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What Does a Heartbreak Feel Like? (17 Ways You Should Expect To Feel)

If for whatever reason, your heartbreaks, whether the end of a romantic relationship or the death of a loved one, feel almost similar. Physical pain from heartbreaks is real, sometimes the hurt feels like a hard lump in your throat or a burn in your chest that is almost impossible to bear and that’s completely normal. 

Physical symptoms can differ from person to person as we do not express hurt the same way. Feelings and emotions during this sad depressing period are valid. The simple treatment is to go through the grieving process one day at a time.

No doubt, a heartbreak hurts and might even be physically painful like heart attack-like symptoms. Of course, it makes sense because you’re heartbroken. Your feelings will be heavy to carry. Furthermore, there would be no sense of motivation to live, especially if you lost a loved one. When it gets like this, I advise you to breathe outside once in a while. 

There’s a risk of falling into drug abuse after a breakup. This is because lives have been lost as a result of emotional pain. In this article, I have written out seventeen answers to the many questions running through your brain including the question ‘What does a heartbreak feel like?'. I hope my answers help put a pin on your feelings after a breakup.

17 Ways You Might Feel After A Heartbreak

1. It feels like withdrawal

The only thing that makes sense during this period is the desire to withdraw from everyone and anything. The physical pain sends a shock to your body, especially if you lost someone. You feel like hibernating and even though you’re outside you maintain a physical space and mental space from the people around you. 

For a while, nothing will make sense in your brain and that is a sign that you are in trouble. Your body and hormones would play a lot of tricks that make you wonder if life is real. I know it hurts but hang in there, honey. More often people in this broken situation after bad relationships often experience withdrawal.

2. Depression

It doesn’t only feel like it, chances are you will be depressed whilst going through a bad breakup or the loss of someone you love. Your brain will undergo a lot of mental stress during this process. It is best you seek expert advice when the symptoms begin to threaten your life. 

Pay close attention to your body because it is about experiencing a strong wave of weirdness. Keep in mind most of the physical pain is a signal from your brain. So, try to control your thoughts as much as you can or these symptoms your body is showing will get worse.

3. Drawing in stress hormones

This is almost something like the period hormones—only no period, just pain, discomfort, and unhappiness. Actively try to build a new relationship (especially with yourself) and make time to examine the way that you feel currently. No matter how down you may feel, nothing is beyond repair. At some point after the heartbreak, with enough time, you will be normal again. 

Grief may never hurt the same way always. When you’re in love, your brain produces neurochemicals that make you feel happy. However, when you are heartbroken those chemicals are out of your system leaving you open to stress hormones.

4. Weight loss or gain

Be prepared to either lose your appetite or stress eat your way out of a heartbreak. Either way, it will affect your weight through your eating habits. Yes, all that comfort food will show up in your waistline. 

Weight gain after a relationship crash is not the end of the world, although I recommend hitting the gym during the process so all that energy is channeled towards a healthy body goal. Grief can affect your body by slowing down metabolism or increasing it above normal. This is a sign of undue stress on our bodies and most doctors will recommend us to relax.

5. Losing your sense of identity

This pain has the ability to make you feel lost. According to scientific research and numerous doctor’s reports, it’s been found that a person can question their identity after a terrible breakup. Perhaps, you were very dependent on your partner during the relationship and he walked you through really important phases of your life. That bond is hard to let go of. 

You have to rediscover yourself again, preferably without a partner. Partners have a strong effect on how we see ourselves whether we admit it or not. The end of a relationship could be the beginning of an existential crisis if you are not careful. You may never find yourself again.

6. You want to be alone

you want to be alone

If you have been broken before, you would agree with me on this. The pain makes you crave loneliness which is the opposite of what you need. Yes, take time off but do not dwell in the dark for too long. It can consume you. 

Make yourself a list of fun exciting things to do with your girls, sleepovers, night-outs, and things that would make you feel alive. Find a new hobby if you have to and if you still feel the weight, join a support group and find your people. Grieving together could speed up the healing process.

7. Progress comes in tiny doses

I wish I was told this when I went through my first bad breakup. I honestly expected to feel better in about a day or two and hated myself for not. If I had read somewhere that progress would come in small doses and that on some days you may not see any changes. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself. 

Taking it easy during this process helps you make better decisions for yourself that are not based on how you feel at the moment. Accept that the feeling is normal and understand that this may not be the last time you will feel suffocated as long as you keep putting your heart out there. 

Loving isn’t a bad thing. It's beautiful and if we must keep loving, we should prepare to be broken by it.

8. It will never end

This is a lie. Stop telling it to yourself or else you may believe it. If you ignore your suffering, the scar will heal in a few weeks and you’ll be able to breathe again. However, if you don’t, it remains a fresh wound. The pain can only go on forever when you let it control you but you are stronger than your feelings. 

Nobody is worth the weight of a broken heart and I am sure the people you love would want what is best for you. It will eventually hurt less after a while. At some point, you may even laugh about the memories. Take it easy on yourself and be open to a new chapter of your life.

9. Your brain interprets it as physical pain

Most of the pain we feel when we are broken is transmitted to us by our brains. So, when it feels like a heart attack, it might not necessarily be one. It’s important to control your thoughts when your heart is broken. Those negative thoughts are signals you subconsciously send to your brain to cause pain. 

Grief is a very delicate emotion that can completely mess with a person’s mental health. I recommend seeing an expert when the pain gets a little too unbearable or causes you to act out of character.

10. It feels like suffocation

I know this feeling too well. It feels like there’s something blocking your windpipe. Everyone in the world is fine but you are just running out of oxygen. Everything is fine. Take deep breaths or use a paper bag over your mouth if you have to. Try to declutter your thoughts by listening to soothing music. It always helped me through hard days. 

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What you should also do is get your dopamine levels up by spending less time alone grieving. Get out there and feel alive. Distract your mind from the source of pain for as long as you can.

11. So much anxiety

Anxiety is a strong feeling of nervousness. It happens when you wonder about something with an uncertain outcome. 

Usually, the anxiety comes from the worry about how you can move on with your life after a bad separation or the loss of someone you love. It took me a while but I developed the habit of doing less about things beyond my control and it gave me so much peace. 

As much as we decide our future, most of tomorrow is unknown and beyond our control. Resist the temptation to map out the future and focus on what is happening around you now so that you can be at peace.

12. It feels like social rejection

it feels like social rejection

They say breakup is a bitch and she’s bigger than karma. That’s right. Most people would rather fall off a bridge than have their heart broken by someone they love for fear that the pain from failed love is worse. It makes you feel less of yourself, like an unwanted person. 

It would rip your self-confidence to shreds and break your heart into smithereens. Only strong women survive the process. Keep your head up. You are perfect and one day you will get it right with love and take your time. 

13. It crushes your soul

This feeling is mostly about the loss of a really close relative. You may feel numb for quite a while, I know my friend did when she lost her dad. She felt like my soul had transcended with him and although she was still here on earth, she couldn’t feel or relate to anything for a while. She was numb. 

It’s not a feeling we look forward to at all. She hardly talks about it now but back then, she thought that she had lost everything there was to life. However, although she still misses her father, she is not in as much pain as she was before. It does get better and I am glad she could live without the burden of loss. 

14. You can hardly think

Focusing on positive thoughts would be one of the hardest things to do during this phase. Your mind would keep playing a truckload of tricks on you to further aggravate the situation. It’s important that you stay calm. Eat well and binge-watch a new TV show to distract yourself. 

If you’re like me and you love journaling, write down how you feel about the situation to help you analyze your thoughts. 

15. It feels like the end of the world

It is obviously not the end of the world; probably just the beginning if it’s the first time you are feeling this way. Keep an open mind. Take everything one day at a time and before you know it, you would be out there loving hopelessly again. 

16. It feels like a heavy burden

It feels this way because it is, which makes it important for you to move on. It's uncomfortable to go through life with a weight on your shoulder that nobody is forcing you to carry. It would affect your communication, lifestyle, and even dreams. 

The key to a stress-free future is to let go of the pain as opposed to clinging to it. You are the only one in pain. Holding on to it does not affect your partner in the slightest. Set yourself free by actively indulging in things that would help you move on.

17. It feels like you would never love again

The sooner you understand that this may not be the last time you would be heartbroken, the better for you. Love isn’t a bad thing; it is beautiful and the world would be a tragic place without it. To never feel broken ever would mean to lock your heart in a casket and bury it deep in the sand and that’s no way to enjoy living. 

However, you can love again knowing that you may fail again but you live freedom, enjoying every moment life throws at you.


How does it feel being heartbroken?

When you are heartbroken, it feels like your world has come to an end. You are filled with so much sadness and the emotional stress of losing someone or something. Heartbreak feels like your chest cavity is literally in pieces. There is hardly any joy in whatever activity you engage in for a while, most times you just want to sulk alone all day. 

How do you describe a broken heart?

I would describe a broken heart as one that is longing for something it cannot have. A heart that is aching with loneliness, a heart that is carrying the weight of a great loss. A broken heart is constantly going through emotional pain and stress. When your heart is broken it feels like you can’t breathe and all your feelings are out of control. 

Why does heartbreak hurt so much?

According to scientific research, the brain records the pain of a broken heart in the same way as physical pain. That explains the knot in your stomach, the lump in your throat, and perhaps, the signs of a mini heart attack. These reaction symptoms of emotional stress happen because you are human. I promise it’s totally normal and the pain will reduce eventually.

How long does heartbreak last?

For as long as love is free will when it comes to the heartbreak of a romantic relationship you determine how long you want to allow yourself to wallow in the pain. I advise you to think of emotional pain as a means to an end, not the end itself. Only you can lead yourself to your healing. Luckily there are support groups you can join to speed up the process. 

Sometimes, you never really heal from it but as long as you begin putting yourself first. There’s less pain with time.

How do you heal a broken heart?

Our bodies naturally get rid of the pain if we let it heal. Joining a support group is a great step toward letting go of grief. Surround yourself with happy people as opposed to drowning in your sadness, try a new hobby and avoid the same area that would either remind you of the loss or make you feel like you’ve ripped a band-aid. 

Think of the positive’s angles. There’s always a bright side when we look hard enough.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed sharing my opinion on what a heartbreak feels like. There is no particular way to describe the feeling of emotional pain, whether it is a breakup or the loss of a loved one. The feeling is almost indescribable because of the numerous ways we can feel when we are going through it.

I would love to read your opinions in the comment section, tell me how you felt when you were heartbroken. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends too.

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