Coping with a Break-up

Ending a relationship (and loss in general) is often one of the most painful and avoided experiences we face. There are no clear-cut guidelines or signals of when and how to end relationships and we are often unprepared for the roller-coaster emotions that can occur after a break-up does occur. Common reactions to any loss can follow a cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, guilt and sadness, self-blame, recurrent patterns of "patching things up" and breaking-up again, to finally acceptance and perhaps relief as time passes.

The first thing to recognize in a break-up is that sadness and temporary disorientation or disbelief (regardless of whether the relationship was healthy or not) is very normal. Talking with a trusted friend, family member, or another completely objective individual can be very helpful as you attempt to understand what happened and what now needs to happen for your future.

Your feelings at times may feel overwhelming but they are all "normal" reactions to your loss. They are necessary to the process of healing, and you will eventually move on to engage in other relationships. The key during this time is to be self-nurturing and patient with yourself as you go through this process, and to reach out to others who can provide empathy and support in your time of need.

Allow yourself to mourn and to express your feelings over the relationship ending, give yourself time to heal, and talk over your feelings with others. Also, be open to and recognize if and when the Counseling Center's services might be of help as you sort through disappointments, lost dreams, and perhaps feelings of self-criticism and decreased self-esteem resulting from either the break-up or the relationship itself.