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Study indicates why, when it comes to a breakup, out of sight and out of mind don’t’ apply

Behind every great song there is usually a story and, in many cases, the break-up of a romantic relationship serves as inspiration for some of the most successful hits. While some may argue these singers and songwriters, and other individuals who choose to dwell on a break-up, are gluttons for punishment; the results of a recent study indicate that dwelling on a relationship may actually help speed an individual’s psychological recovery.

For the study researchers at Northwestern University divided 200 individuals who had recently gone through a break-up with a significant other into two groups. Participants in one group were given 45 minutes to fill out two written questionnaires, while the other group participated in interviews and also completed written questionnaires which took 3.5 hours to complete.

Prior to the start of the study, participants were warned by researchers that contemplating and discussing a breakup may be difficult and distressing. However, researchers were surprised to learn that the opposite proved to be true and that the more an individual thought about a break-up, the more insight he or she gained into what went wrong and why.

As a result, survey participants who were included in the group that went through the longer interview and questionnaire process showed more signs of emotional recovery. This discovery led researchers to explore the “key aspect of emotional recovery called, ‘self-concept reorganization’.” Anyone who has ever gone through serious break-up can likely attest to the difficulties associated with shifting from a we to an I.

As two people get to know one another better and grow closer, it’s natural to almost start to view a romantic partner as an extension of oneself. In cases where a serious relationship ends, many individuals have a difficult time separating emotionally and psychologically from a partner. This study helps prove, however, that taking the time to mourn and contemplate a relationship and its demise may actually be the most beneficial thing an individual can do.

Source: Yahoo News UK, “How Dwelling on a Breakup Might Help You Get Over It,” Megan Gannon, Jan. 12, 2015

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