Do Men Let Go More Easily?

resentment Two little boys are out playing in the sandbox. One steals the other’s toy car. The wronged child hauls off and slugs the thief, and they tussle until their energy is spent. Two minutes later, they’re happily playing again, the confrontation resolved and forgotten.

Two little girls both wear the same style of shirt to school. Each thought she’d look unique, and they are both upset that they match, but instead, they compliment each other and laugh. But during lunch, one “accidentally” spills her drink on the other girl, drenching her shirt.

These two scenarios are completely made up, and they are also very generalized, but they do go toward illustrating a point – sometimes it’s best to just vent your emotions and get them out of the way. Holding on to hurt only leads to further resentment, but for some reason, many women seem harder put to release those emotions and confront them.

Is it because we’re taught to be nice and ladylike? Boys are encouraged to be rough-and-tumble, which naturally works off a lot of energy, but girls are encouraged to be more delicate in their expression of emotion. Has this in some way led us to believe that confronting our emotions head-on is undesirable?

My husband doesn’t hold grudges in our marriage. He tells me that he honestly doesn’t remember whatever it was I did last week that was unkind or spiteful. Me, on the other hand? I can remember every ornery thing he ever said back to when we were first dating. I’ve got it all color-coded in my memory banks, and it’s not as though I try to hang on to it all—it just naturally happens. Is this because I’m naturally a more resentful person? Or because my memory is better?

You can tell I’ve been mulling this over today, wondering why it is that women seem to react to their upsets so differently. I want to be more like my husband, able to let go of hurt and misunderstandings and move forward. I think that could be a good goal for the new year, to take a page out of his book and learn to forgive … and forget.

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