How to Break Up With Someone You Love
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Sometimes, relationships end in a fiery knockdown, drag-em-out disaster. Other times, though, you can love somebody and still know that it’s best to go your separate ways. Maybe your value system is radically different, or perhaps you sense your lives heading in opposite directions. Knowing how to break up with someone you love is an essential part of growing up.
How can you break up with someone you love and move on despite a broken heart? While the oldies tune had it right — breaking up is hard to do — it isn’t impossible. If you treat yourself gently, you can learn from the experience and use that wisdom to make your next relationship more fulfilling.
1. Give Yourself Time to Mourn
Even people who recently escaped a toxic relationship often report a flood of conflicting emotions after they split. They often blame themselves for not making things work, even if they had to leave out of self-preservation. If you recently broke up with someone you love, and your union was healthy, you may feel an extra helping of guilt. After all, they weren’t a terrible person — the onus must be on you.
Banish such thoughts by giving yourself adequate time to grieve. With patience comes wisdom, and the knowledge that you can care for someone without being able to live with them moves from an abstract concept to a heart’s truth. Remind yourself that you made the best decision for yourself and your former partner with the information available at the time. Instead of rushing headlong to date someone new, use this period to reflect on the lessons learned and reconnect with yourself.
2. Surround Yourself With Support
Giving yourself time to mourn doesn’t mean that you need to do so solo. When you break up with someone you love, it’s natural to feel lonely, primarily if you used to spend every day together. Surround yourself with upbeat and positive people who offer shoulders to cry on without letting you wallow in self-pity. Try to remember the positive side of a breakup. You’ll have the opportunity to rediscover who you are and maintain your independence.
Sometimes, the loss of one relationship causes you to back away from others. Maybe you and your ex shared a mutual group of friends, and you now feel awkward about putting them in the middle. Cultivate a new tribe. Sign up for volunteer opportunities to meet people who care about the same causes you do. Ask that shy colleague who seems nice to go to lunch with you.
3. Say No to Self-Destructive Habits
When self-doubt starts whispering to you in the wee hours, you might feel tempted to look to the bottle to silence the interior monologue. However, overindulging in alcohol or illicit drugs can have life-shattering consequences, so resist the urge to self-destruct. If racing thoughts threaten to hijack you and throw you into a downward spiral, break the pattern by tuning into a guided meditation video or attending a grief support group meeting. That way, you can heal and grow from the experience instead of letting one depressing event poison other areas of your life.
4. Fill Up the Negative Spaces
When you’re in a partnership, you always have someone to share adventures with during your free time. After you break up with someone you love, all those hours can drag on eternally. Instead of spending them on your couch in front of Netflix, rediscover your passions.
For example, maybe you always wanted to learn French because you dream of spending a summer in Paris. If your partner dismissed your goals as pie-in-the-sky, correct that notion by downloading a language-learning app and starting to parlez vous. Did you always want to learn more about the native flora and fauna of your neck of the woods? Volunteer with the ranger service and build your knowledge while serving your community.
5. Set Boundaries Concerning Friendship
If your breakup with the one you love was amicable, you might entertain the idea of remaining friends. While this idea is admirable, you also need to respect your emotions and need to heal. If you don’t feel up to meeting them for lunch and hearing about their new beau yet, it’s okay to decline. If they genuinely want to stay connected, they’ll respect your need for breathing room while you sort through the aftermath. If they can’t understand your need to protect your feelings, well, you have another piece of evidence that the split was for the best.
How to Break Up With Someone You Love and Find Healing
It’s never easy to break up with someone you love. Even if you know that it’s for the best, you need to give yourself time to grieve and heal. Do so in a healthy way with these tips so that you feel whole when you’re ready to love again.