Why Men Hurt Worse After Breakups.
The good people over at the Journal of Health and Social Behavior have recently published a report stating that it's men, not women, who tend to suffer more after a breakup.
Their reasons make sense; women are more likely to confide in close friends and family members after a breakup, talking through their emotions, whereas men are more likely to confide in bottles of Jameson. I happen to know, from personal experience, that this study is absolutely, 100 percent true.
After all, when I broke up with a woman I really liked, all I did was move clear across the country. Such is the power of heartbreak: It can make a man who is horrible at cleaning, organizing and packing spend hours cleaning, organizing and packing his entire life.
I think the idea of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior study isn't that men lack people to talk to after a breakup -- God knows I had plenty of people to chat with -- but that we're unwilling or unable to talk about the way we feel. I talked incessantly, in fact, to whoever would listen -- my sister, my female friends, and girls at work.
Note, however, that I felt I couldn't really talk about it with any of my male friends. There is some sort of genetic coding there that prevents dudes from getting to the heart of matters of the heart with other dudes. Not that my guy friends weren't willing, it's just that I was uncomfortable/unsure/nervous about my pale and naked suffering.
What happened was fairly typical, really. Over the course of about 16 months, I harbored intense feelings for a co-worker. Then, like magic, one night at around 2:30 a.m. she texted me. Those moments in life, so rare, so beautiful, when you know -- you just know -- something big happened. I remember standing in my bedroom looking at myself in the mirror, a moment before I left to take a late-night cab and head to her place, that everything was about to change. In the beginning, it almost seemed like she liked me more. There was this strange reversal at the start where I had that all-important edge in the relationship, because equality in feelings between two people is pretty much a myth; one person always likes the other just a little bit more.
We broke up on New Year's Eve. I was pretty much inconsolable. She was promising me it would be OK, that everything would eventually be OK. I became enraged with conviction that I was supposed to marry her.
Every bar, the names of streets -- it all somehow felt like a memory of her.
So I cleaned and organized and packed. I moved from the west coast to the east coast and started a brand new life in New York, as far away from her as I could get in the continental United States.
I still think of her from time to time. Good thoughts, mostly. She's now married, with a daughter, and I'm happy for her. I just wish that when our relationship ended, I had not suffered so much.