Why is Lovesickness such a bad feeling?

Why is lovesickness such a bad feeling?

Why does love hurt when it goes?

A break up is painful because you don't make that decision yourself. The Forsaken wants to maintain the relationship. The person I love wants to go. She doesn't love me anymore - it hurts! Giving up or letting someone go is a painful process. It is comparable to a separation through death. Nothing is like it was before. The feeling is to lose the ground under your feet.

Lovesickness explained neurobiologically

Anthropologist Helen Fisher and neuroscientist Lucy Brown scientifically explain lovesickness. They have been dealing with the phenomenon of (romantic) love for years and are looking for answers to the questions of how a feeling of love arises and why we suffer so when love breaks down.

From a biochemical point of view, the same processes take place in the body that a heroin addict experiences during cold withdrawal. Our reward center in the brain no longer receives the impulses that make us feel happy. We suffer and have physical and mental pain.

How does that come? The reward center is in our midbrain (mesencephalon). The midbrain houses our reflexes such as B. breathing or walking, so everything we don't have to think about actively for it to work. It also activates when we love something or, in the case of love, when we really want someone.

It is responsible that we desire someone and focus all of our energy and attention on him or her. The reward center in the brain stores when we like a person and when this encounter makes us happy. The hormone dopamine ensures that these activated nerve pathways close and connect in our brain. It saves when something (chocolate, drugs) or someone makes us feel good.

To be in love and to be loved, which makes us human beings particularly happy, makes us all the more dependent and greedy. If we lose this loved one, our body switches to survival mode, as in the case of a lack of oxygen, and activates everything so that the previous state can be restored.

That causes pain. We feel them psychologically as fears, temporary or even longer depressions, pantomate attacks, insomnia and much more. But they can also express themselves physically, e.g. B. as a heartache. Then you feel a burning sensation in the chest, which can become so bad that one speaks of broken heart syndrome. In the brain, heart pain is shown in the same area as physical pain.

How relationships fail

The most common reasons for separation are: infidelity, sexual problems, different life goals and values, loss of mutual respect, indifference, lack of communication.

Relationships start with the desire to do the best for one another and for oneself. Like everything, relationships are subject to change. If you don't actively work on a relationship and devote time and attention to it, there is a dynamic of withdrawal and reproach.

Love becomes indifference and sometimes even spitefulness. You don't feel seen and not meant. Mutual appreciation can be practiced anew every day. In our counseling for couples, for example, we give up the homework to give his partner three appreciations every day.

At first glance, this may seem banal, but it is precisely these small everyday situations where you can open yourself up again. Change takes place in small steps. Cold and indifference prevent closeness and contact. A downward spiral begins. You feel neglected and ignored. Devaluation and spitefulness increase.

Sensuality and eroticism are also important. After a few years, boredom or disinterest spreads. But you can and must work on a successful, satisfying sexuality. When couples level off on the smallest common names, there is a great risk that the adventure and exciting experiences will be sought outside. Affairen sind meistens eine große Belastung für Paare. Many break it.

Basically you have to say to all couples: Everything changes permanently. Relationships too. Sexuality too. Change is the only constant. Therefore, to continue their relationship, couples should learn above all how to deal with change. That is possible. There are many effective methods in counseling and of course seminars and other offers.

The most common symptoms of lovesickness

Nothing feels as bad as lovesickness or losing a person through death. The brooding begins with lovesickness. Day and night, every minute, every second. Self-reproaches, doubts and anger at the person who left us take turns. We are caught in negative loops.

What happens in the psyche with these negative thought loops also finds a correspondence on the physical level: sleep disorders, eating disorders (some eat too much, others completely lose their appetite). Anxiety disorders and panic attacks are the result.

We feel cut down, feel body aches, chest pains and of course deep sadness that can even develop into depression. Many resort to alcohol, drugs, medication such as B. sleeping pills. The stress hormone cortisol is emitted in the body. If this condition lasts too long, it has a negative effect on our immune system.

We have less resistance to viruses and other diseases. Anyone who has ever had a bad infection after a stressful professional life knows what they're talking about.

What do most suffer when a relationship ends?

When a relationship comes to an end, massive changes and traumatic events take place on many different levels. For every person affected, a different feeling comes first. In summary, we can say that it is loneliness and the associated lack of strength to start a new life without a partner.

In a relationship, you share a lot and also compromise. In addition, many people think that they can only live a happy life in a relationship. You only feel "whole" in pairs.

As mentioned at the beginning, the neural networks in the brain play a special role. “Relationship” is connected to almost all areas of life. It takes a long time and a lot of new stimuli to wean us off.

Add to that the shame and disgrace of not having managed the relationship or a good family life. This is usually combined with a weakened self-esteem, not being enough and not having met your own expectations. Many people also experience that they fall out of their familiar social environment.

Be it that friends or family convicts you and they break off contact. The ex partner can also be excluded from the common environment. Often you have to go out of your own social life to protect yourself.

We observe that the dynamics of separations often turn around. In the relationship, you blame the other person for not working. After a breakup, most of them look for the blame and weaken themselves through self-reproach and self-doubt. Here advice and our group offer help significantly to regain self-love and a stable trust in yourself.

For some people, separation also triggers a narcissistic insult, the ego reacts with anger and anger. Some begin to stalk the ex-partner and even threaten them in bad cases. In the end you hurt yourself more than the others.

Anger keeps you connected to the person who has left you instead of detaching yourself from it. Sometimes men in particular can even react to the rejection with physical violence. Healing only succeeds in letting go, not in attachment. In whatever direction. Some do the opposite and begin to idealize the ex-partner. We accompany our clients to develop a realistic view of the past.

Heartache lasts for different lengths of time - in separation pain you always go through four phases

Heartache depends on the depth and the course of the relationship. How the separation went also plays a role. Basically: it takes as long as it takes! Putting yourself under pressure makes no sense and disrupts the grief process. To get over a separation, one has to mourn.

In the past it was common for e.g. B. has worn a widow in black for a year. With that she expressed her pain. Allowing grief and tears is important. It is just as important to do something that for a moment does not remember what happened.

This is good and these moments tend to get longer if you deliberately plan them.

In our society, we are expected to function again as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this pressure means that our wounds cannot heal because we are not allowed to care for them sufficiently. Our soul takes time!

If, however, the pain continues to overwhelm us after more than a year or two, you can usually conclude that it also has something to do with previous experiences, mostly from childhood. The trauma of separation meets an earlier trauma and awakens it. This also explains why we feel like small children in a separation process: alone and lonely and unable to survive.

Just like women, men experience the effects of hormone loss. Mood swings, listlessness, nervousness and feelings of weakness through to depressive moods.

Four phases after a separation

The pain of separation begins immediately. As with a physical injury, we feel less at first because the body wants to protect itself. Basically one speaks of four phases after a separation.

  1. Shock phase
  2. Emotional chaos
  3. Expansion of perspective
  4. Reorientation

These phases are not linear and sometimes there is a retarding element like in the drama. If you think you have overcome the worst and are already in the reorientation phase, you are triggered by something and can be thrown back for hours or even days.

Tears and sadness dominate us like the day after the separation. Triggers, i.e. triggers, can smells, places, pictures, people and much more be. This is completely normal, because nothing is more interconnected and networked in the brain than a relationship.

Over time, the intervals between the bad phases widen and the time of suffering decrease. Until you have completely arrived in the new life. At the latest when you can have a neutral look at your ex-partner, you have completely overcome the heartache.

Take stock - a separation takes place in small steps

When processing separation and pain, one should take stock. Often it is still old projected expectations that bind us to the other. After a while you can ask yourself the question "Is he or she really, the only one who makes me happy?"

Those who have only invested in the relationship break up completely when the partnership is gone. This can happen to men and women alike. It is therefore essential for us that we encourage those affected to have new experiences.

They support you in your search. It is part of the process to slowly gain new experiences. No matter where. In a singing club, in a hiking group, a yoga group, a trip, sport. Do something that you didn't do before because the partnership didn't allow it. If you have several stable pillars in life, you can get out faster.

Get out of the pain of separation sustainably and well.

The most important thing is mourning. To do this, you first have to accept what happened and that it is over. Hope is a bad advisor. Many affected people ask us what they can do so that the partner comes back. Hope prolongs the pain.

What can a new, good life look like? It is important for those affected to practice directing attention back to the present instead of the past. It helps tremendously to get into the here and now. In this way, those affected gradually develop a feeling for themselves again. We help to focus attention away from the ex-partner and instead towards the future.

In the first period of separation, those affected spend countless hours analyzing why it ended, what their fault was. You analyze the ex-partner. He or she is often pathologized. It is easier to be abandoned by someone who is considered to be disturbed than to accept that the person has decided to leave.

Time heals wounds, as the saying goes and that is also true. Mourning takes time. But of course there is a lot you can do to speed up this process.

Supporting steps in a separation


We support active letting go. In some cases, we even advise complete abstinence: no meetings with the ex-partner, or when it comes to children, only as much as is organizationally necessary. Many who leave offer friendship to the abandoned, or even wish to. We do not recommend this.

At least for the time of mourning and the detachment process if you suffer. Every encounter triggers again and triggers feelings of longing. As I said, you have to imagine it as an addict. If you want to get away from the drug, you have to avoid it completely.

Social media contacts are also a big topic these days. People who have been left tend to watch the ex-partner on Facebook or Instagram. The best thing is to go out, switch off, defibrillate.

It is also good to either give away, or at least pack away, memories, pictures, maybe special furniture or other things that connect people. It's in good hands in the basement. Once you have overcome the pain, you can always bring it out again.

Be in touch with others

It is important not to get out of contact with other people. Don't withdraw. Talking and sharing is essential. With friends, with the family. Or even in advice and in our group. That is why we also offer the separation group. Here everyone knows these feelings and the situations.

You don't have to be embarrassed in the group, you get empathy and also some helpful tips. But above all, you are not alone. You can also see how things are changing for the others, who may already be in a different phase.

Focus on the positive

We especially encourage the participants to tell the positive. What did I do? What has changed? At the first round of introductions, for example, we ask the participants not only to talk about the separation, but also to encourage them to tell what they like to do, what they are good at.

This is how we draw attention to other things. This is important for the current identity. Because people in the separation process tend to only define themselves more about it.

We also encourage you to create a gratitude diary. Write down three things every day that you are thankful for. And most of them can do it, even if they are just so desperate and sad and confused. This is also about a different focus.

Strengthening self-esteem / mindfulness

Anything that helps strengthen self-esteem and self-care helps. Do something good for yourself. To change the focus from “we” and “us” to “me” and “me”. Therefore, it is not advisable to jump into a new relationship immediately. It is good to arrive at yourself once.

Find happiness in yourself. If you can do that, you go into the next relationship quite differently and with a new and healthy self-worth. If you are hurt and in need, it is not a good basis for a new relationship.

It is important to learn to treat yourself with appreciation and self-love. We often do small mindfulness exercises in the groups. Arrive at yourself. We encourage you to try meditation at home or in a course.

Meditation, in whatever form, can often change a lot very quickly. Get moving as well. Run, hike, swim. Exercise produces dopamine - the happiness hormone. We become more motivated again and gain drive. Life no longer appears so gray and dark.

Get professional help

When friends and family reach their limits in “comforting”. If you yourself feel that you cannot handle the pain and become depressed. If you realize that there are also older injuries that come up in the course of the separation.

Then you should get professional help and use it for personal development. In counseling you can better work through what you have experienced. Unprocessed topics prevent you from gaining full strength and being happy. Very often existential life issues depend on a separation.

You become aware of your own impermanence. You start to take stock. You have to ask, what do I want to do with the rest of my life? Who am I? What makes me special? Counseling is helpful when the topics are too big, when you notice that you cannot tackle them alone because you are too weak from grief.

Who suffers more? Men or women?

The pain is the same for everyone. No matter whether men or women, whether old or young. But there are tendencies for different coping strategies. Basically, gender is less important. It's more about the personality structure. As you have learned to deal with challenges, you also deal with a separation situation. You're more active and optimistic. Or do you tend to withdraw, tend towards depression and victimization.

Socialization plays an essential role. Men have learned to talk less about themselves. They displace more, often go into new relationships faster, or drown their pain. So men suffer the same way - they just have a different way of dealing with their feelings. We can read the saddest cases very concentrated in the media when men kill their women in marriage and separation disputes.

Women mostly have a larger network of social contacts. Women go more into self-pity, into sacrifice.

In the groups there are about two thirds women and one third men because men are more reluctant to get help.

A good relationship does not come about on its own

Love is very fragile and it cannot be taken for granted. It doesn't work according to the motto: once in love, always in love. For a good relationship, couples also need to invest energy and attention.

Above all, love cannot be forced. If a constant love is to grow, couples should pay attention to two moments.

  • People need freedom to develop. Every healthy relationship is a relationship with independent people. A good relationship balances give and take. Often psychological or material dependence is confused with love.
  • When we speak of love, it mostly means that we love. However, the ability to accept love and to be loved is just as important. That may sound a bit paradoxical now, because who doesn't want to be loved? However, we often see people who are afraid of closeness and intimacy. These people protect themselves, they do not show themselves with their whole being and thus stay at a distance for their partner (s).

Couples who have a good relationship shape their life together. They are actively related to each other. they
talk to each other You

  • talk with each other
  • cope well with incompatibilities and inconsistencies
  • can deal with unpleasant feelings productively
  • are ready to get involved and want to discover
  • something new in others but are also in good contact with yourself
  • remain curious about your counterpart
  • always dare to tread new paths
  • pay attention to their sexuality and are ready to invest in good eroticism
  • see everyday sex as important as special sex
  • Sex in old age


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From the contents:

  • Intimacy and relationships reloaded: what does the sex-positive movement want?
  • Sex-positive awareness: an open view of yourself and the world
  • Rules beyond conventions and taboos: negotiating consensus
  • LGBTIQ, Kink, Tantra, NTSM (non-traditional sexual behaviour)
  • Open relationships and polyamory: shaping non-monogamous relationships

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