In 1774, an as yet relatively unknown German author wrote a book entitled “The Sorrows of Young Werther” about a young man who falls in love with a woman he cannot have, and while recovering from a broken heart falls into a spiral of despair eventually ending with his taking his own life. This book touched the hearts of men and women on such a deep level that it spawned the first ever recorded spate of ‘copycat suicides’ in which young people all over Europe took their own lives in the name of love inspired by Young Werther.
The authors name was Goethe, and it even touched Napoleon Bonaparte so deeply that he carried a copy of the book with him throughout Egypt and wrote a soliloquy in Werther’s style.
Goethe was without a doubt a brilliant author, but more than literary genius, his book showed that the pain of a broken relationship or the torment of trying to get one’s ex back can be extraordinarily debilitating. It is a pain that men and women around the world throughout the ages have struggled to come to terms with.
In my line of business I come across a lot of men who are suffering from loss and want to get their ex back, or who trying to recover from a marriage/relationship breakup. While every man (and woman) feels the loss of love in very different ways, the chemistry behind recovering from a broken heart is always the same.
You see, the feeling behind love is in fact the result of a very real and observable set of chemical reactions which occur inside your body. When in the beginning stages of ‘falling in love’, your body releases massive quantities of bonding chemicals such as ‘oxytocin’ and ‘Vassopressin’. These hormones quite literally leave you with a chemical addiction to your partner. Once your partner is no longer around, you go into withdrawal because your natural love drug addiction is no longer being fuelled.
This withdrawal leads the sufferer to experience strong mood swings, experience over or under eating, and over or under sleeping and other signs of mild to moderate depression. In order to alleviate these symptoms, people seek to get their ex girlfriend/boyfriend back in their lives.
Listed below are some tips for getting over a rough breakup.
1) Exercise every day – Regular exercise causes your body to release endorphins which are chemicals which cause you to experience feelings of well-being. In other words, these endorphins will counteract your withdrawal symptoms.
2) Avoid being alone – Being alone gives your brain a chance to ruminate over all the aspects of the relationship and feed a self-descructive pattern of spiraling despair.
3) Recognise that you have the ability to stop hurting - When we experience the grief of a breakup, we often find ourselves actually WANTING to grieve our lost partner. We want to keep feeling pain almost as a form of self-punishment. The moment you realise that you are actually TRYING to keep grieving rather than letting yourself recover is key because a simple awareness of your ability to stop grieving if you so choose gives you back a large amount of the power you felt you had lost.
4) Start dating again as soon as possible BUT AVOID A RELATIONSHIP – Scientifically speaking, spending time with members of the opposites sex who offer you care and affection will cause your body to start releasing bonding chemicals again, this time directed at another partner which will significantly weaken your chemical addiction to your ex. However do not get into a relationship with the first person who shows you affection, this is called emotional rebounding and it is unhealthy both for yourself and the person you rebound with.
The reality of relationships is that no partner is perfect and no relationship is perfect. Paying attention to what you liked and didn’t like about your partner is a vital key to understanding what you value in a future partner. If you can use your love for your ex and your pain to realize a valuable learning experience then you should find that every time you date a new partner they should be more and more amazing to you.