Women, Men and Breaking Up
Is breaking up harder on women? Who have a stronger emotional reaction?
A study released a few weeks ago says, “Yes.” … But not really…
I took a look at the numbers and — really! — the sexes are much more alike than different.
There’s actually no “evolutionary” difference to explain (though the researchers say there is).
Binghamton University and University College London conducted an online study of 5,705 English-speakers from 96 countries. Average age: 27.
Respondents answered these questions:
- Have you experienced a breakup?
- How severe was the breakup for you emotionally?
- Who do you feel initiated the breakup?
- What sort of physical responses did you experience as a result of the breakup?
- Rate your response to breakups on a scale from 0 (none) to 10 (unbearable).
75% had experienced a break up. Usually because of poor communication.
Intensity of break up, emotional and physical pain are similar
Women and men both ranked intensity of breakup as “7” (of 10). Pretty bad, but not unbearable.
And women and men both:
- Felt more anger and depression than fear or instability
- Were more likely to have trouble sleeping or struggle with weight than have panic attacks
But women experience greater emotional pain, say researchers.
Hmmmmm. Do they?
When it came to feeling sad, depressed, anxious, fearful or experiencing a “loss of focus” there’s actually little difference:
Women: 6.84 Men: 6.58
That’s practically even. Both round up to 7.
And women felt the physical pain (e.g., insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders and weight change) of breaking up more acutely?
Women: 4.21 Men: 3.75
Still not much different. Again, they both round to 4.
The evolutionary psychologist researchers attributed the so-called sex difference to evolution. Women are just programmed to want men to commit and stick around to provide resources for their children. So they get more upset over partings.
Except that they don’t, really.
And if women are programmed to want the guy to stick around, why are women usually the ones initiating the break ups (according to the research)?
Overall, it looks like women and men are pretty similar when it comes to how they experience breaking up.
Posted on March 23, 2016, in men, psychology, relationships, women and tagged Binghamton University, breaking up, Evolutionary Psychology, men, psychology, relationships, University College London, women. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.