By · @elizabethcstone  ·  · 142 Shares

I don’t have to tell you know how devastating and downright raw a breakup can be.

Man and Woman Having Break-up IssuesWhether you saw warning signs or were completely blindsided, breakups suck.

Often we’re so hurt that we act like mental patients for months or years afterward. Later on, when it all dies down, you don’t want to look back and think “oh man, did I really act like that??”

If this has ever happened to you, rest assured that you aren’t alone. I hate to admit it, but after a few particularly bad breakups, I struggled hard to avoid doing a bunch of embarrassing things that still make me cringe.

Since so many people do things after a breakup that they regret, here’s how to handle a breakup gracefully, even if the actual split-up already happened and you feel terrible right now.

1. Get a Breakup Buddy

Get one of your friends to help you with sticking to civility and handling logistics when it comes to dealing with your ex. Sometimes we don’t quite think rationally when in the midst of a separation (understatement of the year for lots of us).

Having a rational breakup-buddy (who isn’t going through heartbreak) to run your ideas past is helpful. Your friend can help keep you from doing something you’ll regret and provide you with a shoulder to cry on that doesn’t belong to your ex. If you have to move your household items, having someone there to help who can remain neutral in the face of a potentially crying ex is another bonus.

2. Formulate an Action Plan

It helps to think about what you’re going to say or do under the circumstances surrounding your breakup.

For example, if they won’t let you have the entertainment center (or something else), how are you going to act? If they’re angry and speak to you that way, how are you going to handle that? Do you really want to “let them have it” or do you feel that it would be better to remain calm and rational? It’s your choice, but easier if you decide in advance.

Remember they are going through a range of emotions just like you are. If you have a plan to remain calm and collected under the not-so-great circumstances that surround your breakup, you lessen the possibility that you’ll fly off the handle and do or say something that you’ll regret.

3. Filter Your Words

This is probably the hardest suggestion on this list, especially when you’re hurting.


  • How many times have you said something you regretted?
  • How many times have you begged or acted pathetic?
  • Ever felt like if you just hadn’t said “that one thing,” you might not have broken up?

Right? I know, me too. That’s why being mindful of you say is one of the most important things on this list, and one that your breakup buddy can help with.

4. Handle Your Shared Responsibilities Fairly

Usually a breakup comes with some dividing up of property, time with kids, pets, etc. When you’re dealing with shared things big and small, there is the potential for either of you to irrationally cling to items in hope of a reconciliation. Some people are so heartbroken that they bitterly let their ex have everything in the vain hope that they’ll curry favor or cut ties completely. Neither is balanced.

Make plans to rationally divide things up and resolve to be as fair as you can possibly be. Consider it future relationship karma. If you act like a crazy-pants now and try to get everything, don’t be surprised if it comes back to bite you later. If you or your ex simply can’t be rational, consider mediation. In the long run, you’ll be happy that you did.

Man With a Broken Part as Concept of Handling Break-up5. Accept The Breakup

Whether you want your ex back or not, right now it’s time to accept that there is a breakup. It’s embarrassing, but I’ll admit that after one or two failed relationships, I had a hard time admitting that the end had actually arrived. I acted like we were just “taking a break,” as if it was all temporary. This led to a lot of stalling when it came to dividing up shared responsibilities and emotions. In the end, I needlessly drug out the whole process and caused us both more heartbreak than absolutely necessary.

Even if you think you eventually might want to try get your ex back, work on accepting that for whatever reason your relationship is broken. This can be really difficult especially if you love them and don’t want it to be over, but fake it until you make it.

Move your stuff out, get your loose ends sorted fairly and start living like you’re single. Sticking around emotionally won’t make them more likely to return, in fact the opposite. For right now, put the focus back on yourself.

6. Clear Out Your Social Media

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. Seeing your ex happily (or not) moving on after your breakup is a recipe for more heartbreak. Don’t post status updates meant to get a rise out of them.

Unfriend, unfollow and otherwise untangle yourself from them online. This cuts down on cyberstalking and keeps you from re-opening the wound with every status update.

How did you cope with your breakup? Have trouble moving on? Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone has made it her mission to help you date better, get through heartbreak, gain confidence and improve your relationship.

Tired of Meeting Guys Who Become Distant and Pull Away? Get your free copy of Why Men Lose Interest and make him desperate to be with you.

What Do You Think?

8 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Missing my North Dakota Nov 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Little back story on my situation. …
    I moved to North Dakota in Jan of 2014 to work. I met the most incredible man after just being there a week. I had just split from my husband and I was totally taken back on how quickly he was in tuned to me and my needs. He was completely all about me. The sex was great and our chemistry was even better. I never had communication like we had. I know this sounds crazy but the relationship was as perfect as any relationship could be. Fights never lasted long because we both were quick to talk it out and resolve the problem so we could continue to grow together. He was amazing with my kids every time we were with them. We were inseparable up until Aug when I was called and told my mom had stage 3 colon cancer. I packed up my things and headed back to home as quickly as possible leaving behind half my heart. It killed me to leave him. As I was home dealing with all that comes along with such a serious situation as my mom was in I drifted with my communication. I left him in the dark a lot and I often thought to myself that I’d always have him h there for me and have him waiting for me when things slowed down. Well, that wasn’t the case. .. he got tired of the lack of communication and called one day and ended things. He said that I had too much on my plate back home and it wasn’t fair of him to expect me to channel energy to him in ND. I was complete blindsided by this. I am devastated. I wanted him for the rest of my life. I am so in love with him. I ache daily for his voice, his smell, his touch. We were the best of friends for 8 months and then once he ended it he has completely withdrew from me. We had agreed to be grieves and I have tried to lean on him throb n some tough times like I used too but he isn’t there. Completely checked out. I pleaded with him not to do that to me. That I couldn’t handle him just ripping it all away from me like that <<<< I know that's how it goes! I finally called and said I'm losing my mind why are you doing this to me and he said I can't talk to you like we used to because it kills me. I love you more than any woman I've ever met and I care about you more than any woman in my life. We both cried hard…. I mean sobbed together. There is so much love there but be just insists it won't work. I am at a loss. I have never hurt like this before. I obsess over him in my head day in and day out…he is the first thing i think about in the morning. .. all throughout the day and the last thing in think about at night. I dream about him often. I look at my phone a 100 times a day in hopes he had text. I would give anything to go back to ND and be with him. I don't know how to let go. I almost wish it would have ended badly. .. it's a lot easier to let go!

  • Keylime Oct 24, 2014 at 11:16 am

    It’s the only thing you can do is keep your dignity, Don’t let him take that away from you. I’ve been through a terrible break up and it truly sux. I have good days and bad days. But I get better everyday. It’s hard moving on but really, What other choice do we have? He doesn’t want me, so why hang on?

  • Confused overseas Sep 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Oh heavens where do I start! Married for 9yrs, very much un love and in tune with each other, to discover that on valentines day this year, my husband went out, (he works away) and met a woman, and I eventually found out. He openly admitted it once I knew and swore he would end it. He stopped working away and was back at home. Atmosphere was heavy and i suspected things. I was right. He claims he still loves and wants me, and despite all he has out me through, the lying, the cheating, the admission, I love him! I know I am a fool, but I know he is totally mixed up. He is 63, but looks and acts a lot younger. She is around the same age as he. I am keeping cool when I can, as he again has said he will end it….so it isn’t over and I am totally confused and have no idea whether to just throw him out, or ride it out…as deep down I know he is going through a mid life crisis.

  • Theressa Sep 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I am having a terrible time moving on. I have met many very quality men since my breakup in March but I don’t seem to feel anything for them. I still wake up with “Him” on my mind and he finds his way into my mind all day and even in my dreams. I’ve never been so infatuated with anyone and I am confident that my infatuation is the cause of our relationship failing in the first place. I know that we have no future and if I were in my right mind I could accept that we are no good for each other. But dam the man is magnificent and I just can’t get him out of my head!


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