Lately I have heard a lot of women say that men struggle more with moving on. You always see situations where the man just won’t let go no matter how hard the woman tries to tell him it’s over. It could be years since the breakup, and that man is still trying to get her back and make something happen.
Of course, we see women struggle too …but on the surface they seem to reach a point where they have moved on a lot quicker, well that is what many believe. They shed plenty of tears and experienced many sleepless nights. But now they appear to have accepted that it’s over. However, I don’t believe women recover faster than men. I also don’t believe men are better at moving on either. There are a lot of misunderstandings that lead to a belief that one moves on faster than the other, but lets take a deeper look.
Many women eventually learn the skill of “managing their emotions”. They have enough experiences of being emotionally vulnerable that they understand how to deal with them (in a way that they are “comfortable” with). They also learn how to take greater control by not putting themselves in emotionally vulnerable positions.
In many cases, when that woman experiences heartbreak with a man she is truly in love with (has a deep and genuine connection with him) there is only so much she is willing to deal with emotionally. She has addressed her feelings to a certain extent, but she isn’t willing to deal with it anymore and wants to get her “emotional control” back.
When she reaches that “this is enough” point, it would seem to others that she has moved on. What is actually happening, in many cases, is that she is simply stuffing her feelings away in an emotional closet. She will then lock the door and find enough distractions (work, kids, another man, etc) to allow her to believe and portray that she is “over it”. In reality, the feelings are still there and the right kind of moment/event can bust that door wide open.
The thing is other people may never witness when that moment occurs. That woman may do everything in her power to not let anyone see what is going on inside of her (maybe a very close friend will catch a glimpse). She will have her “moment” and then she will proceed to place everything back in that closet, lock the door, and get back to her distractions.
With men it is a little different. Men are not typically raised to be in touch with their emotions and many struggle with learning how to manage them. They are taught to “suck it up” “man up” and simply suppress what they feel without addressing it at all. Add that to the fact that a lot of men don’t find themselves “in love” with a woman many times in their life. So when it does happen, this emotional vulnerability is very foreign and rare to them.
So for this to occur and end in disappointment, the man may find it all very difficult to handle. Some will wear it on their sleeve because they don’t know, haven’t learned, or believe they shouldn’t contain this emotion that they are now experiencing. Others will just attempt to suppress the pain because that is what they know how to do. They will pretty much attempt the same stuffing of the emotional closet that I stated with the women. The difference is when the door busts wide open, it is likely to be seen one way or another.
They haven’t learned the same “emotional control” that a lot of women have because they are not accustomed to dealing with emotions like this. Not to mention all of the other things they may have already stuffed in their emotional closet. This doesn’t allow for this new situation to stay in as easily.
Basically, because women are typically raised to deal with their emotions they learn how to organize their closet. They can keep more tucked away in it without it breaking the door down as quickly and easily. Whereas men are more likely to just throw stuff in there. This creates an inability to keep it all in as consistently and may generate bigger outbursts of emotion (verbal abuse, physical abuse, struggles with heartbreak, etc).
Ultimately, I don’t believe either gender recovers faster than the other when it involves a person they had a genuine and deep connection with. I won’t rule out that some cases may vary and sometimes the approach can be reversed. For the most part, I just believe that men and women handle it differently and it produces different results from what we are able to see. It may seem that a person has “moved on” and on the surface they may have. I believe in many situations if we took a deeper look you would find that the feelings actually still exist and the recovery never fully occurred.
BMWK – what are your thoughts regarding how men and women handle heartbreak?