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After A Break-Up: Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends?

Updated on February 12, 2010

 You’re damn lucky if you have a good circle of people you can count on when you need them. Break-ups are hard. You want to be able to talk it out and feel some support.

Your friends want to fix you. They see that something in you is broken, and if they love you they want to help you repair yourself. They may do the best that they can, but remember: They aren’t trained psychotherapists, they aren’t counselors. They are just people that love you.

The thing is, as well intended as they are, they really don’t know what’s best for you. A friend may suggest that you forget this guy, keep busy, start dating right away. But you may need time to grieve. You may need to have a good cry or four. Repression doesn’t make sad emotions dissipate, it just gives them critical mass.

We all know someone that’s kind of a tough-love advocate. They may say they told you so, they may be stern about how you ignored the warning signs. Maybe this is how love is shown in their family. They think they’re helping, preparing you for next time, making sure you learn what went wrong so you don’t make the same mistakes again. But maybe you just aren’t the kind of person that reacts well to that kind of judgment. Maybe it makes you feel guilty or stupid, and it doesn’t help at all.

Maybe you have a friend that is treating you too delicately. Asking if you’re alright over and over. Blocking you from invites to go out saying you aren’t ready. But maybe you are ready. Maybe you’ve gotten a lot of the sadness out of your system and you’re ready to move into another stage of grieving.

And that’s what it is. It’s a mourning process, a grieving process. It’s similar to a death or a horrible loss. A bad break up can be as hard to deal with as any other major catastrophe. And there are stages to the grieving process.

The basic stages can be found in many books and creeds, ordered and reordered, broken apart and fused together. But they all involve the same basic steps. Denial, pain, guilt, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Personally I tend to hit the sadness phases during a loss in the beginning. When I start to feel anger I know I’m getting better. I tend to feel things very deeply and I truly bottom out when I’m going through a life altering loss. I allow myself to sink and experience the emotions, and I really get it all out of my system. I tend not to relapse after that period. Sure I will still experience sadness and ache, but I tend not to get blindsided with emotions a couple years later.

My husband on the other hand tends to absorb things in stages. He takes sadness in steps that he has to spread apart. Instead of experiencing the whole thing at once like I do, he takes it apart and looks at only so much of it at a time. He’s methodical, I’m a drowner. I’m always amazed at how clear he is about his feelings a few years after the fact, and how well he has processed the event.

Neither way is right or wrong. Knowing yourself will help you to seek out the support you need. Think back to other losses even if they weren’t break-ups. Your history is best teacher. Then think about what you feel you need right now. Do you feel like you need to pull back and have a good cry? Then turn to a friend that will come over with tissues and a chick flick and let the water works go. Do you feel like you’ve been sad for long enough and you need some help getting back out there? Call a friend that’s more apt to encourage you to come out dancing.

But this is important: if you don’t really know what you need, and what you’re trying doesn’t seem to be working, be open to getting some professional help. You know that feeling of when you have a good cry, and afterward you feel better? There should be a general sense of that through our your grieving process. Each step should give you at least some slight feeling of progress if you think about it. If you feel like you’re actually getting worse, and you don’t know what your next step should be, get some guidance.

There is nothing wrong with needing some help. Just like you hire an accountant to help with your taxes when they get messy, and just like you go to the doctor when you’re physically ill, you should seek some help when you’re emotionally and mentally in need of some clarity. Maybe reading a book or two on the subject will help. Some people reach out to their churches or spiritual leaders for counseling. But sometimes the best thing you can do is get some real therapy from an educated professional. It’s not a poor reflection on your friends, and it isn’t a sign of weakness in you. It just is what it is.

Kudos to your friends. It's awesome if you have people you can turn to in your dark hours. Know yourself, don't be afraid to take the time you need, and to seek support from certain friends at certain times. But if the friend network isn't enough, that's OK. Be smart, and do what you need to do to heal.

This hub

was written by Veronica for hubpages. If you are reading it elsewhere, it has been stolen. All text is original content by Veronica. All photos are used with permission. All videos are courtesy of

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  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 8 years ago from NY

    Thanks Rebecca E. Good luck with whatever you're going through. xo

  • Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 8 years ago from Canada

    an excellent hub, found at the right time, thanks!