Getting Through a Breakup – 11 Tips That Ease the Pain (Updated in 2021)

Getting through a breakup is tough.

Ending my marriage was the most painful thing I did in my life.

And I made so many mistakes in the process.

I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.

Today, I’ll break down how to end a relationship with as little trauma and resentment as possible.

Let’s get started.

Tip 1: Your partner might not want a breakup
Tip 2: Accept your partner’s decision to end the relationship
Tip 3: When you’re the one ending the relationship, get advice
Tip 4: When relationships end, part ways amicably
Tip 5: Find gifts in breakups
Tip 6: If you’re the dumper, don’t feel shame and guilt
Tip 7: Know yourself better and get stronger
Tip 8: Rebuild self-esteem
Tip 9: Don’t expect a new relationship to heal you
Tip 10: Go No Contact
Tip 11: Write a letter… And never send it

Companion video

Check out the companion video if you don’t want to read:

Tip 1: Your partner might not want a breakup

People don’t always want to end a relationship when they say so.

They might want something else such as a little bit of drama or reassurance.

I was guilty of this in my marriage.

I tried to end the relationship three times by leaving my wife.

But I was bluffing because I didn’t want a breakup.

All I wanted was to scare her into changing what I didn’t like about her.

I waited for a couple of weeks but she didn’t contact me.

And I came crawling back to her.

Find the real reason behind your partner’s wish to end the relationship:

  1. They might want you to fulfill their needs better.
  2. They might feel bored and want to spice things up.
  3. They might need reassurance. For example, a woman might threaten to leave to test her man’s presence. And he must remain calm and loving rather than blow up.

when relationships end your partner might just want attention

Tip 2: Accept your partner’s decision to end the relationship

If your partner is breaking up with you, I’d accept their decision.

Here’s how you do it:

First step: Speak your mind

Say how you feel and state that you don’t want the relationship to end.

I made the mistake of pretending that the relationship didn’t matter to me.

I wanted to look like I didn’t care.

And it looked fake, leaving a bad aftertaste in me and my partner.

I also felt regret afterward because I hadn’t said what I had wanted to say.

And my reaction confirmed for my partner that the breakup was the right decision.

These are the benefits of speaking your mind:

  1. You are being genuine which equals “more attractive.”
  2. Your non-judgmental reaction might change your partner’s mind.
  3. You won’t feel regret.

tell them how you feel when relationships end

Second step: Practice acceptance

I recommend accepting a breakup rather than resisting it.

Acceptance opens your heart for experiencing the full power of love that you have.

Even in an event that seems negative like a breakup.

If you resist it instead, you withhold love and multiply your pain.

You keep asking yourself, “Why am I not over my ex?

As a result, you push yourself into a self-perpetual cycle:

Thoughts → Resentment → Even more thoughts. 

Accepting the breakup breaks this cycle.

In more practical terms, you want to accept the breakup because it’s often a change for good.

Being apart will help you see the situation more objectively.

You will realize one of two things:

  1. You two aren’t a good match.
  2. You do need each other and with that new understanding, you are willing to work out your issues.

acceptance step 2 go with the flow when relationships end

Third step: Don’t put life on hold

Finally, give yourself some time for the grieving process but then live your life to the fullest.

Start dating other people.

Don’t contact your ex or even think of them.

Your goal is to break all neuro-associations around them in your mind.

acceptance step 3 live your life to the fullest

Rest assured you did the right thing by accepting the breakup with these three steps.

If anything can improve your chances of getting back together, it’s acceptance.

Tip 3: When you’re the one ending the relationship, get advice

When you want to end a relationship, discuss it with someone else first.

Ideally, this is a counselor or a coach.

Your second choice is a parent or a friend. (They’re not the first option because they’re biased.)

Being arrogant in my marriage

I never consulted anyone when my marriage ended because:

  • I was too proud.
  • I thought I knew it all.
  • I wasn’t comfortable sharing these things.

But these wrong beliefs cost me dearly

Often, my hormones—testosterone and cortisol—guided my decisions.

  1. Testosterone made me focus on sex too much and sweep the problems that existed in my marriage under the rug. Instead of working out our issues, I would numb myself with short-term pleasure. And the issues kept getting worse.
  2. Cortisol didn’t allow me to think straight. I felt stress or anger and I said things that were detrimental to my relationship. My wife would feel resentment. I kept withdrawing from my emotional bank account with her. Until finally there’s been nothing left.

emotional-bank-account

I divorced at 32 and got smarter.

For more recent relationships, I consulted three people:

  • my dating and relationship coach
  • my mentor
  • and my mother

And I was in control of those relationships.

Each situation when relationships end is unique

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

You can make the right decision only if:

  • you get an outside perspective;
  • you calm down and think straight.

That’s why guidance from another person is crucial.

Tip 4: When relationships end, part ways amicably

I always want to save my clients’ marriage.

But sometimes, preventing divorce is just impossible.

In this case, it’s important to break up in a friendly way.

Don’t break up on bad terms

When you end a relationship in a stressful state, you might do things you’ll regret later.

Seek advice instead or wait until you calm down.

Then, talk to your partner productively and positively.

Avoiding resentment is good for health

A bad breakup can cause trauma.

You can avoid it by practicing acceptance.

Let go off your resentment and be kind to your partner.

You’ll be able to forget them more easily as a result.

friendly breakup makes grieving easier

Increase the chances of rekindling the relationship

Breaking up on good terms makes getting back together possible.

When time passes and you two are still good friends, who knows…

I wouldn’t count on it. But it’s still good to know that you had a “clean” breakup that didn’t mess up your chances.

Make it easier for the kids

Seeing parents divorce is hard enough.

But knowing that they now hate each other is even worse.

That’s one reason my ex-wife is my good friend.

minimize the effect of the breakup on the kids

Denise Zavitson’s story

A fine example of getting through a breakup in a healthy way is a life coach Denise Zavitson.

Denise had married her husband too hastily. Her parents had had an expectation of who she should marry. She had listened to them but then she and her husband had grown apart slowly.

As a result, Denise initiated a divorce in her early thirties. Her kids were 6 and 9 at that point.

She did her best to minimize the negative impact on the family.

They respect each other and have been able to keep the family unit together for more than 20 years.

For example, they spend the holidays together today.

Companion interview with Denise

The next tips (5 to 10) come from my interview with Denise. You can listen to it below or continue reading:

Tip 5: Find gifts in breakups

Denise went to counseling with her husband as they were getting through a breakup.

As the dumpee in the breakup, her husband felt devastated.

Their counselor helped him to begin to accept the breakup and find the good in it. And so he did:

  • Before the divorce, his relationship with the children was through Denise. And now he was able to make his own connection with them.
  • He hadn’t been much of a traveler before but now, he started to like it.
  • He was able to focus on his needs more instead of wasting time in constant arguments.

What about you? Maybe you forgot that you loved to hike? Or perhaps you can reconnect with a friend who you used to be fond of?

To be clear:

Finding a gift in a breakup when you’re in pain is unbelievably difficult.

If they brought you children, that’s an easy one.

But sometimes, a breakup just brings you lessons. And it’s okay, too. We’re all here students and teachers of each other.

Tip 6: If you’re the dumper, don’t feel shame and guilt

Dumping your significant other is never a fun thing to do.

For example, Denise felt a lot of guilt about her breaking the family.

But counseling helped her overcome guilt. She realized that she couldn’t stay in the relationship anymore. She felt like she was dying.

If she had stayed, she would have been unhappy herself and have made everyone else unhappy.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to feel guilty if you’re unhappy and choose to end the relationship.

There’s no doubt about it: an unhappy relationship doesn’t serve anyone.

Tip 7: Know yourself better and get stronger

Denise says you can’t shortcut the healing process. It’s an inevitable part of getting through a breakup.

It’s painful but it’s also an opportunity to be quiet and ask yourself:

  • Have I learned more about myself?
  • Is there an experience I can use to get stronger?
  • What did it tell me about my purpose in life?

That’s how you rechannel your pain into growing emotionally and spiritually.

When you come on the other side, you’re stronger and know yourself better. And you can share the lessons learned to help others in a similar situation.

Tip 8: Rebuild self-esteem

If your ex dumped you, you might feel unworthy and desperate. And that’s how you give power away.

You rely on the dumper to decide whether you’re good or not good.

It’s time to take the power back. Start treating yourself like you want others to treat you.

Your goal is to heal and understand yourself more.

Make it a daily practice:

  • Start by being quiet with yourself because the wound is still so raw.
  • Do meditation five minutes a day.
  • Listen to affirmations.

Seem in relationships, we get caught up in what the other person thinks and wants.

And with this inner work, you get re-introduced to yourself and rebuild self-esteem.

Tip 9: Don’t expect a new relationship to heal you

Denise got through a few painful breakups where she felt “she belonged on the island of misfit toys.”

And she brought herself out of pain a few times by jumping into another relationship.

That’s what she told herself:

I don’t like myself. I’m feeling so awful but here’s somebody who likes me. They must know something I don’t know.

But she never took the time to see if that person was right for her. And she never did the inner work of accepting herself.

It’s okay to get back into the dating world before getting over an ex but don’t expect it to heal you. You still need to do the acceptance work.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the self-care route. Start being nice to yourself.
  • Contribute to your community.
  • Look for opportunities for connection other than romantic relationships. For example, find a group of people with similar interests.

Tip 10: Go No Contact

Your boyfriend broke up with you. It’s 2 AM. You’re crying and want to call him. You just need some resolution.

Sounds familiar, right?

The truth is, the time right after a breakup isn’t good for communication or resolution.

The best way to get over a breakup is to go No Contact. Cut all communication and keep a separation.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll never talk again. But at this point, talking to your ex will hurt you more than it’ll help.

We’re so often caught up in emotions that healthy communication is just impossible.

By not having any contact with your ex, you’ll become an observer of your breakup. And see the whole picture.

If the relationship has legs, you might be able to rekindle it later.

In fact, 46.6% of Americans surveyed in 2012 did get back with their ex’s:

americans-survey-get-back-ex-2012

Tip 11: Write a letter… And never send it

Suppose, you went No Contact but still believe you have a lot to say to your ex:

  • You might regret the mistakes you made in the relationship.
  • You might want to tell your ex how badly you want them back.
  • You believe they’re also in pain and want to help them.

Don’t break the No Contact. Instead, write a letter to your ex, saying all those things you want to say.

But then never send it.

It’s a good way to release your emotions and pain sustainably—without hurting your self-esteem. Which would be inevitable if you say this to your ex directly.

About Denise Zavitson

Denise is a certified Life Coach, the author of The Bountiful Garden and host of the online course, Awaken to Joy. Using her experience gained from a series of personal tragedy and loss, a six month stay at a Buddhist community and a year-long solo retreat to a cabin on the Buffalo River in West Tennessee, Denise has found purpose and fulfillment helping others via her book, online courses, coaching, retreats and speaking engagements. Denise and her husband have four adult children, three grandchildren and live on a houseboat in Nashville, Tenn.

Denise’s resources

Getting help when relationships end

As a relationship coach, I can give you breakup advice.

If you can’t mend it, I’ll help you part ways in the healthiest way possible.

Click this link to get in touch with me for a free consultation.

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