The Breakup: How to Control Emotions and Move on

Relationships aren’t easy and there are people who are lucky enough to find their perfect match and win a partner for life. Good on them for finding true love. But how about those couples who chose to break up and whose relationships came to an end? No matter how much you want a relationship to last, trouble comes your way and a breakup that’s coming is inevitable. There is no other option but to choose to be apart.

Broken Heart
(c) Kelly Sikkema

Breaking up with someone is never easy and going through it is tough. Regardless if it’s the best decision to make at that point or not, it still doesn’t hurt any less. It doesn’t even matter if it was something that both of you mutually agreed upon or something that circumstances pushed you to do. And believe us when we tell you this: there is nothing remotely romantic about breakups.

There will always be doubts and second thoughts if you made the right choice; if it was what’s best for you. You will question why you’re having difficulty moving on if it’s for the best. Knowing and understanding what you’re feeling after the break up will help handle your emotions well in order for you to start healing.

So we took the liberty of compiling a list of emotions you feel after the break up to help you navigate and process the situation. But whatever it is your feeling, know that there is a corresponding Taylor Swift breakup song for that and coupled with a pint of ice cream (or two), you now have the tools to help you deal with your breakup.

Woman in bed guilty of breaking up

Your Emotions After the Breakup

  • Guilt over hurting someone you love
  • Relief from a toxic relationship
  • Anger about being left behind
  • Sadness because the relationship ended
  • The regret of leaving the one you love

The Breakup Guilt

After any breakup, there is an impulse to vilify the ex who broke your heart. But what if you did the breaking part? There is a nagging feeling of guilt in you for hurting someone even if you know it was the best decision to make. That heavy feeling in your heart makes you think that it’s all your fault and that you’re the “bad guy” and it shouldn’t be that way.

But first things first, why are you feeling guilty?

You have to be able to answer this question in order for you to start the process of healing and move forward towards a new beginning. If you harbor this feeling for too long and it holds you stagnant, that’s not healthy. It defeats your purpose of why you broke up in the first place.

If you haven’t done anything wrong, then you need to get over your guilt and let go of that feeling. You have to understand that not speaking to each other on a regular basis, and leading separate lives are just how things are now. It’s an all-new experience for you especially if you’ve been together for a long time. On the other hand, if you did something that you have to apologize for, then apologize sincerely.

Relief: Getting out of woods

If you left a relationship where it seems like you’re always walking on eggshells and constantly watching the words that you say so that you and your significant other can end the week without fighting or hurting each other, then good on you. And it is not surprising that you would be relieved from getting out of that toxic relationship.

You should know that relationships shouldn’t make you feel inadequate and always on your toes. Your partner, if they love you, shouldn’t make you anxious about what’s going to happen next. Your relationship should not be guesswork and both of you should feel relaxed. You shouldn’t be pressured into doing all the perfect things unless you want another fight.

No relationship should be that stressful, so it’s okay if you want to take a break from dating or you want out of the relationship. And letting out a sigh of relief is very much understood.

So angry that you’re never getting back together
Man and woman break-up
(c) Eric Ward

Yes, you’re angry. And yes, you wanna be like Celine Dion in her song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” when for every time you got hurt, you’ll just hurt them even worse and so much deeper. But really, you should know that being vindictive is not the answer to pacify your anger.

You have all the right to get mad for all the pain you’re feeling because of the breakup. No one deserves to feel like they’re not enough, inadequate and lacking—not you, not anyone. However, try to see from your ex’s perspective and understand why they had to do what they did. Maybe you’ll see that by breaking up, you both prevented gratuitous pain in your distant future.

So instead of wanting to take revenge, you might want to reconsider how you manifest your anger. In the same song, you can put them in your “history with the slamming of the door” so that you can “make yourself strong again” with the coming of a new day.

So sad it feels like dying by a thousand cuts

Taylor Swift couldn’t have described breakups any better: it’s like death by a thousand cuts. She further sings that you will ruminate over the relationship and what went wrong and if the story’s really over, then why are you “still writing pages?”

Regardless if you were the one who said goodbye or the one who got left behind, breaking up will always engulf you in sadness. You’ll question why you gave so much but it wasn’t enough. Sometimes, the sadness is too much you get so lonely and find it difficult to function.

If this happens to you, you have to talk to someone—a friend, a family member, a stranger from the bar or the bartender—anyone so you can release your pent up emotions and cry it all out. Their presence alone will help alleviate the pain you’re feeling. As they say, shared sorrow is half the misery.

However, if you see yourself being so down that you can’t get out of bed, that every core of your body aches when you move, and all you want to do is to disappear and stop existing, immediately call a trusted someone and seek professional help.

No regrets, just lessons learned

Whether you were the one who broke up the relationship or the one who got broken-up from, the feeling of regret can still creep into your heart and mind. It’s perfectly normal. No matter how compelling your reasons are for your breakup, there will always be a nagging regret.

If you’re going to miss your ex—especially if you have been together in a long-term serious relationship. But it doesn’t mean that you made the mistake of breaking up. You can’t just pick up the phone and call them to get back together because of it. You need to learn how to manage your emotions so that you won’t feel overcome with regret.

Knowing these emotions that you feel after the breakup, it’s time that you learn how to move on. Now that you now know what to label them, don’t be afraid to face them head-on. It’s going to be difficult, but know that the first steps that are always hard. But how do you move on from a relationship that you’ve put so much time and effort into? Here’s our advice on how you can start moving on.

Woman Reading a Book in Bed

The Road to Healing

  • Heal at your own pace
  • Take care of yourself
  • Be with people who care about you
  • Hope for the best outcome

There is no timeline when it comes to healing a broken heart. There are so many factors that affect your process of moving on. From the length of time together to the emotional investment, and all the others in between made your relationship unique. As Pablo Neruda puts it in his poem, “love is so short, forgetting is so long.”

As hopeless as that line may seem, when the time is right, you will be able to move on. And as the cliché the question goes, how do you heal a broken heart?

Allow yourself to hurt and give your heart time to heal

Breakups can be your chance to look at dating in a new light. Of course, you must have realized by now that love isn’t enough to make it work. That life happens and people and feelings change. You can’t keep going out with someone who doesn’t want to date you.

These are some of the realizations you can have after the breakup. These are difficult ideas to grasp about yourself, love, and relationships in general. But if you allow yourself to dwell on your emotions and really think about it, you would be able to see what went wrong and how can you do it right the next time without compromising your values.

Contrary to popular belief, time does not heal your broken part. You only get used to it. So use this time wisely to introspect and being honest with yourself. Remember, time does not heal all wounds—but what do you do on days when it still hurts are your opportunities to manage the pain and heal your heart.

Woman out for a run as a way to move on from a break-up

Top 3 self-care acts after the breakup
  • Be compassionate with yourself
  • Always look for the silver lining
  • Indulge yourself in the things that you enjoy

Don’t forget to take care of yourself

Failed relationships especially those that your friends said were doomed to end, can still affect you negatively, and you shouldn’t let it.

Put on your PJs, turn the volume of your sad songs up, and wallow in your pain. Go ahead and do just that; no one’s going to judge you. But you also shouldn’t forget about yourself in the process.

Relax in a spa. Go to a salon for a haircut, a mani-pedi. Go to the gym and increase your endorphins. Do activities that make you happy. Avoid things that will remind you of your ex. It’s not worth it.

Remember the introspection that you did is an important part of taking care of yourself. That little digging within yourself and evaluating your role in the breakup lightens up your load. You have to be very honest about it so that you can take it out of your emotional baggage.

Once you’ve done that, you can focus on taking better care of yourself instead of spending all your time pining over an ex-partner.

Be with people who care about you
big hug from a friend after a break-up
(c) Hian Oliveira

The first people you call up right after your break up are your homies for life. It can be your mom, your sister, or your best friends—know that they are your person. They are the friends that are for keeps.

Spending time with them will help you heal. Your friends are the support group that will be with you in your healing journey. So enjoy the company of your friends—go on an out of town trip to the beach or mountain, or do a sleepover party where all you do is binge watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or Gilmore Girls while indulging in your favorite food and wine.

But more than anything else, the company that you need not feel awkward hanging out with is by yourself. Going out in your lonesome is not sad; it’s your chance to discover your likes and dislikes without the pressure of pleasing others.

Be hopeful about the future

You may think that the future is bleak for you—think hard again because it isn’t. One breakup does not define the relationship that you will have in the future nor does it make you any less good of a catch.

Just because your relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean the next ones won’t be any good. Maybe you haven’t found your perfect match yet. Your partner for life is yet to arrive. Who knows, it might be one of your friends or that stranger on the bus next to you.

Love comes exactly when love does. You can’t force it to happen to you or to anyone. And if it leaves, let it. Be open to new chapters and accept when they end as your story only gets better from there.

In the End, You Matter the Most

Finally Moved on from the break-up
(c) Gian Cescon

Your breakup doesn’t define you and the emotions you feel after the break up are normal. Don’t ever let anyone, especially yourself, invalidate the decisions you made for about relationship.

Being angry because the relationship ended is normal and that guilt feeling over the breakup can creep in at any time. If you’re relieved that the relationship is over, then it’s okay. You can be sad and it’s completely acceptable, and that hint of regret is perfectly all right.

Understand that your heart is broken and it doesn’t matter if you did the breaking up or you were the dumpee. How you feel should be processed the way you do and there is no timeline for it.

Heal at your own pace and time. Don’t let other people—your family or friends, dictate how you heal. You can accept their advice when it works for you, but if it doesn’t, you’re not obliged to. In the end, it’s your life and you live it the way any strong, independent person does.

Yes, it hurts. Just don’t rush yourself to get over it.

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