Break-ups are always hard, even when you know you have to call it quits. But are some worse than others?
A new study from Cornell University, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that being rejected by someone who flat-out picks someone else over you hurts a lot more than someone who just rejects you.
They identified two types prior to the tests: in the first, someone else was chosen instead while in the other, there was no one else; things just didn’t work out for other reasons.
‘Even the luckiest among us will not be chosen for some jobs, dates or friendships that we want,’ the authors set out. ‘And while nobody likes to be rejected, these rejections vary and some feel worse than others.’
The first experiment involved men being placed in a group with two women who were secretly working with the researchers. One woman was selected to solve a puzzle and given the option of picking a partner to help her. Sometimes she chose the other woman, sometimes she opted to work on her own.
The other three experiments tested how people reacted in larger groups. Participants were then asked to recall times when they’d felt rejected and imagine themselves being rejected in various scenarios.
The results were unanimous: people always felt more hurt when being discarded in favor of another person.
‘This may be because such rejections lead to an increased sense of exclusion and decreased belonging,’ the authors of the study concluded.
While the study related to rejection in general rather than focusing in on romantic relationships, the results can easily be applied to the break down of relationships as if this is how we deal with rejection generally, we’re bound to have the same reactions when it comes to emotional connections.
The good news is though, is that someone there will dig you.
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This story originally appeared on Prima.
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