Women deal with breakups differently than men, says science

Happy Friday—wanna discuss romantic rejection? We thought so. OK, but seriously, you may have always observed that men and women handle heartbreak differently but now we’ve got science backing it up! Yay science!

So, the smarties over at Binghamton University and University College London recently conducted a study to see if the emotional and physical responses to a breakup up differed by gender. And they found some pretty interesting stuff. The big takeaway: Women are hurt more by breakups. . . but they also bounce back better.

How is this possible? Evolution, my dear friends.

“Put simply, women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than a man,” Craig Morris, lead author on the study said in a press release. “A brief romantic encounter could lead to nine months of pregnancy followed by many years of lactation for an ancestral woman, while the man may have ‘left the scene’ literally minutes after the encounter, with no further biological investment. It is this ‘risk’ of higher biological investment that, over evolutionary time, has made women choosier about selecting a high-quality mate. Hence, the loss of a relationship with a high-quality mate ‘hurts’ more for a woman.”

That hurt, however, doesn’t feel as prolonged as it does for men. “The man will likely feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it ‘sinks in’ that he must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what he has lost — or worse still, come to the realization that the loss is irreplaceable,” Morris explained.

The study involved 5,705 people from 96 countries. Each participant was asked to rate their worst breakup pain—both physical and emotional—on a scale of zero to ten. Women reported higher rates of pain (4.21 versus men’s 3.75.) But researchers found that men were less likely to recover from the breakup in the long-term, instead simply “moving on” rather than completely bouncing back.

And that’s not all we learned from the study. Here are some other takeaways:

-Of the 5,705 men and women surveyed (from over 96 different countries, mind you), 75% of them reported that they’d been through a breakup…and 75% of them reported experiencing multiple breakups. Takeaway: you’re not alone!

-Both sexes averaged a 7 out of 10 (on a pain-scale of none to unbearable) when describing the intensity of their breakup.

-“Lack of communication” was the most popular reason given for the breakup. So…start talkin’ to your lovers, folks.

-Women showed higher “fear” emotions when it came to the act of splitting

-But! More often than not, women were reported as the initiators of the breakup.

So, as a female myself I’m noticing that while we may take things to heart a little more, we are also the ones assessing our lives and happiness and taking action. So, I’d say all in all it is worth it. Right? RIGHT? Right.


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