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They Call It a Breakup Because It Is Broken
Untitled Document


Learn How to Come to Terms With A Recent Breakup

The end of a relationship with another human being is always a difficult time. The better you liked them and the more time you spent with them, the harder life without them is initially going to be.

However, think about it this way: most relationships you have in life are going to come to an end before you do. Learning how to deal with the absence of loved ones in our lives, sudden or otherwise, is a skill that every human should learn. We will all need it, many times over.

One of the more difficult life experiences to wade through is the separation of lovers. As we all know, the more you have loved someone, the more the separation will hurt. You thought your relationship was special; turns out it was just like the rest. You wonder if you will ever find anyone again who understands you as well. You doubt your own self-worth. You cry, eat chocolate, and gain weight.

But in the midst of your doldrums- because you have to go through them- remember this:

They call it a breakup because it is broken.

It is only recently that humans have been living in what we think of as “civilization”. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans lived mostly in small, nomadic tribes, and the loss of an important social relationship and the network around it could lead to death, particularly for a female. Outcast males could far more easily survive in the wild on their own by hunting, gathering and scavenging. But an abandoned female would quite often have dependent children, be pregnant, or both. The same survival skills would have been much more difficult to achieve. Try hunting a lion- or picking berries, for that matter- with two toddlers and a bout of morning sickness. Maintaining relationships was often a matter of life and death for our ancient sisters.

So human females evolved to have more of the “bonding hormone,” oxytocin, in their brains. This is the hormone associated with cuddling, partner bonding, and parent-child love. Oxytocin is what floods your brain when you are sleeping in each other’s arms and that warm and fuzzy feeling of togetherness overwhelms you.

Women are powerhouses of oxytocin. Relationships are important to us; we are the glue that holds families and communities together. And when they end, we feel it the most. We hurt more deeply because we were more attached in the first place, thanks to an overabundance of this bonding hormone. It is science, but that doesn’t mean it is fair.

Males, on the other hand, are far more likely to move on quickly after the demise of a relationship and to find another woman to fill the gap. Like many male mammals, after a stressful experience (like a breakup), the human male will mate with the first willing female he encounters- blond or otherwise. For female mammals, a stressful experience makes us NOT want to mate, for we know that getting pregnant right after a trauma is not the best idea.

The loss of an intimate partner, of your social network, and of your very identity can be overwhelming to swallow. But suffering through these losses are still better than trying to hold something that you know is broken together with memories of happier times used like fraying strings, wrapped around bits of the present in a desperate attempt to recreate a lost reality. But those times are gone. It is time to move on.

If you believed that he was the one for you, then your belief system has just been turned on its head. That is a hard thing to go through alone. The man you once championed to the world has now become a jerk- how embarrassing. Your family may want you to get back together with him. YOU may want to get back together with him. But he was not right for you. Why? Because you broke up, and it is better to spend your days alone than with the wrong person.

They call it a break up because it is broken.

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Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.

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