Why do people assume women are always in bed crying after a break up? Well, because movies and TV and books tell us so.
But then there’s Carole Radziwill. Thank god for Carole.
The Real Housewives of New York City author is bucking the norm when it comes to the romantic comedy formula after a break up — and we believe her. She doesn’t seem like the type to cry and eat ice cream in bed. She keeps it moving. So when she split from Adam Kenworthy she found it kind of offensive that her (former) friend Bethenny Frankel would assume she was a sad and lonely old spinster. (Bethenny had told the other ladies on a recent episode that Carole seemed sad after the breakup.)
But, as Carole has proven, you can experience sadness and still be fabulous all at once. And she weighed in on some of those “sad” comments during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen (clip above).
“That narrative is a very misogynistic narrative, like boy and girl break up and the girl’s like ‘boo-hoo’ sad and lonely and the guys out banging chicks,” she said. “I don’t like it. I’m not giving energy to it.”
The narrative of women being unable to emotionally handle a breakup has been perpetuated so much in pop culture, it’s got to be the case in real-life right?
The story goes: Guy dumps girl, guy changes his Facebook status to ‘single’ and starts hooking up with new girls immediately. Girl is unable to get out of bed, she’s in sweatpants, overeating and stalking him online. It’s exaggerated for sure, but the narrative started because of, well, babies. And Carole is past that stage, she doesn’t exactly seem desperate to marry or have kids, so the stakes of a breakup weren’t so high.
For others (maybe in their 20s or 30s) they are. You lose the guy, you potentially lose a future family. That’s why women get so crushed.
Psychology Today says that 85 percent of women will experience a romantic breakup in their lifetime for many the only consolation may be the knowledge that he's hurting just as much as you.
"Researchers at Binghamton University more than 5,000 people from 96 countries, and found that when it comes to breaking up, no one emerges completely OK,” they report. “When graded on a scale, men, on average, did feel less pain than women after a breakup - both emotional and physical. It's not necessarily because the men were less into their partner. We may have evolution to thank instead. Because when it comes to mating, women just have more to lose."
The lead author of the study, Craig Morris, writes:
"From a biological perspective women…are more 'selective' in their mate choice. This selection process tends to be more well-thought out for a woman because she is either consciously or subconsciously planning for a long-term commitment. That's why it feels a lot like the end of the world when the mate you finally select decides he doesn't actually want you after all.”
But Psychology Today says that men aren’t off the hook. They get upset too.
“Men feel bummed after a split, they just express it differently,” says the study. "Men report more feelings of anger and engage in more self-destructive behaviors than women. Women, in comparison, frequently feel more depressed and participate in more social, affiliative behaviors than men.”
Women also self-analyze more and try to figure out what went wrong, while men deal with their pain in a more social way. Like, drinking with their bros and repressing their grief.
Therapist Sonya Veytsman tells Personal Space that there are gender stereotypes when it comes to breakups, but it comes down to the level of investment, attachment, and identity that was derived from the relationship.
“It’s more about how a specific person manages emotions and is in touch with their emotions,” she says. “A guy can be as upset as a woman if he’s in touch with his emotions.”
Veytsman says the way women bond is through emotional connection, and having support networks through their friendships helps them to understand what happened, while men derive that close bond from their romantic partner.
“And they don’t have that post breakup so it can be difficult for them to process their emotions,” she adds. “But you can’t make gender generalizations. It’s the individual and how they process emotions. Self-esteem and worthiness plays a major role too.”
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