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How to Get Over a Breakup

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Dealing with Breakups

It takes some time to get over a break up. It doesn’t matter if you and your ex parted ways in a civil manner or in a downright nasty way or not. Even if you both agreed to end the relationship, you still will probably feel some pangs of regret at times.

If you have just ended a relationship and need help getting over your break up, you might want to read on for some tips to help you through this difficult time. It is important to note that you will move through different stages as you heal.

A break up is in many ways like a death. It takes time to process and grieve the experience. Mental health professional Elizabeth Kubler Ross researched the grief process and felt that most grieving people deal with their grief in stages. According to Kubler-Ross, grief is as individual as the person experiencing the emotion. Some people may skip stages, or others may get stuck in one stage.

According to Kubler-Ross, the stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Understanding the stages of grief is important because they can help you to overcome your break up.


When you are in the denial stage for example, you may want to pretend that things are fine. You may be tempted to jump into another relationship, or you may want to go to the places that you and your ex went to in order to hopefully catch a glimpse of him or her. Here are some ways to get over the denial stage of grief.

Take Some Time

The first thing you need to do is to take some time and to allow yourself time to grieve and mourn the relationship. You will probably need to do this even if you and your ex parted on cordial terms. If you parted on less than cordial terms, it may take you longer to grieve the relationship. Instead of taking time to heal and mourn, some people jump into a new relationship thinking that this will help them to heal. Starting a new relationship immediately after one has ended is not a good idea for a lot of reasons. Most of all, it isn’t fair to your new partner.

Think about it: when you are healing from the old relationship, your mind is still on your last partner. This means that you aren’t able to work on making your new relationship work because you are still thinking about the last relationship.

Stay Busy

One of the best ways to get over a break up is to stay busy, especially if the break up was less than civil. In the early days after the break up, this is a great way to keep from obsessing over your relationship. Now is the time to do the things that you have been putting off or that you just didn’t have the time to do. Paint your bedroom a new color; clean out the closet; read that book or watch the latest comedy.

Of course, it is important to do activities that you have been putting off instead of doing the activities that you and your ex used to do as a couple. While it is ok to go out to the new coffee shop you have wanted to try, it is probably not a good idea to go out to your ex’s favorite coffee shop where you two used to hang out.

Although you might want to watch the latest movie released in order to stay busy, you probably shouldn’t watch that movie if it is a love story or has a romantic theme. In other words, stay busy, but choose your activities wisely.

Take Back Your Life

Depending upon your relationship, you may have had to give up some things that you liked doing in order to please your ex. For example, perhaps you really enjoy Chinese food but your ex was severely allergic to MSG. Now is the time to go out and eat all the egg rolls you want to eat! Well, within reason. Wear that outfit that your ex hated and listen to the glam rock that you want.

No one is stopping you now! As you begin to re-claim your life, you may realize exactly how much you compromised and gave up in order to be in a relationship with your ex. This tells you that something was seriously amiss. Although relationships are about compromise, too much compromise is not a good thing and is in fact a warning sign. If you can not think of anything that you like to do, or can not remember anything that you did before your relationship with your ex, that is even more troubling.

Start by thinking of the things that you liked before you met your ex. Then, try some of those things to see if you are still interested in them. Slowly, you will begin to discover what you like to do and what you do not like to do. You will begin to find “you” again.

Stay On Schedule

When you are grieving the loss of your relationship, it can be difficult to stay focused. You may not want to eat and you may not be able to sleep. It is important to stay on schedule during the first few days. Eat when it is time to eat and go to sleep at your normal bedtime. Not eating and not sleeping can put you at risk for getting sick, which can compound your misery.

Take care of yourself and your body during this stressful time. Visit Friends and Family Visiting your friends and family can really help during this difficult time. Perhaps you have been so busy with your ex that you have neglected them in the past! Or, perhaps your ex was very controlling and did not want you to visit your family and friends. In either case, visiting can really help to encourage you and make you feel better about yourself and your life.

Avoid Your Ex

To make the transition easier for both of you, it is advisable to keep your interaction with your ex to a minimum. In fact, at the very beginning of the break up, when your emotions are very raw, you may want to avoid your ex at all costs. Although it will be difficult to not call or visit your ex, it is important to take the steps necessary to make a new life for yourself without your ex.

Of course, talking or seeing your ex can also cause you to think that there is still hope for your relationship. You or your ex may still hope that things can be worked out; staying in touch may be your way of keeping your options open. Don’t do this. Instead, accept the fact that the relationship is over and move on.

Don’t Check For Your Ex on Social Media Sites

You may be tempted to look at your ex’s profile page, or you might be tempted to see if he or she has signed up for dating sites online. Resist the urge to do this! 2. Dealing with the Anger Once you have survived the first few weeks post relationship, you may feel a little bit stronger emotionally. Continue to follow the above steps but also continue to move on in your healing.

At this point, you may begin to notice that you are feeling anger or embarrassment. Take the time to process those feelings but do not question your original decision to end the relationship.

Face the Pain

At some point, you will have to face your emotional pain in order to process your emotions and move on with your life. Although this part of the break up can be painful, it has to be done.

Some people never face the pain or process the grief from the end of their relationships. Instead, they just deny their feelings. While you may be able to do this for a while, it is important to note that you can’t just shove and deny pain. Because of your denial of your emotions, you may experience things like headaches, stomach pain, or have trouble sleeping. You may also feel depressed or blue.

Or, you may become angry and you may find that you get incredibly upset over the smallest things. Instead of dealing with these things, you should just face your pain and work to heal from your break up.

Deal Appropriately With Your Anger

At this point, you may find that you are very angry at yourself and at your ex. It is important to deal objectively with your anger. Both you and your ex are human and that means that both of you no doubt made mistakes during your relationship.

Accept this and move on instead of dwelling on the list of wrongs committed by your ex or yourself. As you think about these things, it is helpful to think about how you may do things differently in your next relationship. It is important to not blame yourself or your ex.

Instead, let it go. If you are having trouble letting go of your anger or dealing with your feelings, you may want to channel your anger by going for a run, taking a walk, or getting some exercise. If you are still feeling angry, you may want to write down your emotions in a journal. In your journal, you can vent all that you want and release your emotions.

If you are still having trouble dealing with your anger, you may want to talk with a trusted friend. Sometimes, just talking to another person can really help you to let go of your anger. If you find out that you are venting or taking out your anger on total strangers or your dog, you may want to get some professional help to deal with this stage of grief.


During this stage, you may find yourself bargaining or thinking of bargaining with your ex. You may think things like, if only she would do this then it would be ok. Or, “if only I could do this then it wouldn’t be like this”. At this point, it is important to realize that it is over and that nothing can change that fact. No amount of bargaining or pleading can change things.

You may be tempted to call your ex to plead with him or her to give you one more chance at this point. It is important that you resist the urge to do just that.

Make a List

During this stage, you may be tempted to look at all of the problems with the relationship in rosy terms. In other words, you will want to white wash the issues that led to the break up in the first place. This is why it is important to make a list to remind you of the reality of why you broke up.

The next time you are tempted to say, “Well, that really wasn’t such a big deal. I could handle it now.” You can look at your list and realize that it was a really big deal and that you do not want to deal with such poor behavior. When you are tempted to minimize or forget the yucky stuff, you can look at the list. It will give you a renewed focus and will enable you to muster the strength to go on with the decision that you have made.

Get Accountability

When you are tempted to call your ex and beg that he or she comes back, you need to do something else. Above all, do not pick up the phone or go to the computer and email your ex. Instead of calling, emailing or talking to your ex, you may want to go exercise, or call a supportive friend until the urges pass.

It is wise to be pro-active before you get to this stage and actually talk to your friends to agree on an accountability partner. A good choice for an accountability partner would be someone who has a background in psychology or someone who has had a difficult break up in their past.

Concentrate on the Good Things in Your Life

Another way to get over this stage is to concentrate on the good things in your life. Chances are that not everything is doom and gloom since your ex left. In fact, things may be a lot better. Of course, when you are hurting you may not see things in that way.

You may be concentrating on how awful you feel and how horrible your life is now that you and your ex are not a couple, instead of that, concentrate on the good things. For example, you may be thankful for the fact that you have gotten to talk to your family a lot or see your friends more since your relationship has ended. If your ex was particularly controlling, you may feel relief and yet sadness at the same time.

It is important to keep thinking about the good things. If you have been in a relationship with a person who was very controlling, you may want to get some counseling to help you look at things in an objective way.


Once you have begun to come to terms with the demise of your relationship, you may feel depressed. Although this is a good sign because it means that you have come to terms with the fact that bargaining won’t work, this stage of grief can be very difficult.

When you are depressed, it may be difficult to eat and sleep. You may not have an interest in doing much of anything or seeing anyone. You may spend time crying even though you aren’t quite sure why.

Keep a Schedule

During this time, it is important to keep a schedule and stick with it. You may feel as though you are on “auto-pilot” at times, but this feeling will pass.

Instead of staying in bed or sitting on the couch eating ice cream, you need to get up and get out. If you always clean your house on a certain day, keep that schedule.

Eat when it is time to eat and make sure to go to sleep even if you can’t sleep.

Get Rid of Reminders

During this phase of the relationship, you may find it helpful to get rid of the reminders that you have kept of your ex. You probably will want to throw out the photos and the stuffed animals. You may want to pawn the jewelry or have the jewelry melted down to create a new piece if money permits.

Sometimes, you may want to get rid of the reminders but you may not have the emotional energy to do so. In that case, you may be able to ask a friend or relative to help you. Or, you could just put the items in a drawer until you feel strong enough to deal with them.

Get Help

Sometimes, you will find that you are having some difficulty dealing with the depression stage of grief. If you find that you are incredibly overwhelmed or depressed, you may want to get some counseling or talk to your doctor about getting some medication to help you through this time period.

Sometimes, counseling and medication are necessary to help people through the grief process. Of course, not everyone will need medication either. Some signs that you may need to get professional help include:

  • Feelings of extreme hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that once gave you pleasure
  • Changes in weight including losing or gaining weight
  • Sleep changes over a long period of time
  • Self-loathing
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or others

When you begin to take medication, it can take several days to feel better. It may take a week or longer for you to feel the full effect of the medication. If you are having some signs of depression but they are not that intense, you may want to try taking herbal supplements to help.

According to the National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine, St. John’s Wort is an herbal supplement that can be used to help people deal with anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. In studies conducted by the Center, St. John’s Wort was effective for dealing with mild cases of depression.

get over a break up

Studies showed that use of the herb for people with severe and moderate depression was no more effective than taking a placebo. If your depression is severe, you should consult a doctor instead of trying herbal supplements.


One day, you will probably wake up and realize that you feel like your “old self”. In other words, you have moved beyond your depression. At this point, you have begun to accept the fact that the relationship is over and you will be ready to move on. How long the whole grief process takes depends upon many things.

For example, the time that you spent with your ex and the things that led up to the demise of your relationship will affect how long you grieve. If you ended a 5 year relationship and were in the midst of planning your wedding, you will probably have a longer grief stage than someone who was just dating when their relationship ended. Because of this, it is important to not compare yourself to anyone else as you grieve.

Accept the fact that you are an individual and that your grief is unique to you. Closure At this stage, you will probably want to have some closure. You may want to write down your relationship story and tuck it away somewhere. Although it can be painful, this will help you to express your feelings and to find emotional closure. Closure is very helpful because it can help you to resist the urge to “tell the story” to people who ask or perhaps to people who don’t even care to hear about your relationship!

Establish Goals for Your Life

Begin to establish goals for your life. Write down your goals and take steps to achieve those goals. Although your relationship is over, your life is not. It is important that you continue to achieve, learn, and succeed.


Don’t Do ANYTHING you may later regret. Although it can be tempting in the heat of the moment, to get out your rage, don’t do anything that you will later regret. For example, now is not the time to post those “embarrassing” photos of your ex all over your public Facebook account.

In addition, you should refrain from destroying your ex’s personal property. Things like this can actually get you in trouble with the law.

Remember that life goes on. Although you may think that your world is ending, remember that life does and will go on. Chances are that many years from now; you will look back and wonder why you were so upset!

Don’t doubt yourself. When things go downhill, you may be tempted to take everything personally. Don’t do this. View the break up as a learning and growing experience instead of taking it personally. The reality is that the break up wasn’t your fault, even if your ex says so! It takes two people to make a relationship work.

Make a clean start. You may be tempted to keep your ex’s pictures, texts, and phone numbers. It is important to get rid of these things. Even if you promise yourself that you won’t look at them, you know that you probably will. If you are on social media sites, you may want to block your ex. This means that you won’t be tempted to look at their profile. In addition, you won’t have to see the comments that he or she makes on other profiles either.

Realize that you may from time to time still feel sad about the demise of your relationship. Just because you have healed doesn’t mean that you won’t feel sadness at times. Be prepared for this!

Make a plan for what to do when your thoughts drift toward your ex. You may want to compile a list of upbeat songs to listen to, or you may want to go for a run. Either way, you need to do something instead of obsessing over your ex. You may want to put a block on your phone and block you ex’s email address in order to help you during the break up period.

Warnings to Heed

Sometimes, things can really get bad after a break up. Here are some warnings that you may want to think about. Don’t obsess over these warnings or become worried. However, if these warnings ring true for you, you may want to get help.

If your ex begins to stalk you or threaten you, you should not ignore the behaviors. Call the police and follow their advice. If your property is damaged, you should also call the police. If your ex was abusive during your relationship, you should make a safety plan in case the abusive behavior continues after you relationship has ended. It is important to note that abusers usually do not change their behavior simply because the relationship has ended.

It is important to listen to your ex when he or she tells you to stop calling or driving by as this behavior can be seen as stalking and can get you into trouble even if your intentions were innocent. In some states, there are laws against “annoying ringing”. This can mean calling and hanging up or just calling your ex if she or he has told you not to call. It is best to simply not call.

The last thing you want to have to remind you of your ended relationship is legal bills! If your ex is calling and threatening to kill herself unless you get back together, you may also want to call the authorities. If you feel the need to use or abuse alcohol or drugs in order to get through the healing process, you may want to seek professional help. It has been said that time heals all wounds and this is largely true for break ups. Eventually, you will heal emotionally from the pain you feel.

Healing Process

It will take some time to heal. Here are some things to remember as you heal and grieve. The grief process can not be rushed and takes some time to work through. The grief process is different for each person. The length of time that it takes to grieve the relationship will be based upon many factors including the seriousness and the length of the relationship. Resist the urge to jump quickly into a new relationship after ending the last relationship. Keep your dignity and do not do anything that you may later regret!

Stay busy during the early days of the break up in order to keep your mind off your ex. Although you may think that the end of your relationship is the end of your world, it really isn’t. Yes, this can be difficult to hear when you are grieving, but it must be said. Realize too that the break up isn’t all bad news.

Instead of concentrating on the bad things, see if you can find the silver lining in the cloud so to speak. There are also some positive things that can be said about the break up too. Instead of looking at the bad things, be positive. Think of all of the things that you learned during your relationship that have helped you to grow as a person.

You may also want to think about the fact that there is another person out there that is even better for you! Instead of wallowing in self-pity and moaning about the end of your relationship, work on healing and then get to work finding that special person.

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This page was last modified on 16 August 2013, at 23:07.
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