I haven’t been dumped in quite a while. Usually my relationships just fade away until a decision is made. Besides putting Gloria Gaynor and malt liquor into higher rotation, I’ve been doing a little bit of introspection about the topic.
Getting dumped is a classic case of cognitive dissonance, a theory first proposed by Leon Festinger in the 50s. He observed that people make decisions and actions to minimize the amount of contradictory beliefs they have in their head. When a person is forced to believe two things that don’t match up, they experience extreme emotional discomfort until they can fix their belief system.
So basically I have this thought in my head that’s tied to all kinds of memories and beliefs: she is my girlfriend. Then I introduce this new idea, she is not my girlfriend and the sum of these two obviously contradictory beliefs turns me into a raving lunatic. The more embedded the first belief is, the harder it is to accept the latter, and the longer you pour Old English on your corn flakes instead of milk. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it nicely:
Obviously I’m not operating at first-rate levels currently. But writing dry, bland weblog posts about something that is obviously extremely emotional certainly helps to bring it back.