Coping with a break-up
When you’re battling through 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. The good thing to remember is that the tough times are only temporary. But if you are looking for a few tips to get back on track, there are ways you can make the whole thing a little easier.
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.
How to: Survive the breakup
Breaking up is hard to do. When a relationship ends, it’s normal to feel like a part of you is missing, and that might be the case for a hot minute. But in the meantime, there are ways you can soften the blow and get back on track.
Slow and steady It can be difficult to come to terms with what’s happened. Don’t expect to bounce back to your old self immediately. Ask anyone who’s had a broken heart and they’ll tell you: there are good days and bad, but we all come good in the end..
Get your confidence back Make time to do the things that you enjoy – kick a footy, catch up with mates, binge Netflix, or challenge your friends to a gaming tournament or board game battle. Give yourself a well-earned break.
Don’t hit the bottle or take drugs When you’re reeling from a breakup there’s always a temptation to cut loose and get off your head. But taking drugs or boozing is a temporary distraction that will end up doing more harm than good. If you can feel yourself sliding in that direction, head on over to our drug and alcohol page for more info.
Stick to a routine During a break-up, your head might be spinning, so a little routine can go a long way. 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.
Express yourself It’s normal to feel lonely after a break-up, and it can help to open up about this in a way that feels comfortable to you. Chat to a mate who has been through a breakup, listen to your favourite tunes or just take some time out to chill. By coming to terms with what’s happened, you can heal and move on.
App, app and away! Because we’re living in the age of digital dating, it won’t be long before someone suggests signing up to Tinder (or Hinge, or Happn, or Bumble). If you think that chatting with some new people is a step in the right direction, go for it. But don’t feel the pressure to ‘rebound’ instantly, breaking up is a personal thing and we all operate on different timelines.
Get some more tips on coping over on the ReachOut TikTok.
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.
The post-dump slump While many breakups are mutual, sometimes one person makes the decision to end the relationship. Being ‘dumped’ is a tough pill to swallow, and it’s normal to feel angry, or upset in the aftermath like you’ve been rejected by the person you trusted most. It might also seem unfair that you got dumped, and you may get frustrated at the situation, or at your ex-partner. Try to remember that breaking up is never easy, for the dumper or the dumpee.
Resolving trust issues You might find that post-breakup you’re not exactly full of trust. 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 and take a little lesson from each. Acknowledge what went wrong and resolve not to let it happen again. 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 chill. 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. Take the high road, and 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, you will bounce back and feel better.