For young men, their "bromance" -- close friendships with other men -- could be more emotionally satisfying than their romantic relationships with women, finds a study.
The findings showed that the increasingly intimate, emotive and trusting nature of bromances offers young men a new social space for emotional disclosure, outside of traditional heterosexual relationships.
Men also felt less judged by their close male friends than by their girlfriends.
"A bromance offered men elevated emotional stability, enhanced emotional disclosure, social fulfilment, compared to the emotional lives they shared with their girlfriends," said Stefan Robinson from UK's University of Winchester.
Moreover, it was easier for them to overcome conflicts and express their emotions in their bromances than in their romances.
However, "strong bromances could challenge traditional domestic living arrangements between men and women," Robinson added.
The rise in bromances can be recognised as a progressive development in the relations between men, researchers noted while adding that this progress may negatively affect heterosexual relations.
For the study, detailed in the journal Men and Masculinities, the team interviewed undergraduate straight men.
Participants stated that the lack of boundaries and judgment in a bromance is expressed as emotionally rivalling the benefits of a heterosexual romance.
The tensions of the bromance versus romance can be studied against a backdrop of declining homophobia, sexual liberalism and inclusive masculinity, the researchers said.
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