Being in a relationship for the first time is an exciting and exhilarating experience.
Sharing our lives with someone else often brings joy and happiness; however, relationships also sometimes come to an end. No matter how old you are, breaking up hurts and it can be tricky to deal with the thoughts and emotions that come up at this time.
A Teen’s Guide to Breaking Up
Everyone is different and there is no “right” response to a relationship ending, but common feelings include:
Often the hardest part of a break up is accepting that it really is over. Once people have accepted this, they are usually able to start moving on. It is important to remember that although at the time, break ups can be heart wrenching, negative feelings don’t last forever and with time, feelings of happiness do return.
Deciding to Break Up
Recognising that a relationship is not working can be a painful and upsetting realisation. But regularly evaluating your relationship and being prepared to break up is an important part of respecting yourself and your partner.
If you are feeling like you want to end your relationship, make sure you think about the way that you are going to communicate this. Using Facebook or text messages to break up with someone can often cause a lot of pain and hurt compared with talking to them in person or over the phone.
Equally, choosing the right time and place is essential. For example, do they have an exam the next morning – in which case it might be better to wait until that’s over?
Being honest and clear, while treating your partner the way you would like to be treated, is often the best approach to ending a relationship. Staying true to yourself and your reasons for wanting to break up is important, as it can be tempting to stay in a relationship due to feelings of guilt or sympathy. In the long run however, staying for these reasons is not healthy for you or the other person.
When Someone Breaks up with You
Most of us have, at some point, had to deal with the feelings of pain, sadness and rejection that come when someone else decides to end the relationship.
While it is normal to feel angry and hurt when someone breaks up with you, it is important to express these in appropriate ways. Yelling, screaming and Facebook-stalking your ex are likely to just make you feel worse and/or get you into trouble.
Also, breaking up does not mean that you have failed. It often takes time and practice to find the right relationship that works for you.
How to Cope with Breaking Up
Here are some ideas to help you cope in the aftermath of a break up:
- Talk about it. Bottling up all your thoughts and emotions is likely to make you feel very alone. Try to find someone that you trust who will listen to you as this will speed up the healing process. If you don’t have someone to talk to then try journaling about how you feel.
- Keep busy and find time to do those things you really enjoy. Hang out with friends, go to the cinema, listen to music, play with the dog. Take time for yourself.
- Explore new interests. A break up is a new beginning as well as an end. Take the opportunity to explore new activities, talk to new people, and be adventurous.
- Don’t fight your feelings. It’s normal to feel very up and down after a break up so be kind to yourself. Try to acknowledge the feelings rather than pushing them away, as ignoring them will just prolong the pain.
- Take good care of yourself. Staying active, getting good sleep and eating healthily will all help you feel better.
- Try to learn about yourself. What did you learn from this relationship? What might you do differently in the next relationship?
- Avoid using alcohol, drugs or food to cope. These are maladaptive coping strategies, that are likely to be destructive in the long run. Finding healthier ways of coping with painful feelings is vital.
When Breaking Up is Hard to Do
If you are thinking of breaking up with someone or are finding it hard to cope with a recent break up, then please consider booking an appointment with me so that we can help you to move past this difficult time.
Author: Ashley Cooper, B Psych (Hons), M Psych (Clinical), MAPS.
Brisbane Psychologist Ashley Cooper has clinical psychology training, and works with teenagers, adults and children. She is passionate about helping individuals to overcome their mental health issues and improve their quality of life.
To make an appointment with Ashley Cooper try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt or call (07) 3088 5422.