“How can I cope with a breakup?”

—Gladys, Tampa, Florida

Gladys,
Going through a breakup is never easy and, for a while, it can be challenging to figure out how to move forward. Everyday life can seem uncomfortable because the way we’ve lived our life has now changed. We were once part of a couple, we are now solo; that fact alone changes the things we do, think, and say.

The two faces of breaking up

Most people see a breakup as something pretty devastating. It’s a time of sadness and loss. You may grieve the breakup, and look for ways to deal with it. For others, a breakup may bring a sense of relief. In those cases, the relationship may not have been a healthy one. With the breakup, the people involved now have the opportunity to be independent, and they may welcome that.

Anyone involved in a breakup needs to be supported, not judged. Breakups are personal, just like the relationship itself; only the people directly involved know the whole story. It’s important that people be respectful of privacy and the feelings of others.

How to cope with a breakup

To move forward in a healthy way and take charge of our lives after a breakup, we can:

  • Acknowledge feelings. They’re real and they’re a part of you.
  • Let emotions out. Whether it’s through crying, screaming, writing, or some other way, express whatever you’re feeling.
  • Get a routine and follow it. Make a schedule so you’re busy and not thinking about the breakup. Include things that you like to do.
  • Talk with trusted friends and/or family about how you’re feeling.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for outside help if you feel you’re really struggling. You can talk to your school counselor or a trusted professional.
  • Be patient; it will take some time to fully heal, but it will happen.