Canada asks “How do you heal a broken heart? When you’ve really cared about a person and they unexpectedly end things with you, you can’t help but feel low and defeated.

How do you pick yourself up and move on even though you’ve got so many feelings for this person? What should you tell yourself to give yourself a bit of a pep talk and how should you approach getting back in the dating game? (when meeting someone new feels really scary and daunting and you really want to avoid getting hurt again so soon)”

Breaking up means a loss. That means losing the person, the relationship, dreams, hopes, plans, and possibly a sense of self. There are no quick fix solutions for getting over the hurt but I have put together a few tips for each stage (Denial, Anger, Pain, Acceptance) of the ‘grieving’ process.

Denial – This ranges from “I can’t believe this sh*t is happening to me” to point blank refusing to accept that it’s over, to believing that he’ll be back in a day/week/month, or refusing to acknowledge the issues that may have surrounded the demise of the relationship. You may even go to places where you know he’ll be in the hope that you can accidentally on purpose bump into him. This is quite normal although I’d lose the urge to seek him out as this tends to end in tears more often than not and you’re unlikely to come home with the prize or you’ll wake up to an empty bed and the realisation that you’ve just been an accidental booty call.


It takes time to get over a break-up.

BREAK-UP’S ARE SUPPOSED TO HURT! People fear the pain but if more of us remembered that it’s going to ease and pass, it would stop us from kneejerking back into a broken relationship.

Take the focus off him and put it back to you.

If we are more aware that we have to go through this stage whether it’s for a day or week (try not to let it drag out for months…), it actually makes it easier to move on to the next stage as you have the awareness that you’re avoiding the reality but also an awareness of the next stage and working towards that.

Cut contact. The whole let’s be friends BS should come about six months to a year afterwards. You need to heal and you can’t just switch roles!

Take it one day at a time if you’re feeling really bad. Eventually you’ll move to focusing on a few days, to a week, to getting back to normal.

Never beg, never plead. It’s a difficult place to come back from.

If the breakup has come out of leftfield or he’s been tooing and froing, I think you’re more likely to start off at this stage. You may go straight to anger though…

Anger – Suddenly you’re not denying anymore. In fact, you’re acknowledging the break up and getting angry. You may want to get medieval on his ass (please don’t go down the illegal revenge route) or just want to confront him.

I always say – unless he’s been pulling some cloak and dagger crap on you, when you take off the Rose Tinted Glasses, the Bruised Ego Fur Coat, and the I Want to Kill You heels, you often don’t need to confront them or ask questions because you know the reality deep down. You’ve just been avoiding it.


The key thing in the anger stage is that if he has been a bastard that you acknowledge him for what he is. The anger stage, whilst you will have your irrational times where you’re the most perfect woman on earth that’s been ill done by, is about acknowledging the bad. Get over the romanticising and start getting real. If he has been treating you like something he stepped in and then dragged back through the grass, stop saying how frickin wonderful is and start getting angry. It’s healthy! Just don’t let it turn you crazy!

If you need to jog your memory, take two sheets of paper and put down all the good things he did on one and the bad on the other. Fold up the good one and put it somewhere safe where you can look at it when you’re are further down the healing road without having the urge to beg him to get back together. Read the bad and keep reading it. Add to it if necessary but get real.

Put away things that remind you of him or have a spring clean and rearrange your place.

Examine the reason for the break-up. What can you learn and apply to future relationships?

If there is anything familiar about your break-up i.e it’s a road well travelled, I would dig a little deeper and grip your pattern before it grips anymore of your relationships.

Pain – Whilst you’re obviously in pain from when you break up, this is the point where reality has arrived, and the anger has calmed down. I always think of this as that point when you realise he really is gone and that he’s not coming back. Or…it’s not even so much pain at missing him but pain at not having someone. You’ll possibly feel very bleak and alone.

A number of readers challenge themselves to think about him less each day or week and record it in a diary, then rewarding themselves for thinking about him less and focusing more on themselves. Initially you’ll have plenty to record but after a while, life does go on.

If you keep a feelings diary this is an opportunity to quickly jot down a few words to describe how you are feeling and what triggered it. It shows patterns of emotion and thought, and also gives you the opportunity to understand what your uppers and downers are.


Remember that whilst most of us miss the person, it’s the security and the dream that’s a killer to let go of.

Get up and do stuff. Anything or anyone you’ve been neglecting, regroup and reenergise.

Women in particular have a habit of letting their lives come to a standstill which is fine temporarily but not on an ongoing basis. Trust me, he is not crying down the phone to one of his friends or forgoing the football/rugby/cricket or a night out with the lads!

Acceptance – You’ll probably be bumbling along and suddenly realise that you’re not missing him as much as you thought you would, you’re enjoying yourself again, and that your life is about you. The key thing here is accepting that the relationship is over and wanting to get on with things and move forward. Don’t pretend that you’ve accepted the break up but secretly hope that you’ll get back together. Accept is as final as this gives you the freedom to get on with your life.

Don’t date until you are no longer emotionally attached to your ex – this means no residual anger, no booty calls, minimal hurt. If you grimace or have one of those tight smiles when you think or speak of him, hold that dating thought. You know you’re ready to date when you don’t care either way anymore.

Forgive. Carrying hurt and pain is what gets us in a lot of our trouble. We go around with our baggage, collecting up more, then the emotional plane overloads. Forgiveness frees you and puts you back in the hot seat of controlling your own life.

Don’t forget to read the 10 Commandments of Breaking Up

The biggest thing that you must hold close to you is that the relationship may be broken but you’re not.Â

NML is the founder of Baggage Reclaim.

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