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When love Hurts

By - | December 15th 2012

On rejection, the same hormones that fanned love intensify causing ardent passion, fear and anxiety, compelling one to protest and try to secure their departed love, writes Perpetua Wangeri

There comes a time when love goes awry and one has to go through the agony of romantic rejection. 

Mark, just got dumped by his dream girl and knows only too well the pain of nursing a bleeding heart. 

“I feel very low… it feels like my heart has been torn apart. I can’t focus on work, I am avoiding my friends and I don’t care about sports anymore. It’s hard...  and the worst time of the day is night-time, because I can’t sleep. I think about her all the time… it’s like she has taken over my mind,” says Mark with a quivering voice.

Martha’s boyfriend dumped her over a year ago. She has since recovered from the initial intensity of heartbreak.

“I felt sad and alone and I cried all the time.  I felt sickand stopped taking my meals.  It was like my insides were being pulled apart. My lowest moments were when I saw something or someone that reminded me of Patrick… it just intensified the loss.”

Rejection by a lover can be profoundly painful. Spurned lovers may go to great lengths to reconnect with their former lovers.

Mark, who is in his third week of romantic anguish, shares. “Whenever I call her, she sounds cold and detached… this hurts my feelings… sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the desire to have her back. I remember tender moments in our relationship, like how her head used to rest on my chest… I’m six feet three inches tall, and she was just six inches shorter… we were the perfect-dancing partners and our chemistry was palpable. She aroused strong feelings in me I never knew existed. She is very feminine and soft… Oh… I miss the feel of her softness.”

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Martha also pleaded with Patrick, those first few months after the break up.

“I blamed myself and pleaded with him to take me back. I told him I would be a better girlfriend. I took baking classes, knowing how much he loves cake. When I took the cake to his office, he was only mildly impressed. His eyes that once regarded me with interest and desire avoided mine. His lips that once took pleasure in mine were stretched tight with unease.  Dejected, I walked five kilometres to my house, in my six inch heels, arriving with bruised feet and a shredded heart.”

When in love, the body reacts by producing hormones that gives one the exciting feeling of being in love. 

Anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher notes that it is ironic that when one is rejected, the very chemicals that contribute to feelings of romance intensify ardent passion, fear and anxiety and compel one to protest and try to secure the departing loved one. She terms this as separation anxiety.

A dejected lover may also suffer from intense anger towards the departing lover. Martha remembersthis only too well

“On getting home, I tore up all the cake recipes and threw away the baking utensils. I cried angry tears. I was so enraged at Patrick that the intensity of it shocked me. I loathed him as intensely as I had longed for him.”

Breaking  hearts soon turn to despair and resignation. A Chinese poet in the 8th Century wrote, “I am exhausted by longing.” Eventually the disappointed lover gives up and they plummet into hopelessness.

Crimes of passion

At this stage, Fisher notes that men and women respond differently to shattered love.

Men who tend to be more dependent on their romantic partners may turn to alcohol, drugs and reckless driving. They are less likely to reveal their pain and hide the anguish in their inner mental core.

Some men become depressed, and others are more dramatic in expressing their anguish.

Women are twice as likely to suffer depression. Rejected women sob, lose weight, sleep too much or not at all, lose interest in sex, withdraw socially and have trouble concentrating. Women can talk for hours about their pain, and others may also write about it.

Some people are unable to let go of their departed lovers and may commit crimes of passion such as stalking or harming themselves or their loved ones.

Eventually, many broken hearted lovers are able to let go, as this Poet Henry King once wrote We must in tears, unwind a love knit up in many years, In this last kiss I here surrender thee, Back to thyself. Lo thou go again art free.

On recovering from a broken heart to find happiness again, Martha flashes a lovely hopeful smile.

“After the intensity of the heart break, I picked myself up, let go and moved on. I’m dating someone exciting. The future looks promising.”


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