Women Handle Breakups Differently Than Men, Suggests Study

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background
After studying romantic relationships for over 30 years, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher concluded, “We humans are soft-wired to suffer terribly when we are rejected by someone we adore.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in breakups. Countless songs, poems, books and movies have been inspired by them, and researchers like Fisher have spent decades trying to nail down romantic rejection. But if heartbreak is both universal and specific, can we narrow down the experience according to gender? Researchers from Binghamton University and University College London recently conducted a study to find out.

The Setup
The study was based on an online survey of 5,705 English-speaking men and women from 96 different countries. The average age was 27. In the survey, participants were asked about their romantic relationship history. Questions about breakups included: 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?

Then, participants were asked to rate their responses to breakups on a scale from zero (none) to 10 (unbearable).

The Findings
Unsurprisingly, breakups were pretty common, with 75 percent of participants reporting the experience. Women tended to take breakups a bit harder, reporting significantly higher levels of emotional responses than men. They also showed a higher “fear” response and experienced unwanted weight loss or gain after a breakup more often.

But things evened out a bit when it came to how men and women assessed their own responses to heartbreak — both sexes averaged a seven out of 10 when asked to rate the intensity of —> Read More