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on the mend

Love experts have long advised against entering a new relationship until you're over your ex.

But new research suggests that for certain people - those who are "anxiously attached" - a rebound fling may actually be beneficial.

"Rebound relationships may provide benefits that lay theories and self-help books either fail to recognize or underestimate," writes University of Toronto PhD student Stephanie Spielmann, whose research will appear in October's Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Anxiously attached people, who represent about 15 per cent of the population, are typically deeply dependant on others for a sense of self-worth. They are fearful of rejection and require constant reassurance from those they love, Ms. Spielmann says.

Previous research has shown that this group has an especially hard time moving on after a breakup, moping, obsessing, and even stalking their former flames.

But Ms. Spielmann's team found this fire fades when a new Romeo or Juliet enters the scene.

Participants filled out questionnaires assessing their attachment style, their current relationship status, and their feelings for their most recent ex.

While anxiously attached singles still had strong feelings for their former partners, those who became romantically involved again appeared to have gotten over their exes just as successfully as their securely attached peers.

But this doesn't mean that finding Mr. or Ms. Right Now is the only antidote to heartbreak.

Researchers found they could induce the same detachment effect simply by making participants think it would be easy to find someone new.

After reading a magazine article that was optimistic about finding new love, anxiously attached individuals no longer longed for their exes.

"Simply thinking optimistically about future relationships brought about these positive rebound effects," the authors write - meaning it's possible to reap the benefits of a rebound without a rebound relationship.



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