Why Do Our Brains Go Into Obsessed-Mode After Being Jilted?

Why Do Our Brains Go Into Obsessed-Mode After Being Jilted?

By: Olympia Villagrán -

January is often referred as the most depressing month of the year. Perhaps it’s the cold, the uncertainty of the beginning year, or even the fact that several people ended a relationship before the start of the New Year. That being said, there doesn’t seem to be a season or month when anyone would like to have their partner break up with them. Being rejected in love is one of the most complex situations any of us will ever go through.

A recent study on the reason why the one who is left behind wishes they could still be with the one who left has led researchers to discovering this is a biological situation. The more someone is rejected, the more anxiety is produced. So, the more our ex refuses to see or reason with us, the greater our obsession for them becomes.  According to the research published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, love can become an addiction as powerful as any.

love rejection obsession breakup

The study

Helen Fisher, anthropologist and biologist from Rutgers University, led the study with other colleagues who analyzed the brain of 15 subjects who had recently gone through breakups. All the participants had been in a relationship for an average of two years and had been dumped by their partners for less than two months.

Each subject had to look at a picture of their ex and then observe that of a stranger. While they looked at the images, they were asked to count backwards, so that the areas of the brain that were not connected to emotion would also activate.

The results

Researchers discovered the highest brain activity to light up during the experiment was the one related to deep addiction, such as cocaine. In other words, a partner’s rejection and our attempts to get over it, create psychological and physiological reactions that are as real as they are important.

love rejection obsession breakups

The obsession

The impulses that make us miss and want that person can lead us down a damaging obsession. From it a series of toxic actions towards both parties can be derived. When someone does not deal with the rejection, unhealthy behaviors such as stalking, desperation, pain, depression, or denial can occur.

The solution

Just like there is no better way to cure substance abuse as abstinence, curing an emotional rejection requires of the same. No contact, as well as avoiding the ex at all cost, as well as anyone or anything that can reminds us of them. Eventually this isolation will helps us stop having these feelings for our former love.

love rejection obsession

On the other hand, new experiences and distractions are the best way to switch our anxiety for a dose of dopamine. Anything we find new or fun will make our brain release this substance, not unlike the feeling of being in love, except this time our euphoria will be towards life.

The more rejection, the more anxiety we feel, which is why avoiding more rejection is the best way to get rid of that obsession that keeps us from going forward. This means no calls, texts, dates, meetings, or anything that can lead us to begging or facing our former love who no longer wants us. Eventually we’ll be able to get our brain to realize that we are no longer in love. Like any other addiction, love can turn into a dependency that can only be won over through abstinence.



Translated by María Suárez