The signs of heartbreak are well-documented and universal: hermitism, excessive sweatpant-wearing, and posting not-so-subtle song lyrics to your Facebook page. As if all this weren't enough, research shows that even your brain carries the burden of a split. (No, we're not just talking about that hangover headache from your night o' wine.)
So, what does heartache look like in your brain? A University of Michigan study links the mental strife of a breakup to physical pain; in fact, they found that the same area of the brain "lights up" when you're hurt (experiencing a mild burn, for example), as when you recall a sad or upsetting breakup memory. Luckily, this connection goes both ways — so you actually feel less pain when you're happy or in love. All the more reason to get on the rebound, right?
Additional research shows that longer, more meaningful relationships lead to deeper neurological effects. The more time you spend with your partner, the more you two naturally fall in sync; your matched-up associations and brain "pathways" grow and strengthen the longer you stay together. But, when ties are severed, these paths become roads to nowhere.
Click through for more on what happens at a neurological level when you and your partner split. Science says: Breaking up really is hard to do. (Shape)
Related: 5 Things to Never Do After a Breakup