Could Being Dumped Make You More Attractive?

Strangely enough, being rejected could -- depending on what gender you are.

woman sitting on the couch
(Image credit: Mei Tao)

Have you just been dumped — and are you worried that admitting that you were rejected will make you seem less attractive to a future romantic prospect?

Fear not — if you're a straight female. A new study out of the University of Michigan showed that straight men found women more desirable if they'd been dumped by their last partner (as opposed to if they'd done the dumping themselves). Women, on the other hand, were more likely to be into a guy if they found out that he was the one who'd broken up with his last girlfriend. It was a turn-off if the guy was the one who'd been dumped.

Even head researcher Christine Stanik was surprised by the results. She was expecting that people of both genders would find a person who'd done the rejecting more appealing, since it would indicate he or she had high standards.

So what's her theory now?

That a man who sets the break-up wheels in motion shows dominance is a way that reinforces a woman's cultural expectation of masculinity, whereas if a woman does the dumping, she comes off as too picky or powerful.

What do you think of her theory? Do you have any other guesses about why she might have found what she did? Could it be that men like to be the knights in shining armor, swooping in to rescue a dumped damsel? Or, in a slight variation on Stanik's take, is that it's more socially acceptable for a woman to be dumped, because men expect other men to act like dogs, whereas women expect other women to be invested in trying to work a relationship out?