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Mating & Dating

Who Really Gets Hurt In A Breakup…

By January 13, 2011February 17th, 201512 Comments

Dumped - Who Really Gets Hurt In A Breakup

So here’s something counter-intuitive… Something that Hallmark and mom and the Lifetime channel didn’t get right:

In a breakup, despite what movies or books or our mothers may tell us, it is not generally the woman who suffers the most…

In his book “The Stronger Sex”, Dr. Richard Driscoll cites the research:

“Research concludes that men are more deeply hurt by separations than women. Men tend to cling longer to dying relationships, and they fantasize longer about their former partners after it is over. On average, men take about twice as long to recover from failed relationships as do women… Women express more distress, while men tend to feel more distress but not show it as much…”

So, while women may complain and cry and carry on, inside it’s actually the guy who is really hurting.

Men may try to act cool and distant, but they bond more strongly in relationships… It is likely BECAUSE men are hurt so deeply when things don’t work out that they are more cautious about getting into the relationship…  Meanwhile, women aren’t hurt nearly as bad by breakups… which makes them more willing to talk about them and enter into them… (I mean, why not if it isn’t such a big deal to get out of it?)

Driscoll continues:

The common opinion that women are more emotionally dependent than men shows how nature tricks us. A woman wants a higher level of emotional involvement and is more readily upset when she does not receive it, thereby appearing more dependent. Yet she is more independent, in the important sense that it is easier for her to leave a relationship and to go on with her life. A typical man is more emotionally dependent in the important sense that he is less able to leave or to withstand the loss if the woman leaves.”

This is really important for you to understand as a man…  It is you who get hurt in the breakup… and it is much harder for a man to leave a woman than the other way around (this is AFTER you’ve bonded with a woman).  This explains the startling statistic that over 2/3 of divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women… And among college educated couples, 90% of divorces are initiated by women.

“The logic of genetic selection accounts for these perplexing traits. The woman who appears dependent obligates her mate to stay and provide for her, thus giving her children an advantage. She makes a man feel responsible for her because she could not make it without him-or so it seems. Yet when it is in her practical interest to leave, her relative independence makes it easier for her to do so than it would be for him.”

For men, genetic selection works the other way around. The man who appears strong and stable gives a woman confidence that he can support her, thereby increasing his chances of mating with her and producing offspring. Yet the sense of obligation that bonds him to his wife and children leaves him with less real independence than she has.”

So just remember, during a breakup, while a woman may cry, whine, pout and sob, it’s probably you who is really hurting on the inside.

And no, I won’t give you a hug.



  • Natalie says:

    I was in a serious relationship with a guy for 2 years (met his parents even stayed with his family for a summer and then the holidays, he and I had talked about moving in together, marriage in the future, every day he told me he loved me …etc.). We had been long distance since last August, and then he dumped me this past Feb (over FaceTime) on the account that I was too religious and had motivation issues, and didn’t even cry about it. When I saw him 3 months later to get closure, he told me that he got over me in less than a month and said I was not the girl for him, that he had to be more selective when choosing a wife. He has not tried to contact me at all, in fact the few times we talked after our breakup was once when I congratulated him on breaking a college record for baseball and the other time when I asked to meet in person for closure on why he really dumped me. And that’s it.

    I highly doubt this guy is in pain. I’m pretty sure for some reason I fell into the man’s role as I am still the one in pain (almost 6 months post breakup). I try not to think about the guy but every day at some point in time, the scene pops into my head complete with the harsh words he told me post break-up about how I was a weak human being because I flip flopped between being a vegan then eating meat again, was religious at times and not, and that I was not motivated enough and never lost weight (mind you he was never a vegan, was not religious, and had been very skinny when we met until he packed on 30 pounds of muscle last summer).

    I know he was just trying to be honest with me even if it came off way too harsh. Could he have stated his reasons more tactfully? Probably. I am trying to move on. I don’t hope to get back with him again as the last time I saw him I realized that he did not respect me as a human being; all I wish is to just get over the harsh words and not attach value to them. I also really just want to forget this guy period. No dreams, no angry thoughts, no tears…but it will take a while still. I am not trying to demonize this guy as there are 2 sides to every story and he had his reasons for why he lost attraction for me, but my point in sharing this story is apparently this article doesn’t apply to cases where the man once valued a woman and somehow lost attraction for her. In this case he just dumped what he thought was trash and easily moved on because he didn’t really lose anything of “value”.

  • Junior says:

    I agree. It happened to me once. But only during the period I changed my job. The former relationships I finished all. I was strong in job, self image, friends.. This last break up was initiated by her. Yes. I think status and vanity is key here. The one who are weaker in the relationship will suffer more. Get more hurt.

    I think that there’s no dominant/alpha, IF you lose your self esteem for any reason (and sometimes, women work to destroy masculinity in their men).

    And, of course, women are stronger than us in this area.

    Let’s lear about psychology, emotions. Self emotional defense. They were reading this issues since always. We look at Playboy magazines. This is the obvious result.

    Thanks. Be cool !

  • caramel says:

    I don’t believe this. Guys aren’t dat clingy

    • Den says:

      I worked with the top dating advice company in the world for 5 years… And I can tell you that yes, men are. Both anecdotally from my own experiences helping guys, and reading the research, while perhaps not ALL guys are, when you get guys who are not the top 10% of dominant/alpha, you’ll get guys who get emotionally bonded and very clingy.

  • Leila says:

    My husband broke up with me and i only hope he ll suffer as much as i m suffering right now:(

  • Mary says:

    I’m not so sure I agree with this. My fiance broke up with me 3 weeks ago. I am still devastated and hurting and 3 days after we broke up, he was already on a dating site. He said the reason he broke up was because he didn’t have that “forever feeling” with me. idk.

    • Den says:

      There are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone, all the time. But as a general “statistical” fact, it is generally true. HOW someone breaks up with you will also affect you… It sounds like the way he went about it was rather painful for you. Sorry for your breakup and your pain. Keep your chin up, there are good guys out there that will have that “forever feeling” for you!

  • S says:

    Very interesting. We just broke up a few weeks ago. Even though he initiated the break up, this gives some clarity on why he’s [re]acting the way he is. Thank you.

  • Manas says:

    I had a break up recently… I was hurt more than her…. Without any mistake.

  • Rosemarie says:

    Very well said. Thanks. 🙂

  • Jean says:

    good article. I agree, as a woman.

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