I didn’t quite realize after the 5th appointment this week that teen girls have a much, much harder time after break-ups than teen guys. So I scoured the internet for reasons. Do you know that there are dozens of articles that come up about boys having a harder time?! Well poor them. They don’t come to therapy much anyway! Turns out the answer comes from evolutionary psychology.
Ok we know that men are more likely to cheat because they have to “spread their seed” to maximize potential offspring. While women need to choose wisely and stay put because they have to stay close to their offspring. With breakups we need to apply the same principles. Women have to be psychologically invested for at least the possibility of pregnancy.
Then it ends and girls think that their sorrow and broken heart will be never-ending. Of course everything has a beginning middle and end. And feelings come and go. Pain doesn’t last forever. And emotions dont have to define you. All the cliches keep coming. But the stages of grief are there.
But why the heck is he movin’ on?
Turns out boys need to redirect their energy. They don’t have time to sit around and mope. They have to hunt and gather. Moping doesn’t serve them from the biological standpoint (says a large research study). But wait for it – because they don’t sit around crying they don’t necessarily grow from their mistakes, and end up feeling bereft later, when you’re finally stronger and better!
- “Generally speaking, men get their self-esteem from the social status of being coupled-up, whereas women get it from the sense of connection. These differences are likely to impact the way men and women behave after a break-up.”
So give yourself time to grieve. Girls seem to attach with all their hearts. Losing your love object hurts so bad. But you were 50 percent of it! It’s you that made it work. I’m glad I didnt marry my first love. I was lucky because he was kind and caring. But I sure wasn’t ready for adulting. And neither was he. The break up was exhausting. So here are some tried and true ideas for healing after loss.
1. Stay busy. Everyone thrives on routine. Everyone. Even if you think you don’t. Keep regular schedules of self-care, sleep hygiene, exercise, friends, family and work.
2. Be aware. This is supposed to be hard. If it was easy, then it wasn’t meaningful in the first place. Acknowledge your feelings but don’t let them take over. Relationships take work and effort. You probably learned a lot! Perhaps you have learned what you don’t want, a valuable life lesson.
3. Time does heal. Healing is a process of letting go. Eventually the scars heal and you access the anger instead of blaming yourself. You need to rip that bandaid off not peel it back slowly. It’s good to examine yourself, it’s not helpful at all to ruminate. Try this exercise for managing anxiety and stress.
4. Do you. You are worth it. You dont want to slip in school etc. because of depression. In years to come school will be more important than any guy. You have to set yourself up for your future now, not later. You are worth it!