You’ve been through breakups before and they all hurt on some level. But research shows that one kind of breakup actually hurts the most…and it involves your partner choosing someone else.
According to a study conducted by Cornell University, “comparative rejection,” or the act of a partner choosing someone else over you, feels much worse than “noncomparative rejection,” in which a partner just rejects you.
Not only can hurt from comparative rejection come from a breakup, but it can also be caused by situations like losing an employment opportunity to another candidate.
The woman either chose the other woman, leaving the man to feel that he had been comparatively rejected, or the woman chose to complete the puzzle herself, rejecting the man in a noncomparative manner.
According to Time, the researchers wrote, “This may be because such rejections lead to an increased sense of exclusion and decreased belonging.”
Being rejected for someone else also introduces another rival into the situation, the researchers stated, which makes the situation feel worse.