How to get through a breakup of a long term relationship

14th September 2017 by Alexis Mead -- Leave a Comment


I know how it feels to be crying my eyes out, yet again, over someone that I’ve tried to get over but still loved.

Breakups are not only hard, the loss of a relationship can often be just as painful as actually losing a loved one. And it makes sense – this person that you loved so deeply, that was such a huge part of your life, is suddenly gone, unreachable, untouchable.

And it really is a true loss, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise who advises you to just get over it. It’s a loss of the future that you had pictured with him. A loss of the future family that you imagined. A loss of all of those wonderful moments that you believed in your heart of hearts were around the corner.

Although it’s hard to accept at first, this is actually a good sign, going through heartbreak.  It means you have loved someone, you have tried for something real, and you have let life teach you.

To deal with the loss and the hurt your mind begins to try to make sense of what happened. You’ll find yourself making excuses to help answer that massive question: why?  You may find that you start telling yourself, “I’m not pretty enough,”  or “I’m not successful enough” or “I’m just not lucky in love”. These are all forms of judgment and can be released. Often we judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else.

But I’ve heard another view of losing love…

What if no relationship has ever truly “ended” by a breakup, divorce, or death of a loved one? What if that was just a story we’ve been told?

What if instead, the love between two people lived on as a separate entity from the two people in the relationship itself, almost like a child does?

And what if what you’re really breaking up with are the outdated images of who you were together, of the projected future plans you had for one another, of what should have been rather than what is?

I used to get so frustrated, years after the ending of a significant long-term relationship in my life, when I’d wake up in sadness or longing from a dream I had about my ex. I couldn’t understand why my subconscious wouldn’t let him go, even though I rarely thought about him in day-to-day life.

A spiritual guide once told me that we had a lot of past life karma together — and that’s probably true.

The heart doesn’t understand separation, death, or divorce, and love will continue to live on.

This way of looking at a relationship made sense to me, but what I needed to breakup with once and for all, were those projected images and false narrative I was telling myself about ‘us’.

You don’t need to live with the plans, dreams, and illusions of what once was or could have been, which will only leave you in perpetual hurt.

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Here are some helpful things to remember:

1. If someone rejects you, it doesn’t mean that you need to feel rejected or think of yourself as less than worthy. I know this person’s opinion meant the world to you, but there are potentially hundreds, if not thousands of men out there who could be a great match, and would be thrilled to be with you.

2. Breakups and transitions in life are the perfect opportunity to let go of a situation and open yourself to better possibilities coming your way.

3. You can go through everything that happened in your head again and again, wondering what you could have done or said differently, but there’s no point. It will not change anything in the present moment.

4. That beautiful, loving emotion that you had for this person in the first place is often the same emotion that will gradually heal your broken heart.

5. Something that hurts you right now will ultimately make you stronger in the end.

6. You are human and the human heart goes through heartbreak and sorrow. Rather than fighting against it, learn to flow through it and use it as fuel to love life and others even more deeply. Give yourself the chance to love again, to feel again, and to live again.

7. Sometimes it takes going through heartbreak to help you to see that you were worth so much more than you were willing to settle for.

8. Life has greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night over a bottle of wine or believing that you’re broken and unworthy of love.

9. Time doesn’t heal all things, but it does heal most. No amount of will power will force you to get over the heartbreak any faster. Feel your feelings. Breathe. Give it time.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

Choose one or both of the following questions to answer in the comments below.

  1. In what ways have you struggled with heartbreak?
  2. How have you dealt with it, and what advice would you give to someone else going through it?

Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. Hundreds of incredible souls come here each week for insight and inspiration, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.

Thank you a thousand times over for adding your love and your voice to this amazing community.

If you have friends, clients or colleagues who are struggling to find strength in heartbreak, please share this post or reach out to set up a private coaching session.


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Filed Under Dating, Inspiration, Relationships, Self-Love,


  1. Gia September 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Hello all!

    I recently ended a relationship that I was in for two and a half years. We were friends for 16 years before that. We didn’t see each other often before we started dating but when we did there was always an inkling that both of us wanted more from the other. At first the relationship was magic! We did everything together. We had amazing times in that first year or so.

    When I started to realize that I had neglected a lot of my friendships and relationships with family, as one sometimes does in the beginning of a relationship, he started to get very possessive and selfish. He would make me feel so guilty for going out with my friends that it wasn’t even worth it to go. He wanted me around constantly. That isn’t the type of person that I’ve ever been! I always had my independence! I loved that about myself!

    He also did not have the work ethic that I have. That also became a huge problem. I found myself working extra to compensate for the money he wasn’t bringing in. There was always an excuse as to why he couldn’t even though he owned his own business. He was never there.

    These and a bunch of other issues made me realize that my happiness was up to me. I had to make a choice… Stay in the relationship and accept it for what it was or go. I chose the latter.

    The problem was that he was pretty much blindsided. I had explained the issues that were bothering me while we were in the relationship but he never changed any of his behaviors. I had changed countless things for him and I felt like he wasn’t trying. He was planning on proposing! I wanted nothing to do with that.

    After the relationship was over I experienced TREMENDOUS guilt over what I’d done. How could I abandon him like that? He needed me! I’m a terrible person! He also reiterated my thoughts every time we were in contact which didn’t help.

    I knew in my soul that I did the right thing by ending the relationship. But how do I stop feeling guilty? I kept remembering that I was my number one priority. I reminded myself that I can’t fix people that don’t want to be fixed. I spent time with people who love me. I didn’t say no to a single invitation or event. I started living my life on my own terms again.

    You know what? It feels AWESOME!

    • Alexis Meads September 23, 2017 at 12:38 am - Reply

      Hi Gia – thank you for sharing your story here. I know that so many others will benefit over the years from reading it, and possibly be able to relate. I know how hard this was for you to make that choice, but I am so proud of you for making it! You felt guilt because you’re a good and loving person who didn’t want to hurt someone you care about. I’m so glad that you’ve been saying yes to invitations, being with people who love you, and started living on your own terms again and are feeling AWESOME. You deserve it! xx

  2. carolyn September 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    It’s not that hard. OK it’s hard. I’ve been there. I tried joining the gym..Went to a few sessions. Tried to be social and see my friends. Ended up talking about my ex with them.
    Time is the greatest healer

    • Alexis Meads September 23, 2017 at 12:29 am - Reply

      Hi Carolyn, thanks for your comment! Agree – time can be the greatest healer. xx

  3. Ellen September 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this article- very helpful.
    I may be in a little different demographic than your typical reader as I’m 50. I’m a very “young 50” -people are always surprised to learn my age. I’m fun, joyful and love life. I was raised to count my blessings and I truly do. I’m smart, attractive, I have a great job and lots of incredible, loving friends and family. Pretty much I am very blesses and have a lovely, happy life.
    However, romantic love and successful relationships have been elusive for me. I was married for 12 years… to someone I never should have married. I was young and felt the pressure (largely self-imposed) to get married like all my friends were. I knew I was doing the wrong thing… even as I was putting on my wedding dress- but I didn’t have the courage to call it off. After 12 I at last found that courage and left. It was reasonable amicable- no children which of course makes it easier.
    Fast forward to a few years later and a new city. I meet the love of my life (thus far) at 48 and everything was perfect. We were an ideal match and happy for 7 great months. He told me early on “you have no idea how much I needed this right now” ….that he loved the lack of drama and that I made life easy. We liked the same things, the sex was great, we had deep conversations and much joy and laughter. Literally never fought. Early on he suggested that we think about living together in a few months. I was all in.
    Then one day he told me he simply couldn’t do it anymore. He couldn’t be in a relationship and do all the other things he needed to in his life- essentially that I was taking up so much of his life that he realized he shouldn’t be in a relationship. He told me he needed to “date himself” –something he hadn’t done after the end of his 25 year marriage. He told me he “tried” but that he wasn’t in love with me. That I was an “angel” who had been brought into his life but that he just wasn’t feeling it. Conversation ensued for a couple hours as I was completely taken aback. There were no-none-zero signs this was coming. It was traumatic- literally the night before we had been talking about what living together would look like. The next morning he tells me he actually doesn’t love me and leaves. My friends and family were to a person were stunned. They had all met him and seen us together and thought we were perfect together- because we were.
    I loved him so much that I took him back after a few months and even endured the torture of hearing about a woman he had fallen in love with when he left me. He didn’t date just himself for long. She was the opposite of me in every way- not a good match for him in many ways- had a young child and a borderline abusive ex and there was a lot of drama. Something he always said he didn’t want. And she dumped him- and he was heartbroken. My compassion and friendship led us into being a couple again. We stayed together this time for a few months- I was hoping he would “come to his senses” …but I was always on guard this time and sure enough he met a woman in line at a drug store and left again in the interest of dating her. He did, and that didn’t last either.
    I dated a bit after that and ended up in a relationship for a few months with a lovely man. It didn’t last- we didn’t have enough in common to sustain a long term relationship.Some sadness, nut no regrets and no heartbreak. Of note. had been married for 27 years.
    It took time, love from friends and family, therapy and reike treatments to get over my initial heartbreak. I was gutted. I looked at endless happy pictures of us and replayed the memories on a constant loop in my brain. I honestly even had moments where I doubted my sanity… did I just dream this? How could this have happened?
    So… that background leads to my tips. I hope they end up helping someone:
    1.If you’re considering a relationship with a man who has recently come out of a long-term marriage, make sure they’re really ready to be with you. Not just that they say they are. Talk about what happened in his marriage. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s a red flag. You obviously don’t want to dwell on it, but you need information and you need to see how he talks about it. Is he really relationship-ready? Or on some level does he want to try and make up for lost time and experience many women instead of just one? Don’t think that just because a man is in their 40s or 50s that they won’t want that. No harm if they do- but if so, that’s not a guy who is ready for a relationship- even if you’re perfect together.
    2. Make sure he’s good with himself. The saying that you can’t really love someone until you love yourself is really true. Your love for him isn’t enough for the both of you. Don’t be fooled by bravado or charm. Make sure he’s secure, happy and good with himself. That is essential. I missed clues that he was really down on himself and still had work to do. Instead of doing that work, he sought external love and validation instead of doing the tough work he needed to do on himself.
    I’ll leave it at that. In sum, try hard to avoid a traumatic heartbreak in the first place. Don’t make assumptions or let your brain be overwhelmed by the butterflies. Love and enjoy and have faith. Don’t be a cynic, but always look out for yourself and don’t be afraid to check out any red flags that crop up.Love yourself and look after yourself. You deserve it.

    • Alexis Meads September 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Ellen, thanks for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the article! And I appreciate your vulnerability and honesty, sharing your story here. It sounds like you have SO much to offer in a relationship – smart, attractive, have a great job and lots of incredible, loving friends and family – what more could a man want!? I’m sorry to hear about the traumatic heartbreak you went through. I can imagine that must’ve been incredibly difficult. Thank you for sharing your tips here…there’s a lot of wisdom in them! xx Alexis

  4. Rachel Banda September 29, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

    I recently ended a relationship, three weeks now. We dated for 10months. I felt I was settling for less than, was selling myself short. This is because he could not be innovative enough for our relationship. You know where he can’t try to provide because I work and I do everything for myself. He only took me out for dates in the beginning but layer stopped, instead will want me to follow him to his place while I take care of the transport to and from for myself. I asked myself if that’s what I would need to be doing taking care of us, providing for us and I thought no.

    Am willing to wait for something real

    • Alexis Meads September 29, 2017 at 8:19 am - Reply

      Hey Rachel, thanks for adding your voice and sharing your story! I’m sorry to hear about the recent ending of your relationship, as I know it’s never easy. But good for you girl! It sounds like it was the right decision. You’re deserving of someone who wants to take care of you as much as you them! xx Alexis

  5. […] is the biggest myth of all and the reason most people find it so hard to get over their first love. They clutch at the belief that since they never experienced anything like that before with their […]

  6. Myrelationships Center July 25, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

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