A new study shows that physical pain and the pain one feels after rejection – such as, after a painful breakup – both hurt in the same way. The horrible way we feel after a bad breakup actually triggers the same “pain” processing pathways in the brain as those that are triggered when one spills very hot coffee on your arm.
“We demonstrate that when rejection is powerfully elicited—by having people who recently experienced an unwanted break-up view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected—areas that support the sensory components of physical pain … become active,” the study says. “We demonstrate the overlap between social rejection and physical pain in these areas by comparing both conditions in the same individuals using functional MRI.”
“These results give new meaning to the idea that social rejection ‘hurts,’” Dr. Ethan Kross, PhD of the University of Michigan, and other researchers said in their study. The findings shows “that social rejection and physical pain are similar not only in that they are both distressing, they share a common representation in somatosensory brain systems as well.”
So in the case of a breakup, there are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t experience this pain – or, at the very least, minimize it.
For one, our marriage and family therapist and author, Dr. Pat Allen, recommends one should recognize the three types of dating and their differences: Duty Dating®, real dating, and courtship. She also cautions women, “it’s especially important to know what the deal is before you have sex, don’t commit premature monogamy. That’s what happens when women are under the influence of oxytocin. You’re quick to attach to someone who you don’t even know. Think about this: a sociopath can screw your brains out before you even know he’s a sociopath. Get to know someone before you bond.”
For more relationship advice:
For more from Dr. Pat Allen:
- A Must See! Watch Our Relationship Expert Dr. Pat Allen on “The Millionaire Matchmaker”
- The Three Types of Dating
- The Power of ‘No’
- Dr. Pat Allen: Do You Want to Get Laid or Paid
- The Reason for ‘Duty Dates’
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