Breaking up is never easy, even if you’re the one initiating the end of the relationship.
First, there are a range of emotions to contend with, some of which may last longer than others. There are also short-term and long-term steps you can take to recover from a breakup so you can move on to healthy, trusting relationships in the future — including a healthy relationship with yourself.
Learn more about what to expect with a breakup and how you can recover in a positive way.
Expressing your emotions is your first step to recovery.
The grieving process can go through its ups and downs, and you could experience sadness one moment and anger the next. Some people might even experience relief.
Acknowledge whatever you’re feeling
A breakup can bring about numerous feelings and stages of emotion, including:
- acceptance (especially immediately after the break up occurs)
Working through your feelings is just the first step to coping with a breakup.
As hard as it might seem in the beginning, you’ll want to take the following steps to ensure your emotional, mental, and physical safety immediately following a breakup:
Find ‘you’ again
When you’ve been in a relationship, especially long-term, it can be easy to forget yourself. It can be difficult to focus on the positives of coming out of your relationship right now, but you can learn to embrace this time as an opportunity for self-exploration.
Are there any activities you’ve always wanted to try, or places to travel and eat that you couldn’t before? Now’s the time to consider doing these things.
Consider finding professional support with a therapist
Also called talk therapy, sessions with a psychotherapist can help you work through your emotions while also finding ways to cope. Consider finding a therapist who specializes in relationship recovery.
Stay socially active
At times, the grief of a breakup may be so strong that you end up being alone. Group support and individual support with friends and family is important. Try not to isolate yourself during this delicate time.
Those closest to you can help you vent but also show you that you’re loved and supported — always.
Focusing on your social relationships now can also help strengthen your romantic relationship skills in the future. Experts believe that staying social is linked to decreased depression and a longer life.
Rearrange your living situation
Sometimes, a breakup means one or both individuals moving out of a previously shared living space.
On top of the stress of moving, the emotional toll can raise even more if you and your partner shared pets or children in your relationship.
Also, depending on your living arrangements, you might need to consider financial support to make up for any lost income that you and your partner previously shared. Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones or friends to explore options such as temporary housing until you get on your feet again.
In the long-term, healthy recovery from a breakup often depends largely on the following factors:
Your mental health
Grief is a process, and one that doesn’t have a definitive timeline. You may need to take a bit longer to grieve after a breakup.
Allowing yourself to process your new life circumstances is essential to your overall mental health.
You can also take care of your mental health during a breakup by making sure you stay socially and physically active. This can help decrease the pain and depression that you may be experiencing.
Self-care is always important, especially post-breakup. The adage that you “need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others,” definitely applies to interpersonal relationships.
By investing time in self-care long term, you’ll build a healthy relationship with yourself that will then transfer over to your relationships.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your breakup, it can be challenging to trust others again. Without re-establishing trust though, you can potentially have problems with partners in the future.
Building trust can take time, and a therapist can recommend strategies for re-establishing trust in your relationships.
How you handle new relationships
For some people, it’s tempting to ease the pain of a breakup by entering a new relationship. However, “rebounding” isn’t always wise, as it can negatively impact your new relationship.
Give yourself enough time to grieve and fully process your emotions before moving on. This time can of course vary from person to person.
Whether your breakup is one-sided or mutual, ending a relationship is never an easy process.
During moments of high stress or sadness, it’s important to keep in mind that this stage of your life will eventually come to pass. Also remember that most people go through a breakup at least once in their lifetime, so you’re in good company if you want to reach out to friends and family for emotional support.
If you’re ever at a point where coping with a breakup is becoming so difficult that your mental health is suffering, it may be time to see a therapist if you haven’t already done so. Above all else, be kind to yourself and treat your breakup as the process that it is.