Gender stereotyping is abundant in discussions about heterosexual relationships, but it turns out there's serious scientific evidence to suggest that when it comes to breakups, men and women are wired to respond differently. For starters, research shows that women seem to feel pain after a breakup more acutely than their male counterparts do, while men tend to move on more quickly.
Relationship and body language expert Katia Loisel points to new evidence that explains why this happens and (more importantly) what it means. "Men are more likely than women to use distraction or denial as a coping mechanism in the wake of a stressful event, and after a breakup, that can mean jumping straight into a casual hookup or relationship," Loisel told Body & Soul.
Her comments are in line with a 2015 study by Birmingham University, which suggests that women feel pain more acutely after a breakup. "Put simply, women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than men," says research associate Craig Morris. His study of over 5000 participants suggests men still feel emotional pain associated with a breakup but realize "as it 'sinks in' that he must 'start competing' all over again to replace what he has lost," he explains.
If your former S.O. has started dating again, Loisel says it doesn't mean they've recovered from the relationship faster. "Jumping into a hookup or casual relationship releases an intoxicating mix of neurotransmitters and hormones including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which can seemingly (and temporarily) dull the pain of heartache," she explains.
She continues, "If you haven't dealt with your past hurts and issues from previous relationships, more often than not, they'll show up in your life and in your new relationships." The take-home? Don't stress when you see a picture of your ex with someone else. If science is to be believed, it doesn't mean they're over you.