Guys Suffer More than Women After a Break Up
Jul 12, 2010 - 7:03:00 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - You cannot always trust the media to tell or show the truth. Most movies depict a heart broken woman who is depressed, crying, and losing sleep. They make the guy look like nothing happened. He is out with his buddies, drinking, partying, and dating someone new within the first 24 hours after the break up. According to the latest research, maybe the media is showing us what a broken heart looks like in a guy, but not how he really feels. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior confirmed that after a break up guys suffer more than women. Not only do they seem to react more medically with changes from having their heart broken, but they suffer more emotionally too. The hypothesis is that women have more support people that they confide in and men use aids such as alcohol and or other forms of coping that aren’t as healthy. Most of the guys reported that it was difficult for guys to support other guys emotionally after a breakup. The buddies were often the ones suggesting drinking, or finding a woman for the night. Both of these forms of working through a break up are not healthy nor are they helpful in grieving a broken heart (the guy usually feels worse about himself the next day).
A study from Wake Forest University showed that overall men do better than women when the relationship is going well. When the relationship is bumpy women usually get depressed, and guys turn to alcohol or drug abuse. The guys have a significant worse time than women when the relationship is chaotic or not going well. They are the extremes of both. This is so clear to observe when counseling a couple. The woman usually is the one who brings the couple in when it is going badly. The man will many times deny there are issues that need to be explored. Women on the other hand are depressed. When the couple begins working together the guy is usually much more positive than the woman. He presents as being much happier than her.
I am thinking how much easier it would be if both men and women could be honest with each other instead of drawing assumptions from what they see. A guy partying after a break up is neither happy nor doing well. A woman crying and losing sleep after a break up is neither the victim nor experiencing pain any more significant than his. If men felt more comfortable talking about how they felt they probably wouldn’t turn to drugs, alcohol or women to medicate them when they are grieving. I like to think we can change our relationships in a more positive direction so men are able to maintain their masculinity while sharing with a friend how hurt they are. This sort of grieving would save men heart attacks, black outs, and STDs. If guys are going to change women then society must also. If you decide to try a healthier tactic for grieving a heat break, here are a few ideas that will get you started.
Let it go. The first step is to give it space and let it go. Break-ups mean something within the relationship was broken. Don’t cling; don’t tell her you will change to win her back. Give it space and have cool-off time to think (about two weeks).
Don’t blame yourself and beat yourself up. If it was something you did that hurt her tell her you are sorry, but don’t force her. Blaming yourself will make you feel worse about yourself and also for it to have stayed together you must have been doing a lot right.
This is a good time to take up writing. Write down the feelings that come to mind, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. These feelings won’t kill anyone and although uncomfortable you won’t die for feeling. Nor does feeling these things mean you are a girly guy. It means you really cared about her, and the fact you have the capacity to feel bad is a good sign.
Take care of yourself. Do something for yourself that you put off, or felt like you didn’t have time to do. Whether it’s going to the gym, or shooting hoops with the guys. Just don’t let these guys talk you into doing something stupid. This is not a time when you have to fit in with the guys. It is a time to be with other people, but only so far as their suggestions don’t go against what you are feeling.
This is a great time to hang out with your dad. He is older, wiser, and God knows he has been through break-ups. Your dad will have your best interests at heart, and so his suggestions may be worthwhile for you.
Forget revenge, partying, sex, or anything else. Getting revenge will only make you feel immature, and it won’t win her back.
Texting your ex just to see if she is okay is always a sweet gesture if it is done only as a check-in. You may tell her how sad you are feeling, but it is also wise to say maybe we needed a break (this is especially good if you are thinking of trying to work it out).
Remind yourself that this too will pass. Guys need women with whom to be emotional, and when a guy suffers a break-up, he misses his ability to be open and talk with someone he trusts. Women are easy to get, but finding one with whom to be truly you and to be intimate takes a lot of work. It is worth the work though, and if you protect yourself from becoming cynical or jaded you will find someone who wants you to be the love of her life. –Mary Jo Rapini
For more information go to: www.maryjorapini.com
Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is featured on TLC’s new series, Big Medicine which completed season one and two. She is also a contributing expert for Cosmopolitan magazine, Women’s Health, First, and Seventeen magazine. Mary Jo has a syndicated column (Note to Self) in the Houston Chronicle, is a Love/Relationships columnist to HealthNewsDigest.com and “Ask Mary Jo” in Houston Family Magazine. She is an intimacy and sex counselor, and specializes in empowering relationships. She has worked with the Pelvic restorative center at Methodist Hospital since 2007.
Mary Jo is a popular speaker across the nation, with multiple repeat requests to serve as key-note speaker for national conferences. Her dynamic style is particularly engaging for those dealing with intimacy issues and relationship challenges, or those simply hanging on to unasked questions about sex in relationships. She was recently a major participant in a symposium for young girls dealing with body image and helping girls become strong women. Rapini is the author of Is God Pink? Dying to Heal and co-author of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever. She has appeared on television programs including Montel, Fox Morning News and various Houston television and radio programs. Keep up with the latest advice at Mary Jo Rapini
To twitter Mary Jo: @maryjorapini
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