One may experience the end of a relationship without experiencing too much pain or they could experience immense pain and suffering when a relationship comes to an end. It could then be hard to comprehend what is taking place and why this person is having this affect.
And it doesn’t even need to be one that was fulfilling; it could have been average or even abusive for instance. It also doesn’t need to be one that lasts that long, as it could last for only a short period of time and still result in pain being created.
The Common Reasons
There has been a greater focus on the brain in recent times and on the chemicals that the brain emits. Each of these chemicals has a certain purpose and an effect on how one feels.
The ones that are often mentioned in relationships are oxytocin and dopamine. And oxytocin is typically classed as the trust or love chemical. Dopamine is to do with feeling happy.
When a relationship comes to an end these are naturally going to subside and are no longer going to be created in such high amounts. So as what one was experiencing is no longer there, it is inevitably going to lead to pain.
Just like how a drug addict would feel tense, uptight or even suicidal if they didn’t get their regular dose, someone whose relationship has ended can feel the same way. But while the drug addict would be missing something that often comes in the shape of a tablet or some kind of powder; in this case what’s missing is a person.
The Good Times
It will also mean that all of the good times and the special moments that were shared will have come to an end. The physical touching, the sharing and the support will no longer be there.
One may even have planned their life around this person and this can range from going on a trip together, to having children and getting married. These plans could be relatively small or monumental and define ones whole life.
What is clear is that the stakes can be extremely high and there is so much that one can lose through a relationship coming to an end. It can feel as though one’s life has come to an end and that life no longer has any meaning.
So the ending of a relationship is not something that should be taken lightly or dismissed as something one should simply get over and move on from. It is a very delicate area and one that needs to be treated with compassion, care and patience.
The Ego Mind
Another important factor in why relationships can cause so much pain when they end is in how the ego mind functions. When a relationship begins and as it progresses it will feel good and be pleasurable. But, although these are wonderful experiences, they are nothing like the experience of when a relationship ends.
To gain something is all well and good and yet to lose something generally leaves a bigger mark. One may gain something without taking much notice and then when something is lost, one can’t help but notice.
The ego mind typically forms associations of familiarity around what one has regularly come to experience and this is what will be classed as safe. This process can take place around experiences that are functional and dysfunctional.
If one were to make a change from something that was unhealthy in their life to something that is healthy, it can be interpreted as death by the mind. This is because it’s not familiar and therefore unsafe.
Ultimately any kind of change will be seen in the same way. And when a relationship ends, one is going from what was familiar to what is unfamiliar. Even though at one point the relationship was unfamiliar in the beginning, it gradually became known as familiar to the mind. So this will be experienced as death and this is another reason why the end of a relationship can hurt so much.
The past Returns
When one is in a relationship it can be going along nicely and without too much pain and then when it ends, extreme pain can be experienced. And with the reasons above aside, this can be due to ones unprocessed history coming to the surface.
So the emotions and feelings that one has carried since their childhood and that relate to their caregivers will appear once more. Relationships are often described as vehicles that have the potential to lead one into wholeness.
And these can include the following emotions and feelings: grief, sadness, hopelessness, helpless, powerlessness, loss, anger, rage, betrayal, rejection and abandonment. One can even have suicidal feelings and end up depressed.
Although time has passed and one has physically grown up, these emotions and feelings will have remained trapped in the body. And they are being triggered by the relationship ending.
However, one can easily come to conclude that these feelings and emotions are the result of the relationship ending. And while some of them can be, they could also have nothing to do with the current relationship.
Here, it can be normal for one to project these feelings onto the other person and believe that it’s a reflection of how the relationship was. When in reality, it is the result of the past being projected onto the present and may have very little to do with how the relationship was or who the person is.
There are many factors as to why the end of a relationship can hurt so much. And getting over this pain is unlikely to be something that happens overnight. But while a lot of pain can be experienced, it can also lead to incredible personal growth and to a greater wholeness.
The assistance of a therapist or healer may be useful to enable one to release emotions and feelings that have built up. It will be important that one reaches out for support from family and friends.
There may be a tendency to find another lover to regulate this pain and yet this can often lead to more problems down the line and stop one from grieving. So in the short term it may feel like a good idea, but in the long term it could just result in more problems.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.