How to Start Over After a Bad Relationship

We get trapped in bad relationships because we’re scared of the unknown. These are the best tips on starting over after a bad relationship because they’ll help you move forward, despite your fear and uncertainty.

How to Start Over After a Bad RelationshipOMG What A Mistake: Starting Over After A Bad Relationship is Mica Callaway’s account of how she started over after the biggest mistake in her life – which was marrying and abusive man and staying in a bad marriage. The red shoes have a very special significance to her, and to her relationship with God.

I don’t usually “preach” on my Quips and Tips for Love and Relationships blog – even on my articles about breaking up and starting over after a bad relationship. But today I want to focus on emotional and spiritual health – so, some of these tips on starting over after a relationship ends aren’t as practical as the ones I usually offer. I’m a very practical person, but I’m starting to realize how important God is in my life, and I want to share the peace, freedom, and grace I’m enjoying!

Starting Over After a Bad Relationship

Believe. Have faith. Trust. “For God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11.

Know that God loves you, and He is paving the way to a happy, peaceful, wonderful future for you.

1. Accept what cannot be changed

This isn’t even a spiritual tip for starting over after a bad relationship – it’s sort of a new age one! Everything you fight brings more pain, heartache, discomfort, bitterness and fear. Everything you accept brings a sense of peace, surrender, and resilience.

2. Act as if this breakup is the best thing in your life right now

Close your eyes and pretend that you WANTED this breakup, that you’re HAPPY to be starting over after a bad relationship. Rest in the knowledge that this is the best thing for you, that starting over is the best thing that could ever happen in your life. Feel how relaxed and even excited you are. Notice how calm and happy you feel. Acceptance is the key to starting over after a bad relationship.

3. Know that you CAN and WILL be happy again

Have no fear – you WILL find another person to love and cherish you. I stayed in bad relationships because I was scared I’d never find anyone else, that I was unlovable, that I was too old to start over, that I was too fat and dumb and family-less to be loved. This is not true for me – and it’s not true for you either. Get through the fear and insecurity of starting over after a bad relationship by reminding yourself that the breakup doesn’t represent your last chance of happiness.

4. Don’t believe the lies

What lies are you hearing about yourself, your body, your future, your personality? What lies do you believe? What lies are you telling yourself? Here are two lies I believed after my last bad relationship ended: “I’ll never find anyone else to love me, because all the good men are taken” and “I’ll never be able to stop obsessing about my ex or get on with my life.”

5. Believe your ex’s actions over his words

Your ex may say everything from “this is all your fault” to “I love you, I”ll never hit you again, I’m sorry. But, how does he show you his love? Does he put you first in his life, respect your wishes, and do things to make you happy?  Believe what he does, not what he says. He can talk ‘til the cows come home, but if his actions don’t support his words, then he’s lying to you and himself. Starting over after a bad relationship is about believing people when they tell you who they are.

6. Own your role in the breakup

Usually, relationships don’t work out because of both partners’ actions, personalities, or beliefs. It’s not often one partner who creates a bad relationship. To start over after a bad relationship, figure out your role in the relationship. Don’t feel guilty or blame yourself for anything – just accept that your actions may have contributed to the breakup – or the growth of the unhealthy aspects of the relationship.

7. Think about your relationship with God

bad relationship starting over

“10 Best Tips on Starting Over After a Bad Relationship” image by tpsdave via Pixabay, CC license

I believe God’s word – and I believe that one of the best tips on starting over after a bad relationship is trusting that He has my best interests at heart. God loves me, protects me, and lives within me. He gives me power, strength, faith, and hope. I know that the bad things in my life happen for a reason, and that I can trust God to work all things together for my good. How are you and God doing these days? Are you on speaking terms?

8. Remember that everything happens for a reason

In How to Get Over a Bad Breakup, I stress that breakups happen for specific reasons. Maybe your ex wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, or you weren’t ready to be in a relationship, or you two are not good together. For some reason, it was an unhealthy relationship that had to end. Even if you don’t believe God, trust that synchronicity or the universe or karma is making things unfold exactly the way they should. Starting over after a bad relationship is about believing that the breakup was meant to be.

9. Get help if your ex is struggling with emotional issues

Your ability to heal and start over after your relationship ends can be hobbled by your ex’s psychological or emotional health issues. If your ex – or you – are dealing with depression, anxiety, or other issues, I urge you to talk to a counselor. You don’t necessarily need to get counseling for months or years; even just calling a local help line can help you gain clarity and insight. Don’t rely on the internet for help with something as serious as starting over after a bad relationship with someone who is severely depressed or abusive.

10. Allow yourself time to start over after a bad relationship

Sometimes it takes a long time to heal after a breakup. There is no “normal” amount of time for healing – it takes some people years, while others can bounce back more quickly. To help yourself heal, don’t focus on the pain and guilt. Instead, focus on what you love about yourself, your life, and your future. Where are you going, where do you want to be in one year? Set your intention, pray, and start heading in that direction!

If you’re still trapped in your relationship because of fear and insecurity, read How to Find Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship.

I welcome your thoughts on starting over after a bad relationship. I can’t give relationship or breakup advice, but you may feel better if you share your experiences.

For God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11.

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16 thoughts on “How to Start Over After a Bad Relationship”

  1. Hi. I have read many of your articles in the past 24 hours. I have been a difficult relationship now for 21+ years, since I was 16. We have had so many great times and so many awful times. We have been challenged and managed to overcome so many obstacles. But, yesterday, I packed everything in his truck, and then told him to leave. I have told him to leave so many times in the past three months but I’ve never packed his stuff – he has left a few times but always comes back and I let him come back. He is a drug addict and he fights the disease of addiction every hour of the day. He has won a few times but the win never lasts. We have a 19 year old son and a 2 year old son. The years of difference between the two is my waiting for him to be a better person. He is such a great person when he is clean – but when he’s not, I am completely unattracted to him and he literally grosses me out. I love him so much because I know how he is when he’s clean, but I have to let him go because he cannot stay clean. Life has never been easy for us but we have tried so hard, which makes it so much harder to leave him for good. He has been in treatment twice – the last time when I was 5 months pregnant with our two year old. He came home and was an amazing man, but that didn’t last. He stayed clean for 10 months and then it all went downhill. He hasn’t been financially supportive or emotionally supportive. He only helps around the house and does projects when he is using. He doesn’t show me appreciation and respect when he has been using or is coming down. Depression has hit him hard these last few months and he has become unbearable. My anxiety and depression has skyrocketed and I’ve been written up twice at work now. I love him and want him to be clean but I know he needs to do that on his own, and he wants to want it more than anything else. I pray he gets the help he needs and I pray for myself to be strong enough to not let him back in my home again. Even though he hasn’t been working regularly, this is going to be a huge financial hit for me and I’m afraid I will lose the home I bought 2 1/2 years ago. My worst fear is failure. I wish he would understand the impact he has on my life and our boys’ life but I know that he is not in his right mind. I’m afraid my boys are going to lose him to his addiction. I’m afraid that things will get so much worse for him if he is not here with us. I know I need to let him go and I fear that I am unable to do so. Reading your articles has been inspiring and has encouraged me to get the help I need and to reach out to God. I say all this with a little voice in the back of my head telling me that I won’t be able to do it and he will be back by the end of the week. Please pray for me that my eyes will be opened and I will stick with my gut and not let him back in my life.

  2. i fell in love with some guy after 1 year we are in love he marry me we got a child he got 11 months now after that my husband he found out if I aam hiv positive he left me he don’t like to see any more I’m so stressed I still love himbut sometimes I pray god that I must forget about him but its painful

    1. Time heals all kinds of wounds,at this time and age I don’t think He left you because if your status ,,,it wasn’t meant to be…

  3. I fell in love with a man all too quickly. He claimed to be a great provider and protector and to a struggling single mother of 7 years it wss music to my ears. He claimed he had been looking fir me his whole life and we weee to be married that fall. I allowed him to move into my house in a week despite blaring warnings from mutual friends and family. I quickly saw within months why he was going through his second divorce. He drank too much, came home hours late and didn’t help with the bills or upkeep of the home and when I would complain about it he would say your acting like my ex, needy and nagging. He would yell at me and stomp and call me names. I would feel guilty and afraid he would leave so I would back off. My house got behind while he wasted money on booze and toys. He began becoming distant and guarding his phone. I was sure he was cheating. I had a lengthy conversation with his grown son who told me he had cheated on his mother repeadtly so I threw him out. He talked his way back in within a week. Things were good for a few months. He started all if it again. Started bashing me for being outgoing and too loud and too social. I muted myself to make him happy. Stopped seeing friends and rushed home from work to make sure the house was in order before he got there. My boss even commented that I wasn’t plugged in at my job anymore because a I focused on was him. I was embarrased because it was true. He began bashing my children saying they were disrespectful and purposeless. After months of the same I broke up with him a second time and again he talked his way back in.

    I kicked him out for the third and final time after 2 years. He tried to talk his way back in but this time I refused to listen and he was with a new girl 10 days later ” in love”. I was devastated to realize I had put forth all this effort and went through all this hardship for nothing.

    I recently found out hes getting married for the third time. He’s getting married and I’m still suffering. I’ve been in counseling for a month. It does help but I’m still suffering anxiety and PTSD. Lately I’ve been looking at his kids and fiances Instagram and the like. I don’t know why I torture myself as it only hurts me. I’m very pretty and girly and his fiance is the opposite of me. She wears no make up and kind of looks like an old man. She’s very plain which makes me feel bad because he was always telling me I was too flashy and drew too much attention. I asked him why was he with me if he didn’t like who I was. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. My divorce after 15 years of marriage wasn’t this hard. My self esteem has taken such a hit. Sometimes I feel like I will never be OK. I try to keep busy and be positive but some days are terrible. I do pray and try to trust God and know he has a plan for me but almost a year later and I’m still alone struggling as a single mother. Please pray for me and thank you for being here.

    1. I went thru the exact same scenario, can you tell me how ur doing now with all of this? I can use all the help starting over after a bad relationship that I can get. Thank u for sharing ur story

    2. Omg we have so many things in common… Isolating mysf from other people, putting him first, doing everything to not set him off, his drinking, etc. .and yes this breakup (18days ago for good) harder than my divorce After 18 years marriage…. Which I do not get at all. Why is this 2.5 years relationship that completely sucked the life out of me and has broken me in ways I never knew possible? He was love of my life. He has new girlfriend and I KNOW he was with her before we broke up. And….he letting her post love crap all over his Facebook page….omg its killing me. He has broken me. I cry all time and he’s freaking happy and already replacd me. I saved him, helped him completely rebuild his life…..all for nothing. I’m supposed to b his next wife, not her. So hurt and so angry.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    May you find strength and healing as you think about starting over after a bad relationship. I pray for peace in your life, for encouragement, and for inspiration.

    Know that you are God’s child, and He has plans for you! He wants to give you a life of goodness, peace, and joy. He wants you to heal and move on from this part of your life. He wants you to be happy.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers, for strength, courage, and freedom.

  5. Hi iv been with my partner for five years on and off first few years were awful violent abusive i then fell pregnant things were bad until I had my son he’s 18 months , things became good but because I do it all cooking cleaning might feeds nappy changing I can’t be my self or voice my opinion because I don’t know how he will react I have broken up with him last week cos I’m so unhappy and I need to be a good mum I can only do that if I am happy he then thinks it’s because I have met someone else which it’s laughable I have four children and I don’t leave the house without them I am scared of the unknown I just want to be strong enough to give myself the chance to get over him

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Tony,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how difficult it’s been for you. Starting over after a relationship ends is one of the hardest things in life, as we build our future around our partners. Our hopes and dreams are intertwined with our spouse, and a divorce or breakup is devastating.

    I don’t give advice, but it occurred to me as I was reading your comment that your life may not have meaning outside your wife and marriage. What, other than your wife, makes your life meaningful? That, I think, is the key to healing and starting over after a bad relationship ends.

    My prayer for you is for healing. May you grieve the end of your marriage and process the painful emotions you feel. May you find helpful resources, such as counseling or books or wise people to talk to. May you find ways to process your grief – such as by journaling, talking about the painful emotions that are part of starting over, and confiding in someone close to you. I also pray that you find meaning in your life, apart from your marriage. I pray that you find peace, joy, compassion, love, and hope for your future.

    May you be filled with faith that even though your marriage is over, your life is not. May you find courage and strength to keep moving forward – and may you trust that for some reason, your life was destined to take this turn. Happiness and fulfillment is in your future, if you can find the strength, courage, and faith you need to keep moving forward. Keep healing. Keep reaching out to people. Keep searching for meaning in your life, and you will find it. Look upwards. Amen.


  7. Hi.. i met my wife 10 years ago in Australia where we both were there to study, we both were young i was 23 and she was 18. We fall in love and things moved fast for both of us. We had to go through challenges considering English is not our first language. Knowing it hard for us to live in my country or her country i had to apply for extra courses to apply for the permanent residency in Australia; i worked in three different jobs just to survive. Until we had a good life there but we wanted more so we decided to move to Dubai for 5 years and make more money then we can back to Australia and start in a better financial situation. The move here was tough for her considering the culture and the thing that went wrong with work for me as we end up staying in my sister house after i lost the job opportunity i had. Thing kept going wrong and she decided to go to her country until i get things sorted. but after 2 months she called and said she want to back as she cant handle staying there anymore so she came back for 1 months and went back to Australia after that. i noticed she been behaving differently while she was here but couldn’t figure out what the reason. i know her father been asking her to divorce me and he will buy a house and anything she want but only if she divorce me. anyway after she moved back to Australia i noticed she remove all the wedding photos and updated her Facebook status etc and before i call her to ask why one of my friends in Australia called me to say i saw your wife today with a guy in a nightclub ?? it was a shock for me considering what we went through together so when we spoke she said she wanted to tell me but she didn’t knew how to bring it up and she want to be happy and meet new people and we should take time away from each other. she know very well i can’t move now to Australia as i need to wait 6 months so i can send the dogs back. This whole thing put me in a bad depression and emotional feeling i even started to think of taking my life as i lost hope and the person i built my life around is gone and don’t want me back. so i am in a mix stage where i will be fine but in one second i start to think about us and feel depress. its always easy for the person who made the decision but will never be easy for the one who been put into that situation. And while i am here in a financial stress and emotionally sick she is there having fun and going out every night and dating multiple guys at the same time. And that just make me feel really sad and angry at the same time. i have no idea what i am going to do and ive been never the kind of person who will talk to people and ask for help and i found this site so i just wanted to write what i feel hopping it will make me feel better. i apologise for everyone but i appreciate you taking the time to read this.

    1. I’m with you tony. My wife did the same thing. She said she felt something for someone else. Now she acts like she didn’t say that and made me out to be the bad one. Now she clutches her phone like her life depends on it. She has my son and dictates how we’ll share custody. You did what I did to my self. You put your wife on the pedestal, she used your self confidence against you and made you insecure. So you started to revolve your life choices around her. So when she left and you heard the news you lost you lifes meaning. I was crushed physically and mentally and it’s been three weeks and I’m still angry. But what someone taught me two days ago is to realize you are what’s real right now. You know your feeling were in the right place. If she couldn’t hold her end that’s not you fault. You became a shell of your former self. When she saw it, she filled that void with feelings from other men. She will never be happy and those other guys will be crushed too. Don’t ever say, “what’s that man have that I can’t give her”, truth is she doesn’t know who she is and she uses her beauty and personality to convince others that she is normal like everyone else. I’m hurting and in pain. I explained this to my wife in text last night because even though they say they want to talk they really don’t she’ll dodge the important issues and make you believe everything is okay by playing with your feelings. I have zero confidence in finding the “next one” I just want to be happy to be with myself and love my son who doesn’t know a single thing. I put her above my own son, that makes me sad angry. It’s been almost a month since our seperation and I’m building myself up everyday. Tony, just start walking. I walk 10 to 20 miles a day. It’s my body telling my mind to move and keep moving no matter how I feel that day.

  8. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for being here – it takes alot of courage to share how you’re starting over after a bad relationship! Leaving a partner who isn’t right for you, thinking about how to start over, planning for a future alone…it’s never easy.

    Allow yourself time to grieve the end of your relationship. At the same time, start pursuing activities and hobbies that you’ve always wanted to do. Take time to bring emotional closure to your past, while you start building your future in interesting new ways. The key to starting over after a bad relationship is balance.

    Grieve the past, and celebrate the possibilities your future brings.

    1. It’s been hard finding my innermost self. I’m learning that I’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship. The journals I’m reading make me sick because it’s what I went through. I want to feel every bit of pain along the way. It’s the only I’m able to overcome this. I saw my wife yesterday and I was sick. She looked happy to see me like this. She sent me hurtful messages the night before and she, without any sympathy, acted like I took the comments out of context. She openly said I was being a “bad father”, by taking personal time to sort things out. Her father is helping me through this but I’ve distanced myself from him to avoid her. What she’s telling everyone is different from what she told me about separating. Anyways today I know what I don’t want. I don’t pity her, it’s what she chose. I understand the damage I have and Im pushing forward walking on average 5 miles a day. Just moving and thinking being optimistic again. I think about us less everyday. I appreciate the times we shared but I have a son and future to work on. I won’t let anything stop me in this new venture.

  9. I’m there with you kadian. I was in a relationship for 12 yrs and married for almost 6yrs up until about 2 weeks ago. My wife left with my son saying I stopped caring and don’t show sympathy for others. She envied coworkers cause of how I treated them versus her. They took the time to get to know me and respect me. I could only give someone what they gave me in the end. I’m a nurse, I know about caring and providing help. I worked a part time job and went to school full time to be were Im at today. She would come out with some crazy arguments during these times and finally when I couldn’t take it, I’d explode. Then Id apologize to her and her favorite audience( her mom and dad). Relationships are a two way street. Not one person can be to blame for the end result. I’m trying to find myself because I made her the center of my world. She left saying she wants to be happy and she meet guys recently that treat her well. I was in shock. I gave up on myself esteem and this is the result of not talking things out when the problems came. It hurts knowing she is gone but Im glad knowing that hopefully we can both find something better and that’s good enough for me considering I used to think what we had was magic.

  10. I’ve been with my bf for 3 years now we have a wonderful son together.. we met in trade school and fell in love before I got pregnant. We argued ALOE then and still do now some how we’ve managed to stay together but for some reason I have no idea why we are still together I mean I know that we love and care for each other deeply but something doesn’t feel right. His family doesn’t really like me and always involve themselves in our issues thanks to him telling them everything that goes wrong in our relationship. I find myself always having to explain myself to them more often than I like to. We have sex once maybe twice a week if I’m lucky to grab his attention on that intimate level .. I work full time and start school (college) this semester. we’ve been living together for 2 years and everything has changed. Less communication and I find myself accomidating to his needs and wants I cook clean and we both pay bills in our house hold but for some reason there’s something missing please email me back with some in site on what I’m missing that I can’t see for myself —–sincerely ms.understood

    1. I understand where your at kadian. I was with the girl of my dreams for 12yrs. Married for the last 5yrs and we have a beautiful son. I went to college after high school and was ambitious and ready to take on the world and be a doctor. I put up with her high school BS and ignored interesting and very mature girls because I thought the world of her. She followed in my footsteps and did not get the “college experience”. In 3 yrs, she was pregnant. I stopped my pursuit to my passion in chemistry and applied to any job to provide for my new family. I became a carpenter and noticed she was detached, possibly not liking me at all. So I sucked it up and went to LPN school. I work at an automotive shop for $7.25 an hour almost everyday and went to school full time. I missed my sons early years. And again I was taking her nagging and picking fights even when I told her “I just want to cool down, I just had a test or this new material is complicated”, when I’d get mad, I’d explode. What made this worst after apologizing to her was apologizing to her favorite audience (her mom and dad). I’ve even heard her mother(the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet) for some reason egg her on during an small arguements making it worst. I lost my identity. I made her the center of my world. When I came home I showered like it was prom night. When I made love, I treated it like is was the first and last time. When she loved me she would not hold back. I became bitter at the world. How can I even try to love anything if I am not happy about mine. She was my obsession. I put her above my own son. After many insensitive and immature comments and becoming disconnected with my own feelings towards her and myself, she walked out the door with my son. I knew she was’nt coming back. I felt like I had no purpose in life or felt the need to live. She admitted that she meet a few guys who made her feel good and that’s what she feels she deserves. But what did she tell her mom and dad? That I was an insensitive jerk who stopped caring about her and that she can no longer love me. I’m away from that environment and still miss what I had. But I hope with time that I can be happy and that she will find what she wants and we can both raise our son.