4 Tips for dealing with a breakup

Have you asked yourself, "Do I need therapy after a breakup?"

These four tips can help you deal with the pain.

  1. Acknowledge your pain. People wanting to help say, “They were the wrong one anyway,” or “You’re better off.” These kind of comments are dismissive of your feelings. You can give yourself permission to feel the disappointment, anger, and sadness that occur with a relationship ending. Don’t feel like you have to brush your relationship, or your feelings, off right away.

  2. Realize grief is a process. You are probably familiar with the five stages of grieving made popular by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I am more of a fan of William Worden’s four tasks of mourning, most of which apply to a breakup. Acknowledging your new reality without your partner, working through your pain in a supportive environment, and developing a new self-identity without your partner are tasks that can help you recover from the end of a relationship. If you've been with your partner for a while, you've probably developed a "shared memory," where you consciously or subconsciously assign each partner different tasks within the relationship. Someone remembers the names of who you met at that party last weekend, and the other remembers when the utilities are due. It's no wonder that breaking up can make you feel like you are losing your mind! Literally some of your shared memory may be lost with them.

  3. Use healthy coping skills. Ok, so you’ve eaten your favorite comfort foods and binge watched a series…or two…and you’re ready to use those coping skills that will start to help you feel better, not worse. Exercise? Writing? Learning a new hobby, or rekindling an old one? A drive to the mountains? Whatever it is, it leaves you feeling refreshed and more capable of dealing with your problems.

  4. Remember you are the author of your story. This breakup may be a crappy chapter, but you decide if your whole novel is going to revolve around it.  “All sorrows can be borne if they are put in a story.”* While a painful breakup is certainly difficult to endure, it is one part of the story of your evolving, inspiring, and wonderful life.

Many seek counseling at the end of a relationship; it can throw your whole world off.

Therapy is a supportive place to talk about the many emotions that come up and what they mean for you moving forward.


*Pipher, Mary. Letters to a Young Therapist.