You have just gone through a breakup. Your great love is gone and moving on without you. You are a piece of misery, still hoping, fantasizing and unable to let go.

Well, a lot of people, women and men, all over the world are feeling like you right now. But the good news is that you will be okay. One day. But getting there will require work.

No matter how toxic a relationship is – and let’s face it, it can’t have been that good when it comes to a breakup – we like to cling to the idea that it will be okay. That one day all will be well, he’ll come to his senses and return. Sobbing, begging for forgiveness, repenting. Well, all this can happen. It’s not likely, but it wouldn’t be the first time either. But if it were to happen, we must have already moved on. Because „everything must change, so that everything remains as it is.“ If we ourselves do not learn from our own mistakes, we will repeat the same ones and plunge back into the toxic, the unhealthy, unbalanced relationship. And end up being a real wreck.

The one from whom the breakup starts has – more or less – the following options:

  • Have couples therapy. Together. With an open end: It can be really good again or not. But at least you’ve told each other everything, shake hands, and somehow move on. Picture-book separation. Unfortunately, far too seldom. Mostly because one (him?) doesn’t want couples therapy. Not that his head would be washed by a professional. Well, a real professional wouldn’t do that, he wouldn’t judge, but going to the „psycho doctor“ can cost a lot of overcoming, from both of you.
  • Taking a break. Is often done, but usually not right: contact is still there, no rules have been agreed upon, there is no clearly defined end to the break.
  • He keeps you on tenterhooks. He doesn’t really get away from you, you have constant contact, you try to be especially compassionate and kind and understanding, he takes one step forward and three back. He does this until another „hopping bunny“ hops over his way. Then he quickly changes his orientation and you are left behind. Full of hopes, dreams, hurt and broken. In retrospect, this could also be called psychological terror. But only in retrospect, because the idealized image of the partner suffers no damage during this transitional period, you only see the good, the positive.
  • He leaves. He pushes through with the breakup. This may feel much harder than the previous options. But, better an end with horror than horror without an end, right?

Moving on, letting go, already make sense when your partner announces that the feelings are no longer there. (In this respect, there’s your option: to go yourself.) And if he is not ready to work on it (couple therapy) but dumps the blame and the duty on you. You would have to „fight.“ But for what? For a love that is no longer there? And by what means? What does such a fight even look like? Do you now throw yourself into lingerie every day, put on a seductive smile and say „yes and amen“ to everything? From the moment he says it, when he doubts your love, it becomes critical. Nobody falls in love with a person because that person wants it so much. Feelings come, but they can also go. Even if you have always believed that you have the love of your life by your side. The one, great one, that no one will ever replace and with whom you wanted to grow old.

Letting go is difficult. Very. Moving on, alone, finding yourself again, realizing who you were before the relationship and what that person has become. That IS work. And in many cases you can’t do it alone, you need help. Also therapeutic help. But some things you can do for yourself.


  • Make a list. List 50 things that make you happy at the moment. It could be your friends, your family, sports, a new hobby, an old hobby, sunbathing on a boat, Lindt chocolate (the one with roasted hazelnuts), fresh flowers, walks in the woods, a favorite pair of shoes or the dress that’s been hanging in your closet for ages and is actually much too short, but also too beautiful to give away, the hairdresser, or simply seeing your own self smile in the mirror.
  • Make a second list. With all its quirks. A breakup usually announces itself earlier, we just don’t really want to acknowledge the signs. For example, the eternal reproaches and accusations, not letting him talk, not listening, insulting him. But also: snoring, sweaty feet, know-it-all talk, or the lack of help in the household. Expose him as what he is not (anymore): your great love.
  • Take the first list and start working it off. Each single point. Every day. Week by week.
  • Turn more towards your friends and family. Most of the time, they get a little short shrift during a relationship. Any of your (real) friends would say they love you. Hold on to that love. It is not easily broken.
  • Be aware of your feelings. If you feel like crying, then cry. If you feel like yelling, so yell. Do not repress them, whether it is anger, hatred or sadness. You are allowed to feel this way, you must. Only when you have gone through them all, you will feel better. Repressing just means it takes longer to get over it. It doesn’t make it any less painful. Dancing helps bring the feelings to the surface. A journal to hold them in.
  • Work on letting go. Read through the second list again. Remember the unpleasant moments. Even, and especially, if the last few months have been a nerve-wracking back-and-forth. He’s not perfect. And he’s not perfect for you. Let him go, wherever and with whomever. And you go too, but in a different direction. Being single can mean so much freedom. Yes, even with kids. That doesn’t mean it has to be dating right away (as long as he’s still floating around in your mind, it would be pretty unfair to the date). But caring about one person less, about his feelings and thoughts, can be very freeing.
  • Distract yourself with nice things. Even if the list is already done and you’ve reactivated your friendships. This can be a home project („I’m redesigning my bedroom because now it’s mine“), a body project (I’m signing up at the gym or dedicating myself to my skin care) or something digital. Focus on yourself in the process; success will come naturally.
  • Seek help when you need it. Friends are great, but sometimes it has to be a psychologist. Especially if you notice that everyday life is too hard for you, you can’t sleep anymore, you just want to crawl in bed all day or you develop illnesses.
  • Yoga, meditation, certain mantras: all of these can help us relax, become calmer, find our inner center. The other day, a friend told me about the mantra „Let go, let God“ – in other words: let go, let God guide you. Whether you believe in God or not is secondary here, most people believe in something. The mantra is suitable for problems (which you also have to let go of) and for separations (letting go of a person). Breathe consciously, speak and let the subconscious work. Whenever you feel like it: In the car, on the stepper, in bed.


  • Don’t seek contact with him. At least for the first few weeks, try to cut off all contact and ask him to respect that. Will be more difficult with kids, but not impossible if you set the times together or have a middle man (grandparents, nanny, girlfriend – as long as not the kids themselves). This is the only way you can put him out of your mind and work on letting go.
  • Unfollow him on social media. Delete chat history, emails, caller lists. You don’t need to see his name. You don’t need to see how happy he is without you. Or with whom. Unnecessary pain.
  • Don’t exaggerate your love. Yes, you loved each other. And yes, there were a lot of great times, too. But the chapter is closing and a new one is opening. And this one will also be good and exciting and full of emotions. If you don’t block your own way for them by blocking the only free spot for a partner in your heart.
  • Be careful with alcohol. As much as it makes you intoxicated and supposedly carefree, disillusionment comes the next morning at the latest. Alcohol intensifies feelings. And these are usually ugly after a breakup. Besides, after a few glasses of wine, you quickly reach for your cell phone. And the next day is a rude awakening: Apart from the hangover, you have told your ex things that were not meant for him. For which one would sink now with pleasure in the ground. Nothing against celebrating, you’ve earned that too, but in masses. It’s best to leave the phone at home. Or, if you feel the need to share something, write it in the notes. You can always evaluate the next day if you ever want him to read it.
  • Don’t blame yourself for everything. At the beginning of a relationship, it always has to be two, but in the end, one is enough. Everyone has their own qualities, and of course their quirks. Yes, you weren’t perfect for him either, or he wouldn’t have left. And maybe there are some things you can and want to work on. But please stop putting yourself down. You deserve to be happy. And you will be again. It just takes some time.
  • If you have children together, it means being even stronger. Because letting yourself go would mean that the children (whether they know about the separation or not yet) suffer along with you. They take on the role of the adult to comfort you. While this can feel nice, it is not a child’s job. You need to protect your children, both of you. As great as the anger or hatred is toward their father, a world is already falling apart for the children anyway. And hopefully he is a better father than partner. Don’t ruin this relationship. Stand above things. And if he doesn’t respect you for it, you deserve your own respect, which is worth much more.

In theory, it all sounds so logical, so reasonable, so simple, doesn’t it? The reality is a little more difficult to handle. Make yourself aware of these things, store them in your mind and return to them again and again. You can’t do that from one day to the next. Something, that has worked for years or decades can’t be completed in a few weeks. Take your time. But in all of this, don’t forget about yourself. You are a great person and you will be happy again. Very soon. And for sure.


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