How to Handle a Bad Breakup like a Pro


We experience the end of a relationship in different ways. Some need more time to heal emotional wounds, while some quickly return to normal life and leave the past behind. But no matter how excruciating the pain we feel, breakups always give us the opportunity to grow, get to know ourselves better, and become stronger.

There’s the so-called “breakup formula,” according to which the initiator takes only a third of damage and disappointment, while the other two-thirds fall on the shoulders of their devastated ex-partner. However, when a relationship cracks, we usually don’t care about who feels better. Even if a breakup happened because of you, it feels either bad or really, really bad. But a clear plan and a couple of tips can help skip the most depressive parts and understand how to deal with a bad breakup with minimal emotional loss.

how to handle a bad breakup

Why do we feel so bad after a breakup?

At the very beginning of a relationship, your brain begins producing lots of oxytocin and dopamine. When you’re with your partner, and everything’s fine, the reward system turns on, and a whole hormone cocktail is released into the blood, giving you that feeling of happiness.

While you’re coping with a bad breakup, the reward system stops working, and the body gets hit by a terrible withdrawal. The stress hormones produced affect the immune, cardiovascular, and even digestive system. To make things worse, the systems responsible for the perception of pain start working harder. That is why the brain makes you feel physical pain, although, in reality, your body is fine. That’s why the first thing you should do is put yourself together, and here’s how.

Going through a bad breakup: how not to fall to pieces

There’s no universal recipe for how to get over a bad breakup and quit your love addiction, but what we have instead is the invaluable experience of those who passed the test and came out safe and sound. Here are the top tips to keep you from falling apart.

Be ready for mistakes

At first, you’ll hear a lot of tips, some of which might be not that smart: “You should call your ex;” “Don’t even think about calling your ex;” “Tell them everything;” “Don’t tell them anything;” go on a dozen of dates; get drunk; get a new haircut. And some of your actions might be illogical. Maybe you’ll call them, and maybe you won’t; maybe you’ll tell them a lot of trash or not. When a breakup is tough, you lose the ability to think soberly for a while, so you’ll probably make a lot of stupid things, not thinking about possible repercussions. Be ready for this.

Don’t be afraid if you feel bad

Yes, you feel like crap, and there’s no other reality but this one. If your loved one was a decent person, it’s OK to feel this way. When you lose a wallet, you get upset, and when you lose someone important, it would be rather cynical to shake things up and go on. Your pain means that you had something valuable. Sure, you can say, “Not anymore.” But you did! Over time, this fact will gain more importance. The sooner you start to cherish it, the better. Keep this in mind when dealing with a bad breakup.

Do some writing

9 out of 10 psychologists would recommend you to make up a list, like “My ex’s favorite socks” or “My 17 plans for the future without dumb relationships.” In fact, you can write anything you want, from your ex-partner’s merits to a shopping list. Structuring a situation helps coping with the chaos and overwhelming feelings. When we make lists, the analytical part of the brain is busy with active work. Besides, you can always use a shopping list.

how to recover from a bad breakupRemember that everyone’s replaceable

When going through a bad breakup, try to recall some good memories before you met your ex-partner. What, you don’t have any? This can’t be! And what about your favorite meals when you were a kid? You lived for so long without this person: you used to hang out with friends, had fun, and so on.

Maybe the time you spent with your ex was the best thing that has happened to you. But it wasn’t the only good thing, and it’s definitely not the only one that will happen in your life.

Swear more

Feel free to curse you wish: people, traffic, this article, whatever. Don’t keep your aggression to yourself – you need it because there’s not only pain but also anger. And it’s better to be angry than sad and dull.

Try therapy

How to handle a breakup when you still love them? Go to a psychologist; tell them everything, cry, and be mad. Find the root of the problem in your childhood. Maybe it’s your family’s curse? Self-made prophecy? Narcissistic trauma? Maybe you suffer from a completely different problem but blame your ex.

That’s what psychologists are here for – to help those who seek solutions. They spend decades to learn how to properly sit next to you and talk about what’s wrong.

Hope for the best

We’re not talking about a new love; it’s too early for that. Just think about something good, like a trip to some interesting place, a job change, a new season of your favorite TV show – something that will bring you joy. Try to go back to your favorite activities or at least just make yourself a new but stable schedule. Hope and faith in the future are one of the first steps towards recovery.

How to handle a bad breakup with dignity

Alright, you managed to keep your head on the shoulders. Here’s how to handle a breakup and save some dignity.

Block your ex

Even if you have to communicate with your ex-partner, try to completely cut all contacts with them for a while, including emails and text messages. The optimal period is a month – after this time, you’ll have developed emotional immunity, and it will be much easier to communicate with your ex later.

Keep up the good looks

The worse you’re doing, the better you should look, and there’s some truth to these words. It’s always easier to go through tough times when you’re wearing something better than saggy pants and a stinky T-shirt. And, of course, instead of sitting on the couch for months and reading about how to handle a bad breakup, get a gym membership. A good portion of endorphins won’t hurt you now.

Have fun

Bake a cake, learn how to weave, rearrange the furniture in the room – learn to look for pleasant emotions even in smaller things. It would be even better to do something good for others: babysit your friends’ kids, help you buddy with repairs, or help some elderly neighbor with shopping. Small but good deeds will allow you to distract and cheer up.

Review your plans and goals

When there were two of you, you probably used to plan a lot and had common goals. Now, when you’ve been through some changes, it’s time to reconsider some of those plans. Dreaming of seeing the world? Well, you no longer need to postpone your plans because your ex hates traveling. Always wanted to change the profession, but your ex convinced you that banking is your vocation? No need to listen to them now! Having decided to go beyond the usual way of life, you’ll be surprised to find that a breakup brings with it not only bitterness but also freedom, and it’s up to you to decide how to use it. And don’t even think about how to get her back after a bad breakup.

End the relationship

A hard breakup happened, you had a fight, and now you live separately. Yet you’re still connected by a dozen of strings left from this relationship that keep driving you into anguish. Get rid of these strings mercilessly: delete messages, unsubscribe from updates in social media, buy new bedding, etc. Then, make sure you threw or gave away all the presents reminding you of this person. OK, the job’s done. There’s nothing left in common between you and your ex. Now, let’s see how to move on after a bad breakup.

What to do after a bad breakup

Life isn’t over. And these steps will help you go back to a normal rhythm.

Change of scenery

If everything around reminds of your ex, you should think about changing the scenery. Can't move to another place right now? Make minor changes – buy new curtains or dishes. Changing colors will help let your feelings go. Experiment!

Chat with friends

Sometimes, your friends can be better than psychologists, and they might even help you figure out how to move on after a bad breakup. But don’t forget about their feelings – ask before you speak out about the breakup. Perhaps, at this very moment, your friend isn’t ready to listen to you or can’t give a decent piece of advice at the moment.

how to move on from a bad breakupAnalyze the breakup

Try to return to the turning point. When did you realize that something clicked inside? Describe your feelings at that moment. Make a list of reasons why your relationship would still be untenable. Write an angry letter to your ex. Feel free to express your repressed emotions, be it pain, rage, or anger. Now, describe your sense of guilt. Curse yourself for as long as you like – paper will endure everything.

Listen to your loved ones

No matter how unique, warm, and strong your relationship is, your relatives perfectly know what to say to make you feel better. Yes, none of those around you can understand what kind of love you had, how good you felt together with your partner, but they don’t need it anyway. Don’t give up their advice, blaming them for not understanding you. Your friends and relatives don’t want and don’t need to understand you because this relationship doesn’t exist anymore. All they want is to show you how to recover from a bad breakup.

Discover a new relationship

Installing Tinder after a breakup is a standard procedure today. Don’t worry if you immediately have thoughts about a new relationship. It’s bad if you don’t have them. Since you’ve let a person into your inner world, after they’re gone, there remains an emptiness that needs to be filled with something positive. New people are an excellent reason to escape from this sad experience. Some people even yearn for their ex-partners until they meet someone new. And it doesn’t matter how much time has passed. If the ex tells you something like, “Damn, you’re fast,” it means that you’re doing everything right. And if your ex finds a mate, it will be even easier to realize that nothing can be returned.

Get drunk

Brandy + vodka + beer + a couple of shots are the main enemies of sadness. No need to waste your precious time – no need to drink cocktails for hours or waste time on tiny shots. Take a whole bottle. After all, if you shot after shot, at some point, there will be doubts that you’ve had enough. This is a false alarm of the body. But if you buy a bottle of vodka, you’ll definitely get drunk, and you won’t stop until you finish it. But don’t drink at home. We’re not saying that the answer to the question of how to cope with a bad breakup lies on the bottom of your glass, but you’ll feel better, especially if you already sorted things out with your ex.

Bottom line

Of course, you won’t forgive and let go easily, but time heals. The day when you feel that you’re ready to move on will surely come. No matter how hurt you are, if it was your partner who decided to part ways, respect their choice and their right to live their life.