Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ladies: Proof that What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

breakup broken heart
One study claims women suffer more than men after a breakup.
Image: Shutterstock
Breakups can be hard on people, women and men. According to a new study by researchers at Binghamton University, however, women suffer more pain from breakups than men. The flip side, though, is that women come out of that pain stronger and recover more fully--while men tend to move on without ever truly recovering.
The study was based on 5,705 individuals, across 96 countries, who were asked to rate their emotional and physical pain following breakups, on a scale of 1 to 10. Women averaged 6.84 in emotional pain, and 4.21 in physical pain, while men averaged 6.58 and 3.75, respectively.
Craig Morris, lead author of the study, hypothesizes that this is steeped in biology. Simply put, women have more at stake in a relationship. A quick fling could result in pregnancy, followed by childbirth and child rearing, while a man could just move on and never look back. So women have evolved a deeper emotional connection, and when a particularly good mate ends a relationship, they suffer more for it.
Men, on the other hand, evolved to compete for women’s attention, and following breakups, slowly come to the realization that they have to begin competing again. They don’t seem to take the same kinds of lessons from those breakups though, and seem less likely to learn from previous experiences.
Of course, this speaks simply to biology, and doesn’t much take into account differences between human cultures, or the changes of those cultures over time, though it does provide some very interesting information that historians and other social scientists could make use of.

It is still valuable now though, as some people tend to respond poorly to breakups, and high-risk individuals, who can initiate self-destructive behavior following loss, can be much worse off following a breakup. A stronger understanding of the emotional and physical response to grief could help us develop better systems to help people dealing with grief, especially those that might harm themselves or others.
What do you think--are breakups really harder on women than on men? Or do the two simply rate their pain differently? Leave your thoughts on this study in the comments below!