How do I get over a break-up?
Top tips for coping with the end of a relationship – and how to move forward well.
Maybe it was mutual, maybe you got dumped, or maybe you did the dumping, but however it happened, you’ve broken up. I bet you’re hurting right now.
You’re probably thinking you’ll never get over it. You might think that the pain will last forever, and that you’ll never love again. But I promise: it gets better!
Eventually, you realise you’ve gone a whole week without thinking about your ex. And then maybe God will bring someone else into your life.
Life goes on.
But for now, here are some tips to help you cope with the break-up in a healthy, godly way.
When a relationship ends, it’s natural to feel a deep sense of hurt. And that’s ok! You may be losing someone who you really trusted, and it’s natural to grieve the loss of that friend. You may also grieve the loss of the plans you had for the future with that person, whether they were plans of marriage or just plans of fun dates in the summer.
Take some time to let yourself grieve. You don’t have to bottle up your emotions! Eat some ice cream (it’s a cliché for a good reason!), cry, write about it and pray about it. Share your feelings with God. The grieving process is important.
After some grieving, it’s time to try and move on. One of the best ways to do that is by distracting yourself.
But be warned: I do not mean get a new boyfriend or girlfriend! You need to make sure you’re totally over your ex before a new relationship begins, or things could get very messy.
Distract yourself with other things, like a hobby, spending time with friends, starting a new book, or throwing yourself into school.
Now is also a great time to recommit to or start a new ministry! You’ll probably have a bit more time on your hands now, so see if there’s a way you can get involved at church, maybe teaching Sunday school, joining the worship band or cooking for a family in need.
Deal with anger
If you were dumped, or feel like your ex didn’t protest enough when you broke up with them, or things were bad for a long time before the relationship ended, there’s probably going to be some anger there. This is normal, but you need to deal with your anger in a healthy way.
Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin”. Some bad things to do with your anger would be to gossip about your ex, send them angry or hurtful messages, take out your anger on your family or friends, or let your anger become bitterness.
Instead, turn to God. Share your anger with him, and ask him to melt it away and replace it with compassion. Try and replace angry thoughts with thoughts about God’s faithfulness and goodness.
Be thankful for God’s plan
As hard as it may be to understand, God always does what is best for his people in the long run. So If your relationship has come to an end, it was ultimately for some good reason.
This also means that thoughts of regret are not so helpful. After a while, you might regret that you ever had the relationship in the first place, given how it ended, but try and think about it like this: God’s plan was for you to have that relationship, so what did you learn from it?
When I broke up with my first boyfriend, I was angry and upset and questioned why God had let me get hurt. But after a while I realised how much God had taught me through that relationship. I learnt about my needs and preferences in a partner, I learnt how to be a good friend while also in a relationship, and I learnt that I am very stubborn and probably carried on the relationship too long out of a fear of failure!
That relationship was part of God’s plan, and because I had it, I was much better prepared for the marriage I have now.
Once you’re passed grieving and anger, and can be thankful, you’re well on your way to being over your ex! But there may still be some things that rear their head sometimes, like hurt, feelings of insecurity or even guilt over things you did in the relationship that you shouldn’t have.
In order to move on from the relationship completely, you’ll need to deal with these things. Keep praying to God about everything – he listens and will help you. You might also find writing down any negative thoughts you have about yourself helpful, and then crossing them out and writing Bible verses about your identity as a child of God and a redeemed person next to them.
You might also like to consider talking to a trusted adult or even a Christian counsellor if you’re struggling with negative thoughts. It’s important to nip them in the bud so they don’t lead to anxiety, depression, or impact future relationships.
No matter what happened in your relationship, or what happens in the future, never forget that God loves you, has a plan for your life and he’ll never leave you!