Have you ever had a break up so bad that it pained you years later? It’s a very common occurrence to feel a sense of lose for failed relationships no mater how long ago they occurred. However, did you know that failed relationships haunt men longer than women? Yes, it’s true, men feel break-up pain for longer than women do, even if they may not be hit as hard as women from the break-up initially. Now to be clear here, I am talking about long term, invested relationships, which are very different than shorter lived ‘flings’.
A recent study from Binghamton University and University College London asked 5,705 participants in 96 countries to recall their last breakup, then asked the participants to rate their emotional and physical pain following that breakup on a scale of one (none) to 10 (horrible). Women tended to feel the strongest effects following a breakup. Their average rating for emotional and physical pain being 6.84 and 4.21. The men on the other hand averaged 6.58 for emotional anguish and 3.75 for physical. (Breaking Up Feels Different for Men and Women)
While break ups seem to hit women the hardest emotionally (Perillioux 2008) early on, men suffer the longest from long term effects from break ups (Shoemaker, 2016). Researches saw the women were usually able to make a full recovery from bad break ups, where as men were not, why is this you might ask? Well researches concluded that men will likely feel the loss more deeply later on after the break up as it ‘sinks in’. They come to realize that they must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what they have lost, or sometimes come to gripes that it is irreplaceable. Also, men tend to try and dwell less on break ups than women, which may be a bad thing when it comes to coping with them in the long term (Grace 2015). Researches found that a group that met with researcher regularly to discuss their break up had “better overall recovery from their breakups” compared to the other group which met with researches only a few times. Men are also not as likely to process emotions in the same way that women are (Stegeren 2005), and lack some of the higher amygdala function to process some feelings that they may mistakenly mislabel, and therefore can have a harder time dealing with break up pain.
So, in short, men suffer from break ups longer because of their decreased tendencies to share with others their feelings about break ups. They tend to take longer to realize what it is exactly that they lost which probably stems from their decreased ability to process emotions compared to women. Therefore women are able to make a full recovery faster than men, who may never make a full recovery at all.
- Breaking up Romantic Relationships: Costs Experienced and Coping Strategies Deployed
- Breaking Up Feels Different for Men and Women
- Participating in Research on Romantic Breakups Promotes Emotional Recovery via Changes in Self-Concept Clarity
- Noradrenaline mediates amygdala activation in men and women during encoding of emotional material