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?’ Your distress is understandable. “Love is as powerful as death,” wrote King Solomon. (Song of Solomon 8:6, Today’s English Version) So, 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 that 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 as a result of 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?
● 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 it helpful to write out your responses to the questions in the box “What Can I Learn From the Breakup?” on page 224.
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 chapter found that they were, in time, able to move on. Be assured that the same can be true of you!
What steps can you take to protect yourself from sexual predators?
Although the individuals quoted in this chapter are female, the principles discussed apply to males as well.
“[Jehovah] is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”—Psalm 147:3.
Susan, mentioned at the outset of this chapter, made a list of scriptures and kept it handy so that she could read those texts when she felt overwhelmed by her emotions. Perhaps you can do the same with some of the scriptures cited in this chapter.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
The vast majority of teen-dating relationships do not lead to marriage, and those that do have a high rate of divorce.
To help me to move on after a breakup, I will ․․․․․
What I could work on to be a better partner in my next dating relationship is ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● What have you learned about yourself from your past relationship?
● What have you learned about the opposite sex?
[Blurb on page 227]
“Time gives you a much clearer perspective. Later, your emotions won’t be running so high, so you can think about the situation objectively and get some closure. Also, you can find out more about who you are and what you would look for in a mate, as well as what to guard against to avoid a similar situation in the future.”—Corrina
[Box on page 224]
What Can I Learn From the Breakup?
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 areas in which you would like to grow spiritually or emotionally? ․․․․․
What, if anything, would you do differently in your next relationship? ․․․․․
[Picture on page 223]
A breakup is like a painful cut—it hurts, but in time it will heal