9 Painful Reasons Why Love Hurts So Much

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Why is love so painful?

Why does love hurt so much?

Surely, of all the emotions you experience, love should be the one that is free from pain?

Unfortunately not.

Whilst love may be a feature of your relationship, it is just one thread in the emotional and mental tapestry that makes up a romantic connection.

Love is bound to these other aspects of your relationship, and so when you feel pain whilst in love, you associate that pain with the love.

The reasons for this pain are many…

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1. No one can meet your fantasy expectations of perfection.

The early stages of a relationship are not concerned with love, but lust.

And lust leaves you blind to the imperfections of your new partner.

But lust soon fades and you are confronted with the stark realities of who this new person in your life really is.

You fell in lust with the fantasy person you have in your mind, and are then disappointed when you realize that your partner cannot live up to that fantasy.

This is painful because…

2. Acceptance is difficult.

Once you are free from the rose-tinted glasses of lust and can see more clearly, you realize that you are going to have to accept your new partner’s many flaws (as you perceive them).

But acceptance doesn’t come easy.

You may clash with your partner’s imperfections and seek to get rid of them.

You may try to change the other person to better fit the fantasy you had in your mind.

The hurt then comes in the form of…

a) Your partner’s inability to change as you would like.

b) Your inability to accept them for who they are.

Your conscious mind may be focussed on the first of these.

You may find your partner irritating in ways you never would have imagined when first lusting after them.

The second of these sources of pain may be deeper and less obvious.

Somewhere in your unconscious, you will feel very uneasy about the negative reactions you have to your partner’s flaws.

This is because you, too, feel the pain of not being accepted for who you are.

As you struggle to accept them, they will undoubtedly struggle to accept you.

They will rub up against your personality, your desires, your ways of doing things.

You will ask yourself why they can’t just accept you the way you are.

And the challenge of accepting one another will be the source of significant anguish.

The inevitable consequence of all this is…

3. You will hurt your partner.

Whether you like it or not, you will cause pain to the person you love.

It’s guaranteed in any relationship.

You will say or do things that hurt their feelings, intentionally or otherwise.

When you hurt someone, that hurt reflects back on you.

You believe you shouldn’t be capable of inflicting such pain on them because love should conquer all… or so you’ve been told.

But love can’t hold back the tide of emotion forever.

Eventually, the inevitable clashes that occur when two people form a bond will surface.

This conflict hurts not just because you feel attacked, but also because you realize you are capable of attacking the person you love.

This realization may shock you, and suddenly…

4. You doubt whether this person is right for you.

How can this person be right for you if you are capable of hurting each other?

What if there is someone out there who really is perfect for you?

These sorts of thoughts are painful.

They pull you this way and that, tearing you apart as you wrestle with them.

Doubt hurts because you fear you might be settling for less than you deserve or desire.

Every time your partner does something that you don’t like, these niggling thoughts enter your mind.

Or you might obsess about the suitability of your partner constantly. This steals away your inner peace – more pain follows.

Overthinking can also be a problem when… 

5. You are anxious about the future of your relationship.

What does the future hold for you and your partner?

Will it be happy?

Will it live up to the expectations and dreams you have?

Will the relationship be fulfilling in the long term?

Because you can never know the answer to these questions, you might fret and worry about what lies ahead of you.

Yours might be the type of mind that drifts toward the negative. If so, your anxiety might be great.

Maybe you worry that your partner will fall out of love with you.

Or that they will be unfaithful.

Perhaps you fear being trapped in a long term relationship that you don’t feel works for you, but that you don’t know how to get out of.

Every second that you spend thinking such thoughts is a second that you suffocate the love you feel.

You might do this because…

6. You project past pain onto your current relationship.

If you’ve been hurt in the past – whether by a romantic partner or by some other loved one such as a parent – it’s easy to bring that pain into a new relationship.

You may project that pain onto your partner.

This pain has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you and your past.

You may know this from a rational perspective, but you struggle to not let it feed into how you think and act toward them.

You may distrust them because of a betrayal you suffered previously.

You may assume they will abandon you because that’s what an important figure from your past did.

You may feel like you’re not good enough for your partner because a previous lover emotionally abused you and made you feel that way.

This pain has its roots in other parts of your life, but the branches can grow and slowly block out the light shining on your current relationship.

This, among other things, means that…

7. Love can be overwhelming.

For most people, finding someone to love and share their life with is a key aspect of life.

But love, with all of the things that come with it, might sometimes be more than you can take.

It can literally overwhelm your mind to the point where it hurts to even think about it.

You may feel the need to withdraw from your partner and find some space to breathe.

Being overwhelmed about anything is hard enough, but it’s worse when it comes to love.

We’re led to believe that love is good, that love is easy, that love is joyful.

So you think you must be doing something wrong if you can’t handle the very thing you so desire.

Of course, it’s not love itself that brings you pain, but all the other stuff.

But it’s impossible to separate love from everything else, and so you associate the pain you’re feeling with the love that you feel.

This is partly because…

8. Love shines a light on all that is imperfect.

Love in total isolation is perfect.

You probably experience moments of this bliss from time to time.

But, as mentioned above, it’s rare to be able to separate love from everything else.

In fact, it’s often because of those moments of perfect bliss that you come to notice all that is imperfect.

Love shines a light on your own imperfections as you attempt to forge a life with someone else.

Love highlights all those things in your life that you may not be happy with.

Suddenly, you realize how impatient a person you can be, or how stubborn you are.

Or maybe you recognize that the way you are living your life is not in tune with who you are at your core.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Love challenges you to be a better, kinder, more compassionate person.

Love pushes you to lead a life that fulfills your soul.

The realization of all that is imperfect in you and your life is painful.

It wounds the ego, which believes itself to be perfect.

It challenges your own perceptions about who you are.

It causes you to rethink that which you were previously so certain of.

And this is accompanied by another realization that…

9. Change is painful.

Love drives change in many ways.

Not only the changes within yourself discussed above, but practical changes to your life in general.

New relationships can turn your life upside down.

A new person becomes the focus of a great deal of your time and emotional energy.

Other relationships can suffer.

Parts of your life that you could once dedicate time to are no longer such a priority.

Watching yourself change and your life change can be daunting. It can cause conflicting feelings.

This inner turmoil is not pleasant. But growth rarely is.

Because that’s what love stimulates – growth.

Call it change if you wish, but growth is a better way to describe it.

Love challenges you to grow as a person.

It drives you to work on your flaws.

It pushes you to improve your life and the lives of those you care about.

None of this comes easy. Growth almost always means some level of pain.

What can ease the pain of love?

It’s been said already, but it’s worth repeating: love itself is not the cause of your pain.

That pain comes from all of the thoughts and feelings that accompany love.

But there is a remedy for your pain: love.

Wait? What?

How can love ease the pain of love?

Read the first sentence of this section again: love is not the cause of your pain.

Quite the opposite.

It’s during those times when the love is being drowned out by everything else that you feel pain.

By focusing your mind wholly on the love you feel for someone, you can slowly begin to silence the cacophony of noise in your mind.

This will allow the love to re-establish itself and for the pain you feel to dissipate.

If you only take one thing from this article, let it be this: love is the solvent in which all pain dissolves.

Bring your mind back to love again and again and the hurt and pain will subside.

Are there issues in your relationship that are causing you pain? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.