In the days or weeks after breaking up with the love of your life, you probably thought things couldn't get much worse. And that's why we have science to let you know that, well, they actually can.
Yes, as if it's not bad enough that you're losing the one person who will remember to inform the singing waiters at Olive Garden that it's your birthday, it turns out that ending a relationship can actually have other awful, long-lasting effects on your life.
As we pointed out in this article, the people around you can influence your behavior in bizarre ways. The choices your friends and family make in their lives, good or bad, end up influencing the decisions you make as well. And it seems that this is even more true when it comes to the ends of relationships: There's an excellent chance that your breakup is going to somehow cause the breakup of someone else in your circle.
"We need some time apart, now if you'll excuse me, I have to destroy my friends' relationships."
How Bad Can it Be?
When a couple breaks up or divorces, their immediate friends and family are 75 percent more likely to break up as well.
Kind of like how the breakup of the Beatles eventually caused the breakup of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
On one hand, that's sort of expected in that humans certainly like to imitate each other (for that is the stuff fads and fashions are made of). But not when it's something bad, right? After all, when your friend gets fired from his job you don't go get fired from yours. Unless you secretly hate your job.
So there's a fascinating dynamic here, because it almost implies that everybody around you is just waiting for an excuse to break up with their partner, and just need you to give them permission by breaking up with yours first. Especially if whatever conflicts broke up your relationship (money problems, personality) are present in theirs as well.
Money, personality and clowns are just three common conflicts that can lead to breakups.
You've set the precedent that these things can be considered deal breakers. You've given them their excuse.
Of course, there's also the pressure that suddenly-single guys put on their not-single friends. They want to live life as a single, swinging dude, and press their friends to tag along. They reluctantly agree, and then suddenly that single lifestyle starts looking like a pretty sweet alternative to watching one's old ball and chain cut her toenails on a Saturday night.
Half of the world's movies, songs, raps and vintage wine cooler ads revolve around people saying, and totally meaning, that they would die for someone they love. This all seems very noble, but the sad fact is this partly happens because love is one seriously powerful drug.
A drug that Meatloaf would do just about anything for.
It's science. When shown a picture of someone you are in love with, the centers of your brain responsible for motivation and reward (the same that are stimulated by other addictive substances like drugs and alcohol) become more active.
And that is part of what makes being in love so great: You get an actual physical high from being around the object of your affection.
How Bad Can it Be?
Like anything that makes you feel good, studies have found that humans can actually get addicted to the high they get from relationships. That's right, you might as well face it: You're addicted to love.
A surprising number of Robert Palmer songs are based on scientific theorems.
While that addiction makes being in a relationship all that much better, the very bad side of this comes when you break up. Have you ever seen anyone try to quit smoking or drinking? Without knowing it, you have been putting your body through the same thing after breaking up with someone you love. If you breakup and go "cold turkey," part of the pain you feel comes from actual withdrawal symptoms. You're not getting your regular hit of sweet, sweet lovin'.
Hey ladies, thinking of leaving your guy? Awesome. Prepare to be poorer. After a breakup, a woman's financial situation becomes much worse than when she was in a relationship. That's not really so surprising though, even in this day and age women make less than men. Oddly enough, men actually have 20 percent MORE money in the years after a breakup. We're sure there is no completely stereotypical reason why.
But you won't enjoy your Jimmy Choo-less existence for long, guys. While you may be rolling around in piles of money, you're going to need it in order to pay for all the Popov you'll be shotgunning. Men tend to get lonelier than women after a breakup, and are statistically more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.
If that sounds obvious, understand that we're not talking about the rough few weeks after the relationship ends. We're talking years.
How Bad Can it Be?
Both men and women were found to be unhappier four years on than people in similar unhappy relationships who didn't break up. An entire presidential term later and women were still two percent poorer. A year after the breakup, only 29 percent of men surveyed said they felt satisfied with their lives.
To be fair, they said it between doing lines of blow.
And 29 percent of men who were still single reported feeling sad and lonely four years after the breakup. Ending a relationship can send shock waves that even years of healing can't fix. Geez, why are we even bothering with this dating thing in the first place?