Why men are hardest hit by breakups

By: JOAN THATIAH

Contrary to popular belief, men suffer more than women after breakups. While it is true that women are hit harder by the actual breakup, men take longer to recover from the split. In fact, some of the feelings men experience when a relationship ends, never get resolved.

This is according to a study by researchers from Binghamton University in the US, in which a pool of 5, 707 men and women from 96 countries were surveyed. The respondents were an average age of 27.

These findings challenge the popular view of men as unemotional and detached. According the researchers, these findings may be as a result of biology. Given that it is women who give birth, they have more to lose by investing heavily in the wrong person thus they are choosier. Men on the other hand are freer to move along meaning that when they do invest in a person, it is without bounds.

REALITY SINKS IN

Craig Morris, a research associate who led the study, explains the findings which have been published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, “Simply put, women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than a man. But while a woman might feel more pain when a relationship breaks down, men take longer to feel the effects.”

This means that as the loss sinks in, the man will feel it more deeply and for a longer time. As the reality sinks in, a man will start trying to replace what he has lost, or worse, he will get hit by the realisation that what he has lost is irreplaceable. Instead of recovering from the breakup, the man just moves on to the next person. In the months that follow he will be haunted by questions about what went wrong in that relationship.

The other explanation give for these outcomes is that men tend to link various aspects of their failed relationships to primal functions of their brains.

When a man thinks back to happier times that he had with a past lover, it triggers reward neurons. And since these feelings have no follow-up, he experiences the same panic and sinking feeling he experienced during the actual breakup.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION