Did you know our brains are there to protect us from things that we register as dangerous? Like it will literally send chemicals around our body when it senses danger. And you know what we register and scary and dangerous? – the unknown. And what gives us the biggest sense of “the unknown”? Well … a break up, because we don’t know what’s next. We probably planned a future with a person and now in place of that is a black abyss of the unknown and to our brains that’s very scary.

When a relationship ends we enter into the biggest unknown phase that we’ve been in for a while, our comfort blanket has gone, your happiness hormones have dipped because that person who was most likely giving you that biggest hit of dopamine and serotonin has vanished, so we tend to go into flight or fight mode.

We start going over things in our minds like, what will I do without them, how will I fill my time, what will my future look like. Etc. Etc. But all of these questions open us up to the big scary “unknown

To our brains, regression is the biggest form of self protection because it’s taking us back into a sense of known behaviour and our brains associate that with being safe. Our brains will literally play neurological tricks on us to make us feel like the person we were with is literally irreplaceable and they can do no wrong, just because dating someone new seems too scary and we’re scared to try and form a new bond.

So if your relationship has just ended, either by your own accord or by your partner walking away from you, keeping a good check on your brains need to regress to your former partner because they represent safety is something I would definitely recommend.

Before going back to someone I have a few questions that you need to ask yourself which I’ll put at the bottom of this blog, because another neurological issue we can be facing is falling into a state of confirmation bias.

What is confirmation bias?

It’s when our brain goes looking for memories to back up our own views, and in the case of a break up, our beliefs are that the person we aren’t with anymore was the best person in the whole entire world, because our desired outcome is to believe that we won’t ever find anyone that compares to them.

When we feel ourselves missing someone and thinking they’re irreplaceable, our brains will literally search for reasons as to why this is true, so suddenly, the only things we can think about an ex partner, are all around how amazing they are just, or brains work hard to confirm a bias positive state.

So when the need to regress tricks your neurological systems into a state of confirmation bias, remember that everyone has a flaw. Seriously, everyone does and I can guarantee that for every one thing you miss about someone, there will be two things that make you better off without them if you try hard enough to think about it.

So here are the questions I like to get people to answer to make sure they’re not being tricked by their own love confused brain post break up.

  1. What did they bring to me that I can’t bring to myself?
  1. What was a deal breaker I was happy to overlook while I was with them but not now?
  1. Were effort levels mutual and reciprocated?
  1. What traits that you admired in them will genuinely not be found in anyone else?

Dig deep when you think about answering these, because I can guarantee that when you really think about it, you’ll see that your brain has probably tricked you into thinking that person was the most incredible human being to walk the planet, but the honest truth is, you were fine before them, and eventually you’ll be fine after.

Remember, dating is a journey and it isn’t always linear. With good sometimes comes bad and vice versa, but we can always take a lesson away from a break up.

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I'm a relationship psychologist with years of experience helping people through the ups and downs of their love lives. My motto has always been to help people put a bit of logic back into matters that are normally controlled by our hearts.