Relationships are never easy, but ending them can be quite devastating. Initially, the person that’s not expecting it often feels hurt the most. However, a summary of relationship studies published in Psychology Today explains why men may have a harder time bouncing back after a breakup.
The breakup scene
Most adults have been through their share of relationship breakups. Some breakups are easy, especially if the relationship just sort of fizzled and both people knew it was ending. Others are not so easy, and some people have a hard time moving past that moment when the relationship they thought was going to be the one to last came to a screeching halt.
The stereotypical response to a breakup
After a breakup, women cry on their friends’ shoulders and sooth their wounds with mountains of ice cream, while men head out with the boys to celebrate single life, drink more than their share of beers and overconfidently chat it up with every pretty girl they meet. At least that’s the stereotypical response most people think of when they hear about a breakup.
While some of this scenario may be loosely based on reality, behavior of this sort is short-lived. What’s surprising is that studies are showing that men may actually have a harder time moving on from a breakup in the longer term.
The reality for women
Whether or not the woman initiated the breakup, she may take it harder at first. Women do tend to have more of an emotional attachment to the relationship itself. Once it ends, they need to mourn the loss of the relationship by recounting all the things they’ll miss, while systematically countering those things with all of the things they won’t miss.
Fortunately, most women have a strong network of girlfriends they readily turn to in good times and bad. When a breakup happens, these friends are there and ready to listen, so the woman begins the grieving process almost immediately. This is actually what the shoulder crying, ice-cream eating episode is all about.
The reality for men
The situation for men is different. Even if they weren’t the ones to initiate the breakup, their guy friends will often encourage them to go out and celebrate their newfound freedom. While this temporary distraction may help them feel better initially, the effects aren’t likely to last. This means they’ve only delayed dealing with any lingering sadness over the loss of the relationship.
What makes this more difficult for men is that just as they’re starting to realize all the things they’ll miss about their relationship, their ex has already worked her way through the toughest part of the breakup and appears to be moving on with her life.
As most men don’t have a network of friends that get together to discuss their feelings and express their emotions – something else they’ll miss doing with their girlfriend – they’re left to work through the grieving process on their own.
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