Wise Guys – Do Men Suffer More from Heartbreak Than Women?

photo by KellyB

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: People always assume that women are the emotional ones in relationships. However, one fairly recent study showed that the male broken heart may be worse off. What do you think?”

Gay Single Guy (Angelo Nikolopoulos): The results of this study are about as surprising as discovering gay porn on Reverend Tom Brock’s hard drive. Let’s face it: women (and gay men) are remarkably adept at emotional outpouring. During tumultuous times, we listen to Sade, Skype with our confidants, and blog; we burn purifying sage sticks, enlist the help of advice columns, and look to the sky for omens. We embrace the deluge. Men’s coping strategies, on the other hand, are as effective as calculating your tax returns with an abacus. As the study indicates, in lieu of verbally expressing their emotional distress, men are more likely to seek solace in substance use and withdrawal. So should we pity the fool nursing his beer and his tears? I’d prefer to offer him this, instead, Shakespeare’s steeliness: “The patient must minister to himself.”

Straight Committed Guy (Johnny): No surprises there. I’ve long considered women the emotionally tougher gender. I don’t know if I speak for men in general here, but all of my relationships – from sex-friend to BFF – are meaningful to me. Friendships tend to end after both parties gradually drift apart. It’s relatively painless and not always noticeable. But sexual relationships freakin’ end; there’s an explicit break up, after which you rarely or never see each other again, at least not on the same terms. I’m deeply saddened when that happens. It hurts my man-feelings. I’m a crybaby bitch about it, is what I’m trying to say. So yeah, me personally? I support that research.

Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): I definitely buy the handful of hypotheses put forth in the article — that men tend to be most intimate with their partners while women might maintain closeness with many friends and family (and thus kind of an emotional safety net if the romance ends); that a breakup can really shake a man’s pride and confidence in himself in general; and that stereotypical repression of emotions can ultimately come up and really sock a guy in the nose in extreme situations when he can’t compartmentalize anymore — and I can even corroborate some from personal experience.  One the one hand, I’ve always tended to throw myself fully into my romantic relationships, and a consequence of that complete investment is being pretty shattered after a breakup.  But all the same, I’m proud of the degree I’ve grown in-touch with my emotional side, and I cherish the strong relationships I’ve developed with some of my female friends, so I feel lucky and grateful that those things have helped me navigate the post-heartbreak waters perhaps better than the average guy.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is Angelo Nikolopoulos, host of an NYC queer reading series The White Swallow; Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Melon University; and our Straight Committed Guy is regular EMandLO.com commenter, Johnny. To ask the guys your own question, click here.