How Men & Women Handle Breakups, According To Science.


Breakups are hard, but apparently they’re worse for women. According to a new study published in The Journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, women are more negatively impacted by breakups than men. And, they experience more emotional and physical pain after a split. It seems obvious considering women are naturally the more emotional sex. Following a breakup, women reported more depression, fear and anxiety. Meanwhile, men reported feeling numbness, loss of focus and anger.

While breakups may be more difficult for women, we’re the ones who actually recover more fully than men, leaving us in better shape for the next relationship. This is because women deal with the emotions. Men never fully recover. They just sort of ‘move on’ to someone else.

“Most women, broadly speaking, seem to be hit hard and fast by a breakup, but are less self-destructive, utilize more social support, and recover faster and more fully,” says Craig Morris, anthropologist and lead author of the study. “Women hit a moment when they realize, “it’s really over, it’s time to move on. Men, on the other hand, seem to react badly and in some sort of self-destructive/angry fashion often combined with depression. This can last for months or years.”

From an evolutionary biology perspective, scientists say that women have more to lose—reproduction and child rearing—by being with the wrong person and thus it hurts more when the relationship ends. This theory makes the case that men can exit a relationship with little effect on their future reproductive success. Women cannot.

Yes, breakups suck for everyone. But they should be painful. Having knowledge of how hurtful a breakup can be, helps us to be more selective in choosing the right partner and doing all we can to avoid a painful split later on.

“I’d say about 10 percent of people are destroyed by breakups and 10 percent could care less. The big middle, 80 percent, are how most folks live—they have at least one breakup in their lives that affects them strongly and they can recall it in great (painful) detail throughout their lives,” adds Morris.

As renowned anthropologist, Helen Fisher, suggests: maybe our ancestors evolved brain links that cause us to hate the ones we love, to help jilted lovers get over someone and start again with someone else.

-Ashley M. Papa

Ever “Ghost” A Breakup? It’s Exactly What You Think It Is

man textingWe’re likely all guilty of it to some extent, or have experienced it ourselves when it comes to breakups. It’s called ‘ghosting’ and it’s probably what you think it is. It refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempt to reach out. Do you ever tell yourself “it’s like [he/she] fell off the face of the Earth”? Well, my lovelorn friend, you’ve been ghosted.

Just when we thought breaking up with someone over the phone or by text was bad, ghosting is the ultimate avoidance technique for the immature and insecure, who want to avoid the potential fallout of a face-to-face breakup.

But beware ghosters, because it may not always end as easy as you hoped it would. If someone feels they haven’t gotten the closure they need or ends up showing a serious concern for your whereabouts and sends out search teams, you could actually be creating more drama than if you had just told the other person why you were breaking up with them.

It goes without question that technology plays a huge role in this impersonal breakup technique. Host of “Death, Sex & Money”, Anna Sale, told the New York Times that she believes social media enables the avoidance of difficult conversations. “As people have gotten less and less comfortable talking face to face about hard things, it’s become easier to move on, let time pass and forget to tell the person you’re breaking up with them,” she said.

Ghosters don’t have to worry about feeling bad for hurting the other person’s feelings because you’re not there in person to witness their pain.

It does take a lot to fully ghost someone these days. It’s not just about avoiding phone calls. You would have to block them on all social media accounts, avoid having any mutual friends tag you in photos, turn your status off on messaging apps, you may have to move, change phone numbers, let your voicemail box get full…etc. So after all of this, maybe just telling the person ‘not interested’ or ‘it’s over’ is a lot easier, in the end.

Sure, ghosting may be more acceptable for those short and meaningless dating scenarios. Maybe after the first date or two, you just knew there was nothing there; and therefore didn’t care about ever getting back to the person. But when it comes to deeper, long-term relationships, you at least owe the other person a respectable breakup and a decent explanation. Even if it’s just “this just isn’t working out for me.”

Have you ever “ghosted” or been “ghosted”?

Reminiscing About A Breakup Can Speed Emotional Recovery

Getting over a breakup is never easy. It can take weeks, months and sometimes years to forget about a love loss. In the wallowing phase, it’s common to hear others tell you “just get over him/her”, “move on already” and even be questioned as to why you are still thinking about that person. This can make us wonder if there is something wrong with us, if we find it’s been weeks and months and we’re still in mourning.

Well according to this study, reminiscing about a past relationship, can actually help in the recovery process.

The researcher got together over 200 recently-separated singles. About half of the participants came into the lab frequently to discuss and reflect on their relationship and breakup experiences, while the other half only came in for the initial and exit interviews only.

The study concluded that those who talked often about a breakup reported decreased emotional distress over time. Proof that talking about a broken heart assists in emotional healing. The researcher also found that those who talked about their failed relationships helped them to rediscover “who they were as single people.”

What does this mean? Whether it is a broken heart or anything in life, talking about it can significantly help one’s well-being. Many people prefer to just bottle everything up to appear strong and unaffected. But, not tending to certain feelings can wreak havoc on your thought process, impacting work and life. Not dealing with those emotions also messes with where you are channeling your energy and the vibe you give off to others.

So find people to talk to. You may think that your mom and girlfriends must be so tired of hearing you talk about X, Y and Z. But who cares, that’s why they are in your life.

Ashley M. Papa