Why Women Are Tired: The Price of Unpaid Emotional Labor

A psychotherapist recounts stories of emotional exhaustion and its social causes.


As the obvious disparity in emotional intelligence has come into societal focus, gender essentialism has re-entered our lexicon, medieval Calvinist theology wearing a lab coat, and speaking in words like “Naturally,” “Biologically,” and, my very least favorite, “According to neuroscience.” You’ll hear this in many forms:

Women are NATURALLY BETTER at empathy.
The male brain is WIRED FOR SEX and the female brain is WIRED FOR CONNECTION.
Men are BIOLOGICALLY DRIVEN to procreate with many women rather than establish bonds with one monogamous partner.*

And, frustratingly, these begging-the-question conclusions bring comfort to many. Women feel a temporary relief that they don’t have to stop themselves from the things they are so practiced at, and men never have to admit to the constant emotional failures they inflict on the women around them.


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