who can help when your relationship breaks down

25 Jan 2019
Never ‘go it alone’ – getting support after a break up can improve your mental health.

Recovering from a romantic relationship break up can be tough. You may feel angry, lost, sad, distressed or confused – and it's completely normal to experience any of these emotions.

The reason for breaking up is different for every relationship. Sometimes it's because your (or your partner's) feelings have changed. Having relationships with different people can be an important part of figuring out who you are, what kind of person you want to be with, and what kind of relationship you'd like. It isn't unusual to want to move on after a while, as it's part of you learning what you want.

Whatever leads to a relationship breakdown, it can sometimes be difficult to explain it to yourself, let alone a family member, friend or trusted adult. You may not be sure who to turn to. It’s normal to feel vulnerable when our partner or loved one is not there to meet our needs anymore, but with the right support, you can work through your emotions and get back to feeling great.

Here are some key people you can turn to when your relationship breaks down.



While of course you shouldn't rely entirely on yourself to get over your relationship, this might be an ideal time to get in touch with yourself again. You could spend some time with yourself to discover who you are, independent of your past relationship. Focus on you and what makes you happy.

Remember to keep doing regular things like going to school or work. You can also look for things that bring calm and joy into your life, like:

  • Breakup Shakeup app

  • Learning new things: hobbies, languages or skills

  • Expressing your feelings in other ways, like writing poetry, playing music, or dancing

  • Mindfulness and / or meditation

  • Going out and meeting new people, when the time is right.

After a beak up, you might be feeling a lot of emotions about your ex. This is completely normal. If you take the opportunity to process these emotions and make sense of them, you can learn useful things from a tough experience.

Studies suggest writing about our feelings, much like journaling, can help us recover from a break up. Writing down your thoughts – especially if you’re feeling angry – can help you cope with bad feelings.

With time you may find that there are unexpected positives of a break up. It’s important to be kind to yourself. These feeling will pass and your heart will heal.


Friends and family

Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on sometimes. Your friends and family can help you work through a relationship break up.

It might be difficult to approach a friend or family member – especially if you haven’t quite made sense of the break up yourself yet. You could just say that things have been a bit tough for you lately and that you’re struggling to cope. Ask if they can listen for a while and tell them how you feel and what you’re going through.

You may be surprised by the support, encouragement and understanding you receive. Friends and family are in a position to listen and comfort you about what’s making you feel upset. They can say useful things that could help you cope with your emotions.



Support can come from many unexpected sources. Pets are great little buddies for comfort, and are often overflowing with happiness! Even if you don’t have one yourself, you could ask a friend or neighbour if you could look after their pet for a few days to help you feel better and deal with your feelings.

YouTube Video

Dealing with a relationship break up

Whether you did the breaking up or you’re the one who was broken up with, it can bring on a range of difficult feelings. It’s normal to experience these feelings and it can take time to get over the loss of a relationship.

For all other group chat transcripts click here

Online community

You could also to talk to other people online who might understand what you’re going through. Online support groups like eheadspace run group chat sessions that can help you talk about your experiences and share coping techniques with others. You can also get help in person or on the phone.


New friends

Have you lost contact with old friends? Taking some time to focus on making new friends or catching up with old friends can be a good way to get past your break up. Check out how to connect to your community and make new friends for ideas on how to meet some new friends and make exciting new relationships.


Professional support

Sometimes support from family and friends isn’t enough. You might feel constant sadness that won’t pass, and be unable to continue school, uni or work.

Consider talking to a counsellor, psychologist or mental health clinician. It can be in a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space. These people can help you deal with your relationship break down and give you coping strategies for moving forward.

Are you finding it tough to cope with a break up? Looking for some support? Get in touch with your nearest headspace centre.