After a relationship falls apart and separation settles in, the woman is often seen as the victim left wounded and hurt by the breakup. Men, on the other hand, more than likely appear to be unmoved by the breakup and go on to experience new relationships seemingly without a hitch.
As calm and collected as a man seems on the surface when a breakup settles on his doorstep, within him is a twisted ball of emotions ready to burst forth. The breakup for him is a relief of the source that was responsible for his distress: the rocky relationship.
Up until recently, it has been the common belief of society that men are less affected by breakups than women, but leave it to science to discredit what we all believe.
According to a 2010 study conducted by Robin Simon, PhD, a professor at Wake Forest University, and Anne Narrett, PhD, of Florida State University, unmarried young men experience more emotional damage from a rocky relationship than young unmarried women.
For this study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1,611 unmarried adults between the ages of 18 and 23 were tested, and according to The New York Times, the conclusion of this study found that the turmoil of a rollercoaster relationship has a stronger negative affect on the mental health of young men over that of young women.
Typically young men will cope with these negative affects by turning to drugs or alcohol, a common response experienced by men coping with emotional distress. The study also found that while men are more affected by the rocky relationship, the actual breakup affects young women more harshly, often resulting in depression.
We see the effects of relationship stress commonly: the stressed out husband who makes his way to the local bar after a hard day at work to throw back a drink before going home to the Mrs. who he labels as being “a nag” and a constant reminder of why he isn’t good enough. This seems to be an archetypal character depicted in story lines and plots throughout Hollywood, but it is a character drawn from reality.
Rarely does society concern itself with why the man at the end of the bar is drinking himself to oblivion. Rarely is the connection made between the emotional damage he suffers in a rocky relationship and the draft beer that is giving him a way to release. This behavior should be corrected even before vows are exchanged.
Young men are taking a hit far worse than young women emotionally, and it may have a lot to do with the fact that men aren’t expected to express their emotions or to be in touch with their emotions in general. Underneath his cool, tough guy exterior is a sensitive soul in need of an embrace.
Changing the dynamics of a romantic relationship from electric to stable can be achieved by improving upon communication skills and sorting through the issues that create tension and stress. Young people may not believe they need help in maintaining healthy relationships, but consulting a counselor or a relationship coach can not only save the relationship from ruin, but also help in discouraging young men from turning to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Professional help may also prevent women from entering a downward spiral into depression.
Singer Chris Brown and his longtime on-and-off-again girlfriend Karruche Tran have recently made a pledge to work through their issues with a relationship coach, an act that hopefully serves as a positive example to other young men and women experiencing turbulence in their unions to do the same.