Are You Ready For Moving On After A Breakup?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Breakups hurt, and they can be tough to go through. However, they don't have to define us when they happen. Many of us experience a broken heart at some point in our lives, and it is important to spend time to grieve and process those emotions before moving on with our lives can be a vital part of the healing process. While grieving can be a necessary part of healing after ending a relationship with your partner, self-care and self-compassion can be essential in helping you move forward. You may find that reaching out for support and taking time to redefine yourself can be helpful. One source of support may be therapy, and you can attend sessions or have a conversation with a therapist in your local area or from home through an online therapy platform.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo

Understanding the grieving process

It's generally said that no two people experience heartbreak in the same way, but there are some common stages of grief that many people go through when a romantic relationship ends. It can be important to acknowledge any conflicting emotions you may be experiencing and give yourself permission to feel them.

There is no wrong way to feel when you’re going through a breakup. Often, heartbreak can cause us to feel depressed, angry, and hurt all at the same time, it can also lead to mood swings. While these difficult feelings can be uncomfortable and challenging, giving yourself the space to process them through self-reflection can be an integral part of healing. Being patient and gentle with yourself can also improve your outlook during this time.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross created models of grief to describe the five stages that often occur after a significant loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While it may not be necessary to experience all these stages for healing to occur, understanding them can provide clarity during this period of renewal which may take weeks or months.

When it comes to healing, it can be important not to bottle up your emotions, but rather to accept and express them in a healthy way. While processing your experience and emotions may feel overwhelming, it is often a necessary step to overcoming these struggles. This process may be accomplished in a number of ways, including discussing the breakup with friends, getting creative and writing in a journal, or even talking to a therapist.

The grief and healing processes are not always linear, so allow yourself to feel everything as you move through them. It's okay if your emotions are up and down or if, at times, you feel like you'll never get over the breakup. In time, you can develop strategies and tools to help you move forward.


Taking care of yourself and cultivating self-compassion

Regardless of how your relationship ended, self-care can be incredibly important when going through heartbreak. Engaging in self-care activities, like getting enough sleep, eating well, staying active, and treating yourself with kindness, can make a huge difference during this time.

Recent research shows engaging in self-care can have many health benefits, so it's not always just about feeling better in the short term. A consistent self-care routine can positively impact physical and mental health, enhancing your overall well-being.

Self-compassion is generally an integral part of self-care, as it usually allows us to be more understanding and kind to ourselves. It can be helpful to remember that you are worthy of love, acceptance, and kindness, especially during a breakup or heartbreak.

Treating yourself with compassion when you feel sad can also build your self-esteem and create a positive environment for healing. Doing so doesn't always come easily, but you can begin to practice by speaking kindly to yourself. Positive self-talk and positive affirmations can be constructive in these moments.

Finding support after heartbreak

No matter how it happened, it often takes a village to get through a breakup, so having a solid support system to tell your story and feel heard, can be extremely helpful. Having friends or family you can turn to for emotional support during this time can make all the difference in helping you move through the grieving process.

If you don't have a strong support system, you can reach out and build one. Talking to friends or family can be great, but sometimes that isn't an option. A therapist or support group can be valuable in these situations.

Support from loved ones may not always come in the form of words — sometimes, it's just having someone there to listen. This sense of safety and comfort can be valuable for emotional healing and help you avoid feeling worse. If you find it hard to reach out, start by talking with people you trust and know will be there for you unconditionally.

Reaching out for help doesn't necessarily mean you're weak or incapable. Instead, it can mean that you are taking care of yourself and recognizing your need for support during this difficult time. It’s likely many people will be happy to listen and offer encouragement.

You may find these people through online communities and forums or social media. These groups can provide a sense of community and belonging, as well as valuable resources and advice from people who have gone through similar experiences.

Don't forget to turn inward during times of hardship. You can embrace self-care practices like meditation and yoga, take time for yourself and your mental health, and find joy in activities that bring you fulfillment. These forms of self-support can be valuable tools on your journey to emotional healing. 

The healing process and redefining yourself after a breakup

It can be important to understand that your relationship status does not need to define your worth. For example, if you just broke up with your ex-partner, it can be common for people to feel like they've lost part of their identity or value. Please know that you have inherent worth and value regardless of who you are with.

Here are a few self-care tips to help you start to rediscover yourself:

  • Take time to reflect and reassess what makes you happy
  • Set achievable goals and write them down to help you stay focused on your growth and development
  • Learn about yourself through activities like reading or engaging in creative pursuits in your free time
  • Prioritize yourself and focus on what is important to you

Self-discovery doesn't have to be a whirlwind journey; it can be a gradual process of self-exploration. As you gain perspective and insight, you may recognize new goals and paths for yourself and begin to feel good about the future or dating again.

Reassessing your priorities and expectations can open up new possibilities. This is not to say that you have to drastically change your world or who you are — it's usually more about finding a balance between understanding yourself and your needs while also growing into the person you want to be.

Redefining yourself after a heartbreak may also involve letting go of negative feelings, beliefs, or patterns relating to your past relationship. It's possible that these negative patterns held you back somehow, and now may be a great time to let go of them.

Now may be the time to focus on yourself — it can be an opportunity for personal growth. Take a class, confront new challenges, and build new relationships. Though this might feel like the end in some ways, remember that there are still many possibilities ahead. Your potential is not confined to your past; instead, you can express it in a new and exciting way.

Online therapy may help you avoid making the same mistakes and move forward after a breakup

The idea of starting over after a major life event like a breakup can be scary, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for growth and self-discovery. It's important to remember that healing often takes a while, and there may be no "right" way to move forward. Once some time passes, you may find that you are gradually moving past the breakup and getting more excited about the future. However, in some cases, simply waiting may not be enough.

If you find it challenging to manage the emotions and stress that can come with a breakup, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Online therapy may be a good fit for many people and can provide a safe and supportive space to talk through your experiences and explore ways to heal and move on. With the proper support, you can find the courage to face your pain and begin finding joy in life again. Plus, you can get professional guidance from a comfort zone (like your home) at a time that works for you.


A study of online therapy for grief found this type of treatment can be effective. Not only may online therapy be helpful for grief, but it can treat a variety of other mental health challenges as well. Accepting that there can be more than one method of healing from heartbreak can help you move forward in a meaningful and positive way. Through reflection and therapy, you can gain perspective that may facilitate healing.


Heartbreak can be devastating, but it doesn't have to define who you are or limit what is possible in your life. Instead, grief can be an opportunity to better understand yourself, allowing you to create meaningful goals and paths unique to you. With effort and self-compassion, you can start to rediscover yourself and find joy again. Online therapy can provide additional support, helping you manage complicated feelings and process your experiences. If you need help navigating your emotions or building a positive environment for healing, please don't hesitate to reach out for support. You can find the strength and courage within yourself to move on and create an even better life after a breakup.
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