Nov 062009

After a breakup, the sadness and depression you feel can be overwhelming and suffocating. These tips will help you survive the pain of breaking up.

First, a quip from a famous fairy tale:

“The horror of that moment,” said the King. “I shall never, never forget!”

“You will, though,” said the Queen, “if you don’t make a memorandum of it.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

You will get past your sad and depressed feelings after breaking up – but you need to focus your energy and thoughts on healing and moving on. You can’t dwell the relationship breakup itself. In other words, you can’t make a “memorandum” of your breakup, of your feelings of sadness and depression!

In Letting Go of Someone You Love I interviewed psychologists, life coaches, and counselors to get their best advice for surviving depression after a breakup. The 75 tips will help you heal and find happiness, and move on after a bad breakup.

Depression After Breaking Up – What to Expect and How to Survive

Expect feelings of rejection and loneliness to come in waves

“Feelings of rejection may run high because we often measure the results of our efforts in terms of whether or not the world accepts or rejects us,” says Dr. Phil. Sometimes, another person’s reaction can be a barometer of our worth and value. “When the love of our life leaves us, any past rejection issues can be magnified.” You may feel unworthy, not good enough or like damaged goods. A divorce may also signify the failure of your dream, because you couldn’t make the marriage work.

To survive, remember that a marriage or relationship breakup doesn’t change your value as a woman or man. You didn’t break up because of a failure on your part; the relationship failed for its own reasons.

You will break free from the past after breaking up, but it takes time.

Accept the fear you’ll never be loved again

If you’ve been married for many years, you may think you won’t be able to survive emotionally, socially, or financially without your partner. You are entering a new phase of your life and don’t know what to expect.

Surround yourself with a support group. Gather your old friends around you, and be deliberate about making new friends. Don’t focus on the fear of never being loved again; instead give yourself the gift of self-care, self-love, and self-soothing. This relationship breakup help involves surviving your emotions by accepting them.

To survive depression after breaking up, read Starting Over After Your Relationship Ends – 8 Tips for New Beginnings.

Don’t focus on the best parts of the relationship

“It’s just all too easy, once you separate from an irreconcilable situation, to remember and focus on only the good,” Dr. Phil writes. You may find yourself forgetting the irritating habits of your partner and only remembering the nice and sweet things he or she did for you. “By doing this, it’s very easy to fool yourself into wishing that you were back in the relationship and rationalizing that things actually weren’t that bad.”

To survive this “selective memory” experience, don’t contact your ex-partner in a weak or lonely moment. “Once you’re out, stay out, unless one or both of you earns your way back in,” says Dr Phil. Focus on surviving sadness and depression after breaking up without wishing you were getting back together.

Other emotions after breaking up include anger, shock, bitterness, and loss. It takes time to survive heartbreak and feel happy again — but it will happen!

For more tips on surviving sadness and depression after breaking up, read Can’t Get Over the Break Up? How to Move Through the Pain.

You WILL live, love, and be happy again – it just takes time to heal.

Expressing how you feel in writing can help you survive depression after breaking up. Maybe it’s time to start a journal?

How to Get Your Ex Back

Stop the Divorce and Save Your Marriage

How to Captivate a Man and Make Him Fall in Love With You

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  61 Responses to “Depression After Breaking Up – What to Expect and How to Survive”

  1. I met dis guy nd he proved to be so kind,lovin and God fearing.he made me move inn with him and wanted me to get pregnant as soon as soon as i did he changed completly,he become rude to me and started having affairs.he later asked me to move out since we are not legally married nd he doesn’t want to see me or pick my now pregnant with no job and his love.don’t know what to do now,pls help.

  2. Hi

    I’m a gay male and have hit rock bottom, I had been in a gay relationship with a lad for about 18 mths everything started great, then he lost his job and moved in with me, he was without work for over 12 mths and didnt really make much effort to look for work while I was in part supporting him, this caused a number of arguments at about the same time as I discovered he had huge debts from his past, debt collectors started calling at my door, I tried to help him with dealing with his debts and getting a job which really took its toll on me and him, about 2 months ago I got him a job and really thought things could now begin to change for the better. 6 wks ago I went on holiday with my parents and he did not come as he didn’t have a passport, I left him asking that he did not invite anybody to stat in the house I owned while I was away and once I was on holiday he txt me several days into it, not asking but telling me that he was inviting his friends to stay and that they would be camped out on my sofa when we got back from our holidays, at the same time as he was telling me this my mother was telling me that she had cancer and most likely would not be alive this time next year, I also got news that I’m about to loose my job, I didn’t react well to his txt and we split up, shortly after I had asked him not to split up and not leave our home, he decided he was leaving anyway even though I asked for him not to go before u had told him what I got told on holiday.! On getting back from my holiday I found that he had left , I asked to meet him or chat as I wanted to tell him of the awful news I got and why I had acted the way I had about breaking up, he never gave me the chance to speak or meet to explain anything what so ever, had to explain about my mother by txt to him and firstly he said it was all lies, then said how was it anything to do with him, we are not together anymore, he simply didn’t even care and some 3 wks on has sent nothing to me to caring or friendly, he has also stolen things from my house including a ring which my mum bought for me 2 yrs before, I’ve tried for 3 wks to meet with him and ask for the ring and other items back, to only be told he’s not got them or stolen any other items, I said I didn’t want to get the police involved but he was leaving me little choice. I just don’t understand how he cannot care anything for me or what I’m going through. He’s just said he’s moved on and I need to do the same without any concern or friendlyness whatsoever, I’ve told him I’m on my knees with everything that’s happened and wanted to salvage something of what we had, but nothing back from him whatsoever to suggest he cares now or ever has. Don’t know what to think, feel like he just used me until he got his job and had planned to break up anyhow, he’s not made any allowance for the news I got told whatsoever. I just can’t figure any of it out nor understand why’s he’s been so nasty to me after all i did for him, how is it possible for him to show he cares nothing when only a few wks back we were talking of making nice plans together..?? Help anyone please totally hurting and hearbroken..

  3. its been a year and a half since our break up and i still love him to death, ive been on dates with other guys but everytime he is on my mind while i am out with these guys. I compare all guys to my ex and if there not like him than i want nothing to do with them. yeah i no its not fare but i am soo in love with this guy that it kills me. there are days when i think about whats the point on me living this boy took my happiness and heart away with him. I just dont want to live like this anymore. He does contact me sometimes and he will come over and spend the night… than when morning comes he leaves and wont talk to me for a month and the same thing happens over and over again each month. i asked him if he was just using me cause he know i still love him but he always says no and all this other bull shit! i just want to be happy again and find someone out there that isnt going to use me cause seems to me most the guys in this world will use you! i just dont no what to do anymore..

  4. Thank you for sharing how you survived sadness and depression after breaking up. Everyone is on a different journey, and there isn’t one set of tips that works for everyone!

    Some people turn to spirituality, others to addictions. Some re-evaluate their whole lives and make big changes, while others need to put their heads down and focus on survival.

    To survive a breakup, you need to keep trying different things until you find what works for you.

  5. The best way to survive sad feelings and depression after you break up is to get busy. If you sit around you will feel sad but if you get active and interested in life, then you won’t be as sad that you broke up.

    And get a puppy or kitten. I rescued a dog after my girlfriend moved out and left me, and I feel alot happier. I want my girlfriend back but I still have love in my life.

  6. 1 yr is gng to cmplete widout him.. .stil, he is in my mind. Y? Dnt knw,. .tryd to thnk abt othr guys bt it did n’t wrk. .anger, biternes has incrsd in me. .i said him so many bad wrds bt wenevr he is infrnt of my eyes agn i got capture by love . . .dnt knw whether he cme or n’t. Bt i can nevr frget him. .nor i can acept anyone else in my lyf. !

  7. I Dnt c where my life goes widout’s been more than 6year we were in relationship..he is’s been around 4year we haven’t met personally..I really love him..I Dnt know how deep the connection is but my tear flows non stop while he tells our relation can’t parents are against our marriage coz our kundali didn’t matched..he tells me to run out wid him but I cannot run by making my parent head he finally told me to’s reAlly tough tomorrow is my first day of office n my heart is really very weak right now Can I survive sadness and depression after breaking up?

  8. I am going through a breakup that hurts to my soul this guy was unemployed and had nothing goin I brought him into my life and my childrens life for a year and pretty much let him leach off of me I finally found a job for him and helped him to get it and guess what he no longer is interested in me he cuts his phone off so I won’t call he now has a car he drives with no liscense I feel so betrayed and I am in pain I even passed out he acted like he loved me so much and I was his life when he was broke now I’m nothing I feel worthless like a looser I have so much pain inside already I am such a good person and everywhere I go there’s pain pain pain y I don’t kno wat to do help please

  9. Hi there
    It’s been a few weeks for me now and reading these posts is really interesting. I can see some people struggling a lot and others giving really good advice. I feel at the moment still stuckin my break up. I get angry at the freedom my ex partner has now whilst I struggle still with 3 jobs, a mortgage, pets, and a child to finish raising. I feel overwhelmed some days but other days i feel ridiculously happy to be free. The profound sadness reappears and the self-blaming rears its ugly head – I knew there would be regrets but I also know it was the right thing to do.
    Break ups are a big challenge. I realise now though that for years there was no love – no real love – because she was unhappy. Its hard to stop. Its hard to give up on everything I have worked so hard for. I worked really, really hard and she became more and more passive. So I guess that what I am doing now is really trying to accept that although I didnt want to let her go, she basically behaved worse and worse and worse and made me feel really bad until it got to the point that I ended the relationship. Now she behaves like a victim, like someone who has had a tough deal. I can’t get over the anger. She is free with no responsibilities and none of the financial strain that I bear – and yet she is running around acting like she is a victim. She had seven years of me being everything – breadwinner, mother, carer, and she withdrew from intimacy with me. So I guess I am still going through the stages of grief, and every time I see her it throws me back. I have to go to mediation this week with her and I am dreading it because she manipulates me all the time and lives to make me angry and upset. And I dont know how to not be upset around her. I am trying to move on but until the divorce is through it seems like all the time I have to face the fact that it ended and there was nothing I could do to make her into a different person. I am also angry at how much time I wasted, time, energy and resources, trying to make it work. I should have ended it at least 2 years ago. So I am really screwed up about the whole thing because its not simple and its not easy and that makes me angry too. She doesnt seem to care very much and shows no remorse. And I am bearing the burden of grief while she runs around having a really busy social life, out and about every other night. I want to move on but the anger is holding me back.
    But I believe in myself enough to believe that I will get through this and come out of it a better, more honest person, with integrity and self-respect.

  10. I’ve found that when a guy doesn’t respond to your text messages, e-mails, calls and so forth, he usually isn’t doing so intentionally, he’s busy doing other things, trying to forget about certain parts of his past. I would know, I’ve had some tough times, too. I may not be the brightest crayon strewn about the house, but I presume that this is out of fear, or a natural quirk that we all have not to touch the things that hurt us, be it physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. Eventually, it will come back to haunt, and when it does, he would do anything to get you back. If you let him, he may repeat the same mistakes that hurt you both in the first place.

  11. My wife just left me after 17 years of marriage. We have a 13 yo daughter. I cannot eat. I cannot sleep. I cannot work. I love her so much but she says I concentrated more on career than her (i.e. no romance, no passion) and she has found spirituality to help her break up with me. She says I should date other women and she is excited about meeting other men. But I cannot imagine myself with anyone else but her. I have history with her. We started out poor together after Uni with nothing but an old bomb of a car and slowly went about improving ourselves with higher degrees and supporting each other. Sure, we had arguments and she even told me that we lacked love and passion for the last couple of years. But I ignored it except for some initial efforts. How can I get her back and how can I cure this over whelming depression and emptiness. I just wander the shopping mall like a zombie.

  12. A sincere thank you to Kari. Beautifully stated about the nature of a forest fire and regeneration. To those her doubt her wisdom, read it again. She’s absolutely correct. It’s called Faith. And faith is meant to be challenging. My recommendation is to read some Rumi–that guy KNEW.

  13. Hi,
    I am 29 yrs and I ws in a relationship with this girl ( she is 8yrs younger to me )for 3 yrs and we had frequent fights as well as good times … 3 months back I moved to new city for a better job.. within a month she said she does not have any feelings for me rather someone else even when I was wid her… Without knowing much I went to meet her … There she explained and said all the plans she is having wid her new found person..I am devasted hearing all this and I am feeling so hollow inside after this… I trusted her so much… I have gone crazy now… Doubting my every ability…She and her new bf are from my same college… I know I dont want her in my life but cant forgive her as a result I am not getting peace. For 2 months I have been trying all dat is available…I lost my self confidence… What shall I do.. Please advise

  14. hi I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to offer me some advice. I’m 25 and I’ve been in love with my ex-girlfriend for 7 years. She returned those feelings 3 years ago and everything was great. We also moved in together. We were together for 2 years and had a lot of arguments about really small and stupid things but loved eachother very much. She eventually returned home and had enough of the arguments / relationship. Only after her leaving and having my first breakup and loss (she is the only girl I’ve ever been with) have a realized how sorry I am. I’ve tried everything from telling her I want to make things up to emailing her all the time. She isn’t interested and always asks for space. She left on the 26th December 2010 and a whole year has gone by and I feel depressed / down every single day. I wasn’t perfect and it was my first relationship but I have no idea what to do… I don’t want to move on because I can only imagine myself with her and it’s important to me that I’ve only been with her. But after a whole year and it being Christmas, nothing has changed. She only wants space, and we barely keep in contact. I often write long emails to her because I feel bad, and this causes her hurt and only results in her telling me I’m the same as when she left and to stop with those long letters. I don’t know what to do…

  15. Bless everyone here who is hurting. Remember this is a reaction of our fear. Please beleive me it will subside like any othe pain we suffer in life, Think about everything you have been through and survived. I am still healing from the end of a relationship that lasted 4 years, Its been a month and a half for me. My ex got a new job quite far away and we had been planning our move for 2 months. He was going to leave ahead of me to get settled and I would meet him a month later. Well the day he left I came home to a note – yes I was dumped. The letter was basically a list of everything “I” did wrong, berating me for every little thing I did “wrong” and how it was MY fault that he was doing things this way. 3 hours later he called me and told me to “tear up the letter” he had been crying eversince he left” , he continued to call me for days after only to yell and berate me for all my faults, I told him I couldnt take it anymore For 2 months he sat by and watched me give my notice to leave work, tell my friends and family that I was leaving, search for jobs in the new town ( which is also his hometown), spend hours looking for homes and getting estimates to move our things.
    I was devasted, here he is off to his hometown starting over fresh and new nobody will ever know how cruel he was to me. I am here with all the “old” furniture, memories etc, and also I live an 8 hour drive away from my family. I luckily was able to keep my job and my apartment. I have done a lot of soul searching and realize that Im going to be fine, PLEASE FOLLOW NO CONTACT! I read an article that just made so much , sense to me, when the relationship ended it was like a forest fire, burning away, then it slows, and when the fire finally stops, the soil regenerates and the forest grows again, stronger, more abundant and more beautiful. This is life take this time to heal, read blogs – these are a God Send ! Do whatever you need, start with baby steps , take vitamins, lose some weight, educate yourself. Before you know it you are coming out of the fire, stronger, more confident and better than ever. The universe provides us with everything we need and want in abundance, open your mind and its there for the taking, I wish you all the best. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers xoxo

  16. after 2 years of staying together we broke up 3weeks ago
    i went through emotional abuse,think i made the right choice to
    break up from my boyfriend…………it really hurts…..i call him sometimes but he ignores my calls!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. This post is for Zuri. I’m so sorry to read about your situation. I understand the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you anymore. My partner left me 5 years ago, and I had been dealing with anxiety and depression as well. First let me say that you will never forget your husband. I know you asked what to do to forget him, but you shared your life with this person and you have children together, so there is no way that you will just forget him. But you can do things to not make him a priority in your life anymore. All the things you mentioned that you did (like going to school, losing weight, etc), make sure you are doing those things for yourself, not to try to get him back. I know it hurts like hell, but if a person can leave you when you’re at your lowest, do you really want to get back with them? Believe me, I’m not trying to be harsh. It took me years to come to terms with this myself. My partner left me when I was dealing with depression and anxiety. I don’t claim for one minute that dealing with that situation was easy, but the person who claims to love you forever shouldn’t just turn and run when things get hard. My partner showed me who she really was, and your husband has done the same. I bet you have done more personal work on yourself than your husband has, as it sounds like he just jumped into another relationship as soon as he left you. Same thing happened to me. I don’t think my partner will ever do any introspection or work on herself, as she prefers to just go from relationship to relationship instead of spending any time alone. As painful as this experience has been, I can honestly say that I have grown and I am a better person than I was when she left me, but she will never know that and it doesn’t matter to me anymore that she chose a life that doesn’t include me. Change your focus from your husband to yourself and your children. Your husband does not define you, and what he did to you does not define you. When that sadness starts to creep in, as it inevitably will, just think of what kind of person he really is. Think of what his moral character must be for him to be able to treat his wife that way. So often we hold on to the good memories, but the truth is if our spouses were as great as our memories trick us into believing, they never would have caused us so much pain. I hope this helped a little. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself the love that you didn’t get from your husband. I wish you well.

  18. my husband left me two years ago..months after i got out from the hospital due to depression..i saw pictures of him with a girl in his facebook..and a friend saw him with his ex girlfriend at a mall months after he left me. after all that..i still want him to go back to me and let him see that im a changed woman..not like a nagger wife before.ive been going to school,loss weight,and i look prettier again like when he first met me.he keeps on telling me he doesn’t love me anymore.there is no other woman involve he said.but i couldn’t just believe him.ive been asking him these for two years,why doesn’t he want me back? now i think and feel that he really meant it when he said i have nothing to hope for.i don’t know how to forget him , i want to, cuz we have kids and they with me,i really want to know what to do to forget my husband..i really don’t know what to do..pls help… thanks

  19. Hi its good to read all your posts – so thank you. I just split up with my partner of 13 years and it is hell. i tried everything I could think of to make the relationship work but she was just making me miserable all the time. She was not stable mentally and was manipulating me. It took me a long time to accept that her behaviour was a result of her own unhappiness, and that she had been punishing me for years for her own feelings of being trapped. It was so hard to let her go – we brought up my son together and we had a house and a mortgage and had had so many plans for the future. Now that she’s moved out I hardly know what to do wth myself. there are good feelings – freedom from the negativity, the constant criticism and the constant threat of an argument – but like it says on this site, sometimes all I can remember is the good times. At these times, when I regret my decision, I call my sister or a friend, and they remind me why it was I had to do this. I never wanted us to end but I couldnt bear it any more. And I couldnt reason with her. She wouldnt accept responsibility for anything, especially not the behaviours that hurt me so much, which meant that we couldnt resolve them. I tried relationship counselling but that didnt work because we just went round and round in circles. So at least I have a lifeline – that those who love me remind me why I had to end it. I feel terrible and the guilt is awful. But it;s not right for two people to stay togther if they are unhappy. And I simply couldn’t bear it any more, seeing her so miserable all the time, so angry and so unable to take pleasure in anything. It’s all quite new and I keep finding myself thinking of her, wondering how she is, wondering what she’s doing. I need to cut those ties but I don;t know how, after all these years.
    She never even asked me why. We both wanted it – she agreed that once we had broached the subject. I know I wasn';t perfect – but I did everythign I could for her – I was the main wage earner, i cooked every day, I paid for nice holidays and nice presnets. I was affectionate and loving and open with my feelings and shared my dreams and my thoughts with her, and welcomed anything she had to share. It was like she had lost interest in me. She’s moved to a place only a mile away and still picks my son up to take him to school a couple of mornings a week, and has him once a month. But I am not going back. She hurt me too much. She blames me for all of it. I just have to live with that.

  20. The only way to survive sadness and depression after breaking up is to give it to God. The more you lean on the Creator of the Universe who gives you strength, the happier and more peaceful you’ll be.

  21. I just moved to Germany a few months ago, and although I’ve been having a great time, I do get extra lonely and long for a relationship. I got really excited when I met this new guy who seemed to be everything I was hoping for. Unfortunately, after we got to know each other better, I had strong feelings, while he didn’t. I am feeling really sad today, because he just told me yesterday. Living in a new country is making this so much harder, even though it wasn’t that long of a thing… Ugh, I am okay being alone, but sometimes it just gets old.

  22. Thanks for your kind words Laurie – I think it would be easier for me to move on if I could understand whether he finished with me because of his depression or because he just doesnt want to be with me any more.

  23. I am the one doing the breaking up,after 8 years together i just don’t love my husband anymore.
    I feel in that time he has changed and isnt the person i met or fell in love with.
    I have a son from a previous relationship and feel my husband doesnt devote enough time to or want to play a parenting role,so many times i do feel as though i have always been a 1 parent family.
    Even in this marriage i have often felt alone.

    However i am so confused as though it is me doing the break up and is my choice,i am consumed with sadness and total heart break.
    I know i can no longer want to be with him but feel as though in some ways i can’t bare to be without him.
    Perhaps its the being on my own or not in a relationship that scares me more than being without the person.

  24. Hi Sweetu,

    Interesting question! I think that the person who does the breaking up may be more likely to remember both the good and bad parts of the relationship. In fact, he or she may remember the bad more than the good, because he or she is the one who initiated the breakup – and perhaps for good reason.

    Of course, everyone is different. Some people impulsively make a decision to break up, and then later all they can remember are the good parts! I really think it depends on the situation and the person; everyone is different.

    But regardless of who did the breaking up, both individuals will likely experience sadness and depression. It may seem odd that the person who initiated the break up has something to survive, but it’s true!

    I hope this helps, and welcome your thoughts.


  25. “After a relationship breakup, you may remember only the good.”—- as mentioned by the author of the article here. I want to ask does it also happens to the one who breaks up with us or only the one who has been dumped? Whats the psychology in that?

  26. Orville….I can relate this situation.Im also in break up last month and until now his still on my mind its hard to move on quickly i need to get my mind busy so i can forget him right away.The best thing to do maybe is to focus on my job and thats what i do.

  27. Hi
    my husband is still living under the same roof but decides to stay with his girlfriend whenever he fancies, wont move in with her, help

  28. Dear Winn,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your college sweetheart…but glad that this information about surviving sadness after breaking up helped.

    That’s great that you have a new job and new city — and congratulations on being a college graduate! I encourage you to get involved in activities and clubs in your new city. Maybe join a Meetup or two, or find an outdoor club, book group, or new hobby of some sort. Try to keep yourself busy….you’ll have less time to reflect, and be sad and depressed.


  29. I am so grateful to read these. It makes me feel less “alone”. My college sweetheart of 3 years broke up with me to move home and start a new life. We seemed very happy, but now that we ended it, I am realizing he wasn’t as happy as I thought he was. This has been the hardest 16 days of my life (he left only that long ago) and my life feels very sad. Not only is this the emotional effects of a break up, but I also have a new job, moved to a new city, and just graduated college. Feeling alone, so thanks to all who share that we will be okay. I send my good thoughts out to those who are in the same situation.

  30. Mary, Blair,

    I am very sorry to hear about your breakups. It’s difficult to overcome the loss of a relationship and cope with the consequences (fear, inability to trust, etc). Trust me, I know how hard it is!

    While I can’t give you personal advice, I can encourage you to move on with your life. You need to get strong and healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even professionally. I know it seems hard or even impossible to get healthy and strong again, but it’s really important.

    The best advice I have for surviving sadness and depression after breaking up is to learn how to let go of the person you love. Where and how do you start letting go? You keep trying different things until you find what works for you. Mary, you found that counseling and antidepressants didn’t help. Maybe changing your life will be more effective — such as moving to a different city, traveling, or joining a support group. Others find physical spa treatments helpful, or alternative therapies such as reiki or energy healing).

    There are SO many ways to get healthy and move on! The trick is finding what works for you.

    I wrote an ebook to help people let go after a breakup, called Letting Go of Someone You Love: 75 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart and Let Go of the Past

    Check it out; it may be just what you need. I hope it helps, and wish you all the best.