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How to Deal With Your First Big Breakup

September 25th, 2008 admin

Back in August reader Sangeeta suggested that I write an article about coping with a breakup in college.  I thought it was a great idea, especially because I still remember how much my own first breakup hurt

This is my personal advice (basically, this is what I tell my closest friends) about what helped me get through, so take it with a grain of salt and feel free to add your own thoughts & ideas in the comments.

Take Some Time Off.

Making the “just friends” thing work without taking a break from each other in between can be painful-and it can really mess with your head.  After my first boyfriend and I broke up, we kept in touch by email for quite a while-and both of us kept feeling like maybe we would get back together.  We never did, and it really prolonged the pain of the breakup to keep talking and hoping. Also-take off your promise ring or whatever little memento you keep on you all the time, and give back the box of his or her stuff you’ve got scattered around your place.

My Tip: Even if you plan to be friends, let them know you’re going to take some time-a GOOD amount of time, not just a couple days-in which you don’t interact with each other. If you have to, ignore your ex’s calls, block him or her from your IM, and filter his or her emails to go to your spam inbox-and don’t feel guilty about it.  You need this time to let yourself start healing. (P.S. The “just friends” thing is REALLY hard.)

Keep Your Brain Busy.

Why is it that just when you’re feeling okay the most random thing-a paperclip, the smell of a banana muffin, or commercial-suddenly reminds you of your ex?  Well, if you were together (or on the phone/IMing/emailing with each other) day in, day out, for months or years, your brain has naturally formed a lot of ties with him or her. And every time you remember that you can’t share the best joke or a story about your mom with your ex, it feels like you got sucker punched.

My Tip: To keep your mind from wandering back to painful places, try to keep as busy as possible.  Go out with friends, really dive in to your school work, and/or take on more hours at your job. Join a club. Meet new people. Explore your college town!  There are still going to be things that trigger that memory switch, but the distraction will help you in the long run.

Vent, but Don’t Wallow.

The first few days are really hard.  You probably want to just crawl under the covers and mope.  Feeling like that is okay, but wallowing in that feeling-basically sitting around feeling sorry for yourself-isn’t going to help.  Also, if all you talk to your friends (or dates) about is your ex boyfriend or girlfriend, you might notice that people don’t want to hang around you as much.

My Tip: Check in with friends about how you’re feeling-especially if you’re feeling particularly depressed-and let them help you out of it, but don’t let yourself go off on a rant or throw a pity party every time your BFF is around. If you’re having a lot of trouble coping, consider talking to a counselor about it.  Most colleges offer free psychological services to their students, from a psychologist to support groups, and they can be really helpful (and more anonymous, which often makes things more comfortable).

Wait it Out (and Be Open-minded)

Breakups are hard-there’s just no way around that-and the hardest part is that it takes a while to feel better. Wait it out, and be open to new experiences. Go on dates, hang out with friends, and try new things (in a healthy way).  Don’t sit around hoping you’ll get a phone call or an IM from your ex-after a while you really will start to feel better.

photo: Hole in the Heart by biewoef

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Layla  |  September 28th, 2008 at 5:39 am

    thank you so much for this post… my boyfriend and I recently broke up, and I having a much harder time of it in college than I ever did in high school. I wasn’t feeling lonely when I first got here at all, but I sure am now. Hopefully this post will help. Thanks!

  • 2. Natascha  |  May 18th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I had my first big break up today. I sure hope this helps me :]

  • 3. John Hill  |  June 17th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Some people believe that listening to break up songs is a good way to cure the pain however this is not a right way to deal with a break up because it would never let you forget your pain. If you have been listening to tragedy songs then it means that you do not want to overlook your bad times and if you will not forget it then you would not be able to have a gratifying life. If you want to spend your life and want to enjoy it then you would have to deal with break up shrewdly.

    If you previous relationship was not working and you have decided to break up then it would be good for both people. Although a break up is painful but when two people can not go together then they should get separate so that both could spend their life according to their own convenience. A break up means that you have been getting another chance to make a better relationship. However, if you have planned to make a new relationship then you should be careful and should select the new person according to your requirements. If you dislike some habits of your ex then you should make sure that new person does not have same lifestyle.

    End of a love relationship causes a lot of pain and it is necessary to cure this pain. People get sad and cry when they lose their love partner. No matter what happens everyone has to go on because life never stops and time does not wait for anyone. You are not supposed to waste your time thinking about the bad times because life is only once. You should try to get best out of what you have and should make every moment of your life countable. It totally depends on you where you lead your life. If you would take things optimistically then you would have a pleasant future.

    Break up bothers everyone and its pain is very hard that is why it is necessary to recover from this pain as soon as possible otherwise you would ruin your future. Everyone has some goals and expectations in life. If you would remain in grief then you would never be able to get your goals. So, if you want to achieve something in your life then your mind should be calm. You should not be depressed by the ups and downs of life.

    If you need further information on dealing with a break up then you can visit these website:dealing with a break up and dealing with break up pain.

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