Despite all of the old stereotypes about women wallowing in self-pity, her floor littered with empty Ben & Jerry’s cartons, and dudes going out to pound brews with their bros, it turns out that a breakup is way tougher on guys than it is on gals, says writer Brian Alexander in this month’s Glamour.
Alexander, co-author of The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, sums it up like this:
Thanks to a neurochemical called vasopressin, men in crisis are more likely to see other men as less approachable, but that same chemical cues women to see other women as more approachable. This is called tend-and-befriend behavior, and it means that while you’re being soothed by your girls (who are probably saying that you’re gorgeous, and that your ex is a dick), the guy is dealing alone—and having a harder time of it. Another reason men fare worse in breakups? They regard their lover as “home.” (I’ll explain why in a second.) So a man doesn’t just lose the woman he loved; he becomes emotionally homeless. No wonder guys can suffer more severe health consequences than women after a split: Studies have shown that divorced men have lower immune function than married men do, and they’re statistically more likely to be hospitalized or even die earlier (yikes!) than divorced women.
It’s somewhat comforting to know that when you’re feeling miserable post-split, he’s even worse off. Schadenfreude? Maybe. But…whatever gets you through it.
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