According to researcher Craig Morris by the age of 30 most of the people will experience an average of three breakups in their lives, and probably one of them will be intensely difficult to get over, affecting the quality of their lives in a negative way for months, perhaps even for years.
If you’ve experienced romantic relationship with somebody, you might have experienced the ending of that relationship, which can be quite painful. Like it or not, we all must cope with a breakup, we all have to get back on our feet at some point, no matter how shattering the experience was. But who are more resilient? Who get over it quicker, man or women? Does our gender affect our ability to cope with grief over a lost partner? Over lost love?…
Study showed women suffer more over a breakup than men. Researchers from Binghamton University and University College London did a study, involving over 5000 participants from 96 countries.
Participants were asked to rate the pain felt over a breakup on a scale ranging from none to unbearable. The results proved that women tend to feel more emotional and physical pain over a breakup than men (needs to be mentioned that this did not mean that the male participants did not love their female partners enough.) So how come, men were reported to feel less miserable? – you might ask.
Craig Morris, lead author on the study argues that the reason for this might be the fact, that women have more to invest in a relationship as opposed to men. He says: “A brief romantic encounter could lead to nine months of pregnancy followed by many years of lactation (…), while the man may have ‘left the scene’ literally minutes after the encounter, with no further biological investment.”
So, when choosing a partner, women tend to be more commitment focused. However clichéd, it might be true, that when we, women see a man we like, we hear the church bells ringing, and see ourselves in a wedding gown, walking down the aisle. Plus, we also see ourselves in a lovely dress, that fits perfectly to our nice, humpy belly.
Therefore, when the daydream-bubble bursts – the man we chose, says he doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship with us any more – we have all those pink hopes and plans to lose.
But what’s more interesting is that study shows: women emerge as stronger persons from the hellhole of a painful breakup. How they cope with it is, they start analysing their behaviour over the period they spent with their boyfriend, and try to figure out, what went wrong, and whether they were guilty about it.
Yes, this kind of attitude can be bad, in the sense that recalling the act of rejection repeatedly can trigger pain and grief. Researchers Lauren Howe and Carol Dweck in an article for The Atlantic Daily, based on their study revealed, that in some cases the self-analysis is taken too far.
Perpetual flagellant attitude can be harmful, especially when people think of the rejection as something that defines who they are, defines what they are worth, how they look at their own personality. It’s not healthy when they assume, that the partner’s withdrawal from the relationship was caused by some flaw they probably possess. The thought that the partner was disappointed in them can linger on for years.
While it is definitely more painful ripping open wounds than trying to not think about the rejection, the recurring storytelling can be a positive thing too, because this way one can spot and elaborate past mistakes, and eventually learn from them. Howe’s study included people who reported that they even managed to acquire different skills from their past relationship. These were the people whose mentality was that personality can change over time, instead of remaining fixed.
So, this type of self-analytical attitude can lead to personal growth, and to hope that future relationships will turn out better. Based on a 2011 study Craig Morris researcher found that adopting this kind of behaviour, women recover more fully than men.
Men – while no less affected by the split than women – have a different approach to breakups. They do not engage in self-reflection, but rather in self-destructive behaviours, Morris found. Dr. Scott Carol relationship expert and psychiatrist at the University of New Mexico states that „men tend to repress their grieving and take a ’fake it until you make it’ approach”.
This means, they are opened to every chance they get to sleep with a woman, but they are terrified if the woman wants more than casual sex; they become party animals, or immerse themselves into work and become workaholics, they grab every opportunity that makes them keep their minds off the breakup and the emotional mess that comes with it.
According to Carol, surprisingly, it takes men longer to recover after a breakup than to women (in some cases it can take decades), except that they hide their grief. They don’t show it even to themselves. Why? Because they were raised so. Men are raised to repress their emotions, not to mention their pain, because that would mean they are weak. They are not allowed to show weakness under any kind of circumstances.
Breakups are sad experiences, that hit both participants. The recovery process can be different for men and women, but as Pink sings in her song entitled Try: Just because it burns/Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die/You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try.
Resilience or moving on after a breakup is massively supported by meeting someone new, and by starting dating again. Begin a new chapter in your life, but don’t forget the lessons you have learned from your past relationships, perhaps you can put them into use in a possible new chapter with your ex as well. If you were smart, you will not commit the same mistakes. That is the best way to get over a bad breakup.
Psychology Today, Jen Kim, Do Men Really Get Over Breakups Faster than Women?, November 22, 2016
Binghamton University, Inside Staff, Study: Women Hurt More by Breakups but Recover More Fully, August 12, 2015
The Atlantic Daily, Lauren Howe, Why Some People Take Breakups Harder than Others, January 20, 2016
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