4 Rules for Getting Through a Break Up

There is no shortage of love songs or sappy movies to remind us that breaking up is rarely easy. While ending a romantic relationship has its unique set of challenges, if you follow these four rules it doesn’t have to end unhappily ever after.

1. Remember: It takes Two to Tango

Admit it, you’re not perfect. Your relationship is now at a dead end, but it was never just a one-way street. You might have criticized your partner for chewing too loudly, but you annoyed them too. When it comes to laying blame, everybody has faults. It takes courage to see your own faults, and even share them with the person whose faults are far more irritating to you. Still, it is valuable to explicitly state that you had a role in the end of the affair. Acknowledge that you can be annoying or high maintenance too, and help ease the blow of breaking up.

2. Once You Commit, It’s Time to Set Sail

Know that breaking up is like navigating a stormy sea – you may have to sail through rough waters and you might even get sick. But also remember that after the storm settles, there will be smoother sailing ahead. Speaking of seas, these four C’s can help ease the anxiety of having the break up conversation.

  • Conciseness—Make a list of all the reasons you shouldn’t be together as well as how it feels to be in relationship with this person. Then share your top three reasons for ending the relationship in your break up conversation.
  • Clarity—You know why you’re ending this, so stick to your points about what’s not working for you. If your partner tries to talk you out of the break up, head right back to the top three reasons this isn’t working.
  • Consistence—Stick to the break up script, even if your ex tries to throw you off track.
  • Certainty—Don’t waiver on your decision. If you start to doubt that you’re doing the right thing, head back to that list.

3. Keep Cool and Find Closure

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out when someone is getting broken up with, but it does take a bigger person to actually do the breaking up. Unless you really are a ghost, or the relationship was shorter than Britney Spears’s first marriage, ghosting is never cool. Don’t leave the relationship in limbo. It’s not about what’s easy, it’s about  actually ending things – in person or over the phone.  Afraid that you’ll falter if you’re in person? Meet at a coffee shop or someplace public and set a time limit on how long you’re willing to be there. Or if you decide to do things by phone, think about Skype or FaceTime instead. You’ve got distance and you’re just one click away from ending it all, but you’re still sort of face-to-face.

4. Prepare Yourself for Aftershocks

Depending on the length and type of the relationship, and how expected the breakup really is, things will remain shaken up for a while. That’s where good self-care comes in. It’s important to understand that you will have moments of doubt and discouragement, but eventually these too shall pass. What can you do until then?

  • Stay busy. Set up extracurricular activities to keep your mind off of the break up. Whether it’s going out with friends, heading to a movie, working out at the gym or taking a vacation, you want to push yourself to stay present so you don’t get stuck in the past.
  • Find a mantra. Something that you can tell yourself often to help you get through the minutes, hours and days. Try something like, “I am enough,” or “It gets better.”

It may not feel good, but breaking up can feel better. It’s all about perspective, and how you handle yourself through that process. If you’re looking for more tips for how to end any kind of personal relationship with dignity, kindness and finality, check out my new book: How to Break Up With Anyone.


Ok, now you need some major self-care time. Take some time to tend your lonely heart, and try a full dose of self love:

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4 Rules for Getting Through a Break Up
4 Rules for Getting Through a Break Up
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Jamye Waxman

Jamye Waxman is a contributing Editor for the Tickle Kitty Blog. She is a Sex Educator and a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern practicing in Los Angeles, CA. She is passionate about working with people who are exploring their sexuality and gender, and is also dedicated to working with people in alternative relationships and the LGBTQI community. Jamye is the author of four books, including her latest, "How to Break Up With Anyone." Full bio and more articles by Jamye.

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