Why does love hurt and what can I do about it?

I read a quote the other day that said: If love hurts then you are doing it wrong. Why does love sometimes hurt? I don’t know about you, but I often feel a physical manifestation of my internal emotions. When I went through a bad breakup a while ago I actually questioned whether my heart was breaking.

What physical symptoms are associated with love?

We all know that there are feelings that are associated with love, here are some you may have heard of:

  • Quickening heart beat
  • Feeling hot all over
  • Warm inside
  • Feelings of sexual and physical attraction
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Feeling drawn to someone’s energy and wanting to be near them

Are these physical symptoms real?

I found an interesting story about team of scientists in Finland. Basically, they asked people to map out where they felt different emotions in their bodies. What they discovered was that, “results were surprisingly consistent, even across cultures.”

The team looked at Finland, Sweden and Taiwan and asked 700 participants to mark where they felt emotions on a body map. “Different emotions were consistently associated with statistically separable bodily sensation maps across experiments,” the study found. Read the results here.

Can being in love kill you?

Yep, or so it seems. I have found many stories online about people who die within a short time period of their spouse. You may have read this story back in February: “Elderly New York couple die hours apart holding hands after 60-year vow that he’d never leave her”, or this story from April: “Inseparable: Born within two days of each other and married for 70 years, Bert and Mary died exactly a week apart. Yesterday they were buried side by side.”

What does pain feel like?

According to Medical News Today, “Heartbreak is like one big emotional pain but it also seems to spark off hundreds of other emotions. We hate the feeling of heartbreak, and yet we find ourselves compelled to go over and over memories, ideas or fantasies which make the feeling worse.”

I like this study because the participants actually underwent brain scans, so the scientists could effectively map their emotions when thinking of certain triggers – for example, an ex-lover who broke their heart. All the people in the study claimed that they at one time felt “intensely rejected” – poor buggers.

How to cope with feelings of pain

Yup, I have blogged about this before. Clearly I have gone through some pain in my time. Hopefully at some stage this will end, but probably not. Suffering is part of the human existence. I am sometimes accused of being a bit of a “negative nelly” but I refuse to “jolly away” my significant feelings.

Here are my tips:

  • Return to the present
  • Listen to a positive song
  • Go shopping
  • Call someone who understands
  • Write a letter to “your shadow self” and ask for guidance and help

Some other tips from Medical News Today

  • Breathe.
  • Congratulate yourself for being human.
  • Reach out to a close friend or family member.
  • Surround yourself with friends.
  • Assess the experience.
  • Consult a psychiatrist if you are experiencing symptoms of depression.
  • Remember that healing is a process that takes time.
  • Compartmentalize the experience in your memory: “My heart was broken once. It really hurt and I’m glad it’s over.”

All very good suggestions in my opinion. Read the original article here.

And a nod to the one that I love

Oh my darling. How I love you. How I love you so, so much.


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