All or almost all of us have fallen in love at some time . Many of these infatuations end up in some kind of relationship with the person in question.

But it’s not always like that: sometimes we fall in love with someone who doesn’t belong to us or doesn’t belong to us to the same extent , we are rejected, break ups occur or what started as a good relationship has been truncated over time.

And while some people say they don’t suffer too much from it, most do. The loss or the impossibility of having a relationship with the person we love in the way we want is a fairly common focus of suffering that sooner or later we have to face.

This feeling of suffering, which can even lead to a certain obsessiveness and depressive symptomatology, is part of what is popularly known as love sickness , something we will talk about in this article.

Love sickness: what is it?

Love sickness or lack of love is understood as the situation of suffering, discomfort and disconfort that a person lives through when faced with the difficulty or absence of possibilities of living a relationship with the person loved, or when the person lacks the characteristics that the subject himself or herself considers necessary in such a relationship.

It is usually characterized by the appearance of sadness, anguish, hopelessness, doubts and emotions such as guilt or even anger in the face of the situation, which can lead to isolation, deterioration of social relations, lack of concentration and loss or diminished ability to feel pleasure (depressive symptoms). It is also possible to go to the opposite extreme, with increased social activity, constant seeking of sexual activity, agitation and nervousness.

Such discomfort may arise from a rejection of love in which there has never been a sentimental correspondence from the other person, that although the other person does correspond the relationship is not possible or that although there has been a relationship between the two it has been damaged and/or broken for some reason.

Causes and symptoms

In this sense, those who suffer from love sickness do not necessarily have a realistic concept of the relationship itself, but depend largely on their perception of what is and could have been. One of the main bases of the love sickness is the expectations that one has in the other person, in the possibility of having a relationship with him/her and in the relationship itself. The love sickness is a common reaction to the disappointment generated by the non-fulfilment of expectations and placed hopes and, unless it is not resolved or complications or maladaptive behaviours appear, it does not imply pathology.

After all, after a break-up or the acceptance that our love interest does not correspond to us, there is a feeling of tiredness in the face of the energies invested (even if they are at an emotional level) in these hopes and interactions, there is also a feeling of loneliness, helplessness and doubts as to why, if the break-up comes from the other person, there is anguish in the face of what could have been.

It must also be taken into account that love sickness can appear not only in people with balanced and positive relationships: it can occur in relationships with an imbalance of power or even in situations of physical and mental abuse, at least initially.



The love sickness is derived from a fact that for the person who suffers it is more or less traumatic, and in fact it could be conceptualized as a mourning process before the previously mentioned impossibility of having, maintaining or recovering a couple relationship.

As such, it is usual for a series of phases to appear through which the subject usually passes : at first there is the denial of the completion or impossibility of having such a relationship. After this, a phase of intense emotions usually appears, such as anger, doubts, feelings of guilt or despair. And finally, once the subject manages to process the non-relationship or the break-up, the acceptance of the situation.

But as with other types of duels, not everyone succeeds in reaching an acceptance phase correctly. It is very common for anxious or depressive symptoms to appear, which can become a mood disorder or an anxiety disorder if prolonged over time.

In some cases there may be what some professionals call limerence, or an obsessive need to be lovingly reciprocated by the loved one. This need can lead in extreme cases to harassing behavior and pose some danger to both the person who suffers (for example, leading to suicide attempts) and the person he or she considers loving.

How to overcome the pain?

Overcoming the evil of love is not easy. On a general level, the first thing to take into account is the fact that the person must see his discomfort as something normal in the situation he is in, and that the process of overcoming the love sickness has its time. It is important not to isolate oneself socially, and to spend quality time with other people in our environment . Likewise, it is essential to express oneself and let off steam. Besides expressing it verbally, it is possible to use procedures such as writing down our feelings and sensations, writing a letter or a diary or resorting to artistic elements such as expression through various arts, such as music, painting or literary or poetic creation.

People are advised to avoid taking refuge in stimuli that only prevent us from suffering, such as food, drink, shopping or compulsive sex-seeking, since if they are carried out with the sole purpose of avoiding pain this can actually perpetuate the discomfort (since avoidance prevents the situation from being processed) and can generate addictions.

As far as the loved one is concerned, it is advisable not to maintain continuous contact with him/her at least in the beginning, in order to be able to process information and emotions in a positive way and not to perpetuate the discomfort.

Physical exercise can also be a great advantage. Finally, if needed, a psychology professional can also be called in to help combat dysfunctional beliefs.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: Author, 2000 (Trad. Castellano, Barcelona: Masson, 2002).
  • Perestelo Pérez L, González Lorenzo M, Rivero Santana AJ, Pérez Ramos J. Decision-making tools for patients with depression. Quality Plan for the MSPS NHS. SESCS; 2010. STD Reports: SESCS Nº 2007/04.