Relationships are messy and complicated and so are breakups. Every breakup will be different depending on the people and dynamics involved in the relationship, and it’s inevitable that breakups will be a part of your life.
Whether it’s breaking up with a friend, intimate partner or even members of your family, below are some things to keep in mind that can help you during a breakup.
Preparing for a Breakup
If you’re realising that your relationship isn’t working and you want to end your relationship here are some things to think about:
- Breakups are painful in the beginning. Prepare yourself that both you and the person(s) involved may be upset and that is okay. It’s okay to grieve and take time to be in pain and upset. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these feelings will pass and that it is perfectly normal for people to be upset.
- Is breaking up with your partner safe for you? Are you worried that breaking up with your partner will compromise your safety? If you don’t think breaking up is a safe option for you, it’s important that you seek professional support and talk about it with someone.
- How can you break up in a respectful way? Think about time, place, supports and what preparation you could do to make the breakup smooth (e.g. return their things to them ASAP so there is no temptation to continue to see each other to drop each other’s things off).
- What boundaries do you want to put in place after the break up? Do you want a certain amount of time before you speak again? Will you still have to see that person for work or at community events?
Going Through a Breakup
You could be the person doing the breaking up, the person who got broken up with, or it may have been a mutual decision – no matter your role in the breakup, it can still be really painful and shake up your life. Below are some things that can help you stay healthy during a breakup.
Breakups are painful, but you don’t want to neglect yourself in a way that is harmful to your wellbeing.
Breakups aren’t easy, so…
- Take some time to listen to yourself.
- Book in time with friends, family and make time for things you enjoy doing. When we go through a breakup, we may find ourselves with heaps of extra time on our hands. If you feel like it, booking in time to see friends, family, loved ones and doing things that you really enjoy can help you strengthen your sense of self after a breakup.
- Have “you” time. Be super kind to yourself. Cook yourself something amazing, listen to your favourite music, have fun with yourself!
- Talk it through with people you trust. Having people to talk to honestly about what you’re going through can help you cope better with the breakup. Let’s face it, you’re less likely to contact your ex if you’ve got friends to call to talk to you instead!
- Accept support and company when you need it. Heartbreak and separations are not an easy thing to go through and it can be really easy to isolate yourself. If people around you offer support and you need it, accept it. Stay at a friend’s house, go out for lunch, have a friend come over and watch movies together – you don’t have to go through breakups alone. If you feel like the breakup is affecting your health, ability to work, study or do things you once enjoyed if may be helpful to seek support.
- Try to not use drugs and alcohol to get you through the breakup. It can be tempting to want to use something that numbs, distracts or entertains you while you’re feeling the pain of a breakup, but it can leave you with bigger problems than trying to get over your ex. Seek support if you feel like you or the people around you are worried about the amount of drugs and alcohol you are consuming.
- Give yourself a routine that will work for you while you’re going through it. Try to find balance between knowing when to push yourself and knowing when to be easy on yourself (e.g., push yourself to get out of bed by 9am, go easy on yourself by taking less responsibility at work or school for the next few weeks).
- Put some energy into maintaining a good sleep routine. The right amount of sleep is really important for your overall health.
- Learn to be okay with not being okay. We can often try and snap ourselves out of heartbreak, but the more comfortable we can get with being okay that we’re not okay after a breakup can help us move through the breakup with less anxiety and pressure on ourselves.
- Be very mindful about how you communicate with the person you have broken up with.
Also: Eat well, sleep well, don’t text your ex.
Feeling stuck in a relationship is unhealthy for everyone involved. There are lots of reasons for feeling stuck:
- You love them but not the relationship
- You are not sure if you really want to leave or not
- You are worried about hurting them
- You stay so you don’t hurt your friendship circle, or upset other people’s expectations
- You stay due to a pet/house/money
Try reading our how to have a healthy relationship page to find out what you want in your relationships. It may be that you need to share your feelings with your partner – as hard as this may be! There is information on how to have better communication in our setting boundaries page.
If you feel like you can’t leave your relationship or you have tried multiple times and still cannot leave it’s important to seek professional support.