Moving On: How to Properly Grieve and Heal After a Breakup

The end of a relationship can feel devastating. It can be hard to sleep, eat, or concentrate. The things you once thought were fun don’t appeal anymore. Depending on how long you were together, or how intense the emotional attachment was, it may even feel like you don’t know what direction your life will take now.

But don’t give up faith, and don’t lose hope.

As with other types of grief, grieving after a breakup can be done in a healthy way that points you toward healing without spiraling into bitterness, shame, or self-loathing.

Things Will Get Better

Acknowledging the end of a relationship is tough, but there are other things to learn and know after a breakup that are more empowering. One study by the Journal of Positive Psychology found that most participants saw progress in their healing, recovery, and growth after only a few months (around 11 weeks).

Just as knowing that you’re not alone in your feelings can help you when things are at their worst, knowing that you can and will heal from a breakup can help you move forward. There are plenty of practical ways to start on a path to wholeness.

Use Your Time Wisely

Since you’re not spending time with your significant other anymore, it can be tempting to fill that time by wallowing in negative emotions like self-pity, rage, and bitterness.

It may feel good to get those feelings out of your system, but they can do damage if not balanced by other emotions or experiences. If you have a history of struggles with harmful behaviors, addiction, or mental illness, the days after breaking up are a critical time to reach out for help and support.

There are lots of productive ways to use your time after a breakup. Here are a few of the most effective:

Travel: Going somewhere new can be a healthy distraction from the places and routines that remind you of your boyfriend or girlfriend. Take a road trip with some friends, visit family, or visit a hometown landmark you’ve never seen before. Planning and enjoying a trip helps you feel more independent, and may broaden your horizons along the way.

Learning: Learning something new is always fun and energizing. The sense of accomplishment it provides can boost your confidence and help you counter the negative emotions that come along with a breakup, You can try:

  • Taking a cooking class
  • Finding a new hobby
  • Exploring the outdoors
  • Sports, games, or exercise
  • Learning a new language

Helping Others: Whether it’s volunteering for a cause you believe in, giving time to a ministry at your church, tutoring at your local community center, or being there for a friend who’s going through a rough time, helping others is one of the most therapeutic things you can do after a breakup. It will help you feel better and it may provide you with some much-needed perspective.

Know Your Value

One of the most important things to remember when dealing with a breakup is that your partner’s negative words and feelings about you do not define your true worth. You had worth before and during the relationship. Your value cannot be damaged or diminished by a breakup, no matter how painful the end of the relationship feels.

Believing this can be even more of a struggle if your romantic relationship (or other close relationships that would otherwise be a part of your support system) included a history of abuse, mistreatment, or abandonment.

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. . . Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”— Isaiah 40: 29, 31 (NIV)

But going through a breakup does not make you broken. You were created for good, and there is abundant grace and mercy to strengthen you and help you move forward. TheHopeLine is here for you during your breakup. Talk to us, reach out to a mentor, or request prayer whenever you need it. We can help you work toward healing a broken heart and make sure you reconnect with healthy relationships.

You fell in love and got hurt now what do you do? Find out how to heal, cope and love again:

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13 comments on “Moving On: How to Properly Grieve and Heal After a Breakup”

  1. My boyfriend dumped me after 6 years, over a phone call 4 days after my birthday. I was distraught. He never answered the phone or replied to my messages for 4 days, so I popped up at his house to get my belongings and to give him back his stuff. I asked him so many things and he told me he didnt love me anymore. And that he had cheated on me once with some random person at a strip club 5 years ago. Which now that I'm thinking back on it the cheating never stopped and I had no idea. I loved him faithfully and was disrespected and hurt. Apparently he hadn't loved me for a while but was just using me. I am so hurt and shocked. I never would have imagined our relationship to end how it did. I never saw the signs. I guess I was just too blinded to see. He was my first everything. He took my everything and cheated on me and lied to my face for years. I'm just so heartbroken.

    1. Found out my boyfriend/fiancé was living with his (Ex?) still. Went to his house one night because I had a weird feeling. He'd never had me over to his house before, but had shown me once where he lives. Walked into his room where he was holding her in his arms fast asleep. I'm so scared I'll never be able to let this hurt go and just move on fresh, whether it's with him, someone else, or completely on my own for a few years. I don't want to keep reliving all of the betrayal in my head! How do I stop? Also, how do I be okay on my own without our continuous exchanges of friendship, love and affection that I'd gotten so used to for the past few months?
      Scared I'll never have a best friend who I'm as close to as I was with him. Why did he have to go and ruin it?

  2. His sister told me he likes another girl so I broke up with him.So I still like him,should I ask him to be my boyfriend again?

  3. Have been in a relationship for 9years still in the relationship he went to my back n get married to another person. He still deny the fact that he is married. Am so heart broken don't know what do

  4. I can't see past what I'm going through. I have no one to talk to and everything hurts. I feel so unworthy.

    1. Shae, I feel just like you as I type this. All I can say is this too shall pass! God will restore your joy and help you move on. Use this as a time to reconnect with you God. Smile and pray through this process. I’m VERY broken. I feel like I also lost my best friend and I got an abortion for him and he shortly after become official with someone else. He told me we were going to get married the whole 9. A year later and I’m still dealing with the emotional effects of not wanting to have an abortion but doing it for him because he put a guilt trip on me and told me he would kill himself. That is not a man! That is not love! God wants and has better for us. The crappy ex’s are someone else’s problem or blessing. It’s just not ours anymore. Fly free and take things one day at a time.

    2. You are more than worthy my dear. God loved so much to feel unworthy, think about the love he gave us when he gave us he only begotten son to pay our debts and give us life. We are privileged to have life. Celebrate life. I am married for five years and my wife left its been six months now. I love her so much. Within every challenge God has a purpose for you. Find it n be joyful.

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