Researchers at Cornell University recently published a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that reveals what kind of Breakup is the most Painful to experience. The results showed that comparative rejection, being left for another person, is the most hurtful way to be dumped. The end of any relationship can be very difficult to cope with, but non-comparative endings seem to be less painful than comparative ones. This is because being left for another person leads to "an increased sense of exclusion and decreased belonging."

Research shows

The study collected 600 individuals who each participated in four different kinds of experiments.

The first of the experiments was held in groups of three. Two women, who were working alongside researchers, and one man who was not were asked to participate. Scientists provided one woman with a puzzle to solve. She was then given a choice to either work alone or pick a partner to help her. The woman only ever chose to work by herself or with the other woman. The purpose of this experiment was to measure how the man felt about being excluded from this seemingly trivial task.

The three other experiments were done in larger groups. Participants were asked about specific times in their lives when they felt painful rejection. The conclusion was that these individuals felt worse after they had been dumped for another person of romantic interest.

Other findings

Researchers also observed another pattern. If the person being left could not find an explanation as to why the relationship was over, they would desperately search for a reason. They would continue their search even through immense emotional pain. If they failed to come to a logical answer, the individuals would assume that there was another person involved.

Upon conclusion of the experiments, the scientists offered a bit of advice for ending relationships in less painful ways. It may be a good idea to tell the rejectee that there is no one else involved. This will make the breakup less painful for them. Knowing that they are not being left for another person will help them cope with the loss.

If there is another person involved, if may be best to keep references to this other person to a minimum. Allowing a respectable amount of time between the breakup and going public with a new relationship will certainly aid in the recovery process for the rejectee. Mending a broken heart may never be easy, but with some thoughtfulness and empathy, the road to recovery can be made less traumatic.