Breakups Hit Men Harder Than Women, According to Study

Contrary to common gender stereotypes, men may have a harder time dealing with heartbreak than women

Sad businessman sitting head in hands on the bed in the dark bedroom with low light environment, dramatic concept, vintage tone color
A sad, sad boy

Contrary to the common belief that men are emotionless robots capable of only horniness and rage, a recent study has found evidence to suggest that men are, in fact, able to experience other, more vulnerable emotions. Not only that, but it seems men may actually be more emotionally invested in romantic relationships than their female partners. While gender stereotypes often paint women as the more emotionally attached partners in relationships, and thus the more distraught over their dissolution, recent research suggests men may actually be the ones stuck sobbing over a pint of ice cream after a breakup.

The study, published last month in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, sought to examine the outcome of romantic hardships by analyzing responses from more than 184,000 volunteers who opened up about their relationship problems in an anonymous survey. Primarily analyzing the language respondents used, the UK- and Switzerland-based researchers mined the responses for recurring psychological themes to build a map of common relationship woes.

Some of the patterns that emerged weren’t all that surprising: communication issues, trust and time investment came up consistently as relationship stressors. But when researchers examined the responses by gender, some challenges to preconceived gender stereotypes emerged. Researchers found that talk of heartache, regret and tears after a breakup was surprisingly pronounced among men, occurring “significantly more” among male respondents than female ones.

“The fact that the heartache theme was more commonly discussed by men emphasizes how men are at least as emotionally affected by relationship problems as women,” said lead author Charlotte Entwistle in a statement.

While this evidence that men may in fact be capable of experiencing heartbreak might seem to subvert traditional relationship stereotypes, the idea that men take breakups harder than women isn’t really all that surprising, and can probably be attributed to those very stereotypes. Thanks to the idea that men are unwaveringly stoic and unemotional, many men have less experience processing negative emotions in a healthy way, and may also feel less willing to reach out to emotional support networks — or to even have them in the first place. Naturally, it’s a lot harder to get over a breakup — or any traumatic event — when you feel you don’t have the space or resources to effectively express and process the emotions that come with it.

Of course, this dated, gendered mentality is unfortunate at best, and often turns toxic. So, recently dumped men, please, for the good of society, let this be an invitation to you all to break out the Ben & Jerry’s and embrace your inner sad boy next time you get dumped. It’ll be fun, I promise.

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