It's natural to feel a twinge of envy for people who, after a
break-up, miraculously maintain a friendship with their ex-boyfriends
or ex-girlfriends. Isn't that the healthiest, most emotionally
rewarding outcome? Not according to Tom Bartlett
of the Chronicle of Higher Education, who writes that people who end up
despising and belittling their exes end up feeling, well, better.
Citing a study in the academic journal Cognition and Emotion
, Bartlett writes:
they [the researchers] found was that people who indicated strong
negative feelings about their ex in the immediate aftermath of the
breakup were less likely to be depressed. The subjects were re-tested a
month later, and those whose feelings had grown more negative also
generally felt better.
The paper's less-surprising
conclusion, however, draws a scoff from Bartlett. The scientists couch
some commonsense relationship advice in science's tepidly cautious,
Given the importance of negative evaluations
in post-break-up adjustment, future work should explore whether friends
and family members might help people adjust to a recent break-up by
drawing attention to the negative aspects of the former relationship.
Bartlett deadpans: "I think this falls neatly into the category of
'Things We Kind of Already Knew But It's Nice that Science Has
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