At the start of a relationship, you’re optimistic and thinking about building a future with someone. You’re definitely not thinking about how to handle a breakup. But unfortunately, breakups do happen, and they suck. At some point, everybody gets dumped. And at some point, everybody does the dumping. Even if breaking up was your idea or you know it’s for the best, that doesn’t make it any easier.

Regardless of who did the breaking up, dealing with a breakup is never fun or easy. And it’s especially hard when you once deeply loved the person. There isn’t a single roadmap that instructs you how to handle a breakup, but there are some things you can do and things you can remind yourself of when it happens to you.

How to Handle a Breakup

If you’re facing the end of a relationship with someone you love, follow these tips for how to handle a breakup and you’ll come out stronger in no time.

Allow yourself to be sad

In case you needed to hear it: It’s okay if you’re not okay right now. A breakup can take a big emotional toll on you. When you’re in love with someone, your lives become intertwined. So, when you’re used to waking up next to somebody, talking to them every day, and sharing your dreams, it’s shocking to suddenly lose all of that at once. Give yourself time to mourn the breakup.

Identify how you feel and embrace it

Feel every sad feeling and embrace all of your emotions. You shared a life with this person, so it’s okay to be sad that it ended, even if it was the right decision. Plus breakups bring a lot of emotions to the surface, so sadness isn’t the only thing you might be feeling. You could also feel shock, denial, rejection, fear, embarrassment, and even relief, to name a few. It’s tempting to put things behind you and rush to get over it, but if you move on too quickly, you run the risk of bringing negative emotions into your next relationship.

Set ground rules…

People have different breakup styles. Some want to remain friends with their exes while others never want to see them again. For some, it’s not that simple. If you share a house or have children together, there are even more considerations involved. Any of these sets of rules is perfectly fine if it works for you. The key is to identify what you want, vocalize it to your ex-partner, and have a plan in place moving forward.

 …and stick to them

So, you mutually decided on a set of ground rules for your breakup. That’s a very important step in knowing how to handle a breakup. Now comes the hard part: actually sticking to those rules. 

If your ex wants to cease all communication, you have to refrain from texting them. If your ex wants to maintain a healthy line of communication in regard to co-parenting your kids, you have to reframe how you go about conversations. If you find yourself wavering, which is completely normal, remember why you set the rules in the first place. These new guidelines will take some getting used to, but it’s for the best.

Reach out to friends and family

After your breakup, you’ll probably get texts from friends and family offering support and making themselves available to talk. It’s tempting to brush off these offers, because talking about it brings up sad feelings. But consider taking them up. 

Your loved ones aren’t reaching out just to be nice; they want to support you through a difficult time. When you feel ready, call a family member for a catch-up session or make dinner plans with a friend. Trust us here, it’ll feel good to open up about the breakup with someone you love.

Go easy on yourself

It’s not easy to recognize it in the moment, but one day you’ll wake up and the breakup will hurt less. Until then, be kind to yourself and try not to overthink it. If you’re the one who ended it, you might carry a lot of guilt for ending things. If you’re the one who got dumped, you might dwell on what you could have done differently. Reflecting on your role in the relationship and what kind of partner you were is good and can lead to positive personal growth. But overanalyzing how things went down will get you nowhere. 

Instead, do something nice for yourself that will make you feel good, like going for a run or treating yourself to a new haircut. There are plenty of ideas out there to get you inspired! Go easy on yourself, because your heart is healing. You’re only human, and you’re doing your best.

There’s no one right way to figure out how to handle a breakup. Every relationship is different, which means every breakup is different. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not always going to be this painful. Things will get easier, and eventually you’ll be ready to fall in love again. Until then, be patient with yourself while your heart is on the mend.

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