Why Your Breakup Hurts SO Much (And How To Start Healing)

Woman on couch in blue blanket crying while looking at photograph

Knowing WHY you’re hurting can be your first step to getting over it.

Heartbroken. Sometimes that’s the only way to describe the tidal waves of grief that come with a breakup.

Ending a relationship with someone or, worse, having someone break up with you causes incredibly painful feelings because of all the losses. You grieve the lost connection with that person. After all, you loved them so much. But let’s get real about that. Are you sad because you’re not with the person you had a relationship with? OR are you really upset because you’re not with the person who you thought your partner was?

If you’re like most of us, you’re upset to have lost who you thought your partner was. Because, let’s face it, if they really were the ideal person for you, you’d still have a relationship.

Being heartbroken also means grieving lost couplehood. It feels good being connected to someone else — to not have to face the world on your own. Yet, breaking up with someone means you’re suddenly alone. It’s no longer two against the world. It’s just you, feeling naked, isolated and afraid.

There’s another reason for your fear of being alone. Being alone means that before too long you’ll have to look for another someone — someone to love and to love you, and someone who just might break your heart too.

Grieving the loss of your ideal mate and couplehood are the more obvious reasons for being heartbroken, but there are others.

You’re probably despairing your lost dreams of the future and “happily ever after.” Regardless of how long you’re in a relationship with someone, you’ve dreamed of the future with them. Those dreams are part of what brought the two of you together. But now, those dreams are lost forever.

The end of a relationship can also leave you feeling shattered and unsure of who you are without the relationship or your former partner. In the midst of grieving the losses, it seems nearly impossible to recreate and redefine yourself too. Yet, that’s what you need to do because you’re not their other half any more. You’re you.

Finally, what if you’re anguished because of broken trust?

Your former love broke your trust, but you broke it too. You broke your own trust by convincing yourself that the relationship was the right one for you, and by all the little ways you gave yourself away to make the relationship work. Now you’re left wondering if you’re capable of trusting yourself to enter into another relationship and not give yourself away. You’re also wondering if you can trust yourself to choose a better person next time.

Heartbreak is a complicated issue, and so is dealing with all the grief all at once. There are just so many things lost when a relationship ends. However, the more you know about what specifically is causing you to feel heartbroken, the easier it is for you to get over it and choose a better relationship next time.

I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly adviceAnd, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.