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Why Do Breakups Hurt?

Understanding Attachment Styles Helps Explain the Pain.

written by Dr. Erin Leonard November 27, 2018
Why Do Breakups Hurt?

The pain a break-up induces doesn’t necessarily correlate with the quality of the relationship. As a couples therapist, I often hear:

The relationship wasn’t that great, so why am I so heartbroken?

The angst caused by a breakup is a result of several different factors which often relate to the concept of attachment.

How a Person Shows Attachment

Attachment is an individual’s style of relating to their partner in a relationship. It stems from a person’s early experiences with a parent. If a parent was consistently responsive to a person’s early needs then the person believes they are worthy of love. They have a secure sense of self and are able to access deeper emotions because they are secure. For example, their experience of empathy allows them to be empathic. They are able to trust and understand their partner’s perspective and feelings. Caring deeply for their partner, they attach heartily.

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