Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

11 Breakup Survival Tips (That Don’t Involve Positive Thinking)

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Breakups are as much a part of the human experience as a breathing oxygen and not licking cactuses. It’s actual science that going through a breakup does the same thing to your body as withdrawal from an addiction, activating the part of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings.

As well as this, emotional pain triggers the same pathways in the brain as physical pain. 

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it will get better. 

If you’re going through a breakup now you’ll probably want to file that under ‘B‘ for ‘But you don’t get it – no-body has ever lost like I’ve lost.’  Yes. It’s highly possible that humankind is unfamiliar with the level of wretched misery you’ve fallen to now, but read on anyway, because the ugly truth is that the only way through a breakup is straight through the middle. Here’s how to start with that:

  1. Don’t make any big decisions.   

    Tattoos, relationships, work and cutting off your locks. It might seem seem like a good idea to get ‘Just Breathe,’ or ‘Live Life‘ tattooed in times roman 120pt on your forearm but seriously, if you need these sort of reminders so badly as to have them embedded into your skin, then you’re in no position to be making life-lasting decisions. They might all turn out to be great decisions one day, but make them when Rhianna stops singing ‘Love the way you lie’ in your head. ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me bu…’ Don’t. Just don’t.

  2. Unfriend him (or her) on Facebook.   Do it right now. We’ll wait.

    He’s not going to be posting sad faced ‘missing you’ selfies from the places you used to go – and anything else, you don’t need to know about. Keeping up the follow will swallow you whole. The only reason to have him there is to check he’s not getting on with his life too happily without you. He will be. So will you, without him, just as soon as you stop the Facebook stalk. If you’re going to keep him friended, just rip your heart from your chest, hand it over and tell him to squeeze. It will hurt a lot less.  

  3. Exercise. Just not at the gym he goes to. At the same time he goes there.

    Possibly the only exercise you’ll feel like doing is hurling ‘that’ photo of both of you across the room but if you can manage something more active (though perhaps less cathartic) you will feel better afterwards. Cortisol, the stress hormone, will be making itself at home inside you. One way to take the fire out of cortisol is to exercise. Exercise will also stimulate the brain to release endorphins (the feel good chemicals) and you’ll already be short on them so you’ve got nothing to lose. You don’t have to work up a sweat – going for a walk will do. A caveat though: If the activity involves walking slowly past his house or climbing up the stormwater pipe to get a look into his window, it doesn’t count as exercise. It counts as stalking. 

  4. Get rid of texting capacity if you’re going to have a drink. A couple of drinks won’t make you Shakespeare. They just won’t.

    Alcohol is a depressant, so if you’re on a downhill slide it’s best to stay away from it. If you are going to have a drink though, protect yourself at all costs from the temptation to drunk text. You’re human. You’ll want to. But don’t fall for the courage that comes in a bottle of decent pinot. It’s been fed by slightly hammered wisdom and it won’t end well. Never. Ever. Just give your phone to a friend you trust and tell her to feed it to a pack of wolves before even thinking of giving it back to you. Unless you’re totally – totally – sober. You won’t need to explain why. She’ll get it. 

  5. Connect with friends and family. 

    The real ones. Not the ones who you haven’t heard from since the last crisis. The real ones who will sit through ‘Love Actually’ with you for the 37th time and eat microwaved Indian from the dodgy plastic container it came in last night because you used the last clean plate three days ago. One of the reasons a breakup hurts so much is because it messes around with the primal need to be connected to other people. You might not be able to be with the one person you want to be with, but spending time with your tribe will feed the human need for connection and will bring a much needed boost of oxytocin (the happy hormone) you’ve been missing. And those real friends? On the way out the door they’ll pop the dishwasher on before telling you they’ve organised for both of you to do salsa dancing classes to get you out of the house. Don’t argue. Just go. There’s a good chance you’re starting to smell like a week-long temper and it will only get worse.

  6. Give your bedroom a bit of a reno. And get some sleep.

    Buy new sheets, new pjs and new scented candles for your bedroom – nothing that reminds you of him. Get rid of anything that makes you think of what you’ve lost. And then remind yourself that you haven’t lost it because it wasn’t there. Otherwise he would be too. Shake away those sepia dusted images of the two of you at your almost-but-not-quite spring wedding staring longingly at each other or the buffet. Keep your ‘OMG My Wedding Yay’ Pinterest board though. It will still come in handy one day. If you want it to. It just won’t be with him – and that will be okay, you’ll see. And stop falling asleep on the couch in your day clothes. 

  7. Eat Healthy. Or don’t. Whatever. Just don’t keep it going for too long.

    You’re doing it tough.  You’ve got enough to worry about – you don’t need to get sick on top of everything else. Give your body what it needs to function. Eat healthy and eat regularly. Of course, the occasional crowd-pleaser bucket of fried chicken won’t hurt. Everything in moderation. Or in a delicious crunchy coating.

  8.  He’s gone. He’s not coming back. But you are.

    Every breakup survival needs a breakup comeback. When the time is right, plan for yours. Do something you wouldn’t have done while you were with him – and no – that doesn’t mean hooking up with Russell, the 40-something from accounts with the earring and gold bracelet who threw you a cheesey line at office drinks. He’s not the only man to own a guitar and being able to play the first four bars of The Simpsons doesn’t make him a musician. Leave Russell where you found him – possibly texting Shona, Shaniqua and Shaniya – and instead learn Italian, cook French, buy new lingerie (with you in mind, because you deserve it), plan a girls trip to Morocco – or if you’re budget’s gasping for breath, a girls’ trip to Target for your new lacy knickers will do fine.

  9.  Don’t meet up for coffee as friends. Actually, don’t do anything as friends.

    There is nothing in this ‘let’s be friends’ thing for you. No doubt you’re a mature, emotionally together lady-human who can deal with this just fine, and deal with it you will … until he wants to introduce you to his new friend Sally – ‘Sal’ – the pilates instructor who snacks on kale and beetroot juice and drops a quick line about the movie they saw last night together. Together. As in, to-geth-er. Rational heads don’t necessarily follow broken hearts. There. I said it. So when they go to the movies, you (quietly) go to ‘What. A. Jackass. Did I ever really know him no I don’t think I did because we’ve been untogether for three months now which is practically five minutes in breakup years and now he’s watching movies with some girl and that can only mean that they’re shagging and she says his name like they’re practically engaged and I can’t believe this did he ever really care about me at awwwwwwlllll?’ Sound familiar? Nope? Well maybe just me then. At any rate, you loved him once remember. And he loved you. It’s hard to go backwards from that.

    If you can take the dignified high road and forgive and forget and be friends, good for you, but you might be heading for trouble. You’ve been there. Done that. Nothing to gain from doing it again. In this sort of relationship, someone will always want more. And it probably won’t be him – especially if it’s only been weeks since he was outta there. If he is the one that wants more, then still ‘no’. A few weeks is never enough for him to ”find himself’.  He’s not a remote that slipped behind the couch. It’s never that simple. Never.

    Of course, if you have kids together you will have to stay on friendly terms (at least in front of the kids). It might not be easy but you’re a woman who will always love your kids more than you’ll want to hate any man so you’ll be fine. You’re phenomenal. And that’s why you’re his loss. Remember that.

  10.  Look for what it can give you.

    Sometimes when you’re down it’s because there’s something down there you’re meant to find. As part of your breakup survival, look for the gems. What can you learn? Why did you choose the relationship? What’s the wisdom that’s left for you when everything is said and done? Everyone comes into our lives to learn from us or to teach us. What have you learnt? The fact that it’s over doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. It just means it’s run its course and it’s no longer the right one. Use it as a step up to the one that is.

  11.  You only have to get through today.

    Don’t think too far ahead. It still has the imprints of you and him with your perfectly behaved children, that spring wedding and you running that marathon (actually, keep that one – just don’t have him at the finish line ready to receive you and your gazelle-esque stride). Just don’t go there. Unless it’s to make real plans for something fun. You only have to get through today. You can deal with tomorrow when it gets to you. Just put one foot in front of the other and it will get easier. Promise.

Above all else remember that the path to wisdom and a happy life is often littered with shards of broken hearts, including our own. And keep going. You’ll get there. 

What are your breakup survival remedies? Let us know in the comments below …

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130 Comments

Jane

I just want to say, as a Life Coach, that just posting on this site is a step forward. You are sharing your feelings and in doing so developing trust and getting support. Your mind, on a subconscious level takes in the very fact that you are reaching out, taking small steps and actually moving forward. You don’t necessarily begin to feel better as soon as you start moving forward. The feelings of contentment with your life, can be delayed, it is a process. It is very difficult to understand when someone has a different moral compass than you do. To understand how they can hurt you like this. Accepting that they do, may make it easier to move though each day. Step back and look at your relationship with a sense of curiosity. Think about your behavior and your partner’s behavior. You cannot be curious and heart broken at the same time. Are there lessons to be learned. I am so sorry to hear such pain in these posts but you will move on and you will look back at this as a life experience. Wishing you all freedom for that which is currently bringing you down.

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Thando

Reading these posts has shown me that I am not alone in this struggle. When you are going through heartbreak you feel like no one could ever understand the pain, but in reality, we all feel the same painduring heartbreak, but only in different degrees. I am still trying to get over a very short lived relationship that I had 9months ago. I too fell for the ‘ I will be divorcing her’. I broke up the relationship after realizing he was just stringing me along and possibly using me to musk the pain he was feeling from his lovelless marriage. Countless times he called ‘his angel. Please! After the breakup we tried to remain friends but things changed slowly until I found out he had become closer to another lady I knew. I was devasted and I think I still am. We then had a small argument after which he blocked everywhere he possibly could, including LinkedIn!. That made me feel even worse. I did not want the relationship but i still wanted us to remain friends becuse he was in my professional circle. I apologized, sent text messages, sent email, he ignored all my attempts to try and get us to atleast talk. Its only now that I am making peace with the fact that he replaced our friendship with the other lady, and maybe other ladies too, and since I had brocken up with him, he had no need for me in his life. That reality hurts. It hurts bad. I am trying to get past it, some days are good, some days are terrible. But I know I will forget, I will find true love, I will be glad things turned out the way the did. For now, I will take things one day at a time. I have panick attacks every now and then when I think about the whole situation.But I have survived depression before and I know I can survive this too. Thank you again for sharing your stories. We are all in this together. We will get through.

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Tmcquire

I am happy I could keep my marriage together no matter what means I use, I cannot let my home tear apart because of my husband’s indiscipline. I will do anything to keep my family together and happily in love forever.

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Barbvasile

I’m stuck. 20+ years of happy marriage. Surprise! Hes a cheater and always has been. 5 years later. I still fight to get through every day. Things can only get better but I’m trying not to give up faith. Im.giving this life everything I have. Im ready to get something back. The struggle is real. Love you all!

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Ava

Hi. I am struggling with self-love. I fell hard… and I mean hard for my first boyfriend. He was everything that I ever wanted. I loved and still, love him so much. We broke up a couple of times in one month. He broke up with me and then begged to get back together with me. this was a cycle that kept on happening. We dated for 9 months, he was my first kiss and first boyfriend. Then recently he just told me that he was losing feelings for me. I am upset and confused because I have always loved him more than anything, and it hurts when you feel like the person you trust most in the world has just moved on so fast after everything you both had. Now, of course, my friends and family are telling me, “move on… you’re so much better than that… you deserve so much better… you are going to get through this,” however, it just doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s like one second he was telling me how much he loved me and then the next he told me he lost feeling for me and it would be better if we were just friends. Ouch… I know I’m young and I have so much to look forward to in life but I would just like advice on how to react when I see him in the halls, or talking to other girls, and basically not getting so fed up in his crap and everything that he has put me through.
Thank you

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Agnes

Reading these your stories makes me sad. My boyfriend of 7years dumped me cause I’m fat and ugly. It was a long distant relationship but we never missed skyping. Everyday we skype and even sleep together on skype but he still dumped me and said I need to lose weight and that I need to put more makeup on my face. Basically saying that I’m fat and ugly 😭. I can’t change my face even if I wanted to and I try to stay fit and healthy but it’s still not good enough. Still heartbroken from his comments and has lowered my self-esteem. Hoping for some miracle I win the lotto and get a complete makeover so I don’t feel self-conscious about myself.

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Elly

Agnes, I’m so sorry to read your post. Please don’t believe his words, they are not a reflection of you, they are a reflection of his poor character.

It’s so important to do things that make you feel great about yourself – like seeing good friends, sleeping well, getting some exercise – but that’s what is important I think: how you feel about yourself. Please please try to not let those cruel comments alter how you view yourself (I know it’s a lot easier said than done).

It may not seem like it right now but you have the power to make yourself happier gradually, one day at a time, and there is someone out there for you who could never be cruel like that to you.

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Ana V

Definitely want to reinforce the suggestion on not being friends and not meeting up or maintaining contact. Going through a breakup today. 3rd time is the charm I guess. The reasons we got back together always had to do with seeing each other again to soon after the break-up to “talk”. We’d only been together about 8 months, and reading these comments make me realize that the pain could be so much worse–it could’ve been years before we realized all the reasons it wouldn’t work.

It’s been falling apart for a while now. I don’t know why we kept holding on to it. Maybe we were both just lonely. It felt like we could keep the fantasy going for longer, but I guess everything has to end. I just hate how ugly it was. Said and did things fully out of anger that I wouldn’t have done otherwise….maybe that’s another sign. If someone’s bringing out the worst in you, it’s not worth salvaging because you’ll never let yourself grow. You’re just regressing.

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Dana

I too had a completely unexpected breakup 3 weeks ago. The level of certainty he shared with me about how I was the woman of his dreams, the right person for him, the way our lives were so aligned. I have a secure attachment style, and yet I had never trusted anyone as much has I trusted the things he said, the way he shared his love and desire for me. We were getting ready for date night, and he first started by apologizing how he hadn’t been spending the quality time with me that he wanted and “should have.” It then led to a conversation of how he didn’t understand how he could be so head over heals for me, but keep having thoughts of wanting to do other things without me rather than do the things we both loved together. He kept going back and forth in his mind saying, “I get so excited thinking about cooking you dinner each night, and then would say, “I just can’t keep going back and forth like this.” He asked me if I could “fix this” “help him flip the switch” and figure out why he was having these contradictory thoughts. I told him a big piece of our understanding is doing our own soul searching. He ended the relationship that night and said we would talk. I was completely shocked that our date night turned into a breakup. we had trips and vacations planned as recent as this week. I called him two days after the breakup and asked in a voicemail if we could talk and that I had more questions come up. I also shared my feelings of being sad, confused at how we both shared we had never felt the way we felt about another the way we did about each other, and that if I could hear more of what was going on for him might give me more clarity. A week passed and no response. I called and left another voicemail stating I know he might not have all the answers and thats ok, but even a one word response of “No” in a text to tell me he’s not willing to have a conversation with me would help. It has now been nearly 3 weeks and not a word or response at all from him. The thing that hurts me most is that I can’t understand how someone who tells you how he’d never do anything to hurt you, and how much he cares about you, could be the same person who could not even have the respect to respond in any way. I truly believe that humans are good, it is just so difficult when you believe in people so much and believe they will at least make the choice to be human to another human that they pushed for a relationship with, shared that space, and energy and connection with. I’m working on doing the things that make me happy, and working on trying to let go of the desire to know the answers, as I am only in control of myself and can’t make anyone else communicate. Just feeling sad, discouraged, and so confused.

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Ellen

Hi Dana,

Same thing happened to me too. When we met it was she who was so eager for a relationship. She told me she loved me first. She made plans for us to be together even as far as telling me that she wants to marry me one day. We really connected in so many levels. After so many weeks, I started feeling she didn’t want to be as invested into the relationship. I found out that her finances were a mess. When we met she made the impression that she had a lot of money and wanted to buy everything for me. I told her that I’m not interested in material things. I only want her loyalty and love. Found out that she owes over half a million in back taxes and that her company has been liquidated. She literally had no money or savings to speak of. When we were together I would offer to pay for things and she started to feel comfortable of borrowing money from me. She finally told me that in spite of telling me that she wanted to marry me and build a life together she wasn’t entirely sure if I wasn’t the right person for her. I was devastated. How could someone promise things and tell you they loved you and want to marry you and then say that you’re not the right person for them? It’s totally messed up. I am sad and heartbroken because I completely trusted her and believed everything that she said but she turned out to be a liar. I hope that I will eventually get over her. For not it hurts.

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Lara

Hello Dana,

How have you been?
I am going through the exact situation and was wondering how you survived it? Did he eventually communicate with you?

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Sheila

Ok so mine is quite a bit different, and I believe it stems from trauma I experienced in the past. I need help you guys! Tell me to stay strong and tell me to move on!
Quick history. My husband of nearly 12 years was killed in an accident 6 years ago, leaving me with 3 kids to raise. We have had tremendous support and life has very much gotten on track. I’m quite delayed in my grief because I put mine aside to make sure my kids were and are ok, so I don’t think I’ve really processed the horrendous sadness associate with losing my love so unexpectedly.
Fast forward, about 3 years ago I met a man who lives in Chicago (I’m in Denver) who was out here for work. I’d tried dating a few other people and my hear just wasn’t in it, but when I ran into Mark at a bar, it was instant chemistry. After he left we talked on the phone for hours at a time, every day, and got to know one another deeply but without physical connection. Throughout the next year he traveled here about twice a month and our relationship grew. Having kids of is own in Chicago, he couldn’t move here and having my tight family ties I wasn’t willing to move there. He promised me he could continue this and wanted to make a big life that involved a mixture of living here and there. I was all in.
For the past year he’s decided to focus on his career, and has been coming here less and less. Giving more indication that he’s not as interested as he once was. Although verbally he tells me all of these big and wonderful things, his actions tell me something different, that he’s not invested. To run a big and long distance relationship like this takes diligent care, and he’s just stopped caring. He tells me once his life is secure again with his career he’ll come here and follow through with all of the plans we had. I told him that in the mean time I needed something to hang on to, the little things. Phone calls in the mornings, sweet notes at times. Maybe a letter here and there. He’ll attempt it but the effort is clearly not there.
So what do I do? Let him go? Wait? Is it too difficult to maintain a relationship like this and I’m just afraid of loss due to my history? I’m stuck and I’m lonely. Any support or guidance would be so helpful. Thank you.

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christine G

I am going through this too. I was with my husband for 18 years. He had an emotional affair 3 years ago. I tried my hardest to forgive him, but the trust was gone, but I still loved him and wanted to keep our family together.
December 2017, he told me he didn’t love me and wanted to separate, he was messaging another girl. On the 1st Jan 2018 I moved out of our house with our 13 year old daughter. A week later, he said he was sorry and he loved me and wanted to try and make it work, he never tried, I feel I was just a stop gap till something else came along, and I was right. He is now seeing ‘Stacey’ who he has described to our 14 year old as ‘Fit’ ….Really, who does that.
I am utterly devastated, not sleeping, crying and just feeling low. I am pushing myself to work everyday, but its getting so hard. I do not feel I can cope with this hurt, I feel worthless…

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Nicole

I feel like my life is over. I fell in love with a man I thought was my answered prayer. We moved quickly. Saying “I love you,” after two months of dating and me up and moving away with him to a new state eight hours away after he received a promotion at work. I thought he was the real deal.
I got depressed after the move and he spent months trying to make me happy. But the gifts, time, or actions never made me feel better. He eventually asked to be moved back to my homestate after I found out I was pregnant hoping that I would go back to normal.
But I didn’t. I was depressed. I am depressed. He bought me things and tried his best to make me feel better. But I found out that he was texting other girls and had downloaded tinder to see “if he still had it.” He felt like I didn’t care about him. I definitely drifted away from him because of the depression but I was always faithful. After he promised he would stop, I told him that I wouldn’t give up on him. I didn’t leave.
Three months later while on a family vacation with our son and his daughter from a previous marriage, I found pictures of his friends that he’d secretly screenshotted using a creepy app on his phone. He was using the pictures to masturbate since I wasn’t as sexually motivated as he was.
But I forgave him. We worked it out or so I thought.
We decided that I should go back to school and in doing so, my time and patience grew thin. I was tired all day and did homework all night. He felt neglected and unwanted despite him knowing that I was doing all of this so that we could have a better life.
One day when I was sick he slept in his daughters room because he didn’t want to get sick. In reality, he needed space. He told me that the last time we had sex, he couldn’t finish and it concerned him. He wanted to break up because he was tired of me not being happy. He was tired of feeling unloved.
I left but made every effort to get him back. I went to therapy, did my hair and makeup, tried to see the bright side. But he secretly had another girlfriend and I found out. He didn’t deny it but justified it. He claimed to have deleted her number but I fouund her number saved under his best friends name. He called me ugly, said she was prettier. I was fat, she had a better body. I was boring, and they had great conversations. I left for good.
I’m trying to remove him from my life but because we have a son, it’s difficult. I still have to talk to him.
There is so much more to this story but I’m just heartbroken and need help. I’m still keeping up with the therapy but I need something more. I’m devastated.

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Toni

My heart goes out to all of you. I’m in your boat.
After a horrible 27 year marriage to a habitual cheater, I divorced him. The process was long and arduous.
During the process I met the love of my life, who was also going through a divorce after 27 years.
No matter the outcome… I will always classify him as the LOML.
For the first 3 years it was a long distance romance, but so sweet. Then he moved closer and I split time between my home and his apartment.
Yes we had normal lover’s quarrels, but our love remained iron-clad.
Three months ago he moved in. We’ve been readying my house for sale, but he grew moody and sometimes cruel.
He had given me a “promise ring” 5 years ago, and it was accidentally damaged. That was 6 months ago, and he’s never had it repaired. Symbolism.
I don’t pester him about reasons we haven’t gotten married. But on occasion when I do, he always has an excuse.
Yesterday, I told him to move out. And he did. I’m in terrible pain. I’m scared. I’m petrified. I’m panicking. But I KNOW I have to melt down this relationship to get to the bottom.
If he never comes back, or never reaches out, then I saved myself more heartache.
Sometimes we have to endure the most painful scenarios to determine where we stand.
Six and a half years is more than enough time to decide whether you want to get married.
It’s the oldest story in the book. Failure to launch. And it’s a cruel game which hurts and batters one’s self-esteem.
I just don’t get it because he’s always near, declares his love, etc.
But he just wouldn’t take that final step.

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Jacob

Hi
My Story Not like you I loved girl past 6 months this is my first love she came and proposed to first and now she left me no reason and i tried to compromise her but she blocked my mob number and i tried call she won’t give answer my call and then i tried commit suicide like accident even I called when i’m in hospital with strichses on head but she did’t answer .now what i want to for comeback to my life and i don’t know what will happen to me I’m just lauging infront of my friends but i really prayed to god but i didt know .please give some suggestion

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Bree

I am so sad for the abyss of the pain I read in all of your stories. Loss of a love is just devastating- it is also all tied in with our hormone and nervous system which is suddenly starved as well. So it’s normal to feel.. AWFUL. I just lost someone I was deeply in love with, a friend of 35 years where we finally felt like we were getting OUR chance. Turned out his external AND internal world really were very unstable and chaotic not ready for a partnership. As a single professional mom in my 50s, I began to see that the extreme stress in his life and how he DIDN’T handle it was having a severe toll on me too. We both had trauma in our teen hoods and that all got kicked up I believe because we loved each other way bac kthen. I however had done a lo tof “relationship work” and he had not… so he had so many detrimental patterns and also was still living back with his parents (!) in a family system without emotional honesty, planning, boundaries or limit with his kids or finances. started to have panic attacks feeling I am going to go DOWN with this ship… It was the hardest thing I’ve done to end it- as I really love him deeply, and was IN love. But when he refused angrily to do some couple’s work to try to right the ship so maybe we could try with more consciousness, I knew he was not ready to do the work to be with me right now. He’s in his own therapy.. but just at the beginning. I have been having super high anxiety and panic and started w a new trauma thearpist and two nights ago, some medicine. I thought I would marry this old friend now lover who would become my life partner. That was what he said and still wants. It’s terribly painful when the heart doesn’t line up with the reality of someone’s life. And i had to save mine. It broke my heart to lose him, for me. and once again to leave him…but I waS getting so hurt by his immaturity and dangerous life patterns and his telling me he was all “there” for me but constantly letting me down and NOT being there for me. Please seek out help, medicine etc if you are panicky or depressed in a way that lingers and makes every day so hard. You all deserve it and you all deserve someone who leads with their heart, and has devotion and integrity in word and actions.

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Christelle

This info didn’t really make me feel better until I read the part about just getting through today. Then the tears came.
July 2015, I fell for possibly the oldest line in the book: “my wife and and I are only living together for the kids, we are leading separate lives”
I was treated like a princess, romantic lunches, showered with affection and jewellery, he met my family and friends, he promised marriage, wanted me to move house to be closer to him.
Suddenly, he has to take 2 weeks off work to be with the kids. And then I get dumped, being told the age difference is too big.
Turns out the actual fact is that his wife is very much with him and we were both lied to, and his 2 weeks off was to take them all off on holiday. This guy must have been living like James Bond.

My heart is not only broken because I’m mourning for the future I was planning, but also because of the lies he has been telling me from the very start. Now I realise I never knew him at all and that frightens me because I trusted him with my life, heart and soul. How could I have been so blind???
All I can think of are the coming weeks and months, but that one piece of advice to just get through each day may just be what will save my life.

I wish there was some way of avoiding this horrendous pain, and I know I should be thanking my lucky stars I didn’t get stuck with a cheat. But in the immediate aftermath, I just can’t bring myself to think of him in those terms. Nor as myself as the “other woman”.
I hope we can all get through our pain and come through the other side better.

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Sammy

My fiance dumped me overnight after a petty argument a month ago. I was in shock. Then I realized that he was just waiting for a chance to do it and found the opportunity. We were together for 1.5yrs and I was single for 4yrs before him. It’s been devastating. I feel alone and unwanted. It’s been a month and I haven’t started feeling better. I barely sleep, I barely eat, and getting through each day is a constant struggle.

I really loved him and supported him in anything he did. He threw me away like trash. And now I’m stuck in a new neighborhood, having panic attacks so I can’t drive more than 3 miles, and no friends nearby. I don’t even have a family to turn to. I just want to curl up in a ball and die so I don’t have to feel this heartbreak and loneliness anymore.

I’ve tried new hobbies and none of them are appealing. I used to love cooking, but now knowing that I’m cooking for one it makes me cry so I don’t cook anymore. I tried going to a bar just to find some karaoke entertainment and that didn’t work. I felt more alone being surrounded by drunk strangers. I tried exercising, but not eating and sleeping made it too exhausting to keep it up. I just want this pain to end and nothing is working.

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ACM

Sammy I am going through this now, I’d love to know how you’re doing now a few months later

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Sammy

I am getting a little more sleep, but that’s the only improvement. I’ve watched all the YouTube videos on break ups and did all the crap people tell you to do to move on. None of it worked. In fact, something in me changed for the worse last month. Despite making new and supportive friends, nothing gives me enjoyment anymore. Life is just empty and pointless these days. I go to therapy weekly in the hopes that something will fix my brain.

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Shanzz

This is the same thing im experiencing. But i have no friends nor family to speak to. Just me alone and my four walls. Everyday just wishing to die. Not only from heartbreak but also the humiliation and shame.

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Brenda

I get that. 17 yrs, 2 months and he totally isolated me while keeping lots of friends (male and female). And I’m left with nothing but a huge mess he left and a lot of animals he never helped care for but wanted.

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Theresa

Shanzz, I hear you. Standard addvice for depression or breakup devastation is call on the support of your friends and family members you trust — easy platitudes that are like salt rubbed in a wound when there isn’t anyone like that in your life. I’m desperately lonely and unhappy after being dumped by 3 men I dated and 2 formerly close friends in the space of 4 years. The humiliation I’m feeling at these rejections and my lack of any other close friends to help me through it is staggering. I take comfort in my cats, my two sweet companions, in music (playing it, dancing to it) and spending time in the wilderness, just paying rapt attention to everything I see, hear, and smell. Sometimes immersing my attention in these sorts of realms that have nothing to do with social interaction can give my mind a much needed break from rumination about rejection and how shattered I’m feeling.

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Seyma

Hi Sammy, I can totally relate- going through something so similar rn..
I was wondering how you have been doing since your post?
And if you like, we can talk about it more in person, too!
Please feel free to mail me if you feel like it.
Hugs and a lot of strength from Germany,
Seyma

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Kim

I have been dating my best friend for 4 years . He took in my oldest daughter as his own. We got married almost 2 years ago. Well 3 weeks ago he leaves and says he wants a divorce. I have 3 kids with him. I was a stay at home mom. I was madly in love with him, it kills me that we are getting divorced this fast. I don’t understand how ppl can just wake up and be done? I’m ready to be okay. I’ll always hope he wants to come back but at the end of the day I know he won’t. 5 years and 3 kids. Now it’s just me….

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Dana

Kim, I’m wondering how you’re doing now that some time has passed. I’m going thru a divorce at the moment, 24 yrs in, we had major troubles, he left with a friend of mine. He had no love for me whatsoever he said, up and gone. We have a child and things have hurt bad.
I’m looking for how you’re doing and hoping time will help.

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Gina

Thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom. It’s just what I need to hear right now. My partner of six years has just left me and our one year old son. Late last year he told me he wasn’t happy and felt we had “lost our connection”. I asked him if another woman was involved to which he adamantly said no. Things deteriorated over the following weeks and he moved out. I was beyond devastated. I felt like I had so many unanswered questions. How could he just end things so abruptly without debate, discussion or explanation?! I didn’t accept it and managed to get him to come to counselling with me. I really felt like the counselling was working, he appeared to be opening up and said he wanted to get things back on track. We had been doing counselling for over four months and during that time he gradually moved back in. I told him I didn’t want him to move back in permanently unless he was 100% committed. He was back in permanently for three weeks when he sat me down and told me he had been seeing someone else and had feelings for her. It’s over. I feel so incredibly betrayed, hurt, rejected and alone. The whole time he was supposedly working on rebuilding our relationship he was seeing someone else. I don’t know how I’m going to get over this.

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Paul

Ok to start with all tell you all that I’m a man. Finding articles for guys is so it seems a lot harder. But if I may tell you my story.

I met her in Nov 2012. By Nov 2013 she asked me to move in with her. By August 2016 we were married. Eight and a bit months later here I am posting on here.

We split up because she loved me but is not in love with me. I’m completely and utterly heart broken. In the few years together I developed a family. Her family but all the same they all became mine. My stepson had two beautiful children. They call me grandad and I love them like my own. I’ve lost them also. All I want to do is love my wife and for her to love me back. I accept that she no longer does but I’m falling apart and as hard as I try I can’t see a light ahead. She’s already erased me from her life. I know she’s very upset and sad for the pain she’s caused me as she has told me but her life is moving forward and mine has died. I now live in a caravan miles away from all those I love. I’ve lost everything. I genuinely don’t know what to do.

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Jacquie

Hi Paul, I am really sorry. I know you are devastated and right now your world is upside down, not just because of losing your wife but also her family. I have been there. Please try to get some therapy if you can, you need to get all of your feelings out to someone who can help to guide you to a better path. I too thought that I would never be able to get over the heartache and pain but by taking baby steps and going day to day, I have gotten much better. Still not totally over it but much better. Therapy, friends, meditation (try a great meditation app called “Insight Timer”) and keeping busy have all helped. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Better to keep some distance from your ex, she is not going to give you the answers you want. In time you may see that this was for the best. You deserve to be loved the way that you love. You are not alone, try to remember that.

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Jacquie

Reading this article and the follow up replies has been helpful but I am still so devastated. I had been married 28 years to a narcissist and ended my marriage by my choice. I spent over a year in therapy and did not even attempt to date until I felt I was in a good place. Met a guy on a dating website and from the get go we seemed to hit it off. He had three kids from his prior marriage. He and his ex do not get along but he is a great dad and does not speak poorly of the mom to the kids. He told me after we were together for a little while that I was the kind of person he could see spending the rest of his life with. Fast forward 9 months and he unexpectedly ends things with me. Says that we are very different from each other. I know we have our differences as far as him being more conservative than me and some world views, but I thought we a lot alike as far as our core values, family, etc. He also said his kids have been having a hard time with his ex and he feels guilty being happy when they are so unhappy. He says his kids are all he knows. I have never been anything but supportive of him and he would agree with that. His ex and mine do come up with us during conversations sometimes but mostly when they interfere in our lives. He said he does love me and he has not been thinking about ending this relationship until last week. I am blindsided by this. We don’t argue and these issues of us being different have never come up before. I did not rush into this relationship and waited over 6 months before telling him I loved him because I wanted to make sure. Well, I am sure and now I am heartbroken. I did not feel like this when my marriage ended. I have not contacted him and fortunately he is not on social media. I know right now I would go back with him in a heartbeat if he wanted to but I also know something would have to change. I am trying to keep busy but all I want to do is lay on the couch and watch tv. I am only eating because I know I have to. The sadness is overwhelming me and I pray that time will heal this.

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Sairy

I’ll pray for you all. I’m glad you’re eating at least. Do it for yourself. Call friend and talk their ear off if you have to. I find that really helps

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Jacquie

Thank you for your kind words. I am doing much better now. Time, friends, meditation and therapy have helped.

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Monika

Hey am also sinking in the same ship. Ya lets be strong nd fight together. Just dnt let anyone take you for granted.

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Annie

Me too….
I was only with my boyfriend (in our 50s) for 6 months but it was 6 months of him spoiling me, taking me to amazing places and I felt like a Princess. Sadly I finished just before Christmas as it was almost too much too soon (my husband had left me after 30 years in May 2016) I regretted it after a week but he had already met someone else and has chosen to try things with her. Im heartbroken for the 2nd time in a year. The only good news is, I thought I would never get over my husband and , obviously managed to quickly. Good Luck all of you x

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Sara

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it’s definitely not something I would wish on anyone. I’m not sure how you’re feeling these days, but consider talking to your doctor about an antidepressant. I’d never been on one and was afraid to start one because I didn’t want to be numb, but I’m not and it has done wonders for me. Also, not sure if you’re a spiritual person, but reconnecting with God and keeping a journal has been a big help for me too. I’m no expert, still pretty new at all this, but I’m here if you ever need anything. Hang in there, you will get through this!

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Sian

Hi Sara 🙂
Your story really got me drawn in.

I may need advice if you could spare me a little bit of your time?

Also, I would love an update of how you are now xxx

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Sara

I apologize in advance for the length of this, but it’s complicated, to say the least. I, like so many others here, am brokenhearted. I was with my ex for nearly 6 years, he proposed to me December 2015 and we were set to be married October 29, 2016. I thought everything was perfect, I had the dress, the venue, we bought a house, all I had to do was finalize the details and countdown to the big day. Then, at the end of June, he said those fateful words “we need to talk.”

I thought it was about the house or something mildly disappointing, but something I could handle. Little did I know he was about to drop a bomb on me and shatter my heart as well as my dreams. He told me at first that he had some concerns about the house and finances, then about my happiness because I’d be living away from my family (3 hours), which I’d never done, and then he proceeded to tell me that he loved me and cared for me, but the love he had for me was like that of a family member, not a lover. My heart sank, my eyes filled with tears, I couldn’t understand this. He had just surprised me with a trip to Hawaii 6 months prior and proposed shortly after that…how can this be?! I asked him what that meant and he said he felt like we’d lost our spark a while ago. I thought we were doing great, even though we weren’t hot and heavy like we were in the beginning, but we were in our 5th year together, that’s understandable. So I asked him if he wanted to end things and he said no, he wanted to work on things, try to get the spark back.

I researched like a crazy person, knowing we weren’t the first to go through this, and tried to reassure him that long term relationships ebb and flow in passion, we can take a break, do exciting things, follow the steps these articles suggested, etc but it didn’t take long for me to realize I was the only one fighting.

The entire month of July was agony for me, just sitting in limbo, not sure whether to proceed with wedding plans. He eventually told me some more disturbing news, he’d been considering breaking up with me as far back as 2012 when he first felt the spark fade, but I was diagnosed with MS in 2012 and he felt I needed someone more than ever. He also said he felt like he didn’t get “enough out of his system” in his college years and felt that if he didn’t get it out before we got married, he would probably cheat on me. Oh, and he doesn’t know what true happiness is because he hasn’t been happy since he was a teenager and just never got professional help. I mean, the spark is one thing, but all this other stuff, I was not qualified to handle all of this. I suggested therapy multiple times, he brushed it off, stating that the therapist will only try to make him happy with his circumstances instead of working on changing them or something like that.

Long story short, I knew the inevitable was coming, I just wasn’t willing to be the one to do it. Finally, on July 31, 2016, he “came to a decision,” and made our breakup official. I knew it was coming, but I was beyond crushed. He was my life for almost 6 years, we’d traveled the world together, he’d been my rock in the bad times, we were about to start a life, a family together, how could this be possible?

As hard as it was to accept, I took the punches as they came to me, I started rebuilding my life on August 1, 2016 and slowly started to feel myself getting back to normal. I had my days, but those are to be expected. I felt stronger everyday. Then, a week ago, the wind was knocked out of me again…

A mutual friend on Facebook (the ex and I are no longer FB friends) saw that he was already in a relationship with a new girl. At first, I was just mad, how could he already have moved on before our wedding date even passes?! How can he sow his wild oats by jumping into another relationship?! How can he give up everything for someone 11 years younger than him?! But the more I thought about it, the more it festered and I started Facebook stalking this girl, trying to find out everything I could about her. That only made it worse because I found out that they were already together at least by Labor Day which was barely a month after we broke up, so either he was cheating or just able to move on really fast. Neither scenario made me feel good.

Devastated. Crushed. Shattered. Just to name a few. I already had so many unanswered questions and now I have a million more. I know I’ll never get the answers to these questions because we aren’t in contact and I know if I contact him about this, I won’t feel any better. I was so proud of the progress I’ve made, but the news of his new girlfriend has set me back farther than I thought it would, maybe even farther back than the initial breakup.

I know it’s still early in my healing process, but I don’t really know where to go from here. I appreciate articles like this one and the comments because it helps me realize I am not alone in this fight, even though I feel like no one could ever hurt as badly as I do right now, but I guess we all feel that way in the thick of it. Thank you for your inspiring articles, I know I’ll make it out of this, it just seems near impossible right now.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

You’re so welcome Sara. I know the pain is still raw but it will get better. There is a happier version of you and your life waiting for you. There really is. One day this will make sense. For now, take the time you need to heal gently. It will get better. Love and strength to you.

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Tong

It’s OK, Sara. You are not alone. Just as Karen says, new happier life is waiting for you.
I am in this fight too. Feels like don’t want to live anymore. There is a guy took away all my hopes and plans for the future.
It will be OK, let’s fight together.

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Sara

Thank you for your kind words! Thankfully, I’m doing really well now, although I do have my days. But thanks to new friends, therapy and my doctor prescribing me a mild antidepressant, I’ve made wonderful progress. And I’m to a point where I realize that I didn’t lose something, I dodged a huge bullet and gained so much more. Hang in there, we got this!

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Lisa

Sara , It’s been years since this happened , I hope you are well . I’m in the same position you were back in 2016 . I feel like the pain is never going to end .

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Sairy

Sara thanks so much for sharing that actually sounds super tough. if you ever need to talk to someone I am here.. I’m a stranger but I can totally relate to your feelings. You can email me Sairy.demesa@gmail.com, i would also be interested in your progress.

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Catherine

Sara,

Reading this felt like I was watching my own life play out. I’m reliving your story exactly a year later. We were set to get married on October 28, 2017 and this June, he moved back from school and I realized something wasn’t right. Fast forward and we’re both in therapy individually, but also in limbo and I feel like I’m waiting on him to decide what he wants. Luckily, he’s interested in couple’s therapy, we just haven’t started it yet.

I lost my breath reading your story. We’ve been together for 8 years and engaged for 2. I gave the ring back to try and lessen the pressure, but things just got worse. I’ve been in a daze for the past month. Just trying to take it one day at a time. We’re still living under the same roof, which is even harder. Thank you for sharing your story. It made me realize that I’m not the only one going through this.

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Sara

I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I don’t know where you are at in the journey currently but I hope things work out for you. And I know it sounds cliche, but if it doesn’t, just know you’ll get through this. As someone who just hit the year mark, I can promise you that. Please let me know if you’d like to talk, I’m here anytime!

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Rina

sara i am in same situaion and in very poor condition
different unnecessary thoughts came to mind
i am in still depression
i dont have friends to whom i can share this
family wont understand me
what to do

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Cassandra r

I just recently got out of a 3 year relationship it was my first serious relationship and right now I just feel like I can’t take it. My ex did many things during our relationship like texting other girls or complimenting them meanwhile accusing me of cheating when I never did! I stopped hanging around with my friends and closed myself out from everyone. Just so many things that my ex did that killed me inside and I continued to stay it seemed like we were breaking up for awhile I just couldn’t let go she would continuously tell me she loved me but then the next she would be with a girl she was texting inappropriately with.. it’s been 1 week now and I can’t help but cry and cry and it seems like I’ll never get better and because we have mutual friends I see that she’s having the time of her life partying and hanging with friends while I feel like I’ll never be okay..

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Julineth B

Sara my name is Julie and I myself am going through it… my heart is so broken I feel like my world fell apart… we did everything together and one day he wakes and tell me he wants to be single and says later I find out he’s talking to someone already… I had to leave his house and currently starting from zero basically…. I’m so hurt I dont where to start. There are days where I just wanna stay in my room all day and cry but I can’t cause I have kids, this is so hard😔someone please tell me how do you move on from such heartache🖤

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Jolee

Reading all of these comments makes me feel so much less alone. Sometimes, you get so in your head, you swear you are the only one who has ever felt this bad and surely you will die from it because no one can reach you or help you. I thank you all for your kind words and the helpful articles and Sara, I send you love and hope and strength. You WILL get through this.

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Chris

I’m going through this kind of breakup and devastation at the minute and I too have been diagnosed with ms.
This has just happened to me and I feel like my world has gone.
We now are 50 miles apart and it’s not only him I miss but the animals too.
He told me he had met someone else
I’m totally devastated

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Chi

Hi Sara I took my time to read through ur experiences. Indeed I have learnt alot from u. Thanks

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Kitty

Breakup is such a devastating situation..This is happened to me 2 weeks ago. It is not 5 days, not 5 weeks, not even 5 months..Its 5 years. Its all my fault.

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QueenBee

8 months on from my break up and I’m still trying to remain positive. It’s hard tho. 12 yrs together and 3 daughters. To cut a long story short. He left our family to get with the 18yr old neighbour. They had an affair for a year before this. That didn’t last long and so multiple girls have come and gone since then. It doesn’t help that he lives 2 streets away from me. I literally can’t get away from him. I’ve done the whole no contact etc. I’ve become quite good at self control when it comes to my ex. But i long for the day I wake up and I feel fine. I’d be happy with fine. The thing I don’t understand is why I still ache and cry sometimes even tho its definitely over. Cliché as it sounds I finally know my worth. I have great friends and family who listen to me vent. Guess time is the only thing that’s going to help me heal.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It’s so understandable that you would still be hurting. You had a long life together and even though the relationship grew apart and you know in your heart that there is something more loving and nurturing for you, you would have shared many wonderful memories in your time together. It can take a while to move forward from that but you will – you absolutely will. You are strong, wise and you have people around you who obviously adore you. Stay strong and keep moving forward. Love and healing to you.

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Marlene

Its hard to move on, and see he does. All he can say sorry what can I say

Reply

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