Friday 15 December 2017

Revealed: Why it's harder for some people to get over a breakup

Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

Getting over a breakup is never easy, but why is it harder for some people than for others?

Now we might just have the answer.

Psychologist Albert Wakin, a professor at Sacred Heart University, Connecticut, has studied heartbreak and longing during his career, and told CNN the conclusion he has come to.

Wakin studied a colleague’s research novel regarding the early stages of romantic relationships, Love and Limerence by Dorothy Tennov, with limerence being the term for obsessive, longing love.

During the time he spent studying the novel, Wakin noticed that many of the people featured experienced feelings of limerence for longer than six months, which he determined was not a normal condition.

"About four, five, six months in -- what happens in a healthy relationship is that things settle down, they become calmer," he explained.

Wakin believes it's necessary to join the gap between passionate love and the brain’s reward pathway in order to counteract the uncontrollable feeling of limerence.

 He theorises that those who suffer most are struggling with a type of obsessive-compulsive reaction to the object of their affection, and subsequently experience an addiction to them.

“One of those two things is not enough," he explained. "It's a combination."

Wakin is confident that these feelings can “happen to anyone,” whether they have a history of psychological illness or not.

However, the psychology field does not yet officially recognise that love can go out of control and become pathological, meaning heartbroken lovers will have to wait a little longer to have their condition officially recognised.

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