Jesse James is taking a lot of flak for announcing his engagement to Kat Von D so quickly after his breakup with Sandra Bullock. But maybe there's a social reason some men remarry so quickly.
At least, so says Emily V. Gordon on the Huffington Post. She cites a number of swift remarriages among celeb dudes, and says that while both genders are prone to rebound love, "the tendency for those rebound relationships to become marriages for men leads me to think that perhaps post-divorce support is not 'one size fits all.'" Her reasoning:
In my experience as a therapist and as a friend, it seems that the majority of the breakup resources available are for women and not men. Women, who tend to be more vocal about their emotional struggles, are the squeaky wheel that gets the grease from friends, from online communities, from books, and from therapeutic approaches. Women are encouraged to go on an emotional journey of self-care after a divorce, while men are expected to need help learning how to cook and parent on their own. When you Google "how men handle divorce", many of the links advise women on what to do if their husbands become violent during the divorce process. Why is there so little focus on how men can heal after a divorce?
Of course, the common wisdom about why men remarry more quickly after divorce is that older men have a larger dating pool to choose from than older women do. But the picture may be more complicated than that — it's true that most post-divorce memoirs are written by women, and women may also have an easier time reaching out for help from friends and family after the end of the marriage. Then there's the idea that women are better than men at maintaining friendships outside their romantic relationship — it's by no means true across the board, but it's been offered as an explanation for young men's greater suffering after breakups. Maybe some men feel the need to replace a marriage quickly because it's their only real source of social support.
Gordon thinks men need special, male-tailored divorce coping strategies — but while it might be nice to hear more male post-divorce narratives, I'm not sure divorce really necessitates a Mars/Venus approach. Maybe we just need to make it easier for guys to share their feelings and lives with wider groups of people. Plenty of men already know that expecting a spouse to be one's sole emotional support is a lot of pressure to put on a marriage. But men still don't have the same kinds of social networks, or the same range of socially acceptable modes of grieving, as women do, and maybe it's time to change that. Although if you're looking for social support, it also helps not to cheat on Sandra Bullock.
Quick Remarriages, Gender, And How We Treat Our Divorcées [Huffington Post]