A relationship breakup will hurt the female partner more than the man, but the woman will recover more quickly because she is able to seek support and talk about it. Men, on the other hand, can let resentment fester for years.
The Daily Mail reports on a study by US researchers, published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, into the emotional and physical pain experienced by men and women in heterosexual partnerships when their relationship breaks down. Women reported more emotional and physical pain then men – especially feelings of anxiety, depression and fear, which in turn leads them to comfort eat to feel better, and possibly put on weight. Men, on the other hand, reported feeling angry and numb, will sometimes react badly, and will often move on into another relationship without having processed their feelings about the breakup. The researchers said this could be “self-destructive”, and the man could still have unprocessed feelings emerging years down the line.
While women hurt more as the relationship breaks up, their ability to talk about it with friends and family, and to take full advantage of their social support network, helped them to deal with their feelings before moving on. The research said that women are more able to recover from the hurt as a result.
Lead researcher Professor Craig Morris was reported as saying that breakups can help us learn to take relationships more seriously: “Breakups should hurt, so that we have evolved to avoid them! If breakups didn’t hurt, we’d invest very little in relationships.”