Men More Vulnerable to Relationship Ups & Downs

Women are often thought to have more intense emotional feelings in their love lives than men. At least this is how we are often portrayed in movies and on television. Meanwhile, men are often shown to be insensitive or less feeling with regard to their romantic partners. But a study featured in HealthDay News says men’s emotions are more vulnerable to love’s ups and downs.

The study was conducted by Robin Simon, sociology professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Anne Barrett, associate professor of sociology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. It was published in the Journal of Health & Social Behavior. Researchers found men benefit more than women from the good parts of the relationship, and they are more harmed by the bad parts.

Women were found to experience depression when a relationship ended and benefited more from being a couple. But regarding the mental health benefits, men received greater emotional benefits and were more disturbed emotionally during rocky patches in the relationship. The reason may be because women tend to have other important sources of emotional connection and support, while men are more dependent on their girlfriends and wives for emotional support.

The findings are important to both men and women, because it helps us understand that we are both emotionally invested in our relationships, albeit in slightly different ways. It does little good to define women in our culture as emotional basket cases, or men as stoic sex hounds. We should also remember that emotions are positive for both sexes.

It’s also a healthy reminder to men that they should have a broader network of social support, including friends or relatives with whom they feel a strong connection. When men and women have dependable friends who support their marriage, it benefits the relationship.

Do you agree with the findings that men are more vulnerable to the roller coaster of relationship ups and downs?

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8 responses to “Men More Vulnerable to Relationship Ups & Downs

  1. In my practice, I find that men are very sensitive. They have learned not to show their emotions to their wives. Many women don’t make it safe for them to do so. Women need to be very careful in how they talk to their husbands. Men’s number one need is respect. They need it more than sex if you can believe it. Women too often assume men are insensitive and say hateful and hurtful things to their men. I have rewritten an old nursery rhyme to be more correct: Sticks and stones can ONLY break your bones, but words can wound a spirit, break a heart or kill a relationship.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • Yes, women (and men) should make their partner feel safe to share their emotions/feelings, even if they do so in a different manner. Making a person feel safe when they are vulnerable invites future sharing as well.

  2. Oh God, yes,. Women at some point will get over a guy and move onto the next relationship but some men never get over it and get stuck…….

  3. Thank you for this entry. I think it very truthful, and I love that you pointed out the equality of feelings present in both men and women. You also pointed out that no one benefits from replaying stereotypes.

    I believe women and men share an inate love of emotional connection, not only across genders but within gender types as well. We all truly do need a wide base of supporters to help ourselves and each other. A mind to nurture is key.

    • Thanks for your input, Ken. I agree that nurturing and emotional connection are needed for both men and women in a strong relationship.

  4. Without a doubt my husband is a lot more sensitive than I am, but he doesn’t show his hurt or let his feelings out nearly as well – am I the only one to experience this?

  5. These findings aren’t surprising since men’s brains are wired to pay attention to anomalies. How men express their emotions are different as well. Men are doers, women are talkers. Assuming that one way is better, or more “right”, than the other does a disservice to both partners. The issue of creating a safe space to share emotions is an important one. If your partner isn’t sharing, look at what you’re doing to invite him or her to do so. I love John’s poem. Physical bruises heal, emotional ones stick around a lot longer. Thanks for the post.

  6. You’re welcome. And thanks for your comments. I like that description: men are doers, women are talkers. Even when we are “doing”, we are talking about what we are doing. 😉 Best,

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