Therapy That Works...

How Breaking Up Affects The Next Relationship - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Attraction and Breaking Up

How Men and Women See Rejection Differently

Yet another difference between men and women was revealed by a new study from the University of Michigan that says how you react to your partner’s previous relationship may actually depend on your gender. Here to tell us more is psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

So how does your last relationship affect how your new partner sees you?

This study really surprised the researchers because the opinions were so strong, but who-breaks-up-with-who seems to set a tone for the beginning of the next relationship. Apparently, whether you were rejected or were the one who rejected gives a certain appearance that is either relationship enhancing or detracting depending on your gender. Here’s what the study reports:

Men’s rating of their girlfriend improved when she has been rejected.

Women want the man to be the rejecting party and finds men more desirable if they were the ones to walk away.

Why would men be attracted to a rejected woman?

Men are very sensitive to their own hierarchy and power. Since men apparently like women who have been dumped, they may feel more important and secure in their power from the beginning. They may be reading her previous loyalty to her former partner as a virtue and feel reassured that they are less likely to be rejected. Many men also enjoy “rescue” relationships in which they feel needed, sought after, and truly valued. The fact that the last guy walked away makes them feel that they are making a difference in her life and that she is completely open to him. They do not see the fact that she was dumped as a problem with her, but rather as a new and wonderful opportunity for them.

What about how women react?

Women are Sensitive to Being Excluded and Included. We know from female psychology that women feel the ultimate insult is excluding someone from your life. Women prefer guys who pushed their last lady away since such actions offer a fresh start to a new relationship. The fact that he put an end to the relationship also seems to give it more closure – they feel secure that he won’t go back. They seem to view the rejecting male as stronger, more decisive and able to make difficult decisions about important matters.

Any parting advice for our viewers?

Attraction is Complex: Remember that attraction in a relationship is a complex response, especially when it comes to the female brain. A woman’s attraction to a man is much more complex than we ever thought possible. Forget personality, looks, or even money -- women seem to be drawn at times to unlikely partners for reasons as simple as his relationship history.

Consider the Entire Picture: Both genders need to make sure that they include many factors in deciding whether they want to pursue a relationship or not. Make sure you don’t judge him or her too harshly—you may be missing a great person. Each person that you date should be understood as an individual who made the best decision he could at the time.

Ask More Questions: If you are unsure about someone, ask more questions. For example, if you are a man and are dating a woman who walked out on a relationship, make sure you understand exactly what her reasons were. She may have shown extraordinary strength of character in leaving.

In the reverse, if you are a woman and dating a man who was left, consider that he may have been loyal and true until the very end. How he acted with her can be predictive of where he goes with you.


"Rejection Hurts" by Christine Stanik

Recent Posts