Breaking Up Is Harder to Do for Women, But We End Up Better Off

woman with pint of ice cream on sofaBet you can vividly recall your first breakup, sobbing alone in your bedroom, the pit of agony in your stomach, how you felt too sad to eat (or so sad you over-ate), and how for WEEKS you felt you'd never, ever fall in love again. Meanwhile, your ex seemed maddeningly okay. Science proves that's usually the case: According to new research, breaking up is harder to do for women.


Evolution is such a bitch. It's all about procreation and spreading seed and making sure your babies are the best they can be to survive in our cold, cruel world.

Love? Not so much.

Case in point: In a new study published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, researchers found that women take breakups much harder than men. Ending a relationship wallops us both emotionally and physically. Think: lots of depression, anxiety, and fear.

(Punctuated, as you already know, by repeated viewings of The Notebook and pints of Ben and Jerry's.)

Men, on the other hand, react differently (and less intensely) at first.  They're angry, sure. And feel distracted and numb. But then, they just kinda move on.

Not until later do things finally even out between genders. Researchers found that men never fully get over the breakup. (Resist the urge here to say, "Hmmmph! Serves them right!") At the same time, we XX-ers actually recover more fully.

More from The Stir: The Number 1 Sign You're Truly Healing After a Divorce

What's up with that slight silver lining? Especially since we women are MORE likely to call it quits on a relationship in the first place?

As the study's lead researcher explained to Fusion, women simply have much more to lose by being with the wrong partner. We're wired to be selective and go after the VERY best man. Therefore we have a lot of stake going into a relationship, and that's why it sucks so very much to realize whoops, we were wrong -- and end it.

But let's go back to that silver lining of what happens AFTER the unhappy ending.

Men are prone to wallowing in self-destructive behavior and anger that can last for months or even YEARS before they finally settle (like that word choice?) for another relationship.

What makes women deal SO much better? We "tend and befriend," says Wendy Walsh, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The 30-Day Love Detox.

"We have a larger circle of social support to rely on," says Walsh. "We give to others, which helps heal us and we share our feelings more easily with intimates. Men tend to put their emotional life all in one bag. They are less likely to reach out to other men with private emotional problems."

No one enjoys ending a relationship, of course. But if you do, just know that a.) Your instinct is spot on, and b.) You WILL get through it.

Evolution says so.


Image via SolStock/iStock

Read More >