WHY Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

My friend, Zoe, is a single mom, divorced for over 5 years now, who works in corporate HR. But for most of that time, she hasn’t really been single, she’s had a ‘boyfriend’ (that term seems so inappropriate for people in their 40s). She finally realized last summer that this was not a particularly good relationship for her, and so she ended it.

When I had dinner with her about a month ago, she was telling me all about her new, um, crush. Jeff was a very unconventional sort, living in an intentional community, working as an occasional carpenter. He’d sold a software business a while ago, so it seemed as though he might not even need to work. He rode a motorcycle, which was an aphrodisiac for her. The relationship was still in the stage of ‘will we or won’t we?’, both of them having a great time together, but neither willing to say what exactly was going on.

When Zoe won tickets to a rock concert in a radio station contest, it was the perfect excuse to ask him out on a real date. She had the time of her life!

Last Wednesday, right before my radio show, Zoe texted me, “Jeff just pulled the plug — pray for me”.

The metaphor was very apt. I’m sure Zoe felt like she’d been unplugged from an energy source. Why? Because when we have a relationship with someone, we grow energetic cords between our energy bodies. If you’ve ever felt drained after being with someone, and didn’t know why, here’s a possible  explanation. If you’ve ever felt drained after breaking up with someone, this is an explanation. And there are things you can do to manage your own energy.

You can visualize yourself being protected, or fed energy by loving beings, or even imagine cutting those energetic cords.

There are other explanations, too. Evolution has wired our brains for bonding. According to Rutgers University professor Helen Fisher, being in love lights up the same areas of our brain, parts of the dopamine reward system, that are lit up by various chemical addictions. Remove the beloved and your brain acts like that of an addict deprived of its substance of choice, especially cocaine and nicotine.

As reported in Psychology Today, “UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, who discovered that social rejection activates the same brain area-the anterior cingulate-that generates an adverse reaction to physical pain. Breakups likely stimulate pain to notify us how important social ties are to human survival and to warn us not to sever them lightly.

“Although Eisenberger didn’t study romantic rejection, she expects that it actually feels much worse than the social rejection she did document. “If you’re getting pain-related activity from someone you don’t care about, it would presumably be a lot more painful from someone you share memories with,” she points out.

“The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners; they’re willing to do just about anything to make the hurt go away. Fisher believes that activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, explaining “why the beloved is so difficult to give up.”

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.