The tale of my friend dating again has started an avalanche of synaptic pulses that are keeping me awake. The human condition is of great interest to me, hence the opinion piece. The thinking, and some personal experience has resulted in a deeper understanding of how guys and girls deal with break-ups. There are three distinct phases post break-up:
The Immediate Aftermath
Girls cry, voice their emotions, want to get back together, want things to work out, and are generally opposed to the change (unless they called off the relationship). During this phase, the girl continues to interact with her ex like nothing has changed. This is a girl's way of healing, biding time, and having a familiar shoulder to lean on. Meanwhile, since the girl is around all the time, the guy doesn't consider dealing with his feelings, or looking for other girls. Why would he when there is a familiar person by his side?
Enter the New Guy
The status quo is maintained until a new guy appears on the scene, at which point the girl is mostly healed, and sees the potential of a new relationship. Nothing hits a guy harder than knowing that he has been supplanted by another. If the girl has been professing her love for him through the months since the break-up, it makes the pain even harder to deal with. Guys are stupid like that, and the reason they are so distraught during this phase is because their ego gets smashed to bits. The absence of a girl to sympathize with, something that he has grown accustomed to, makes the pain seem harder to deal with than it really is.
... A Few Months Later
Some guys become stalkers, others get deeply depressed, and the rest carry on with their life. Both parties eventually end up with someone new, albeit with a part of them lost forever...
In general then, it would appear as if girls move on faster than guys do. Maybe guys just can't bounce back from a loss as well as girls can, or that the guy realizes (a little too late) that it's over and doesn't know what to do next. I'll let you pick...