Remember “Goodbye my Lover,” last year’s hit song by James Blunt? Remember the music video where James is seen taking a leap into the deep blue sea?
Well, some lovers do take it seriously when a love affair ends.
But now, US researchers have found out that the sea-jumpers and other suicidal lovers are very much in the minority – despite the laments of James Blunt and other romanticist pop stars and poets.
Breaking up may not be so hard to do – that’s what they found out.
“We underestimate our ability to survive heartbreak,” said Eli Finkel, an assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern University, whose study appears online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Finkel and colleague Paul Eastwick studied young lovers — especially those who profess ardent affection — to see if their predictions of devastation matched their actual angst when that love was lost.
“On average, people overestimate how distressed they will be following a breakup,” Finkel said.
The nine-month study involved college students who had been dating at least two months who filled out questionnaires every two weeks. They gathered data from 26 people — 10 women and 16 men — who broke up with their partners during the first six months of the study.
The participants’ forecasts of distress two weeks before the breakup were compared to their actual experience as recorded over four different periods of time.
Not surprisingly, they found that more people were in love, the harder they took the breakup.
“People who are more in love really are a little more upset after a breakup, but their perceptions about how distraught they will be are dramatically overstated when compared to reality,” Finkel said.
“At the end of the day it, it is just less bad than you thought.”
So, cheer up, all you frustrated lovers out there! It’s just in the mind, and you can will your mind, yourself to be content, to be happy no matter what.
There’s always another guy, another girl for you. As the poem “Desiderata” says, …”love is as perennial as the grass.” So, go ahead and find that special grass all around you!