More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Splitsville: From Breakup to Wakeup
By Hadara Graubart
Psychology Today Magazine, Nov/Dec 2007

After the split: Mapping the time course of recovery.

Most of us associate the prospect of a breakup with tearjerkers like "If Drinking Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)." A new study pegs our doomsday fears on our inability to estimate the pain of initial heartbreak. While people in relationships are twice as likely to overestimate the magnitude of their future grief as to underestimate it, they're quite accurate in predicting the rate at which they'd recover.

Every two weeks for nine months, participants were asked to predict how upset they would be if they split with their consort. Of the poor souls whose relationships ended during the study, most were less distressed than they expected. The worst forecasters were people in love, those who didn't foresee new prospects on the horizon, and those who got dumped. When it comes to romance, we're often biased by our current emotions?forgetting to factor in the impact of positive future experiences. "These findings may provide some hope and even insight for those fearfully anticipating the end of a romantic relationship," says researcher Tamar Krishnamurti. So the next time you're tempted to cue up the tears-in-your-beer country tunes, consider something more apt: "I Will Survive."

Getting Over It
Do Psychology Today editors fit the mold when it comes to heartbreak?

"It depends on whether you're talking about a summer fling or a long-term love. In my serious relationships, I didn't necessarily see the breakup coming and mourned the loss for a long time." ?Kaja

"My breakups tend to go smoothly at first, perhaps because I stay friends with my exes. I don't fully feel the loss until she starts dating someone else and I'm forced to get over her completely." ?Matt

"It often takes me longer than I expect to get over someone. As a friend of mine recently said, 'Jay's problem is that when he falls, he falls hard. He's the opposite of a guy with commitment issues.' " ?Jay
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