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How to Cope With Regret After the Breakup

Feeling regret after breaking up is normal and even healthy – but how do you cope with it? And what if the breakup was a mistake? Here are a few signs to help you decide if getting back together is the right thing to do.

If you believe the breakup was a mistake, read How to Get Your Lover Back: Successful Strategies for Starting Over (& Making It Better Than It Was Before by Blase Harris. If you regret walking out or you’re not sure you want your lover back, this book will help you understand what happened. You might get a second chance – if you know what has to come first.

On Do You Think About Your Ex All the Time?, a reader shared his experience with his girlfriend. He broke up with her once, regretted the breakup, and got back together with her. But then he broke up with her again because he just didn’t feel that they were meant for each other.

He says, “Again [after the second breakup], the guilt, remorse, and regret flared, this time along with loneliness and quite a lot of pain and tears. I know it’s only been a week and healing takes time, but this is the first time I’ve ever broken up with a girl. I guess I’m just confused; I don’t know whether I’ve made the right choice or not. She was so good to me, she loved me despite all of my flaws and I feel awful for hurting her. However, she deserved the best and, being often frustrated with her and our relationship, I could not give her what she deserved. That’s my story, I just felt the need to share it somewhere and receive some sort of feedback. Thanks for your time!”

His relationship with her – including the two breakups – lasted seven months. He’s a lovely, caring person (you can tell from his comment!), but he’s confused about this relationship. He wants to make the right decision, and may be wondering if his regret about the breakup is because he made the wrong decision.

What Does it Mean if You Regret the Breakup?

I can’t tell you if you regret the breakup because you were meant to be together, or if you “just” feel the normal, healthy grief that accompanies the end of a relationship. Even the most difficult, unhealthy, abusive relationships are hard to let go of.

Look at your pattern of relationships and breakups

If you have a history of breaking up and then regretting it – or not being able to commit to a partner in a long-term relationship – then your “breakup regret” may in fact be a sign of something else. Maybe your struggle isn’t with your partner, but with yourself. Maybe you’re not feeling the love because you don’t know how to be in a relationship, don’t know how to settle into a mature, long-term commitment.

Or maybe you’re just suffering the classic “I want it because it’s not mine!” feeling that we’re born with. The grass is always greener on the other side, food always tastes better when it’s on someone else’s plate, and we always regret the one that got away.

Much of the time, we regret the breakup for reasons that aren’t even about your ex or the relationship itself! It’s often about us, who we are as individuals. Read 5 Reasons It’s So Hard to Get Over a Breakup for more info.

Regret and grief are normal, healthy parts of breaking up

If your relationship was fine but you feel you’re not soul mates, then you may have strong feelings of regret about breaking up. This doesn’t mean you should get back together…it just means you’re processing the grief and loss you feel.

You’re in a transition stage, and they aren’t fun! Transitions are hard work, and take time to recover from. Here’s a thought: instead of focusing on the regret and grief you feel, think about the benefits of breaking up! For some reason, your relationship wasn’t working out. Something wasn’t sitting right for you, your partner, or both of you.

If you think your regret about breaking up is because you’re meant to be together, read Should I Give Him a Second Chance?

It’s your turn! What do you think – how can you tell the difference between relationship regret and good old healthy grief that the relationship is over? I welcome your comments below. I can’t give advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience.

“The only whole heart is a broken one because it lets the light in.” – David J. Wolpe.

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16 thoughts on “How to Cope With Regret After the Breakup”

  1. I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years a week ago and am now starting to feel the regret I knew would come. I’ve been having a great time on my own but I still love and care for him. There are so many references and quirks between us that keep popping up in my head and I can’t get rid of them. I’m going to give it a few more weeks/months and let this work itself out, but I’m definitely ready to be single for a good year or so.

  2. My girlfriend just decided to end our relationship. I know it was a hard decision for her. I don’t know if she regrets leaving because I haven’t had any contact with her for almost a week. We’ve broken up before but I don’t think she’s coming back this time I don’t trust her anymore. All I can do is deal with the loss and hope she doesn’t regret breaking up.

  3. Hi. So boyfriend and I ended things I believe for the final time two months ago, and I am feeling worse than I did at first. I have to say, we broke up six times over almost four years, and every time, it was me who did the breaking up. We are not youngsters – he is 58, I am 61 – and we have a lot of friends in common, run in similar circles in the music world where we live, and knew each other 30 years ago. We actually had a weekend fling back then. Anyway, I was so in love in the beginning, but some nagging issues, big ones, like financial differences (and I am not a shallow person, neither looking for someone to take care of me), but he just isn’t as motivated to change his situation as I would like. I mean, we are getting close to retirement age, and don’t to be the one carrying the ball. He works, is a hard worker, but most any changes he has made to better himself in the four years we were together was at my pushing. Also, for me, our sex life was never amazing. It wasn’t bad, but we are very different, and I was always left feeling empty emotionally. Understand, this man loved me totally and unconditionally, wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and I thought I did, too, which is why I kept going back, thinking we could make it work. But I think now, after this last breakup, it is really over, and I am just struggling if I made the right decision, if I couldn’t have worked harder to make it work. I don’t know how, and I always wonder if there’s something wrong with me, but I just couldn’t make it work, and now I need to let him heal and move on with his life. But it sucks. I hate this.

  4. I actually recently broke up with my boyfriend and it’s hard, we’ve liked each other for 3 years and been on and off twice within it.
    But now I broke up with him again and I think it’s for good, I feel bad as it was over text which is the worst way I know but the chance I tried to in person failed but I still wanted it done.
    We made new friends and since week 1 he started liking this girl I’m best friends with now, he doesn’t talk to her but he looked/looks at her the way he’s supposed to look at me and he always stares at her. He denied it every time I brought it up but I never believed him and we argued so much over it. I decided enough was enough but now I miss him more then ever already and idk if it was the right or wrong thing to do. I just followed my gut and for a while I was wanting to break up with him. I keep thinking back to how a month ago I couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day with him and look how different it is now! If it’s the wrong thing I’m going to feel like a complete fool so I’m hoping that the regret I feel is the grief everyone feels and not just me making the wrong decision. I’m quite young and it’s overwhelming to feel like this.

  5. I know exactly how you feel. It’s hard, take time let yourself heal and get past the longing for her and loneliness. As soon as you choose to let go and move on you’ll feel better.

  6. It’s been just over a year since the breakup, we were happily together for 4 years, both of our longest relationships. Even through our breakup we were compassionate with each other. I still cry nearly every single day. I don’t know if that is normal or not.. We talked about getting back together but it always comes down to us going in different directions, so we don’t. I can’t stop this depression and it’s ruining my life.. I am going to see a psychologist next week, I hope that will change something for me. I hope the best for all of you too.

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