“When you go through a breakup, it feels like someone died. And the truth is that someone has died – the relationship.” — Osayi Emokpae Lasisi
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us” – Alexander Graham Bell
“But we were something, don’t you think so? Roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool. And if my wishes came true, it would’ve been you. In my defense, I have none for never leaving well enough alone. But it would’ve been fun if you would’ve been the one.” —Taylor Swift, “The 1”
“You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.” —Cheryl Strayed, “DEAR SUGAR: Tiny Beautiful Things”
“We’d always go into it blindly. I needed to lose you to find me. This dancing was killing me softly. I needed to hate you to love me.” —Selena Gomez, “Lose You to Love Me”
I’m letting you go. Cause if we stay together, Will, we’re gonna be miserable. I’m gonna hold you back from all these incredible dreams that you have. And then eventually you’re totally gonna hate me for it.” —Will and Emily, Definitely, Maybe
“I used to think—and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do—that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you’ve got. It could be something completely different, it could be something roughly the same, but gentler and calmer, or it could be nothing at all.” —Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
“Never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.” —Oscar Wilde
When I was in my early twenties I went through a very painful break up. The reason why we broke is because I was too slow to make up my mind to have a serious relationship. While I loved my ex-girlfriend I felt rushed to make a decision for marriage, I wanted to finish school, get a job then get serious. My ex-girlfriend could not wait so she decided she wanted to end relationship with me. I remember we broke up over the phone. I remember her hanging up on me when I told her that I could not commit for marriage. I remember feeling lost and not knowing what had just happened. I remember going for days numb with feelings. I remember going for days without sleep. I had to take sleeping pills to sleep. I remember going for endless walks trying to rerun my interactions with my girlfriend, I could not believe that we had ended our relationship. I tried to call her, to try to make up but she had blocked my phone number. It was very painful re-live the pain of rejection every day, I tried to tell myself that my ex-girlfriend would come back.
I spent many days and nights trying to listen to my inner voice, trying to find peace through the storm. I am very thankful to God for some of student friends and my pastor who never stopped to call me or invite me to go out for coffee, this helped to find hope amidst the storm. And after a long season of a very pain journey I started to feel peace.
If you have been in a relationship you understand what I am talking about. Any relationship break-up can be tough no matter what the situation. Everyone feels different when they’re going through a break-up. It’s OK to feel sad, angry or let down after a break-up – lots of people do!
After a break-up many people experience a range of difficult feelings, like sadness, anger or guilt, which may lead to feeling rejected, confused or lonely. You might even feel relief which can be just as confusing.
Some people feel as though their world has turned upside down and that things will never be good again. Many people may feel restless, lose their appetite and have less motivation or energy to do things. It might be tempting to try and get over a break-up quickly, but it takes a bit of time, work and support.
Some things to help you after a break up:
Let Yourself Feel
The first step to turn pain into power is to allow yourself to feel. Give yourself the opportunity to feel those heavy emotions coming over you. The longer you pretend not to feel them, or shove them to the side, the longer they will float in the abyss your thoughts. In order to properly heal, we must process the damage and feelings associated with the trauma. We cannot create a solution when we are unclear about the problem. Oftentimes, as a coping mechanism, we turn to socializing or staying busy to distract ourselves. Some even turn to harmful substances or behaviors instead of facing triumphs head-on. A big part of healing is having empathy for yourself, and the maturity to take proper steps regarding your emotional health.
When I experience something painful or traumatic, I pause and take a day or two to myself to be still and address the hurt. This may look like taking a day off of work, to rest and reflect. This can also look like asking for help pertaining to my day to day responsibilities so that I can look after my mental health. If I feel particularly scattered – I may journal to organize my emotions and check-in. It is okay to not be able to process alone. Sometimes, you need a good friend for a listening ear or even a professional to help you unpack hurtful experiences. Do know, that by abandoning your thoughts – you are prolonging the healing you need. Find a way to healthily release.
Don’t Personalize The Loss
It is natural after a break-up to blame yourself, but try not to personalize the loss for
too long. Much of the pain of a break-up comes from seeing the loss as your fault and
regretting the choices you made while in the relationship. This process of self-blame
can go on endlessly if you let it.
It is far more helpful to see the ending as a result of conflicting needs and
incompatibilities that are no one’s fault. Each person in a relationship is trying to get
their own needs met and some couples are able to help fulfill each other’s needs and
others are not. One of the biggest issues is being able to communicate and negotiate
those needs. It’s not easy to learn, so don’t blame yourself and try not to blame your
ex. He or she is likely also doing the best they can, given their personalities and life
history. No one goes into a relationship with the goal of making it fail, or hurting the
Treat Yourself Like You Would Treat A Friend
We tend to be understanding, rational, and empathetic when our friends come to us after their breakups, but where are we when we need ourselves most? One thing that can help you put your breakup in perspective is thinking about the advice you’d give your best friend. This helps you to practice more self compassion, and it can also increase your self-esteem. Your best friend thinks you’re worthy of love and strong enough to get through anything, so why don’t you?
Don’t Fight Your Feelings
A break-up is often accompanied by a wide variety of powerful and negative feelings
including sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, jealousy, fear and regret, to mention a
few. If you try to ignore or suppress these feelings, you will likely only prolong the
normal grieving process, and sometimes get totally stuck in it. Healthy coping means
both identifying these feelings and allowing ourselves to experience these feelings. As
hard as it is, you cannot avoid the pain of loss, but realize that by experiencing these
feelings, they will decrease over time and you will speed up the grieving process. The
stages of grieving frequently include: shock/denial, bargaining, anger, depression and
eventually acceptance. Extreme grief feels like it will last forever, but it doesn’t if we
cope in some healthy ways.
Openly Discuss Your Feelings
Talking about your feelings related to the break-up is an equally powerful tool to
manage them. As we talk to supportive friends and family members, we can come to
some new understandings and relieve some of our pain. Holding all of these negative
feelings in just doesn’t work, although there may be times when this is necessary, such
as in public settings, at work, or in class. As we talk to others, we usually discover
that our feelings are normal and that others have survived these feelings. Above all
else, don’t isolate yourself or withdraw from those people who can give you support.
Make a List Of All The Benefits Of Being Single
Although being single again may be an unwelcome event, if you were not the one who
chose to break-up, it is worth reminding yourself there are some definite benefits to
being single. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. You are now much more able to put your own needs first.
2. You will soon have the excitement of dating again, even though this may feel a little
3. You will have more control over your daily routines, not having to negotiate these
with someone else.
4. You can spend more time with friends and family, who may have been feeling
5. You can do some traveling, that you might not have been able to do with your
6. You can eat what you want, when you want to.
7. You can go to bed and get up on your own schedule.
8. You will be able to meet lots of new people, since you now have more time to do so.
9. You may now be free of criticism.
10. You will have much more individual freedom.
11. You can be as messy as you want
Try to take the positives from the relationship
Even if you believe it was the worst ever relationship, are there positives can you take from it? Did you learn more about yourself? Have you learned how to handle yourself and others in a more constructive way? Have you realized having boundaries for yourself or maintaining your independence is important?
These will all help you to move forward and allow you to realize that sometimes a bad outcome can become a good thing, in time.
Prioritize Basic Self-Care
Self-care refers to ensuring that your basic needs are being met, despite the fact that
you may be feeling upset and depressed due to the break-up. You may not feel like
eating but do it anyways, and try to make some healthy choices in what you eat. Give
yourself ample time to sleep, particularly since this may be difficult for you. The
short-term use of some herbal alternatives or sleep medications may be necessary to
ensure you get the sleep you need. Sleep deprivation will only compound your
suffering. Keeping up or starting an exercise routine can also make you feel better
both physically and psychologically. Remember, exercise causes the release of
endorphins, which can make you feel better.
Be mindful of social media!
Social media does not make breakups any easier. To help with this, be mindful of WHEN and WHY you use social media, WHAT accounts/platforms you use, and HOW you feel afterwards. For instance, if using social media when lonely at night, to look at pictures of your ex, or to compare yourself to others who are “doing better”, it’s likely it makes you feel lousy. Try being aware of this, using it at a less ‘low’ time of day, mute-ing upsetting accounts, and instead following new accounts with more positive content
Don’t hit the bottle or take drugs
When you’re reeling from a breakup there’s always a temptation to cut loose and get off your head. But taking drugs or boozing is a temporary distraction that will end up doing more harm than good. If you can feel yourself sliding in that direction, head on over to our drug and alcohol page for more info.
Beware the rebound!
Sometimes it’s easy to seek out another relationship straight away for fear of being on your own. You may think that you’ll never find anyone else, or that you need someone to fill the gap of being looked after and cared for. It’s really important to have some time and space before you do this, so you can really process what has happened, regain yourself and learn from it. So although it’s tempting, give it some time to make sure you don’t rush into something new for the wrong reasons.
Remember, relationships do end. As hard as breakups can be, it’s much better to be out of a relationship that isn’t healthy, or doesn’t serve you in the right way. The most important thing to do is to seek support from those who love you – don’t bottle it up if you’re struggling. Try to learn any positive lessons from the relationship and know that the most important relationship you have over the course of your whole life is the one with yourself – so make it a good one!
We’ve gotten a lot better as a society when it comes to talking about mental health, but there can still be some stigma and misunderstanding around therapy. The truth is, talking with a trained professional can help you expedite your healing and really process the tough emotions.
Not to mention, signing up for therapy doesn’t mean committing to a lifetime of weekly sessions — sometimes you just need a few appointments to gather the necessary coping tools. Everyone’s situation is different but being open to therapy can have a major impact on your healing.
Remember: You aren’t alone. There are many others that have experienced the heartache of a breakup and survived. Not only can you survive it, you can thrive and be gracious about the experience. Turn your grief to grace! Opportunities are everywhere; you will be able to see them once the dark cloudy residue from your previous relationship clears. Come on – you can do it!