Crazy little thing called heartache
Broken hearts are just bumps on the long road of life.
We are led into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other – and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived.
How does it feel to lose the game of love?
For many of us, love and loss often come as a package deal. It seems that sooner or later, anyone who plays with love’s flame is bound to get burned. And it hurts.
But heartache isn’t just in your head. It’s actually in your brain. Neuroscientists have shown that romantic rejection triggers the same regions of the brain that are associated with physical pain. That burn seems quite real.
Developer Sean Wenham also went through a painful breakup.
Over the following three years, he channelled his experience into his project The End of the World by Sean Wenham. The game unfolds like a movie, recalling his past relationship through flashbacks. When his girlfriend leaves, she takes the warmth of this world with her. The choices you make in this open-ended game determine whether Sean overcomes his sorrow and moves on.
The End of the World by Sean Wenham
How do you mend a broken heart?
One way is keeping a diary.
In a 2015 study conducted by psychologists from Northwestern University and the University of Arizona, a total of 210 people who had recently experienced a breakup were split into two groups.
The first group was asked to fill out a questionnaire on their feelings about the breakup, followed by a four-minute interview involving questions such as “at what point did you realise you would break up with your partner?”
The second group was only asked to fill out the questionnaire, and the process was repeated every three weeks for a total of nine weeks.
The results showed the first group, which was asked to more closely reflect on their experiences, proved to have stronger 'self-concept clarity'. In other words, they were more in tune with themselves, and dealing with their breakups better.
During a relationship, many aspects of both partners’ lives become intertwined.
That’s why after a breakup, questions such as “who am I?” or “how should I spend my time?” are suddenly more difficult to answer. Dr. David Sbarra, who co-authored the study, believes that repeated reflection helps in dealing with the emotions that follow and boosting self-awareness.
Putting the focus on you instead of the breakup and exercises like mindfulness can help gain emotional calm while avoiding a relapse into painful thoughts.
Does love always need a happy ending? No.
In the interactive story game Florence, the 25-year-old titular heroine is living a dull, ordinary life – until she meets cello player Krish and the two quickly fall head over heels in love. But eventually, they decide to split. Torn photo fragments foreshadow their doomed relationship.
And yet, the romance rekindles Florence’s teenage dream of becoming a painter, allowing this former lovebird to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Remember that Cantopop hit Club Broken Heart? The melody is so upbeat that it doesn’t sound at all like a breakup song. But in its own cheerful way, the tune reminds us to keep it all in perspective, and that broken hearts are just bumps on the long road of life.