Surviving a relationship breakup.

Woman sitting alone

Alone after a breakup.
Photo courtesy of

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Breaking up is difficult.

Breakups can be extremely painful. Sometimes they are catalysts for growth, and for other people, they can have a destructive result. As a professional therapist, I encourage people to do all they can to fix a relationship before calling it quits.

If you’ve had several breakups or failed relationships, you may need to do some work on yourself before getting into another relationship. You may also want to look at why you picked this person in the first place. But once the breakup has happened, it’s time to take stock and move on. Here are some suggestions to help you survive that breakup experience.

Grieving your loss is the first step in recovering from a relationship that ended.

At the start of a relationship, people have high hopes and expectations. The breakup destroys those hopes. Even a lousy relationship requires grieving. Not necessarily for the partner you have left, but for the hopes and dreams that have perished. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself plenty of time for grieving.

Avoid assessing blame for the relationship failure.

Going on a blame trip can take you to a terrible place. It’s much more productive to accept that what happened has happened. Now is not the time to decide whose fault it was. Later, you may want to look at how you contributed to the relationship breakup and what you will do differently in the future. Avoid dwelling on all the negative emotions of blaming yourself or becoming angry with your ex.

To recover, try on some new people, places, and things.

People change when they enter relationships, and they change when they leave them. Many people who come to counseling after a breakup tell me they are trying to “find themselves.” One way to find yourself is to do some exploring. Have some new experiences. Don’t hang out with the people who will remind you of your ex. Spend some time with new people. Rather than going to the same restaurants and stores you and your ex went to, explore some new options. Now may be an excellent time to develop some new hobbies and interests.

Cut the cord, or you will go bouncing back.

Avoid the bungee cord approach to breakups. It’s tempting to call them just to see how they’re doing or to tell them about something you forgot to say. Don’t keep reinitiating contact. You might want to examine the reasons for the breakup. Frequent breakups and getting back together are characteristics of an extremely unhealthy relationship.

To get over an ex, stay busy with your own life.

After the breakup is no time to sit around moping, get back into life. Create an individual life and enjoy the process of being a single person again. Work on your self-improvement plan. Learn a new skill. Read that book or watch that movie you never had time for.

Make this a learning experience.

Learn from your experiences. For some people, this is a good time to see a counselor. Do you keep picking the same kinds of people only to have the relationships not work out? Were there things about your ex you should have spotted before he got into a committed relationship? Do you get into relationships overlooking your partner’s faults or expecting them to change?

Don’t use sex, drugs, or alcohol to numb the pain.

Avoid using things to change the way you feel. Drugs and alcohol may seem like a quick way to numb the pain, but they come with severe consequences. If you have ended a relationship, you don’t want to destroy yourself over it. Behavioral addictions like sex and gambling may also be tempting, but they all provide short-term boosts but long-term letdowns.

Don’t expect apologies or closure from your former partner.

Once you’ve broken up with someone, you are way past the apologies stage, hoping for or expecting an apology from your ex will only set you up for more pain. You won’t get closure by calling or writing your ex. Any closure you will get will come from you doing your own work and finding a new meaning and purpose for your life.

Engage your support system during the transition.

Everyone should have a support system. And it shouldn’t be restricted to just your significant other. Expecting one person to be your total support system requires more than that one person might be able to provide. After a breakup is a good time to re-examine your support system; who are the people that you can go to when you face challenges? Your support system should be a two-way connection. Your supporters are not just people you rely on. They should also be able to depend on you. After a breakup is a good time to renew contacts with family, friends, and professionals such as counselors and therapists.

Ask for the help you need.

Don’t try to do everything all by yourself. Reach out for the help you need. Help can come in all kinds of forms. You may need to take some time off from work. You may need some emotional support. Let your friends and support system know what it is that you need.

Have you had to survive a breakup? Please leave a comment and let us know if you used any of these tips or found anything else that helped you cope with the breakup.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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