Straight men now feel more comfortable in 'bromances' than their romantic relationships
The saying, 'romance is dead' is one we hear disappointingly often these days - but have we stopped to question what exactly it was that killed it?
Perhaps it's a move towards greater equality amongst all genders, and that grand gestures of romance from men to women are no longer expected or wanted. Or it could be because of the new approach to dating: dinner and a movie has become Netflix and chill. Or maybe - if you want to take an even more cynical point of view - it's because we're all too caught up in our own fast-paced modern lives to spare a thought for somebody else.
It turns out, however, that - for young men, at least - it might be because of 'bromances'.
A small study of 30 straight male students at Winchester University in the UK found that an overwhelming majority of them felt more comfortable discussing emotional issues with their bros than they did with their female partners. 28 men in total (over 93%) admitted that, when it comes to more sensitive subjects, they would rather speak to a friend than somebody they were romantically involved with.
One of the participants in the study, ‘Brad’, explained that, ‘There are absolutely things I tell my bromances and not the girlfriend. She expects so much from the relationship and will have a go if I say something out of line, and with Matt [his 'bro'] we just tell each other everything.’
The man behind the study, Adam White, spoke to Mail Online and explained the key findings of his investigation:
'The key thing that we found was that bromances were somewhat more flexible and judgement-free relationships comparable to romances. The guys that we spoke to were clear that the only differences, other than sex, were that bromances were less judgemental, easier to resolve problems or arguments, and much more emotionally open, than romances.
'These guys found it easier to talk to their bromances as there was less judgement and regulation in their bromantic relationships. They didn’t feel like there was a standard to be kept or adhered to. Therefore, they could express their feelings, anxieties and worries without being judged by their girlfriends.
'And on the occasions where conflict did occur, it was seen as easier to fix with their bromances rather than their romances.'
This is nothing new, of course. Before homophobia became more prominent in the 20th century, men used to be very comfortable with showing one another affection. They would write endearing letters to one another, openly declare their love, and even share a bed - something that Abraham Lincoln did for four years with Joshua Speed.
In fact, even today in some cultures, two men holding hands is nothing out of the ordinary, and is more likely to be seen as a sign of friendship than it is romance. In many Western areas, however, this would probably still be interpreted as an indication of a homosexual relationship, which - despite moves towards equality - is still highly frowned upon.
Hopefully, though, a growing acceptance of expressing affection within platonic relationships will change the way we think about same-sex couples, and also help men overcome stigmas surrounding expressing emotion.