When it comes to heartbreak, there are generally two schools of thought. One side believes that it should be avoided at all costs, while the other argues that experiencing heartbreak is essential to being able to appreciate real love (no pleasure without pain, right?).
Still, let’s be clear—no matter your opinion, heartbreak sucks. And there’s no timeline for how long it takes to heal.
There’s a reason heartbreak feels so painful. According to a TED Talk by psychologist Guy Winch, brain studies show that when we experience withdrawal of romantic love, it activates the same mechanisms in our brain that occur when drug addicts are withdrawing from addictive substances. What’s more, research also shows that rejection can drastically reduce our IQ, leading us to irrational and self-destructive behaviors that we wouldn’t usually be prone to, like, say, dramatic drunk texting.
We also have a tendency to idealize the person we’re heartbroken over and forget about all the things that actually weren’t so great in the relationship. So Winch suggests making a list of all the negative aspects of that person or relationship and keeping on your phone. Whenever you feel a wave nostalgia for the relationship approaching, whip out your phone and read over the list to remind yourself of all the ways that person was wrong for you.
But don’t spend too much time over-analyzing why things didn’t work out—try to accept it and move on. A great way to do that? Keep busy and focus on doing things you love and spending time with friends who make you feel good about yourself. It might even be a good opportunity to take up that hobby you’ve always been wanting to try that your ex-significant other wasn’t into (admit it, their taste was terrible).Read more about how to mend a broken heart.