Lovesickness and heartbreak

Heartbreak and love pain are cruel. Why do we feel lovesickness and pain of separation and how to deal with it?

Dr. Doris Wolf

Heartache and heartbreak

© Kelly Sikkema,

Losing one’s great love, when our love is not returned or we are unhappily in love, is painful. The 4 phases in heartbreak and heartache.

The topics of this article:

  • Feelings we experience when we are heartbroken
  • How long does heartbreak last?
  • Why do we have heartbreak?
  • What does it depend on how strong our heartbreak is?

The joy of life postcards

Feelings we feel during heartbreak

Dream wedding and then everlasting love, understanding and happiness, that’s how most of us imagine their partnership. Even if, according to statistics, every third marriage ends before the divorce judge, we tell ourselves that we will never be affected by it. "It affects other people, but not us . ", with this attitude we lull ourselves into security.

When we do find ourselves in the shambles of our relationship, we feel helpless. Never before experienced feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, fear and hatred spread within us. The first days, weeks and months are horrible and painful.

Many people even play with the idea of taking their own life in this life crisis. Others become "furious with jealousy" or react with physical complaints. Some abandoned people react extremely violently, take up arms and threaten the partner or the person who has invaded the partnership.

In order to overcome the heartbreak, the pain and the longing, we must go through 4 phases, as in the mourning for the loss of a loved one.

3923614144 Loneliness

The 4 stages of heartbreak and breakup pain

1. Phase: Not wanting to admit and denial

We believe in a bad dream, live in the hope that everything will be all right again. We fight for a second chance to change everything and change the partner’s mind. We don’t tell anyone about the breakup and our heartbreak, and we are especially sweet to our partner.

From him it depends now whether there is still a chance for the partnership. When he finally ends the relationship, we enter the second phase.

2. Phase: Breaking up feelings

When hope fades, despair and even depression overtake us. We believe that we cannot go on living without the partner. Our thoughts revolve around the partner and what will all "never be" again.

Nothing can ease our despair. Self-doubt gnaws at us. "Why only?" – with this question we rack our brains and do not find an answer. We torture ourselves with reproaches about what we should have done differently during the partnership. We feel powerless and full of fear, we believe that we cannot cope with life alone.

Our body lets us down. We suffer from physical complaints such as sleep disturbances, restlessness, headaches, stomach aches, heart palpitations, too much or too little appetite, heartaches in the literal sense, concentration problems.

Towards the end of the second phase of heartbreak we feel anger, may have thoughts of revenge and feelings of vengeance. We begin to calculate: "I have given up so much for him and done so much for him, how can he do such a thing to me?? That is unfair! I do not deserve this."

Some people withdraw from their fellow human beings, others throw themselves into activities, are not at home one evening. Many see the resort to tranquilizers or alcohol as the only way to ease the pain of separation and heartbreak.

3. Phase: Reorientation

Slowly we see light at the end of the tunnel again. The separation still hurts, but sometimes we can already imagine a future without the partner. Despair and anger are no longer our constant companions. we start to take stock, we can better recognize both strengths and weaknesses of ourselves and our partner.

4. Phase: New balance

We have found our inner peace again. From time to time we still feel sadness or anger, but the intense feelings we felt at the beginning of the heartbreak are over. We have developed new perspectives for the future.

We all go through these phases of separation, but we differ in how strongly we react to the separation with heartbreak and how long we remain in the separation phases.

The more we were emotionally dependent on our partner, The harder the time after the breakup is for us and the greater the heartache.

If we have not built up our own circle of friends, have no job and no financial security, have children that we have to raise alone after the breakup and/or have left our partner with the everyday duties (dealing with craftsmen, banks, authorities), then we have a lot to relearn after the breakup.

And this happens at a time when we have little strength anyway and our thoughts revolve around the loss of our partner.

3923614745 Separation

How long does heartbreak last?

Each person affected needs their own time. It also depends on the circumstances. When the ex-partner is wavering and gives reason for hope/reconciliation, the process of saying goodbye is delayed.

After one year, there should be at least occasional moments when the attention is not only focused on the separation and the loss. It is easy to take heartbreak in your stride when you are unhappily in love and suffering from the pain of separation.

9783923614721 Accompanying through the crisis

Why do we have lovesickness?

Heartbreak in the infatuation phase

When we fall in love, we feel intense feelings of happiness and love for the first 6 to 9 months. The feelings of happiness are the result of endorphins (the body’s own morphines) and the mood elevator serotonin, which are released in the brain.

This cocktail of happiness acts like a drug: we are euphoric and excited. Falling in love is addictive. If the partner separates from us during the time of being in love, the happiness drugs dry up.

Similar to a drug addict, we react with withdrawal symptoms, which we experience as heartbreak. Our body reacts to the loss of our partner with sleep disturbances, decreased or increased appetite, circulatory problems, gastrointestinal problems, inner restlessness and tension. Broken heart syndrome – a quasi-heart attack – may occur.

Heartbreak after a relationship of several years

When we get married, we have the romantic idea of staying together with our partner until death do us part. We do not expect that separation can happen to us. We have high expectations of our partner.

He should be responsible for making us feel happy and loved. D.h. we give the partner the responsibility for our well-being. This also means that if he breaks up with us, we feel unlovable and unhappy.

The breakup confronts us with many losses

  • the loss of the partner, common plans for the future,
  • the role of partner, the role of lover,
  • our status as a couple,
  • To the children,
  • possibly. the house, the apartment,
  • the financial security,
  • of mutual friends,
  • our concept of life, the loss of control.

A breakup usually also leads to more or less self-doubt. We ask ourselves questions like: "What have I done wrong??" "Am I not good enough"? "What’s wrong with me"? These self-doubts eat away at our self-esteem, unsettle us and cause us additional pain.

Lovesickness due to lack of fidelity, flirting

If the partner cheats or constantly flirts with others, then we feel hurt, unloved and offended. Understandable that one gets heartache in the truest sense of the word.

heartache, when love is not reciprocated.

When you fall for someone, you want nothing more than for them to return our love. We suffer when our love is not reciprocated and the fairy tale prince or princess is unattainable for us.

What does it depend on, how strong the heartbreak is?

The decisive factor for heartache and heartbreak is how strongly we believe we need our partner.

"Talk" If we feel that we cannot live without our partner and that we cannot be happy without him or her, then our heartache is particularly strong when the partner breaks up or does not return our love.

Further, the extent of the heartbreak depends on

  • our age (heartbreak is more intense when we are young than when we are middle-aged),
  • Our ability to cope with loss,
  • our previous experiences with losses,
  • our self-confidence (the greater our self-confidence, the lesser our heartbreak),
  • our social network (the more socially integrated we are, the more friends we have with whom we can talk about our anguish, the better we get over the heartbreak)
  • our satisfaction in other areas, (the more satisfied we are with other important areas of our life (job, leisure time), the better we get over the loss of the partner),
  • our financial situation (the more financially secure we are, the less frightened we are by a breakup),
  • the arrangement of care and custody of the children.

Dealing with heartbreak

What not to do in case of lovesickness? What to do about the grief of an unhappy love relationship? Who do you turn to when you need help? Information about this in Help with heartbreak

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