“Not all pain is equal, but women are definitely worse off.”
Michael Brooks reports that “in some quite macabre experiments, researchers have shown that women are much more sensitive to electric shocks, muscle pain, hot and cold, and chemical pain, such as the discomfort of eating a vindaloo curry.”
So maybe heartburn is tougher on women, but what about heartache?
The pain of a broken relationship?
Researchers from Binghamton University and University College London asked a total of 5,705 participants in 96 countries to rate the emotional and physical pain of a break-up on a scale of 1 (none) to 10 (unbearable).
Women reported higher levels of both physical and emotional pain.
It also transpires, however, that women tend to recover more fully and come out emotionally stronger.
Men, on the other hand, “move on”, but never fully recover.
It all boils down to biology, according to the study.
“Women have more to lose by dating the wrong person.
Put simply, women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than men…
A brief romantic encounter could lead to nine months of pregnancy followed by many years of lactation for an ancestral woman, while the man may have ‘left the scene’ literally minutes after the encounter, with no further biological investment.
It is this ‘risk’ of higher biological investment that, over evolutionary time, has made women choosier about selecting a high-quality mate. Hence, the loss of a relationship with a high-quality mate ‘hurts’ more for a woman”, says Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author on the study.
Conversely, the loss of a “high-quality mate” may not hit a man so hard straight away.
The man “will likely feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it ‘sinks in’ that he must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what he has lost—or worse still, come to the realization that the loss is irreplaceable.”
In other words, it hurts more, if you’re a woman.
Longer, if you’re a man.
What do you make of these findings?
Is this your own experience?
Could there be more to biology in matters of the heart?
In any case, the problem remains.
Man or woman, you can’t escape emotional pain.
Breaking up is just one reason to feel hurt; there are plenty more in relationship—and life at large.
You’ll suffer less, if you know how to stay connected and work through your emotions.
It’s true, a woman may find it harder to ignore her emotions, whereas a man may more readily disconnect from his. Sooner or later, both will have to face the pain, or continue to suffer.
We may carry unprocessed, negative emotions for years—for life, even—damaging our health and well-being, as well as our relationships.
Is there an advantage to being male or female?
I don’t believe there is.
All of us need self-awareness and emotional processing skills.
We also need a suitable container.
Presence. Non-judgement. Compassion.
I do believe there will come a time when we won’t need pain in order to grow.
Till then, pain is a doorway to more.
More truth. More love. More freedom.
Who’s the lucky one?
The one who commits to the journey of healing and transformation.
- have you suffered from a broken relationship?
- how do you deal with emotional pain?
- do you consider yourself lucky to be a man/woman?
Love & blessings,
P.S. There is a great number of ways to process emotion and experience healing, just as there are many paths to self-realization.
I have found shamanic ceremonies, energy healing and dream practices to be amongst the most rewarding. You can learn more about the latter by attending my talk “What do your dreams mean?” on Thursday, 20th July. Read more and book your place.
If you’d like to explore energy work and shamanic practices further, please enquire about private sessions and Cacao Ceremonies.
P.P.S. If Tantra is more your thing, join me for an evening talk on Tantric Sex on Wednesday, 2nd August. It’s a great introduction to sacred sexuality and how Tantric principles and practices can enhance your experience of relationship and intimacy. Read more and register.
Currently booking: last “Londoner” half-day and full-day sessions for the summer. I love these immersive sessions, but can only offer a very small number. Contact me to make a booking.
“The sessions with Elena are amazing…
She creates a context of trust and warmth that enables an opening up—she has an uncanny, almost magical ability to say the right thing or suggest the right exercise at the right time. I have worked with many highly skilled practitioners but Elena’s instinct/talent to help me find the right frame or question is beyond compare.
Some of the insights I gain from the coaching sessions are not new and some are: the power is that the insights are felt and understood at as deeper level—this deeper knowing also triggers excitement and inspiration about what is now possible. The sessions with Elena are changing what I allow as possibilities.”
~ John, business executive