The research, involving 184,000 people, was carried out by researchers from the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University in the UK. It is the largest international study to date.
It is also special because the whole study was conducted online, after an identification process, participants had to answer a series of relationship questions. But the main thing was that they did not have to consult a psychologist in person, so they felt safer and gave more honest answers under the “protective cover” of the internet.
According to Professors whom led the study, the most striking pattern was that men used the words “pain”, “heartbroken” and “suffering” significantly more than women when asked about their relationship problems and break-ups.
This is of course also due to the fact that men are traditionally brought up not to show their pain, but they have nevertheless opened up in huge numbers in the ‘darkness’ of the internet. In any case, the taboo, or rather the misconception, that men are less emotionally involved in a relationship and less likely to suffer a break-up has been broken. In fact, they experience the pain more intensely because, unlike women, they suppress the feeling, don’t confront relationship problems and very rarely go to therapy.
The research is also interesting and revealing because, until now, psychologists have mainly asked their patients about relationship problems in similar surveys, i.e. those who have already gone to therapy. This is a special group, not the majority.
The Lancaster University study focused on people who never go to a professional with their personal problems, even though they often suffer a lot.
Participants were also asked about the most common problems in their love lives and relationships. Inadequate communication (“we can’t talk things through”) was the number one problem, followed by lack of trust.