Dwelling on one’s breakup might be seen as obsessive behavior or unhealthy to healing, but according to a new study, it’s quite the opposite, (unless you decided to file for divorce or you had a divorce filed against you, these were non-marital examples).
Grace Larson, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University and co-author of the study, notes that poring over the breakup, replaying it in your head, and engaging in other behaviors that many would deem “dwelling on it” can actually help you regain your sense of self.
“When you enter into a romantic relationship, your self-concept becomes really intertwined with that loved one,” Larson told The Huffington Post. “One of the most powerful things that happens when you fall in love with someone is you start to feel like who you are is melding with who they are. I think that’s an incredibly painful process to have to reverse.”
Larson took 210 young adults who had gone through a non-marital breakup within the last six months and divided them into two groups, HuffPo notes, adding that the “first group simply filled out a survey about their breakups at the beginning of the study and again nine weeks later,” while the second “underwent a much more extensive recap of their relationships, completing multiple tests to measure breakup-specific distress as well as stream of consciousness-style interviews.”
Group two, after much more intensive analysis, “had an easier time regaining self-concept after those nine weeks,” reporting “larger decreases in breakup-related emotional distress and loneliness” than their group one counterparts.
Of course, a lot of the effectiveness will owe to how you use that breakup time, and this is particularly true if you’ve been through the divorce papers process. Researchers suggest focusing on how to fill your spare time now that you are no longer attached to another person and their schedule and the commitment that goes along with it. Finding things you like to do is essential as is learning from the mistakes of the relationship and taking greater consideration with the personality traits that you should be looking for in a mate.
Those of you who have been through the divorce forms — do you think the findings of this study are any different for married/divorced people than they are for non-marrieds? Has dwelling on a breakup ever helped you?