A couple sitting on a bench

Let’s be honest, breakups are painful. But for certain people, they’re downright devastating. A new Stanford study uncovers why some people have more trouble recovering from breakups than others. We’ll talk to the study’s lead researcher and a therapist. And we want to hear from you: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a break up?

Lauren Howe, Stanford researcher and psychology doctoral candidate
Steve Almond, author and columnist of "Heavy Meddle" column and "Dear Sugar" advice podcast
Christina Villarreal, licensed clinical therapist and adjunct psychology professor at UC Berkeley
Tony Bravo, "Connectivity" columnist and "Love and Sex in SF" blogger, SF Chronicle

  • geraldfnord

    Are there any ways in which autism consistently affects this?

    (I, for example, have a very consistent sense of self-worth which I hold to be basically meaningless, as it is only my worth as it were seen by others that will at least partially determine how they would treat me, and no visceral sense that I will correctly measure others’ sentiments, as I know that I am very bad at that, non-autists’ rarely making much sense to me.)

  • geraldfnord

    Others, may disagree, but in my observational experience of the tech sector and its sibling, science-fiction fandom, polyamory and its less formal variants are more reflexions of the distorted sex-ratio, and more put-up-with than actually accepted—this matches what I’ve heard of French, Russian, and Israeli societies after wars’ depradations on the population of young men.

  • Diskucer

    I can’t relate to your discussion. I see people indulging in what your guests are narrating but I can’t understand how people today can have multiple/serial romantic relationships. Most of these so called relationships are shallow and not exactly romantic. They are more sexual arrangement than anything else. Let’s call spade a spade.

    One can love more than one person in life. But to be in serial/simultaneous relationships masquerading in a short time as romance is misleading.

    I am the type that can take a very long time to get over a breakup. It is not because I doubt my self worth. I have very high self worth (and may be that is the problem), I am in 40s and I have been in only one relationship that started in my late 30s. Which didn’t end up badly, but I still don’t know why it ended. I refuse to get into a relationship unless there is a very high level of compatibility at all levels, but especially at emotional and intellectual. Some think I am too picky, but I am fine swimming against the tide seeking easy way out.

  • BDN

    U forgot to mention Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbad22CKlB4

  • For me, all of my past experiences have made me the person I am today. Each relationship has taught me a great deal. However, I do not have a hole in my life and feel like another person will complete me. For a relationship to be successful, honest, and clear communication is the single most important key to success.

  • Robert Thomas

    What would Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot have had to add to this conversation?

  • Janine

    What was devastating for me is that after getting distance from the breakup, 5 years, I realized I was the one who was more committed to the relationship and had a vision of what I thought was “the relationship,” which was contrary to his. The challenge is how I am going to deal with “commitment” following in to my new marriage….having faith and trust in his commitment where there is no logical reason not to trust. And this was a marriage of 18 years.

  • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

    One of the guests just used the word “neuter” to describe what society does to people over, say, 60. I was thrilled to hear that word–not because it is in any way flattering or hopeful, but because it describes exactly what happens to women when we get over 60. Up until my late 50s, I still attracted men, got flattered, etc. But in the past 10 years it’s as if I’ve become some gender that doesn’t exist–completely neutered. The sad thing is, I haven’t stopped longing for love, haven’t become uninterested in a love life, but because I am no longer young, I may as well be invisible as far as men are concerned. There’s a lot more I could say on this topic, but it was at least good to hear that someone understands how genderless women become when we grow older. Not unattractive necessarily, just totally out of the game. It’s very sad, and a shock, actually. Something one does not get used to.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor