There’s no two ways about it—dating is hard. Even given the difficulty of building relationships with the opposite sex, there’s little denying that, in the end, the relationships are worth it. Still, it often feels like there is something missing in those relationships. According to a study titled “Privileging the Bromance: A Critical Appraisal of Romantic and Bromantic Relationships” first published October 12, 2017, in Men and Masculinities, young men find greater emotional satisfaction in a bromance as compared to a relationship with a woman.
A bromance is described as being a close, heterosexual friendship with another male. It’s a relationship where there’s enough trust that the participants are comfortable enough to “no-boundaries” behaviors, which include sharing secrets, expressing love, and even sleeping in the same bed (just sleeping, mind you, not other activities—though 29 out of the 30 men surveyed confessed to cuddling with their bromantic partner).
What is it about a bromance that is so appealing? The researchers conducted a survey of 30 heterosexual men in their second-year of college. Admittedly, the pool isn’t that inclusive—all but one of the participants was white and all had a sports-related major. Still, it can give you an idea of what role a bromance can play. For the participants, a bromance was a place where they could be open and share without fear of being judged. One participant noted that his bromance “knows I love listening to Taylor Swift and Beyonce, but I keep that quiet because she would judge me. I feel like I have to be more manly around her.”
A good bromance also gives men a place where they can work through challenges, share emotions, and even discuss their health. Of those surveyed, 28 said they would prefer to discuss any personal matters with their male friend over their romantic partner.
The study authors noted that “there was a conclusive determination from the men we interviewed. On balance, they argued that bromantic relationships were more satisfying in their emotiona intimacy, compared to heterosexual romances.” While the rise of bromances suggests great benefits for men, it also suggests that “the rise of the bromances may not altogether be liberating and socially positive for women.” It may result in an “us vs them” mentality that could delay relationships. Finding a balance between the two, however, should give the best of both.