Can someone get over an ex immediately after a break-up?
Yes, especially if he or she had emotionally “moved on” even while you were still in the relationship. This usually happens due to so many problems in the relationship that killed the attraction and that feeling of being in love.
Can someone fall in love with someone else soon after a break up?
Yes. Some of these relationships are rebound relationships but not all of them are (please read my post: Facts About Rebound Relationships [Will It Last and Can You Get Back Your Ex?])
But there is another reason why some people move in and out of relationships with a speed and comfort level that can leave most people quite shocked. Just days after a “break-up”, they are gushing about someone new they are involved with.
According to experts, more than just being in love with a person, many people are in love or infatuated with the idea of romance. To put it simply, they are more in love with the idea of being in love than with the person they are involved with. Terming it as an addiction, experts in fact, say that in many cases, this addiction can indeed turn out to be quite a serious problem, one that has serious consequences on their love life and their ability to form long-lasting relationships.
An addiction? Yes. Scientists have used this term to describe the condition because for these people, a romantic rejection triggers the same effect on the brain as does kicking an addiction like drugs, nicotine, caffeine, etc. “In medical terminology, this condition is called limerence (an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person) and yes, it definitely does exists,” says clinical psychologist and counsellor, Varkha Chulani. She adds that for those addicted to love, the concept of being in love is more alluring than actually loving the other person. “They visualise conditions that do not exist, perceive things that are not actually there and fall in love because of these wrong reasons. Unfortunately, after some time the love begins to fade out,” she explains.
A study was recently conducted on 15 college-aged volunteers (10 women and 5 men) who had all recently experienced a break-up, but were still in love with the person who had rejected them. They found that the imagination of their former partners activate the victim’s brain region associated with addiction cravings, control of emotions, feelings of attachment and physical pain and distress.
Biological anthropologist and author of the study Helen E Fisher of the Rutgers University, New Jersey opines that romantic love is an addiction. “It’s a very powerfully wonderful addiction when things are going well and a perfectly horrible addiction when things are going poorly,” she says.
In the experiment, participants were shown images of their former lovers and asked to recall memories of their time together. As a comparison, their brain activity was also measured when they looked at neutral images of acquaintances. Researchers found that when shown pictures of a former loved one, the brain reacted in the ventral tegmental area — the area associated with ‘motivation and reward’. The scientists say the results provide insight into why it might be hard for some people to get over a break up and why some people take extreme steps like committing homicide and suicide after a failed relationship.
Defining love addiction, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, Seema Hingorrany says, “Just like in any addiction the person is unwilling to let go off the thing they are hooked on to, a love addicted gets so obsessed with the idea of being in love that it starts hampering their self esteem and confidence. Their behaviour, actions, etc depends on the other persons opinions and vies. Also, even if the couple splits, the one who is addicted to love is not able to forget the partner and let go of him/her,” she explains.
So what’s the solution? According to Varkha, love addicts need a sensible education in love and loving. “This way they can unlearn all their pre-conceived notions about love,” she says. Seema adds saying, “Love addicts must first learn to love themselves. That apart, they have to learn to draw limits and boundaries for themselves. If one is going through a crisis, divert your attention or distract yourself by cultivating a hobby to keep your mind occupied.”
You are addicted to love if…
- You are excessively attracted to and idolize your partner.
- Your talks always revolve around his/her activities.
- You dwell in a fantasy world with your partner.
- Family and friends become second priority.
- You feel complete only when you are in a relationship.
- You live in the constant fear of being abandoned or rejected by your partner.
- You are highly insecure about your relationship and remain depressed.
- You tend to get suicidal when a relationship doesn’t work out.
- You abruptly switch to a new relationship after a break-up.
- You fail to draw a demarcating line between ‘love’ and ‘sex’.
- You normally turn a blind eye to the glaring problems in your relationship.