Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others
Part of it depends on whether they believe personality is fixed or constantly changing.
As they work to figure out the answer, people typically create new relationship stories, analyzing the events leading up to the breakup and using them to build a cohesive narrative. In some cases, this type of storytelling can be positive, helping people to make sense of—and come to terms with—painful things that happen to them. Other times, though, the storytelling process can be a negative one, compounding pain rather than easing it.
Yeah, this will be really difficult for me not to do:
What did you take away from this rejection? For some people, their answers made it clear that the rejection had come to define them—they assumed that their former partners had discovered something truly undesirable about them… In these types of stories, rejection uncovered a hidden flaw, one that led people to question or change their own views of themselves—and, often, they portrayed their personalities as toxic, with negative qualities likely to contaminate other relationships.
Research by the psychologist Arthur Aron and his colleagues shows that when people are in close relationships, their self becomes intertwined with their partner’s self. In other words, we begin to think of a romantic partner as a part of ourselves—confusing our traits with their traits, our memories with their memories, and our identity with their identity.
In our research, people reported the most prolonged distress after a romantic rejection when it caused their self-image to change for the worse. People who agreed that the rejection made them question who they really were also reported more often that they were still upset when they thought about the person who had rejected them. Pain lingered from rejections that had occurred even years before… When rejection is intimately liked to self-concept, people are also more likely to experience a fear of it. People reported becoming more guarded with new partners and “putting up walls.”