Texas Tech University

Coping with a Relationship Break Up


It is never easy when a significant relationship ends! Even if you wanted a relationship to end, it can be a real adjustment.

Why do breakups hurt so much?

  • It is a loss, not only of the relationship but of shared dreams and hopes for a future
  • When relationships fail, we experience disappointment, grief and stress
  • Your routine is often disrupted dramatically
  • Who you spent time with may change as you lose other relationships associated with your ex-partner as well
  • Your identity can be disrupted

Even though recovering can be difficult, remember you CAN and WILL be able to heal and move on….it takes time and so you need to be patient with yourself!


  • Allow yourself to feel the many conflicting emotions; ignoring or suppressing them will only make the grieving process harder and longer
  • Reach out to others and talk about your feelings:
    • Reach out to friends and family who are supportive so that you don't feel alone in your pain and struggle.
    • Prioritize time with those who support, value and energize you and minimize time with those people who don't seem to understand and don't support you.
    • Journaling or other acts of self-expression (ex., art, dance, and music) can also be helpful.
    • If you lost a lot of friends when the relationship ended, work on meeting new people with whom you can develop new friendships by joining a networking group, special interest club, getting involved in community activities or volunteer.
  • Keep in mind the end goal of moving on:
    • While it is important to express your feelings, getting stuck and over-analyzing the past and resenting your ex-partner can sap your energy and make it hard to move forward
  • Work towards feeling hopeful about your future:
    Remember there will be future opportunities that can replace the hopes and dreams you might have had with your partner
  • Know when your reaction to the breakup is causing so much difficulty for you that it may have become depression and you require more help to move forward
  • Consider counseling or a support group


  • Nurture yourself: schedule time to do something calming and self-soothing EACH DAY
  • Listen to what you need and say “no” when you really don't want to do something
  • Get back to a routine since it can be comforting to have structure in your life
  • Wait to make really big decisions until you are feeling less emotional
  • Avoid using alcohol, drugs or food to “cope” with your emotions and find healthier ways to cope with your distress
  • Try out new interests and fun activities which allow you to enjoy life in the here and now and NOT dwell too much on the past.
  • Eat well, sleep well and exercise to keep your body feeling healthy and restore your energy


  • Think of the breakup as an opportunity to re-evaluate your life and learn about yourself and your relationships
  • Some questions to ask yourself WHEN YOU ARE READY:
    • Looking back at the big picture, what were some things you might have done to contribute to the problems in the relationship?
    • Do you see a pattern in the types of people you seek out to have relationships with?
    • How do you react to stress and conflict? Are there some other ways you could react differently that might improve your relationships with others and your situation as a whole?
    • How open are you to accepting others for how they really are instead of pushing them to be something you think they “should” be?
    • Do you feel in control of your negative feelings OR do they seem like they control you?
  • → Be honest with yourself BUT do not beat yourself up over past behavior. Focus on what you can do to help you make better choices in the future.

Want to read more about someone's experience with a break up and advice that comes from that:

Student Counseling Center