Monday, January 14, 2013

Men vs. Women: Who's better at bouncing back?


This week, let's do some Battle of the Sexes type commentary...

@EarthAngel172 and @TiffanyNHouston and I were discussing the myth that men bounce back from failed relationships quicker than women. 

Yeah. I said it. It's a myth. I know folks have you thinking that women lie around in their grungy sweats eating ice cream, watching The Notebook and lamenting for lost loves while men are out getting it in two days after a major break up. Trust and believe that this is no indication that the woman is stuck in CouldaWouldaShouldaville while dude has moved on. I beleive men are better at appearing to move on. In other words, I think men are quick to say they are over it while women actually do get over it. 

In fact, let's take a moment and define the BounceBack. Bouncing back from a relationship means actually accepting that it is over and allowing yourself to truly be happy with another without glancing back. Bouncing back also means not holding onto the anger or the bitterness (or the plan to run someone over in the parking lot at 2:00 am in an unmarked car - wait, that's just me - moving on) any more. When you can truly set the relationship in the closed file and think "NEXT!" without remorse, sorrow or pain? That's a BounceBack. This bounce may take 20 minutes (I can't be the only one who has stayed in a relationship too long so by the time we officially broke up it was like "Buh-Bye Now"), it may take 20 months... there may be no bouncing back from some relationships. [Lord, the boomerang relationships, where you keep going back? Don't get me started]

I also think it depends on the depth and seriousness of the break up. If you were just kicking it for a week or two versus being in a progressive 2+ year relationship makes a difference. Some say it takes a month for every year you were in the relationship to get over it. I say you bounce back when you bounce back and that's that. So who's better at it?

To clarify, bouncing on top of (or under, however you get down) another person is not a sign that one has bounced back. Indeed this is sometimes an indication that one is NOT over it and seeking to hide the pain through excessive endorphin release. [Hence the entire concept of rebound relationships]

In my experience, men hold onto hurts, perceived slights, break ups WAY longer than women - they just don't cop to it. A man will remember the name of the chick who snubbed him on the playground between 3rd and 4th period back in junior high. I know more dudes that swear "I'm over it" but still have girl's name in the cellie, still track her on FB and know exactly who she's seeing now and how it's going. I know a dude who four years later still drives past his ex-wife's house on his way to work. Five days a week, out of his way, to roll past the house. They are both married to new people. That's so not over it.

Women on the other hand, tend to hold onto the pain and nurse it for a minute. They discuss it, dissect it, review it and rehash it until one day either everyone has told her to woman up already, she meets someone who makes her wonder why she missed the last one or she woke up and it's just like... meh. Over it. Women are hardwired to express our emotions (sometimes overly so), men not so much. Not saying men are not sensitive, talkative, let's-get-into-it creatures. Just saying that hallmark carding every thought is not so much a man thing (in my experience).

Nor do I believe that the best way to get over one person is to get under another. But since we're going discussion style this week, I'll let you all battle it out in the comments - who's better at truly getting over love lost? Men or women? Is it harder for men to admit "defeat" in a relationship due to ego? Vote and do tell us your thoughts in the comments section. What say you?

37 comments:

Reggie Beasley said...

Men are worse at getting over a break up, but I have an alternative theory as to why. Men are hardwired and/or taught to chase as little boys ("no is just 'not right now'"). So when a break up happens, especially if the man is broken up with, that sets off alarm bells and he goes into "I must get her back mode." Now, he may have evolved enough to be able not to act on his impulses and keep actively chasing, but that doesn't mean he's not obsessing about her.

The same aggressive behavior that wears down a woman's defenses is the same reason why men can't bounce back ("if I got her once, I can get her again"). I have some WWB (Wives Without Benefits–think William's relationship with the women from Girlfriends) that tell me stories about guys trying to get back into their lives… if I wrote them down I would have an easy 50 episodes of a sitcom. Wish I could tell you the stories, but I turned my WWB onto this blog, so those secrets I must keep. But the calling/texting/messaging/Face Timing/drive bys/just happened to be at the same place at the same time? So pathetic.

CaliGirlED said...

I think men are better at masking their feelings, even up to pretending they have none. So when the break up happens they go into masking. And especially since it is not cool to be "hurt" around their boys, sands their 1 or 2 real friends (who are actually real men), the masking begins quickly. Because it's more acceptable, women are able to cry and vent and reflect and work through the pain often with much support from their loved ones. (Until like Chele eluded to, they start getting on everyone's last nerves).  However, if we could manage to get through this process without the crazy cycle of letting them back in to do the same thing(s) they did to cause the break up, we'd be good.

So who's the best at it? I'd say depends on the break up. But I do believe that the "dogger" in the relationship usually has a harder time because at some point they come to realized that they effed up and begin all the regrets, at which time the "doggee" has recovered, healed and moved on.

thinklikeRiley said...

Men hold grudges longer. Say we don't but we do. Women act on their feelings more. I ont even know what dat means but ya'll feel me.

quinne said...

its all depending on the nature of the relationship, but as many have already said i think the women  bounce back easier. For guys it takes a lot to get to the point of being all out in a relationship that when it goes wrong, we dont know how to deal with that. We are FIXERS so when we cant fix the relationship it drives us nuts and we will go to no end trying to do things that will try to repair it even if we know damn well it shouldnt be  (been there done that and it was a BAD LOOK for me)

Grace said...

After the last break up the guy was out with someone new the next day. But like you said, he was still mighty interested in what I had going on. By the time I was ready to go out, I really wasn't giving the ex a thought.

rozb said...

I think women bounce back better (most of the time). Men are better at putting on that face, punching each other in the arm, then pretending to be back on the market. I think the key is women are more likely to get outside help in the form of therapy (professional, retail, etc.) that will settle a lot of issues, helping to close the door and finalize the relationship. Men try to take care of it alone, rather than appear to be weak or unable to deal. Happy face does not always mean happy life.

I have also noticed that men take it harder when they find the woman has moved on and is not hung up on the past. Case in point, I broke off a relationship that was going nowhere, and six months later met the man who would be my husband. Got married a year after that. When I ran into the old guy, he said he could not believe that after all we were through I could move on and be married in under two years. I told him after all we were through I was more than ready to move on. I had friends who supported me, I had outlets for my issues, and I was able to move on free and clear of regrets and grudges.

blackprofessor said...

I think the male ego prevents some men from moving on after a breakup.  Humility is required to move on from a relationship because a person has to evaluate the situation and own up to their failings.  Some men's egos  won't allow them to admit their failings.  It is much easier to move on to the next rather than spend time getting perspective. 

To be fair, some women are guilty of this too.  Yet, in my experience I have met far more men who do this than women.

JaymeC said...

It's not just that women are hardwired to express emotion, they are socialized to do so. We still raise our boys to be stoic, strong and silent which is really doing them a disservice.  And then there's this pervasive culture of being to "brush things off" and get on with your life. There's nothing wrong, in fact I often suggest, that everybody take time to not only review the good, bad and ugly of their failed relationship but also to self-assess. No need taking the same bad behaviors into your new relationship. I think the actual healing time is probably the same for men and women but men are better at project that "I'm okay" facade to the world.

Just my two cents.

Angel on a Quest said...

Part of the issue, I think is how intensely we approach an examination of what happened, what went wrong, and what part we played in the process.  It's taken me little to no time in some cases (I was SO ready to get out, I nearly feigned death to get away), and others have taken me months. 

I'm not sure if responses and bounce backs are gendered, but I do think the social/cultural norms and expectations are that women are encouraged to examine the situations emotionally, and men are not.  Alternatively, whether we fall more into the thinking realm or the feeling realm (I'm thinking MBTI) can affect how quickly we can appear to bounce back (which does not always indicate truly bouncing back).  Often, men are encouraged to appear to bounce back, but really are mired in the same relationship dynamics; while women are actually permitted and encouraged to sort through all of the minutia, and allowed to appear "out of sorts" while going through the process.

Finally, yay for Fresh Bouge!!

CaliGirlED said...

Another good point, "For guys it takes a lot to get to the point of being all out in a relationship that when it goes wrong, we dont know how to deal with that."

CaliGirlED said...

She probably wasn't new. And like most sidepieces, she was offering a small percent of what you were not, and therefore he was definitely still interested in what you had going on. He knew he lost!

taut_7 said...

it really all depends on the individual. this isn't one of those things that you can pin on women exclusively or men exclusively. some people invest a lot of themselves into a relationship so when things go sour they take it really hard and sometimes its hard for them to bounce back. a lot of times this may be by choice as well. 

kunwrapped said...

Women are generally better at moving on from failed relationships in some ways. I know too many dudes holding on to heartbreak from freshman year of college and they are 30 now. They had one bad experience with one chick and it has informed their decision not to TRULY trust a woman ever again. On the other hand we all know some bitter azz chicks out there but it usually takes more than one dude or one experience to get them there.

In my experience women are more introspective and self aware than men are. I mean...there's a whole relationship and self-help industry that was built around women. It's easier to reconcile a failed relationship when you know who the F you are and why you do what you do.

bashowell said...

I think it depends on the relationship and the person, but for the most part, women handle it better.  Dudes get all up in their feelings and don't release and years later they're still on that "she hurt me" status.  Women tend to get it all out and then move on.  Personally I take a lot of time on purpose to evaluate and enjoy my freedom.  Then I may date.  If I feel like it.  Sometimes.  Although I have been guilty of moving right along cuz the relationship was 6 months past the expiration date and I was ret' ta go...

GrownAzzMan said...

"To clarify, bouncing on top of (or under, however you get down) another person is not a sign that one has bounced back. Indeed this is sometimes an indication that one is NOT over it and seeking to hide the pain through excessive endorphin release."
Not that there's anything wrong with that...You raise and interesting question. I can't answer it until someone tells me what the standard unit of measure is.

M Dot the Rainmaker said...

I've had both.  I've shrugged a break-up off like it was nothing, and I've also had my Marcus Graham 'Jackie Broyer is gone let me sad-walk down Fifth Avenue' moments.  It depends where you are in the relationship. If y'all were drifting apart for quite a while, the official ending may be a formality.  If it's sudden and you were really into the woman, then it can hurt.

Lady4Real said...

Without looking at other comments, just gonna dive right in, oh goodie goodie.

I am 29, mother of 2, twice married and twice divorced. Currently in a relationship and put 2nd hubs out back in July. I don't know who bounces back quicker but in my experience the person who initiated the break-up usually bounces back faster. My theory is this, if a person is in a relationship and has taken the time to sit down, evaluate the relationship, dissect the arguments and think about the future and comes to the realization that what they're in now is what they don't want to be in in the future they are already on the road to recovery and so their bounce back time may appear quicker. Now the person who is in constant denial or unwillingly to do the work to salvage the relationship tends to take longer to bounce back because they didn't see it coming in the first place. Both hub's looked lost as hell when I let it be known that I was done. Both hub's still try to get at me. The first hub's is the worse, he is newly married and friend request me on Facebook and sends me e-mail's although I have told him in very clear, concise and profane ridden terms that I have no desire to be his friend or associate, in fact act like I'm dead and if you see me pretend I am a ghost because that's what I do with him (not nice, idk, he took me through a living hell). The second hub's is still in denial, he believes that one day I'll get over it and come running back, his bounce back is going to take awhile. I was done with marriage one by year one but stayed for 4, so when I declared divorce I was on the next thing smoking. I was done with marriage two by month 9 but stayed for 15 more months for the sake of our child, but once I declared divorce I was on the next thing smoking. I'm usually done 3 months before the break-up so when the break-up happens I'm already on the bounce back. I've been dumped once and since I didn't see it coming my bounce back took longer. Most people I know when dumping they bounce back first but when dumped it takes awhile. I don't think it's male/female I think it's dumper vs. dumped.

Lady4Real said...

in fact I often suggest, that everybody take time to not only review the good, bad and ugly of their failed relationship but also to self-assess. <<<<< this right here.
I remember before deciding to leave my first husband I looked at our relationship upside down and inside out and then I looked at myself upside down and inside out. Once the observation was done I started self re-modeling and then I tried a relationship remodel, but it takes two people for that. Once I gave every thing I had to give and I knew that I left no stone unturned, I left. I had remodeled myself to the best me I thought I could be and wasn't going to stay around to be used, abused and neglected. Thanks to the dissection of the 1st marriage when the 2nd marriage started looking and being like the 1st I was quicker to leave and more comfortable with my decision. I love me way more then anything or anyone else.

Lady4Real said...

Humility is required to move on from a relationship <<<<< AMEN

Lady4Real said...

I told him after all we were through I was more than ready to move on. I had friends who supported me, I had outlets for my issues, and I was able to move on free and clear of regrets and grudges.
My exact sentiment for both my exes, my decision to leave wasn't done lightly bruh, I spent months trying to make it work, I warned you for months that things need to change or else I'm leaving and with a strong support system behind me, therapy sessions and other outlets I left and moved on easily. 

SingLikeSassy said...

Depends on the depth relationship, IMO.

My husband was cheating so he had moved before we had finished with each other. I took it hard. This wasn't just the end of a relationship it was the end of the life I had planned and prepared for with this man. I started dating casually while we were separated, but looking back it was more to "show a mofo what he is missing" but, for real, he had me and cheated. He didn't want me and I wasn't showing him isht. I'd say that I am just now finally OK. We've been divorced since Oct. 2011.

The long-term boyfriend I had before him? I broke up with him and never thought another thought about that that dude. Bye.

Lady4Real said...

"So who's the best at it? I'd say depends on the break up. But I do believe that the "dogger" in the relationship usually has a harder time because at some point they come to realized that they effed up and begin all the regrets, at which time the "doggee" has recovered, healed and moved on."
This why you my innanet play cousin, my sentiments exactly. The dumped vs. the dumper, the dumped always takes longer to bounce back especially if they are the main cause of the problems in the relationship.

CreoleSoul said...

IMO on top of being dependent on the break up, it's also much more individually-based than group-based.  

CaliGirlED said...

Glad you're ok now Sassy!

Page Bartlett said...

It also depends on the mindset of the person. Sometimes one person is taking the relationship way more seriously than the other.

BklynBajan said...

It depends on who did the dumping and who was more invested. Each situation is different and based on the details an independant observer can usually figure out who will bounce back first.

sol_dier said...

I don't think most things are that gender specific beyond how your physical bodily functions might operate (this situation included)

Gender isn;t the determinant here, its environment, who broke up with whom, maturity level, age, hopes, belief's e.t.c.

invectiva said...

Oh, I'm glad you said it first, because I had already copied this phrase "Women are hardwired to express our emotions (sometimes overly so), men not so much." in order to say I thought women and men were *socialized* that way, rather than hardwired.  I had a guy pine for me for 8 *years*, through several relationships, while I walked away hurt but okay and moving on. But I've also had relationships that I never got over, too. I think everybody has a different ability to heal and move on but the socialization of the sexes can really mess with folks' inherent emotional landscape.

I feel like it takes me 3 years to totally heal from a grief wound, whether it's loss of a relationship or death of family member or close friend. Not that it doesn't still make me sad after that, but it stops having the power to stop me in my tracks, push all those emotional buttons, and lay me out after about that long.

However, if my partner starts messing up our relationship while we're in it, never reverses course, and I spend a long time *in* the relationship trying to get it fixed to no avail, I can seriously be over the *grief* (altho maybe not the anger) an hour after their stuff leaves my house. #eastcoastcold

Earthangel172 said...

I wasn't going to comment today but your post hit the nail on the head.

With my ex-husband, I bounced back really quick because I had checked out mentally many months before our separation and subsequent divorce.  It is taking me a minute (i.e. 2 yrs.) to heal from my last relationship though.

Without getting into specifics, I *thought* I had healed and moved on mentally until last week. It *appears* he has moved on (at least it looks that way) but I feel stuck in time and in my feelings. One day at a time though.

Earthangel172 said...

 "It is much easier to move on to the next rather than spend time getting perspective."

Truth.org

Mina B. said...

I'm going to say that if  you take a man and a woman and put them in the same situation (both being a dumper and a dumpee) in a relationship where there were some real deep feeling *in general* the woman will be able to truly deal w/her emotions and move on faster. In my experience, men hold on longer. It could be a combination of things (thinking he can eventually fix it, not having the tools/support to express emotions, it's a hit on his ego, etc) but it sounds like alot of others have experienced/noticed this phenomenon. 

I also notice men seem to have a hard time being single (i.e. not dating anyone) for long periods of time than women do. I think this is related but I don't know how. 

AminataB said...

I don't think it's gender specific, I think it depends on the dynamics of the relationship, time spent together and how it ended. I have an ex that still isn't completely over "us" and we dated 4-5 years ago. Smh. I think if he had been the one to walk away it would be a different story.

Jasmin said...

There was actually a study on this a few years ago which found that men have more trouble getting over a relationship because women are more likely to a) have considered the possibility of breaking up and b) have a support system outside their SOs. Men don't tend to think about "what would happen if we broke up?", and they tend to rely on their partners as the main source of support. When that person is gone, they take it pretty hard.

Marioned said...

Men take longer to recover .  They just do a better job of hiding it!

One Chele said...

Bizarre. I've never seen a man bounce back quicker from a breakup ever in my life (myself included). On the other hand, I have witnessed women bounce from a multi year relationship that was close to marriage right into a new relationship within a few weeks. Of course, it is rebounding, but I'm always in awe of how efficiently women can process and delegate this territory... they are natural experts at it, even coldly so.

One Chele said...

"Then I may date. If I feel like it." Perfectly illustrating the natural preponderance of choices women have in the dating jungle. Men aren't really appreciated by society as much in the US and there are pervs and abusive freaks who give good guys a bad name. Being a guy, currently, in many facets of American life just ain't as cool these days. It may change someday, but currently things aren't looking good for Mandom.

One Chele said...

"I told him after all we were through I was more than ready to move on. I had friends who supported me, I had outlets for my issues, and I was able to move on free and clear"...



Most American men do not have the same deep emotional support networks that women are blessed with. Men are basically left out in the cold! True.

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