She was the chosen one. From 23 women, Fleur Verhoeven was selected by The Bachelor's Jordan Mauger as his "true love". But just 72 hours later, Verhoeven had been dumped.

Relationship expert Jill Goldson shares some advice for those who are struggling in the aftermath of a break up - unexpected or otherwise. Reality TV heartbreaks raise issues about how to manage these emotions in everyday life.


What do we need to know after a break up? When our chemistry is telling us that there was only one person out there for us and they have just vanished?

Being in love can do a lot of really weird things to your body and your brain and the challenge is that you have to keep trying to be functional, despite the seismic shifts and tsunamis of chemicals and hormones.


Love Hurts

Heartbreak is real - research has shown that intense or traumatic events such as break-ups can contribute to real physical pain in a person's heart. A condition called Broken Heart Syndrome - is known to create chest pains and shortness of breath - with a discomfort akin in intensity to a shattered elbow or a toothache.

UCLA Professor Naomi Eisenberger found that physical pain and the pain of loss share the same brain circuitry.

A love relationship is a physiological process. Limbic regulation - where two mammals become attuned to each other's inner states - is central to the survival of the young. A disturbance to this synchronised dance between mates - choreographed by our brain chemistry - can leave us bereft and in deep pain.

Science tells us that the brain's craving for the lost love is identical to that of an addict seeking the dopamine rush of their drug. The heartbroken become desperate to find a way to get that person to return to their lives. This can result in frantic texts, letters, sightings - and phone calls just to hear the voice again on the answer machine. Heart rate and body temperature increase, adrenaline like hormones and stress hormones elevate alertness and activity. Feeling wired is an understatement.

Compulsive longing struggles with good cognitive judgement. The heart and the brain might seem to be pulling in different directions.

READ MORE: •The Bachelor breaks silence on dumping

News from Science

Our fallibility and vulnerability results from being human and connected. The particular form of misery created by heartbreak touches most of us at some point.

Responses to the client or friend whose heart is broken can range from telling people to buck up and find a hobby to pathologising the deep despair with labels about grief and victimhood.


Research indicates a better way thorough, which good therapists have long known about. This is about working compassionately and in a focused way with the sufferer.

Facilitating an understanding about why rejection hurts so much - and how to manage it - is a proven road to quelling the intense pain. The good news is that we are wired to survive heartbreak even though it certainly does not feel like this at the time.

The pain of heartbreak is tapped into our evolutionary code. We are bidden to create and maintain social - between mates and within communities - because this is correlated with survival. A breaking heart leaves us in no doubt of this evolutionary tool -and if we didn't realise it before, we never again forget just how over riding is the significance of attachment to our psychology.

So the pain slows us down - and once the eye of the storm has subsided - contemplation and growth appear as green shoots growing up and around the smashed concrete.

Possibilities we could not guess at whilst hurting so much can become realistic goals once more.

We are built to love, and to love again - or as the Yiddish saying goes "There's a lid for every pot".

The more we can glean via the explosion of scientific evidence about the brain, and its existing strengths, the more we can encourage each other towards wellbeing and resilience.

There is a biological reality underlying romance - and a potent healing force in the understanding.

Tips for getting over heartbreak

• Treat the pain as an addiction
• Be in touch with others whom you love - the internal opiate release will help
• Try for new localities, bars, cafes, and routes to work
• Therapeutic counselling can help
• Endorphins via exercise will reduce pain
• Time heals - not a myth - the activity in the brain region linked with attachment will gradually subside
• Specific medications can help weaken the pain of heartache when it is overwhelming

Debate on this article is now closed.