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Relationships

Feeling Lonely After a Breakup: How to Deal With It

So, you decide to be brave about it and break up, but what follows is a long lonely process of healing.

We’ve all had our fair share of failed relationships, out of which a lonely breakup was inevitable. Breakups are hands down the worst part of a relationship. 

But we might fail to consider that they feel quite freeing for some people, especially those who found themselves stuck in a toxic relationship cycle.

Once you feel ready and have given yourself enough time to heal, there is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there. You need to make this decision for yourself and not rush.

Healing from a relationship requires patience and social support. It would be best to tell yourself that it’s okay to feel these emotions you’re feeling right now, and it will get better in time. 

If you feel like it won’t, remember there’s always professional help available. Talking to a therapist will considerably help with your issues since they employ widely practiced techniques and maintain total confidentiality about anything and everything you might want to talk about.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself feel a little less lonely after a painful breakup.

1. Talk to your social support system.

two girls talking after feeling lonely after break up on a park's swing

Your support system includes your family and friends that you fully trust to understand you. 

When you know you have at least one person you trust entirely, reach out to them. It’s alright to confide in the ones you love and those that love you. It’ll take some time, but soon you’ll be able to adjust back into the single life.

If you want them to listen to your breakup, it’s best to be clear and talk to them about what is bothering you. Hanging out with your friends to do something fun together will help you take your mind off those concerns, even if it’s for a short while.

Understand that if you talk about it, you might feel lighter in your heart than if you’ve been bottling up all the emotions you’ve felt through this event. 

A simple “Hey, would you like to hang out this weekend? I could use a distraction, and “it would be nice to go out for a while” could go a long way in helping you feel better.

2. Reconnect friends you’ve lost touch with

When we get into relationships, friendships might take a back seat for most of us. It gets easy to forget about many friends or simply lose touch with them, especially when prioritizing your partner above everything.

If you haven’t been in contact with any of your friends for some reason, this is your chance to get back in touch with them. People may react to this in different ways, and it may seem like you’re only getting in touch with them for emotional support when you’re in a bad spot. 

But saying something as simple as “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch lately, I’d like to catch up with you sometime soon if that’s okay?” will be great. Most times, your friendship will get back to what it was like no time has passed.

3. Set a healthy routine for yourself

Female athlete putting the hood on.
Female athlete putting the hood on.

Routines are the perfect way to keep yourself distracted and busy while you do the emotional work—deal with your breakup.

Remember any days when you felt low and planned a few activities to feel productive and better? It’s a hack.

Making a routine will help you sort your activities for a specific period. For instance, many people often tend to get lonely during the night. If this is also the case for you, you might want to set a bedtime routine such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, doing your skincare, slipping into bed, reading a book for an hour, or listening to some relaxing music. 

Set out a particular amount of time for yourself to do these activities and follow your routine every day.

4. Learn to manage your thoughts 

girl meditating early

While a therapist will help you do this better, you can learn to manage your thoughts by yourself to a certain extent.

The constant thought about your ex-partner may be daunting, but there are a few ways you can take control of these to a limit.

  • Use Healthy Distractions

Healthy distractions may include getting yourself enrolled in a gym or a class for your favorite hobby or even a small DIY project.

While choosing distractions for yourself, ensure they are helpful to you and not harmful. It’s easy to get into harmful addictions and distractions, especially when you feel like you’re having a tough time coping with something on your own. 

Examples of bad distractions are addictions, gambling, alcohol, excessive use of social media, etc. 

  • Set aside time to think

Sometimes thinking about things that are bothering you can help you sort them out in your head. For instance, take 20 minutes every day to think about this event’s effect on you and your life. 

If you have any of these thoughts later or earlier in the day, tell yourself, “I’ll think about this later.” In this way, you can slowly gain control of your thoughts, even the unwanted ones.

goal setting planner
  • Take one task at a time. 

Multitasking may get overwhelming at times like these, so make sure you allow yourself enough time to deal with one thing at once. Focus on one thing before moving on to the next; this can help with your intrusive thoughts.

  • Practice mindfulness 

Mindfulness means being fully aware of your thoughts, emotions, and feelings that you are experiencing at any point in time. The practice of mindfulness has proven to help handle your thoughts and stop intrusive ones. 

Some meditation has also been helpful with loneliness as it stops you from ruminating or overanalyzing.

5. Make use of a listening service.

Sometimes, we may find it difficult to open up to family or friends about our problems. In some cases, our friends and family don’t know how to provide the right kind of support. In cases like these, one can contact free listening services available online.

Free listening services have trained listeners as volunteers. They are not there to tell you what you must do. What they, in turn, do is listen to your issues with no judgment, making you feel heard and understood. These services are free, confidential, and easily accessible.

6. Make new friends

After a breakup, people tend to think that their social circle has shrunk. It might help to reach out and make new friends during this time. 

Some ways in which you can make new friends are: 

  • Join a class 
  • Volunteer for a cause 
  • Talk to more people at your workplace/ university.

Making new friends will expand your social support, positively impacting your mental health.

7. Make new friends on the internet. 

One of the biggest advantages of the internet is that we’re all so much better connected than we were before. Online friendships are a good way to help yourself feel less lonely after a breakup.

A few ways through which you can make friends online are:

  • Online Games

Online games are one of the easiest ways to make friends. The plus here is that these friends enjoy the same games as you.

  • Discord

Discord is an app that helps you meet like-minded people.

  • Forum or SubReddit 

Join a forum or SubReddit that interests you.

  • Join Facebook groups 

Join groups on Facebook for topics you’re interested in or anything at all. There are a lot of random groups available on Facebook for diverse hobbies. You can join these to connect with similar people! 

Moreover, you can find community support groups here, some of which are conducted online for those who wish to speak to others. The basic motive of a support group is to connect people with those that are going through similar experiences or dealing with similar issues.

  • Get a pet

Getting a pet is extremely helpful in feeling loved and less lonely. There is scientific evidence that owning a pet may help reduce feelings of loneliness to some extent. 

Contact your local shelter for a pet dog or cat, or you can get a smaller animal like a hamster if you think you’re not ready. People often find companionship and a sense of comfort from their pets.

8. Faith community 

church community group of friends hugging each other

If you practice a particular religion, you could consider joining your local faith community. Many people feel a sense of belonging when they’re with a group of people who believe in the same principles.

9. Work on yourself

The realization that your life revolved around your partner before your breakup is normal. Everything that you did may have had some connection with your partner. It’s okay, anyway, as self-sense is sometimes lost in a relationship. 

After your breakup, you can better know yourself using different working ways. Some of these ways are: 

  • Try out different hobbies 

Try something new and different that you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t get around for some reason? Now’s the perfect time to try it! Join some classes or watch videos online to learn a new hobby.

girl journaling
  • Keep a journal 

As a part of practicing mindfulness, it is recommended to keep a journal. A journal will help you deeply understand what and why you choose to focus on particular instances and what your experiences are like.

Who knows when you’re over with this process of healing? Reading your journal again may inspire you and help you get through a difficult time you may face later in life.

  • Reflect and work towards your core values 

Identify what makes you feel better, reflect on your emotions and times you feel your best self, set goals, and repeat these tasks regularly for as long as possible. 

10. Understand your break up

It is very important to understand why you and your ex-partner broke up. Start with identifying the issues and problems you faced while making the relationship work.

Trying to help yourself heal from this event might get lonely, but remember to fight the urge to reach out to your ex-partner. Sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past and not carry it forward with you in the future.

11. Start dating again

couple dating

If you’re a person who has only recently broken up, you might feel like you have no one to hang out with or talk to. However, this experience is normal and will only help you better understand your relationship needs.

In this situation, you must take time to heal before you step into the turf of romantic relationships again. It’s worth the effort and pain, trust us.

Make sure you’re not dating again to fill a void but solely because you think you’re ready for it now. Remember that relationships require time and effort and if you’re willing to put in that, only then go ahead.

13. See a therapist

Therapists are trained professionals that help you deal with your feelings and emotions. The motive of therapy is to improve the standard of living and help an individual live a mentally healthy life ahead.

Many people understand themselves better in therapy, and a good therapist can also help you build your confidence.

14. Try to live a meaningful life.

Romantic love is a significant aspect of any individual’s life, but it is also of essence to realize that there is more to a person than their romantic relationships.

Living a meaningful life might sound like a cliche, but it means immersing yourself in all your experiences. Allow yourself to feel everything you do and understand that there’s always something to learn in all situations.

When you start understanding and living every moment to the fullest, you realize that relationships are just small parts of your life. There is a lot to live in than most of us compress ourselves to.  

Reach out to new things, make new deals, and spend time enjoying every second of whatever you do. 

15. Recognize the difference between your thoughts and facts

girl reflecting

There is a big difference between your understanding and reality. It is very common for people to think, ‘I should’ve done better after a breakup,’ and there is nothing wrong with that. 

But you must understand that relationships end when they’re supposed to. The negative thoughts in your mind are not reality, and they are simply thoughts.

Some empowering beliefs to help you during this time:

  • There is nothing wrong with me

You must tell yourself that a failed relationship does not mean there is something wrong with you. A failed relationship is nothing more than disconnecting from someone, which is most important when you both are not a good match. 

Being single is 100 times better than being in a relationship with someone who does not match your energy or ways of living! 

  • Life is not a race. 

There seems to be a perceived timeline for getting married, getting into a relationship, or even having kids. This is not the truth or the right way of living our lives. 

The truth is that all of us are built differently, and we take our time to do certain things in life. The same goes for finding love.

You won’t find it in every person you get in a relationship with, and it’s okay. You’re not running out of time to find love. Live freely and go with the flow; everything will naturally come your way. 

  • I can be happy on my own 

You’re perfectly capable of being happy on your own. The idea that you’re only “complete” when you have a partner is outdated. Your happiness depends on you and not someone else.

  • There are still people out there. 

As the common phrase goes, “There are always more fishes in the sea.” There is time for you to meet new people and experience new relationships. Tell yourself there are always more people out there.

  • Do things out of your own will.

It is completely okay to take your time and step into a relationship when you’re ready for it. Don’t get into a relationship because you’re lonely after your breakup or because you think all your friends are in a relationship. Get into one if you want, when you want.

Bottom Line 

Breaking up may feel like a major change in your life, and getting back into your old routine might be difficult. When it gets difficult, reaching out to people to talk about your problems can be helpful. 

There is freedom being detached; accept it. It may get tough, but you’ll soon understand yourself better and even get back in touch with the old you. Discover new hobbies, experience new stories, and the right one will come along.

Your emotions are meant to be felt. Don’t bottle them until things get worse, and allow yourself to feel things. Understand that it’s only normal to feel lonely after a breakup. The sudden absence of your partner may be tough to come to terms with. However, things will get better in time. 

Hold on to the sweet memories and lessons you’ve learned from this relationship, give yourself the time and space to heal from the pain of the ending, and come back stronger than ever.

To summarize, we’d like to say that acceptance is the first step towards healing. Accept that there has been a drastic change in your life but don’t forget that change is essential for growth.

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by Genesis Gutierrez

Genesis is the founder of Harness Magazine, a digital media company that celebrates and elevates the voices of women around the world. A first-generation college graduate, Genesis holds a degree in from UCLA with hopes of going back for a Masters in Social Work.

Through her work as an editor-in-chief of Harness, Genesis has dedicated herself to amplifying the stories of women specifically marginalized communities. She is committed to creating space for those who are often left out of mainstream conversations, and believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for building community and sparking social change.


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