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Being Dumped: You May Want Him More — But Like Him Less

The Rolling Stones may have understood that you can't always get what you want — but it took a group of market researchers (who perhaps understand human desire better than Lacanian psychoanalysts?) to demonstrate that you don't always like what you want.

Although you may pine after and begin chasing someone who dumped you, a new study from the Stanford School of Business shows, you may not like him or her or lose interest once you get them back again.

“For many people, wanting and liking are two separate things that can become contradictory," according to researcher Baba Shiv, professor of marketing at SGSB. "When someone is thwarted from obtaining his original desire, he, in fact, comes to find the attractiveness and appeal of his target to be diminished. Yet, perversely, he may feel he wants it even more. The thrill becomes the chase."


Who’s more susceptible to this perverse push-pull motivation? People who tend to express emotions with lower intensity and, according to researchers, that means more women than men. Hotheaded people, if rebuffed by someone, tend to respond by turning down their interest and their desire. Their attitude, says Ab Litt, the doctoral student who co-authored this study is, “It’s not so great, and I don’t want it anyway.” (They generalized that although women may experience emotion more richly, they are less "emotionally reactive" while men tend to act with more "raw intensity.")

Ever wonder why that new bag or random trendy gewgaw may be unavailable even though you showed up at Barneys first thing in the morning to get it? Because marketers like those at Stanford are studying your love habits and deciding that you'll want something more if it's made scarce! Good thing I'm a hothead.

Are you a "want more/like less" type or a "can't have it/didn't want it anyway" type?


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