After a sudden and traumatic breakup, particularly in a long term relationship, you may have more to deal with than just a broken heart.  Breaking up a long term relationship involves so much more than just saying goodbye.  Many of these issues smack you down just when you’re feeling at your lowest and most vulnerable. 

Your friends and family will say things like you’re better off without him or her, or there’s a silver lining in every cloud, or a door closes and a window opens.  And while all these things might be true, these comments aren’t really helpful because they don’t tell you how to live without that person, or how to find your silver linings and open windows. 

Some of the things you might be dealing with after a sudden break up are:

  • Loss of a steady relationship, your rock
  • Bitterness, betrayal, confusion
  • Depression
  • Poor diet
  • Your family and kids need your reassurance
  • Inability to concentrate on your work and career
  • anger
  • Loss of your home
  • Loss of your job
  • Social isolation
  • Damaged self-esteem
  • Fear of the future
  • Hurtful comments from others

Personal coaching from a professional can help you with these issues in a way that even your closest family and friends cannot.  Those closest to you, your loved ones and dearest friends, want to take your hurt away.  They want to comfort you and reassure you that you will be fine.  And trust me, you will!  But it hurts them to see you in pain and so they want to assuage it, rather than sitting down with you and helping you build a plan for a new life and a stronger you.

A personal life coach can help you get there faster by helping you define your hurdles, and all the collateral damages that are creating blocks for you, and then help you map out a plan for dealing with both physical hurdles like dealing with your ex over finances and children, and intangible hurdles like fear of the future and damaged self esteem.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues in this list. 

Loss of a relationship is heart breaking, obviously, but many people going through this life change also experience an accustomed loneliness, inability to deal with silence or a change in daily rituals.  It sounds minor, but it can have a profound effect on your state of mind.   And of course, it’s impossible to turn off the resulting feelings of bitterness and betrayal, or abandonment.  Suppressing these feelings can lead to compulsive behavior or sudden outbursts. 

Here’s a really unexpected one:  your family, children and friends will want reassurance from you.  They love you and want to hear you say that you are going to be fine.  You will find yourself patting every one on the shoulder and listening to them as they cry over the broken relationship.  While this can be comforting at times, and will help you feel stronger, it can also be emotionally draining and you may put pressure on yourself to live up to an ideal that was invented for the comfort of others and not for your ideal future.

An inability to concentrate at work, caused by sorrow and self-consciousness, can lead to even rockier ground if your employers think you’re crumbling.  And as many couples share a home and business, your break up may also involve the loss of your home, your familiar environment, your business ownership and with that perhaps a career and reputation that you have spent years building.

All of these losses will understandably create a fear of the future, a fear of success that may hamper your forward movement, and even trust issues in dating or future relationships.  Not to mention the slash-and-burn to your self esteem caused by your ex’s comments and behavior, the disappearance of mutual friends, and the general feeling of being unworthy.

And just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you discover the bottom of this dark well has a little more muck for you.  Acquaintances may say things like, oh well at least you have the kids, or what did you do to make him or her to dump you?

The truth is, nothing can make the pain of a traumatic break up go away.  You will always carry around a little sorrow for that wasted hope and opportunity.  But you can learn to put it in perspective, it will not be easy in the beginning as you’re learning to tread water and catch your breath while dealing with day to day living. you will get your wings back and fly again.

There’s help out there, so don’t give up. Seek assistance as soon as you can and don’t forget also that there are pro bono services available along with reduced fees from some professionals and your local social agencies. I want you healthy!

If you have questions about dealing with a sudden, traumatic break up, contact me for a consultation.


Curt Canada MSW, Board Certified Coach, coaches relationships and careers in Washington DC at Adapting2change.