By Paulina Araico Quintana and Rodolfo Dragonné de la Parra
When a member of a couple decides to end a relationship, the person on the other side experiences emotions which -at times- give the impression of being overflowing and unmanageable. Some have described it as a lack of breathing and there is even a syndrome related to this sensation, it is known as a "broken heart".
Why does it hurt so much? Why does it mean so much, emotionally speaking,
losing a romantic partner?
A fundamental aspect in couple’ relationships is intimacy; this has to do with showing oneself the way he or she is by, sharing everything they are with the other.
Today we know that, when we become a couple, we become vulnerable. Whoever does not dare to show himself or herself this way in front of the other, will never have a successful relationship. "Vulnerability puts us one step closer to our partner" (Vix, 2017).
This vulnerability is precisely, this risk that we face in our relationships to show ourselves as we are, which originates excruciating pain after a break-up. Losing a job, for example, can cause pain due to a sense of frustration and/or professional loss; but normally, less intense emotions are experienced because there is no intimacy.
Attachment is another significant factor igniting this enormous pain. It is important to differentiate between what true love and attachment or dependence of someone else are, since they are not the same. Attachment generally causes negative thoughts such as: "what am I going to do without him / her?", "my life has no meaning without that person", "so many years invested in this relationship for nothing". It appears as if the person’s wellbeing depended on his/her partner, this is not love.
Every loss that we experience inevitably detonates a mourning cycle. When a romantic relationship ends, we experience a series of steps which will eventually lead us, to a resolution of this pain; however, it is not an easy process.
When does a romantic breakup become a problem?
Anxiety is normal when someone experiences these events. The problem arises when the person perceives the break-up as an irreversible “door” to loneliness, or also when they become serial relationship-seekers. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, we must seek help.
The grieving process can be overcome with professional assistance and also through some tools that allow us to focus our attention in ourselves again, recover self-love and heal our self-esteem. Attachment and dependence come from the ego, while true love will promote the freedom and well-being of individuals who lived as a couple, whether or not they remain united.
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