Women Don’t Have a Monopoly on Heartbreak

depressed black man

Not a week goes by where I don’t read about a woman, usually multiple women, talking about heartbreak in the blogosphere – not that there’s anything wrong with that. As a writer/blogger, I am familiar with the cathartic process of sharing your inner most thoughts with complete strangers who even if they judge you have no real tangible impact on your daily life. I get it.

The only time I take issue with these types of posts is when women hop on their proverbial e-soap boxes and use their various platforms to declare that they and they alone are the only ones who know about heartbreak, and men are merely the harbingers of heartbreak. In their opinion, men’s sole purpose in life is to leave as many heartbroken, damaged women lying in their wake as possible, until one day, by black magic I assume, he decides to become a “good man” and chooses from the millions of women clearly waiting patiently and gratefully for the opportunity for him to come along and offer to put a ring on it.

If only it were that simple.

The truth of the matter is that isn’t the truth at all; it’s not even close. Most men will experience the same, if not more, heartbreak as women. The only difference is we don’t talk about it (at least not openly). Today, I’d like to cover three reasons why women think they’re the only ones that experience dissatisfaction, pain, and difficulties in the game of love, but regardless, men know that women don’t have a monopoly on heartbreak.

Men Don’t Talk about Heartbreak

The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. There are a myriad of reasons why men don’t talk about heartbreak, but there are two primary reasons I want to cover. 1) It’s not “manly” to talk about heartbreak or not always coming out on top, no pun; and 2) Men have been taught all our lives that we’re not allowed to express all available emotions of the emotional spectrum. I’ll expand on both of these points in more detail.

1. It’s not cool to talk about losing. Men are competitive. I’m not going to go into why, but in a competition, it’s all about winning. Since men don’t want to come off as losers, they make it seem like they’re always winning. This is a lie. Men lose all the time. The average man, and quite frankly, some top men, get turned down as often or more often than they succeed with women. For most men, approaching women is a numbers game. Some women dislike this fact of life, which is strange when you consider how adamant women are against approaching men. As a man, it’s difficult to convince a complete stranger how great of a guy you are, even if you are legitimately a great guy. Further, the woman has to be receptive to your approach. That’s a man’s world.

When a man talks about his night out or life in general, he doesn’t talk about all the women who turned him down before he met the one who accepted his advances. Outside observers see a guy only bragging about all of his victories and they assume he never loses. In a relative example, people remember Michael Jordan for all the last minute shots he made, but they tend to forget all the last second shots he missed. Men lose all the time. Just because they choose to focus on their victories doesn’t mean they’ve never tasted defeat.

2. Men (feel like they) can’t express emotions. From when we’re young, it’s engrained in a man what emotions he’s allowed to express. Not only is this taught to men, it’s taught to women. Men and women have a perception of what defines a “real man” and breaking out of this stereotypical mold proves increasingly difficult with age. For instance, if a little girl scratches her knee, there is usually someone there to pick her up, tell her it will be ok, it’s ok to cry, and everything will be ok. In this same scenario; whereby a little boy scratches his knee, there is usually someone there to tell him to “man up” and that “big boys/real men don’t cry.” This is a facetious example, but I’m sure it’s one you can relate to. These minor reinforcements occur day after day, year after year. The outcome: a boy, who eventually grows into a man, learns that even in the face of legitimate pain, it is not ok to express your emotions.

As this man ages, the women he dates reinforces this expectation. Therefore, not only are men naturally paranoid to open up emotionally based on the lessons of our youth, but we also encounter women who have been taught these same lessons about what defines a “real man.” If we do anything to act outside of her vision of a man – like, oh I don’t know, express ourselves in a way she doesn’t feel defines a “real man” – like her predecessors before her and of a man’s youth, young women are quick to remind us to “man up” or chide us for acting like less than a man or even worse, say we’re acting like a [female dog/Drake-like].

By the time a man because a “grown man,” he has had decades of reinforced stereotypes of what defines a man. The majority of this entails never fully expressing your emotions to anyone, for any reason, at any time. Then, in the irony of all ironies, he meets a woman who wonders why he won’t, can’t, or refuses to open up to her. He’s spent his entire life learning that the only emotions he’s allowed to express are stunted or repressed, and now he’s supposed to magically forget all he’s ever known because he met you?

Ok.

Breaking News: Women Cheat Too

one-of-my-5-boyfriends

Almost every man I know has been cheated on or played the side-man role to a committed woman. Yet, somehow, women have managed to convince the world that only men cheat. Statistically, 20% of men will cheat in their marriage; this is nearly matched by the 15% of women who will also cheat. That’s not the huge chasm that women would have you believe. In fact, one study found that when married women do cheat, they do so earlier and more often than unfaithful men. Further, as I wrote about here, most unfaithful men are usually unfaithful with women who know his relationship status. The stereotype that men are the MVPs of unfaithfulness hurts both sexes in different ways. Men, incorrectly, believe they are the only ones that dictate who, when, or what cheating will occur within a relationship because they, inaccurately, believe women are incapable of cheating. In other words, many men become lazy in their relationship because they have the false belief that no matter what they do, there woman won’t go anywhere or be unfaithful.

More importantly, because women do cheat at approximately the same rates as men, you have a number of men who, as I outlined above, don’t fully share their emotions on the experience, but they still harbor the post-traumatic stress of having a woman (or women) they love cheat on them. Many men cope by becoming passive-aggressive; meaning they go through life never fully trusting another woman or taking out the deeds of a past woman on future women, because he never got over, vocalized the heartbreak caused by the actual sinner, or developed the emotional tools or support necessary to cope with heartbreak. In reality, most men deal with heartbreak through denial, repression, or both. A lot of men’s idea of coping is figuring out how far they can repress a memory out of existence.

Since (most) men don’t talk about their familiarity and first-hand experience with emotional pain, women assume men are simply better at dealing with, getting over, or worst still, men simply don’t feel any pain from heartbreak at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At best, men might be better at hiding the pain, but no matter how well you conceal a wound, it still needs to heal.

Check out page 2 to see why men may even love harder than women.

Pages: 1 2

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  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

    Only thing I would add is that

    Women seem allergic to accountability, so they are almost oblivious to the fact that men get hurt too. I’ve had plenty of women tell a “funny story” about some guy they dumped, never mind dude probably all in his feelings still.

    • amaris79

      I have no funny stories, I have never dumped a guy. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I have never assumed men don't get their hearts broken, I just assume they don't fully understand the impact of the heartbreak women receive at the stage we receive it. Men like to state they see more rejection-and technically they DO- but it tends to be moreso at the initial interaction where the only thing you have to risk is your 'pride' (aka, you approached, she rejected). Women get rejected more often towards the MIDDLE, when feelings get involved and they are then risking their heart. You cannot compare the two. It's the difference between sending in your resume and getting no response and getting rejected after you've done four interviews over the course of two months. There's just a greater residual impact.
      HOWEVER, if we are comparing the EXACT same circumstance? Men ABSOLUTELY get hit harder. They have less of a support system and outlets for their emotion, plus they are not used to being rejected at that point so it's a harder sting. After all, everyone knows ALL women want is to be 'chose' (lol), so the very idea that a woman would say 'no' to that would really hit hard.

      • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

        I disagree with your first paragraph. We’re likely not going to see eye to eye on this because of our own relative experiences, but I disagree with your assertion because it assumes men don’t get their emotions/feelings hurt in the middle as well. I’d say its more accurate to say men risk getting hurt both in the beginning – through the initial rejection – and in the middle because similar to women, both are taking a risk within the confines of a relationship. You seem to be assuming here that only men ever end a relationship; and therefore only women can relate to getting hurt in the middle or later in a relationship.

        • JayIzUrSavior

          Agreed. Being emotionally invested and then cut off is not monopolized by one sex, it can happen to ANYONE at ANYTIME. If anything, men feel the burn the most because being rejected initially on a repetitive basis is something we all have to learn to deal with, but then being rejected after things have started and you've created an investment is always the risk no one wants to recieve the bad hand with, as you stated.

        • amaris79

          That's not what I said. I said that more often I see men COMPARING the rejection they get (in the approach) to the rejection women get within a RELATIONSHIP as if to say, "see, we get rejected more!" What I'm saying is it's an apples-oranges argument.
          And again, I AGREE that within the parameters of the SAME rejection, men feel it more, due to lack of support and the assumption that once they get past the initial stage they are "safe" as it is the widely held belief that ALL women want to be in a relationship so their battle is already won (so essentially, their guard is further down and they get more blindsided).

      • JayIzUrSavior

        You're right, we do get hit harder. It is rare for a man to simply be comfortable with himself. We have no instruction manual, support group, or life-altering cult that is going to help us understand how exactly to deal with our emotions. So either we figure it out or we don't.

        But women do not only get rejected in the middle of a relationship. Men do quite often, nearly as much as women. If I could count the stories I've heard about dudes finding out they were side dudes, dudes being cheated on since the very beginning, dudes being told they weren't what she expected, dudes being told he was never her #1, because #1 & #2 weren't available to her, etc…you'd rethink that idea.

    • Paul B.

      No surprise that some are like that. None at all.

  • MaggK

    Reading the Ryan Gosling's quote. I think the women who end up looking for a guy with a good job are the ones who already gave so many chances to dudes that probably had "nothing" and still got their heart broken… So they are like ok he might as well have a good job. When you keep on being disappointed you are less willing to take risks… So yeah i disagree with that quote, it's not that men are more romantic… It's just that women are tired of being romantic!!!

    But the whole article is right, women don't have the monopoly on heartbreak, and i don't think we think we have. We tell men to man up, the same way they tell us we need to know how to cook… It's society's fault… LOL. Yall wanted to be the tough sex, don't start crying now!!! Just kidding :) !
    I'm always like "awwwwwww *puppy eyes*" when a man tells me about how he was nice, how he would have done everything to that woman but she just played with him… *sigh*… Then that same man looses me when he's using that one situation to justify is bad behaviour with the next women…

    • http://twitter.com/ChrisUnltd @ChrisUnltd

      "I'm always like "awwwwwww *puppy eyes*" when a man tells me about how he was nice, how he would have done everything to that woman but she just played with him… *sigh*… Then that same man looses me when he's using that one situation to justify is bad behaviour with the next women…"

      Well its like you said, when you keep on being disappointed you are less willing to take risks. This applies to men too. Most players and assholes weren't born that way, they simply adjust their behavior according to past experiences. Many men were probably very romantic at a young age, but after each failed attempt they harden themselves a little more until the point of corruption. That's just how men operate, instead of dealing with past hurts we simply eliminate future pain. Emotionally investing in a woman is risky business, it's filled with uncertainty and causes a man to feel like he's not in control. And if there's one thing men hate, it's the feeling of losing control. Now approaching women with this attitude is not the right way to do things, but it works, and unfortunately that's enough for some men.

      • MaggK

        Yeah i hear you!
        It's just that i'm an eternal romantic… Time heals everything, get over your breakup and take another shot. Don't turn into an asshole, because you're perpetuating the heartbreak cycle

  • Beef Bacon

    So men do cry in the dark? jk. Well, maybe if some men showed more emotion we would believe that you all had hearts to break. Sometime, you all seem so stoic and callus. I get you can't wear your heart on your sleeve but sheesh, bend a little for sista. I won't hurt you (too much) I promise.

    While I do not think women own the rights to heartbreak, I do think we vocalize and share more about our heartbreak. For some of us it our healing process, for others it is damage control. I do not expect men to change that anytime soon, so I will continue to wait on random little stories that slowly allow me to learn more about him. It's a journey….I know.

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    I'm not sure if the issue is women having a monopoly on heartbreak. A much bigger issue is some women think it's so much worse for them because women are the more emotional of the $exes. And perhaps they are. I don't know how you evaluate who is more heartbroken. But I do believe men's emotions are downplayed, mainly for the reasons WIM gave.

    We go on because we have to. Being the pursuers, we're getting rejected more at every stage of the game. From approaching, to asking for that first date, to (usually) making that first move to be intimate, to getting on our knee and proposing, men are usually making the first move, waiting for the woman to accept or reject us. So when our advances get turned down, we just have to swallow our pride and move on. It still hurts though.

    • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

      +1

      Overall, when a woman is hurt she “deserves” to have her feelings validated, heard, approved, and then she can move forward. When a man is hurt, he’s just supposed to get over it.

      *shrugs*

      It is what it is, I just felt the topic needed to be addressed.

      • jdoubleu

        Agree w/ all the comments up-thread. But I'd add on that men usually don't need that closure talk to get over it/her. So a woman may never know that she hurt you and how bad when you just keep it moving. I know for me, when I've experienced a break up, I wasn't trying to have a conversation about the reasons why or the hypotheticals that could've fixed things. The break up is always very black and white.

        Her: I'm not happy. So let's just go our separate ways before we start to hate each other.

        Him: Okay

        [several weeks later]

        She's sitting at home contemplating on sending that "hey stranger" text, yet in the back of her mind she's wondering "why didn't he fight for me?" -_- The reality is sometimes dudes want to eat crow and do whatever needs to be done to salvage the relationship. But pride is a mutha!

        I'm too lazy to hit up Google Images, but there's a meme that compares how men and women deal with heartbreak. We experience a delayed reaction to heartbreak. But that doesn't mean that it hurts any less than if we had dealt with it while it was fresh.

  • MissLia

    I don't think we as women assume that men don't have feelings when it comes to things like this. But we can only know for sure what a man is going through when he's willing to tell or show us. Many of yall keep that stuff to yourselves, so from the outside looking in it just looks like breakups don't affect some men at all (even if they do). The ones who express themselves are going to be taken seriously by people with actual hearts. The ones who don't will have their true feelings go unnoticed by everyone…

    • Paul B.

      I wouldn’t say we keep it solely to ourselves; we’re careful in who we share it with. We don’t share it with anybody we don’t trust like that. Some women will share any and everything with whoever will listen, we don’t do that as much. Some people will use that against us when we shared that in confidence before, so now people have to earn that trust.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonyoardee @Tonyoardee

    Women arent the only ones buying Drake albums.. we feel pain too

  • cynicaloptmst81

    Let's just say, I'm the complete opposite of Amaris, smh. Out of 8 serious relationship/dating experiences (the ones that count, lol), I walked away from 6 of them. Of the remaining 2, one disappeared (we were teens…messed me all the way up) and the other…just horrible timing that never had me chosen (just really disappointed). Of the 6 I walked away from, 2 were mutually cool with ending things and 4 were crushed. So, analyzing those stats, 1 man broke my heart, 1 left me wanting on the what if tip on some next level stuff, 2 break ups were just charged to the game on both ends…but I broke 4 hearts. I left in the middle. No cheating. Just walked away. For good reason, yeah. But, to them, those reasons could've been worked thru and I didn't find value in doing the work to maintain the relationship.

    All that to say, men get it way worse than woman are willing to admit…cause it makes US the bad guy. Can't admit to being the bad guy when you're aiming for the role of victim, lol.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      Now, I'm NOT saying who gets it more often or worse altogether. I don't know those stats. But, I def know that men catch it. And because it takes so much for them to fall in love in the first place, when a chick walks away or steps out, that experience is next-level traumatic.

      For example, no one likes to hear the word, no. It hurts/disappoints everyone. But, when it comes to kids, the one who hears it more, gets over it quicker…moves beyond it faster and maybe in a healthier way. The one who never hears it is gonna act like a complete monkey butt, lol. You've seen the spoiled kid flipping out in the store like they're gonna die cause Mom said, "No"! I think we can liken that to how men and women deal with love and heartbreak at different points.

      • cynicaloptmst81

        Women who have crushed men KNOW full well that men get emo and act all the way out when they are hurt.

        One of my ex's took dag near a decade to speak to me again…ok, two of them, lol. One cried outside my house for well over an hour. One punched a hole in the wall. One rounded up folks for a prayer session…so God could change my mind. I've gotten dissertation length letters/emails. That woman knows he's hurt. She's just not telling it either…cause she doesn't wanna look like the devil!!!!! And what man wouldn't be embarrassed to disclose all that?!

    • Paul B.

      Can’t admit to being the bad guy when you’re aiming for the role of victim.

      This pretty much sums it up. Sometimes some women think that if they point hard enough and yell loud enough, people won’t notice the other fingers back at them.

    • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

      Thank you for this comment, cyn. And this piece here:

      All that to say, men get it way worse than woman are willing to admit…cause it makes US the bad guy. Can’t admit to being the bad guy when you’re aiming for the role of victim, lol.

      Tabernacle.

      Something tells me you must have had brothers growing up? lol

      • cynicaloptmst81

        Technically, I'm an only child. But, I have 3 step-brothers…so you're still right, LOL! Two of them call me about their relationship woes. I also have a male bff (who is currently talking some I'll never love again mess due to heartbreak, lol)…and another really close male friend. So, aside from the wounds inflicted upon the menfolk by my own hands, I see the wounds they receive from women. And I know the deeds of my lady friends…and they aren't bad women at all! But, I know the pain they've admitted to causing as well.

        The game of love is rough, period…for everybody!

        I think its party because women tend to look at their leaving a man like it wasn't bad cause they had a good reason…forgetting that, good reason or not, if he didn't want you to go and was NOT over you emotionally, it hurt him…deeply.

  • http://www.OpinionatedMale.com Mr SoBo

    The greatest trick the devil pulled on the world, was convincing everyone he didn't exist. Enter the femme fatale propaganda machine with the demonization of men via fallacy marketed & accepted as truth. This is largely the reason why it is second nature for many women to shun accountability. Its easy to do so when men are always deemed the bad guys or the catalyst to poor choices.

    At the end of the day women have better PR reps than men. We [men] simply need better publicists. Time for a social makeover and new look. But not the skinny jeans, softer side jeggins steez though.

    Mr. SoBo
    OpinionatedMale.com

    My recent post Shacking Up: What It Really Means When A Man Is Considering Moving In With You