In terms of emotions and neurobiology, romantic love is a highly rewarding experience. When we fall in love, our brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals. Love is not an idea; it is a physical, neurological, mental, and emotional phenomenon. We tend not to get sick when we fall in love, and this is due to more than a good mood. A recent study found when a woman falls in love, genes related to immunity (infection-fighting) increase in activity.
Love causes our heart to race, our palms to sweat, and our anxiety to increase. We become preoccupied with the object of our affection, alternating between bliss and worry over potentially losing what we have found.
The pain of a breakup
All of the positive neurochemical effects of love are derailed when the object of our affection leaves us, or if we are forced to leave because the relationship has no future or causes pain that shouldn’t be there. When this happens, the response in the body is very much like withdrawing from a chemical substance we’ve become addicted to.
We usually learn the pain of a breakup for the first time in our teenage years. Either we fall in love and then break up, or we experience the pain of rejection. It may be even worse for adults. When our partner leaves us, suddenly everything feels pointless. This feeling of emptiness can be severe and difficult to get over. If it feels like a breakup or rejection is too difficult to get over, or it’s taking a long time, therapy with a relationship coach can help you move on.
Emotional withdrawal will happen after any breakup of a significant attachment. Emotional withdrawal includes intense feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, irritability, and confusion. Physical symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite can accompany these feelings.
It’s normal to feel this way for a period of time. Leaving or being left is difficult, but it will inevitably pass and you will begin to feel better.
The time needed to recover is different for everyone, but if it continues for what seems like an excessively long time or if the reaction seems extreme, you will likely benefit from professional help. Usually, there are factors that make certain people more vulnerable to the loss of relationships. If they have been emotionally dependent on their partner or have low self-esteem, breakups can be more difficult.
It is important not to let a breakup define you or change your perception about yourself. People with low self-esteem are vulnerable to self-deprecating thoughts and beliefs. If someone they love rejects them, they may assume it’s because of a fatal flaw.
Like withdrawal from a drug, it takes time to get over a strong emotional attachment, but you will feel better later. If you find yourself slipping into a negative pattern of thinking and you cannot get out, it is important to seek therapy so you can move forward and find wellness and happiness again.
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