by Ann Friedman
I've come to think The Patriarchy is a Very Nearly Equal Opportunity Bastard, but it never occurred to me that men are less apt to have a support system for things like this-as in, less likely to have family support and stuff?
These discussions can veer into the realm of gender essentialism and stereotypes pretty quickly, but I'm feeling bold today. Let's talk about it anyway. Eric Vanderhoff replied to Jess, "Men are culturally expected not to need it and much less apt to seek or receive it." And Socioprof added, "Men in general tend to have less social support than women. This is across race and increases with age."
Anecdotally, this rings true. The women I know maintain much closer friendships with each other (more regular contact, more likely to share intimate details and ask for each other's help, more physical affection) than heterosexual men I know. There's research that says men and women even define friendship differently. According to the Encyclopedia of Women and Gender (there's a reference book for everything!), "one of the most consistent findings in gender research is that men invest most heavily in their wives as support providers whereas women most often turn to women friends and family for support." This is probably why men suffer more than women in a break-up.