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Counseling Center

Division of Student Affairs

Relationship Break-ups
Relationship break-ups can be difficult. Often times, it involves not only letting go of the person, but also of the future that you may have planned with that person. You may wonder if you will ever find another person to love, or who will love you. Or, consequently, you may wonder if you will ever want to commit to another relationship because the pain feels so great. Your situation becomes even more difficult if your partner was your best friend. The symptoms that people experience after a break-up sometimes resemble depression and/or grief. As difficult as this process may be, however, know that these feelings are normal and often temporary.
Tips to cope with a breakup:
  • Be honest with yourself. It is normal to experience a range of emotions after a breakup. Accepting how you are feeling in the current moment (as opposed to judging yourself for feeling a particular way or lying to yourself) is one of the best ways to begin healing. 
  • Talk to supportive people in your life. Spend time with friends and family. If you live far away, make a phone call or Facetime/Skype them. Find a balance between talking about the breakup and other topics.
  • Write letters or journal. Perhaps there is more you want to say to your ex, but have not had the chance. Or, maybe you are worried that your friends and family may be tired of hearing about your breakup. Writing down your thoughts may be beneficial. Even if you write a letter, that does not mean that you have to send it.  
  • Give yourself time to heal. Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” for getting over your ex. As much as you may have heard this before, it is true that recovering from a breakup takes time. Be patient with yourself.
  • Use the time to reflect upon what you want for your future. Breakups are a time of transition. Try to use this to your advantage to think about your priorities, your goals, and what you would like to be different in your future relationships. Find ways of making this vision a reality.  
  • Think about how much distance you need. What are the circumstances related to your breakup? Have you chosen to remain friends? Are you still communicating on a regular basis? If so, reflect upon how this strategy may be helping or hurting you.
  • Avoid unhealthy coping. Drinking, drug use, orengaging in other types of risky behavior may feel like an easy solution to make the difficult feelings go away. However, it is not a permanent solution and often creates even more problems.
  • Focus on small pleasures. It is true that you may be feeling sad about your breakup and that healing takes time. However, you are still allowed to have moments of pleasure in the midst of this difficult time. Take walks. Laugh with friends. Treat yourself to a nice meal. Treat yourself well.
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