• Quote of the Day
    "You are much deeper, much broader, much brighter than any idea you could have of yourself."
    Harry Palmer, posted by Daniel

David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
Valentine's special: Good news for those who've recently ended a relationship!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's day can be a lonely time for people who have recently ended a romantic relationship. But they might find solace in new research showing the huge positive impact that relationship break-up can sometimes have on a person's life.

Gary Lewandowski and Nicole Bizzoco surveyed 155 people (aged 18 to 32) who had experienced a relationship break-up in the last 11 weeks; for 25 per cent of them, it was their partner who had chosen to initiate the break up.

Fifty-eight per cent of the sample reported high levels of positive emotions following the relationship break-up, such as feeling energised and hopeful, while 71 per cent reported high levels of growth, agreeing with statements like ?I have learned a lot about myself? (importantly, growth was not related to who had initiated the break-up). By contrast, just 31 per cent reported high levels of negative emotions like feeling traumatised.

Overall, 41 per cent said the experience had had a positive impact on their lives compared with 33 per cent reporting an overall negative impact. ?The present results indicate that growth and positive emotions may be a larger part of the relationship dissolution experience than previously thought?, the researchers said.

Key to a break-up having a positive impact was the quality of the prior relationship. The ending of a relationship that provided little opportunity for self-expansion (measured by questions like ?How did knowing your partner make you into a better person??) was more likely to be followed by positive emotions and re-discovery of the self (as measured by agreement with statements like ?I have done things I once enjoyed that I could not do while I was in my relationship?).

?Rather than focusing on the negative consequences of dissolution as a reason to stay in a bad relationship, people could use the present results as a motivation for leaving the bad relationship. In fact...leaving a bad relationship is likely to result in personal growth and positive emotions?, the researchers said.

Lewandowski, G.W. & Bizzoco, N.M. (2007). Addition through subtraction: Growth following the dissolution of a low quality relationship. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2, 40-54.

Top Bottom