The Healing Process After a Breakup 

By Heather Matzkowitz, LMSW

One of my good friends recently went through a difficult breakup with a partner they were with for many years. This person came to me, on many different occasions, expressing how saddened and defeated they had been feeling. They missed their partner, and despite knowing that ending things was the correct decision, they were having trouble dealing with the despondency they were experiencing. Let’s be honest, breakups are incredibly difficult and each person's situation is unique — just as their healing process is.

Ending a relationship with someone you once called your best friend, romantic partner, and teammate is never easy. I have been through several difficult breakups in my adult life and let me tell you — they have all hurt. I have been left feeling empty, sick, frustrated, and bewildered. No matter the initial response to the breakup, the healing process is usually the same. Ample time, self-care, and a good support system will help you heal and get back to your true self. 

Going through a breakup is a grieving process, and there are emotional stages that we will inevitably go through after the termination of a relationship. The stages are as follows: shock/denial, desperate need for answers, fear/loneliness/sadness, bargaining, anger, peace and acceptance, and forgiveness. Each person will go through different stages at varying times. This means that if you are stuck in a specific stage for an extended amount of time, it is important that you do not judge yourself. Your healing process is unique to you and there is no right or wrong way to cope with a breakup. From personal experience, I can say that time is what helped me the most. You have to readjust to life without this person in it, and that can be exceptionally challenging. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are used to having this person in your day-to-day life and continuing on without them in it can be strange, confusing, and dismal all at once.

Self-care can mean an array of things. It is important during this time to really tailor your day-to-day so that you are doing things that are going to facilitate your healing. Maybe taking some time off to visit friends/family is what you are craving. Try to listen to what your mind and body are telling you because they are usually never wrong. 

Setting goals can also be helpful. What is a personal goal you have for yourself? And what are the small, measurable steps you can take each week to work towards this goal? I encourage you to write this down. If you are unsure about goal setting, take some time to reflect and think about what elicits happiness within you.

A good support system is another key factor that can be very helpful following the ending of a relationship. If you don’t have a good support system where you are living, reaching out to friends and family in other areas can be just as helpful. Regularly meeting with a therapist can also be beneficial throughout your healing process. 

Heather Matzkowitz, LMSW is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, contact Cobb Psychotherapy by calling 718-260-6042 or emailing reception@cobbpsychotherapy.com, and see how therapy can help.

Elizabeth Cobb