issues maturely. When they encounter problems, they try to compromise to find a reasonable resolution.
How Else Do You Deal With an Emotionally Broken Man?
More than anything, it’s important to be mindful of your own suffering. If your romantic relationship continues to make you feel stressed, frustrated, or scared, it’s time to reassess your priorities.
A healthy relationship entails both partners committing to being their best versions.
If someone is emotionally broken, they typically continue causing more harm to everyone around them.
Learn Where It Comes From
Emotional wounds often come from the early years. What injustices and pain did he experience as a child? And how have current relationships perpetuated more challenges?
Knowing the origin of an emotionally-broken man’s pain can help you feel more patient and empathic. It can also help you support him in his healing journey.
Know His Triggers
Emotionally broken people have triggers that cause more pain and suffering.
For example, he may fear abandonment. So, if you don’t answer your phone for several hours, he might assume you’re leaving him forever.
While these negative thoughts may seem irrational, they feel real to him.
You shouldn’t necessarily have to change how you react, but mindfulness in your behaviors can help you be a better partner.
Ask Him to Seek Help
It isn’t your job to heal an emotionally-broken man. Don’t let him put those expectations on you!
Moreover, his issues of depression or anxiety may be more complex than anything you’re capable of fixing.
And if he has a history of trauma, he may need professional support. A marriage and family therapist can help him resolve some of this emotional baggage.
You need to decide your boundaries if he balks at talking to someone. It’s one thing if he feels hurt and has issues. But he will remain a broken man if he isn’t willing to work on his behavior.
Remember that a family therapist doesn’t necessarily need to work with the entire family to heal emotional pain.
Instead, they will examine core themes of hurt in his life. They will also help him develop positive coping strategies for managing future distress.
Now that you know the telltale signs a man is hurt emotionally, you can take the next steps in moving forward. Do not let a broken man define your worth or your happiness.
You deserve to have meaningful connections in life! So whether you want to stay in the relationship or move on, it’s important to honor your feelings and needs.