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How to Survive the First Few Days After a Breakup

When I realised my first relationship of over 9 years was over, I fell into an immediate state of absolute shock and one of the main reasons is because the relationship ended abruptly in a devastating way.

It might be that you’re experiencing a similar state of shock. The relationship may have ended unexpectedly or it could have been in a downward spiral for a while.

Either way, the feelings are the same: shock, devastation, overwhelm, anger, sadness, confusion and just a general feeling of wanting to give up.

I understand; I’ve been there.

I promise there’s light on the other side of this journey. You may not have any evidence of it now, but it’s true.

So as you stare ahead at a seemingly murky future, here are a few guidelines on how you can survive the first few days after a breakup and realise that there’s still hope in the world.

1. Acknowledge your feelings

You are feeling real feelings and real emotions. Acknowledge them.

Are you sad? Admit to yourself that you’re sad.

Are you angry. Say it out loud! “I’m mad as hell!”

Acknowledging what you’re feeling will make it so much easier to process. So put it all on the table.

What if you don’t know what you’re feeling?

Well, to be fair to yourself, you may not even recognise what you’re feeling. On top of that, different feelings will come up as you start processing things.

As you identify what you’re feeling, acknowledge it. Give it a name and give it a voice.

2. Don’t follow the long trail of where your feelings take you

In a moment of distress like this, your feelings are very likely to mislead you. The sooner you realise this, the safer this period of grief will be for you.

Even though your feelings are real, it doesn’t mean you need to follow where they are taking you.

Some of the thoughts that come into our minds after a breakup can be dark and ugly. Your feelings are your minds reaction and processing of the situation, but they don’t have to direct your behaviour. In fact, if you think about it from the perspective of a toddler, there are many emotions a toddler feels and they let you know by screaming, crying, laughing and throwing things. Just because the toddler feels something doesn’t mean they should act on it.

The same is true for you in this situation. Just because you feel something, it doesn’t mean you should act on it. If this situation is too overwhelming for you to make those decisions, make sure you have a support system to guide you during this time.

3. Figure out who is in your support system

Speaking of support system, it’s important to know who’s in yours. Who will help you think logically when your emotions are running amuck?

Think family, friends, campus counsellors, online counsellors or even a hotline if you feel like your emotions are becoming too overwhelming for you to process.

When choosing your support crew, choose people who are supportive, honest, trustworthy and who have your best interest at heart.

4. Remember where your value and worth come from

One of the biggest mistakes we all make after a breakup is giving in to the feeling that our value and self-worth is tied to our relationship status. As a result our emotions are on an up and down rollercoaster.

Worst of all, if the person actually walks away and moves on with his life, we somehow feel like they did it because we weren’t worth fighting for. WE feel like if we were worth it, they would have stayed around.

Remember this above everything else, your EX didn’t give you value as a person and he cannot take your value away.

This is why it’s important to have your support system remind you of your value and self-worth because in moments like this, it will be easy to forget!

5. Keep reminding yourself. Write it on notecards.

I’m repeating this one about your self-worth because it’s going to be so easy to slip.

Your worth is not dependent upon your EX chasing you after the relationship ended. Often, if the relationship ends and our EX isn’t banging our door down we equate it as something being wrong with us.

Remember where your value comes from.

Write it on notecards. Stick them all around the house. Carry them in your purse. Put them on your desk at work. Remind yourself even when you don’t have the presence of mind to remember. Also, surround yourself with people who will remind you as well.

6. Don’t make any big decisions

Now is not the time to make any big decisions because your judgment will be clouded.  Try to delay anything major or take a trusted source along with you to help provide a bit of perspective.

7. Avoid falling into unhealthy habits to cope with the stress and overwhelm

During a time like this in your life, you’ll naturally look for ways to soothe your pain and cope with your situation.  There are many healthy ways to cope with the pain as well as unhealthy ways.

Some people use things like sex, drugs, alcohol and shallow relationships to mask their true feelings.

Be mindful of your tendencies as you work on dealing with your feelings during this time.

8. Have a basic understanding of the stages you might experience after a breakup.

In Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D.’s article, 7 Stages of Grieving a Breakup she shares the various stages we all go through after a relationship ends. They are:

  1. Desperate for answers
  2. Denial
  3. Bargaining
  4. Relapse
  5. Anger
  6. Initial acceptance
  7. Redirected hope

The first few days after a breakup your world will probably be in a tailspin. You’ll experience a new normal and have to grieve the loss of your hopes, dreams and promises together.

As you feel tempted to get it together as quickly as possible give yourself grace to let your heart heal.

You’ll find that in this process, often you’ll feel out of control and disempowered because you’ll be waiting to see if you hear from your EX.

9. Immediately start your 30 days of no contact

You may feel absolutely powerless right now, but there is a way you can take your power back.  Pressing pause on all contact with your ex for 30 days is one of most powerful ways to do something by doing nothing.

The 30 day no contact rule is a popular idea that by giving yourself and your ex some space after the relationship finishes you’ll

  • Create space and time for him to miss you
  • Be able to grieve privately
  • Gather your thoughts and emotions
  • Have space to reflect on the relationship

I want you to be ready for the days ahead as you prepare to work through the emotions of your relationship ending.  One of the best ways you can do this is by empowering yourself with some tools.

I’ve created a kick-butt guide that shares 4 different ways you can be empowered.  The tips are not fluffy stuff; they’re actionable and realistic and I’ve used them as I’ve worked through my own breakups.

Just click the button below to download it for free.  It’ll be sent right away to your e-mail account, and I’ll continue to send you encouraging e-mails to help get you through the challenging days ahead!

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