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The Science of Mending a Broken Heart

The Science of Mending a Broken Heart

Breakups are one of life’s most difficult obstacles. You feel like you’re left to pick up the pieces of a failed life together, wondering if you’ll ever get over the pain, the disappointment, the broken heart.

It’s hard because you’ve idealized him/her unconsciously.

You’ve just lost somebody who once played a major part in your life and now you have to get through the stages of grief to get over it. Getting over a breakup is never easy, and here’s why:

During your relationship, your brain switches off the ability to judge and feel negatively about your partner. At the same time, it turns on the areas that cause you to bond with and feel attached to your partner. It’s hard to get over your ex because your brain causes you to idealize them.[1]

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Dopamine, oxytocin, testosterone – these are all the chemicals your brain produces when you’re first falling in love. They’re responsible for those butterfly feelings, the need to cuddle, the rapid heart rate, and the excitement that come with a new relationship. Addicting feelings, to say the least. What happens when you break up? The ventral segment of your brain activates, which is the same thing that happens when someone is addicted to drugs. You are literally going through withdrawal over your ex.

Breakups often happen suddenly, leaving you with little to no closure. It’s that feeling of unfinished business that makes it hard for you to get over your ex. You keep thinking about them because you were left with a void to fill, a hole to cover.[2] You feel like there’s something left to understand about the situation and you just can’t shake the feeling.

Unconsciousness is hard to control but it doesn’t mean you should just let it be.

So now you’ve justified why it’s okay for you to keep thinking about your ex. You’re just going through the stages of grief, right? Your brain is tricking you into miss them, right? So, this is normal, right?

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Well, yes, sort of. You need to forget about your ex, though, so you can move on with your life. Somewhere out there is the right person for you and you don’t want thoughts of your ex messing up your future relationship.

Instead of letting time heal, take control of how you feel.

First of all, allow yourself to process the stages of grief. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be acknowledged.

Ask yourself how not to let that happen again.

Getting over a breakup is similar to recovering from a physical injury. To recuperate after hurting yourself, you have to identify the root cause. Why? If you know the root cause, you can stop it from happening again.[3] You can give your future relationships a chance at success.

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Learn how to be alone gradually, but not right after breaking up.

The best thing to do right now is be around your friends and family. Surround yourself with community and the people you love. Doing this will help your brain produce more opioids, which are the feel good hormones. Definitely try not to be alone right now.

Get him/her out of sight.

If you’re having a hard time getting over your ex, you’re still in one of the stages of grief. The most common stage is denial, thinking that it really isn’t over or refusing to believe it. When you’re feeling this way, you’re way more likely to pick up the phone and call your ex. You’ll never be able to process your grief if you keep calling them every time you feel lonely. Do yourself a favor and delete their contact info from your phone and social media.

Keep yourself entertained.

In order to process the anger and disappointment that you’re feeling, you need to accept that one of the final stages of grief is to redirect your hope.[4] For your entire relationship, you had all of your hopes tied up in your future together. Now, you have to find that hope again and redirect it. Try keeping yourself busy with new sources of entertainment. Maybe there’s an old hobby you let fall by the wayside when the two of you were dating or maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try. Now’s the time. Being busy keeps your mind off of the past and helps you redirect your thoughts to the future.

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Moving on after a relationship ends isn’t easy. Just try to be patient with yourself, the pain won’t last forever. You’ll get through this and learn more about yourself in the process.

Reference

More by this author

Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

What Makes a Relationship Boring and How to Avoid It

What Makes a Relationship Boring and How to Avoid It

You’ve finally reached that comfortable spot in your relationship. You finish each other’s sentences and know before they order what the other one will have for lunch at your favorite restaurant. But, it’s starting to feel like boredom to you.

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Security Can Lead to Boredom

It is normal to reach this level of security in a relationship. The longer you’re with somebody, the more you get to know them and what to expect from them. This level of familiarity is the cause of relationship boredom.

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Although security is definitely something you want with your significant other, what you don’t want is the boredom. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is believing that their predictability makes up for the loss of intimacy or excitement they used to feel together.[1] Why? Because this boredom increases your chances of losing the love between you.

When a couple starts to settle for feeling safe and secure, they believe nothing in the world can tear them apart. And this sense of confidence means they often stop putting effort into their relationship. Instead, their shared life becomes automatic, occurring without too much thought or investment and becoming indifferent. The last thing you want is to be in an indifferent romantic relationship. With indifference comes a whole slew of other feelings like annoyance and irritation, which in turn, prompts arguments.[2]

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Don’t allow this to happen to you and your significant other.

How to Prevent Boredom in Your Relationship

So, what can you do to avoid boredom in your relationship? Here are some great ideas to spark the passion and excitement:

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Try Something New Together

There’s nothing better for breaking up monotony than doing something new together. Do you two love taking pictures? Take a photography class together. Do you usually go hiking on the weekends? Throw a zipline or paragliding session into the mix. Research indicates that trying new activities is a great way to beat boredom.

Make a Plan for the Future

No, you don’t have to plan where you’ll buy your house or how many kids you’ll have if you’re not ready for that sort of conversation. You can, however, plan a weekend getaway or a vacation for a few months down the road. Making a plan gives you something to look forward to, which helps fight boredom. According to life coach Kelly Rogers, making plans for the future gives your relationship a little adrenaline rush, making you feel a sense of appreciation for each other.[3]

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Establish a Date Night

In your everyday, mundane life together, it can be easy to forget to make the two of you a priority. Establishing a mandatory date night is a wonderful way to bring you and your significant other together for some quality time. Melanie Schilling, a relationship psychologist, claims that date nights are actually critical to relationship health.[4] Set something specific to do together as often as your schedule allows. It doesn’t have to be dinner at an expensive restaurant either. You can plan a “no cell phone” night, a walk at the park, or even try to recreate one of your first dates together.

Remember to Say “I Love You”

Don’t forget to remind your partner why you are together, especially when boredom creeps its head between you two. Simple things like saying, “I love you” or letting them know how much you appreciate them can help you keep the romance alive in your relationship. Try to think about the happy memories the two of you have shared; it can be far too easy to dwell on the problems. Remembering why and how much you love your significant other is a great way to forget about any boredom you thought you were feeling.

Reference

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