Three Steps to a Healthy Breakup


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  10 comments   :  11,431 Views

When my daughter was a freshman in high school, I thought it strange that her first breakup came in the form of a voicemail. Evidently, I was wrong because information shows that breaking up via text message or through social media is the most common teen breakup method today. In my day breakups came indirectly too. You might find a break up note in your locker, on your car windshield or delivered by a friend. A more direct approach would include a phone call letting you know they still wanted to be friends but no longer wanted to 'go out'. The big difference between then and now is the phenomenon known as social media as well as the depth and breadth of technology.
Statistics from 2009 indicate 65 percent of teens use an online social networking site. Statistics about teen communication indicate that 61 percent of them send messages to friends through social networking sites and 58 percent of teens send text messages to their friends. For Generation Y (ages 18-31) young adults, 70 percent of them use social networking sites. Social media has moved communication from face to face to cyberspace. While technology and social media does provide increased opportunity for connection and self-expression, it also increases the prospect of inappropriate behaviors. Those not mature enough to understand fully the consequences of their actions and with little supervision and guidance fall most victim. This is evident by the new phenomenon known as sexting and cyberbullying.
In the social media and technology age, relationship status and break ups are much more complex then back in my day. Back then, only the person receiving the note and the few others they decided to share it with saw the note or new its content. Today, hundreds of people can know Facebook status changes instantly through the social network connections. There is even an app to help with breakups! To help teens and young adults navigate these new landmines, there are seminars and organizations  to teach new ways to end relationships in a healthy way.
Here are three key tips to help you break off any relationship in a healthy way.

  1. Don't end a relationship over text message, by leaving a voice mail, posting a Tweet, leaving a Facebook message or making a status change. This shows disrespect for the feelings of another and involves many others that are not and should not be part of the decision.

  2. Meet the person you want to end the relationship with face to face. This shows respect for the relationship you have had and for them as a person.  

  3. Openly discuss the awkwardness of the situation. Discuss ways to move forward in a healthy and positive way and mutually come to an agreement before parting ways.
Here are some examples of unhealthy ways to move forward after ending a relationship that would be best to avoid.
  • Updating your status on Facebook or sharing the breakup immediately via Twitter since this creates opportunity for others to openly question the situation and can lead to discussions that should not involve other people.


  • De-friending  or un-following the person immediately after ending the relationship on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.  Give it a day or so before you quietly make the change.

  • Lashing out at or withdrawing from family or friends who try to help provide consolation because of embarrassment or sad feelings of loss.

  •  Breaking or damaging things because of misguided anger over the loss.

  • Lack of interest or participation in things you used to love in an attempt to avoid people who might want to know what happened.

  • Taking up destructive habits such as drinking, drugs or stealing to gain acceptance by people as a way to move on.
Instead, use some of these healthy alternatives after ending a relationship to not only help you heal but also to claim a new sense of self worth in the process.
  • Remain friendly and cordial when you see the other person in public especially if you have mutual friends. Making other uncomfortable by your status change can cause other unnecessary tensions.

  • Confide in a trusted friend to talk about feelings of hurt, disappointment, loneliness, anger, fear, shame, uncertainty, humiliation, sadness, despair, or jealousy that you may be feeling. Also, make an effort to reconnect with friends that you may have strayed away from during the relationship.

  • Connect with new clubs or organizations in areas of interest to bolster your self-confidence about who you are and what you are about as well as to meet new people with similar interests.

  • Take up a new exercise routine or set a new challenge goal to work toward such as running, walking, swimming, or biking in a race. You can also sign up as part of a charity training team to help raise research funds, awareness while setting, reaching goals, and meeting new people.

  • Donate remnants of the relationship such as clothes, trinkets, or music to a shelter or drop-in center so others in need can enjoy them. If you have pictures, letters or other more personal items, put them in a box and then store it in an out of the way place. There will be plenty of time to deal with them later but keeping them in plain sight can just continue to fuel the hurt of disappointment.
What are some other positive ways to bounce back after ending a relationship?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Fit & Fresh Makes Healthy School Lunches Cool Again


  • 10
    I think there is a huge difference between a "real" couple breaking up via facebook/email/whatever social media and a couple of high schoolers who "dated" for a week then break up. Same goes for people who have been on a few dates together and aren't exclusive. This article is definitely referring to the more immature people and has some good advice for getting over someone who left you. - 9/1/2011   3:26:10 PM
  • 9
    Give yourself time to heal!!!! Don't start dating again until for every 4 years of a relationship you are single for 1 year as a guideline. - 8/30/2011   8:46:14 AM
  • 8
    Try to put it behind you, and just get out there. Sitting home, crying over it, will never work..Be seen! - 8/23/2011   5:10:44 PM
  • 7
    I was 28 in 1994 when I received my first (and only) breakup like that - over email. I worked with the guy (never again!), and I was so hurt and angry that he'd done that. I can't imagine adding all these other types of media as ways to break up with someone. IMHO, doing it face-to-face (whenever possible) is the most appropriate way. Thanks for a timely article; now that I have four teenagers who are up against this technology, I have to keep up with the changes! - 8/23/2011   10:52:04 AM
    give me a break it's life break-ups happen smile and move on there are lot more fish in the sea - 8/23/2011   9:36:50 AM
  • 5
    man, this article could not have come at a better time since i am currently wrestling with this very thing. for me its more about the loss of the person who became my best friend in addition to my lover and i worry more about losing that than anything else. - 8/23/2011   7:21:02 AM
  • 4
    I know you mean well, but there isn't anything in this article about identifying an abusive relationship. When you break up with someone, and you're in an abusive relationship, the worst thing you could do is to do it in person. Things could turn very violent, and even deadly quite fast. - 8/23/2011   6:18:21 AM
  • 3
    My daughter was in 3 year relationship with a boy through high school. She tried to break up with him in person one time and he ended up brow beating her into staying together. She tried talking to him on the phone and that didn't work either. She ended up breaking up through text message because that was the only way she could say what needed to be said without him interrupting her or making her feel like the way she was feeling was her fault.

    I would agree that in normal circumstances that breaking up with someone in person is the best option but there are still situations where "dear John" texts still apply. - 8/23/2011   3:53:34 AM
  • 2
    Wow, wish I could forward this to the guy who just dumped me via Facebook, lol, but that would be just as immature as the break-up wouldn't it?

    Plus, he didn't even really "break-up" with me, just defriended and hasn't returned my last call (which was placed PRIOR to me realizing that we are apparently no longer seeing each other, not as a desperate attempt to get him to talk to me). - 8/22/2011   2:43:43 PM
  • 1

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›