We show that for a large range of approach velocities and over a large interval of stabilizing cubic cross-coupling between counterpropagating waves, a collision of stationary pulses leads to a partial annihilation of pulses via a spontaneous breaking of symmetry. This result arises for coupled cubic-quintic complex Ginzburg-Landau equations for traveling waves for sufficiently large values of the stabilizing cubic cross-coupling and for large enough approach velocities of the pulses. Briefly, we show in addition that the collision of counterpropagating pulses in a system of two coupled cubic Ginzburg-Landau equations with nonlinear gradients (Raman effect) might also lead to partial annihilation, indicating that this breaking of symmetry is generic. Systems of experimental interest include surface reactions, convective onset, biosolitons, and nonlinear optics.
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