Pints of ice cream, old Hollywood movie reruns and mascara dripping from each eyelash, the way society sees women handle breakups on TV isn’t the most accurate description. Sure gals feel heartbreak and they may even dive into to some Ben and Jerry’s for a quick fix, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to handle a tough breakup better than their male counterparts. In fact, there has been quite a bit of research done that shows the difference between how these two opposite sexes deal with lovesickness – and whether males or females deal with it better.
Women have girlfriends to soothe them but a man’s vasopressin leaves them alone. A woman can become a man’s “home” leaving them emotionally homeless. And a man can even suffer severe – and legitimate - health crises after a breakup. And that’s just the beginning. There are 15 reasons and counting as to why women handle breakups better than men, and they’re all compiled below.
“Thanks to a neurochemical called vasopressin, men in crisis are more likely to see other men as less approachable, but that same chemical cues women to see other women as more approachable. This is called tend-and-befriend, and it means while you’re being soothed by your girls, the guy is dealing alone – and having a harder time of it,” according to Glamour. This means that when a woman is feeling low on a Friday night after a recent breakup, she’ll call her gals and get together for a night of binging, venting and consoling. A man will probably be sulking, all alone, at home, drifting into a deeper sadness than his ex who is, more likely, enjoying the company of her closest friends.
When women hook a “player” type, the men get a sense of what a real relationship is. Meaningful sex, deep connection, real conversation and memories that will stick with him for the rest of his life. Before this real relationship, there was nothing to compare a casual date and hookup to. But after a man gets a taste for what it’s like to be pampered and cared for, there will always be comparison which can be the downfall of every man’s happiness.
Although one would assume, from stereotypes we are fed throughout the media that men are more likely to end a relationship, research suggests otherwise. In an article on Bustle.com, the findings of a YouGov study were divulged which found that 76% of women questioned were the ones that ended the relationship (which included nearly 1,000 people) and 84% of men admitted to being the one left in a relationship.
Why does this happen? Lifestyle changes are the most obvious culprit. Psychology Today explains that wives usually encourage healthier behavior and after a breakup or divorce, alcohol and tobacco use is more likely to become more frequent. And without the positive influence in their daily lives, men tend to fall into unhealthy habits, especially when they’re feeling down, out and alone.
It’s also been suggested that men see their women as “home,” but in a much more metaphorical sense, of course. According to Glamour, a man doesn’t only lose his relationship but he becomes “emotionally homeless" as well. This too comes back to how a male brain can react to the neurochemical vasopressin, released during sex and, in turn, making an attached bond for both men and women. On the man’s side, the bond that is formed is comparable to that of an animal claiming a home: everything from your scent to your apartment will make him crave you.
Apparently, women are better at recognizing the signs of a relationship coming to an end than men are. Men stay blinded to most of the “fizzling out” signals and get more surprised when breakups occur as well as drag out relationships while women take mere days to end it, according to Daily Mail. Men can analyze and agonize about their decisions for an entire month before coming to a conclusion about the future of his present relationship.
That isn’t to say women don’t feel heartbreak even when “true” love wasn’t a factor but this addition just adds to the strikes already against men when recouping from a breakup. Huffington Post explained some of the findings of an Elite Singles study where it was found that 25% more men than women admitted to experiencing lovesickness, with even fewer men having to “really be in love” to experience it.
According to an article by The Independent, men tend to suffer more once the breakup starts to “sink in” and they realize they will have to, essentially, start to “compete” again for another partner. This realization makes it seems as though men truly are never able to fully get over a past relationship. Men can be so competitive when it comes to finding another woman that if they lose a mate that they felt was a “great catch” that loss can still be felt months or years later – especially when it’s realized that she was an irreplaceable match.
Men in their early 20’s will get hit and take it the hardest once a relationship comes to an end. Reports show that a young man’s identity and self-worth take a large toll, especially due to the fact that they seem to have a much smaller support system than their female counterparts and their careers have yet to really take flight; making themselves identify more with their relationship than with their work. Usually, the person they confide in the most would be their partner, especially if a network of close friends have yet to be made, when that is taken away feelings tend to remain inward without a means to regain an expressive nature.
Just like going back to bad habits with their food or tobacco and alcohol use – which can affect their overall physical health, men tend to get a bit spiteful in their actions. Casual sex, never changing the sheets, or forgetting to set the alarm for an important business meeting, all of these small details of everyday life their ex helped them with are now gone and instead of keeping with the lesson and betterment their women may have influenced, some men crumble and allow the vengefulness to disrupt other parts of their life.
Men and women alike will feel down and depressed after a hard breakup, but men tend to remain in a depressed state for longer periods of time according to an article written by Dr. Wallin for Penn Live. Studies also show that, men are twice as likely to experience severe depression and are twice more likely to commit suicide after a divorce than women.
Instead of turning to friends, venting, sharing their feelings, writing in journals or just calling up good ole’ mom and dad, a lot of men tend to just try and tuck their thoughts away and hide under the carpet. Distraction becomes key, for example, 15 favorite ways to handle breakups are even divulged at Cosmopolitan, none of which seem to help men come to terms with the end of a relationship.
Even if it’s still believed that women are hit harder – hurting more physically and emotionally – than men, women tend to recover more fully than men. In a Fusion article, Professor of Anthropolgy, Craig Morris says, “Men react different initially but also seem to never truly recover. They sort of just move on,” while women are bouncing back, oftentimes, in better shape than they were before the initial relationship.
As said previously, men tend to compete for their partners, while women tend to do the choosing. And, women tend to, try to be, smarter about their choices. Women are wired to be more selective, especially when it’s time to settle down and start a family. In turn, when a relationship ends, a man's competitiveness – and all the work – that went into “winning” the woman was put to waste, resulting in, many times, anger.
Finally, men seem to have a harder and longer time starting over from a relationship than women. For whatever reason that may be, one being a previously mentioned notion. Men tend to be blind to the signs of a failed relationship while women are more tuned in. Some women even start dealing with the breakup before it’s officially over, while men don’t start fessing up to their heartbroken feelings til long after the dust has settled.