Ending things with your significant other is never easy. Separations can be heartbreaking and cause a range of issues.
Many people don’t realize the psychological effect it can have on us. From depression to physical pain, losing your partner can be tough. Certain things may be obvious, like feeling sad and lacking in self-confidence, but there are many facts that you may not realize.
A proven psychological fact about love is that physical touch extends life spans, and hugs release oxytocin. So when all that ends, how do our bodies and minds react?
Here are some psychological facts about breakups that may help you through a difficult time in your life.
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19 Psychological Facts About Breakups
Being in love is fascinating, and being with someone special can change us in the best ways. How does all that change once it’s gone?
Whether you’re looking to understand breakups a bit better or perhaps curious to learn more about psychological facts about relationships after ending things.
Here are 19 psychological facts about breakups.
1. Emotional Pain Can Feel Physical
The way our brain processes emotional pain is similar to physical pain. Numerous studies at Columbia University and the University of Amsterdam involved monitoring different types of pain in brain scans. One of the tests asked participants to look at pictures of their exes and friends (those whom they had no sexual contact with).
It showed that the physical pain parts of the brain lit up when looking at previous partners and not friends. Heartbreak is not just a saying. It can truly feel as though your heart is breaking.
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2. Men and Women Cope Differently
You’ve surely seen posts or memes joking about men vs. women after breakups. Well, it’s not all jokes. Although breakups are hard for everyone, women usually suffer initially, while men deal with it long term.
While women do the whole binge-watch sad shows and eat ice cream while crying their hearts out, men pretend to be okay at first. As time passes, you’ll find that women have gone through their processing stage and seem to get over things sooner than their partners.
On the other hand, men generally don’t deal with their feelings and what’s happened. So, they tend to struggle with the pain much longer.
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3. Breakups May Change You
Change can be good, but sometimes it’s not. When you’ve been with your significant other for a while, your personality usually becomes entwined. In a way, you become one. When the split happens, it may feel like you’ve lost a piece of yourself.
Many people usually find themselves with a bit of an identity crisis. They feel as though they don’t really know who they are anymore. Through this, they will discover themselves again and look for new things to do and try. It can be a good thing if you make it a positive. A way to reinvent yourself.
4. It Could Feel Like an Addiction
Ever heard of love being a drug? In a way, it kind of is. When you’re in love, dopamine (the body’s feel-good hormone) gets released. Every day, you’re getting a daily dose of the love drug, and you feel great.
So, what happens when things come to an end? Studies have shown that breakups cause panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and an urge to reach out to your ex. This is all similar to withdrawal symptoms from drugs. As with all addictions, it takes time to get over it. So be kind to yourself.
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5. Breakups Can Lead to a Loss of Appetite
You may think that when you’re sad, it would be kind of obvious that you won’t feel like eating. Turns out it’s a bit more complex than that.
When you’re dealing with a breakup, you’re under a lot of stress, and this causes a rise in cortisol. This hormone restricts blood flow to your digestive tract and, in turn, causes a loss of appetite.
It’s also completely normal to feel nauseous and a bit dizzy. If things get really bad, it’s important to see a doctor to ensure everything is okay.
6. You May Lose Self-Confidence
When a breakup happens, you usually question what went wrong. This is especially true if you’re the one that’s been dumped.
Sadly, many assume it’s some physical or even personality issue. This causes a loss of self-confidence. You could feel like you’re not good enough or attractive enough, or find other issues with yourself.
It’s important not to let these thoughts take control as it may cause serious harm. Find ways to love and appreciate yourself.
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7. Reasons Matter
A breakup due to anything is painful. However, studies have shown that being dumped for someone else may be the worst reason.
Comparative rejection is the scientific term and can happen even when you don’t know why. Those left without an explanation feel the same as those dealing with comparative rejection. This is because people assume that their partner left them for someone else.
This is why reasons for your relationship ending matter. It’s important to know why things have ended. People dealing with comparative rejection seem to have a harder time getting over things than those left for other reasons.
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8. We Focus on the Negative
If you’ve had to deal with multiple breakups, you may focus on the negative, overanalyzing everything and picking up on patterns. When you’ve dealt with many losses, it may seem like all hope is lost. How could you possibly find love when things haven’t worked out before?
No matter how often you’ve had to deal with a breakup, it’s essential not to lose hope in love. This type of negativity could be carried on into your next relationship and cause problems since you’ve already written it off. Pessimism is never good in any situation, especially in a relationship.
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9. Thinking About Your Ex May Be Good
Studies from the Sage Journals show that thinking about your ex could help. Instead of pretending your ex never existed, it’s better to talk about them.
Those who acknowledged their feelings and openly spoke about their past lover seemed to have gotten over them quicker than those who didn’t. When you push feelings down, they can come back stronger and for longer periods.
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10. Depression After a Breakup Is Real
People deal with sadness all the time, but depression after a breakup is highly likely. The Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a study with 7000 participants and found that breakups can cause depression.
What’s more interesting is that they found that people tend to be more sad about a breakup than losing a loved one. This is probably due to the more complex feelings that come from a relationship ending (self-esteem issues, negative thoughts, etc.).
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11. Money Makes the World Go Round
Financial issues are one of the top reasons for divorce. Couples who argue over money problems are more likely to break up. Continuous fighting can be problematic, whether it’s about your income, debt, or net worth.
This is especially true when there’s no change in the concern. As important as money is for our livelihood, ensuring a positive outcome or some plan is equally crucial. Work on what you both can do to solve any financial issues.
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12. Not All Breakups Are Bad
It’s safe to assume that, in some circumstances, breakups are good. When there’s toxicity or any form of abuse, no one deserves that, and both parties are better off apart.
It’s also been said that you see a lot more about a person once you’ve taken a step back. You may realize that as great as your relationship might’ve been, there was a lot of bad, too.
Coming to this realization is a sign of progression in healing and being able to view the situation objectively without your emotions involved.
13. Men Are More Likely to Breakup Over Sexual Infidelity
While cheating may be a reason for all people to call it quits, studies found that men are likelier to end things because of it. There are many psychological facts about cheating, but it’s a bit different with men.
The reason has to do with physical cheating posing a direct threat to the genetic fitness of a male. Most males tend to have more fragile egos, so it hurts them more when they’re physically cheated on.
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14. Women Are More Likely to Breakup Over Emotional Infidelity
Just to be clear, no one is okay with any form of cheating. However, it’s been proven that women are more likely to end a relationship over emotional cheating.
This could be having feelings for someone else or some kind of connection with another person. Women tend to look for relationships that will last a lifetime instead of right now.
It could be because women think more about the future and what they want. Emotional infidelity could affect this and thus result in a breakup.
Next Read: Psychological facts about women cheating.
15. Journaling Is Good After Breakups
Writing your feelings has proven to be helpful. Those who jotted down their thoughts for 30 minutes a day have been shown to heal faster than those who don’t.
When you put things down on paper, it’s like you’re taking them out of your mind and heart. Dealing with thoughts in your mind can be chaotic, so journaling is an excellent way to make sense of everything.
Writing down your inner feelings is almost like having a good conversation. Talking about things has been proven to help, so what’s better than chatting with yourself?
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16. Social Media May Be the Root of Your Issues
Social media can be bad for many things, but it’s especially so with a breakup. Couples who have recently split may feel the urge to stalk their ex on various platforms. It’s normal to want to check up on them, but it’s important not to let it turn into a habit.
What may seem harmless can quickly turn into a very negative thing. Remember, knowing what your ex is up to is of no use to you. It can only cause more pain, jealousy, and sadness.
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17. Women Usually Initiate Breakups
Studies show that more men have been dumped than women. It also showed that men have been less likely to end the relationship.
The psychology behind this stems from women thinking more about their future than men and focusing on a relationship that will last a lifetime. Women tend to be more time orientated as growing a family won’t be as easy for them as it is for men.
For example, a man can still have children well into his 70s, whereas most women can usually only birth a child until their mid-40s.
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18. Your Sleeping Patterns Could Change
At night, it’s a lot harder to distract yourself from your thoughts due to the peacefulness. As your mind races with thoughts, it becomes a lot harder to get some shut-eye.
When you’re overwhelmed with all these thoughts, emotions, and feelings, you may find it harder to fall asleep. What’s more concerning is that the lack of sleep could also cause hormone changes, affecting your appetite (listed above). It’s important to try and calm your mind before bedtime and look for ways to get a good night’s rest.
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19. Pretending to Not Care Is No Good
Pretending not to care about anything is never a good thing. And, when it comes to breakups, it’s especially bad.
Trying to ignore what’s happened and acting as if it doesn’t affect you might only work in the moment. It’s been proven that talking about things heals. When you’re ignoring an issue, you’re not acknowledging it and only causing more pain for yourself. These feelings won’t go anywhere and might make it harder or impossible to move on.