Dr. Helen Fisher's book, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" sheds light on what happens when love ends. Here I mix my thoughts and her research to talk about the down side of romance--when it ends.
ROMANTIC LOVE'S DEMISE--HEARTBREAK
In one study, 93% of the respondents said someone they passionately loved has rejected them.
- Rejected partners yearn for reunion.
- Rage occurs when all has failed and the realization begins that there is no hope in getting the former lover back.
- It appears that to break the strong attachment to your beloved, at some point you must go through a phase of "hating" them.
- Once the attachment is broken, a sense of despair and emptiness pervades for a time.
- Eventually, you begin to accept this new circumstance and are now available emotionally to look at other possible partners.
- In time, when a new love has entered your life, you may be able to look back without pain. But without a new love, you will often have a sense of nostalgia and sadness whaen looking back on the relationship--the risks of love.
- It is a death. The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
GETTING OVER LOVE
- Remove everything about the former lover from your life.
- Don't call or write under any circumstance.
- Practice mental relaxation. And use self-affirmations. Allow yourself to become relaxed and state positive things about yourself and your future even if they have not occurred yet. "I will be dating a great person and I will enjoy the attention they give me".
- Practice visualization. Imagine and fantasize about someone who adores you and appreciates you. See the ideal person in you life and enjoying your life with them.
- Your former lover is in your brain and you are now trying to replace them with a new image and new expectations with these tools.
- Carefully write down all the things that your former love did that was wrong and hurtful. Write out all their bad habits and traits. Keep it with you and review it when you begin to get nostalgic about them. You are not remembering things as they were but in an idealized way. Ground yourself in reality.
- Conduct a ritual. Burning letters, or burying something that respresented the relationship. A ritual formalizes your actions and strengthens your commitment to move forward.
- Stay busy. Force yourself. Distract yourself and get involved in activities even if you don't feel like it.
- Be willing to do novel things. Try something new and unexpected. It will help to change brain chemistry in positive ways.
- List the things you appreciate daily.
- Smile--the muscles for smiling trigger feelings of pleasure.
- Seek out sunlight.
- Exercise daily if you can.
- Beware of the food and drugs that can be hard on your body. Your body is under stress.
See Dr. Helen Fisher's book, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" for many more insights into love and its loss.
How have you ended relationships well?