How Losing Love Can Hurt Your Health and Tips to Keep Your Relationships Strong

Recently, I attended a grief support group for adults who have experienced a significant loss over the past year. All the attendees were at various stages of grief and loss, from a wide range of life-altering experiences. What became clear from listening to the many shared stories was that the loss of their significant relationship was devastating, no matter how much success in other parts of their lives they had experienced. Many of the attendees had an excellent income; owned high-end homes; and lived what would be called abundant, successful lives. What they discovered through the sudden loss of a spouse or family member, or an unexpected divorce, is that Sigmund Freud hit the nail on the head when he said, “We are never so hopelessly unhappy as when we lose love.”

Love and Health

When it comes to our health, we often do not connect how imperative the experience of loving, being loved, and belonging are to our overall well-being and immune function. Leaving the support meeting, I realized again the importance of reminding ourselves from time to time about what really matters in our lives: Our health and our relationships are intimately intertwined.

Many of the attendees also suffered from chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcers. All of these conditions can be traced back to the stress they experience and subsequent grief that comes from the loss of a significant relationship. That loss can be through illness, breakup, or death. No matter what the form of loss, losing significant relationships has a big impact on our health.

Health Boost

One way to improve our health and relationships is to improve the way we communicate with others. We all want to have meaningful relationships wherein we feel respected, valued, and listened to. Most of us learn how to communicate from our family of origin, and this does not necessarily prepare us for successful communications or relational outcomes.

Do something good for yourself today and for those you are in a relationship with. Take a moment of gratitude for the gift of family, friends, spouse, partner, and peers who enrich your life and keep you healthy.

Without the gift of sharing love, our lives and our health suffer. To get a better understanding of how to improve your relational communications, there are many resources available. One such resource is the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This book provides insightful advice on how to navigate conversations when emotions run high, which can be particularly helpful in any relationship.

Another resource worth looking into is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. This book delves into understanding the different ways people express and receive love, crucial in building stronger bonds with those significant people in our lives.

It is also vital to practice self-compassion when focusing on our health and relationships. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, offers several practices and exercises on her website,, which can help in developing a kinder, gentler perspective towards ourselves.

No matter which resources you choose to explore, the key is to be open to learning and growth. As we forge better relationships, our overall well-being will undoubtedly improve and lead us to a healthier and happier life.

In conclusion, our health and relationships are inextricably linked, and it is vital to recognize the importance of nurturing both aspects of our lives. Whether it is through improving our communication skills, understanding the unique love languages of our loved ones, or practicing self-compassion, we can work towards becoming better versions of ourselves and changing our behavior for the better. As we strengthen our relationships with others, we can ultimately enhance our physical and emotional health and enjoy a more fulfilling life.