We Asked 13 People What Finally Helped Them Get Over a Bad Breakup

Like most people going through a breakup, my high school self wanted nothing more than a guardian angel to tell me exactly how to get over a certain someone. Instead, I kept getting hit with well-meaning but entirely unhelpful clichés. “It’ll get better.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Time heals all wounds.” These platitudes may hold some truth, but rarely did they make me feel any better. What did make a difference? Hearing the perspectives of friends who had walked in my very sad shoes—which reassured me that, like them, I would also be okay.

Whether you’re dealing with the end of a long-term partnership or a very real situationship, one thing is for certain: Every healing process is as unique as the person going through it, and there’s no quick fix for moving on. That said, knowing you’re not alone and hearing from other breakup survivors, can be a validating source of comfort, couples psychologist Niloo Dardashti, PhD, previously told SELF.

That’s exactly why we asked 13 people about the best thing they did (or learned) that helped them finally move on from their ex—to help you feel a little less isolated and a lot more hopeful for the future.

I made a point to tend to my health.

“I saw myself go into a spiral for weeks after my breakup. I’d wake up and stay in bed all day either crying or taking short naps, barely eating, and avoiding interaction with anyone. However, I soon realized that not taking care of my body was just prolonging the recovery process. So I started being more intentional about tending to my health with the little things—like eating, going for walks, and reconnecting with friends—which helped me get out of the rut.” —Ananya J.

I had one last conversation with my ex.

“The point was to go over some final questions that I was comfortable hearing the answers to (like the reason for the breakup, how long they were feeling this way, and anything I could have done differently during our time together), so I wasn’t left wondering or coming to my own conclusions. Then, zero contact after that.” —Isabella A.

I wrote out my thoughts and feelings.

“I started keeping a journal. Consistently putting words on the page helped me process my feelings better, and it also forced me to come up with other ideas and goals for myself, which made it easier to move forward.” —Daniel U.

I surrounded myself with the people who understood and loved me most.

“In my relationship, I was so focused on the ‘we’ and ‘us’ that I sort of lost my individuality, so my friends and family helped me remember who I am. They lifted me up and took my mind off of things. When I felt really lonely, I knew I could lean on them for company and positive energy.” —Xavier F.

I found comfort in podcasters and YouTubers going through the same thing.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but hearing other people’s experiences on podcasts or YouTube helped a lot. More specifically, Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain was my go-to: She talks about relatable everyday topics, including her personal relationships, while also explaining how she grew from her experiences and rebuilt her self-esteem.” —Allison T.

I reframed the breakup as an opportunity to nurture the other relationships in my life.

“The loss of my romantic relationship helped me realize that I wasn’t exactly prioritizing the other people in my circle, which allowed me to focus on strengthening my connections with friends and others I care about.” —Keion W.

I intentionally gave myself time to just…grieve.

“However, I made sure not to let the sadness govern my entire day. So 30 minutes of crying—then I’d say to myself, That’s it for today, and I’d move on. I also tried to occupy my time with new hobbies, like yoga, which helped me find myself (and what makes me happy) again.” —P.K.

I learned to find “closure” without them.

“Even if my ex were to tell me everything I wanted to hear, I realized that would only provide temporary comfort. At the end of the day, I was still going to be hurt regardless, and the only person who could get myself out of bed each day was me.” —Katrina A.

I wrote down a list of every red flag and bad memory.

“Then I reread it when I was missing my ex, to remind me that the relationship ended for a reason.” —Alby S.

I got back out there as soon as possible.

“I started dating shortly after my breakup, but only casually (which I communicated to my dates up front, out of respect). It served as a reminder that there are absolutely more fish in the sea and that some connections are only intended to be temporary.” —Alexandra W.

I reminded myself that healing doesn’t happen in a straight line.

“I felt reassured knowing that it’s okay (and normal) to feel totally fine one day and have a ‘setback’ a few days later. That doesn’t diminish your progress.” —Julia F.

I learned to separate my relationship from the rest of my identity.

“After my breakup, I actively took the time to unwrap my ex from who I am. Spending time with my friends and indulging in my favorite activities, like reading and exercising, helped me retain my sense of self and move on.” —Julian S.

I let myself feel the pain—and reassured myself it wouldn’t last forever.

“Even though it was really uncomfortable, I would remind myself that these negative feelings would pass with time—no matter how devastating my breakup seemed at that moment. So now I tell other people going through something similar: Don’t try to sidestep the temporary pain, sadness, or loneliness. It will only prolong your healing process.” —Abriana S.


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