Why Breakups Hurt

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Why Breakups Hurt
Breakups hurt us even when there is no love lost.

Having your heart broken is gut-wrenching; it’s like the emotional version of jumping off a ten story building and getting your eyelid caught by a nail on the way down. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it can make us physically ill, destroy us mentally, and cause us to max out our credit cards on cartons of Cherry Garcia and Boone’s Farm.

For anyone who has ever dated, it’s pretty easy to understand why this heartbreak is so horrid: you love someone who doesn’t love you back… not “in that way” (at least those are the lame words they left on your voicemail). Not being loved is often, as humans, our biggest insecurity and, because heartbreak pretty much throws that in our face, we see it as a bitch.

But, what about breakups that don’t actually involve heartbreak? Why does it still hurt when new relationships come to an end? Or, even, when people we don’t necessarily like all that much decide to dump us?

There could be a lot of reasons (we were just dumped by someone with a boat or season tickets to the Knicks) yet human nature has a tendency to point to these five of them:

A breakup is a blow to our ego
Even the most humble of people still have egos; according to Sigmund Freud (star of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) we can’t function without one. Our egos make breakups hurts even when our hearts don’t really care. It’s pretty simple, really: our pride has a hard time digesting why someone just doesn’t want to be with us.

A breakup signals wasted time
Some relationships are so short that a breakup will probably not have that much of an effect: if your relationship ends after a week or two, no harm done. But, if you are with a person for several months or even years and then you call it quits, well it can feel like you’ve lost out on a major investment. This feeling is probably compounded in people who feel rushed to get married, have children, and build a white picket fence in the front yard of their tree-lined street.

Article contributed by

Michael Griswold

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Michael Griswold

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