Leo fancy free - but not for long?

Tanya Sweeney

You'd have been forgiven for doing a double take at the story: just days after Leonardo DiCaprio split from Blake Lively -- and we do mean days -- he has already been linked to a new love interest.

The lucky girl in question is Australian model Alyce Crawford, who has been spotted, according to one Australian newspaper, visiting the Inception star at his Sydney hotel.

Now, given that DiCaprio is one of the most eligible men on the planet, it's perhaps understandable to see how he's unlikely to be moping about, crying into his Ovaltine about his unending bachelorhood. And yet he is not alone when it comes to the Olympian-style rebound.

Sandra Bullock's ex-husband Jesse James put paid to rumours of a rekindled marriage with the star . . . by making his romance with Kat Von D public in August 2010. And merely weeks after his wife Camille filed for divorce, Kelsey Grammer announced that he was expecting a baby with his new girlfriend Kayte Walsh.

Just 19 days after filing from divorce from his wife Robyn in April 2009, Mel Gibson escorted his new girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, to a red-carpet event. Usher filed for divorce from his wife Tameka in 2009, and was seen with a staffer from his label within the week. Lance Armstrong began seeing Sheryl Crow a month after filing for divorce from his wife Kristen in 2003. And famously, Brad Pitt had Angelina Jolie in his crosshairs, possibly before his divorce from Jennifer Aniston was finalised.

While men rarely emerge from break-ups unscathed, the myth that they rebound that bit quicker seems to have stuck. After all, the image of the heartbroken, scoffing-her-weight-in-chocolate girl is a time-honoured one. So why do men move on from break-ups quicker than women?

1 Because they put on a tough face One of the biggest reasons that men are not painted as the heartbroken, blubbering mess is because they tend to keep their emotions under check . . . in public, at least. Says Lisa O'Hara, from Relationships Ireland (www.relationshipsireland.com): "Women are more verbal about distress, while men are more prone to acting it out, say by drinking. I do know from working in Relationships Ireland that men really do feel quite terrible after break-ups. They're as lost and confused as women are. But women are given a language with which to cope and are given permission by society to wallow. Unfortunately, many men don't feel it's okay to do that, so they put up a front."

2 Because they've been thinking about splitting for a while While researching her forthcoming book on relationships, O'Hara noticed something curious about splits: "Women tend to leave relationships because they're unhappy, and men tend to leave relationships when they have found someone else," she says.

In other words, the reason that men often seem to have moved on quicker than their partners is because someone was waiting in the wings.

"Men get their love and affection from their partner and children, but women get it from other sources too, like friends," affirms O'Hara. "Their relationship needs can be met through friends."

3 Because they don't ruminate with their pals For a woman, a break-up isn't a break-up without a boozy brunch/lunch during which the big relationship post mortem is carried out. Gal pals will assassinate character, place blame, and generally dissect the minutiae of the romance. So far so good . . . except that this can place women in an emotional rut.

"Women can identify with their feelings, and their girlfriends totally understand," agrees O'Hara. "Men, by contrast, just don't do that. They meet with their friends and talk about football. Women get license to wallow. That said, some people can get too stuck on the grieving part of a relationship, and it becomes a problem if they can't move on."

4 They don't invest too much emotionally early on One big error that women make in the first weeks of a relationship is looking too far into the future, often with rose-tinted glasses firmly on. Men, by contrast, tend to be more pragmatic, dealing with the relationship in the here and now.

"Emotionally, men don't project too far into the future when they meet someone," notes O'Hara. It explains why, if a break-up happens after just a few months, women can often find themselves out on an emotional limb and their recovery from the short romance will take that bit longer.

5 Because they don't enjoy The Notebook Break-ups may be painful, but it can't be denied that in some warped way, the pain can be exquisite. We women revel in it. Where a man might just get on with things, a woman's break-up ritual is often a solitary, self-pitying act. Think weepy flicks, pints of ice-cream and a side order of Facebook stalking. Men are more likely to prescribe to the Snapourrovit school of break-ups.

"A woman gives permission to herself to indulge in feelings of grief," says O'Hara. "And she knows that doing something like watching The Notebook can help her express and process those feelings."

6 Because men find it easier to meet their rebound girl While women are indulging in their post-split rituals and seeking solace with their friends, men take a more proactive approach. And when men go seeking a rebound partner, women appear to be more responsive to their freshly single status.

"Women are charmed by vulnerability, yet men can often mistake a woman as being desperate if she is seen as vulnerable," affirms O'Hara.

7 Because they're -- YAY! -- a bachelor again Free from the constraints of the biological clock, men rarely panic when they find themselves footloose and fancy free. Rather, they are more open to the idea of being a bachelor.

"I think men don't need relationships in the same way that women do," asserts Lisa: "In fact, it can feel more natural for men not to be in relationships. That said, men tend to do better in relationships than when they are single. By contrast, marriage is thought to shorten the life expectancy of women. Yet women are social creatures, so, naturally, prefer to be in relationships."

Single women panic that they will never meet the right person. Men, on the other hand, rarely envisage themselves as being alone for long, and so, as a rule, don't worry when they find themselves single after a split. As one male friend noted: "If the right girl came along, it would be great, but I don't actively seek it. Everyone has that fear that they might end up alone, but something tells me I'll meet the right person. People have started to marry around me, but it's not worrying. For me, it's an interesting time."