Depression, mood swings and irritability - these symptoms are more visible in men when they break up with their girlfriends. The findings of a recent British survey have cleared the myth that young men are stronger when it comes to coping with failed relationships.
"It is a fact that men don't share their feelings with others because their cultural upbringing is like that. They keep it to themselves," Narendra Kinger, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, told IANS from Mumbai over phone.
"Young men tend to experiment with their relationships a lot and when they fail they struggle to cope and sink into depression," he added.The report says men in their 20s often lack a shoulder to cry on. If their partner is the only person they confide in, they are more emotionally vulnerable when that is taken away.
TV actor Gaurav Chopra, who broke off with Narayani Shastri, says everyone has their own threshold of pain and tolerance, but admits women have a social circle to help them cope.
"The sense of individuality and freedom among women with the entire female liberation process that has been going on has made them a little more socially equipped, while a man has to always pretend to be the stronger one - and that pressure makes it more depressing to keep it within yourself or discuss it with a friend. You will hear comments about yourself if you do that," says Chopra.
"But women have a social circle to help them out. However, individually speaking, a heartbreak is a heartbreak - what difference does it make whether it's for a man or a woman. It's not gender-based, it is very individual. Everyone has their own threshold of pain and tolerance."
Mohit Aggarwal, 23-year-old CA who broke up with his girlfriend recently, told IANS: "My relationship never lasts for more than six months and whenever I break up, I go into deep depression. As I can't share my feelings about my failed relationships with anyone, it leads to mood swings and even has a bad impact on my professional life. My output goes down."
Prof Melanie Bartley, a sociology professor from University College London who conducted the survey, says that when a relationship goes wrong, it impacts on men's identity and self worth.
"Young women do tend to have wider relationships with friends and family to rely on. Young men don't tend to confide in each other and that can make them feel isolated. Their friendship groups are more competitive than nurturing. They are just as sensitive as women but it's a matter of whether they feel valued," Bartley said in a report.
Agreed TV actor Arjun Bijlani of Miley Jab Hum Tum fame: "Men have bigger egos, and because of that they refuse to share the incident with their friends. They feel if they say that they have broken up, their friends would tease them, saying 'Look being a man he is crying for a girl'."
"He would only dare to share it with those who are extremely close to him and he knows that they will understand him."
For women, it's easier to nurse their broken hearts as they end up sharing their depression with friends, but men are more likely to store up their feelings and even suffer low self-esteem, and as a result they often succumb to drinking and drugs.
The tension leads to insomnia, and men often get hooked to sleeping pills.
"If men bottle up their feelings, it has to come out in some form. This is the time when they tend to consume a lot of alcohol and even drugs and vent their anger of a broken relationship," said renowned psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh.
Kinger added: "They tend to look down upon themselves, find faults. They start questioning their behaviour like, 'Where did I go wrong?' and 'How could I have handled it to make it work?"
To help them, psychiatrists often put them through counselling sessions.
"We help them focus on the reason behind failure of their relationship. Was he too possessive? What triggered the frequent fights between the couple?.. and try to instil a positive attitude," said psychologist Kinger.
Chugh said: "We try to explain to them that one broken relationship is not the end of life and they should take it as a learning experience and move on for a better one ahead."