Why is love so painful?
The process of falling in love is full of highs and lows, to put it rather plainly. When we are in love, we feel like we are “on top of the world” or “head over heels” in love; we listen to love songs; we feel encouraged to do and try new things; and we feel like we are “in love to the moon and back.” On the other hand, when we suffer through a breakup or lose someone we love, we experience a pain that is buried deep within us.
When we go through a painful emotional experience or when we lose the sensation of love, why do we feel pain even if it’s not a physical ache? Is it our thoughts that are causing the suffering, or does the anguish genuinely originate in our hearts (thus the phrase “broken heart”)?
A look at what goes on in our brains when we feel why it hurts so much to be in love is presented here.
OUR BRAIN IS EXPERIENCING WITHDRAWAL
The reward area of the brain is responsible for the production of hormones that are deemed “chemically pleasing” when we are overcome with sentiments of love. Therefore, it is only logical that we would feel the opposite when a relationship ends badly or when we lose someone we care about.
Take, for instance, the fact that some scientists relate love to addiction. When a person gets hooked on drugs like cocaine or heroin, they feel pleasure as a result of the release of neurotransmitters in their brain. When the source is taken away, the brain goes through a process called withdrawal. This is why people feel pain when their brain is no longer producing the chemicals that are responsible for the sensation of pleasure.
THE SENSE OF ATTACHMENT TO THINGS IS LOST FOR US
When we experience falling in love, our brains begin to form connections with the person or thing that we perceive to be physiologically appealing. The release of hormones in our body may result in a wide range of emotions, including exhilaration, pleasure, and a sense of connection with others. Because of this, we often hear about many kinds or stages of love, such as sexual attraction or desire, passionate love, and profound, devoted love.
When your brain has bonded into the profound, devoted love that you could feel throughout a long-term relationship or marriage, love can be excruciatingly painful. This is particularly true when you first fall in love. The dissolution of the connection, or reliance, that your brain has formed on the release of those chemicals is what causes it to go into withdrawal. This is the root cause of the distressing sensations that you experience when a romantic relationship comes to an end or when you lose someone you care deeply about.
LOVE DOES ACTUALLY HURT
Some scholars have investigated the question of why love may be so painful by investigating the relationships between emotional and physical suffering.
Researchers have shown that there is a significant amount of overlap between the regions of the brain that are active during the processing of physical pain and the regions that are active during the experience of social agony. This was discovered via the analysis of neuroimages of the active areas in our brains during the processing of physical pain.
This indicates that love does, in fact, hurt in a manner that is analogous to the way we feel the agony of physical injuries, such as when we break a bone or scrape our shin against a piece of furniture. The experience of having lost someone you love may linger for a long time, which is one reason why it can be painful even after a significant amount of time has gone. This is in contrast to a physical wound or pain, which may heal over time. However, the feeling of having lost someone you love can be painful even after a significant amount of time has passed.
BROKEN HEARTS ARE REAL
The sad reality is that shattered hearts do exist. This illness is sometimes referred to as “broken heart syndrome,” and many of us have either read about instances that seemed to be coincidental or witnessed dramatic episodes on television in which a patient passes away as a result of a broken heart.
But from a medical perspective, the issue is referred to as “stress cardiomyopathy,” and despite the fact that it is a very uncommon cardiac illness, it is a fatal one that is brought on by extreme mental or emotional strain. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that what you’re going through isn’t genuine if you’re having difficulties moving on from a relationship or the loss of love. The fact is that love hurts, but that doesn’t mean that the pain won’t go away or that you won’t be able to experience love again in the future.