Break-ups happen every day, but how one deal’s with it can be a turning point in moving on. Some relationships are very strong and the break-up may come as a surprise while other relationships are not very healthy and a break up seems inevitable. This can lead to complications when coping with the emotional aspects of a break-up because not all break-ups can be treated the same. Losing a relationship with someone you may have thought was your soul mate can be difficult, but luckily, there are a plethora of techniques that can aid the healing process. For example, keeping very busy and distancing yourself from your ex can do wonders to help you move on. These are just a few techniques that can accelerate the process of moving on from a break-up.

Breaking Up With a Partner

Break-ups can be a very difficult emotional time in a person’s life. Some choose to see break-ups as losing a lifelong partner, while others see them as a necessary step forward. It can be challenging to realize when a relationship becomes a negative influence in one’s life. Many people fail to recognize when a relationship becomes toxic, which can lead to further issues when attempting to cope with said break-up. There are many signs, both physical and emotional, that a relationship is not healthy. Ending a relationship can be a very difficult decision to make because it often signifies the end of a physical and emotional connection with an individual.


Signs It Is Not Working

There may be many signs that your partner is not the right person for you. One sign is that your partner constantly puts you down.  A partner should make you feel more secure about yourself, not less. Furthermore, if your partner influences you through bad habits, such as excessive drinking or lying, they may not be the best person for your future.  If you cannot trust your partner, chances are that the relationship will not last. A key component of a successful relationship is being able to fully trust your partner; if there is no trust, insecurity will take over the relationship. These signs of an unhealthy relationship are not universal; rather, they indicate that a relationship is not healthy.


Coping With a Break-Up

The aftermath of a break-up can be one of the most emotional times an individual faces in their life. No matter whose decision it is to break-up, each person may experience a wide range of emotions, and spend time wondering how to cope with the emotions they face. It is okay to be emotional, no matter your gender. The duration of the relationship can matter more in some cases than others. For example, the reaction to a breakup can be the same in a three-month relationship and in a seven-year relationship.

For many couples, there comes a time when one or both partners may decide they are no longer happy with the status of their current relationship. If your partner is the one to decide the relationship is over, it is perfectly normal to feel as though this period of distress may never end. Furthermore, do not blame yourself because it hinders the ability to move on.  It is even healthy, as Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. points out, to cry as much as you want.1 Letting out the pain and grief is normal, and often better than holding it in. Since every relationship is different, with its own set of memories, situations, and dynamics, it is important to realize that every break-up is different as well. Some couples do end up getting back together. If this is the case for your relationship, it is wise to ensure that the initial reasons for separating do not interfere a second, or in some cases, a third time. Here are a few helpful tips to cope with a difficult situation:

Acknowledge and accept that the relationship has ended. There will be periods of sadness and mourning, whichis normal. Allow yourself sufficient time to mourn, but realize that the end of your relationship is in no way the end of the world.  Acknowledge that life continues and that you should continue to do what makes you happy. Also, keep in mind that there were good times, as well as bad times, in the relationship. Many people are often bitter and have negative emotions toward ex-partners, but that anger stems from focusing solely on the negative aspects of a relationship, rather than good memories. The sooner you make these realizations, the easier it will be to cope with a break-up and move on in a healthy manner.

Keep busy. Continue going to school or work and make time to socialize with friends. Go on walks, listen to music, play games, or watch movies. These positive habits are most effective once the initial phases of sadness are over. Going out may not seem appealing at first, but it is more beneficial than sitting in your room, thinking about how hurt you feel. Finally, get out and exercise. The Mayo Clinic claims that exercise improves stress levels, improves sleep, and supplies endorphins that can help ease one’s mind.3

Seek emotional support. Talk to friends, family, or other loved ones about how you are feeling. Oftentimes, they are able to relate and offer comfort. If you feel uncomfortable talking to friends or family, it may be wise to seek counseling or therapy, as trained professionals are equipped to handle these situations.

Keep distance from your ex. It is nearly impossible to get over someone you see on a daily basis. A break-up can be even more painful when the partners have mutual friends. Often, these friends may feel pressured to choose sides or to stay out of the situation altogether. If you and your ex share close friends, let them know you need time to heal from the break-up without seeing or hearing about your ex. Seeing your ex often can bring back feelings of sadness, regret, or confusion regarding the way the relationship turned out.2 Also, consider unfollowing or unfriending your partner on social media because seeing them, or being tempted to look at their pictures, can elicit negative emotional responses.

Take your time. Getting over someone does not have a time limit or specific rules. It may take months to move on or, for some, only a few weeks. Either way, do what works for you. Try not to rush into another relationship as that can unintentionally lead to emotionally harming someone else. Give yourself time to be sad, to be angry, and to wonder what could have been. All these thoughts and feelings are normal; but if this process becomes excessive, it can lead to ruminating. One day, a person may wake up and realize the break-up is no longer constantly on their mind. If this day does not come as soon as you would like, remember that the more time that passes, the easier it gets.

Enjoy being single. Recovering from a break-up is the perfect time to focus on yourself and consider what you truly want in a relationship.2 Being single might seem weird or unappealing at first, especially when you see other couples together. But, being single can be a pleasurable experience. There are many advantages of “flying solo”, such as a simpler lifestyle. Before you can commit to a healthy, long-lasting relationship, it is important to know yourself and to be able to ensure that you can keep yourself happy. Being single allows you to focus on yourself. By spending time alone, you learn more about who you are and what you enjoy, making it easier for you to choose a partner in the future who will be able to satisfy your needs. Furthermore, being single gives you a chance to meet someone better for you or explore the dating, or “hook-up scene”. However, be cautious of rebounding. This involves connecting with another partner before you have had time to move on from the previous relationship. Rebounds are often short-term, but may occasionally grow into long-term, healthy relationships.

Break-ups can be valuable learning experiences.  It is impossible to change the past, but it is prudent to learn from it. Dwelling on the past and rehashing the small details will only exacerbate the healing process. Past relationships are a great way to learn more about yourself and ensure that your future relationships will be better.


Initially, break-ups seem devastating, but through time most people heal very well and are able to live normal lives. Time is one of the most critical components of the healing process as it allows one to look back on events think about them logically. Furthermore, utilizing break-up techniques can generally accelerate getting over a breakup, no matter how serious. Break-ups can be very beneficial because they are a chance for personal growth and they allow one to gain self-security about themselves. Most see break-ups as a negative, life-changing event, while in reality, a break-up can be an opportunity for self-improvement in all aspects of one's life.



  1. Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. "Emotional Fitness: 10 Tips to Survive a Breakup". 24 March 2011.
  2. Hirsh, Delphine. The Girl's Guide to Surviving a Break up. Martin's Griffin, NY. 2003.
  3. “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 April 2015.

Last Updated: 20 October 2017.