Home > Relationships > Breakups > Accepting a Breakup and Easing the Pain

Accepting a Breakup and Easing the Pain

How do you accept a breakup you didn’t want and didn’t see coming? Acceptance doesn’t happen overnight, but you can ease the pain of an unwanted and unexpected breakup. These tips will help you accept that your relationship ended and move into a fresh new season of life.

Surrendering to what you can’t change is simple in theory, but so difficult in practice! Accepting a breakup and letting go of the relationship doesn’t mean you’re helpless or powerless. On the contrary, there is strength and healing in acceptance. Surrendering to reality gives you power and hope. The most important thing is not to lose heart, and to stay connected to the only eternal 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?”

One of the best tips for accepting a breakup is to keep reminding yourself that you won’t always feel this bad. Give yourself time to grieve your loss; you have, after all, lost someone you love. Be gentle with yourself as you move through the pain of breaking up with someone you care for. And, most importantly, use this time to reconnect with God. Your spiritual self has been neglected lately, hasn’t it? Renewing your relationship with Jesus will help you accept even the most painful breakup.

Accepting a Breakup You Didn’t Want

Here’s another comment from a reader:

“We were known as the sweet happy loving couple with a beautiful family at work, school, community, everywhere,” says Gloria on How to Cope When Your Husband Leaves You for Her. “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.”

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.

On the other hand, if you learn how to accept a breakup 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.

1. Learn to live with the shadows of loss

In When You Don’t Feel Good Enough to Be Loved, I share the somewhat disheartening – but true – insight that some losses will never leave us. Accepting the fact that life brings suffering, especially when we allow ourselves the gift of love, will make accepting a breakup and letting go easier.

“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.” Melody’s book is a daily “devotional” that I read every morning. It takes less than five minutes to read her daily meditations, 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.

2. Grieve slowly and be gentle with yourself

“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.

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.

3. Look for the moon

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

How to Accept a Breakup You Didn't Want
How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want

The barn was your relationship: it was a safe place (even though it may also have been shabby, dirty, old or even unhealthy) 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.

The breakup wasn’t your choice…but maybe it wasn’t a mistake. Maybe you wish you could turn back time and do things differently. Maybe you also know deep down that maybe your relationship wasn’t as good as you wanted, wished, or hoped for.

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

4. Start thinking about how you will 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.

But even for me, accepting a breakup or loss is painful. It hurts, and it’s not easy.

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 won’t always feel this bad. You can accept this breakup, hold on to the best parts of yourself, and strengthen your weaknesses. You can be happy again…and you will eventually overcome the pain of breaking up.

Accepting a Breakup You Didn’t Want

In How to Let of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart, I share valuable insights and help for women who need help letting go of someone they love after a breakup.

Learn how to emotionally detach and become free, healthy, and whole. Don’t let the weight of grief and suffering drag you under or make you bitter!

How to Let of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is an ebook — which means it’s immediately available. You’ll learn how to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and move forward into a fresh new season of life.

Your thoughts — big and little — are welcome in the comments section below. Writing is a great way to untangle your thoughts and emotions, which will help you start healing your hurts.

May you find and accept the blessings and gifts in this breakup you didn’t want.


Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 thoughts on “Accepting a Breakup and Easing the Pain”

  1. I wanted you to know l am so happy and free from all my pain and overwhelming feelings of devastation in my heart l suffered a wonderful and long journey of self discovery of all the impotant soulful meaning in my own heart l didnt know how to protect nurture. Give provide uncondioal security to myself please understand no-one knows what u want or need more than yourself l now have trained and love to pamper love and. Give myself peace and contentment with everything i do and think l have formed limits boundaries. L value my time and talents and volunteer in usefull giving to projects worthwhile investing you cannot give or recive what you dont have in your knowledge find healthy friends who make u better for me it was church. Sorry but there is life in abundance you need to grow in a different directoin and find purpose in youself

  2. I can’t seem to let go. I was engaged living such a great life with my partner we had travelled the world and experienced so much together it was really a great relationship. Then after some stresses at work he changed a little and ended up taking it out on me and out of no where turned around and left me. This was in another country where we had built a life, due to the fact we were both from different countries I was there under a visa which instantly was cancelled due to us breaking up. I had to leave my life as I knew it and move back to my home country and spent some time with my family. It was the biggest crush I have ever felt in my life. I cried for months and got myself in a very bad state. I finally picked myself up and kind of forced myself to accept this new job in a new country so I went and found it extremely difficult to get through the days when I didn’t have this person anymore who really was my best friend. I tried to talk with him but we didn’t really get anywhere so eventually we stopped talking, about a month passed and he started talking to me again, after a huge discussion he ends up saying everything I had hoped he would say about how he wanted us to get back together and appologised for everything that had happened and we spent the next month making plans on how to get back to the same place and move forward as a couple. Until now, he has just turned around and said he doesn’t want anything with me. How and why and he done this to me again? I feel so stupid, I confined with him if he was totally sure that we could fix this and that he wanted it and not to give me all these hopes of he did have any doubts. He had assured me this was for good. I told all my family and friends and had to talk some of them around the idea of it all after they seen my heartbreak before. Now I am left even worse than the first time. He has made it clear now we will never get back together and he doesn’t love me. I am literally a wreck my whole worlds been shuck again. How do I get over this and move on? I can’t seem to let go.

  3. Great advice. I broke up with a girl i was dating and was really hoping to get serious with but something was nagging me because there was no reciprocity from her. I brought it up a few times told her how i felt and i was insulted. Broke it off after that. But yet i feel bummed and disappointed still i still have feelings for her my friends urged me to move on but its not easy.

    1. I feel the exact same way. I’m incredibly split between wanting to stay and knowing it’s best to leave. Doesn’t make it any easier to accept that it’s over, and I constantly question of there was anything I could have done differently to make him see the good in us. I know I couldn’t but the heart still hurts.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. TB,

    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.

  9. 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. ???

    1. He’s an alcoholic (like me).
      He will have grabbed on to that woman as a lifebelt when you 1st split up..it’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..

      1. My ex is narcissistic and started searching for women to go to before I even moved out. We were just going to give each other space and now I am out of his life completely. I am devastated but have to understand that if I am so easily replaced, what did I mean to him in the first place? It’s hard to accept. Everyday I am in pain and feel embarrassed that I’m so hurt rather than angry.

        1. This just happened to me, we ju add t went on a vacation, returned home, got along great for a week. Then she just stopped communicating completely! No texts, calls, ignoring mine! Two weeks later I get she says I dont want to be with you! I ran into her the other day and she seemed so happy without me! I was devastated! I was a good person to her and she made me feel so unimportant!