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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Klesman, LCSW

Answering Your Questions About Breakups Part II

“How do you get past triggering dates like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. after a breakup?” Plan ahead! Intentionally make plans on those days to keep you occupied and busy so that limited time gets dedicated to focusing on that trigger date. Even if you can’t do anything elaborate or it’s just another work or school day, plan out the alone time. Focus on the details like what you plan to eat, when you plan to shower, what show or movie you’ll watch, what podcast you might listen to while you work out. Don’t allow yourself empty open time on those days. It will be on your mind, but it doesn’t need to consume the day.


“He left me for someone else, he tells me he maybe made a mistake but continues to date her. Why?”

“While we can’t read minds, it does sound like he is struggling with the grief of the breakup that is now hitting him. For the dumper, especially when they jump right into another relationship, the grief is a bit delayed so now that maybe some of the excitement of the new relationship has worn off, he is comparing it to yours and bringing up this regret. Of course, this also leaves him in a no-win situation that he’s created - hurt you more or hurt the new person. While I don’t know all of the details of your interactions, be mindful to not allow yourself to be part of ‘have his cake and eat it too’ if he continues to date this person.


"Are commitment issues just an excuse for cheating and dumping you out of nowhere?"

My belief on this is that we can’t help what has happened to us in the past (to create these issues) but it is on each and every one of us to heal and take care of those issues. (Or in short, bad things happen to everyone, it’s no excuse to be an asshole.) So yes, they can be used as an excuse to cheat and dump you out of nowhere…while also these commitment issues can be real. However, if this person isn’t willing to work on these issues, then is this really someone you can be with long-term? Most people want relationships, but if you aren’t working on yourself to fix a major issue in your ability to have them, then you’re ultimately not going to be a good long-term partner.


“Broke up with me cuz he loved me more than his ambition. How am I supposed to move on?”

There definitely sounds like there is more to this story, but with what you’ve written, I would start to move on just like any other breakup. Go No Contact for starters and begin to heal. Don’t engage in any behaviors that keep you stuck (social media stalking, finding out what he’s up to), and purge any reminders (for now) from your space and your phone. Let yourself grieve and feel the grief. Connect with friends and process what you’re going through.


“How to overcome a breakup when you love a person so deeply but they moved away?”

Actually, the aspect of them moving away works in your favor. While yes, you’re still in the place where memories happened - and it’s a good thing to go back to those places when you’re ready and create new memories there- you’re far less likely to have proximity to your ex in your town/city. Use this to your advantage and re-create your living space to the best of your ability to just create a new feel to a new chapter. It is still your home so make it reflective of just you. Cut off contact for now to give yourself the space to heal and try to connect more with other or new friends.


“How to let go of resentment towards ex. I’m NC but still hold anger causing me pain.”

This is extremely difficult for anyone going through a breakup although I would first look at what are the ways that you may be inadvertently holding onto that resentment. When those thoughts come up, how much do you allow yourself to engage with them? It is best to acknowledge that they’re there and then return to what you were originally doing, distract away from them to not give them more power. When you go down the rabbit hole of resentment and anger, you’re adding fuel to that fire. You may not ever need to forgive your ex, but don’t hold on tightly to that anger and work to not engage with or go down those rabbit holes.


"Why can’t I still get past the hurt no matter what I do?"

First off I would look at if there are any behaviors that you’re doing that are holding on- checking social media, posting in hopes that they will see your pictures, still in any sort of contact. Those have to stop for starters. Time does heal wounds but so does intentional action. If you were in the relationship for a long time, that can often add to the length of time that it takes to heal, but don’t judge yourself for how long it may be taking. Everyone heals differently and it doesn’t say anything about you that it may still hurt; other than that when you love, you may love deeply which does make it harder to let go.


“After many months (7) should you ever reach out to talk?”

Do you feel healed from the breakup? Do you feel ready to talk? What is there that you want to talk about? Is it closure or just to be friends? There is no wrong answer, but it is worth weighing in if it is good for your emotional and mental well-being to have contact again, figure out what you’re hoping to gain from the contact. Be prepared that they may not want to talk or may have moved on to someone else and how you would feel learning either of those outcomes as well.


“Ex and mutuals blamed me for it all and weaponized my health struggles. Now what?”

Now you break away and focus on healing yourself. That all sounds like your ex trying to cope with whatever happened and basically beating you to the mutual friends to have them on their side. Definitely begin complete No Contact, especially with how toxic it sounds like they have become if they’re weaponizing health issues. It is time to focus on you, and connect with friends that are going to support you through this. It can be hard if you still care for someone who then reacts so harshly after the breakup so be kind to yourself if you still have feelings for them at any point in the healing process.


“How do you handle it when you have a mutual friend group?"

If you feel comfortable, talk to those mutual friends if they’re ever going to have a gathering that might include your ex. It is up to you if you want to hear about your ex through them, but a good friend will censor out that information if you ask them to. It may feel too soon to hang out with the friends as a group if you don’t feel comfortable with your ex there, but stay connected to them individually. There’s no need to turn anyone against each other, but connecting individually will at least help your friends learn how to support you despite the friends gathering as a group. This is definitely a tough situation!


“How can I train my brain to forget about a toxic ex?”

Honestly, time will heal the most, but the best method hands down is meditation. I’ve always found it difficult to get people to give it a shot, but it can be used to literally train your brain to not allow intrusive thoughts to be so disruptive. You have to do it, even if for only a few minutes (3-5) a day for it to work; it’s like exercise, you don’t get results unless you stick with it. The Calm or Headspace app can be great for guided meditation. I’ll also link a great video about how it works. But if you want to really forget about them, stay busy, mediated, process through your grief and heartache, and invest in new people (either as friends or romantically when you feel ready).


“He left me but I just want to know he’s ok? How if I don’t have contact with him?”

If there is a safety concern then I would certainly reach out to a friend or family member of his to let them know your concerns for his well-being. However, if it is just a general concern for how he is doing after the breakup, I would ask what are you hoping to gain from this? What will knowing he is okay do for you? What if he isn’t okay? Is that on you to comfort him through his own decision to end things? It can be easy to get sucked in so definitely weigh in what that information would do for you. If you really have a hard time fighting an urge, you can ask a friend of his if you have contact with them, but be careful contacting him directly.



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