Relationships

10 Great Reader Comments on Breakups

Have you ever gone through an epic breakup? For our best reader comments series, here are 10 wise thoughts on everything from following your gut to the #1 thing to do when you’re single…

On pain relievers:

“When my heart was broken, and by broken I mean hit-by-a-truck devastation, I saw an article somewhere that said science had proven that heartache and grief were legitimate forms of measurable physical pain that were greatly helped by painkillers, even if just two aspirin. So, I would go as far through the day as I could and when I was too overcome to continue, I’d give myself permission to take two aspirin and go to bed. And it helped so much.” – Saranis

On time being the ultimate healer:

“In my late 20s, I lived with someone for four years. I assumed he was going to be my life partner. One morning while reading the news, without looking up, he said, ‘I don’t want to live with you anymore.’ I thought the world had ended. About 20 years later, I was having lunch, catching up with a few friends from that era. Their conversation turned to him and what he may be doing now. I COULD NOT EVEN REMEMBER HIS LAST NAME. One foot had gone in front of the other until when I looked back over my shoulder, I had truly moved on. We had a good laugh.” – Lori Marie

On being a support system:

“A friend of mine went through a terrible breakup. Six weeks afterward, I mailed her a card letting her know how much her friendship meant to me and that I knew she’d find love again. I think that people tend to stick by you in the first couple days or weeks, and then expect you to move on as they move on with their own lives, so I wanted to give extra support a few weeks out.” – Teeny

On getting back in the dating game:

“A few years ago, I was recently back on the market after a tough breakup, one that shattered my confidence. Before any first date, I would call my friend to workshop my outfit, talk through my jitters and leverage her kick-ass attitude to psych myself up. I remember before one particularly nerve-wrecking date, saying, ‘I just really hope he likes me,’ to which she brilliantly replied, ‘That’s ridiculous. You should really hope that you like him.’” – Elizabeth

On treating yourself:

“Cup of Jo did a post years ago about Bario Neal rings, and I fell in love with one but didn’t want to buy a ring for myself. Now, in the middle of my divorce, with my left ring finger feeling like a painful, naked reminder of my loss and failure, I remembered that ring and the way it made me feel when I saw it so many years ago. I dug through your old posts and found a photo of the ring. I contacted Bario Neal (who doesn’t even make the ring anymore) and they agreed to custom make it! It came in the mail three weeks ago, and now, every time I look down at my hand or nervously reach over to spin my missing wedding band, I touch this beautiful reminder of who I was before and feel a little hope for how I’m going to get her back and grow into more of who I want to be.” – AMB

“I went through a rough breakup after a five-year relationship. I found that buying new music and walking around San Francisco whilst listening to said music made me feel much better. It’s always nice to start a new ‘soundtrack’ during a rough transition.” – Rachel

On what defines you:

“I got divorced last year and something a friend told me stuck with me. When I described myself as ‘divorced,’ she said, ‘No…you’re single. You got a divorce, but it’s not what defines you.’ That helped me feel freed from the scarlet letter I felt I was walking around with.” – MM

On envisioning a new future:

“Early in the process, my lovely therapist helped me articulate a metaphor: I was trapped in a dark and twisty forest, but on the other side of a thorny wall was a beautiful meadow with butterflies and flowers. I wasn’t afraid of life after divorce, just afraid of the pain of getting to the other side of the wall: telling my parents, finding a lawyer and walking into an empty house. Keeping that hopeful image in my head made it easier to cut through the barriers one at a time, because I knew freedom and joy and peace were on the other side. One year out, I’m grateful to say that life in the meadow is lovelier than I dared to dream it would be.” – Janelle

On dating yourself:

“I spent my college years moving from one intense relationship to the next, and I wish that I had dated myself during those formative years instead. Finally, after a big breakup, I decided I’d spend time pursuing my own goals. I DIY-ed projects in my home! I began long distance running for the first time and ran a few of half marathons! I read books! I killed it in my career! I traveled and met up with friends for long coffee dates on Saturday mornings. I was, of course, secretly willing to break my dating hiatus if I met someone amazing, but I had a good thing going. Knowing that I loved being alone was amazing for my confidence.” – Jess

“My best friend and I spent a month or two touring all the gyms in the city getting one-week passes for each. It was an amazing way to get over my breakup! We spent the rest of the winter working out and using saunas and steam rooms. I heard working out releases the same chemicals as you do when you are in love. It really, really helped.” – Joell

What advice would you add?

P.S. A seven-step guide to heartbreak, and Mindy Kaling’s wonderful loneliness advice.

(Photo from 500 Days of Summer.)

  1. Kaylie says...

    Ooph. I feel like I’ve gone through two break-ups – one when the person I was seeing moved across the country to go to graduate school, another when months later, after expressing confusion over where we were emotionally and how invested we are in each other’s lives, they adamantly said they didn’t want a LDR and didn’t understand where I was coming from in my feelings. I am still trying to navigate the space between caring and caring too much. It is possible to be too empathetic. After a year of significant loss, this too has me feeling adrift, but these comments are a reminder that I can take all of my tenderness and apply it to myself.

    • Rachelle says...

      I am going through something similar right now. He moved away to stay with the company where we met (after the company closed our unit) but luckily I landed a better job than I had before, so I stayed. He didn’t want me to feel like he was leaving me, but in some ways it did. I grieved so hard when he left, even though we were still together. It was just different, you know? I suck at goodbyes, too. This week we finally admitted to each other that we want different things in life long term, so we called it off. I am at peace with this because it is a resolution to the pain I’d been feeling, but I still fucking miss him. Time heals, not all, but it heals.

  2. beth says...

    The ring story! So true. I also hated seeing my naked left ring finger during my separation and divorce; it felt like such an obvious absence to me and anyone who looked at my hand. I couldn’t stand it. I got myself a beautiful Gorjana crossover ring (the Elea Ring) to wear on my middle finger – it wraps around my finger like a big warm pretty hug, and also (to me) symbolizes the criss-crossing paths of my life, and reminds me that this isn’t the end but the beginning of something new.

  3. Bernadette says...

    This post could not be more timely. My boyfriend broke up with me on Monday, and I have been devastated this week. We’re both in law school, and the second year has been a major doozey for him. We handle stress differently, and he has just gone into hibernation. It all came to a head on Monday. Right now, I am just anticipating the hurt, grief and sadness that have yet to come, and I just feel so defeated and exhausted. Reading this post (as well as other Cup of Jo posts about breakups) and being reminded that others have gone through this has been so comforting. Also, remembering that you can do everything but if it’s not a good match for the other person, it’s not a good match–no matter how hard you love, how much you care for the other person, or how giving you are.

  4. I’d been dating the ‘love of my life’ for 4 years, and it be honest, it was a tumultuous relationship with a lot of off-again, on-agains. Each time he’d come up to me to tell me we needed to break up and I’d ask why, to which he’d always reply ‘I don’t know’. This ate at me, and completely destroyed my self confidence, convincing me that I wasn’t good enough for him. I’d redouble my efforts to keep the relationship afloat until our final break-up a year ago. I was devastated that, once again, I wasn’t ‘good enough’. Until I came across a quote that changed my perception forever, ‘It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest, roundest, juiciest peach, the best peach in the entire world, there will always be someone out there that doesn’t like peaches’. Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people (*Bleh* Peaches), but this really resounded with me in that, you can give it your all, try your hardest, and go to extreme lengths to keep a relationship afloat, but sometimes not being ‘their one’ isn’t your fault, it’s just who they are. That it’s nobody’s fault, it is what it is, and that’s ok.

  5. Lizeth says...

    I would write out a list of why the relationship didn’t work so that a week later, when I felt like reaching out again, I would remember why we weren’t together anymore.

    Also, exercising and dating yourself for sure help. I started going to the movies by myself after one back break up in my 20s. It was actually pretty awesome.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I would write out a list of why the relationship didn’t work so that a week later, when I felt like reaching out again, I would remember why we weren’t together anymore.” = yes! i did this too, when a four-year relationship ended in my twenties. i tried to put really specific examples, so i’d remember during sad times. and it did really help. xo

  6. The Bario ring story! Oh my gosh I love it. These are all lovely but wow that one really resonated with me.

    – Grace

  7. Victoria says...

    I went through something similar a couple of years back, my mom’s advice, which helped me so much, was don’t rush to decide. She told me to take my time and go through my own grieving process. The time will come when you realize what the decision is, rather than trying to choose. If he messed things up, he must be patient with you while you feel your feelings. Good luck and love and warmth to you.

  8. Kate says...

    Cried my way through the post and all the comments. Thank you for this.

  9. Monica says...

    When I was younger and would come home crying after a breakup, my mom would say that life is like a river, and sometimes the trash (ex-boyfriends) would get caught in the bends so my path would be clear to keep flowing to my beautiful destination. I never really cared for it because it felt like such a mom thing to say! That is, until I had a breakup that completely blindsided me and left me into pieces. I thought life was over, but then 3 weeks later I met the man who would become my husband, the person who has been my life partner and best friend for over 11 years. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be this happy today were it not for that breakup. Now I know what my mom meant with that metaphor. I’m so glad life took care of that one last dry leaf out of my path.

  10. Christina says...

    Books. Books have been my constant companion long after the dust has settled on any sad situation in which friends might assume you’ve moved on. When I’ve been happy, they’ve made me further appreciate them, my life and my surroundings. When I’ve been sad, they’ve helped me learn how to deal with it, or provided me with an escape. They’re my lifelong friends and will always be grateful for them.

    • Jenny says...

      SAME! <3 FOR BOOKS

  11. – this falls under date yourself – get to really know and love who you are, everything is so much better when you do.
    – i love this line: ‘That’s ridiculous. You should really hope that you like him.’
    – and finally, divorce does not define you but i was recently sad/appalled to realize that we still live in a culture where it does – my cousin got denied a visa by the US consulate because she is a divorced, single mother – it’s enraging

  12. Deana says...

    Yes, the only way out is through, and time does heal. And music – I always thought that the song “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis pretty much summed it up.

  13. R says...

    I’ve read so many comments and it makes my heart sad to see so many women who are in the dark patch of a breakup but also inspiring to read so many women who have pulled themselves through to the sunny side. Everyone has a story and it’s comforting to know these feelings are communal.
    I’ve been through a few breakups in my time, none easy but one terrible. I can’t remember ever having felt so truly sad in my life. Every day was a struggle. I was a Nanny at the time and being present for the children was what kept me going, but when I went home it was so difficult. He lived in the same neighborhood as did a bunch of mutual friends from college at the time, which only made things harder. I decided to join a running club where I knew no one. It was the best thing I ever did. This was 6 years ago and a lot of those people are still close friends. I would have never met them if I had stayed with him, and in that same circle.
    I was single for 5 years after that and now I am one year into a relationship with “the one”.
    My college girlfriends and I got together over the summer for a little “reunion” and we talked about that time and how I truly incredibly grateful I am that he broke up with me. He was SO wrong for me in so so many ways and my 22 year old self just couldn’t see it. We laughed talking about ex’s but we also acknowledged the difficulty of it all. One of my friends said how proud she was of me and how I came out of that, and I can’t tell you how much it meant to me, because at the time I felt a mess.
    I am grateful for the difficult times because they taught me a lot about myself. And I am grateful for the single years because I learned what I want. And finally I am grateful that I never settled for what wasn’t right because this is the brightest meadow of them all- when you are secure with yourself and your partner.
    Stay true to you Ladies. We’ve all been there, you’re not alone. <3

  14. AC says...

    Music, music, music.
    My soulmate became friends with a coworker and it turned into a weird emotional-then-physical affair. It was a long and drawn out breakup as we were living together. I made him a 5-disc anthology of breakup songs and listening as I was making it was therapy in itself. By the time I let it go and gave it to him, I felt like I was ready to move on to my next phase…. The next phase was about 3 years of craziness but I’m in a good place now. And I’ve finally forgiven him. We have sons the same age and they are buddies.

  15. Christi says...

    I’ve been told I’m an expert on break-ups and how to get through them (not really what ever thought my claim to fame would be)

    After a hard break-up in my twenties, when ever I was feeling bad, I would tell myself – “the way you’re feeling right now is the reason people stay in shitty relationships because they don’t want to go through this pain.” It was permission to feel it and it helped because I knew I had to feel the pain and loneliness to get to other side. It also made me feel powerful and brave.

    After another hard one in my early thirties (I told you I was an expert) I read the book ‘It’s Called A Break-Up Cause It’s Broken” by Greg Bernhardt . It helped so much! I didn’t want to admit to myself that the relationship was broken and I just refused to see the signs.

    I”m now in my forties and happily married, so there’s hope : )

  16. Jamie says...

    When I split up with my husband I decided to read all the Booker Prize winning novels. There were about 40 to plough through and it helped me disassociate myself from my emotions which I really needed. I also got to read some incredible books too!

    • Megan Kelly says...

      I needed this song. Thank you!

    • Rachelle says...

      Just listened to this three times. Cheers, friends.

  17. Jenny says...

    Just read all 150 + comments and the post and they are so helpful! Couldn’t have come more timely Cup of Jo, thank you so much and thank you to the community. Nothing gives me as much hope and warms my heart in this gut-wrenching break up I’m in right now, than knowing that others have been there too and that it will all be ok in the end. Have written down all books and podcasts recommendations and screenshotted quotes and stories. After having nightmares for several months where my caring and gentle boyfriend suddenly told me he doesn’t have feelings, it actually happened in real life and I can’t handle it because he is my first ever loving and kind boyfriend at age 32. My anxiety tells me i won’t meet anyone as kind as him and also worries me whether I will meet someone else in time, but reading your comments makes my heart skip a beat and feel secure I will. Thank you! And thank you Cup of Jo for being a place of comfort and happiness and inspiration!

    • Christi says...

      You’ll get through it! And it will hurt like hell but every day it will a bit better than the day before. I’ve been through it a few times, and although painful, I got to experience things that I never would have been able to. My best advice to anyone who is going through this: keep busy! With friends, work, whatever…it won’t make you forget but it does make it easier, I promise.
      A few months after a really hard break up, I joined a summer share house without really knowing anyone! (I still can’t believe I did that). It led to
      the best summer of my life and the most wonderful friendships. Please be open to new experiences – they may change your life!
      You got this.

    • Sarah says...

      Jenny, I feel you. The same thing happened to me right before my one year anniversary – out of the blue, doesn’t have feelings anymore. And he was my first actual relationship too at 31. You are not alone! And I also worry about finding someone else, but I’ve decided to work on myself, then slowly put myself back out there and not let this get me down. We can do this. We are awesome and will overcome heartbreak and we are better off than someone who doesn’t love us nearly as well as they should. All the best to you!

    • Jenny says...

      Thank you Christi and Sarah. It helps to get some advice from sweet CoJ readers.

      Lots of love back to you.

      Jenny

    • Bernadette says...

      My boyfriend broke up with me on Monday. Also a shock and made doubly hard by the fact that we are in law school together. I could not agree more–reading all these posts make me not feel so hopeless. You got this, girl!

  18. Gabby says...

    A year and a half ago I went through a really bad breakup. I can still vividly remember everything from our breakup conversation (in a tiny tiny Parisian restaurant) : from what we ordered, to the outfit of the guy sitting two rows behind (even how much we paid ! 26,10€ for the record). In front of him I pretended everything was fineeeeee. I smiled, I laughed, I even waved goodbye as he drove away on his scooter. But 2min afterwards I was CRYING ON THE STREET like an abandoned puppy. It was a nightmare. I kept running into him because we have so many friends and colleagues in common. It felt like a never ending breakup. 6-months in, I finally gave up and told myself « That’s it, I’m moving away, I cannot live in this city anymore, it feels like I’m living in his appartment ». I moved to India on a whim. Well, let me tell you: I’m moving back to France in about a month and I feel like A QUEEN. I finally feel free again.

    • Megan says...

      Wow! Go, Queen!

    • kaela says...

      Love this. Glad you’re returning feeling empowered. xo

  19. Genevieve says...

    My boyfriend who I absolutely was convic d was “the one” broke up with me days before my 30th birthday and told me he was moving out. The pain was so strong my chest actually hurt. I remember that week laying in my bed crying thinking my life was over and all of a sudden this wave of peacefullness and stillness came
    over me and the words “you will be ok, he’s not the one”. The feeling was so strong I called my mom immediately to share with with her. Fast forward a few months later that ex wanted to get back together and I couldn’t get that memory out of my head of that strong feeling so I never went back. Fast forward a few more years, 5 years later, and my fiancé who is the most kind and loving man I’ve ever mey asks me to marry him and I get that same feeling of total peace and this voice telling me “Yes! This is the one!” I felt it’s so strongly. I don’t know if it’s my guardian angel or strong institution but it taught me the lesson to always listen to your gut. Also, life is full of opportunities for love and in the end if your partner is not excited to join you in this adventure of life, are they really the right person to give your heart and time too?

  20. Michèle says...

    When I was 16 I went through my first breakup and was heartbroken, the way only a 16-year-old can be! My mother told me. “you’ll see, tomorrow you’ll feel a tiny bit better, not even enough to notice it, but you will. Again, you’ll feel a tiny bit better the following day, and again the following day, and so on. Sooner than you realize, you will wake up and realize you’re no longer hurting at all.” Even as a petulant teenager this intuitively felt like good advice. I believed her and she was right. That advice has gotten me through every break-up in the past 25 years.

  21. Lisa says...

    My university boyfriend and I broke up a couple of months after I graduated, and it was devastating. We still loved each other, but the relationship was no longer possible.
    What helped get me through was going for a jog every time I felt sad / angry about the break up. It helped me get through it and bonus, I got fit!

  22. Alexandra says...

    I’m going through a challenging time in my relationship right now due to my boyfriend doing something that has really damaged my trust in him. As we’ve been figuring out how to proceed from here (and whether to proceed together or separately), I’ve found so much comfort in hiking, talking with friends, and reading. Yesterday I was reading the book “Self-Compassion” by Kristin Neff and was so moved by the mantra she suggested for challenging times:
    This is a moment of suffering.
    Suffering is a part of life.
    May I be kind to myself in this moment.
    May I give myself the compassion I need.

    Whatever your relationship status is right now, be compassionate towards yourself, fellow CoJ readers!

    • Emilia says...

      This is powerful and lovely. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Cindy says...

      Alexandra, thank you for sharing this. I am experiencing the same thing – live in boyfriend betrayed our relationship and me and completely destroyed my trust in him. Still trying to navigate my way through it. There are days I think we will make it to the other side and thrive. Then there are days where I desperately want to move to my own place; live MY life, not his. It seems like an endless pit of anxiety. Compassion to oneself is KEY. I did nothing to cause this; I am committed to doing what is right for ME. It will take time, says my therapist, to get to the point that I know exactly what I want to do. I inch closer to that every day. I’m looking for that book right now.
      Wishing you peace in your life.

  23. Jenni says...

    My best friend was in a long distance relationship and was pretty heartbroken when he broke up with her. Maybe a month later, she started making new memories in all the places she had taken him when he came to visit (we lived in DC). We hit many of them together! Sometimes, we would do it by accident and she would suddenly turn to me and go, “we made a new memory!” It ended up being fun and she really felt that it helped her move on.

  24. Sarah says...

    There’s always a reason for a breakup. I try to focus on that and think about what I deserve and desire in a relationship. I love the line in “500 Days of Summer” when the sister reminds the main character that we tend to remember all of the good things. It’s so true.

    You’ll obviously still feel pain. Allow yourself to feel that pain. I think there are so many cliche tips like “Join a gym” or “Have a girl’s night” or “Go travel” when in reality, all you have to do is stay put and allow yourself to grieve. Process your feelings. Write it down. Listen to sad songs (I find that sad songs sound so beautiful and so real when you listen to them after a breakup). You’ll eventually understand the breakup better and why you’re better off without them. Bam. You’re moving on.

  25. Kerry says...

    After my divorce from my husband of 16 years (and 8 years relationship before that), I eventually found my way out into the woods. Hiking is what got me through — it built my confidence back up, got my body into shape, reminded me how to be alone, helped me breathe deeply again. There is a Japanese word for it: shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing,” a practice for enhancing health)
    .
    Thanks to my tree-therapists for all the work they did! I am HAPPY today.

  26. Mary says...

    I feel like heartbreak can be one of the most formative emotions we can experience as people. Breakups are so ubiquitous–almost everyone you know has experienced one–but when it happens to you it is so specific.

    Anyway, it’s worth mentioning that once I recovered from my own gut-wrenching breakup and started dating again, red flags would arise when my date either a) had never experienced real heartbreak or b) was always the one ending the relationships.

    There was a really great This American Life about breakups a few years ago that I loved as well: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/339/break-up

  27. Laura says...

    Griffin House’s song “The Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind.”
    I had just gotten out of this physically abusive relationship and a guy friend gave me this song on a mix. So lovely.

  28. Nicole says...

    Love reading all of this advice. I’ve jotted down podcasts and book titles that I plan to listen to and read. I’ve been in the divorce process for 1.5 years. The papers are in the courts, and it’s “almost done”. We now live in separate apartments, one on top of the other. I think proximity has made it hard on my heart, but for co-parenting logistics it’s been a blessing. I do think that not texting or thinking that your ex is a friend is key. In the beginning, I felt free, and sunk my heart and soul in to Pilates, squash, my friends, and travel. It felt great to have all of that forced time to myself. I’m over it now though, and am miss the true partnership. I needed this today, to remind myself I am my own best partner, even through tears.

  29. R says...

    I think it would be lovely to see a post about people who are not just “single” by merit of not having a significant other, but aromantic or asexual, and don’t want to be with a partner. What is it like to be alone but not be single?

    • MM says...

      This is interesting and could be a great post. Although, when I first read it, I read “aromatic” and thought a post about people who smell really good (or who do a great job of smelling things) was being suggested!

  30. LOVE AFTER LOVE By Derek Walcott

    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    (P.S. Don’t get bangs. Just don’t!)

    • Nicole says...

      Haha I got bangs after a guy renching breakup from my first love/5year relationship/who I thought I’d marry. It’s been somewhere between 10-15 years and I still have the bangs. It’s actually something I really enjoy about that decision- it feels like it was a life transition— like “He never even knew me with bangs”. Haha

  31. Sarah says...

    After a really hurtful and surprising breakup, I found so much comfort in these words by Rilke. They reminded me that love and grief, joy and loneliness are all connected and part of the human experience. And that my pain would ease with the passing of time.

    Let everything happen to you
    Beauty and terror
    Just keep going
    No feeling is final

  32. Lisa Ackerman says...

    One of the best pieces of breakup advice I received was to “build your break-up monument” as in focus on some awesome thing or goal you can do for yourself instead of feeling sad all the time. After my first long term relationship ended in my early twenties I joined a run club and ran my first marathon. When my most recent 5 year relationship ended I did an Ironman triathlon. You don’t have to become a crazy endurance athlete, but having some huge goal or dream to focus on really helped build up my shattered confidence again!

  33. In my early 20’s I went through a break-up that felt like actual death. I’ve been so sad that I could almost see the pain oozing off me…It was awful. When I look back I thank all the gods for separating me from that person and letting me move on, but when I was at the lowest point I’d always say to myself: ” A week ago you felt worse than today, which means a week from now you will feel better, two weeks from now you will feel even better, and a month from now you might even feel happy again”. It took a lot longer than a month, but it was helpful to really think of what time can do and just set those little time goals for moving on.

  34. Marie says...

    How timely! I was dumped last month via text message just a few days after my 30th birthday. I’ve been upset, but moving on as best I can. (I thought the feelings we had for each other were mutual, but turned out to be one-sided.) Today I come to find out that he’s happily moved on with a fresh-faced young 20-something and to prove it, he’s posted her all over his Instagram. UGH

    • Renee says...

      {{{{HUGS}}}}

    • Ugh! I had something similar happen to me, though I was the dumper. My ex asked me to wait a couple of months to start dating someone new, out of respect for the four years we had spent together. Then he proceeded to date someone new in less than that time, he posted couple photos on Facebook (he never did this with me), and he went on a trip upstate with her and his friends (thanks a lot for letting me know, Venmo feed). Like, dude, you were so boring and never wanted to do anything with me but you’re cool going on a weekend trip with a new girl that you supposedly just met? Cool, man, have fun with that.

      Jerks. I’m so sorry, Marie! Block that sh*t. I blocked ex, his family, and his friends and it feels fantastic just not knowing anything.

    • Agnes says...

      Same experience.. what saved me was BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK. No texts, no calls, no Facebook, no IG, no saved photos, no saved emails, no saved pics, etc. I did this gradually and each little piece I did helped. Now I feel so relieved that every time I open FB I have NO chance of seeing him or what he’s doing. He’s gone from my life completely and it feels freeing to be open to new people and not have that stress hanging over me.. ‘what if I see a picture of him with someone..’. I did, it was horrible, and now it won’t happen again.

  35. Tammy says...

    Love these. And it’s so true, I’ve always wondered why on forms they have separate sections for ‘single’ and ‘divorced’ people…like, isn’t the same thing really? Neither should define a person or their credentials but I really enjoyed this post.

  36. Jessica says...

    Go to therapy. It’s the number one thing that helped me after my divorce. Your family and friends may be supportive, but that doesn’t mean they’re always the best people to listen to your deepest, darkest fears and anxieties or your anger or your grief. It was such a relief to talk to someone once a week who had no personal investment in my relationship or breakup–just someone who was there to listen, to help me re-frame my most negative thoughts, and to aid in the healing process.

    • Katey says...

      I couldn’t agree more. I started therapy a couple of months ago to help me navigate a difficult marriage of four years and honestly after more than a year of confiding in close friends it was this therapist (and a terrific lawyer) who supported me in taking the next practical steps to end an abusive relationship. My friends are AMAZING and have come out for me in a million ways, but a good therapist is worth gold in helping you navigate the complexities of your feelings (like why do I feel sad over leaving an abusive person?!) and helping to keep you accountable to taking the more practical steps needed.

    • Nicole says...

      Yes to this! I went to therapy when my first-love breakup sent me into the deepest scariest depression of my life. It was actually a friend who recommended that to me and I am so glad that I did (and later transitioned to group therapy- recommended by my therapist, and what was covered through my grad school program at the time- even though I was terrified by the idea, but it was also a good experience). Three cheers for therapy!

  37. Hannah says...

    These are helpful comments. I wish there were more out there to guide/comfort/examine unrequited heart stuff. Especially with the way we socialize and date today- swipe left, block someone’s phone # who brings you friction, mute an Instagram account. These new channels and behaviors confound dating and the painful absence of love more complex. I, at age 33, feel so useless, inexperience, and repeatedly wounded (or the wound-er inadvertent or not).

  38. H. says...

    Last year I went through a really devastating breakup, and I very clearly remember being alone in my new apartment maybe a month or two afterward, and texting with a guy friend and finally just LAUGHING a really deep, cleansing belly laugh over a stupid exchange. Months after that, I told him how much that moment helped me — that it was the first time since the breakup that I really felt like I’d be okay — and his response was something like “I knew you would be before that.” The sweetest.

  39. Blanca says...

    HA one of the first things I did afterwards, in the midst of all the anger and the pain, was to write a list of reasons why I shouldn’t get back together with him. And thank god I did, because there were moments in the healing process when my memory was fickle and I conveniently forgot why we had ever broken up. Being able to refer back to that list was perfect because I could feel all the negative feelings rushing back and it helped me remind myself that it had been the best possible decision.

    Though I went through a few hours here and there of listening to heartwrenchingly depressing music (and had a wee cry), I also made an effort to listen to happy, empowering songs – especially when I was walking to work in the morning and trying my hardest to face my regular routine. I listened to happy music, arranged activities with friends, indulged in things I knew I loved – I worked hard to go through all the motions of happiness until I would finally be able to feel it, and one morning, weeks later, I woke up and realised that I finally did.

    • Yes! I had a relationship that I tried so hard to make work because our highs were just so good. He would get angry at me for so many things, a day would pass, then we’d be good again. But, like, it was always my fault. Anyway, continuing to ignore the reddest of flags (um, a**hole?) I had gotten to where after an argument I’d get back to my apartment and jot down what had happened. I even took a couple of video confessionals on my phone (yikes) so that I could see how truly upset I was at that time about something or another that I did that bothered him. I eventually broke up with him, when I came to my senses, and it’s great having the crazy back-up in moments when I think, dang, I miss that dude. I wonder if he’d want to hang out.

    • Allison says...

      list making solves so many things, doesn’t it? i did the same thing after my breakup. i remember talking to my sister one night and she said “in hindsight, don’t you feel like there were little whispers along the way?” and so i made a note in my phone titled “whispers.” when i first drafted it, they all just poured out of me. but i still find myself adding to it, 2 years later when little memories of our dysfunction pop into my head (even though i’ve moved on and am with someone who is so incredibly better in all the ways). at this point it’s no longer about not getting back together with my ex, and more of a reminder to keep an eye out for and address whispers, in all types of relationships.

  40. Brier says...

    over a year ago I went through a rough break up after almost 5 years. The kind where you actually break up multiple times because for some reason the first time just didn’t cause enough damage. We actually stayed together for a couple weeks just because we had so many family events and couldn’t imagine somehow making those moments about us. I will never forget the devastation of those weeks, and the actual physical pain and sickness that seemed never ending. By the time it was actually officially over, I was prepared to feel so much worse. But honestly, I woke up the next day feeling so relieved. I had survived the break up talks, with him, with my family and his, with friends. I had survived the returning of the things and figuring out how to separate our lives. Even though I still had a ways to go in terms of processing everything it felt like such a weight was lifted.
    To this day I remember that first weekend vividly. Waking up early to go to a greenhouse and pot some new plants. Putting on whatever movie I felt like and taking long baths. And a fun-filled girl day spent brunching, hiking and healing.
    I wish I could back to those first few weeks to offer myself some comfort. That this wasn’t my entire life plan being ripped apart it was just a new opportunity. As corny as it sounds you do come out so much stronger. Ironically I’m less afraid of commitment than I used to be, because I know now that I can handle anything that happens and I have the support I’ll need.

  41. Kristin says...

    I wished I’d learned much sooner not to focus all my energies on being the right match for someone else and consider instead if that person was right for me.

  42. Jade says...

    Stay true to your emotions and your experience. When I broke up with my ex and months down the line told him that I was seeing someone else, he was surprised. He had been under the impression that we would eventually get back together, but that was never my assumption because throughout our relationship, he had expressed that he was interested in other women. Did he remember that? Did he realize how hurtful and difficult that was for me to stomach while in a relationship with him? I don’t think so. So as he expressed his surprise, I refused to let him make me feel bad about moving on and seeking a relationship that was valued by both people. I will always be proud of myself in that moment because I think it validated exactly why I had needed to find a better partner for myself in the first place.

    • Bea says...

      Good for you! You should be proud, and it’s a very healthy response! Onwards and upwards!

  43. Catherine says...

    My first true heartbreak was in my early 20s, when my boyfriend and I broke up after a couple years of long distance. Re-reading the Harry Potter series was my solace — it was so comforting to return to a beloved story that was such a pivotal part of my childhood, and it was the best kind of distraction from what I was feeling at the time. I hope everyone can find a book (or movie, or TV show) that can do the same for them in times of stress or pain.

    • Mona says...

      Same here! I got through being dumped in a horrible and demeaning way by a man in a power position at my office by re-reading every single book by Maria Lang, my favorite author as a teen. Returning to those familiar settings in her books, remembering who I was when I read them and life was all in front of me, I healed. I remembered what I wanted in life and how I deserved to be loved. A few months later I found the courage to ask a man I was very fond of and had admired at a distance to the opera. We are now married and expecting our first baby. Power of books!

  44. Sydney says...

    This post made me laugh and feel nostalgic!

    Years ago when I was a senior in high school, I fell in love with a boy. We dated throughout college and the summer before our senior year, his family took us to Costa Rica. After we got back from our trip, we broke up. I think we tried to make this vacation work but in the end, we knew it was over. A couple weeks later I dropped off a thank you note to his parents house for taking me on this beautiful trip and as I headed out the door, his step-mother gave me a hug and told me to find someone that really cares about you, offers to get you a glass of water when you need one, truly loves you deep down. At first, I was confused and figured she was just being nice. Months later, his parents divorced. She left him.

    After a long six years of an on and off relationship with my now ex (the end of our relationship was filled with fighting, horrible name calling and he even once fell asleep on my front porch one night, crazy!!) that it finally ended. It wasn’t until years later when I met my now husband, that I finally understood what my ex’s stepmom was trying to tell me. My husband is kind, gentle and always put me first. It’s like a light bulb went off! Maybe one day I’ll muster up the courage to reach out to my ex’s stepmom and tell her thank you and that I finally found him!

  45. Arielle Parker-Trout says...

    The comment about the ring is familiar to me- I saw Noemie jewelry on Cup of Jo when I had just left an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. I had spent years hearing that I wasn’t worth anything, that I was a bad person. I chose to buy myself some earrings, which felt like a bad financial decision at the time- I was living as a single mother in a tiny apartment on a tinier income. But I did it anyways, and it was the first in many steps I took to rebuilding myself, practicing self love, and realizing that I am worthy of love and respect.

    • AMB says...

      Yes, yes, YES!

  46. Emma says...

    In my opinion, best break-up advice is also best relationship advice.

    1. Make sure you can be on your own. Be OK with (ideally–enjoy) your own company; be able to handle finances independently.

    2. It’s okay to be upset, even if the relationship was a good one to get out of. When I left my emotionally abusive boyfriend, it was hard to wrap my head around both how free I felt and how much I missed him. Even though it was a bad relationship, it was still a relationship and I needed to grieve (even while celebrating my freedom).

    3. Find healthy pleasures. It’s easy to use break-ups as an excuse to indulge in whatever our weakness is (whether that’s excessive shopping or eating or sleeping or whatever). It’s good to cultivate a few interests you can enjoy with no regrets–taking a long walk, visiting a museum, going to the gym, drawing, etc. so that you have some purely positive things to fall back on when you need a lift.

    My mother’s somewhat dark words of wisdom whenever I complain about feeling alone: we’re all born alone, live alone, and die alone. Somehow this is actually comforting to me!

    • Yasmine Jansz says...

      Amen to everything you said, Emma!

  47. Nancey says...

    Two books really helped me through a horrible break up. ‘Your Voice In My Head’ and ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ I read them over and over and over. It’s hard, it sucks, and then suddenly one day you wake up and do the normal robotic things and there is a little less pain and the next day a little less than that. Anne Lamott says when you go through something horrible just remember to treat yourself like a person you love that you are trying to comfort, buy yourself ice cream, comfy socks, light candles, just treat yourself well for awhile.

  48. Alice says...

    This is all such wonderful advice. I’ve been single since the start of the year- the longest time I’ve gone without dating in about five or six years (!!!). I have tried a bit of app-based dating but… it’s not working for me right now, so I’m happy pootling along as a single pringle!

    One of the things that helped me most though when I was in the newly-broken-up stage earlier this year was remembering the mantra “All relationships end until one doesn’t”. It helped remind me that break ups are normal, natural, and it wasn’t really anything to do with ME- just the way life goes sometimes.

  49. selby says...

    i found cup of jo when i was going through my first real heartbreak. i wasn’t eating (i lost 10 lbs in a week!) and just trying to get through a whole day without crying. i so wish i had seen this post three years ago.

  50. Rachel P Austin says...

    Needed this so much today. Going through a breakup, just started a new job and moving into a new place – it’s all so much. Last night was a really tough night of crying and getting nothing done. Reading this post helps me remember that this won’t be forever. Thank you for posting.

    • Danielle says...

      hang in there!

    • Julianna says...

      Ugh Rachel I am so there with you. I’m typing this from my mattress that’s laying on the floor of a new apartment that I didn’t want after coming home from a job I’ve been at less than 4 months. It’s been exactly 3 weeks since the break up and a week and half since I’ve seen him (he moved me out of our apartment) and I’m surprised by the dull monotony of my sadness. This post was very comforting- as was your comment- sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one going through things. I hope that you’re being kind to yourself. I was having a meltdown the other day that I’m still unpacked and not settled and my best friend told me to be kind and give myself a break. She said that almost nothing is going to make me feel good right now so when I come across something that does I just need to run with it. As of right now that’s been mostly wine and junk food at 10 pm after not being able to eat all day but yesterday I went to a barre class and felt a bit more myself. Baby steps I guess. Sending you so much love.

    • Jenny says...

      Same situation here with my first ever real loving relationship.

      Except I’m unemployed and desperate to find a job so as to not lose our home too- enough he won’t be here and it’s empty. But finding posts like yours makes me feel much less alone and nothing warms me as much as the Cup of Jo community advice. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Rachel, I was reading through the comments and came across yours and literally thought I was reading my own writing. Going through a breakup, just started a new job 2 months ago in a new city, with a new now all-mine apartment. Knowing that other people are going through the exact same thing at the exact same moment makes me feel a bit better. Thank you for sharing <3

  51. Danielle says...

    This post is SO great! I wish I’d had this advice when I had a major breakup in my late twenties. I’m happily married now, but I really thought I would die from that pain then. When I have friends who go through breakups now, here’s what I suggest:
    1. Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things. I can’t explain why, but this book will somehow fill you with every emotion and you’ll just feel better and stronger after you’ve finished. Nayyirah Waheed’s book of poetry, Salt., is also so beautiful and helpful.
    2. A journal. This is such a great time to learn about yourself and what you deserve. Write it down so you’ll remember for next time.
    3. A breakup playlist; music can work WONDERS on getting through that pain. My optimal breakup formula followed this format: (1) start with agonizingly sad songs, (2) throw in a good chunk of angry/empowered stuff (this section also pairs well with wine!) for when you’re mad and ready to move on, (3) add in some mostly-sad-but-also-sort-of-angry-and-resolved stuff for when you realize you’re really doing the moving on part now. End it with Taylor Swift’s “Clean” and the Head and the Heart’s “Gone” so you’ve got a little music for that part of the grieving process when you realize you actually have moved on (and you’re both proud and a little scared and sad and happy about that at the same time). Here were my breakup playlist favs: Regina Spektor’s “Samson” and “How,” Phil Collin’s “Against All Odds,” Beyonce’s “Why Don’t You Love Me” + literally anything else by Beyonce or Adele, Robyn’s “Dancing on my Own, and the entirety of Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” album and John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” album.
    I know it sounds crazy – and I would hate to have heard this at the time – but I look back sort of fondly on that time now for the depth of emotion I got to feel and what I learned about myself and my self-worth in that process. You can learn a lot from that pain.

    • I second the need for a breakup playlist!! I still remember the songs I listened to over and over again. The in the first stage of grief it was “I can’t make you love me” by Bonnie Raitt and Once Upon Another Time (the whole EP by Sara Bareilles with the incredible apt songs “Stay”, “Lie to Me,” and “Sweet As Whole”) which I just cried to repeatedly. But then “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Gonna Find Another You” by John Mayer were my constant anthems that I blasted as I pack up my stuff from our bedroom.

    • Sam says...

      I COMPLETELY agree with Tiny, Beautiful Thing! It helped me through my break-up (and many other life situations).
      “Every life, Tranströmer writes, “has a sister ship,” one that follows “quite another route” than the one we ended up taking. We want it to be otherwise, but it cannot be: the people we might have been live a different, phantom life than the people we are…..”

      “Fear of being alone is not a good reason to stay. Leaving this man you’ve been with for six years won’t be easy, but you’ll be okay and so will he. The end of your relationship with him will likely also mark the end of an era of your life. In moving into this next era there are going to be things you lose and things you gain.”

  52. Pauline Haon says...

    I broke up with my boyfriend of three years because he wasn’t sure I was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with…. Very painful to hear when you’re crazy about someone.
    Breaking up was though but it was so much easier to move on knowing we didn’t want the same things. Even though I loved him deeply, I could draw immense courage in the fact that if he didn’t treat me like I wanted to be treated, as a partner for life, there was no point in giving him my precious time. Because that’s the thing with time, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
    Love on the other hand, you can find again.
    I wanted to move on and ended up having the best five months, going out, meeting other people, meeting guys who wanted to go all-in after just a few dates, having fun…. and guess what, he ended up coming back two months post-break-up, wanting to marry me. By then, I wasn’t sure anymore, so he waited for three months.
    He had always been the love of my life, so, of course, we ended up back together, I’m so excited to start our next chapter!

  53. Nancy says...

    And can I also say that “500 Days of Summer” is one of my favorite movies. So appropriate for this post!

  54. Nancy says...

    After I broke up with my first serious boyfriend I was sitting on a friend’s couch dumbfounded and lamenting, “How could it go from that [amazing], to this [heartbreaking]? How does that happen?” And my friend solemnly looked at me, nodded, and quietly said, “But that’s how it has to go; every relationship. Except one.”
    All of a sudden I was looking at the relationship from a new perspective. He was right; every heartbreak, every breakup I’ve had since informed who I am and set me on the path to my husband.

  55. “I was trapped in a dark and twisty forest, but on the other side of a thorny wall was a beautiful meadow with butterflies and flowers.”

    I’m currently going through a very different kind of break up. After ten years at my company, it has been mutually agreed that it is time for me to move on. It’s something I have wanted for a long time (the whole time I have been here, in fact), and I had really hit my limit recently on how much more I could take. Strangely, even though I have been desperate to make a change I am devastated! Things are not ending how I had hoped, and I’m terrified of the next step. I want to take this opportunity to embark on something totally new, but my identity has been wrapped up in this career for so long, and I’ve worked with these people for a decade (I will even miss a few of them, ha), and change is so hard.

    The metaphor above is helping so much. The next couple of months are going to be so difficult, but I am excited to get to the meadow! There’s less money there, but my children are there, and my dreams are there, and I cannot wait for the freedom!

    • Melanie says...

      I’m going through this very thing right now and it’s such a confusing time. I hope you find freedom in leaving somewhere that you knew needed to be left.

  56. Danielle says...

    I recently was broken up with by a man that I truly thought was going to be my husband. We had a great relationship until we didn’t – and it was devastating. I was pretty hurt for a while and it damaged my self-confidence, respect, and relationships. However, after witnessing a beautiful marriage ceremony with their heartful vows, I had an epiphany. I was never going to get that kind of love, respect, or support from him and I didn’t deserve anything less. Since then, I’ve only done things I truly enjoy for myself: spinning (4x a week), spending time with my friends and family, and not rushing through life. As a result, I’m sleeping better, feel more fulfilled, and know the right person will come along when it’s time.

    • Lauren says...

      Danielle, this comment is my life right now. Every single word is me exactly. Sending you love <3

    • Danielle says...

      Lauren, we got this!

  57. Robin S. says...

    There is so much good advice here. I was married to my college sweetheart for almost five years when I found out he was having what he called an “emotional affair” with one of his employees. (She was also married at the time…) Those two are now married to one another, and one thing that has helped me is to NEVER, EVER (EVER!) look them up on social media or Google their names. I even got rid of my Facebook and haven’t missed it at all. I don’t want to give those two any power over my thoughts or emotions. I’m now happily married to a wonderful man, and we have a beautiful baby boy. I largely attribute my happiness to making the commitment to look forward instead of backward.

    • I second the never looking them up on social media – that was a saving grace!

      My other advice would be to not skip meals. After I broke up with my ex after seven years of dating I had ZERO appetite for weeks. But I forced myself to eat every single meal because I would feel more heartsick if I skipped one. Food is fuel for your body. Other things that helped me through were long walks in fresh air when it felt too overwhelming inside my apartment, and one nice pour of wine a night to relax. 💛

    • Rose says...

      Not looking on social media is THE QUICKEST way to get over someone.

  58. Nicole says...

    My boyfriend of four years, who I unquestionably wanted to spend the rest of my life with, broke up with me suddenly when we were in our late twenties. I decided soon after that it would be a good idea to read Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life.’ Predictably, I did not stop crying for the two weeks it took to finish the book.

    It’s been about a year, and I laughed while thinking back on that for the first time just recently. I hope it keeps getting better.

  59. Dee says...

    If anyone reading this is going through a terrible break up, you won’t believe me when I say this, but the feeling like someone has taken a chainsaw to your heart does pass. It’s not time that takes it away, it’s what you do with that time. Five years ago on our six year anniversary my then boyfriend got wasted and in front of all our friends told me he didn’t see a future for us and that actually, sometimes he hated me. Totally out of the blue. When he sobered up, he told me it was still true. I had only recently sold my place at his request to move in with him, with my young child, and as I was finishing a one year course had no job at that moment and nowhere to live. The devastation goes away and your life will evolve beyond it, and you will realise that your story is more than this one thing, and that the person who did this does not deserve you. Now I’m just grateful not to be with someone who thinks it’s fine to treat me like that.

    • Fiona says...

      WHAT. What he did to you was so beyond the pale it should literally be criminal. I may not know you but my outrage at his reprehensible behavior can’t fit in this little comment box! I hope you’re doing much much better now. Sending love and positive vibes your way ❤️

  60. Diana says...

    Carrie Bradshaw said it best “And finally, the most important break up rule. No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never go through it without your friends.”

    Shout out to all the girlfriends who show up with take out, with wine, with reminders of the amazing you that you can’t see through your heartbreak.

    I recently had a devastating heartbreak, followed by a late twenties birthday several weeks later. My two best friends, who aren’t friends outside of me, surprised me by planning a night out for my birthday. When the uber pulled up in front of an unknown restaurant my friend turned to me and said “Suprise! We got a karaoke room for 15 people off Groupon – but then thought about it and thought you would just want to be with us, so just tell them the rest of your friends are coming.” I laughed so hard – who knew that healing from heartbreak included Groupon karaoke?

    • danielle says...

      Love this!

  61. Hannah says...

    When my marriage of 8 years ended abruptly and in traumatic circumstances, I felt more lost than ever felt before. To make things worse, I experienced extreme gas-lighting and character assassination to the extent that I didn’t even know what to believe about myself anymore. Therapy helped, and support from good friends and family. And prayer. And wine. And a new tattoo.

    But my deepest solace was found in obsessively reading Brene Brown books. My favourite quote of hers: “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.”
    I have done a lot of work in understanding myself, owning my story and refusing to be defined by what others say and think. And reminding myself that I am in charge of my own ending.

  62. Sophie says...

    I literally haven’t slept all night – again. Four long months of hysterical crying, self-doubt and pain. I literally thought “lemme check Cup of Jo, her blog is always a bit lighter when skimming through”.
    And BAM! Break-up post.
    Thanks ladies.

    • Nancey says...

      I hope you feel better soon. I have been through it believe me, and it really does get better, I PROMISE you that. It just doesn’t feel like it now. A friend of mine and I saw that movie Doc Hollywood years ago and after the movie while we walked home one summer night (we were so young!) she said ‘I’m never settling again, never, I want THAT love, the love where they cherish you and want you as much as, or more than you want them’. I will always remember that and have tried to live my life that way.

      email me anytime if you need someone Addyswish@yahoo.com – I’m a good break up friend talker. lol.

    • Cindy says...

      6.5 months out and it has gotten better, yet remains. I still have nights of massive anxiety where one thought takes hold and snowballs into a meteor of epic proportions until I can no longer breathe, let alone sleep. The pain is less (or maybe I’ve just become numb). You will have more and more moments of “I’m going to be ok”. It just takes time. Hugs to you.

  63. I found that every breakup happens for a good reason. And I never looked back since, for each breakup led on to something better, much more rewarding and fulfilling. But in order for this to happen, you need the right mindset and attitude! I was blessed to have both every time, so moving on was the only way to go and never went wrong.

  64. Veronika says...

    So many good advice! When I had a really traumatic break-up a few things helped: at the very beginning when I was really shocked/upset/having a constant nervous “cramp” in my stomach I accepted a bit of valium from my sister’s husband. It was such a relief to get rid of that stomach pain that I immeadiatly felt better.
    I also downloaded some motivating songs and I went for a run almost every day, listening these songs over and over (best song: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger or Gossip – Move in the Right Direction) Whenever I hear these songs 5 years later I feel proud and happy that I was able to pull myself out and create a new life (first, finding back to myself, who I was and reflecting on what happened, learn from our mistakes and move on)
    I remember for a few months he was ALWAYS on my mind, he was my first thought in the morning and my last as I went to bed. Then one day while commuting to work I just realised I haven’t thought about him at all all morning. Thats when I knew I’ll be ok :-)

    • S. says...

      “He was my first thought in the morning and my last as I went to bed. Then one day while commuting to work I just realised I haven’t thought about him at all all morning” oh gosh, I can’t wait to reach that stage. It helps a lot knowing it’s possible.

  65. Jo-Anna says...

    I had a pretty rough breakup in my early 30’s. After years of no luck dating I had found someone and had thought I was done. We moved across the country together and after 8 months of living together he told me he didn’t love me. I was away from family and friends and it sucked. It just happened that my best friend and her boyfriend had broken up a few months before. I got through those first difficult months with regular calls and texts with her. It was so helpful to talk to someone who was a bit further ahead in the process than me. She was still sad but had started dating and talking about her experiences in the dating world was a great reminder that eventually I would be there too. I remember after a particularly bad fight with my ex, calling her in tears and just the sound of her caring voice 1000’s of kilometres away got me through it.

  66. Mina says...

    3,5 years ago I met my soulmate at work, 2 years ago we became lovers. Both married with kids, living far away from each other. Now we moved on to a friendship and I left for another job. It was wrong in so many ways but it was inevitable. Taking the decision to leave broke my heart as that was also the decision to break up but was needed as there where no way of it becoming more. Now I see that he was never meant to be a life partner but he is my soulmate. When work takes him elsewhere our contact will end but what he has given me, we have given each other is one of the big loves in life and I wouldn’t want to be without it for all the heartache it has given me.

    • Taylor says...

      Mina–because you seem quite steadfast in your love for the man you met at work, I’d like to ask you some questions I have always had for people who end up in your scenario (sure that they’re husband or wife is not their soulmate but the person they can’t really have is): 1) why did you marry your husband or have children with him if he’s not your soulmate? 2) Do you think on some level you know that its the inability to be together that is actually the appeal? 3) Why remain married to someone who you lie to?

    • Mina says...

      Taylor, I like this definition of soul mate and life partner
      A soulmate is someone who comes into your life to teach you, enrich you, push you and transcend you into a higher state of being and consciousness. A life partner is a companion whom you trust and depend on during your life.

      Soulmates to me come and go in life. They can be lovers or friends but they are there for a reason or a season but not for life.

      I never thought I would find myself in this situation and i am not proud of it. But I learnt that life takes you where it wants to no matter how much you fight it.

      I am going through a major life crisis and is with the help of a therapist working my way through it. Where I will come out I don’t know.

      My husband is my partner in life and we chose each other and to create a life together. I feel guilty for what I have done but as long as I am working on myself I will not take any quick decisions that will destroy what we have created. My hope is that we will get back to the connection we had when we chose each other many years ago.

  67. Mary says...

    my twenty year old self could have used this post. If you’re getting your heart broken for the first time, just know, no matter how much you don’t think it will, it gets better!!!!!!!! I was in love, he was 12 years older than me, we were all in , and when it fell apart, it crumbled. I see him every so often, and when I do, I sort of laugh. I don’t wish him ill, but good god I’m glad were not together and I was hung up on him for THREE WHOLE YEARS after our three year relationship. And now, when I look at my boyfriend and father of my children, I literally feel like I hit the partner jackpot like smiling ear to ear makes my heart burst super love love he’s a babe father boyfriend friend, but more than that, if he wasn’t around, I know I would be ok which is something I never understood when I was younger. So just so you know, YOU AND YOUR HEART WILL BE OK AFTER THAT FIRST HEARTBREAK and also, YOU ARE ENOUGH:)

    • Anna says...

      Yes, Mary! “…if he wasn’t around, I know I would be ok…” This is everything, and a realization I didn’t have until the end of a 15-year marriage. Knowing I’ll be ok if my current partner and I don’t make it has allowed me so much freedom to be myself in the relationship, to chose to love with abandon.

  68. Eve says...

    Truth. Moving to a different time zone also helps.

  69. Meg says...

    My mother always told me that when a relationship ends, it takes half the length of the relationship again to get over it. It’s a completely arbitrary timeframe, but I felt better knowing there’s no rush to get over someone. I also felt strong if my heart healed ‘early.’

  70. k says...

    this. just this. going through divorce after almost 10 years of being together. reading, crying, pausing, wiping tears, sipping wine, crying, reading, etc. thank you coj.

  71. cb says...

    I needed Lori Marie’s comment today! Could you do one on career struggles?

  72. Fern says...

    Oh, sisters. This year I ended an intense and wonderful relationship that simply could not have worked long-term because of timing, distance, and the involvement of young kids. Doing the responsible thing was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and every day I struggle to stick to it. I’ve finally stopped rifling through the artifacts of the relationship every day, but I still say goodnight to him each night before I sleep. It has to get better. Right?

  73. Suzanne says...

    I’m a little over a month out of a 4.5 year co-habitating relationship. Finding myself 35 and newly single I am finding that I slowly don’t burst into tears at the thought of what we lost. The things that helped: Cup of Jo and ALL the Caroline posts. getting the mend break up app-the daily meditations have been comforting. painting my bedroom and re-arranging all my furniture-reclaiming my space as mine. Letting people take care of me-leaning on all my incredible girlfriends and saying yes to all invitations. Booking a trip to Argentina. Finally, downloading a dating app and just going out and having fun.

  74. Anne says...

    I recently traveled home, and while in my childhood bedroom I opened a box of love letters from my high school sweetheart (yep, still have those). I’m now married and have children, and all of the sudden I had the realization that I was now reading these letters through the lens of being a mother. It was clear from these letters that we were two young people who, at the time and despite our young age, loved each other deeply and truly, and and it made me think I should remember this as my own children find their first loves- I shouldn’t ever discount their feelings because they are young. It also made me think of the end of this relationship, when my mother held me and assured me that I’d find love again. She was right, and I made another note to myself that I hope to be able to give loving reassurance and support in the future when my own babies have broken hearts.

    • Sharon says...

      So true. Getting through that first true love is so hard. And I agree, while I was in high school when it happened (and it was certainly not a good choice long term) it was still intense and real, and the pain was overwhelming to my young self. It took me years to finally forget that boyfriend, and I feel so fortunate that my mother always took my pain seriously. She didn’t give advice or try to minimize the situation. She just listened and reminded me how much my family loved me and would always be there for me. I feel so grateful for her ability to make me feel GOOD ENOUGH as a young and insecure teenager. Moms: You can be this for your daughters. Never forget to remind them of their worth. Your opinion as a female and as someone who has been there carries so much weight.

    • Kate says...

      My mom was so good at that and I am grateful.
      A few years ago I found all the notes I’d kept between me and my first love and I had a little ceremonial burning of them. I didn’t need them, I’m not going to pass them down to anyone, and he’s probably not going to become so famous that I could make money selling them later on down the road so I saw no reason to hold on to them.

  75. Sally says...

    When I was almost 30, my kind, handsome older divorced ex-professional athlete/then lawyer (both my brother’s and my mother’s perfect match) boyfriend broke up with me. He said that he was certain he didn’t want more children and he knew I would want them one day. He didn’t want me to decide ten more years in to our relationship and said best the pain be done then than further down the track. I was heartbroken, broken and miserable. I was awful to be around, made my family’s Christmas a misery of tears, and spent that wedding and 30th birthday season in tears in the bathroom. I spent many a day dream as the years progressed thinking how I would look and be if I ever ran into him again (leopard shift dress, belted, blow-dry hair, tanned). Over the next ten years I grew and changed, had extraordinary life experiences and was grateful for the heartaches, lessons learned and human emotion that comes from making a life for one’s self, even as the lessons continued. Flash forward to a month ago, I was in our local supermarket with my two babies under 19 months, both still in their pjs. I had been out for dinner with an old friend and my husband the night before, I was feeling the effects of a few wines, still had make up half washed off my eyes, hair in a messy bun, was in track pants and a puffer and carrying weight as only a woman who has been pregnant for 18 out of 37 months can be. That is of course when I ran into him, I was overjoyed to see him as one is to see an old friend and so pleased to hear how his life was going along. I also felt that I was in the perfect place for my life and how perfect our meeting was again. It just taught me again how things work out – we all grow and change and I am grateful for him breaking up with me. My real piece of break up advice is “Do NOT listen to any sad songs for a period of six months”.
    sx

  76. Diana says...

    I concur with the shout outs to the love from your girlfriends sustaining you through heartbreak.

    A late twenties birthday weeks after a devastating breakup. My two best friends – who only have met through me surprised me and told me they were taking me out for my birthday. When the Uber pulled up in front of an unknown restaurant my friend turned to me and said “Suprise – we bought you a Groupon for a 15 person karaoke room, but in the end we figured you would just want to be with us so just tell them that your other friends are coming.” I laughed so hard and felt eternal gratitude for the women who know just what your soul needs in the moments of brokenness when you don’t even know yourself. Who knew that it is groupon karaoke that helps in that elusive healing process.

  77. Anne says...

    Whenever I was going through a break up as a kid, I would call my sister. She’d listen to me cry and lament, but one thing she said really stuck with me. She told me it was my chance to polish myself. Instead of being caught up in what my ex-boyfriend was thinking or why he didn’t want me, she encouraged me to focus on working towards the best version of myself I could imagine. An opportunity for a new relationship would come as a side-effect of that work, if I even wanted a relationship by then.

    I haven’t called my sister in a while as a result of a break up, but I’ve definitely taken this mindset to heart. Shitty things happen, and the thing you can control is the work you put into yourself.

  78. When my boyfriend of five years unexpectedly dumped me at age 25, it was the worst pain I had ever experienced. I had heard it takes half the length of your relationship to get over a breakup but I was NOT about to sit around and hurt for two and a half more years! After a period of intense pain, grief, and mourning, I was lucky enough to form the best friendships of my life. I had forgotten what having a core group of best friends was like, and becoming single was such an important step for me to find who I really am. My friendships breathed new life into me. Four years after that horrible breakup, and I’m happily engaged to the love of my life…but still forever grateful for those years between relationships when I got to explore who I am and form friendships that will sustain me.

  79. Joy Strawbridge says...

    I’m almost at 5 months since my first serious (long distance) bf broke up with me with a word doc… the most helpful thing has been journalling. Being able to read back on my feelings from those first few weeks has helped me see how much I’ve healed and how my mind has grown and moved on, even when I feel like I haven’t. Sam Lamott has a great feature on a podcast about breakups where he says the most important thing to do is get to the end of the day. I used to feel so proud of myself when I hit the pillow in that first month. Just take it an hour at a time, and celebrate time passing. Every minute, you’re growing back to yourself.

    • Broke up with you in a word doc????????? GOOD RIDDANCE.

    • Mae says...

      Hang on – Sam Lamott? As in, the great writer Ann Lamott’s son, Sam Lamott? He’s grown and has a podcast now!?

      Also, seriously, break up via word doc? Good riddance indeed!

  80. Carrie says...

    Reading Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav really gripped my heart, and it helped me to lean into the pain and experience it fully. It was excruciating, and there were days when I just felt winded by the grief. But as they start to take up less space in your life, in your mind, and in your heart, the pain starts to dull and you find yourself able to breathe again. Breakups are a major loss and you have to grieve it like other major losses in life. Our tendency is to “quickly move on” and “forget about the person” but take as long as you need and feel the pain.

  81. Jaidy says...

    I left my abusive ex 1/28/2018. As soon as I was ready to accept that he was not going to change, it was easy…

  82. Megan says...

    Shortly after a devastating first love break up, I read somewhere that every single cell in your body is renewed and that the total process usually takes about seven years. After that, it simply starts again (I’ve since found out this is a myth!). Right then I decided I would give myself seven years to mourn, rebuild, or feel pain when it came and after I would be free. Every single cell that had ever loved, touched, or been altered by this great love would be gone and this somehow made the weight of my grief manageable.

    P.S. Coincidentally, I got married seven years later!

    • The 7 years philosophy is real. I’ve read that you will meet 7 “potential mates” in your lifespan and most people would be equally happy married to any of those 7 choices! Who knew? http://www.raiseyourgarden.com

  83. Caitlin says...

    I had a breakup in my twenties that was so dramatic: We were living together, he went on a trip and dumped me over the phone, and then we literally never saw each other again! It’s been like 10 years! It was traumatic at the time, but in the end I leaned that “closure”, for me, is overrated! We had dated off and on for years, and should have broken up long before. He hurt me so badly in the way he dumped me that I didn’t want to see him afterwards and made sure to leave town when he came back to collect his things. After a while, I just knew I never wanted to see him again, and that is what finally helped me to get over an unhealthy relationship that had hung on for far too long!

  84. K says...

    This is so poignant for me right now — I’m going through a friend break-up. A group of my friends actually. Lori Marie’s comment = <3 Thank you.

    • A says...

      K, that’s happened to me, and it really, really sucks. I spent an intense evening having one on one chats with everyone in my group, while they told me how I had wronged them, and why they didn’t want to be friends any more – it was really painful. Just wanted to send you love and say you’ll get through it! It took a while, but ultimately I’m so glad things worked out the way they did, and I can even remember the good times fondly. I’ll be thinking of you. <3

    • Michelle says...

      Hang in there. I went through a friendship group break-up a few years back. It was worse than any romantic break-up I’d every been through because who can you turn to for support and over-coffee-crying dates? Like any relationship, it taught me that choosing your friends should be just as rigorous as choosing a partner. Knowing someone for a long time doesn’t mean they automatically deserve your friendship. Friendships can be more harmful to your very person if you have the wrong ones. My advice, and what really helped me navigate through this is to treat this like any romantic break-up, delete them off your social media. Give yourself time to grieve, go on self-dates, sign-up to a class – could be a hobby or exercise, and make a mental note of all the things you want in future friends and what you don’t want. It does get better, and the friends I have now are ones that love and respect me and want nothing but the best for me. Because that’s what I deserve (and you)

  85. Jess says...

    My big breakup was with my best friend of 15 years who I was madly in love with and the only person I’ve loved even though we were never together. Imagine an epic rom com like 13 Going On 30 but in the end the girl doesn’t get the guy and he spends 2 years telling her they have to stay friends because he misses her but her heart is broken so she never calls him back.

    • Annie says...

      Jess, I went through almost the exact same thing — only in my case my dude BFF just dropped off the face of the planet with no warning after my wedding. (He used to go through phases where he would periodically ghost friends (he says) for no reason other than not having the energy to deal with them, but would always pop back into my life whenever he was ready, and I for some strange reason would be ok with that?) Later I learned he had moved all the way to Spain! I don’t know if one had anything to do with the other — like you we had never dated, though he used to joke that we were perfect for each other and should be together whenever I was (safely) in serious relationships with other guys. But then once when I *was* single and decided to explore the possibility of taking our relationship to the next level, he made it painfully clear he wasn’t actually interested in me romantically after all, which really hurt. What was worse was that around this time he talked me into a platonic group road trip, including a female co worker of his (on the pretext that if I came along his colleague would have another girl to share a hotel room with), only I later learned that they were actually already dating under the radar while he was stringing me along! It was absolutely humiliating and ultimately led to my deciding to cut ties for good.

      In any case I thought that was all over and done with, but then he just days ago dropped me a note to say he missed me and wasn’t sure what had happened with us; that he wanted to mend fences; etc. I knew I was over it when my first thought was, I really don’t have the time or energy to deal with this anymore — there’s just too much history there and so much water under the bridge that it no longer seemed worth it. Then I thought, should I actually tell him what I thought/felt when we “broke up”? (Curse the constant societal conditioning of women that compels us to be polite!) And then I realized I owed him nothing. And THEN I remembered, back when we were thick as thieves, how he used to make me feel like my life wasn’t good enough; because according to him I was too smart to be content with just coasting through my middling career in a sunset industry and I should get out before I got too old to switch careers, and how the guy(s) I was with wasn’t good enough for me and I was selling myself short, and how I would feel vaguely discontent for days after our talks.

      All of which to say, I get how you feel, and even though it feels all consuming and overwhelming when in the thick of it, it WILL pass. I don’t know how old you are (I’m guessing maybe mid to late 20s?), but even though friendship drama can still persist well past one’s 20s, as cliched/trite as it sounds, as you get older you’ll realize it can only affect you as much as you let it. And that as tempted as I am to tell him off, I’m not going to dredge up long-buried feelings just because once again he wants to get back in touch on his own schedule.

      In hindsight (always 20/20), i can see now why my husband was never really a fan of this particular guy friend. Initially I thought hubby (then bf) was just being possessive and I went through a “love me, love my friends!” phase, but hubby eventually helped me realize how toxic that BFF and his so called friendship really was. (For the record hubs loves all my other friends and family and encourages me to spend time with them.) If this friendship was a tumultuous roller coaster ride full of dramatic highs and lows, my relationship (now marriage) feels like a calm oasis by comparison. (I’m mixing my metaphors up I know but you get what I mean :)

  86. Becky says...

    While going through a devastating breakup when I was young, I found the only thing that got me through was reading a good book. Sure, I was escaping my reality but it was so much more therapeutic than playing all the details of the breakup over and over again in my mind and gave me a sense of control over my life.

    • BR says...

      Agreed – I’m going through a breakup right now that was out of nowhere and awful and his family reached out to me after, and Georgette Heyer is getting me through this.

    • Lynn says...

      Same! Reading fiction and sleeping to escape the long minutes.

    • Same!!! I read a lot of whiny YA fiction (like Twilight) that I just completely immersed myself in. Reading felt like I was accomplishing something.

  87. brenn says...

    this is the BEST post. i’d also add that time helps with finding humor, too! went through a breakup this year that, while devastating, also had its funny moments. of course, you only realize this as time passes — in the moment, getting handed a handwritten list of the pros/cons of cheating on you, written during the months of cheating and kept for…reference, perhaps? isn’t hilarious — but the absurdity and hilarity grow over time. and in the meantime, ibuprofen helps :)

  88. jill c. says...

    i find it interesting that some find getting divorced as a “failure” – as if because something didn’t last forever that somehow we didn’t succeed. I’m currently in the last phase of getting my divorce and I never felt like my marriage was a failure. We were married 13 years and have two amazing children but as a couple we grew in different directions. To me that isn’t failure but just growth and sometimes that growth means changing or ending a relationship. I would hope anyone out there going through a break-up / divorce etc…would not put themselves down as saying they failed but to see it as a process in discovering more about yourself.

    on a side note i love the idea of treating yourself…i am debating buying myself a ring as well by kelci potter and i think i might just go ahead and do it once the whole divorce process is done.

  89. veronica says...

    For all my lonely hearts who have found comfort in this post, dig deeper. There are so many good posts in the CupofJo archive that I find so comforting. Including Caroline’s story and a link to the aspirin for heart ache.

    I’m still a little broken, but I’m grateful to share loss (and happiness) with you.

  90. When I was 25 my boyfriend of 7 years broke up with me. It was the only serious relationship I had ever been in, we lived together, AND had moved 3,000 miles away from where we both grew up/went to college. Needless to say I was devastated. The two things I told myself were “this has happened to MILLIONS of other people before, and they’ve gotten through” but also “this is the worst breakup that you’ve ever been through, and you’re allowed to be sad.” I needed to remember that I didn’t invent heartbreak and it wouldn’t take forever, but also not just gloss over the fact that this was the most emotional experience I had been through. I ended up quitting the job I hated, moved back across the country for a new job/career, and met my now husband so everything turned out fine. (He is also married to a wonderful woman who is MUCH better suited to him.)

  91. Lauren says...

    My boyfriend of 7 years and I broke up, and unfortunately he kept the house we bought together. I had to apartment hunt and move by myself—it was very challenging. I was so sad and I felt so lonely. But the morning my stuff arrived at my new apartment, 3 girlfriends met me there without me asking, and unpacked every single box for me. They found a home for everything.

    I just cried, feeling so thankful, because there was no chance I would have been able to unpack myself. It felt like a fresh start and I didn’t have to muster up energy (as I was very depressed at the time) to do it myself. I will always treasure that act of kindness so much.

    • Rachel says...

      love this so much.

  92. bisbee says...

    I met my first husband when I was 18…we married at 22. He moved out while I was at work and called to tell me he didn’t want to be married to me anymore…we had been married for 28 years.

    My second husband and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary. When I see my ex (not often!), I hardly recognize him. I do, of course, but not as someone I was married to and had children with.

    I will never forgive my ex for the way he handled things, but it really doesn’t matter! He did me a favor…my husband thanked him and so did I!

    • Iris says...

      This gives so much confidence in the future, thanks Bisbee!
      A fairly similar thing just happened to me couple of months ago, he moved out from our flat when I was at work, after living there “happily” for 3 years. It was a huge shock, because I was really really not aware what would happen on that day when I kissed him goodbye in the morning.
      Never heard anyone breaking up this way, and it still hurts me a lot that he even couldnt care to talk to me before. It gives hope to see people passing through the same thing and end up happy! I only wish to come to this state of being able to say ” he did me a favor..”

  93. Katharine Barnes says...

    After a break up and weeks of torturous on-off maybe we can be friends nope I still love you disappointment, my best friend made me fork over my phone one evening and proceeded to do what I could not: SHE BLOCKED HIM. Unfollowed on all platforms. Even set up my email to divert messages from him to Spam. I would have felt too petty doing it myself (plus, the desire to lurk or telegraph How Well You’re Doing Alone is so real) but the relief was shocking. I could finally begin reclaiming my time! Plus, her gesture of protectiveness felt so comforting.

    • Frances says...

      This is wonderful! I wish someone would do this for me as well.

      The need to broadcast “How Well You’re Doing Alone” is absolutely spot on.

    • Eva H says...

      Oh lord yes – biggest advice is to BLOCK immediately. In 2015, I had a devastating breakup after a four year relationship that ended in my mid thirties. I got way too caught up in broadcasting How Well I Was Doing Without Him on Facebook and that obsession dragged out his presence in my life (even just as a silent online observer). I posted carefully curated pics out with friends, pics of all my new athletic achievements, pics of my new amazing job and apartment, and eventually pics with my new boyfriend(now fiance as of this summer!). Smiles everywhere all around, look how happy and loved I am! I WAS enjoying myself and my new life, but I wish it hadn’t been partly a show for my ex. What a silly waste of time that achieved nothing! I didn’t unfriend him until 2017 when I heard he was getting married, and then I frantically unfriended him and all of his friends to avoid being bombarded with wedding posts. Then I just felt incredibly stupid that I had kept him as a Facebook friend because we hadn’t stayed in touch in real life at all. I should have kept my healing and newfound life to myself and not felt the need to prove I was fine without him. As they say, your ego is not your amigo! It’s been a year now since I unfriended and I feel so much better now that neither of us can snoop on each other’s lives and I WISH I’d disconnected so much sooner!

  94. Brittany says...

    I recently had a terrible breakup, and my best friend (who I used to live with and recently moved to another state) was on call because she knew I’d need to talk after my boyfriend left my apartment. While hysterically crying I wasn’t really thinking clearly and video called her instead of calling her normally. Of course, she answered, and she patiently sat there and watched me cry. It sounds odd, but it helped tremendously to be able to see my best friend and have her “there” soothing me even though I couldn’t speak through the tears for a good 5-10 minutes. We eventually started to laugh, and right in that moment I knew that everything would eventually be okay. Our best friends really are our partners for life.

    • Sarah B says...

      This: “Our best friends really are our partners for life.”

      There is so much truth in that statement!! I am currently in a wonderful and loving romantic relationship but I can’t imagine my life without my best friends! The ones who have been around for decades and are just always there for you. Sometimes I feel like men often don’t have this same deep connection with their friends and it makes me sad for them / also scared because I can’t imagine not having it myself! haha

  95. Emily says...

    I ended a relationship of four years and didn’t really know how to tell some people in my life, like my coworkers. My three teammates were men in their 40s-50s. I decided to email them, in case I seemed ‘down’ at work. All three wrote me back the nicest words of encouragement. One, named Walt, advised me to do something fun I wouldn’t have done with my ex. That day I bought bought tickets to a Broadway show that was in town and found a dear friend to go with me. I now pass Walt’s advice along to my friends dealing with heartache!

    • Robin S. says...

      Aw, that’s so nice! How wonderful to get support from unexpected places. I had an older male boss quietly place a delicious-looking salad on my desk after I mentioned I was having trouble eating during my divorce. That simple gesture meant so much to me. It still does.

  96. Maclean Nash says...

    AMBs comment made me tear up! How lovely and way to go!

  97. Annie says...

    I don’t know how true this is, but I once read an article that talked about how your brain experiences similar sensations during a break up as it does going through withdrawal. Telling myself there was a scientific explanation behind how I was feeling somehow helped me cope. It let me feel the weight of the breakup without sliding down the slope of feeling sorry for myself.

  98. Laura says...

    I really like Elizabeth’s comment- “you should really hope that you like him”. After a particularly confience-shattering breakup this year, after being single for what seems foreverrrr… On the few dates I’ve been on since, particularly the ones where I’ve been into the guy but it’s not reciprocal, I’ve been reminding myself that if he’s not interested, then why would I want him to be? I want to be with someone who truly is interested! And to finish, in this grand old life, with the breakups and hangups and disappointments, i think that relationships won’t end well, or the way we might like them to, but there will hopefully be one relationships that will be the last one, the good one, the one I’ve been waiting for. Just my thoughts xx

  99. Lauren says...

    After a particularly rough break-up, I felt like such a big piece of me was missing. A friend shared with me a quote from an E.E. Cummings poem that helped me regain my sense of wholeness: “Losing through you what seemed myself, I find selves unimaginably mine.”

  100. Justine says...

    Lori Marie’s comment about forgetting her ex’s last name made me lol! It’s so true that the devastating pain of a break up is slooooowly, but then completely, healed by time. I remember reassuring myself with that thought during my last big break up before I met my husband. “Someday I will not even truly remember what this feels like.” Thankfully, it’s true :)

  101. Rachel says...

    I’m in my late twenties, and I recently had a new life exerpience occur—grieving my friends break-up. My fiancé and I have been great friends with another couple for close to six years. After our friends broke-up, I found myself sitting in my therapist’s office crying buckets of tears. I did not expect that. As an adult-child of divorce (and human of this world), I know break-ups are a part of life. But I had not yet felt the acute pain of friends-that-are-family choosing to end their relationship. What a life.

    • Abbie says...

      I am still “ripe” from the pain of my sister’s divorce. It was shattering to me in a way that everyone around me found shocking and even a little inappropriate. I just love them BOTH so much and now he’s never going to be present at Christmas or thanksgiving or around to see my kiddos, who adore him, grow up. Adulting. :(

    • Jade says...

      In my early 20’s I had just moved out of home half way across the world (from Australia to England) and my Twin brother split up with his girlfriend of 7 years. In that time I had become extremely close with both of them and in the midst of their split was receiving letters from each of them pouring their hearts out. I was devastated and completely surprised that I felt that way. It is incredible to realise that you can truly grieve relationships other than your own.

    • Kelly says...

      My sister/SIL just filed for divorce after being together for six years, and it was devastating for me. I absolutely adore my SIL and will miss having her in my life. They had been talking about kids, finding a sperm donor, so I was having dreams of becoming an aunt soon. She’s also taking their two cats, and I’ll miss those fuzz butts terribly. It’s sad, but I just try to remember that this is the best thing for the two of them to find happiness in the long term.

  102. Sarah says...

    Oh my goodness I love that Lori Marie could not remember his last name! I used to feel like if I could forget a phone number it would mean I was officially over someone. I eventually forgot my college boyfriend’s number and thought, phew, that took awhile. But then met up with him several years later and are married with kids now :) I once said, out loud, about him “of all the men on this Earth, the one I can be sure I will never marry is ___ ___.” How sure we can be of the future when it is such a mystery!

  103. My groundbreaking advice: Just stop texting your ex.

    :)

    • Belén says...

      Yes! And unfollow him/his friends from Instagram.

    • Katie says...

      This is so simple, but the hardest of all I think! Cutting all communication is truly the best advice!

    • shannon says...

      Yes! Has someone invented reverse call blocking? Instead of preventing your phone from receiving messages from certain numbers, it prevents your phone from sending outgoing messages to blocked numbers.

    • Kady says...

      It seems so simple, but true!
      My first great love and I broke up after 2 years but we continued some form of a really messed up, heartbreaking relationship for 3 more years because neither one of us would stop communicating. It stopped me from ever moving on….but he had no problems having a girlfriend. Then came the guilt for being the reason he would cheat. It was toxic and unhealthy.
      Another 2 year relationship that I was in, was something from the movies. It was the most romantic relationship and we traveled the world together. From the day we broke up, we never spoke again and moving on from that was immensely easier. I was able to pick up the pieces and move on without taking two steps forward and five steps back.

  104. Brigid says...

    I love, love, love this post. I also now love everything from Bario Neal and am feeling the need to treat my single-self…no breakup required!

  105. This blog is a gem. Thank you so much for the work you do.

  106. Mairianne says...

    Best advice I’d ever heard was from the film Persepolis (It’s a beautiful coming of age film & I urge anyone to watch it) when the main character Marjane was crying to her grandmother after having been divorced. Her grandmother told her she was sad not because she didn’t want the relationship to end but because she failed. And that was ok. This resonated with me after a painful but amicable break up following an 11yr relationship. I knew in my heart it was for the best but I was deeply saddened and embarrassed I couldn’t make it work. And embracing that feeling allowed me to let it go eventually.

  107. This should have been obvious, and probably is obvious to most, but I was young and heartbroken so when he said, “We have to stay friends, I can’t not have you in my life,” I listened. We’d been friends before we dated for 3 years, so it made sense to me at the time. We broke up, but kept talking EVERY DAY for months. Not seeing each other, just talking, but it made the break up SO much harder. As hard as it is, stop talking, cold turkey! It may be possible to be friends down the line, it may not, but you need a break from the person first!

    • Sarah says...

      thanks – I needed to read this today – the cutoff is so hard but sometimes it is so necessary.

    • val says...

      Yes you do! My last partner wanted the same thing. It’s almost as if admitting that you’re not able to be their friend, somehow makes you feel not as evolved or something equally as self-depreciating. But, I think some of us are just different. If you need to cut ties. Cut them. It’s not a reflection of any inability on your part. It’s a reflection of honoring your own unique needs for healing.

    • Kirsten says...

      Oh my gosh, this. When I ended things with my boyfriend of 6 years in my early twenties we tried to make this work and I don’t even know what we were thinking other than at that time not having each other in our respective lives seemed impossible to fathom. Newsflash, it doesn’t work and the grieving process took SO MUCH LONGER than it needed to as a result.

    • sharon says...

      I cannot agree more! Cut the ties!!!

    • Meg says...

      I’ve had friends ask me how I can still be such good friends with someone I dated for three years. Well, we didn’t speak at all for the 2.5 years immediately after our break up. By the time we met again, we had both moved cities, had had new relationships, and were in new jobs. We weren’t the same people.

    • louise says...

      My Ex wanted to remain “friends” as well. I told him, “I don’t want to just by your friend. I wanted to be your best friend, your lover and share our lives. I’m not interested in less than that with you.”

    • Maggie says...

      I remember my mom telling my older brother’s high school girlfriend (and first love) this. He had just broken up with her, but he would still call her all the time and hang out with her, and my mom was like – you don’t have to let him do this to you – he just broke your heart and he’s hardly feeling the breakup because he still has you when he wants. Funny that she told her son’s gf that, but it was a good lesson for both of them and one I took to heart when I got older and had my own heart broken! (This isn’t to say that you can’t one day talk or be friends again, but it’s impossible when you’re in the thick of it. )

    • Robin says...

      For me, it was realizing that the best gift I could give this person that I loved, but could not be with, was not having me in his life. I realized my desire to maintain a friendship was selfish on my part.

  108. Stephanie says...

    This blog always helps me when I am at my lowest! I just ended a 3.5 year on-off relationship and the pain is so profound it manifests as physical pain. Though I ended it I am deeply in love but knew it was far too toxic and damaging. Reading through these comments gave me so much hope, and I feel a little less lonely knowing so many other have traveled down this road.

    • Look after yourself, Stephanie! xxx

    • Mona says...

      I remember the physical pain. It really felt like my heart was being carved into. My body felt like I had rolled down a hill, my muscles ached, I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I cried like a child. When it became too much I imagined a force field around me that shielded me from everything. And slowly, slowly, it faded. I started to eat little treats, I took long showers, and most importantly I put everything into words.
      Also, doctor who helps!

  109. Oh man. No joke, I decided to check in because I’ve been feeling down lately about a an ex who sorta lead me on recently (long story, and this was still a year after our actual breakup :/) and I was thinking, I wish there was something about heartache. I couldn’t believe it. I devoured this post.
    I decided to take Saranis’s advice and pop an OTC pain reliever to deal with this annoying new headache caused by this ridiculous yet agonizing grief. Bleh.

    • Emilie says...

      Hang in there, Kasey! Sending you all the love and light in the world.

    • Emily says...

      I have two unsolicited recommendations: 1) Reading ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ by Ottessa Moshfegh (I just devoured the audiobook and found it strangely relatable) and 2) Downloading the Mend app

    • Dang, thanks so much Emilie and Emily! I’m definitely taking your recommendations Emily. :) Hugs!

  110. In the midst of a horrible breakup (think Carrie with the post-it note except it was a letter on a table in our shared apartment), a friend’s mom told me she was envious of my experience. I obviously thought she was crazy, but she had gotten married young and never truly had her heart broken. “Almost every movie, every song, every book deals with heartbreak from a romantic relationship,” she told me. “And while you won’t appreciate it now, you’ll eventually feel so much more connected to the world in a way I never can.” And she’s right! Four years later and I love reading each of these comments like, yep…been there!

    • Diana says...

      I have to agree. I had that hysterical-how-will-life-go-on breakup at the tender age of 18 and I still think of that experience often and feel more connected to humanity. But if you told me that then that wouldn’t have gone over well, lol

    • C says...

      Love this so much. I used to be annoyed that my older sister never went through this when I’ve gone through it many times! I was frustrated that she couldn’t understand and that I had to always take her advice with a grain of salt. She is very happy but I can’t say I would trade places with her for anything. The amount I have learned about myself from going through heartbreak and coming out on the other side a more complete person and more connected to the human experience is priceless.

    • Sarah says...

      My mother always says: your father can’t emapthise with your heart break cause he never had one. And based on all I know of my parents, I believe this to be true.

      She did marry her second love/relationship, so I sometimes discount her wisdom too! Having, myself, had many a heartbreak!

  111. S says...

    Me : *comments Beauty Uniform post to talk about completely unrelated recent breakup*
    *5 minutes pass*
    COJ team: “Here’s breakup advice for you!!”

    Is this blog… curated solely for me now? Like, are you reading my mind?
    You guys are the best.

    • gfy says...

      lol

    • t says...

      This made me laugh!!! I hope you are doing okay from your recent break-up. Rest assured you are still putting a smile on others’ faces :)

    • jess says...

      s,

      SAME!!

      Ugh COJ team, you always nail it.