Trying to get over an ex? Find yourself drunk dialling them every Saturday? Science can help you get over them.
Researchers from the University of Missouri-St. Louis recently published their findings on breakups in the Journal of Experimental Psychology under the title “Down-regulation of love feelings after a romantic break-up: Self-report and electrophysiological data”.
The study was led by Assistant Professor Sandra Langeslag and involved 24 participants, all between the ages of 20 and 37, who had all been in long-term relationships for approximately 2.5 years; all were suffering from a recent breakup.
The participants were divided into groups and given different coping strategies for their heartbreak.
The first coping strategy involved participants thinking negatively about their ex (negative reappraisal of the ex-partner).
We’ve all been there, right? All you have to do is focus on their flaws.
The second coping strategy involved the “reappraisal of love feelings”.
In other words, participants were encouraged to accept their feelings of love for their ex, but without any judgement.
And the third — my go-to and favourite — was simply finding a distraction.
The fourth set of participants were put in a control group and asked not to think about anything in particular.
After performing these strategies, participants were then presented with a picture of their ex-partner, while an electroencephalogram was recorded for brain activity.
Emotion, as well as motivated attention, was measured.
Participants also filled out a questionnaire about their feelings.
And now for the results.
Scientists found that all three strategies helped with getting over an ex but not without a few hurdles.
The first strategy of thinking negatively about the ex-partner did decrease the love they once had for that person but it made participants feel worse.
The second strategy of acceptance didn’t change those feelings of love but did make participants feel happier.
And the third coping strategy of distraction? It didn’t change those feelings of love but did make participants feel better.
All strategies work on some level, but none should be taken as long-term solutions for getting over that ex.
“Love regulation doesn’t work like an on/off switch. To make a lasting change, you’ll probably have to regulate your love feelings regularly”, Langeslag told TIME.
Looks like science still doesn’t have the perfect answer for getting over the one who broke your heart.
We’ll let you know if scientists ever develop a fail-free method for moving on.
Via NZ Herald