5 Little-Known Reasons Why Breakups Cause Such Intense Pain

Today’s Guest Guru post is from John Alex Clark from RelationshipPsychology.com 

Most people make the mistake, after a breakup, of thinking that their pain is due to one single thing – “love” for their ex. Not many people realize that after a breakup we actually feel depressed because of the combined effects of a number of different reasons. And the ironic thing is that most of these reasons are completely unrelated to love at all.

In this article, I’m going to show you five causes that contribute to breakup pain …but each of which has nothing to do with love.

They all add up bit by bit to the way people feel after a breakup. A certain percentage of the pain we feel is provided by each one.

5 Reasons Breakups Hurt …and “Love” Is Not One of Them!

Picture of young couple having difficulties in relationship

If we can understand more of these reasons why we hurt so much after a breakup, the better we’ll be able to come to terms with that breakup. We’ll be able to see that love plays only a surprisingly small part in the pain we feel.

And when we come to understand that love is not the reason why we are feeling the way we are feeling right now, then we’ll have much more control over our breakup recovery. Reasons why breakups hurt (that have nothing to do with “love”) include:

1.     The future worries us: A major factor why you feel pain after a breakup is because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead. “Will I ever find another? I’m not getting any younger and I’m losing my looks. Am I going to be okay without him or her?” These are just some of the thoughts running inside our head after a breakup. But you should keep in mind that this element of breakup pain is not inherently tied to your ex. If you entered a new relationship with someone you really like shortly after the breakup, there’s a good chance that your worries about the future would disappear and therefore will no longer cause you pain.

2.     Outbreak of bad emotions arise: These are the emotions we were using our relationship to cover up. We often use a relationship as means to escape whatever unsolved issues we have such as difficulty at work, absence of a social life or perhaps poor relations with the family at home.  If such is the case, then it’s not surprising that you’ll start feeling bad immediately after the breakup because you don’t have any form of escape anymore and your old problems have nowhere to hide. Again, remember that this breakup pain element is not tied up to your ex. You’ll need to deal with it by itself and isolate this part of your pain.

3.     The damage it did to your pride: Our pride, when we get dumped, takes a hit. And this hit causes us pain. But your ex or the “love” you have for them has nothing to do with it. It is tied simply to your pride. It is important that you understand that this is just another breakup pain element that is adding to the way you are presently feeling.

4.     You experience self-confidence issues: “Am I not attractive enough? Does he think I’m dull and boring?” These are just some of the thoughts that can race inside your head after a breakup. It’s only natural right now to wonder if there is perhaps something wrong with you that your ex dumped you. But don’t tie this element of your breakup pain to your ex. Tie this up instead with your personal thoughts and self-confidence issues. And then tackle these problems separately.

5.     Certain life routines were lost: As a couple, you got used to certain routines such as times of the day you communicated with one another through text, watching movies, places you went together to eat or just hang out etc. And after the breakup you are forced to give up those routines with your ex. Thus you experience withdrawal symptoms because that’s normal with anyone who gives up something they’re used to. You may think that you must have “really loved” your ex because of the pain you feel from withdrawal symptoms from losing these life routines. But you would have had life routines with ANY partner you were with. And indeed, you will build up these life routines again when you start dating someone new. Be careful not to equate the pain you are feeling right now with thinking that your ex must have been really important to you (because they are able to cause you so much pain). Regardless of who the ex was, withdrawal symptoms are something people normally experience after a breakup.

Final Thought

Rather than thinking that the other person must have been “The One”, it’s evident based from the above reasons that the person’s past experiences and personal thoughts play a big role in a lot of negative emotions felt after a breakup.

Only when you fully understand that breakup pain is made up of several components (and most of the time has nothing to do with your ex or any “love” you have for them) can you put the power back in your hands over your emotions and away from your ex.


2 thoughts on “5 Little-Known Reasons Why Breakups Cause Such Intense Pain

  1. Jonathan Perez says:

    Hey Robby,

    This is a great piece, something I really needed to read. You have any advice on how to get over break-ups? I got out of a relationship over a year and a half ago and i'm still going through withdrawal. Any advice? Do men ever really get over break-ups?

    Warm Regards,


    • Robert Belland says:

      Hey Jon! Breakups suck. But so do colds and flu's. The problem with the mental issues after a break up is that we don't WANT to let go of the sad feelings. We become attached to them, like we become attached to the girl we've lost. The key is what you CHOOSE to think about. Once you've felt that you've pondered the break up for long enough (it's a personal choice but a few weeks should really be enough THINKING… ) then it's time to ACCEPT the shitty feelings AND allow yourself to think about other things.

      We can't control how we feel… it's okay to feel loss and depressed and sad. Allow yourself those feelings.

      But we CAN control what we think about. And 90% of our feelings comes from what we focus on.

      So don't sit around feeling sad while thinking that it's not within your control… your feelings follow your thoughts.

      When it's time choose to have new thoughts about new things, especially about new women?

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