Amid the feuding and rumblings of a relationship in trouble, both partners undoubtedly experience anguish in some form or another. Whether a partner experiences sadness, depression or anger, these emotions are natural reactions to a stressful situation. A recently released study from Wake Forest University brought to light that feelings of anguish experienced during a difficult relationship are more prevalent in young men than their female counterparts. This finding challenges a long held assumption that women are more significantly affected by the emotional hurdles of relationships.
According to the study, “Young men are more vulnerable to relationship ups and downs than women,” [and] unhappy relationships take a greater emotional toll on men than women. The reason this may have been previously overlooked is due to the means of expression men exhibit, according to Wake Forest Professor of Sociology Robin Simon and Florida State University Associate Professor, Anne E. Barrett. Science Daily reported the professors’ study findings in a June 2010 article. Their research was published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 51, No. 2, 168-182 (2010).
Simon explains that the study, which consisted of a group of over 1,000 unmarried young adults between the ages of 18 and 23, “surprisingly…found young men are more reactive to the quality of ongoing relationships.” She offered a possible explanation to the findings, stating that men typically look at their partners as their primary source of intimacy. In contrast, women tend to hold several people close to them, keeping close relationships with friends and family members. Another possible explanation, according to Simon, is that strain on a relationship may also threaten young men’s feelings of self-worth.
The study also examined women’s reactions to relationship conflicts, and found that women are typically more affected by whether they are in a relationship or not. Thus, women are more likely to experience depression when the crumbling relationship actually ends.
While these findings open new doors to thoughts on relationship models by explaining who is affected, when and by what, factors, it confirms the fact that young relationships are tricky, as partners may not be aware of one another’s underlying emotional conditions. Simon explains that the 18-23 year old age group is “characterized by identity exploration, a focus on the self and forging new relationships.”
In an October 2009 article titled The States of Marriage and Divorce, D’Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center reported that a strong correlation exists between young age at first marriage for women and a high divorce rate for those women over a 12-month span.
As ongoing research is performed on young adults in the context of relationships and marriage and divorce it is likely that the results will be useful in counseling young adults in difficult relationships and early marriage to greater success by developing a realization of the gender differences in processing emotional issues and turmoil. The family law attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt understand that the dissolution of a relationship proves a difficult time for both parties. They can provide caring service in all aspects of divorce and family law, including child support, child custody, alimony and asset distribution.
The Raleigh, North Carolina law firm of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt is dedicated to excellence in the practice of divorce law and commitment to their clients. If you are going through the difficult process of divorce, contacting a lawyer who can help you get through the emotional transition and complex business transaction that is divorce in today’s world is in your best interest.
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