Why a bro­mance is bad for the girl­friend

As Men Find Deeper Con­tent­ment With Male Pals, Ex­perts Worry It Might Hit Ro­mance

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES TRENDS - Olivia Pet­ter

Strong bonds be­tween men are pos­ing a threat to het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships, so­cial sci­en­tists at the uni­ver­si­ties of Winch­ester and Bed­ford­shire, UK, have found. A study pub­lished in the jour­nal ‘Men and Mas­culin­i­ties’ has re­vealed that young het­ero­sex­ual men find bro­mances more emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing than ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with women.

While the in­creas­ing preva­lence of the bro­mance boasts of a num­ber of sci­en­tif­i­cally proven ben­e­fits for men, co-au­thor Adam White ex­plained that they “may well be dis­ad­van­tag- SHIFT­ING DY­NAMIC: ing” women by ex­ac­er­bat­ing sex­ist be­hav­iour. Sci­en­tists gath­ered data through a se­ries of in-depth in­ter­views with 30 male un­der­grad­u­ates study­ing for sport de­grees, each of whom had en­gaged in at least one ro­mance and one bro- mance in the last 12 months.

They found that the mod­ern bro­mance of­fers men “a new so­cial space for emo­tional dis­clo­sure”, with par­tic­i­pants re­veal­ing that they feel less judge­ment from their male friends than they do from their girl­friends.

Twenty-eight out of 30 con­fessed that they would rather dis­cuss their per­sonal is­sues with a male friend than with a girl­friend. “Our par­tic­i­pants mostly de­ter­mined that a bro­mance of­fered them el­e­vated emo­tional sta­bil­ity, en­hanced emo­tional dis­clo­sure, so­cial ful­fil­ment, and bet­ter con­flict res­o­lu­tion, com­pared to the emo­tional lives they shared with girlf- riends,” the study states.

The re­sults led re­searchers to the­o­rise that the bro­mance might soon be­come a do­mes­tic nor­mal­ity, with two het­ero­sex­ual men liv­ing to­gether and en­joy­ing the ben­e­fits of a tra­di­tional re­la­tion­ship but with­out in­ti­macy.

The study fol­lows the team’s pre­lim­i­nary find­ings, pub­lished in the jour­nal ‘Sex Roles’ in May, which ex­plored the def­i­ni­tions of the bro­mance out­side of cin­e­matic rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

They found that men were em­brac­ing more tac­tile and emo­tion­ally open re­la­tion­ships with one an­other, cred­it­ing the de­cline in ho­mo­pho­bia for a rise in deeper male-to-male ex­pres­sion.

How­ever, the new re­search has pro­voked con­cerns at the ways in which the rise of the bro­mance could neg­a­tively im­pact how women are per­ceived by het­ero­sex­ual men.

“What hap­pens in 50 years, say, if these bro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships re­ally take off and men de­cide, ‘Hang on, we re­ally en­joy these. These are much bet­ter. We can gain more emo­tion­al­ity from it. We’re less reg­u­lated, we’re less po­liced and there­fore women ac­tu­ally just be­come the sex­ual ful­fillers of men and noth­ing else,” White told ‘Na­tional Post’. “That’s the wor­ry­ing as­pect,” he added.

Think­stock

Male par­tic­i­pants of a study said they’d rather dis­cuss their per­sonal is­sues with a male friend than with a girl­friend

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