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She finally blocked him to purge him from her psyche and begin the search for a more palpable relationship. Increasingly, men and women find themselves stuck in a virtual spiderweb of contact, connected by keystroke, with exes lingering electronically, not merely visible through intertwined networks of friends but monitoring their online presence, sending off pale signals through likes and tags on social media posts—but not engaging directly.In this newest iteration of interest, rejection is both more continuous and more amorphous, difficult to define, difficult to get beyond.Among the respondents who suffered the least emotional damage from a breakup were those who viewed the split as a chance for self-improvement.

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Baumeister calls the moral dilemma of the rejector—having to decide between hurting another person and staying in the relationship, which would entail pretending to feel something one doesn't. Only now, thanks to technology, there's the constant sense that something better may be out there.

Is the relationship too bad to stay in or too good to leave? People are far more reluctant to share bad news than good news—what psychologists know as the "mum effect." And with another nod to technology, the digital era is constantly elaborating new ways for rejectors to avoid the emotional labor of a definitive breakup.

Relationship dissolution has always been an anxiety-provoking process.

The partner pulling away is anxious about making the right decision, navigating what psychologist Roy F.

Jonah tagged her on updates; he shared articles about theater and social justice and others that tapped private jokes.

He "made me feel that everything was all right, that he still needed me," she recalls.

She felt she was the most important woman in his life.

The gravitational pull of the relationship moved to Alice's Facebook feed.

"By seeing breakups as opportunities, people can harness them for self-improvement," says Howe.

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