Breakups are hard, moving on is harder: How to cope with heartbreak

Infographic depicting things to help get through a breakup
Aasha Turner/Staff

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It’s no secret: Breakups are hard. Whether it was an unexpected ending after five months, or a mutual breakup after five years, it’s natural to feel hurt after you lose one of the most important people in your life. Whether it’s me or my friend who is going through the emotional roller-coaster of a breakup, my first instinct is to seek out advice from others who can relate. But listening to sappy breakup songs or watching romantic comedy movies doesn’t hurt either.

While I am by no means a relationship guru, here are some coping mechanisms to try yourself or recommend to a friend post-breakup. Hopefully, they will help you as they’ve helped me.

Make a list of all the reasons the relationship ended and read over it when you miss them. 

Breakups are especially painful when you are left reminiscing about what you lost. After all of the fighting or stress is over, you are left with an uncomfortable silence. In that silence, it’s easy to think only about the good memories and moments. Amid this moment of reminiscing, it may help to remember exactly why the relationship ended by making a list. This may sound corny or pointless if you were the person that was broken up with, but these lists can remind us of some key issues that existed in the relationship, and help us to avoid being blindsided again by our own heartbreak. This list can be an accumulation of things you know you deserved but never got, or for those of us who got broken up with, the dreaded “if they wanted to make it work, they would have.” Although it may hurt in the beginning, eventually, these lists help us realize what we deserve in a relationship, and keep you grounded through the storm of emotions that follow a split. 

Change something about your life and reach out to others. 

Although this is most commonly known as the “revenge body” or dying your hair the color that your ex-partner would have hated, I am here to tell you that changing anything about your life could help you through a breakup. This could be anything from rearranging your room, to changing your social scene. One of the biggest aspects of change that is often overlooked is the power of changing your social relationships. Reaching out to old friends or even new people could allow you to reconstruct your social “net” and find new people to rely on, which could be just as refreshing as going platinum. The turmoil following a breakup is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and find a fresh start.

Allow yourself time to be “lazy.”

It’s important to let yourself ride the emotional rollercoaster that comes with heartbreak. It takes time to accept these emotions and move on. You can start a new show, read a book or pick up basket weaving. Whatever it is, it should be something fun and “lazy” to let yourself process your heartbreak. As many of us know, this can be a slippery slope a week can easily turn into three months. So, to find a happy medium between giving yourself the time to process and understand your emotions, while also not falling TOO behind in school, it’s important to make a rule. Give yourself a week or two, to process your emotions, and little by little, make a plan for your return to acting like yourself again. 

As said before, I am no relationship guru, and it takes a lot longer than a few weeks to get over an ex. However, I hope these tips give you new ideas on how to approach a breakup, so that way we can all learn, grow and better ourselves after heartbreak.

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].