Why Are Breakups So Hard To Get Over For Some People Than Others?

September 23, 2022 |
why are breakups so hard
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Some people take breakups harder than others – I am sure it’s not brand new information. You have seen it took your friend just a shower to get over an ex. And here you are, still moping over a college crush after five years. Irrespective of whether you saw it coming or were taken by surprise, a breakup can feel like a punch to the gut that knocks the wind out of you.

The intensity of the pain a person experiences in its aftermath can vary depending on their emotional endurance, state of mind, and how invested they were in the relationship. Some find it easy to overcome the turmoil and move on, whereas others may find their lives at a dead halt. “What does it take to be resilient in the face of a breakup that I lack?” you may ask. Is it any different for men and women? And more importantly, what is the most constructive way to get over the awful breakup pangs?

According to a study, 70% of straight unmarried couples drift apart within the first year of their relationship. So, don’t worry – whatever it is that you are going through right now, you are not alone in this. When you feel like you’re drowning in the pool of your own emotions, perhaps understanding why some people take breakups harder than others will give you some perspective on your situation. And Bonobology is here to offer you the help and support you require at the moment.

Why Do Women Take Breakups Harder Than Men?

There is an inherent difference in how a man and a woman deal with post-breakup depression. Sure you have heard of the generalized statement that breakups hit guys later. But, how exactly does male psychology works after a breakup? Men are, generally, less invested emotionally in a casual relationship or a relationship that is still in its nascent stages.

Their minds are also less complex. Therefore, most men find it relatively easy to deal with a breakup. Not that they don’t feel pain, just that they overcome it faster. Plus, it’s an inherently masculine trait to not express emotions that are seen as weak or negative, thanks to the patriarchal norms of our society. Even if they are having a hard time, you may not get a hint of it from their outlook or behavior.

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Women, on the other hand, tend to form emotional attachments quicker than men. According to a study, women get more negatively affected by breakups, reporting higher levels of both emotional and physical pain. On the bright side, women happen to recover from breakups in a mature and wholesome way without leaving any trace of regret, while, men, in general, never fully recover – they tend to move on.

The female psychology after a breakup is far more complicated and layered. It is not uncommon for a woman to become deeply attached to her partner after just a couple of weeks of knowing them. Women also tend to invest emotionally in purely sexual relationships. If the attachment is one-sided, it spells trouble. So, more often than not, it’s a woman sitting on a therapist’s couch, asking, “Why do I take breakups so hard?”

Related Reading: 12 Ways To Find Happiness After Breakup And Heal Completely

What are the emotions experienced after a breakup?

Breakups are painful, and they are meant to be that way. The emotional turmoil stemming from a romantic loss often leads people into depression and a profound disconnect from the world. Some people perceive all the losses in life as a personal defeat because they were deeply attached to their loved ones.

When a romantic alliance ends, people carry the painful burden of rejection for many, many years. So much so, that their past relationship affects the new ones in many cases. The post-breakup journey is marked by an emotional turmoil that may abate over time but can be hard to endure while it lasts. Here is what it looks like:

  • Denial is unavoidable in case you are bad at handling rejection and can’t take no for an answer. The hope for you two patching up somewhere down the line is what keeps you going
  • If the breakup wasn’t mutual and came as a shock to you, very naturally, you would be seeking closure and looking for answers
  • And that leads to the ‘why me’ phase where you feel victimized and betrayed
  • Hand in hand comes anger and obsession. You either want to take revenge through a rebound relationship or some other way or you become desperate to win them back
  • Once those attempts go down in flames, extreme sadness and loneliness grasp you as you terribly miss your partner, and this is what we call the breakup blues
  • Not only the emotional upheaval, but breakups also come with their share of physical pain starting from headaches and chest pain to loss of appetite and insomnia
  • As a long-term effect of a breakup, anxiety and depression wear down many of us which eventually results in many relationship insecurities

Related Reading: Expert Advice On Coping With Feeling Empty After A Breakup

Why Are Breakups Harder For Some People?

Circling back to the question – why are breakups so hard? If you are the one who ended the relationship, you might not be as affected as your partner because you were mentally and emotionally prepared for the breakup. But if you are at the receiving end and didn’t see the breakup coming, it will hit you like a bolt from the blue.

You will keep asking yourself if you did something wrong or if there was something you could have done to prevent the relationship from going south. Sadly, chasing after the answers will only make closure seem all the more elusive. In the end, you might just have to make peace with the fact that not every love story gets its ‘happily ever after’. But if breakups are so normal, why is it so hard to get over someone? Let us analyze the potential reasons that leave the best of us vulnerable while handling a breakup:

1. Sensitive souls feel the breakup pain more

People who are highly sensitive become more invested in a relationship and are thus more affected than others. Individuals with a practical outlook can rationalize the breakup even if they’re hurting, whereas sensitive souls struggle to recalibrate. Since they are easily and more deeply affected by emotional upheavals, breakups are particularly hard on them.

They tend to paint life in broad strokes, so it might seem to them that a breakup is the end of the world. They cannot see beyond their immediate pain and experience a loss of hope. Learning how to cope with a breakup might lead them to wonder, “Why is it so hard to get over someone?” as they aren’t very well-equipped to deal with post-breakup pain.

Why are breakups so hard to get over
It becomes more difficult for the sensitive people

2. Seeing oneself in low light

You may feel disoriented, distressed, and depressed after being dumped. You might start questioning your role in the relationship or see your partner’s rejection of you as a verdict on your worth as an individual. These questions tend to escalate quickly and plunge you into a dark abyss of negative thoughts and self-doubt. “Why are breakups so hard for me?” you may be left wondering as a result. Because you’re viewing the breakup as a personal failure.

From ‘why me’ to ‘something must be wrong with me’, you start blaming yourself for the failure of a romantic relationship. This may make you more confused about your identity outside the relationship and may even push you toward depressive thoughts. And even after a long time, this split seems to leave some damaging residues in your personality. However, despite going through the heartache and the depressive episode, you must remember that sometimes the fault just isn’t yours.

Related Reading: 9 Ways To Cope When Your Ex Moves On

3. You experience disturbance in biological rhythms

Why are some breakups so painful? It’s because we become habituated with our partners. Romance is an addiction that fosters attachment and a sense of belonging between couples. Slowly, a partner’s thoughts, values, opinions, and feelings start having a powerful influence on your life. They calm you down when impulsive, drive you to your goals and support you in everyday life.

Needless to say, you become addicted and deeply accustomed to your partner, physically and psychologically. When that equation falters in the form of a breakup, your whole life and its functions turn upside down. This disruption of harmony turns surviving heartbreaks into an uphill battle as it affects the mind, body, and soul.

4. Highly committed relationship breakups bring torment

Breakups in a committed relationship are an invitation to the cycle of doom. Your faith in relationships receives a sudden jolt and you either go on a rebound spree or hook-ups or avoid being in a relationship altogether. You may stop believing in love and lose interest in prospective dates as well.

Getting dumped and not seeing it coming could be a possible explanation for why some of us take breakups harder than others, especially when you gave your everything to this relationship. If you both lived together, it is likely that you’ll have to put more effort to heal from the haunting memories of your good old days.

on ex

Constructive vs destructive ways of coping with a hard breakup

Not only the emotional distress, a breakup has the power to put through physical afflictions such as insomnia, lack of appetite, elevated heart rate, and withdrawal symptoms. Now that we have discussed why are breakups so hard to get over, we feel obligated to guide you in the right direction to deal with the breakup blues. Before getting into the sensible ways of dealing with rejection in love, it’s important you take a look at this comparison chart because even the best of us fall into this self-destructive trap after the loss of romantic love:

Constructive Destructive
Try to have a conversation to solve the issue or to get closure but without pestering your ex if they are not interested Begging them to come back
Unfriend your ex on social media if not block them because stumbling on their posts will make it harder for you to move onStalking your ex on social media and plotting revenge
It’s okay to grieve initially but sooner or later you have to make an effort to get back to your normal lifeAvoiding all your responsibilities and shutting yourself in for days on end
Accept that the more you suppress your emotions, the more time it will take to get over the breakupPlunging yourself into work to ‘not feel anything’
Try to channel your pain through something productive like journaling or meditation instead of depending on alcoholAnd the worst of all, self-blame, self-harm, and substance abuse

Healthy ways of dealing with a breakup

Don’t beat yourself up about being weak if you feel that you are struggling with a breakup. Don’t get into the blame game and self-destructive phases we just discussed. It would only make things more difficult for you. Instead, follow some of these effective coping tips to deal with a hard breakup and emerge stronger than ever.

Related Reading: 13 Helpful Tips To Get Over The Love Of Your Life

1. Why do I take breakups so hard? Accept your emotions

Believe it or not, breakups have the potential to make us emotionally more resilient. For that to happen, you need to accept your emotions. In one moment, you may feel like crying or might be angry, and in the next, you may feel a pressing impulse to burn your ex-partner’s photos or souvenirs. An unwanted breakup may lead to unwanted energies and emotions like erasing memories. Understand that every emotion you experience is valid.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of your thoughts and feelings. So, accept and allow your emotions to surface as they may. Turn to your support system – be it friends or family – for a helping hand to walk you through this phase and a shoulder to cry on. Embrace your post-breakup pain. Denial will only add to delaying the healing process. Let the negative rueful emotions drain out of your system and see how it helps you heal over the course of time.

Man vs woman after breakup
You have to allow yourself to grieve

2. Go through the 7 stages of a breakup

Healing from a breakup is a slow process, and it can happen only when you go through the 7 stages of the breakup. Initially, you may need time to overcome the ‘shock’. Then the ‘denial’ of it may make you overlook the ground reality. You may even try to negotiate with your ex over calls and texts in an attempt to reconcile.

When that doesn’t happen, you may isolate yourself or feel depressed. Anger may cloud your sensibilities and you may feel derailed after the nasty split. But after you accept your emotions, you may feel the difference. This is the actual beginning of a post-split recovery. Acknowledging this breakup dilemma could be empowering for many tormented souls. As the age-old saying goes, “It hurts the most before it heals.”

3. Avoid your ex-partner at all costs

Whether you can be friends with your ex or not is a decision that is yours to make. However, if you jump into the friend zone without allowing yourself time to heal from the heartbreak, then it’s a recipe for disastrous complications. You will have to go through a period of no contact and get used to life without them before you can even consider the possibility of letting them back in. Impulsive breakups usually result in partners trying to grab their ex’s attention.

You may be tempted to find out if the person who broke up is hurting as well, but please steer clear. In these toxic tactics lies the answer to “Why are breakups so painful?”. Obsessing over a person is always unhealthy. Free your soul from the ex-mania and try to reconnect with your long-lost passions instead. This deviation may do you wonders, and within a few months, you may find yourself healing and moving on from what seemed like the nastiest breakup ever.

4. Find hope in moving on eventually

In the weeks following the breakup, you might find yourself asking, “Why is getting over someone so hard?” But breakups are never a permanent scar on your life. If you give yourself ample time, you will feel that the stress is fading away, sooner or later. Breakups are normal and moving on takes a while.

Take the help of your support system, find solace in social volunteering, or find an outlet in a new passion project – do whatever it takes to shift your focus away from the painful thoughts. Use this time to rediscover who you are. In the process, your ex will definitely become a matter of the past, and the hardships of a breakup will end soon. And if at any point, you need professional help to stabilize your mental health, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts are here for you.

Counseling on breakup blues on bonobology.com

Speaking about the aftermath of a breakup, psychologist Juhi Pandey told Bonobology, “Parting ways with a loved one hurts everybody involved. But to let yourself be in a perpetual state of self-pity and despair will end up making your mental health worse by the day. Moving on can be a profound experience, filled with self-discovery and healing. By the end of it, you’ll come out a better person, with a much better understanding of yourself.”

Key Pointers

  • Women take breakups harder than men because they tend to form a quicker and deeper emotional attachment
  • People who are more sensitive find it difficult to deal with breakups
  • Blaming yourself for a breakup can make it harder to get over it
  • Getting over long-term and meaningful relationships becomes extremely difficult for some people
  • You should resort to healthy coping mechanisms like acknowledging the pain, investing your time and energy into something productive, and avoiding your ex-partner at least in the beginning
  • Seeking revenge, rebound relationships, and alcoholism are a strict no-no

Although some days are harder than others after a breakup, there are many ways to move on and lead a healthy, happy life. Bonobology’s relationship counselors agree that your breakup recovery may be difficult, but not impossible. No matter how full of obstacles the journey seems, we’ve got faith in your ability to persevere and we are sure you will make it to the other side.

The article was originally published in 2018 and has now been updated.


1. Which gender hurts more after a breakup?

Breakups are hard for everyone, but women are more affected by the aftermath. They report more emotional pain and struggle with a host of negative feelings. Current evidence suggests that they feel the loss more intensely.

2. Who moves on faster after a breakup?

The jury is kind of divided here. It has been believed that men move on faster and date others after a breakup. But new findings indicate that men dwell on past relationships longer than women do. It takes men a while to ask (read: admit), “Why are breakups so painful?”

3. Which gender is more likely to break up?

A study conducted on US adults found that women are more likely to end a marriage. But both men and women are equally likely to end a premarital relationship.

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