It's a fact of life: if you're dating someone, chances are you're going to break up, and if you're on the receiving end, it really sucks.
If you've gone through multiple breakups in your life, then you know that some breakups hurt more than others, and according to new research, there's a scientific reason behind this.
According to a new study from Cornell University published in Sage Journals, being dumped for someone else hurts more than if your partner just breaks up with you, period.
As reported by Time, researchers conducted four experiments on about 600 people. In the first experiment, men were assigned to a group with two women who were secretly working with the researchers. One of the women was told to solve a puzzle with one of the men. But sometimes, the woman chose to work with the other woman, and other times, she chose to work by herself.
In the other experiments, groups of participants were asked to imagine certain times they had been rejected. Researchers found that in each experiment, people reported feeling more hurt after being rejected in favour of another person.
Researchers found that in each experiment, people reported feeling more hurt after being rejected in favour of another person.
"This may be because such rejections lead to an increased sense of exclusion and decreased belonging," the study authors wrote.
When the study participants didn't learn why they had been rejected, most of them assumed and reacted as if they had been rejected for someone else. If they did learn that they hadn't been dumped for another person, they felt a lot better about themselves.
As a result of these findings, the study authors offered some advice to people who have to reject someone — whether it's romantic, professional, or something else — to minimize the painful feelings it would cause in the person being rejected.
They suggest that if you aren't leaving a person for someone else, let that person know, "as it will make the rejectees feel better." However, if you are dumping someone for another person, "references to other parties chosen over the rejectees should be kept to a minimum." So, you know, lie by omission.
If you aren't leaving a person for someone else, let that person know, 'as it will make the rejectees feel better.'
And while dealing with this kind of breakup is legitimately one of the hardest emotional experiences in the world, as Psychology Today notes, "you now have in your repertoire the capacity to withstand a relationship challenge of this magnitude ... Having survived your worst fears can encourage a more resilient perspective in future relationships."
The authors of the study also wisely concluded that there's "no way to totally avoid rejection in your life," however, if you get dumped and there's no one else in the picture, "we might now at least acknowledge it is the lesser of two evils."
Way to find that silver lining for us there, science.
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