“You tell me that you’re leaving,
I can’t believe it’s true.
Girl, there’s just no living without you.”

-- “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka was right – breaking up is hard to do. Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you were caught totally by surprise, or maybe you were even hoping it would happen sooner. Regardless of the reasons, there are a few things you can do to help get through one of life’s most unpleasant events.

You’re Both Hurting

Even if you’re the one being dumped try to understand that breaking up is equally hard on you both. Just because the romantic relationship is coming to an end doesn’t mean your former significant other has entirely stopped caring about you. Try to see past your hurt and anger to acknowledge his or her experience, too.

The Conversation

During the actual break up conversation, don’t try to lay a guilt trip on the other person. If you’re the “dumper” then adding guilt to the mix is only rubbing salt in the wound. If you’re the “dumpee” then using guilt to try to prevent the break up will not work long term. You may succeed in gaining a short reprieve, but eventually the other person will grow to resent you and the break up process will begin again.

Sometimes anger will erupt, which is normal to a certain extent. It becomes abnormal, though, when it is acted out by throwing or breaking things. Relationship experts advise taking a “time out” to cool off in this circumstance; go into another room for a few minutes, or take a short walk. If an angry outburst escalates to hitting another person then the situation becomes even more dangerous and must be dealt with immediately. Get away, leave the premises if you can do so safely, and call the police immediately.

Telling Your Friends

This can be even more difficult than the break up itself. Resist the urge to call everyone you know to vent your feelings. This is immature and tacky, so don’t do it.

Instead, try talking with just one or two trusted friends. You will benefit from talking through your feelings but avoid the negative aspects of re-hashing the situation over and over to a large number of people.

Getting Even

“Revenge is sweet” is a common cliché, but it’s far from being true. No matter how tempting it may be, don’t go down the path of getting even for a break up. The person you’ll end up hurting the most is yourself. Spreading rumors, spilling secrets, or saying bad things about the other person may make you feel better initially, but in the end you’ll end up feeling worse and you’ll have damaged your reputation as well.

Moving On

Grief counselors recommend dealing with the break up of a relationship much as you would deal with the death of someone close. Seek out constructive ways to deal with your disbelief, anger, and sadness. Many people keep a private journal to record their thoughts, while others focus on a hobby or activity. Whatever you choose, remember that you won’t always feel miserable. The end of a relationship is difficult, but with time you will start to feel better.

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