How to deal with a break up

How to deal with a break up
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 28-02-2023

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An unexpected (or expected) bad and unwanted break-up can make you wallow in a pit of anguish. Movies and TV shows have portrayed for a long time how easy it is to get over a break-up. Simple it is to sit in your pajamas, watch a tragic romantic movie, and cry while eating a tub of ice cream. Then see yourself all ready to take on life in two days. However, sadly this is not the case in real life. We end up with bad coping mechanisms such as heavy drinking, avoiding work, neglecting friends and family, and turning a blind eye to taking care of yourselves.

Several factors are linked with the adjustment after the breakup. This includes the duration of your relationship, who initiated the breakup, the intensity of the breakup, relationship quality, and most important reason for the breakup. A negative relationship breakup is strongly linked with poor mental health outcomes in young adults and adolescents (Mirsu-Paun & Oliver, 2017). Therefore, processing the breakup and handling yourself well after it is essential for you to move on cleanly.

Rebuild your esteem

If it was your partner who initiated the breakup, it is common that you will blame yourself for this. Lots of self-doubts might arise and this may lower your confidence in relationships. You might find yourself questioning your personality, highlighting your flaws, and wondering if you are worth being loved. One of the most important things is you accept yourself now again with a single identity. It will be difficult in the beginning to see yourself as not a girlfriend/boyfriend of his/hers. Begin to focus on your value and how much you gave into your relationship. Reflect upon your best qualities instead of the ones you do not hold. Make a list of your best traits, skills, abilities, and what more qualities you possess that are valued in relationships.

Nourish your body

We pick on easy negative coping habits such as drinking alcohol or popping pills to ease the hurt. Our moods direct our eating patterns. It is very common that we lose our appetite when we are blue or in pain. Hence spend some time physically exercising and this will then open doors for appetite. Physical exercising will ensure your sleeping routine as well, as sorrow and discomfort do not allow us to fall asleep.

Stay away from rebounds

Rebounds may seem like a quick fix that may make you feel valued and wanted. But this is only temporary and soon you might regret it. This behavior is also a reflection of how you are avoiding processing and accepting what you are actually feeling.

Seek support from friends and family

Turn to people you trust during your healing process. Friends and family can guide you to do what is best for you. Cry with them if you need to. Such people will strive to keep you happy and make you feel good.

Note all their negatives

Write down all the habits and behaviors you did not like about your ex-partner. This way you can tell yourself that such a person was not good enough for you. Add the sacrifices you made in the relationship. You may want to refer to these whenever you start to run down memory lane and miss them and think to yourself how it was all so perfect.

Social media detox

Soon after the breakup, you are tempted to stalk your ex to see how they are coping (if they are) with the breakup. Just deleting your ex from social media is not sufficient. If you share mutual friends then you will have to limit social media use until you seem fit- that you would not be persuaded to stalk. The urge to check up on how well your ex is doing will not pass soon, therefore try checking up on old friends or relatives or simply catch up with your parents. The goal is to divert and create separation.

Getting over a breakup takes time and the time taken is not the same for everyone. You will find things for closure, but deep down it is a cry to get back together. The healthy thing is that you need to accept you and your partner was not meant to be together. If your ex could not convey what went wrong, tell yourself he/she suffered from commitment issues and this is all you need to close this chapter of life and move forward. The underlying meaning behind saying that to yourself is to say you deserve much better-someone who loves you enough and appreciates everything about you, cares for your feelings, and commits to you.



Mirsu-Paun, A., & Oliver, J. A. (2017). How much does love really hurt? A meta-analysis of the association between romantic relationship quality, breakups and mental health outcomes in adolescents and young adults. Journal of Relationships Research8.

Locker Jr, L., McIntosh, W. D., Hackney, A. A., Wilson, J. H., & Wiegand, K. E. (2010). The Breakup of Romantic Relationships: Situational Predictors of Perception of Recovery. North American Journal of Psychology12(3).

Shulman, S., Seiffge-Krenke, I., Scharf, M., Lev-Ari, L., & Levy, G. (2017). Adolescent depressive symptoms and breakup distress during early emerging adulthood: Associations with the quality of romantic interactions. Emerging adulthood5(4), 251-258.

Maertz, K. (n.d.). Surviving A Relationship Break-Up - Top 20 Strategies

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