Why You Feel Numb After A Breakup And What To Do About It

We all know the typical feelings associated with the ending of a relationship. You may be angry, sad, confused, depressed, frustrated, devastated, or any combination of all of these emotions. Whether you’re the one who ended the relationship or someone broke up with you, it doesn’t make the aftermath any easier. However, what happens if you don’t feel anything at all after your relationship ends? Here are some reasons why the end of a relationship might leaving you feeling strangely numb.

  1. The relationship was short-lived. Sometimes it feels like relationships are over before they even really had a chance to begin. You might’ve met someone, hit it off quickly, decided to jump into an exclusive relationship, then one or both of you realized pretty early on that it just wasn’t working out. If you didn’t have the time to really form an attachment and deep feelings toward the person, you might feel indifferent when it’s over.
  2. You didn’t actually have feelings for them. We don’t always enter relationships for the right reasons. Sometimes we use them as rebounds to try to bounce back from another relationship. Sometimes we use them as a way to get out of being single and being the “third wheel” with all of our couple friends. Sometimes we get into relationships because we feel pressure from other people or we just don’t really know what else to do. Whatever the reason you began this relationship, it’s possible you just don’t have those kinds of feelings for that person and a breakup isn’t that painful for you.
  3. You were secretly hoping the relationship would end. It’s possible that you weren’t happy in this relationship and you wanted to end things but weren’t sure how or were afraid of hurting the other person. Whatever the reason, there was a part of you that may have been hoping that they would break up with you so that you wouldn’t have to be the one to have that uncomfortable conversation.
  4. They weren’t the person you thought they were. A lot of the time when you first meet someone new, they are purposely showing you all of their best and most admirable qualities. This is totally normal, you’re probably doing the same thing. You want to impress someone when you first start dating but as the relationship progresses and you start to learn and see more about them, you might notice that they’re not the same person that you met at the beginning of the relationship. If you feel pretty unaffected when the relationship ends, you might just not be meshing with their personality.
  5. They made you feel bad about yourself. Regardless if you were in love with this person or not, if they made you feel bad about yourself in any way, whether it was by the things they said to you or the way they treated you, this is not okay. If you aren’t feeling anything after the relationship ends, it might be underlying resentment towards the other person. The pain might catch up with you but if you feel numb, it might be your mind’s way of telling you that this was for the best.
  6. Your relationship was flatlining. Sometimes relationships start out fun and exciting but as time goes on, the magic fades and the two people involved start to feel differently towards each other. It can be a hard pill to swallow but some relationships just aren’t meant to last forever. They might feel so special and perfect in the beginning, but if things change and you’re not happy anymore, you can’t force yourself to stay in a relationship that isn’t working. That might be the reason why you don’t feel anything once it’s over.
  7. You’re interested in someone else. Wandering eyes can happen in relationships and while it can lead to things that are not so great, it’s better to end a relationship that’s changed before something happens like cheating where someone could get seriously hurt. Similar to my last point about how relationships often change over time, you might meet someone that you are drawn to more than your current partner. If the relationship ends and you don’t feel devastated, it just might be because you were ready to move on to someone else and to let them move on too.
  8. You need time to process. Sometimes a breakup can blindside you even if you were the one to initiate you. It can come out of nowhere and be so unexpected that it causes you to feel numb or complacent about the situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not sad about the relationship ending and that you won’t have a grieving process later on, but you just might need time for your mind and heart to process what just happened before you can truly react.
  9. You’re using it as a trauma response. Our brains learn how to react to different kinds of emotional situations through experience and often trauma. If you tend to react to things with numbness or indifference where someone would usually react with anger or sadness, it could just be your body’s way of protecting you from extra pain. It could be a defense mechanism that you use without even realizing it. There’s no wrong way to feel, but always remember that if need help, there’s also nothing wrong with asking for it and talking to someone about it.
  10. They were holding you back. If your relationship was starting to hold you back from certain things in life, chances are, your heart and soul were ready to let it go, you just hadn’t taken the plunge yet. If your partner is controlling or demanding and you feel limited when it comes to things you can do and goals that you can accomplish, that can be a definite sign of something unhealthy. If you’re not feeling too broken up that the relationship is over, there is a chance that you’re subconsciously breathing a sigh of relief because now you’re free to take on the world without restrictions.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.