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Why Does Love Hurt When It Goes Bad? The Truth You Need to Hear

The harsh truth you need to accept is love doesn’t always feel good. Are you often asking yourself why does love hurt? Then keep reading to get answers.

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, telling 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]

Five 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 five most common emotions 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 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 you let your anger control you, then 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: 10 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 maybe you have kids and 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 a 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?]

The bad side effects of bad love

Ever since humans have learned to live in groups, we’ve been hardwired to interact socially and depend on other people, especially our loved ones. When a relationship starts to go bad, your dependency on a really close human bond is threatened, which sets off a panic button in your mind.

1. 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]

2. 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 because of one bad relationship – that’s how powerful love is. [Read: Is negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and tips to cope]

3. Social humiliation

When you’re experiencing a bad relationship or a breakup, you feel like a loser. You may feel more vulnerable and helpless too. You feel like your reputation is affected because you suffered the loss of a relationship when everyone expected things to go smoothly.

Everyone judges you based on the outcome of that relationship, especially if you have mutual friends.

Love by itself doesn’t create all that pain you feel; it’s all these other factors that slowly accumulate over a few days and add to the heartache that can make you feel more miserable. [Read: Care less – Stop giving a dam about what people think]

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, eating a tub of ice cream, and watching 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 8 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 11 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 – 6 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]

Love can hurt just as much as physical pain

In a study 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]

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

The bottom line is, love hurts so much because it mattered enough 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? Aside from the fact that we choose to make ourselves miserable, 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. 

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Jessica Dawson
Jessica Dawson is guilty of using way more emojis than are necessary, and is a lover of all things British. And when she isn’t working on mastering a fake Bri...
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