Even when I was the “average age” of her sample, I have never been quite as hysterical about breaking up as some of the women in this study seem to be.
Don’t get me wrong, breaking up with someone sucks.
And yes, I agree with the anthropologist about the fact that women – in general – tend to spend more time assessing the state of the relationship than men – in general – do. Yes, there are other outliers, but by and large women tend to do more analyzing of the relationship than their men do. I’m not sure how it is in lesbian relationships.
But, more often than not, I don’t get exceedingly worked up about breaking up with someone. If I have gotten to that point, that I feel continuing the relationship isn’t worthwhile, it’s much more reasonable to sit down and talk to the guy and explain the situation.
On the other hand, leaving the husband was emotionally devastating. Not because of him (not until he actually started re-abusing me), but because of the sense of duty and obligation I told myself I had to him. So, it wasn’t so much about worrying about his reaction, as fighting with MYSELF to allow myself to be just as valuable to myself as I had been valuing him.
Too often, that is the BIGGER issue in many heterosexual women’s relationships. There is far too much focus on poorly defined commitments (and thereby obligations). My generation was growing up in a major transitional period. Women were gaining more freedom, more self-value, more everything – but the common mores had not quite caught up yet. So, my generation has its completely confused women. We want to see ourselves as strong and valuable, but we still tend to define our value by how much we are giving to others.