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Sex + Relationships

How to Get Through the First 24 Hours After a Break Up

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

By Kerry Sullivan

So, you just got broken up with. Congrats, you have officially joined the broken hearts club. Whether it was your decision, a mutual decision or you feel completely blindsided by your (now ex) partner’s decision, it still sucks. 

No matter how long you were together, you have just lost someone that you once imagined some sort of a future with, and now your heart is broken. Losing someone you love is so incredibly hard, and now you may be left wondering: what’s next?

You’re hurt, upset, angry, confused, and a whole host of other emotions. You’ve got so many thoughts racing through your head, and you’re most likely replaying the break-up, and indeed your relationship, over and over in your head; you might feel like your world is shattering around you. 

Let me be the first to tell you that all of this is completely normal; you have every right to feel this way. Heartbreak is never easy, and there is no list of rules to help us get through it. 

However, the first 24 hours after a break-up are arguably the most important. This is when the break-up is the freshest, and you are at your most emotional; it is so important to take care of yourself during this time.

I’d like to offer you some tips on how to get through the next 24 hours of your life without your partner so that you can begin healing. I went through a break-up very recently that really hurt, and I am still working on moving forward and healing myself after this dramatic and sudden shift in my life. This advice is from a very recent experience, and I hope it can help you like it helped me. 

It is totally okay to cry. You will probably do this many more times over the next few days and weeks. Sometimes you will go a while without crying, and then you will see a picture of them, or do something you used to do with them, and you will cry again. Get that first big cry out of your system as soon as you can. The one with the puffy eyes, the runny nose, the hyperventilating, all that jazz. Trust me, you will feel better afterwards. 

You’ve just had your heart broken, no matter how things ended, you are grieving the loss of someone important in your life. Tears are a natural part of grief, so do not bottle up your emotions surrounding this big shift in your life; let it all out. 

Do not isolate yourself. I know you’ve just lost your person. That one person on Earth that you believed would be there for you through thick and thin, the person you could tell everything to, but you still have others who are there for you. For me, my friends and family were there immediately after the break-up and held me during my big cry. They offered tissues, words of encouragement, and rubbed my back while I felt like the world was caving in around me; your friends and family are there for you too. 

Whether you want to talk about it, cry, or just sit in their presence while you silently process things, I promise that being around people who are there for you will be so good for your mental health. A good support system is exactly what you need in times of crisis. At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you. But for right now, don’t do it alone. Let those who love you help you pick up the pieces.

Don’t talk to your ex immediately. No matter how nicely things ended, you still need time to heal and grieve. Talking to your ex as if nothing happened will only make your healing process, as well as theirs, that much harder. There will be times that you will pull up their number on your phone, or you’ll see they’re active on social media and you so badly want to message them. You might come across a funny post that you want to send them, or you’ll see a cute dog and just have to snap a picture for them to see. Don’t give in. For now, no contact is necessary. 

If you’re feeling better and fully healed in the future, and you still want to reach out to them, then maybe do it then. But until that moment, you need to take the time to breathe and adjust to the new life that you’re leading. One without them. 

As much as it hurts to go from talking all the time to no contact whatsoever, that separation is exactly what you need. You need the space so you can work on yourself, and not try to change what has already happened. You need to allow them to have the space they need to heal because, at the end of the day, you both experienced a big shift. So as much as you want to, don’t reach out.

No matter how much you’re hurting right now, know that it does get better. You will meet new people, have new experiences, go to new places, and so much more. The road to recovery from heartbreak isn’t linear. You will have days where you miss them so much you can’t breathe. You might lie awake at night wondering where everything went wrong and how you could have fixed it. Trust me, I know. 

Take those first 24 hours to come to terms with everything, and to be with people who love you unconditionally. Experience all the emotions that come with heartbreak at once, and remember that you are so important to so many people, even if the one person you thought cared about you most is no longer in your life. 

Once you heal, you will be a completely different person. You will become stronger because of this and who knows, if they truly are the one for you, the universe will find a way to bring the two of you back together. But for now, I promise you, you will heal and get through this. Just focus on taking it one day at a time. You got this.

Kerry Sullivan

Manhattan '24

Kerry is a sophomore Communication Major with a concentration in Media Production and double minors in Film Studies and Women and Gender Studies at Manhattan College. She is from Buffalo, NY and is on Manhattan College's Rowing Team.
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