Ok, for starters, if a relationship involves disrespect or abuse – that needs to be addressed immediately.
Have a look at our Help and support page for suggestions on what action to take.
Secondly, remember that while you might be able to ‘move on’ from some relationships kinda quickly, others can hurt pretty badly – regardless of whether you dated for two weeks or two years.
If it feels like it’s taking forever to stop feeling sad or confused, that’s okay. Whoever wrote that old saying, “time heals all wounds,” was probably thinking of heartache.
Sometimes you just need to accept that it will take a while and focus on looking after yourself. If you realise that somehow you have gotten ‘stuck’ in this phase, it’s a good time to seek some help, too.
This article is not about whether to stay or go, or how to break up with someone. This one goes out to anyone who’s in a recently-ended relationship.
Before we go on, check out these other tales of heartache and sorrow:
[On screen titles] Asking for a mate / Episode 2:
Relationships: It’s not you, it’s me
[On screen questions] I have never been dumped.
Young person 1: (Holds up ‘True’ sign)
Young person 2: (Holds up ‘False’ sign) Are you kidding?! That’s not fair!
[On screen questions] Why did your last relationship end?
Young person 3: This one’s a bit weird ‘cause this is our second time dating. So, our last relationship ended because you left me.
Young person 4: Bit of a sensitive topic.
Young person 5: She moved away for uni, so we tried distance...and distance didn’t work.
Young person 6: Because he didn’t feel mentally stable enough to be with me and he was afraid that he was gonna hurt me, if he kept dating me. So, he called it off on his own behalf, and that hurt, but I think it was better for the both of us.
Young person 7: We were in different places in the relationship. She wanted to go forward with doing certain things, I wasn’t ready to. And we just weren’t in a really comfortable place to be able to move on.
Young person 8: It ended. They just lost feelings. We separated. Whatever...it happens.
Young person 9: He slept with someone one night when a family member of mine had actually passed away. So that was pretty full on. I was like, “Nah, it’s not, it’s not cool to do that.”
[On screen questions] When was the last time you got turned down?
Young person 5: Probably a week ago. Told a girl how I felt about her, but she said, “Maybe it’s better we just stay friends.”
Young person 10: The last time was a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t deal with it very well. I was an absolute mess. I’m still trying to deal with it to this day.
Young person 11: We made out, and afterwards, got out the front and they were like, “I’m a lesbian!”
Young person 12: I don’t actually make the ask, that’s probably really bad, so I just have crushes, and I get over it, and then, that’s probably why I’ve been single for a long time.
[On screen questions] What’s the best way to break up with someone?
Young person 8: Just do it. You know, face-to-face in person, because a text message or just ghosting them is just a bit wrong.
[On screen questions] The worst way you’ve ever been dumped...
Young person 13: I’ve never been dumped! I’m the dumper, so that’s pretty good.
Young person 8: Oh, they randomly started talking about this guy they went and got Thai food with, and I’m getting a little bit shaky at this point, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, so have you like, lost feelings or something?” And she’s like, “Oh, yeah, I love this guy instead.” Next day, blocked me on everything.
Young person 14: I got broken up with at a birthday party. My birthday party, one year. For obvious reasons why, that wasn’t a great time.
Young person 15: That’s a bad time. A bad time.
Young person 14: Yeah. What was maybe the worst one of the ones you’ve had to do?
Young person 15: Oh, I hate myself in the past...
Young person 14: It’s okay, everyone does.
Young person 15: It was via text, when he was at school. In class.
[On screen questions] What is one thing you should never do after being dumped?
Young person 12: Don’t call them. Don’t text them.
Young person 6: Probably post about it. You know, post things on Facebook saying all these awful things about what they’ve done. It’s really petty. You’re obviously in a really emotional state.
Young person 16: I feel like you should never take it out on someone.
Young person 12: Don’t drunk text them.
Young person 7: Spend the next three and a half weeks stalking them on Facebook. It’s not going to help the healing process.
Young person 17: When it’s done, just go. Chill out with your mates. I don’t know...go out, or stay in and play video games, or do whatever it is that you do.
Young person 18: Mine was going to be: eat loads of Chinese food in the hopes that it’ll, you know, fill the void in you, because you feel really bad after that.
Young person 12: Don’t try to get some sort of closure, if you didn’t get closure. You won’t get it.
Young person 9: You should never sleep with them again. Don’t blow up their phone, just let it be. If it’s meant to be that you should get back together again, you might bump into each other at a bar, and you’ve got a f-----g romance novel on the way.
[On screen questions] Can you ever really be mates with an ex or will it always be a little bit weird?
Young person 12: I’m really good friends with my ex. Other people find it weird, but I don’t find it weird, like, we ended on good terms, like you know, he has a girlfriend he’s happy with, I’m single and I’m relatively happy. It’s fine.
[On screen questions] The best thing about being single...?
Young person 19: Being able to spend some time with yourself. In past relationships, I’ve spent so much time putting it into other people and stuff, I feel like I’ve kinda lost myself a little bit there.
Young person 20: Not having to consult anyone before you do anything.
Young person 17: Not having to wait to like, continue watching episodes of stuff. It’s pretty great. I’m gonna say that’s pretty good.
Young person 18: You’re talking about Stranger Things now, aren’t you?
[On screen titles] # ASKINGFORAMATE
Hopefully, these tales remind you that you’re not the first person to go through a breakup and you definitely won’t be the last. Things will get better.
But, before they do, you need to:
Acknowledge it’s over
Maybe you decided it was over, maybe they did or maybe it was mutual. Maybe you feel like they did something wrong, maybe they feel like you did – the point is, it’s over, and the first step to getting out of that filthy pit of pain, confusion and anger is recognising it’s over. Only then can you get crackin’ towards being a happy human again. Next…
Your biggest time-waster will be going back over everything that was said, everything that was done, analysing you-versus-them, and trying to figure out exactly what went wrong and when. Have a good vent to a friend/family member/therapist/dog and then put your phone down and start to look forward! Even if you could figure out exactly what the problem was, it wouldn’t bring back the relationship. Talking constantly about your recent break-up also doesn’t make for great party conversation. So now...
If you're the one who has been dumped, you gotta be respectful of your ex's choices. No matter how unfair it might feel, their actions are up to them – you can’t demand financial compensation or a 3-month notice period when the relationship ends. You might’ve heard it before, but it’s true: you can only control your own actions and emotions. And even if it hurts, people are allowed to break up with you.
Oh and make sure you stay classy when it comes to talking to or about your ex, so you can...
All that time you used to share with your ex? That’s YOUR time now! Go hang out with those people you mightn’t have seen for ages. See those films, watch those sports, listen to those tunes... You do you! Now...
Post-breakup warning: do not fall into one of those solo cesspits of Netflix binges, long walks on the beach or going through old photos. Sure, a bit of alone time for self-reflection is all good, but if you catch yourself staring at nothing for too long, dribbling on yourself or speaking back to the TV, it’s time to hang out with some living, breathing human people. Get out there… be free… fly little one, flyyyyy…