Why Heartbroken Men Are Turning to Reddit

With stigma, they may feel unable to express relationship issues in more traditional contexts
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 2:28 PM CST
Why Heartbroken Men Are Turning to Reddit
   (Getty Images/imtmphoto)

Research carried out in clinical and counselling settings has suggested men tend to avoid relationship problems and keep partners at a distance, reports Insider. But that may be the result of researchers looking for answers in the wrong places, according to a new study, which finds men are more likely than women to seek relationship help in an online forum, and in that context, are "more expressive of their emotions" and "show language patterns generally consistent with more secure attachment." Wanting to learn about relationship problems of the general public, researchers poured through posts from 184,631 anonymous Reddit users who discussed their relationship issues online.

One in five described issues with communication, while one in eight referred to trust issues, per a release. Most commonly, however, people complained not so much about their problems, but about the emotional pain caused by their problems, using words like "regret" "breakup," "cry" and "heartbroken," according to a release. Men dominated in this group—the Big Think points out two-thirds of Reddit users are men—which may indicate that they experience more emotional pain tied to breakups, according to researchers. It "emphasizes how men are at least as emotionally affected by relationship problems as women," says study co-author Charlotte Entwistle.

Men likely turn to online forums, rather than couple's counselling, due to the social stigma that teaches them that they can't be vulnerable emotionally, according to the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. When that stigma vanishes, men "seem just as invested in working through rough patches in their relationships as women," says study co-author Ryan Boyd. This follows another recent study, per Today, which found men and women's emotional stability and fluctuations are essentially the same, though men are taught to hide their emotions while women learn it is right to share them. (More relationships stories.)

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