Surviving A Breakup

2011/07/05 in Relationships

If you’ve just broken up with a special boy or girl friend, you may be experiencing a great deal of pain, loneliness and confusion.Even if you were the one who ended the relationship, it can be a very difficult experience.


We all have losses in our life and those include such things as losing a prized possession, losing at some kind of competition, the loss of a friend or loved one through death or some other kind of separation. Another important loss is when we break up a relationship with someone we were dating, going steady with or were in love with. Although there are certainly differences in all of these experiences, there are also many similarities in the kinds of feelings we have: These include: shock, denial, bargaining, anger and eventually acceptance. Please remember that people experience these emotions in different orders and with different intensity and for different periods of time. Let’s look at each of these emotions separately. You may feel shock because your loved one has ended the relationship. Perhaps you’ re thinking, “It can’t be true,” “I’m sure we can work this out, or. There must be some mistake.”

You may also want to deny what has happened because, “He loved me too much,” or “She said we’d always be together.” You may find yourself bargaining. For example, “If only we can get back together. I’ll never argue with him again.” Some days you may desperately want to get back together, other times you may be so angry that you never want to see him again. Eventually you should come to a point where you can accept the break up. This may happen quickly or it may take months.

Whether you wanted the relationship to continue or not, it will probably be very helpful to look closely at the relationship. This can help you grow personally as well as help you build better relationships in the future. Think about the reasons you like this person – was it sharing common interests, a sense of humor, being able to communicate well? Or did you like them because of their good looks, nice body, status or prestige in school, or because they had a lot of money or a nice car. Perhaps you liked them because they liked you a lot. Were the things you initially liked in them still present later on? What things that attracted you were really important, and which ones were superficial and only to impress others? What were the negatives in the relationship? What did each of you contribute to the break up? Did you not pay enough attention to this special person or was there a lot of jealousy? Honest answers to some of these questions can tell you a lot about the relationship and help you go on with your life.

First – force yourself to stop thinking about this person by imagining pleasurable experiences that have nothing to do with him or her. You may need to shout “stop” or pinch yourself when he pops into your head. Think up a list of pleasant scenes to keep in your mind – always without the other person.

Search out something that will keep you physically and mentally active. You may need to ask your parents or a friend or neighbor to help you. Try to involve yourself with other people as much as possible. Even things like cleaning a messy room, finishing something you started and put aside, offering time to your parents or a neighbor to help out with work they need done are all things to consider. Take time to look at yourself and list things you like about yourself, and make a promise to add one thing to it each day. Treat yourself kindly – take time to read a good book, try a new hairstyle, spend time on one of your hobbies…

Another step is to make a real effort to think about the negative experiences you had with this other person – all the times they were rude, insensitive, boring, or jealous. You may have to exaggerate those negatives in your mind.

We have talked about the natural process people go through when they experience a loss in their life, what you can learn from a loss and some things you can do to get over him or her.

It is important to remember that part of dating and relating and growing up is having relationships and having most of those relationships end. Be aware that no matter what you do you will probably experience a lot of pain when a relationship ends. In time you will feel better.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin