The Reasons We Stay in Dead-End Relationships

Sorry, Neil Sedaka, breaking up isn’t hard to do! According to new research we found on the website Science Daily, it’s worrying about the break up - not the actual split - that’s difficult. Here are the details:  

Researchers at Northwestern University tracked couples for a period of nine months. Both partners had to fill out a weekly questionnaire about their relationship. The survey also included questions that measured their stress levels. The results?

  • Among couples that broke up, stress levels spiked about twp weeks prior to the split, but afterwards, they dropped significantly.  
  • Guess what? The people who initially reported being the most in love had the largest drop in stress levels after the break-up.

What’s this mean to you? Eli Finkel is a psychology professor and one of the authors of the study. He says that when we know a relationship’s going south, we start to fear the break-up so much that when it finally happens, it’s a relief. In other words, when it’s all said and done, break-ups are never as bad as we imagine. Plus, we spend so much time worrying about saying goodbye that we forget that positive things can happen as a result of ending a bad relationship - like meeting our soul mate. Now this doesn’t mean that breaking up won’t hurt, but it does mean that there’s no sense in staying in a dead-end relationship just to avoid a painful separation.  

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