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How to Move on from a Break Up

Updated on July 17, 2012

Do you:

· Get angry every time you think of your ex?

· Still feel the urge to call him/her?

· Second guess the decision to end the relationship?



A Break Up is Like A Death

This subtitle may sound harsh or exaggerated but it is not. When someone passes away, you lose the relationship. A break up can be even more painful in the sense that the person you lose is still living. I recently experienced both a death and a break up. I found that processing these two major life events were quite similar. Both sent me through a series of well-known stages and both took deliberate effort to cope.


Grief is known to have five stages. This theory, developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969, outlines common reactions to lose. I found that knowing these stages helped me to identify my own feelings.


  1. Denial: “A refusal to admit the truth or reality.”
  2. Anger: “A strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.”
  3. Depression: “A state of feeling sad.”
  4. Bargaining: “To negotiate over the terms of a purchase, agreement, or contract.”
  5. Acceptance:“To recognize as true.”

(Retrieved 1/18/12,


Wings of Forgiveness

Common Hindrances to Healing

The stages of grief are meant to be a benchmark. In my experience, I have come and gone through several phases before finally reaching acceptance. Sometimes, however, I get stuck. I find myself in one stage, such as anger, and I just can’t seem to move on. In these times, I have come to find that I am blocked by one or more of the following:

1. Not forgiving my ex:

Forgiveness is hard. There are times when we feel so angry, that it feels impossible. It is not. Many times this anger is a result of having not expressed our feelings to our former mates. Other times, it is actually related to a lack of self-forgiveness.

2. Not forgiving myself:

I struggled with forgiving myself because I had allowed an overwhelming amount of unacceptable behavior before pulling the plug. As I have talked with others, it has been revealed to me that others have walked that road. Regret is a heavy emotion and when left unnoticed or unresolved, it can leave one stuck in an uncomfortable emotional space.

3. Feeling hopeless (loss of faith):

It is common for people to lose touch with their faith when hurt. Often our hope is connected to things feeling “good” and things getting “better.” Pain feels like the complete opposite. Also, people tend to connect relationships to their faith by praying, hoping or “calling” a partner into their lives. What a shaking disappointment when this turns sour!


How to work through your blocks

There are many paths to freedom. Healing is not a systematic, one size fits all program but a process. Be gentle with yourself as you heal. Expect setbacks and forgive yourself accordingly. You might find that one of these tools speaks to you. Try it! It just might be your final step towards peace.

1. Allow yourself to feel:

Grieving a relationship is quite emotional. Instead of fighting the feelings that come, allow them to simply BE. Feel them. For some, self-criticism may hinder feeling. Relax and allow your feelings to wash over you. It is not only normal but it is natural.

2. Write:

Writing is a great way to express what you’re feeling. It is also a way to sort through issues and bring clarity. Three writing activities I have found healing are:

  • Write a letter to your ex: Say everything you wish you could. Often times things are left unsaid in a break up. Especially allow yourself to say the things things you might never actually consider saying. If angry, throw in every explicative for good measure. If sad, cry, wet the page until it tears. Finally, tear, burn or cut the pages to help you symbolize letting it go.
  • Lessons learned: Spend some time reflected about what you learned in the course of the relationship. Ironically, this is where I got angry. Real angry. I saw exactly why the relationship didn't work and I saw how much my own denial kept me stuck. "Lessons are blessings." They help us to not have to repeat negative behavior. I found the anger helped end my denial stage and solidify what I needed to change in myself. I also recieved clarity on what I am now unwilling to accept in a partner.
  • Gratitude list: Nothing soothes pain more than looking at the positive. In a gratitude list, simply write a numbered list of what you have to be grateful for. On a tough day, it might come down to simple things like “clean water, life, a broom to clean with.” The fact is, no matter how we feel, we are all quite privileged. Thinking about the greatness of what we have, no matter how seemly small, can help reestablish hope and even faith.

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3. Find your bliss:

After my break up, I reconnected with things I loved to do such as going to art exhibits, cooking and writing. I actually started hubpages purely off my willingness to do what fulfilled me. Often, we lose touch with our passions especially when relationships are consuming. This is the time to set aside you fears and follow your dreams! It will boast your self-esteem while filling your time with meaningful activities.

4. Nurture the relationships you do have:

Breaking up is a time where support from others is vital. Isolation may try to creep in, especially during times of depression. Engaging in loving, healthy relationships will get you up and out and most importantly, out of your head! The fact is, you do have people who love and care about you. Start saying yes to invitations and take the time to consciously reach out to loved ones.

Support Matters

How often do you talk to your closest friends and family?

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5. Talk:

Talking is another way to sort through your thoughts, connect to others and help release emotions. Find a close friend or family member with whom you feel comfortable venting. Pick up the phone, turn on the Skype, or get ready for a face to face!

Talking is also effective because it helps to validate what you are feeling. Others have felt what you have felt and are willing to listen and even offer some tips on“how they got over it.” As my mother would say, “a close mouth won’t get fed.” Open up so you may also receive.


My 3 Favorite Break Up Songs

  1. Florence and the Machines: The Dog Days are Over
  2. India Arie: Wings of Forgiveness
  3. La Roux: Bulletproof

My 3 Favorite Break Up Movies

  1. The Break-Up: Realistic yet funny tale of love gone bad and a condo that suffers through it all!
  2. Love Jones: Sensual love story that shows a couples struggle to hold on in the mist of stress and individual change.
  3. Boomerang: Hilarious comedy about karma's effect on a once self proclaimed "play boy."

6. Date yourself:

This may sound a little silly but trust me, it works. Find somewhere you really like going. It might be a new place or an old favorite. It could be dinner or an event. It could even be something out in nature. Whatever it is, dress up and go. Take your time and add details like make-up or cologne. The act of dressing up will make you feel good. I also found something very rewarding in stepping out solo. It was as if I found out “I really can do this. I can be single and it feels nice.”

A major benefit of dating yourself is that you begin to find and nurture who you are without thoughts of another person. My personal favorite is a quiet café date with a book or a journal. In a relationship, I had very little time to do this. Now I know that carving alone time for reading is something I would like to hold on to in or out of a relationship.

7. Find movies and music that express your thoughts and feelings:

In those quiet times alone, watching movies and listening to music can help you validate and express your feelings. This is a wonderful way to promote self-healing. You are likely to find yourself laughing, crying and even dancing as you watch and listen to others going through exactly what you are feeling. Identification is an amazing gift us humans have! It helps us realize we are not unique and therefore, not alone.


8. Hold on to or find faith:

Faith brings about feelings of well-being and purpose. Times of distress often can shake-up our beiefs but they can also be a time to seek deeper understanding. Pain. Is it necessary? Why? Questions like this are a great starting place to help mend your broken faith or plant a seed of interest. Seeking a spiritual path, whatever that may mean to you, might be the missing piece in your life.

Admittedly, my faith was shaken by this last break-up. I used mediation and prayer as a means of guidance before and during the relationship. As it came to an end there was an empty scary feeling that “it didn’t work.” Seeking my faith through spiritual literature, prayer and meditation has allowed me to see that it was my fantasies that failed me and not at all God. This is my experience and through exploring your own beliefs, you may also tap into strength and clarity.

9. Seek professional help when needed:

Seeking professional help can be very helpful. Are there patterns emerging in your relationships? Were there serious issue such as addiction, abuse or abandonment that surfaced? Getting the aid of a professional can help you not only sort out and heal, but possibly help ensure that some of the more painful parts of your former relationship, may not ever have to be relived. The decision to seek help is a very person one and I recommend talking to close friends about it. Many may have personal experiences to share. Who knows, you might even end up with a referral.

10. Treat yourself right:

I decided to wrap up this discussion about healing with the most basic and rewarding ways to promote healing: take care of you. Start to focus on basics such as eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest and neat grooming. Lavishing yourself with attention and healthy habits is a way of life that can help you become happier at any time. Starting good habits can lead you on a healthier path. A healthy body is the start to a healthier mind.



Enjoy the Journey!

Grief and your eventual healing are all a part of your journey. Make the best of it and try to smell the flowers along the way!

Break Ups: Funny?


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i have a great things happend since i post my sad story about my devorce my hasband come to morocco and we get married again and and he go back to us and im her waiting tell i fix my immigration paper and go back to my house and my life with him again ,soo im really happy,and i really learn a lot how much i was nothing with out him so i hop the best for everybody.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Deborah, I have certainly walked this road a couple of times and it can be very painful. Thankfully there are so many people to reach out to with experience. Thanks for commenting :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      8 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow we have all gone through this and this is a great hub.. thank you I enjoyed reading..


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank u so much for advice.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for your input Reves. Time certainly waits for no one.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Nasma, that sounds like a very difficult situation. First off, why did you two get divorced origionally? If you guys had good reason at the time and things were just not working, you both might still be in the denial stage. The fact is, if you two had a reason to go to the point of divorce, it was not working. Healing takes time and it might be that you two might need to give eachother space to heal or accept your circumstances.

      On the other hand, if it ended because of the immigration and you two are truly in love, then make a decision whether it is worth it to hold on to this love. If it is, with all it's difficulties, make the best of the situation through staying in touch until the right opportunity presents itself for moving. Be realistic with yourself. This is tough to do and there are no garantees. If it is still worth it to you, hold on but do it with a true view that it may end tragically.

      Best of luck to you. I know that distance made me cling to certain exes even more and this may be adding to your case too.

    • Reves-diary profile image


      8 years ago from Dhaka

      This a great hub. I think you need to move on as life does not stop for anything. You have to think positive, and start in a way that always have preferred!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      if someone can give me advice plz,im 24 years girl i just get divorce like 1 month ago i steel love my ex he love me too and he wont me be his wife again but i cant because we cant be together again not because we dont wanna be together but we cant.he live in usa now and i live in morocco and i cant be with him again because of immigration problems so its just so hard for me and him too he cant come and live in my country because its not easy to find a job and he dont have money to do it too,my familly wont me to get married with ather men in my familly,im really in bad situation now what i should do forget about my ex and spend my life with men i dont love or stay single waiting for dream never come true.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks James!

      Reading you novel...uh...comment, was a joy. It is great that those blue periods, as I call them, do not last forever.

      I am glad my words meant something. I enjoy finding genuine good writing as well as good people around here. I liked your style immediately and that topic was truly new to me. I usually shy away from politics when writing but it can be delightful to read it, especially when it does not get to preachy.

      I have found that being alone can be very good. My mistake in the past was taking my alone time for granted. You know, getting restless and bored. When that happens, I am liable to accept the next opportunity without much thought. Not good.

      This time around, I am finding pleasure and following through with some of my own dreams and goals. This helps a lot. So does trying to connect with friends, new and old.

      I hope you have a great jump to this new and fresh season and I wish you the best in your journey here and everywhere.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Good advise! While rushing into a new relationships is probably not the best idea, wallowing certainly is not going to help you move forward! In the past I was a rusher so now days I give myself some time. I will receive your input here. Maybe there is something on the horizon :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      9 years ago from North Texas

      I wasn't so much suggesting you should end any relationship -- that would be a decision you and/or that other person must make. What I was mainly trying to say, is that once a relationship has ended, spend a little time mourning if you must, but then look around because you don't want to miss out on finding the person who may be just right for you because you were so focused on 'yesterday.'

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you for sharing Au fait. This life is a journey with lots of lessons along the way. Break ups have always been a very difficult thing for me. Yet, I totally agree with you about it being better to either fix it or end as soon as possible. Life is too short to stay unhappy. I feel more impowered when I am making healthy decisions for myself. Sometimes choosing to end a relationship is the best thing I can do for myself.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      9 years ago from North Texas

      Voting you UP and useful! You have great advice and ideas for working through a difficult situation here. Planning to share this with all my followers.

      I try to look at a break-up this way: If I'm concentrating too much on the past, I may be missing out on a great future relationship. A relationship that might be perfect for me, whereas the last one obviously had problems or it wouldn't have ended. The sooner a problematic relationship modifies or ends, the sooner one can get on to better things and the less investment one makes. The greater the investment, the greater the pain when it ends.

      Do not let someone who has hurt you also hurt your future. Do not let the pain blind you from possible great relationships in your future. While you are concentrating on what happened yesterday, something that cannot and will not change, you may be missing that great someone who is standing right next to you!

      Thanks for SHARING!

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      I am happy to hear you found this hub useful. Sometimes I need to see that others have felt what I have felt to know I am not just CRAZY! Knowing I am not alone with all these feelings and lessons I go through, makes me feel more at ease too! I hope to hear from you again as I see we are both working on growing.

    • AnnaCia profile image


      9 years ago

      I love your hub. Reading it helps me to realize that I am fine. So true, forgiveness is a huge step and an important one.. By forgiving myself and the other person I open up t freedom. It is obvious that you believe in processes that do not have to be systematic. Thanks.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      skye2day-Forgiveness is a very tough part of the process but I find it SO liberating! I thank you for your kind words and my hope is that everyone that reads this hub will know there is another side to their pain.

      Prasetio-Thank you for reading and voting!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. You make my day so beautiful by reading this "motivational hub". Awesome and I learn many things from you. Well done and rated up!


    • skye2day profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Krystal Wow you can write girl. Very good hub. I like how you laid this info all out. We grieve so many things from stopping a habit to loosing a loved one. Although I know the stages of grieving and have practiced them on many occasion this is a helpful reminder. Loved it and voted up and awesome.

      I really tap into the forgiveness a must to move on!! Also the prayer and meditaiton a must for me. God is the way truth and life. I do not know the good news from the bad news and when I loose something GOD can turn it all for Good to His Glory. He is the Father and knows the Big Picture. In letting go of others by choice or by death God can turn all things for GOOD for His purpose and Glory Amen. Thank you sister for a great hub of love.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      NightFlower-I think any writer knows how it is to purge with the pen! I think even writing this hub was a purge. It's funny how I have to remind myself of so much of this information!

      instantlyfamily-I hope it reaches the right people too! I think it’s so important for people to know they are not "crazy" and that their feelings are valid. Thanks for stopping by...and voting!

      fpherj48- Experiencing loss is such a necessary process. It just feels awful! I am glad I have found ways to grow from them and I hope people who read this will be encouraged :) I appreciated your input.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Rastamermaid-I agree. Most of these ideas are great ideas for any time in your life. I believe they are all part of a healthy, whole lifestyle.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      9 years ago from Carson City

      Excellent. Written from your inner depths and that is when it always ring true. Having been through much loss, both break-ups and death, I can fully appreciate the similarities of the stages and their varying emotions. Deep sorrow and feelings of emptiness, due to a loss, are the very difficult aspects of life we must deal with.....but deal with them, we do. We learn so very much about ourselves, our strengths & true worth during these trying times, it becomes a valuable journey.

    • instantlyfamily profile image


      9 years ago

      I hope this hub reaches many readers who are struggling with a break up. These are really helpful tips. I am voting up. Well done!

    • NightFlower profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree with all of these points so much but I particularly like the "write" and the "seek professional help" points cause you just don't seem to be able to get up and "walk" out of a relationship better get into a witness protection program or something or get outside help before you kill somebody else and ahhhh ,writing and listening to a poignant CD to help you purge yourself of all those raw emotions. Krystal you better stop playing -smile. Sensational hub!!

    • Rastamermaid profile image


      9 years ago from Universe

      Awesome hub,voted up!

      You can apply this in many areas of your life,not just romantic break ups.

      Doing things to keep one busy like writing help tremendously.Find a hobby,pick up a class,just refocus your view on you,and you'll come out on top.



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