Women are vocal about their feelings. When something upsets us, we find a girlfriend to talk to. We usually talk to all of our girlfriends because we know they'll listen, provide support, encouragement and if nothing else, a sounding board. Someone to vent to. It makes a huge difference. After we cry and rant and get all of the negative emotion out, we feel better.
What do men do? Do they cry? Sob? Talk to their friends and express their fears, hopes and vulnerabilities? The answer is, sometimes, yes they do. But not nearly as much as women.
In November of 2010, I was talking to a girlfriend about men. We discussed how men deal with a broken heart. We had our theories but it was a guessing game. She suggested that my next Reality Book should be about men and heartbreak. That I should interview them. The following December, I set out to do just that. I devised a questionnaire and put out the call for any willing participant.
By May 2011 my mother and writing partner, Ann Werner, and I had stories from thirty-eight men as well as observations of how men deal with lost love from psychics, therapists and bartenders. As the stories came in, I was always floored. These men were guaranteed anonymity and because of that, they felt safe to really share what goes on behind the veil.
The stories are all very different. Some men were dumped, some cheated on and some widowed. Some of these men have been fortunate enough to have moved on and are now in happy relationships. What I found particularly interesting is in explaining how they deal with heartbreak, they also provide a glimpse into how they love. How important love and family is to them. How often does a man really let it all hang out and describe the pain of lost love? No man has ever confided in me that way. They may say they were hurt but that's as far as they'll go. They feel the need to appear strong, even when all they want to do is curl up into a ball and hide under the covers. Society expects men to "suck it up" and that is a lot to keep inside.
There's a Marine who got a Dear John email while serving in Iraq. When that story came in, I read it to my mother and selected friends. The response from all the women was the same. "WHAT A BITCH!" One married man with two very young girls lost his wife in a car accident. Another was dumped because his fiancé got fake boobs. The stories are so varied; as varied as the men who sent them in.
On a spiritual level, we are all in search of love. We all have the desire to be loved and when we are scared and vulnerable, we need reassurance that it's going to be OK. Part of how we can get through a break-up or losing someone we love is the knowledge that we are not alone. We can learn and get through our own trials a bit easier when we understand how others deal with it.
Ain't No Sunshine: Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak was created to help both men and women have a better understanding of what men go through. It's an informal collection of stories with no commentary from us. We don't claim to have "the answer" or offer advice. You can read the stories and take away what you will. Each story will affect every reader differently. We are not experts or doctors. We simply wanted to collect these stories and get them out into the world. There is no other book at all like it. It is our hope that it will help to enlighten women regarding the male psyche as well as provide a path of recovery for those men who have experienced the wrenching pain of heartbreak by letting them know that they are not alone.
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