We’ve all been there, the one you thought you couldn’t live without, leaves you broken hearted, and you feel like you will never get over it. Though predictably, with enough time, the heartache fades. Researchers at the Saint Louis University (SLU) have found that humans may be designed to fall out of love so we can move on to new romantic relationships.
Epidemiologist Dr. Brian Boutwell of SLU says it’s a part of natural selection:
The ability to sever that affection, and attraction, and attachment under certain circumstances would have benefited our ancestors in kind of the ancestral path in our lineage.
Boutwell suggests that human beings have a mechanism builded into our brain that is specifically designed by natural selection to help us through rough times in our lives, suggesting the pain will fade with time. The ability to end a relationship and begin a new one is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Some people might have more problems with moving on than others, and for some falling out of love is easier.
The reasons for ending a relationship are different for men and women. More often men ended a relationship if their partner was sexually unfaithful, whilst women would often end their relationships if their partner was emotionally unfaithful. The researchers state that this is also due to evolution. Men are attuned to avoid raising children not their own, whilst women are looking for partners who will provide for them and their offspring.
Falling out of love and cocaine addiction
By taking MRI scans, Boutwell and his colleagues also found that the same area of your brain shows increased neuronal activity when you are dealing with heartache, as when it gets stimulated by cocaine use. Boutwell further said that a cocaine addict going through the process of beating his addiction could experience the same sort of emotions as when people fall out of love. Making a conscious effort to quite a harmful habit could therefore be similar to trying to move on after a break-up.