two dude walking in the park

Bro’s Before Ro’s: Dudes Prefer Bromance to Romance

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Brotherhood is a precious bond among men. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, a men’s residential drug addiction treatment facility, the men in our program forge strong relationships with one another. Holding each other up, pushing each other to strive, keeping each other accountable, the friendship men in our program make with one another is extraordinary. Our program pushes men to their physical limits in personal training and exercise, yoga, and immersive outdoor adventures. Men are also pushed to grow emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Evolving along this journey together, men understand one another at the deepest, most intimate level, redefining their lives and finding freedom from addiction. The bond of brothers is unlike any other.

“Romantic” is not typically the word used to describe a relationship among men. With more and more mainstream movies portraying the “bromance”, however, men are taking cue and saying “I love you, man.” The stigmatized characterization of the male is riddled with emotional inhibition and a reluctance toward vulnerability. Through treatment programs and challenging experiences, men can open up to one another in order to build authentic relationships full of a brotherly love for one another.

Men and Masculinities published the small study which included just 30 heterosexual male participants. Every participant reported having at least one relationship with a male friend that would be considered a “bromance”. With their “bromantic” partner, most reported that they shared absolutely everything, often before a romantic partner or steady girlfriend. Twenty-eight out of the thirty participants said they preferred talking to their best guy friend instead of their primary partner in a romantic relationship, according to Men’s Health. The only thing missing between the similarities of a “bromance” with a heterosexual “romance” is the sex. Though intercourse is missing, many participants reported that physical touch is not. Twenty-nine of the thirty men said that they regularly cuddled up with their favorite bro for comfort and to show one another that they care.

Is the bromance a threat to standard relationships? Not likely. However, the researchers explained that the change in patterns of male friendships is a positive one, pushing men to be more emotionally open and close to one another. As a result, men can have independent relationships outside of their primary romantic relationships which serve them in emotional support, which all men need.


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