How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want

You didn’t want to break up, but it happened. These tips on how to accept a breakup when you want to stay together will help you surrender, heal, and move on.

Surrender to what is. Accept your life as it is unfolding right now. Those two concepts are simple in theory, but o so difficult in practice! Surrendering to what is doesn’t mean you have no power in your life. Learning how to accept a breakup you didn’t want doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to being single or unhappy the rest of your life. On the contrary, surrender and acceptance has the power to awaken hope and life in your soul. The most important thing is not to lose heart, and to stay connected to a source of peace and joy.

On How to Let Go of Someone You Love, over 100 readers asked for help accepting a breakup. Here is one of the most common comments: “I am struggling on how to accept, understand and let go of the greatest relationship and person I have ever met and been with. He was not in the right emotional place to give me the future that I wanted. He said he loved me but didn’t love me as much as I loved him. He felt like something was missing and he couldn’t string me along if he isn’t 100% sure about me. How do I accept this and move on?”

Here’s another sentiment many readers express when they’re struggling to accept a breakup…

“We were known as the sweet happy loving couple with a beautiful family at work, school, community, everywhere. Why do I love someone so much that did me so wrong? Ten years he cheated on me, and I believed all those lies. I am so mad at myself. I was just too comfortable and thought he loved me completely. I need advice please.”

Accepting a Breakup You Didn’t Want

The more you fight the fact that your relationship ended, the worse you will feel. The more you resist the breakup, the harder it will be to heal and move on.

If you learn how to accept a breakup with serenity and grace, you will heal faster. You will gain emotional strength and health, and you will be happy. Living in a state of acceptance and surrender will fill you with the power you need to create the life of your dreams.

Below are my tips on how to accept a breakup. But, it’s important to remember that what helped me accept breakups I didn’t want may not work for you. Your job is to find the beliefs, thoughts and activities that helped you accept difficult situations in the past, put those things into practice.

Learn to live with the wispy shadows of loss

In Accepting a Breakup – 5 Tips From Pandora’s Box, I share the sad insight that some losses will never leave us.

“There are certain events that we may never accept fully,” writes Melody Beattie in More Language of Letting Go: 366 New Daily Meditations. “What can be accepted, though, is that we are required to live with these losses and find a way to go on.” I read Beattie’s book every morning – it takes less than five minutes to read a daily meditation, and they help me accept everything about my life. The good, the bad, the ugly. Accepting a breakup is a daily process – it may even take years for you to feel like you’re truly healed and ready for a new relationship.

Grieve, and give yourself what you need to move forward

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.” – Lillian Hellman.

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One of the worst things you can do to yourself is not grieve your loss. There’s a difference between obsessing about your ex and grieving the end of your relationship. Obsession is about hanging on to the past; grief is about processing what happened and moving into your future.

It is a huge blow to be have to accept a breakup you didn’t want. You may feel rejected, crushed, and disappointed. It’s awful to discover your partner didn’t love you the way you loved him. Rejection is painful, and betrayal is devastating. It’s important to go through the grieving process as part of accepting a breakup you didn’t want – but it’s also important to help yourself move forward.

Look for the moon

“Barn’s burnt down,” said Mizuta Masahide. “Now I can see the moon.”

How to Accept a Breakup

How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want

The barn was your relationship: it was a safe place (stinky? dirty? old? shabby?) for a season of your life. The fire was your breakup, which perhaps you even started. The moon is…what? You name it! Maybe it’s a chance to start a fresh life. Maybe you’ll challenge yourself in new ways – perhaps by getting a new job, learning new parenting skills, traveling to Italy, dreaming about becoming a writer, looking up old friends.

So the breakup wasn’t your choice…but is it 100% true that it was a mistake?

So you wish you could turn back time and do things differently…but do you also know somewhere deep inside that maybe your relationship wasn’t as good as you knew it could be?

The hardest – and best – advice for accepting a breakup you didn’t want is to make room for the idea that maybe your life could actually get better than it was before.

Reinvent yourself

For me, this is an easy tip on how to accept a breakup because I love change! I love new haircuts, new jobs, new experiences, new foods, new training programs for work, new trips to places I’ve never been. I even love Mondays because I never know what the week will bring.

If you’ve been married for the past 25 years, the idea of suddenly reinventing yourself may not be easy or fun to think about. But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s not right. Just because it’s difficult and painful doesn’t mean it’s not good.

You can do this. You can accept this breakup, hold on to the best parts of yourself, and strengthen your weak bits. You can be happy again…and you will eventually read overcome the pain of a bad breakup.

Accept. Surrender. Take a deep breath. Hold on to the good, and let go of the past.

My prayer for you is that you see the blessings in this breakup. May you find your way to accepting the end of your relationship – even though you wanted to stay together – and may you embrace a new stage of your life. Above all, may you connect with God. You are so very, very loved. You need only reach out and experience that love.

I welcome your thoughts on how to accept a breakup you didn’t want…I can’t give advice, but you may find it refreshing to share how you will see the moon now that your barn is burnt down.


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Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back - to help you walk through loss into a new season of life. I share glimpses into my life with a schizophrenic mother, living in foster homes, teaching in Africa, and coping with infertility. Woven through the book are practical, encouraging Blossom Tips to help you grow and flourish!

How to Let Go of Someone You Love She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik

How to Let Go of Someone You Love - Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart After a Breakup. Do you feel like you'll never get over your broken heart? This ebook - available immediately - will help you heal. It's time to let go of what was, and embrace what will be.

When You Miss Him Like Crazy She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik

When You Miss Him Like Crazy - 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup! You miss him desperately right now, but you won't always feel this way. This warm, comforting ebook will give you the tools, encouragement and strength you need to move through the pain and start blossoming - today!

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8 thoughts on “How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want

  • ERL

    My ex boyfriend is in the last leg of his military career. He wasn’t supposed to go anywhere for the next 3 years. He got unexpected orders out of the country for a year and then will be re stationed out of the country for another three years after. He said half of him was screaming to marry me, but he was too damaged from his first marriage and doesn’t think he can commit like that again despite HIM always being the one to talk about the future. The break up came right after he got the second set of orders. Originally breaking up wasn’t even on the radar I thought. It was stay in the military and I move too or get out. This is what our discussions had been. On a Sunday he told me not to worry. He loved me, I could trust him, and I was safe. Three days later, 45 min after his second set of Orders came, he broke up with me. Saying he knows he will always be alone if he is too scared to commit to me. Everything was good and I am devastated. I will never fully heal.

  • kac

    Jan of this year the man I have been with 26yrs and the farther of my only child told us he was leaving because he fell in love with his best friend’s wife (we hung out as couples n she n I for years). He tried staying in our home while seeing her until our 16yr son asked him to leave. She hd kicked out her husband on Christmas Day for a trivial reason. It is now June and not only is he publicalky having the affair, he is posting pics of them on instagram and is LIVING WITH HER AND HER KIDS. To say my son and I are devastated is a serious understatement We are just trying not to drown at this point

  • Jess

    This was so powerful to read. I am in the beginning stages of a breakup I didn’t want. I have been going in the same circle of feelings for 10 days now. Can I make him try again? Is he wavering on his decision, how will I tell our children? All of these go through my mind a million times a day. I don’t want to see the hurt on our children’s faces when we tell them. Thankfully he is only leaving me and is a great dad. But that doesn’t make it any easier for me to let go. 18 years of knowing, loving, hating, laughing and lying beside the same man is hard to let go. I am thankful Goethe friends and family I have. They don’t sugar coatbtheir feelings about our relationship. Our relationship has been rocky more times than I can count. They just want me to be happy. This was a great read for helping to accept the almost unacceptable loss.

  • jennifer

    Omg I’m so sorry your going through this. My story is pretty much the same, besides if there were someone he’d lie about it. We have been together 7 yrs , He has been clean an sober almost a year now. All of a sudden he tell me he only has friendship to offer.

  • Laurie Post author


    You know in your heart, mind and soul that this relationship isn’t good for you. You know you need to learn how to accept this breakup – even though you didn’t want it and you wish things were different.

    Give yourself time to grieve the end of this relationship. It’s hard to let go of someone you love. We were created to be together, to enjoy each other’s companionship and love! So when we break up, we suffer.

    Grieve, but don’t allow grief to take over your life, your friendships, and your days. Be stronger than that!

    Get out of your own pain, your own head. Start focusing on what your friends are going through, on what suffering the people around you are experiencing. Start giving and helping others — and stop selfishly drowning in your own pain.

    And, read this article:

    7 Things to Remember When You Miss Your Boyfriend

    Let him go. Allow yourself to heal, to accept the breakup, and to experience the joy of a healthy life.

  • TB

    After a 13 year relationship with a bipolar, alcoholic man, with whom I was deeply in love, he has gotten sober and is taking medications and therapy measures to control his bipolar symptoms. A lot of damage was done to our relationship as a result of his drinking. He has been going to regular AA meetings for about 9 months and over the past two months seems to have made great progress in becoming more positive about life. We had been taking a break since early March because we felt it would be best in order for him to really embrace the AA program and to give me the time I needed to heal from the hurts of the past. Also over the past two months he began to make efforts to be the man I had always wanted and needed him to be. He was making plans and keeping our dates. He was offering to do jobs around my house and run errands for me and doing them. We had not told each other we loved each other for several months because I thought we should wait until we were back in a good place – that’s how we would know when things were right again. I would still call him my pet names for him when we talked but he would not call me my pet names. I was ok with this because I knew he would again in due time.
    Then he told me he had looked up an old girlfriend, as well as other old college friends, during a time when he and I weren’t talking much and he was very lonely. He told me he didn’t think I still cared and he needed someone to talk to. The girl is going through a divorce from an alcoholic husband and they have several children. She lives quite a few states away. They commiserated for a couple weeks on the phone then realized “there was something there”. She is traveling from her home state to ours in a few weeks to spend a long weekend at his house. He tells me they’re just friends and I shouldn’t make more of it than it is, but he also told me she’s coming to see just what it is that is there between them. He called her the pet name he always called me that meant so much to me. He has formed an attachment to her over the phone by reminiscing about the fun days of their past and commiserating about the problems in their current relationships.
    Because of the problems we have had in the past my head tells me to just let go and learn how to accept a breakup I didn’t want. We have agreed from the very beginning that infidelity is a deal breaker in our relationship. He doesn’t think he has been unfaithful because they have not had a physical relationship, but the text sure sounded like they’re planning on having one. He swears the text was a joke still two weeks after I first saw it.
    My heart, on the other hand, is crushed. I can’t eat or sleep. I can’t concentrate at work. As much as my head says just let him go, my heart says don’t do it. We’re not talking right now. I told him I won’t share him with another woman with whom he has an emotional attachment and he calls MY pet name!
    I just need someone to give me some support here. I have talked to friends ad nauseum and would like an outside perspective. All those wonderful gestures that had my heart swooning now seem to be a game he played just to ease his guilty conscience. ???

    • EarlyRec

      He’s an alcoholic (like me).
      He will have grabbed on to that woman as a lifebelt when you 1st split’s what they do..and part of the illness of alcoholism…but it’s wrong..and he should know it’s wrong if he’s any way serious about his recovery…BTW 9months in recovery is merely a start.
      I hope you didn’t go through too much pain back then and we’re able to deal with that impending visit..