Can a Breakup Threaten Your Faith in God?

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Breakups are incredibly painful. Whether you are divorcing a partner of 10 years or breaking up with a new love after just a few short months, losing a relationship can be incredibly traumatic. Many people find themselves wallowing in grief and turning to outlets such as alcohol, food, or casual sex as a way to fill the void inside of them.

Recent research has shown that breaking up can actually cause people to feel real pain. One study, which was performed at the University of Michigan, found that romantic rejection triggers the same part of the brain that is associated with sensing physical pain such as a toothache or a headache.

And, now, a new study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business has found that relationship strife can even test one’s religious faith. The researchers asked couples of all different religious backgrounds (such as Christians, Muslims, and Hindus) about their spiritual faith. They then warned the participants that their relationship might be in trouble and that every individual has secrets from their spouse. At the end, they then asked people to again rate their feelings on God and faith.

Their findings were quite interesting. People who had high self-esteem reported feeling closer to God after hearing the threatening scenario about their relationship, while people with low self-esteem felt just the opposite.

The researchers were quite intrigued because it reveals that people with higher self-worth and confidence seem to bounce back from life’s crises better than people who have a lower outlook. Rather than feeling isolated or betrayed, people with high self-esteem turned inward for strength and connection, such as to their faith and to their relationship with God.

The same is true even for people who aren’t believers. Rather than wallowing in pain and isolation, people with high self-esteem might reach out to friends or family after a bad breakup, or they might find a release in going to the gym or attending therapy.

Ultimately, the study is important because it shows that handling breakups differs greatly from person to person. Some people are able to bounce back better after a breakup because they know how to practice self-care, and they have a strong sense of self-worth and connection to the external world and the spiritual world. People without such resources might find themselves much harder hit by a breakup, which ironically will only further lower their self-esteem and faith.

All in all, it’s a good reminder not to isolate yourself during a difficult breakup or during times of relationship strife. The more you can stay connected to your friends, your family, or your faith, the better you will be able to weather the storm and take care of yourself during this difficult time. Breaking up is never easy, but with a good support system, you can make it through and find love again


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