As if conscious uncoupling needed to become any more unbearable, rest easy knowing that new research shows that breakups are actually worse for women. In a study published by Gallup, researchers reported that stress and substance use among separated or divorced adults is much more commonplace in women than in men by a significant margin. Married Americans tend to experience a better overall well-being than their unmarried counterparts, but women see the highest levels of daily stress across the board. Post-breakup, the numbers are even more grim.
In a survey of 131,159 single, domestically involved, married, divorced, and separated adults in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, Gallup found women across all groups seemed to experience the greatest levels of stress, and were more likely to use substances in order to “relax.” However, women who separated from their partners reported the most distress. The study reports:
“[T]here is a visibly pronounced stress gap by gender when one compares women who are separated to men who are separated. In this case, while both groups are significantly higher in daily stress than their married counterparts, the increase in stress among separated women compared with married women is about 55 percent greater than what is found among the same groups of men — up 16.3 percentage points among women, compared with 10.5 points among men.”
Nearly 30 percent of separated or divorced women reported using drugs or other medications (including prescription drugs) "almost every day" to help them relax, in contrast to 25 percent of separated or divorced men. Only 17 percent of adults who were married or in partnerships reported any substance use.
As if those numbers weren't depressing enough, Gallup theorizes that the gender disparity might have something to do with the fact that women are more likely to experience financial trouble following a divorce. Assuming women are more likely to experience an increase in income from the added salary of a higher-earning spouse (thanks glass ceiling!), the adjustment post-breakup may involve a lessened standard of living.
So the clear alternative here is probably, you know, just not to get married. Like ever.