A broken heart is never fun, can be tough to cope with and difficult to mend, but sadly, happens all the time. There can even be physical symptoms of heartbreak. Chances are you’re either going through it now or have gone through it in the past. You know those scars. They might even still be fresh. And, whether good or bad, you likely came out different on the other side. Still, very few would wish a broken heart on their worst enemy; it’s something no one wants to experience. So, what can we learn from it and how can we grow? Here are 25 True Facts About Having Your Heart Broken.
Breakups can trigger depression.
Because breakups directly affect a person’s self-esteem and can be humiliating, it has a greater likelihood of causing depression than if you had heartbreak from the death of a loved one. Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University came to this conclusion after studying 7,000 male and female twins during stressful life events.
They're harder on women.
According to a study published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, for women, recovery after a breakup was greatly hindered if not entirely stalled. As the number of splits increased, the mental health of women down-spiraled. The study included 2,137 men and 2,303 women under age 65.
You might lose weight.
The heartbreak diet is real. People do lose weight after breakups. Of course, loss of appetite due to stress is a key factor. According to a study by Forza Supplements, women on average lose five pounds when someone breaks up with them. But the breakup has to happen to them rather than the other way around.
You might gain weight.
Depending on your personality and how you handle stress, you might also gain weight. It’s no secret; stress eaters will immediately run to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, pizza, and a bucket-load of snacks for comfort, and this instinct will be in overdrive after a breakup. So, be careful not to overdo it. You’ll just regret it later.
Women turn to wine, not ice cream.
While romantic comedies love to show women shoving ice cream in their faces after a breakup, a survey of 1,300 people by YourTango.com found the number one comfort women turned to was wine, followed closely by chocolate.
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Heartbreak can lower your immune system.
Yes, someone breaking up with you can actually make you sick. Prolonged stress can cause inflammation and mess up your gut microbiomes, which will compromise your immune system. So, the key is to manage your stress levels.
Break ups are like drug withdrawal.
When you’re in love, you trigger the same chemicals in your body that a drug would, like nicotine and cocaine. Love can become an addiction. When that love is taken away during a breakup, the symptoms can be similar to drug withdrawal.
Prepare for intrusive thoughts.
Just when you think you’re over your ex, your brain will hit you like a hammer with intrusive thoughts of them. Maybe you smelled something that reminded you of them or you saw a picture of your favorite place to eat. Whatever it is, you now can’t get your mind off of them. In these times, do everything you can to limit your thoughts.
Your brain might think you're in physical pain.
A study by neuroscientists at Columbia University found that the brain regions that light up during physical pain will do the same during a breakup. Researchers disagree on whether this means your brain interprets a breakup as physically painful or not, but if anything, it sure considers it important enough to kick into high gear.
You might do crazy things.
As we said, a breakup is like withdrawal and can mess up your perception of reality and make you do some crazy stuff, including Facebook stalking your ex for hours or driving by their house. A heartbroken person may obsess and crave another person, just like a drug addicted person would a drug.
You might question your identity.
Relationships change how we think of ourselves. When that part of ourselves is broken, we may start to question our entire identity. Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois published their findings in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, revealing that it’s rather common for people to ask the question, “Who am I?” while suffering a broken heart.
Heartbreak may be contagious.
A study involving more than 12,000 Americans in New England since 1948 concluded that if a friend, family member, or even a coworker suffers a divorce, you have a 75% chance of the same thing happening to you.
Get ready to lose sleep.
Everyone needs a good night rest, and that can’t be said enough for someone going through heartbreak. Unfortunately, the emotional distress will likely cause you to stay awake or have a restless sleep.
Multiple breakups will leave you jaded.
According to a study by Purdue University, the more breakups and heartbreak we experience, the more we’re likely to become jaded about success in a relationship, believing it likely isn’t in the cards for us.
It's called heartbreak for a reason.
In some cases, breakups can lead to a condition that mimics symptoms of a heart attack. Called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or broken-heart syndrome, the condition can happen at any age and is usually a result of someone enduring severe emotional distress. It can happen to both men and women but is usually more common among women.
You can die from a broken heart.
As sad as it might sound, you can technically die of a broken heart. After studying 200 broken heart syndrome patients at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, researchers determined that in patients with other serious medical conditions, the possibility of death was significantly higher than patients who suffered from other heart issues with complications.
You'll overestimate recovery.
During a breakup, most people think their grief will last a lifetime, or you know, maybe a few months. But there’s good news; a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that people often overestimate their recovery and usually recover much faster than they expect to.
Recovery might be as simple as believing.
Psychologists from the University of Colorado in Boulder did a study and found that positive expectation and belief can help improve recovery from heartbreak. MRI data showed it helps your brain deal with the problem. In other words, living in negative thoughts only perpetuates the heartbreak.
Positivity does help.
With that said, you should purposefully focus on the positive. The American Psychological Association claims doing this while reducing and getting away from the negative parts of the relationship can help improve recovery.
Journaling purges negativity.
During heartbreak, keeping a daily journal by writing out feelings and thoughts can remove negative emotions and become a powerful recovery tool. During a study, participants who spent 15 to 30 minutes a day writing down the positive aspects of the breakup said they had more positive feelings about the breakup. They reported feeling comfort, confidence, empowerment, and happiness, among many other positive emotions.
Be part of a breakup recovery study.
Being a lab rat for a psychological study might be the last thing you’d want to do while your heart is broken, but it might just help. A study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science found that people who participate in breakup recovery studies actually recover faster from heartbreak than people who don’t.
Talking about it helps.
There’s no way to get around it. Once you have a breakup, you’re going to need to talk about it with someone. Psychologist Suzanne Lachmann, who has written books on breakups, said, “Locking it inside or trying to power through it yourself just means that it festers in there.”
Don't play the "What If" game.
After a breakup, it’s common to think it was all your fault and play a game where you wonder what might have happened if you had done something different. Stop that line of thinking. The romance is over. Rather than focusing on the past, look at how to grow for the future.
Heartbreak might linger into another marriage.
About two-thirds of men and women admitted their ex was on their mind too much even though they were married to someone else. So, if you don’t fully recover and heal, the heartbreak could linger into other relationships, causing more problems.
Rebound sex is real.
It’s not a Hollywood invention. According to researchers at the University of Missouri, one-third of college students that recently had a breakup had sex to rebound from the broken relationship. People who are dumped are even more likely to have it.