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The Best Way To Know When to Let Go: A Break-Up Guide

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

You’ll Never exactly know when “when” really is:

No matter how prepared you feel for a break-up, a change of routine, a change of language, and a change of expression ripples throughout your mental and social ecosystems. These changes are easy to put off, but here is why it might be time for the necessary steps and how-to cut ties.

  • “75% of Americans have been dumped by a long-term partner” (Holmes). You are not alone.

The WHY:

It is often difficult to gage the thoughts of breaking up and exactly what causes us to want to breakup. These are some notable reasons as to why it might be time.

1.You’ve grown apart.

2. Your major values are not aligned. Politics? Religion? Family Values?

3. You are not getting your needs met.

4. You think about breaking up all the time.

The HOW:

1.In-person. This will always be the most respectful way to end a relationship, unless the situation is unsafe.

2. Own the breakup. Listen and respond to questions and statements, but stay firm and consistent.

3. Create distance. It is so easily to overpromise and provide room for friendship, but you may need a breather and room to heal.

“On average, it takes 11 weeks to get over a breakup.”

Sam Holmes: On Taylor & Francis

LEt’s Map 11 weeks out:

Weeks 1-3:

  • Let us validate some of these free flowing emotions:
  • This is a substantial emotional response as this is not an easy decision. Typically, breakups result in the violation of at least one of the following:

a) partner is not consistently meeting their needs

b) experience a relationship betrayal with broken trust

c) stressors, challenges, and social disapproval become too much for the relationship

  • You will feel both heavy waves of guilt and relief, these are normal emotions. You will feel these emotions for yourself and your ex, it is a phase of loss.
  • You might face separation protest or the distressing feelings of having either you/or your ex question the terms of separating and protest the loss.

Weeks 4-7:

  • This is the phase of realization. The realization that getting back together is not a possibility and that the relationship has passed.
  • There will be overwhelming feelings of sadness or a sense of loss, and possible lethargy and hopelessness.

Weeks 8-11:

  • This will be the phase of coming to terms with the separation and the accepting of the terms of loss.
  • New energy will be put into revitalizing hobbies, meeting new friends, socializing, and becoming a separate person. You will go through phases of change powered by the loss of a person.
  • The next phase works as continual healing.


  • People who go through breakups tend to defend themselves against the emotions that come with the loss of a relationship; however, it is best to process these emotions and make sense of them in order to truly recover from the experience.
  • Relationship breakups are never easy, and most of us will experience the pain of loss at some point in life. While the experience is painful and challenging, it can be a time where we learn a lot about ourselves, experience profound personal growth, and gain a greater appreciation of the kind of relationship we truly want (Karantzas).
  • Give yourself time to grieve, to process, and to be kind to yourself. It is a rough road to recovery, but you’ve got this!
Anna Henderson

South Carolina '24

Anna Grace is a Junior English major and Education minor at the University of South Carolina. She is extremely passionate about literature and information access and hopes to pursue a career in teaching one day!