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8 Tips to Survive a Bad Breakup

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8 Tips to Survive a Bad Breakup

By , Experience Life

Expert Source: Susan J. Elliott, JD, MEd, certified grief counselor, attorney, relationship coach and author of Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2009)

When a committed relationship comes to an end, grief and stress are almost inevitable. Regardless of why the parting of ways occurred, you’re likely to feel a swarm of difficult emotions — from anger at your former partner to idealization of the lost relationship. You may also be beset with doubts about whether you’ll ever recover from the pain or be able to love again. What you need now are strategies to help you through this difficult time, and guidance toward healthy choices that will help you come out on the other side of the relationship strong and whole. Relationship expert Susan J. Elliott offers advice on moving beyond heartache.

Barriers to Overcome

  • Despair. While it’s natural and healthy to grieve a lost relationship, wallowing in sadness past a certain point (see Strategies for Success, next page) will keep you stuck. So will telling yourself that you’ll never get over it, or convincing yourself that you are simply no good at relationships and never will be. “To paraphrase Henry Ford: ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right,’” says Elliott.
  • Romanticizing the ex. One perspective that can keep you stuck, says Elliott, is the notion that you’ll never find as good a partner as the one you’re losing. This all-or-nothing thinking is a trap that keeps you from healing and moving on. And it can hit you even if another part of you knows that the breakup was for the best.
  • Resenting the ex. While romanticizing what you had isn’t helpful, neither is villainizing your former partner. “Hoping the bastard gets hit by a car is a great way to stay unhappy indefinitely,” says Elliott.
  • Clinging to your coupled identity. When you have been connected for a significant period of time, it can feel strange and disorienting to suddenly be single. You may feel awkward being an “unpaired” person when socializing with partnered friends. You may also dread the prospect of reentering the dating scene.


Next: strategies for coping and moving on

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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7:14AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Get the lessons. Everything that happens in our life have lessons to teach us and break up is not an exempt. That's what I did before, to see the positive side and learn the lessons. I also took a hot/cold shower and THAT really helped. Weird, but worked. Read about it here .

3:54AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you :)

8:35PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

interesting read, thx

8:02AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

helpful. thanks. people come then they leave. that is the way it works

11:17AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012


10:38PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Good information, thank you for sharing.

7:13AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Very helpful, thanks

12:17PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Learn what you can from it and leave the rest in the past. Look at it positively and proactively. You are responsible for your own thoughts and actions not the other person and you shouldn't dwell on it. It's over; move on.

12:07PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

If it's easy to get over,chances are it had no meaning anyway.

10:48AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

I think it is a mistake to put the responsibility for one's own happiness into the hands of another. It makes you too vulnerable and under someone else's control.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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