So Your Long-Term Relationship Ended? Here’s How To Survive The Breakup

When you break up with someone you’ve been dating for years, the emotions hit differently. Nobody prepares you for the fact that breaking up with a long-term partner means you lose your lover and your best friend at the same time.

Suddenly you find yourself without the person that you’ve spent years fully bonding yourself to. You’ve probably identified parts of your character with that person, have taken comfort in the fact that you “belonged” to one another—all of it, gone. Is it tragic? Of course. Is it survivable? 100%. Here’s how I did it after my five-year relationship came crashing down around me.

Come Up With An Easy Go-To Script To Tell Friends And Family

Woman in green shirt sits across from man at table, in conversation
Photo Credit: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

Easily one of the most dreaded post-breakup experiences is repeatedly explaining to everyone around you that the relationship is over. In my experience, it’s best to come up with a generic and well-rehearsed answer that doesn’t trigger any tears or reaction.

Something like: “We decided that things weren’t working out for us right now so we’re taking some time to figure ourselves out. I don’t really wanna talk about it though.” Most people should be super respectful of that, and can at least sympathize with what you’re going through. Love is hard and falls apart more often than it stays.

Remove Them From Social Media

Woman's hands holding iPhone and scrolling Instagram
Photo Credit: Kate Torline / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kate Torline / Unsplash

Removing your ex doesn’t have to mean deleting them forever. You don’t even have to block them completely. That can be really hard, especially if it was an amicable breakup and done for the better of both partners.

You may still be in contact with their family or friends, so deleting them from your socials doesn’t delete them from your life. But muting them or blocking them from being able to see your stuff is a great idea, especially early in the breakup. It will make it a lot easier for you not to constantly stalk their socials looking for clues about how they’re handling the breakup.

Don’t Compare How You’re Handling The Breakup To How Your Ex Is

Woman in large sweater with messy bed-head sits in bed scrolling on phone
Photo Credit: Ivan Samkov / Pexels
Photo Credit: Ivan Samkov / Pexels

Everyone handles the first few weeks differently. If he’s headed to the bar with his friends and you can’t seem to hold yourself together long enough to get groceries, don’t let that convince you he’s doing better.

Chances are you get a drunk text at 2 a.m. after you’ve cried yourself to sleep, asking if you want to talk about things. Don’t.

Don’t Communicate Drunk

Half-empty glass of wine beside iPhone on table
Photo Credit: Helena Lopes / Pexels
Photo Credit: Helena Lopes / Pexels

Don’t communicate while you’re drunk—it’s as simple as that. But it’s a lot easier said than done.

You spent all week holding out not sending that text you wanted to. Two drinks later and you’re about to throw it all away. It will hurt worse if he doesn’t answer and totally ruin the rest of your evening. Try to ditch your phone.

Lay Down The Law For Your Mutual Friends

Woman sits across table from friend, both have coffee mugs
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

When a long-term relationship ends, there’s almost always an extra complication to face when navigating mutual friend groups. Even if you remove your ex from your socials, there’s a good chance all your friends and family will remain on each other’s feeds.

It’s important to tell your friends early on what you don’t want to see/hear/know about. It’s not a bad idea to voice that you don’t want to be sent screenshots, texts, or updates about what’s going on in your ex’s world. No good can come of knowing who he’s dating or that he’s on swiping on Tinder.

Someone Is Going To Move On First, That’s Just How It Works

Two people hold hands walking down a city sidewalk
Photo Credit: Crew / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Crew / Unsplash

Make peace with the fact that it’s almost guaranteed one person will move on before the other.

Tearing yourself up and worrying about whether it will be you who gets to watch your ex start a new relationship won’t change anything or help you get over it any faster. If you can push it out of your mind, try to.

Be Smart About The Media You Consume In The Weeks Post-Breakup

Netflix app opening on TV in dimly lit room
Photo Credit: David Balev / Unsplash
Photo Credit: David Balev / Unsplash

Be careful what movies and shows you watch in the first few weeks. Your emotions are already a mess, and watching an epically scripted “happily ever after” rom-com is not going to make you feel any better.

Don’t watch the shows you used to binge together or the movies you loved to talk about. You’re just throwing yourself a pity party at that point and it will not help. No more tears! That means no “The Notebook.”

Lean Into Your Passions Or Take Up A New Hobby

Woman in bed reading and drinking tea
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Okay, okay, of course tears are allowed. But piling sadness onto your already existing sadness is counterproductive. You may find yourself wondering if you can even get through a day without crying.

The answer is yes, it will happen slowly but surely, one day at a time. Throw your energy into your passions, start reading a new book, or take up a new hobby like painting or biking. I started an easy online course that kept me distracted for a few weeks.

Your Last Relationship Was A Series Of Lessons Wrapped Up In A Person

Woman sits alone staring out over sunset
Photo Credit: Pixabay / Pexels
Photo Credit: Pixabay / Pexels

Look back at your relationship as a series of lessons—believe it or not, you’re better equipped to handle new parts of a relationship when you’re ready to date again.

From now on, you can be very clear in what you want in future relationships because you know what didn’t work in this one.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up, Your Heart Is Already Broken

Woman sits staring out open window
Photo Credit: Tatiana / Pexels
Photo Credit: Tatiana / Pexels

Don’t beat yourself up about how long it’s taking you to get over the heartbreak. Every relationship is different, and honestly, as lame as it is, it could take years before you fully shake that person’s energy.

There’s no linear path to feeling better. Even when you think you’re past the worst of it, a wave of emotion could come rushing back with the wrong song on the radio. The best advice I have is to take it one day at a time, count the little victories, and let time do its slow, magical work. You’ll get there, and be better for it.