Dear Liza: How Do I Get Through a Breakup?


Dear Liza,

My girlfriend of three years broke up with me a few weeks back. There was little warning, and it was due to the distance of universities and not being each other regularly enough. She decided she wanted to experience being since (we have been together since school) and has started hanging out with new friends who are also single. She was my best friend.

She has gone from saying that I am someone she may come back to in the future, and saying that she cares for me a lot, to being rude and aggressive when I tried to wish her well for her exams.

I would love your advice on how to be positive and get over the loneliness feeling as it is horrible.  I know things will improve but any words of advice or wisdom you could add would be great.


Hi there! Firstly, let me say that breakups really are the worst. I know I don't need to tell you that, but you have my unending sympathy on what an emotional and confusing time this is - especially when it wasn't your choice and may have come as a total shock.

It doesn't sound like your ex is being helpful or sensitive to your feelings at all. I think at this point you probably should talk to her as little as possible, as her changing reactions will most likely halt any healing that goes on with you. It's hard enough to figure out your own changing emotions with the situation without her swinging from nice to hostile from message to message. If she tries to get in touch, a simple and friendly "I need some space" message will buy you the space you need. I know personally how hard it can be to go from best friends to nothing in an instant, but if you want to remain on good terms I do see a complete break in contact as the healthiest way forward. I've done that with multiple exs – when it's been my choice and when it hasn't – and I've managed to stay friends with all of them. Perhaps you don't want to stay friends, but in that case you probably don't want contact! 

As for the loneliness, that is a painful part of the process. Take control of this loneliness, though, by using the time you once would have spent with your ex to really build the friendships around you. Plan activities that you love and invite someone, either an old friend or someone new. Some of my closest friendships have risen from the ashes of relationships, because I've been so much more purposeful about spending time with and enjoying the company of my friends.

Positivity will come and go. It might be that you'll look back later and think that this was a good thing, but you can't know that right now. It sounds obvious, but try to focus on the newfound benefits that being single will bring. This is a great opportunity to get in touch with who you are and what you want. But don't beat yourself up when you're feeling down. Sadness will come, often at the most unexpected time. Accept it, it's an inevitable part of the loss of the relationship. I've always found myself to get angry, much angrier than I ever normally do, following a break up. There will be all manner of emotions coming your way, and all you need to do is find healthy ways to process them. Talk to someone, go running (a great way of working out emotion), or join a new team at university. Do things that make you happy right now, because you're going to need extra reasons to be. 

I know this is tough, but you can't control her reactions or her reasoning. You can, however, control how you react to it. Use this unexpected and unwanted change as a chance to grow. 

I wish you all the best for the future. 

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