Breakups can truly shatter women’s hearts. But a group of brilliant minds recently learned that men could be more devastated than their female partners after the split. Men are also more emotional when it comes to discussing their heartaches (yes, they talk about that too.) And these intriguing conclusions are all part of a relationship study conducted by psychologists.
© Romeo + Juliet / 20th Century Fox
For their data collection, scientists reviewed posts of over 184,000 people on Reddit (a massive online discussion forum) specifically in the community labeled “r/relationships.”
Their findings revealed that about 55% of the users who solicited help for their love problems were men, while only around 45% were women.
Results also revealed that “heartache” was the most common theme in the posts. Other topics like time, personal qualities, trust issues, and intimacy were also discussed in the forum.
The outdated stereotype of masculinity, or the idea that “boys don’t cry,” has somehow affected how fellas deal with their feelings.
As one Reddit user expressed in a different forum, “Guys aren’t supposed to express sadness or be distraught, so we typically keep it to ourselves because we have to. None of our friends want to hear about how much it sucks and that we wish we could have done things differently, etc.”
The team said that the “anonymous, convenient, and broadly accessible nature” of Reddit allowed the gents (which were mostly young men) to bare their souls.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to seek face-to-face help or go to therapy.
© Forest Gump / Paramount Pictures
This may raise some eyebrows, but based on the team’s scientific data, the guys discussed topics covering heartaches, dating, partying, and personal qualities.
Meanwhile, the ladies talked more about their concerns in terms of mistreatment, finances, distance, and housework.
Charlotte Entwistle, lead author of the study, said “The fact that the heartache theme was more commonly discussed by men emphasizes how men are at least as emotionally affected by relationship problems as women.”
The researchers also observed that most of the boys sought support while the problem was still in its early phase. Girls, on the other hand, were inclined to ask for help when the crisis was already severe.
The language used by each gender also revealed certain patterns. Women reportedly used more self-focused language (“I” words) and had more negative emotions in their posts.
This led them to believe that the ladies were mostly in the preoccupied attachment state — an attachment style characterized by doubt in one’s self, usually resulting in insecurity and anxiety.
In contrast, men used the pronoun “we” more, coupled with affiliation words and positive emotions. Signs that were consistent with a secure attachment state, which involves having trust and positive feelings about the relationship.
However, it is also important to note that the users who were identified with the dismissive attachment state — or those who don’t value relationships — were mostly men.
Lead researcher Dr. Ryan Boyd believes the study challenged common ideas about gender differences when it comes to heterosexual relationships.
He said, “When you remove the traditional social stigmas against men for seeking help and sharing their emotions... they seem just as invested in working through rough patches in their relationships as women.”
What do you think about the study’s conclusions? What other gender stereotypes do you think should be broken or reconsidered?
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