When we break-up with someone, it’s not just the relationship and happy mementos we part with. We often also rid ourselves of the hairstyle we had when we dated that person.
But even if we looked our best in that relationship, or simply just really liked our hair during that time, why are we so commonly willing to sacrifice that look to somewhat start fresh?
We reached out to The Love Doctor ®, Dr. Terri Orbuch (PhD), author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship, and professor at Oakland University in Michigan. Dr. Orbuch explains the thought process behind what we like to call “breakup hair.” Keep reading for what she had to say!
“When people experience relationship breakups, one of the things to help people let go of the past—emotionally detach from the former partner and relationship—is to get rid of emotional triggers connected to that partner or relationship,” Dr. Orbuch says. “Emotional triggers are people, things, objects, places and hairstyles that trigger you back into the memories and feelings you had in that relationship. So, hairstyles can be one of those things that remind you of the past or your previous relationship. When you break-up, you change your hair—so [that you no longer have] a reminder of the past.”
The desire to change a look can often depend on a person’s level of connection to their ex. If they can eliminate those feelings (with a possible change), they can hopefully move on quicker.
“My research found that when singles say that they don’t feel much of anything for their ex-partner—either positive or negative—they’re significantly more likely to be able to move forward and find another relationship,” Dr. Terri says. “If they were still strongly emotionally connected to the previous relationship or partner (either negatively—I’m so pissed, upset or mad; or positively—I’m still longing for my ex), they’re not able to move forward and find love again.”
And, it goes without saying, but it can be refreshing to use this new beginning as an opportunity to start fresh in other aspects of your life, too—appearance included.
“When people break-up, they feel the urge to shake things up a bit,” Dr. Orbuch says. “They want to do something different, or change up the routine or pattern that they were in, which is connected to the past or to what they were doing in their previous relationship. It doesn’t have to be a major change, like a new job or a new home—but just a small change that makes you feel good about yourself again or you’re able to see yourself in a new light. The change in hairstyle or haircut is just the simple change to do that!”