Say you’re a college student who was recently dumped by the person you thought was the One. You’re moping around campus in your I’ve-given-up sweatpants and eating crappy comfort food when you come across a flyer seeking people who are still pining for their exes. You think, at last, someone to talk to!
Well, not exactly. When about 15 sad sacks responded to the flyers, which had been distributed around the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Rutgers University, they discovered they were actually being invited to take part in a psychological study: researchers wanted to gauge the kind of pain felt by people on the business end of a breakup.
The corollary to these findings, that the early lust of a new relationship has qualities almost identical to addiction, is old news to addiction specialists. It also helps to explain why relationships are the number-one cause of relapse. They render us incapable of thinking about other, more realistic issues.