Having a relationship end because of an unfaithful partner can be devastating. But a new study suggests that women who lose their significant other to another by way of infidelity "actually win in the long run" because the experience bestows "higher mating intelligence," according to a press release. A relationship expert tells the Telegraph that the Binghamton University study is confirmation of what people who have been through a breakup already know. "It can feel brutally painful, but also offers valuable life experience that truly does help us make better decisions in the future," she says. Summarizing the flipside of the breakup equation, Mic notes that the "other woman" has just gotten involved with someone who cheats. "Thus," says study author Craig Morris, "in the long-term, she loses."
For the study—called the largest-ever dealing with breakups—researchers conducted anonymous online surveys of 5,705 people in 96 countries. The results show that the consequences of competition for mates among women "may be both evolutionarily adaptive and also beneficial in terms of personal growth," and may move "beyond mating and into other realms of personal development." Or, as the post at Mic sums up: "Maybe that's why so many crappy breakups, whether they involve cheating or not, can make us feel like entirely new people once we've gotten over them." Next, the researchers plan to look at breakup dynamics through the lenses of life experience, age, and relationship history. (Another study zeroes in on which partner is the most likely to cheat.)