Break-up studies suffer from self-reporting bias. People are rarely aware of their fundamental motivations; we tell ourselves beguiling stories to explain why we’ve just done something but these stories are very often merely fantasies. So research on breakups that uses self-reporting is unlikely to yield insights into the real causes.

Evolutionary theory, conversely, makes a number of testable predictions that other social-science approaches do not make. Furthermore evolutionary theory (which you touch on very briefly in your article) also makes far stronger statements about (a) why breakups are so traumatic, and (b) the behaviors that breakups often trigger. When we consider that for most of our evolutionary history a breakup meant the potential loss of one’s ability to pass one’s DNA forward it becomes apparent that we should be hardwired to react to breakup, whether potential or actual, as a catastrophic event.

Our silly Disneyesque notions of love and attachment are totally inadequate when it comes to real-world behaviors and feelings. Hence so many people feel totally lost when experiencing loss of a partner. Perhaps if we better understood how evolution has hardwired us, we’d have less difficulty in understanding what’s really going on. This in turn might possibly have implications for dealing with a breakup, but those implications are highly unlikely to yield “easy-fix” recipes for rapid recovery.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.