How to Handle a Breakup


Follow these six steps to move on with your life

Your boyfriend, the guy who said he would always be there for you, suddenly ended the relationship. Or perhaps you broke up with him because you realized he was not Mr. Right. Either way, you’re stunned, and you discover that even though you might be better off without him, you hate being alone. Here are a few steps you can take to move on with your life once a relationship has ended.

Step 1: Remember that your relationship was imperfect. It’s easy to recall the good things about being in almost any relationship, especially when you don’t have a date for your friend’s upcoming wedding.Tina Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids, says her clients often ignored early signs of trouble in a relationship that failed. She warns against picking out the “few good moments you remember and ignoring what wasn’t working.”

Step 2: Get your emotions out in a healthy way. Don’t hold your hurt or angry feelings inside—this can actually make you sick. If you have a single friend or can reconnect with one, this would be a good time to chat. It’s sometimes tough to tell married people how much you hate dating right now, although many of them had bad breakups before meeting Mr. Right. If you like to keep your feelings private, consider journaling. It’s also OK to seek professional counseling while you’re grieving over a lost relationship. As Dr. Tessina says, a professional viewpoint can help you move from the past to future plans.

Step 3: Don’t hold on to tangible reminders of the relationship. Maybe he gave you a perfectly nice purse for your birthday, but why are you reminded of him every time you look for your car keys? You’ll be reminded of the relationship in other ways, but it doesn’t have to invade your living space. If he left any personal belongings at your home, stick them in a box out of your sight and enlist a friend or relative to return them.

Step 4: Make time for things you enjoy. I was able to find comfort through my writing. If your work is not as fulfilling, think about the causes you support or a hobby you always wanted to pursue. Are you an animal lover? Volunteer at a local rescue organization. Love reading? Join a book club. Dr. Tessina recommends that you “use the energy from your anger and grief, and channel them into doing things just for you.” The Internet can be especially helpful in your search to find groups that offer something you’re interested in doing or learning.

Step 5: Don’t even think about contacting him to get “closure.” While it’s great when adults can forgive each other, most people are too angry and hurt after a breakup to do this. “Longing to talk ‘just once more’ to your ex is just asking for pain,” Dr. Tessina says.

Step 6: Get back into the dating world on your own time. Take time to work out your frustrations and disappointment before you start dating again. Dr. Tessina advises after the initial upheaval, analyze what went wrong in the relationship, what you could have done differently, and what you learned. With the benefit of hindsight, you will start to see aspects of your past relationship that you don’t want to repeat and you’ll be closer to finding the right partner for you.


About Heather Voight

Heather Voight is a freelance writer in the Chicago area. Her stories and articles have been published in various publications both in print and online, including History Magazine, My Light Magazine, and The Pink Chameleon. She maintains a blog at Ms.Voight has a BA in English and History from Roosevelt University.