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I have often asked myself why it took me so long to get over my last relationship. For months and months, I cried and pondered the reasons. “Why did they just cut me out of their life, like an unwanted wart? How could they?”

The fact of the matter is: during sex, it is easy to get attached.

It is mediated by the same part of the brain as addiction. So, when taken away, it can cause cravings similar to that of cravings for addictive drugs. And, when you do not get what you want, it can feel like a constant itch…that doesn’t get scratched.  

So when you get the tension relieved, it is like in another sexual encounter. You get a love brainwash: a dopamine surge will feel great for a while, but later you miss it and the tension builds up again – along with the drop in serotonin. Serotonin causes you to become obsessive about the object of your sexual fantasy. Similar to what happens in obsessive compulsive disorder, you are obsessing for the LOVE brainwash.  

Due to our neurobiology, breakups are tough under any circumstance.

I often talk to clients about how it is a great time to identify their support systems, and ask them in a vulnerable way to be there for you. However, avoidance of the pain or realization of the finality of the break up will only make the pain last longer. I recommend running toward the hurt and negative emotions, and marinating in them. That will help create closure and help you heal in the long run. 

So, what should you do about it? How can you get a break from the break up? 

Here are a few exercises to practice during a break up to give yourself the Closure YOU NEED.


Relationships exist on four different planes:

  1. Physical – the easiest to break (don’t see them anymore)
  2. Emotional – also easy to break (time/space/distance heals all wounds)
  3. Spiritual – the deep emotions related to the physical/emotional (very hard to break) 
  4. Energetic – one of the tightest bonds, the thoughts/mental (hardest to break)

Lay in a dark room and imagine that each of these are hooks in your body. Release each of them one-by-one, while playing through memories of each as you go. When you release the hook and give it back to the person (or hook it to something else like a tree or other source), thank that person for what it provided and acknowledge what it gave to both of you.


Think of the promise(s) that were made and never realized. For example, “let’s get married,” or “have a baby together.” Isolate the few promises that are the most disappointing to you. 

Close your eyes and picture a projector screen on the wall, where you get to control the scenes that are playing. You have the remote control and can play each scene, and switch to the next. The goal is to play out the scene in its entirety that never came to fruition. Examples of your scene might be spending the day together, what your shared home looks like, what your future baby might look like, the expression on each other’s faces –  then watch it crumble to the ground.   

This can take a while and that is okay. Don’t rush through or skip over the details. Once that scene has completely played through, thank the scene for happening and let it crumble to the floor before beginning the next. 

It is so important to fully process your regret and loss, no matter how painful. It is only then you can carefully create space for a new opportunity and redefine what your life is going to be like when you are single.  


  • Dr. Lea Lis


    Lea Lis, MD, is “The Shameless Psychiatrist." She is a double board certified Adult and Child psychiatrist, a clinical professor at NYU. She has a bustling practice in the Hamptons where she sees patients from all family arrangements. Her book “No Shame: Real Talk With Your Kids About Sex, Self-confidence, and Healthy Relationships" helps people pass down intergenerational wisdom, instead of trauma, by using modern psychotherapy techniques which she perfected throughout her many years of experience. She is an expert in the field of psychology, and hopes to change the way we speak about sex. Widespread social changes, along with a sex-saturated media and ongoing debates about the meaning of gender and sexuality,  generate new challenges for parents of all kinds. Lis helps parents, children, and adolescents face these challenges and develop healthy, sex-positive attitudes and practices. During her training and residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York and New York University, as well as in her private psychiatric practice, she has developed expertise in working with modern families of all types. In No Shame, Dr. Lis covers the many issues that may arise as children grow: how to help young children understand personal physical boundaries; the importance of opposite-sex role models in children’s lives, what to tell―and not tell―your kids about your own sexual history; and the role of rituals to mark a girl’s first period or a boy’s passage into manhood. Dr. Lis gives practical pointers on how to help your kids when their relationships run into trouble, how to encourage them to have good relationships with themselves, and how to teach them to flirt and to deal with rejection. No Shame shows how talking to your kids about sex and encouraging them to keep a dialogue open with you will help them to have positive, joy-filled emotional and sexual relationships as they grow up. This may not always be comfortable, but as Dr. Lis shows throughout this book, talking about sex, love and relationships in a knowledgeable way is essential. Find out more about Dr. Lea Lis and sign up for her newsletter at