Why Some People *Glow* Post-Breakup

by Gigi Engle

There are two kinds of relationship endings in this world: the ones that leave you heartbroken and the ones that leave you … OK. Better than OK. They leave you feeling happy post-breakup. You know the kinds of breakups I’m talking about; they leave you roughed up, but with a sense of cavalier recklessness that makes you feel sexy AF.

I was terrified to end things with my last boyfriend. My family loved him, he was obsessed with me, and I was supposed to be happy, right? I wasn’t happy. He wasn’t right for me. When it was all over, I was not bereft. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t upset. I didn’t want to be alone. It was the exact opposite; I’d never felt so amazing. I wanted to go out, dance, and let my hair down. It felt like I had the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I was capable of anything. I could have anyone I wanted, be anyone I wanted, and do anything I wanted. I may have just gone through a terrible, miserable, awful breakup, but I was back on my feet in the blink of an eye, jubilant in my newfound freedom.

We focus a lot on the stress a breakup causes, but what about the stress of a terrible relationship?

How can this happen? How can something so emotionally exhausting lead to ecstasy? The reaction hardly feels normal. You’re not the only one feeling this way. Let’s be real, it’s better to walk out of a relationship feeling HOT over depressed. Unlike many of the heart’s mysteries, the post-breakup glow can actually be explained with ~science.~

Stress Makes Our Hormones Go Crazy

Stress does not make us feel like having sex. It makes us want to crawl into a hole and scream. We focus a lot on the stress a breakup causes, but what about the stress of a terrible relationship? Sometimes, when we break free of that toxic situation, we also break free of the stress. Letting go of all that anxiety leaves you feeling fierce, free, and bangin’.

"Experiencing relief after a bad break up can rapidly decrease stress and cortisol levels, and subsequently allow sex hormones to rise."

“High stress and cortisol levels can negatively affect hormones that are related to sex appeal such as estrogen and testosterone," Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, tells Bustle. "However, experiencing relief after a bad break up can rapidly decrease stress and cortisol levels, and subsequently allow sex hormones to rise.”

All of that renewed sexual energy was waiting under the surface for a long time, and is ready to explode. There is conflicting evidence on whether or not “getting under someone to get over someone” is a healthy way to deal with breakups, but if you’re doing it for YOU and not to cope, it may not be wrong to get a little action. Once you’ve freed yourself of your ex-BAE, the source of your deepest distress, you may just get your groove back, just like Stella.

That Burst Of Energy Is Your Body Screaming, “I’m Free!”

Where does all this energy come from? You suddenly feel inclined to dance on tables, and kiss strangers on abandoned rooftops. (Is this all sounding familiar yet? Hmm?) A survey from YourTango found that people who have just gone through breakups are more likely to join a gym and start working out.

Roland-Jenkins says that the relief of ending a bad romance can breathe new life into you, motivating you to get up and out of the house. “Being in a difficult partnership can be physically and emotionally taxing," she says. "In other words, breaking up can make you feel refreshed and it can also provide you with free time to engage in your favorite hobbies or to just relax.”

Can We Bottle And Sell A Post-Breakup Facial To Achieve the Same Glowiness?

I think my favorite part of breaking up with my ex was looking in the mirror and seeing how f*cking amazing my skin was. I swear, I was glowing like Galadriel after the sh*tstorm was over. “When your heart is broken, your cortisol levels rise and this sends various processes in your body into overdrive, including your oil glands’ ability to moisten the skin,” says Roland-Jenkins.

Sign me up, please! If you ever needed a reason to breakup up with a dickwad partner, let this be it.

Escaping A Toxic Relationship Is Healthy For Your Body, Mind, And Soul

Toxic people can take a serious emotional toll on your self-esteem and overall wellness. They isolate and tear you down. When you break free of these kinds of relationships, you free yourself of all this distressing baggage. “A breakup can be good for your health if you end a physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive relationship, a relationship in which you feel like you cannot be yourself, or a relationship that constantly makes you feel tired and unhappy." Roland-Jenkins says.

For many people, breaking up is a lousy experience that leaves you in the clutches of sadness for months on end, even when you know it was for the best. Yet, for others, you are so relieved to get away from that horrid situation that you escape feeling excited about life again. You get back into routines, start seeing friends again, and begin to move your life forward with a renewed sense of joy.

The post-breakup glow is really about finding yourself and your happiness again. I’ll cheers to that!