How to Deal After a Break-Up

Author: August Clarke

Break-ups universally suck, but they can be especially hard for teens because, let’s face it, sometimes our feelings are just straight up not taken seriously. Some people say that we are too young to understand what “real love” is and downplay how much break-ups hurt by saying that we are young and naïve and there are still “plenty of fish in the sea” out there. Many people try to rationalize telling teens to just “get over it” after a break up because they don’t believe that teens are capable of feeling anything beyond infatuation.

It’s all fine and good to embrace the idea that, because we have all the time in the world, breaking up now doesn’t mean we’ll never love again. But, personally, I think its absolutely ridiculous to downplay the emotional turmoil teens go through due to break-ups. Just because we’re young doesn’t mean that we can’t love and care for another person. And whether you were dating someone for a week or a year, losing them still hurts. A lot.

I won’t be able to tell you how to get over your ex, but I can hopefully give you a few tips to help you cope after a break-up.

Tip #1: Allow yourself a grieving period

Feeling upset after breaking up with (or being broken up with) your girlfriend or boyfriend is pretty much inevitable, regardless of whether you split into good terms or not. There is nothing shameful in feeling sad about losing that person in your life. Sometimes people try to act unbothered because they believe they will be able to fool themselves into feeling okay again, but – in all honesty – it almost never works. Your feelings are bound to come out eventually, and believe me when I say it’s probably better for them to appear on your own terms rather than in the middle of a school presentation or a basketball tournament or during an important exam.

So – if it makes you feel better – go out and buy that ice cream, feel free to watch all the sappy movies you want, turn on whatever sad playlist feels like and make sure to pick up some extra soft tissues. There’s nothing shameful in having a good old fashioned crying session. In the long run, it will probably make you feel better to release all of that stress.

Tip #2: VENT, VENT, VENT!

Just like it’s okay to feel sad after a break-up, it’s also natural to feel angry. And to have a lot of questions and feel a lot of confusion. Keeping all of that frustration and uncertainty cooped up is enough to drive anyone completely bonkers. You may not feel like talking to anyone after you break-up with someone, but when you’re ready it might help to call up one or a few of your close friends who you trust just to talk it through. It’s nice to have someone on your side to help you sort through your emotions and rationalize your thoughts. I know after my first boyfriend broke up with me having one of my best friends there to talk to about it really helped me reduce some of the sadness that I felt about the whole situation. We even managed to laugh about it a bit, even though nothing about a break-up feels funny at the moment.

If you are into journaling, that’s also a good way to sort through your thoughts. I’ve always felt that a written thought is more rational thought. The process of writing is a lot slower than speaking, so physically recording everything you are thinking and all of the emotions you are feeling can help you process your emotions more completely. After a break-up, it’s normal to feel insecure and start overthinking where you might have gone wrong in the relationship, which can make you feel really bad about yourself. When you write down all of that stuff, it makes it easier to grasp onto your emotions and gain a more rational view of what actually happened.

Don’t underestimate the power of writing down your thoughts. Consider starting a journal entry about the whole situation. It might help.

Tip #3. Try to keep yourself busy!

When you first go through a break-up, going out is likely the last thing you want to do. But it’s honestly one of the best things you can do for yourself after you’ve given yourself some time to process your emotions. When you care deeply for someone, it can consume your every thought – that only really becomes a problem when those thoughts make you sad. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little mopey after a break-up, but there comes a point where stewing on it alone is probably only going to make you feel more insecure, more angry, and more devastated than you already are.

One thing that I really noticed after me and my boyfriend broke up is how old songs we used to listen to and photographs of us together that used to make me happy absolutely devastated me. There were certain songs I couldn’t listen to without bursting into tears. It can be hard to force yourself to give those things up, but sometimes it really helps in getting over someone.

I’m not saying that you have to delete all of your old photos together or block your ex on social media (unless you honestly feel those are good choices for you), but it might do you some good to take a break from Instagram and turn off the playlist that reminds you of him or her for a while. Getting out of the house to go have some fun with friends can go a long way in lifting your spirits and helping you take your mind off of whoever you can’t stop thinking of.

It’s important to allow yourself to still enjoy other activities that don’t involve the person you’re missing and keep your mind open so you don’t miss out on opportunities. While some adults might not be sympathetic to “teen love,” they’re not wrong that we are young and have all the time in the world to meet someone new. Just because you broke up with this one person, doesn’t mean you will never be happy again.

Tip #4: Give it time, then reflect

After you’ve had time to really let your emotions sit for a while and have given yourself ample time to let loose and distract yourself, it can help to revisit what happened during your break-up. Immediately after the break-up when your emotions are going haywire, you probably aren’t capable of thinking of the situation rationally, but once you allow yourself a little distance, it’s okay to go back and try to sort through how you want to move forward.

Sometimes, if the break-up was bad, you don’t have many options but to try to move on (and you WILL succeed, although it may take time). But break-ups don’t always end poorly. You may find yourself having to make a choice about whether you think you are capable of remaining friends with your ex, or if you think that the best thing you can do for the two of you is to just spend time apart. If you are in the position to do so (and if you feel comfortable) you might even consider talking to your ex again about what you want your relationship to be moving forward. It’s going to be a different dynamic, and that might feel weird at first, but just because your relationship is different it doesn’t mean that you have to give up that person entirely if you still care about each other in some way.

It’s important not to make that step to talk to the person you have broken up with until you feel absolutely emotionally ready to do so, or you could risk spiraling backward and undoing all of the progress you have already made. Try to stay in touch with your emotions and – above all – be honest with yourself and what you can handle. It might be useful to talk to someone you trust to help you figure out what it is, exactly, that you want moving forward. You also need to accept that you and your ex may have different wants in terms of moving forward and if you want to maintain some sort of contact and they don’t then you have to respect that.

When going through something as emotionally taxing as a break-up, you might feel like absolutely no one understands what you are going through.

Well, that’s because they probably don’t.

Many people have been through break-ups, but the reality is every single relationship and how they end is completely different. Your experience is unique to you and for a while, it is going to hurt, but you will find your own way to handle your emotions. Remember, the points I outlined above are only some suggestions on helping you deal with a break-up, but the reality is that everyone copes differently.

It’s important to remember that how you feel, regardless of if your parents or friends or anyone else understands it, is completely valid. It’s difficult to accept, but it is true that really only time can heal a broken heart. In the meantime, though, I hope my tips are a good starting point.