Young People Ask
How Can I Get Over a Breakup?
“We’d been dating for six months and had been friends for five years. When he wanted to end the relationship, he couldn’t even face me. He just stopped talking to me. I felt helpless. The disappointment was overwhelming. I kept asking myself, ‘What did I do wrong?’”—Rachel.*
A BREAKUP can crush your joyful disposition and replace it with tearful despair. Consider Jeff and Susan, who dated for two years. Over that period their emotional bond grew. Throughout the day, Jeff sent Susan text messages with expressions of endearment. From time to time, he gave her gifts to show that he was thinking of her. “Jeff put forth an effort to listen to me and understand me,” Susan says. “He made me feel special.”
Before long, Jeff and Susan were talking about marriage and where they would live as husband and wife. Jeff even inquired about Susan’s ring size. Then, quite suddenly, he called off the relationship! Susan was devastated. She went through the motions of daily life, but she felt numb with shock. “I became mentally and physically exhausted,” she says.*
Why It Hurts
If you’ve been in a situation similar to that of Susan, you might well wonder, ‘Will I ever be able to move on?’ (Psalm 38:6) Your distress is understandable. Breaking up may be one of the most traumatic experiences you’ve ever had to endure. In fact, some have said that a breakup is like a minideath. You may even find yourself going through these and perhaps other typical stages of grief:
Denial. ‘It can’t be over. He’ll change his mind in a day or two.’
Anger. ‘How could he do this to me? I can’t stand him!’
Depression. ‘I’m unlovable. No one will ever love me.’
Acceptance. ‘I’m going to be all right. The breakup hurt, but I’m getting better.’
The good news is, you can reach the acceptance stage. How much time it will take to get there depends on a number of factors, including how long your relationship lasted and how far it progressed. In the meantime, how can you cope with your heartbreak?
You may have heard the saying, Time heals all wounds. When you first break up, those words might ring hollow. That’s because time is only part of the solution. To illustrate: A cut on your skin will heal in time, but it hurts now. You need to stop the bleeding and soothe the pain. You also need to keep it from becoming infected. The same is true with an emotional wound. Right now, it hurts. But there are steps you can take to lessen the pain and keep from becoming infected with bitterness. Time will do its part, but how can you do yours? Try the following.
▪ Allow yourself to grieve. There’s nothing wrong with having a good cry. After all, the Bible says that there is “a time to weep” and even “a time to wail.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) Shedding tears doesn’t mean you’re weak. In the midst of emotional anguish, even David—a courageous warrior—once admitted: “Every night my bed is damp from my weeping; my pillow is soaked with tears.”—Psalm 6:6, Today’s English Version.
▪ Take care of your physical health. Physical exercise and proper nutrition will help replenish the energy lost from the emotional toll of a breakup. “Bodily training is beneficial,” the Bible says.—1 Timothy 4:8.
What areas pertaining to your health might you need to give attention to?
▪ Keep busy. Don’t stop doing the things that interest you. And now, more than ever, don’t isolate yourself. (Proverbs 18:1) Associating with those who care about you will give you something positive on which to focus.
What goals can you set with regard to keeping busy?
▪ Pray to God about your feelings. This might be a challenge. After a breakup, some even feel betrayed by God. They reason, ‘I prayed and prayed that I would find someone, and now look at what happened!’ (Psalm 10:1) Would it be right, though, to view God as merely a celestial matchmaker? Surely not; nor is he responsible when one party does not wish the relationship to continue. We do know this about Jehovah: “He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) So pour out your feelings to him in prayer. The Bible states: “Let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
What specific things could you pray to Jehovah about while you are striving to cope with the anguish of a breakup?
After you’ve had time to heal, you might do well to take a close look at just what happened in your past relationship. When you’re ready to do that, you may find that writing out your responses to the following questions will help.
▪ Were you given a reason for the breakup? If so, write the reason below, regardless of whether you feel it was valid.
▪ What other reasons, do you think, might have been involved?
▪ In hindsight, is there anything you could have done that would have changed the outcome? If so, what?
▪ Has this experience revealed any ways in which you would like to grow spiritually or emotionally?
▪ What, if anything, would you do differently in your next relationship?
Granted, the relationship you were involved in didn’t become what you had hoped. But remember this: In the middle of a storm, it’s easy to focus on the dark sky and the pouring rain. Eventually, though, the rain stops and the sky clears. The youths quoted earlier in this article found that they were, in time, able to move on. Be assured that the same can be true of you!
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
Names in this article have been changed.
Although the individuals quoted in this article are female, the principles discussed apply to males as well.
TO THINK ABOUT
▪ What have you learned about yourself from your past relationship?
▪ What have you learned about the opposite sex?
▪ In whom could you confide if feelings of distress about the breakup seem overwhelming?
[Box on page 20]
Susan, mentioned earlier, made a list of scriptures and kept it handy so that she could read those texts when she felt she was losing control. Perhaps you can do the same with some of the scriptures cited in this article.
[Picture on page 19]
A breakup is like a painful cut—it hurts, but in time it will heal