Home  >  Love Couch  >  Broken Hearts

Why Does Love Hurt? 31 Things WE Do That Hurts & Secrets to Ease the Pain

Heartbreak feels like the end of the world and almost hurts in a physical way. Have you ever wondered ‘why does love hurt?’ It’s a fascinating subject. 

Why Does Love Hurt

Have you ever asked yourself why does love hurt? Forget everything you’ve ever seen in movies and read in books that tell you that love is this perfect and extraordinary feeling. You think that love conquers all, until it doesn’t.

As much as love makes you float in the skies, it can also send you down to the dumps just as quickly.

Unlike books and movies, love isn’t as pretty in real life. It has its dark shades every now and then that can leave you in despair and pain. Something that can give so much happiness can also take it all away in a few moments.

So where does this immense power of love come from? And why does love hurt so much even though we’ve learned to handle it through our experiences? [Read: The right way to take a break in the relationship]

Reasons why love hurts more than anything else

Love can hurt a lot. But almost always, love blends with other emotions that add to the painful sensation.

Here are the most common emotions and occurrences that are often associated with love when it’s going wrong.

1. Fear

Fear is what causes a lot of anxiety in relationships. Love can hurt pretty badly because of the fear of losing them, the fear of a betrayal, or the fear that things won’t work out as planned.

Fear can be a real bitch when we’re talking about why does love hurt, especially when this fear turns into a full-blown anxiety attack. [Read: Fear of intimacy – the hardships of being afraid of love]

2. Anger

This one emotion can be so powerful and can end relationships, just like that. It can cause toxic relationships, conflicts, misunderstandings, and the like. If you’re angry with the person you love and let your anger control you, that’s not something you want to see.

When someone is angry at you, they can make you feel like they never loved you in the first place – and that’s when the darkness sets in. [Read: Ways to handle dating someone with anger issues]

3. Helplessness

If you’ve ever felt stuck in a relationship, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. Helplessness occurs when you can’t act or defend yourself. Maybe you’re stuck in a manipulative relationship or they cheated on you.

Whatever it is, this emotion can prevent you from seeing the beauty in love entirely because all you’ll be focused on is the bad and ugly parts. [Read: 15 signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

4. Loneliness

Contrary to popular belief, you can still feel lonely even in a relationship. Maybe you don’t feel connected with your partner, maybe you feel a wall between you, or maybe something happened and you feel lonelier than ever.

Loneliness sucks and there’s no getting around it. The worst feeling in the world is when you’re beside them, and you couldn’t feel more alone in the world. [Read: I feel lonely – 30 ways to overcome feelings of loneliness]

5. Jealousy

Jealousy is another strong emotion that can lead to sabotaged relationships when you let it control you. If you’re asking why does love hurt, imagine being jealous of someone making your partner happier than you can.

Jealousy is also one thing that can sabotage your relationship entirely if you’re not careful enough. [Read: Are you jealous of your ex?]

6. Uncertainty about the future and unmet expectations

This ties into the fear side of things. You had an idea in your mind of how things were going to go and you felt safe and secure with that image. But now, everything has changed and you have to face a future that’s totally different.

7. Reduction in endorphins

When things are going well in love, your brain is pumping feel-good endorphins around your body, namely dopamine and serotonin. When love goes badly and ends, those endorphins are reduced, leaving you feeling bereft and even more alone.

8. The embarrassment of rejection

While love hurts when it ends, it’s partly down to feeling embarrassed at being dumped. While everyone goes through this at least once in their lives, we assume that everyone is going to be pointing the finger and questioning why it happened.

This can cause you to shrink into yourself and become isolated from those around you. [Read: Fear of rejection – how to overcome it]

9. Bad relationships cause more stress

Who would ever want to be in a bad relationship? Nobody. But sometimes, you can’t help it. You just somehow ended up there and became blind to all the red flags they initially showed. As a result, you end up drained – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

You’ll get tired more easily, and you’ll have a harder time coping with everyday affairs. If you’re in a bad relationship, every aspect of your life is affected until you walk away from that relationship *which, admittedly, is easier said than done.* [Read: 15 signs of a bad relationship you should never, ever tolerate]

10. Your mind becomes preoccupied

When love starts to hurt, you will lose focus on other parts of your life. It’s only natural since you’re stuck in a bad experience in the most intimate relationship of your life, then your thoughts become scattered and way too preoccupied.

This means even if you want to do your best and focus on work, you barely can. All you can think about is your bad relationship and how you want to get out, but also don’t want to at the same time.

One of the reasons why love hurts is because you lose your mental capabilities thanks to one bad relationship – that’s how powerful love is. [Read: Is negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and tips to cope]

Things you do that make love hurt more

While a breakup or a rift in the relationship could trigger all the other side effects, there are a few things broken-hearted lovers do that add to the pain and the misery.

1. Isolating yourself from other people

We’ve all been there before. When suffering a breakup, we instantly isolate ourselves from the people we love. Maybe you cry all day in sweatpants, eat a tub of ice cream, and watch insufferable romance movies.

The point is, you push people away, even when they’re just trying to be there for you. It’s one of the ugly things a breakup can do, but it happens. [Read: How to stop pushing people away – why you do this & how to stop it]

2. Self-sabotaging tactics

If you need further evidence on why does love hurt, just look at the ways we make ourselves miserable by relieving the memories. You make yourself suffer more by reminiscing on your memories or by holding on to the hope that they’ll change or love you back.

You refuse to move on, even when the evidence says otherwise in their intentions or feelings for you. Even in a breakup, you see these self-sabotaging tactics all the time through drinking or other unhealthy distractions. [Read: Want to fall in love? Change these self-sabotaging habits]

3. Getting intoxicated

This is the most common way of coping with a breakup. You don’t want to hurt as badly as you’re hurting, so you drown yourself with multiple shots of tequila until their name doesn’t come up in your head anymore until you forget you miss them entirely.

However, getting intoxicated will just lead to the worst hangover ever. It’s not necessarily the best cure for a breakup, but we’re all guilty of it. This is one of the primary examples if you’re asking why does love hurt – the aftermath can leave you broken. [Read: The powerful signs of an alcoholic that reveal a real problem]

4. Getting clingy and persistent

Even when they say they don’t feel the same way or they no longer love you, you persist in forcing yourself into their life. Maybe you think you can change their minds, or you think it’s just the wrong timing so you wait for them.

Why do we do this? Ah, right, love. Even when there’s no reciprocation, we become so stubborn that we force our feelings onto them. [Read: How to not be clingy – rules of clinginess to find your space]

5. You avoid moving on

Even when they’ve repeatedly hurt you and they have no intentions of being good to you, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than back in their life.

This is one of the things that causes love to hurt more, especially when you never use your logic or thinking capacities. You don’t let yourself move on, even when you know you must.

If you really want the pain of a bad romance to fade away, you have to move on instead of experiencing the sick satisfaction of feeling miserable all the time. [Read: Signs your ex is thinking about you]

Why does love hurt exactly?

A study was conducted by the University of Michigan psychologist, Ethan Kross, and Columbia University professors, Walter Mischel and Edward E. Smith, on individuals who had recently broken up. It was seen through brain scans that the pain experienced through heartbreak was the same as pain experienced through physical means.

Painful love does hurt a lot, even though you don’t see any signs of injury physically. The study revealed that your brain sees physical pain and the pain of heartbreak in the same light. [Read: Ways to deal with a complicated relationship]

Heartbreak can be so intense and overwhelming that it completely blocks the logical part of your brain. You know what they say – love makes you do stupid things.

If you’re asking why does love hurt, it’s all because of the ugly and difficult emotions – grief, loss, betrayal, despair, indifference, and pain.

These are the opposite of what the movies portray, which is what makes it so difficult to bear. You can’t avoid the pain of love completely without removing the possibility of love. Again, they’re intertwined with one another. You can, however, alleviate the pain with healthy distractions.

You can even use a rebound relationship to forget all about your past lover and all the exhausting reasons why does love hurt. It’ll fill your mind with happiness like a pleasure drug and make you forget all about your old lover who broke your heart.

But that’s only if you’re willing to move on in the first place. [Read: Rebound relationships and why it’s good for you]

What to do when love hurts

If you’re always in pain, it’s time to sit down and assess if this is the relationship for you.

While many people go through painful phases in their relationship due to temporary problems, if your relationship is a constant cycle of pain, something isn’t quite right.

Take some time out and focus on yourself. It’s a good idea to do some soul-searching and try and pinpoint the problem. That way, you can work toward a solution.

In the end, if that doesn’t work, and if your partner isn’t willing to meet you halfway and improve things, it’s time to wave goodbye. [Read: How to say goodbye to someone you love and find closure and happiness]

How to love more and hurt less in love

At the end of the day, loving more and hurting less entails you being less selfish and apathetic when it comes to your partner’s feelings.

Always remember that it takes two to make a relationship work and neither of you will ever be happy if you keep taking and not giving in return.

Your partner will be drained from all the one-sided effort being put into making the relationship work, so do not be surprised if you find yourself alone one day.

The more effort you put into making your partner happy without compromising the two of you, the more likely your partner will do the same in return. This will lead to a happier and more beneficial relationship for both of you. The key is to embrace the philosophy that calls for loving more and hurting less.

Here are some things that you can embrace and practice once you decide to make a change for the better. [Read: How to prove that you truly love someone the right way]

1. Give up control

In your attempt to make your relationship work, you may cling to your partner without even realizing it. The need to control your loved one is a natural response when trying to steer the relationship somewhere you want it to go.

Whether it is making it through a difficult financial period together, or learning to forgive each other for all of the nasty fights in the past, trying to control a relationship is normal.

You may have the best intentions in mind, but you have to remember that your attempt to control your loved one is hurting them more than anything else.

Love cannot be possessed and it is ridiculous to think that you can own someone’s love. Stop trying to hurt your partner by controlling the flow of the relationship. [Read: 18 relationship turn offs that can ruin your romance!]

2. Be mindful

You should always be mindful of your partner’s feelings. You may think that after years together you know how your spouse behaves, but always remember that he or she is a separate being with personal thoughts and feelings. They are not a reflection of you.

Do not assume that you know what your partner wants just because you have been together for a long time. Your loved one is entitled to his or her own opinions, so be mindful of the things you say and the decisions you make. [Read: 30 naughty questions for couples to keep the spark alive in the relationship]

3. Have an open mind

If you want someone who thinks and behaves exactly as you do, you might as well date yourself. The whole purpose of being in a serious relationship with someone is to fill in the missing pieces and complete yourself.

Although there is a high probability that your loved one shares the same goals and outlook on life as you, he or she should also have the freedom to have different opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints.

Stop trying to change who they are and accept that they may think differently than you.

Whether it is something major like a religious belief, or something small like wanting the living room to be painted eggshell yellow instead of beige, have an open mind and respect your differences, not attack them. [Read: Communication techniques to finally get them to open up to you]

4. Offer support

Whether it is something life-changing, like your husband wanting to give up his high-powered banking position to be a scuba diving instructor, or something small like accompanying your wife to run errands after work, offering your partner support is one of the greatest ways of loving more and hurting less.

When you can selflessly prove that you care about someone else’s happiness and peace of mind more than your own, you will find that good things will come back to you and you will be happy. [Read: How to become a better person in a relationship and be happier too]

5. Say or do something nice daily

You should make an effort to say something nice and appreciative to your partner every day. Even better, couple your sweet words with actions.

Whether it is sincerely telling your husband that you love him and appreciate all that he does for the family, or surprising your wife with a homemade chicken pot pie, saying something nice, and proving that you mean it is the perfect way of loving more and hurting less.

Always remember that if you can appreciate the gesture, your partner probably will, too. Besides, who can ever get mad at you for serving them breakfast in bed or making an effort to change the sheets without being asked to? [Read: 25 of the sweetest romantic gestures to prove your love]

6. Listen, don’t act

Sometimes, all it takes to love more is to listen and not react negatively. Instead of throwing a tantrum and blaming your girlfriend for screwing up the dinner reservations, just accept that a mistake was made and get over it.

You have to give your spouse the freedom to make their own decisions and fix their own mistakes. Be as understanding as you can be by offering them a shoulder to cry on and two ears to listen. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to not do anything at all. [Read: 19 ways on how to be a better listener in a relationship]

7. Make room for change

Do not be afraid of change. As time goes by, we all grow in ways that we never imagined. The discovery of new experiences is a normal part of being human. Never blame your partner for wanting to do something different. Sure, it may be difficult to adjust to a new routine, but sometimes, change may be just what the doctor ordered.

At the very least, you can say that you supported your partner’s decision.

However, only make positive changes. For example, it is fine if your spouse wants a fresh career start and is thinking about moving to a new city. There is nothing wrong with supporting each other in that sense. However, think twice about giving in to your partner if they want to practice an open relationship and sleep around. [Read: 25 conversations all happy couples talk about to understand each other better]

8. Be vulnerable

Get off your high horse and stop the incessant need to be right all the time. There is a reason why some couples just cannot make things work. It is because both parties refuse to give in as they think it is a sign of weakness.

Sometimes, you just have to be the bigger person in an argument. There is nothing wrong with showing your vulnerability and admitting that you are wrong. It proves that you are human and contrary to what you may believe, your partner will love you more than ever before. [Read: 17 aww-so-sweet ways to genuinely say you’re sorry]

9. Share more

Another way to love more and hurt less is to communicate freely. Do not keep things from your partner. Rather, share your hopes, dreams, and faults with them, no matter how unbelievable they may seem.

When you open up the channels of communication, you will encourage your partner to do the same. This will result in an open and honest relationship, unmarred by lies and exaggerations. Just be the best version of yourself and everything will fall into place.

10. Forgive

People make mistakes and your partner is no exception. You have to learn to let go of pent-up anger and forgive your spouse. Whether it is something silly like not giving him hell for forgetting to pick up eggs on his way home, or something more serious like learning to forgive her for sleeping with her ex, forgiveness is the key to a happy relationship.

If you find that you cannot forgive your partner for wronging you, then you have to make the decision to leave because, at the end of the day, you will both be unhappy.

However, do not let your unhappiness stop you from trying as hard as you can to make things right. [Read: Pillow talk conversations that’ll definitely bring both of you much closer!]

11. Use your love pain as an opportunity

What can you learn from the experience and do better next time? It’s time to stop wallowing in your pain and focus on the future. Turn your love pain positive by using it as an opportunity to do better.

Understand your part in the relationship going wrong and understand what you can do better next time. By focusing on this, you can ensure that future relationships improve. Or, if your current relationship survives, you can ensure it doesn’t go bad again.

12. Stop telling the story

Whatever has gone wrong, rehashing it over and over isn’t going to help. You’ll push everyone away and your partner will start to feel blamed at every turn.

Rather than constantly telling the story, look for a solution instead. It’s far better to be proactive than to dwell on the past. After all, you can’t go back and change it, you can only make inroads for the future. [Read: Why am I so unhappy? How to allow happiness to gush into your life]

13. Seek professional help

There is nothing wrong with seeking support from a counselor or psychotherapist. There may be habits you continually make in relationships and at the moment, you can’t see them. A professional can help you understand your triggers and habits and make positive changes for the future.

If your relationship is hanging on by a thread, relationship counseling is a great route forward. Many couples have gone through this process and come out of it much stronger than before.

14. Work on yourself

Rather than dwelling on what has gone wrong, or what is currently going wrong, turn your attention inward. Work on yourself and build your self-confidence. By doing that, you may find that you’re able to solve the problem.

There’s never a downside to self-discovery and self-improvement work. Your partner will be grateful for the positive changes and, if you’re not together anymore, you’ll be happier and more positive as a result of the work you’ve done. [Read: How to focus on yourself]

15. Do regular exercise

The endorphins released during exercise can help to boost your mood and put you in a much more positive mindset. When you’re feeling full of confidence and happiness, it shows in every part of your life, including your relationships.

16. Write down your thoughts

Journaling is a very effective tool for a variety of situations. In relationships, whether you’re still in one or not, journaling can help you identify hidden feelings, your reactions to situations, and your triggers.

You might not be outwardly aware of these, but when you see them written down, it’s hard to ignore them. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is also extremely cathartic and can help you overcome hidden problems. [Read: The real signs of true love in a relationship]

Love hurts but when it works out, it’s amazing

The bottom line is that love hurts because it matters to you. Love made you take a leap of faith with someone, and they broke your heart for whatever reason. That’s when love turns into darkness and despair.

But, don’t allow your experiences to lead to a total unwillingness to love in the future. Your next partner won’t be the same as the last. Real love is worth it!

[Read: What does love feel like? 33 signs what you’re feeling is true and real]

So why does love hurt so much? Love hurts because you had something worthwhile. But you can always choose to move on from this pain and remember the good parts of love instead. 

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...