Why Don’t Men Get Brokenhearted?

Ask Demetria: You'd be surprised by how much a guy can be hurt by a bad breakup.

Generic image (Getty Images)
Generic image (Getty Images)

(The Root) —

“Why is it always the women who are heartbroken and disappointed, as opposed to men?” –S.D.

I’m unsure where this idea came from, but I’ve heard the assumption that “men don’t have feelings” enough to recognize that among some people, it’s a prevailing idea and one that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course men get heartbroken and disappointed. They are human. Those feelings aren’t reserved for women.

It’s as though women who say this have never heard of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. That was a whole aching album from an incredibly heartbroken man going through the five stages of grief. Take it old-school back to Lenny Williams and “Cause I Love You,” in which he has a full-on meltdown singing about how lonely he gets: “Oh, oh, oh!” If you didn’t catch it, that was the sound of a broken heart. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes let loose on “I Miss You,” making it clear to anyone listening that Melvin is disappointed, agitated and in dire need of his ex. Those are just a few of my favorites; I could make a list of hundreds if challenged.

For clarity, men are not women with penises. Via nature, they’re wired differently, and via nurture (i.e., socialization) they’re usually taught to respond differently from women — for instance, holding back tears that women might let flow or clamming up when women would want to talk.

Some women make the mistake of assuming that men don’t have feelings just because, in general, they don’t express them the same way women do. And some women use that faulty reasoning to treat men with less care than they should, which is never OK. Expressing their feelings differently doesn’t mean men don’t have them.