10 Steps for Getting Over a Breakup

Are you having a hard time getting over a recent breakup?  Are you still feeling sad and you’re not sure what to do?

It turns out that there are a series of steps that you can follow to get overcome it. In this article I will give you a detailed explanation of what you can do. 

Getting Over a Breakup

To move forward, it’s important to know how to get over a breakup, whether it’s a formal or informal relationship, marriage or common law, with or without children.  In the end, the pain is the same, and with the help of psychology, you will be able to better cope. 

In addition, new technologies seem to have helped make it easier to end a relationship: it’s calculated that 28 millions of couples break up every year for reasons related to Facebook or WhatsApp. 

Facing a separation, accepting it and overcoming heartbreak is hard, although you also don’t need to worry about it too much or give it too much importance.  

According to a survey in “The Telegraph,” before finding our ideal partner or the partner that we spend the most time with, men and women have an average of two separations or “heartbreaks.”

Normally, to get over a bad period in our lives, we ask our friends or others with experience, and they tend to say things like “time heals all” or “go out and have a good time,” and in reality, they are often correct.  The advice that I don’t agree with is to “go out and look for someone else” since this could lead to dependence and won’t resolve your grief properly. 

To give reliability to my suggestions, I will base this article on scientific strategies that have shown to be most effective for overcoming these situations.  First, I will also explain some concepts that will help you better understand the situation that you must confront. 

Phases of Grief

If you have ended a relationship, it’s likely that you are experiencing “grief.”  Your ex-partner is no longer a part of your life, and you will go through a process of loss.  There are people who don’t pass through this phase, although in that case, I don’t think that they would need help. 

Knowing about these phases will certainly help you understand the process you are going through and will help you avoid certain complicated situations that could cause you more pain. 


In this phase, you refuse to accept that your relationship has ended, you don’t think that the breakup has occurred, you feel sad, and you probably cry, something normal that you shouldn’t repress.


If you pass through this phase, you will feel like you have been treated unfairly and that you have been betrayed.  If it was your partner that left you, you will ask yourself how they could do that and you will be surprised that they are not affected in the same way that you are. 

In this phase, there tends to be a deep sadness and there could also be aggression and anxiety


In this phase, people tend to seek solutions and agreements to get their ex-partner back.  It’s possible that you may act impulsively, sending messages, calling or begging your ex to come back. 

4-Despair and Depression

During this phase, you will begin to understand that your relationship is over and that you are not getting back together.  It is then that a deep sadness begins, and possibly depression, with feelings of apathy and hopelessness. 

Symptoms such as eating or sleeping too little or too much and not feeling like going out are normal.


In this phase, you accept that you and your partner are finished, you recover your strength, and you don’t have as many negative thoughts

Although you have good memories of your partner, they don’t cause you as much suffering as before and you begin to speak normally about your past relationship. 

Steps to Get Over a Breakup/Separation/Divorce

1-Accept the Situation

In some situations reconciliation is possible, and in others it’s highly recommended to end the relationship permanently. 

In order to deal with the breakup, you should accept your situation and not tell yourself that it’s just a rough patch or temporary separation.  It’s not that breaking up is good, but it’s your reality.  

Expressing yourself and talking to yourself and others is very important, even if you are in a bad mood or very sad. 

A good way to deal with this situation is to write in a diary about what you are thinking and feeling.  Writing your feelings allows your brain to be able to process the information more easily. 

And because you don’t fully understand the situation, this will help you to understand and know that what is already happening since everything has been a shock. 

In this regard, you will need to keep the “polar bear” effect in mind.  It means that the more you try not to think about the polar bear, you actually start to think more about it. 

The same happens if you think about your ex-partner.  Don’t let it get you down and don’t try to eliminate this thought or memory, simply accept it and understand that it’s a normal phase and it will pass with time. 

2-Avoid Anger

As you have been able to read about in the point about grief, something common after a separation is anger, which will only bring you negative consequences. 

Try to recognize your anger, and when you sense it, avoid showing it with any actions.  In order to do this, you can exercise, meditate, or practice relaxation exercises

To recognize it, it’s recommended that you pay attention to your thoughts and let them pass. 

3-Do Not Get in Touch

Avoid fully any stimuli or situations that remind you of your ex-partner.

The temptation to log in to Facebook to see what they are doing, look at photos, or call them is normal.  But this will only make it harder to get over them, will create more pain, and will prolong your recovery. 

It’s not about forgetting, after all, this is someone who you shared part of your life with, but it’s about creating a new life, about overcoming the situation.  It will be especially important in the beginning to avoid places that you enjoyed together or photos. With time, it will not be as painful.

Other things that you can do:

  • When you notice that you are about to “fall into temptation” (look at photos, go on Facebook, call), start doing something else immediately. For example, if you are about to go on their Facebook, turn off your computer and go out to play a sport. 
  • It’s up to you if you get rid of objects like photos or clothing. In my opinion, it’s better to get rid of them. 

4-Create Your New Life

Depending on how much you shared with you ex-partner, you will need to change some habits in your life. 

To get over the breakup, it’s necessary that you begin to construct your new life gradually.  You will do this by forming new personal relationships, doing new activities, and changing certain negative habits. 

“Creating your new life” is based on creating social and personal resources:

  • Seek support from friends and family. Talking about the breakup is beneficial. 
  • Make new friends. It’s likely that you share friends with your ex-partner, and at least right after the breakup it could be better that you don’t see each other.  Sign up for workshops, courses, sports…
  • Develop new habits: running, getting in shape at the gym, dancing, cooking, writing…
  • Set new goals that excite you. Visit this article to learn how. 
  • Work with your personal resources: personal resources such as independence or increasing your self-esteem will be explained below. 

6-Learn to Be Independent

Being independent is learned from that attitude of only needing yourself to reach your goals and to live, not needing anyone else to be able to achieve things and enjoy life. 

It is an ability that will help you to reach professional goals, improve your quality of life, and have better personal relationships.  Therefore, being independent isn’t about being alone or isolating yourself, but rather it’s about depending only on yourself to be happy. 

People don’t learn how to be independent overnight.  As with everything, it’s necessary to go step by step.  Make a list, with simple tasks at the beginning and advancing to more difficult activities.  For example:

-Eat alone. 

-Go to the supermarket alone.

-Sign up for self-defense classes by yourself. 

-Take a vacation alone.

And for me, the most important: learn that controlling your happiness depends on you.  That means that you are not happy when some tells you that you are attractive and that you don’t feel bad when someone says something bad.  From now on, your well-being is under your control. 

7-Recognize and Change Your Negative Thoughts

The way in which you interpret your breakup and your situation will contribute to the duration of your recovery.  A person who believes that they feel more free after a breakup, have more free time or have matured will recover more quickly than someone else who has negative thoughts. 

You need to be aware of your thoughts and perceptions in the here and now in order to change those negative thoughts, feelings, and moods. 

For example, in dealing with a breakup you could think:

-That you are not going to find another partner and that things will go badly for you (negative thought).

-That it’s an opportunity to learn from and that your next relationship will be better. 

Logically, the second interpretation will help you much more to overcome the situation.  Work on noticing your thoughts and question those like: “I’m not going to find anyone else who loves me,” “I’m worthless,” “I’ll be alone for the rest of my life.”

8-Reattribution Technique

It’s common in a breakup that you feel guilty or responsible for it. 

This technique is based on you examining the situations that led to the breakup (everything, not just recent things) and that you logically attribute the responsibility to each partner. 

It’s not about taking away all of your responsibility, but rather giving each partner the responsibility that they deserve and not take everything on for yourself. 

-What events led to the break up?  Could part of the responsibility be attributed to your ex?

You can reflect, and if it’s helpful to you, write the new “reattribution.”

For example:

  • He/she did not keep a promise.
  • He/she was no longer considerate and didn’t demonstrate kindness…

9-Improve Your Self-Esteem

The benefits to self-esteem are numerous; it’s associated with happiness, resilience, motivation, health, and productivity. 

The key to improving your self-esteem is in changing the way you interpret your life:  analyzing the negative interpretations that you make of the facts and creating new thoughts and goals that encourage the growth of your self-esteem. 

10-Find Role Models

A role model is someone who does or has already achieved something we want to do.

Science has demonstrated that role models can help us to know how to solve a problem and they can motivate us. 

Do you have an example of a strong man or woman who has been through a breakup without great difficulty?  Find them and learn from them. 


Overcoming a separation is a difficult and unpleasant experience, although with time you will recover, and you will even have learned to do it better for your next relationship. 

Using some techniques, habits, and avoiding certain behaviors will make it easier for you. 

And what have you done to get over a breakup?


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