Woman asks if she can take time off work after breakup. Do you think there should be a ‘heartbreak leave’?


Have you been through a tough breakup, the kind which left you feeling physically drained, so much so that you didn’t have the energy to go to work? Did you wish you could take a leave of absence for the heartbreak similar to the one offered for sick days? If your answer is yes, you are not alone.

Recently, a heartbroken woman sparked a heated debate online by asking the internet if it’s acceptable to take time off work to deal with a breakup.

The question was posted on a UK-based website called ‘Mumsnet’ which describes itself as “a website where parents could swap advice about not just holidays but all the other stuff parents talk about.”

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Posted anonymously the user wrote “I’m going through a horrible relationship break down. We were together a long time and we have a young child (under two). I am heartbroken and I wake up every day and burst into tears straight away when the reality of my life hits.”


Image courtesy: Daily Mail UK

She further talks of her previous less-than-perfect attendance due to physical ailments she suffers from and asks “Help, please? Can I be off work for this? Do people take time off for relationship breakdowns when they are feeling like I am?” .”

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Her question has had many replies, while some users were sympathetic, others were not and told her she needed to ‘adult up’ instead of wallowing in self-pity.

The question seems to have been taken down, but the dilemma it poses remains.

A 2010 study published in the National Library of Medicine says “Romantic rejection causes a profound sense of loss and negative affect. It can induce clinical depression and in extreme cases lead to suicide and/or homicide.”

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Multiple studies claim that the emotional anguish of loss is registered by the brain in the same manner as physical pain. This might explain why you could get the sensation that your heartbreak is physically hurting you.

The phrases “it is gut wrenching,” or “like a slap in the face” might actually hold some weight. So what do you think? Should there be a “heartbreak leave” and would it help in the long run?

(With inputs from agencies)


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