When you’re coping with a break-up, whether from a good relationship or a bad one, it can be hard to know what will make you feel better. There are things you can do that will help with the process of healing and help you to cope.
This can help if:
- you're going through a break-up
- you’ve already gone through a break-up
- you want some coping strategies for when a relationship is ending
- you’re moving on from a bad relationship.
Tips for coping with a break-up
Yep, breaking up is hard to do. When a relationship ends, it’s normal to feel a sense of loss, as though something is missing from your life. But there are things you can do that may help you feel better.
Take time to heal
It can be difficult to come to terms with what’s happened. Don’t expect to bounce back to your old self immediately. Accept that you’ll have good days and bad, but that it will get better in the end.
Get your confidence back
Make time to do the things that you enjoy – whether that’s hanging out with friends, going to the movies, cooking a nice meal or going for a long walk. Take it easy and be kind to yourself.
Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs
It might feel tempting to get off your head on alcohol or drugs and blot out how you’re feeling. But in the end, that’ll just make it worse and you’ll feel even more miserable when the high wears off.
Stick to a routine
During a break-up, it can feel like a rug has been pulled out from under you. To regain a sense of control, set a routine for yourself. This can be something as simple as having a shower before bed each night, or setting your alarm for an 8 am wakeup call each morning – whatever helps you to get a bit of stability back into your everyday life.
It’s normal to feel lonely after a break-up, and it can help to express this in a way that feels comfortable to you. That may be by writing a journal entry, listening to your favourite tunes, taking some time out, or talking to a friend or family member. By coming to terms with what’s happened, you can heal and move on.
Other break-up challenges
Leaving a bad relationship behind
It’s normal to feel angry, betrayed, detached, and a bunch of other emotions when a bad relationship ends. There’s often the gnawing feeling of, ‘Should I have known?’ or ‘Is this going to happen with my next relationship, too?’ That kind of stuff really sucks when you’re not feeling your normal, confident self.
Resolving trust issues
It’s normal to trust people less easily for a while after you’ve been in a bad relationship. Use this time to reflect on the choices you made and to decide what’s important to you in a relationship.
A healthy way to learn how to approach future relationships is to accept the mistakes you made in your last one. But don’t be hard on yourself, just spend some time trying to understand your fears and feelings.
Handling an angry ex’s lies
Some people take the end of a relationship badly – so badly, that they’ll share their bad attitude with everyone. Their lies about you can be damaging, but remember that your ex-partner may feel as hurt as you do, and all this storytelling may be their (unhealthy) way of coping.
Have some answers prepared for when people ask you about the rumours, and laugh off any untrue stories. If it’s happening online, report any posted content and the people involved, then unfriend and block them.
Coping with seeing your ex around
Be civil. This doesn’t mean being really nice or acting as if nothing happened; it means that you treat your ex as a human being and with basic respect. If you’re unsure how you might react, don’t force yourself to actively interact with them. Saying ‘hey’ or letting small talk happen naturally can help minimise any feeling of awkwardness. But hiding, wearing disguises or being obnoxious won’t. Always try to be your best self.
If things don't get better
There are strategies you can develop to help deal with stressful times. See building coping skills for more info. You may want to consider visiting a counsellor or a therapist who can help you identify ways to cope that work for you.
We know it can be hard to identify the right kind of support when you need it. Have a go at using ReachOut NextStep, an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with.
If, over time, you still feel as sad as the day you broke up, you might be going through more than just a hard time. Check out some of the signs of depression and, if you’re worried about how you’re feeling, visit your GP. It’ll be easier and faster to work out what’s going on with their help. No matter what, in time, and with a strong support network, your heart will heal and you’ll feel better.