Breaking up is never fun, and when you go through a break up in college, it can be even more complicated. We asked experts to share their best tips with us on how to survive a break up in college.
Allow yourself to grieve the relationship.
“It might sound ridiculous to suggest to really feel the pain, but finding distractions either with something or someone only puts off the grieving process, which is necessary to really move forward. You also put yourself at risk of falling into behaviors that will only cause more damage and pain. So pull out the tissues and a tub of ice cream and let yourself cry it out.” – Kristy De Leon, LMFT
“Feel the feelings. ALL of them. It is normal to feel sad about your relationship ending. It is also normal to be angry about it or confused or hurt or resentful or disappointed or happy or grateful. Feelings don’t have to make sense (sometimes they make absolutely no sense at all). They are just feelings. So, try to accept them as they come and know that they aren’t going to stick around forever, even if it feels like it.” – Dr. Jackie Kibler
Seek counseling services.
“The way to cope with a breakup in college is to avail yourself of the counseling services at your university. Find support and work through your grief. Take advantage of the free counseling services that most colleges offer. Ask for a cognitive therapist, if one is available, as this orientation proves very effective with depression and anxiety and you’ll likely feel quite depressed and anxious after a breakup. You’ll need to harness your thoughts to be sure you remain hopeful and encouraged.” – Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell
Create some distance.
“You may decide to stay friends with your ex, but after a breakup is not the time to work on that friendship. Right now, you need to focus on yourself and dealing with the breakup. Take a social media break from your ex (yes, you need to block them for a while), don’t talk on the phone, and don’t ask friends about them. This can be a difficult step, but it is easy to get caught up in what they are doing and not focus on you. You can’t move forward if you are focusing on someone else. Again, you may be able to work on a friendship after you’ve worked through the breakup, but take some time for yourself first.” – Dr. Jackie Kibler
Focus on your health.
“Join a recreational team, find a fitness class, go for runs or hit the weight room. Just move your body! It helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression. You need those endorphins pumping after you’ve been knocked down. Plus, you feel pretty amazing when you know you’re doing something good for your body!” – Cait Riexinger
“It’s easy to let bad habits take over our lives in college -especially during rough times – but it’s best to stay with a healthy lifestyle. Food and exercise affects our daily moods, and when we are already struggling with a bad breakup, it’s best to take care of our body as best we can so it doesn’t contribute negatively to our sensitive moods.” – Kali Rogers
Fill up your calendar.
“Message your friends and family members and plan things to do. Go see a concert, go out to dinner, have a study date or hit the mall! I think spending time with other people and occupying yourself helps the most when dealing with a breakup. Spending too much time alone allows you think about it too much and become more miserable.” – Cait Riexinger
“Going out and spending time with friends and family allows you to take your mind off the break-up and reducing the sadness and anxiety surrounding the end of the relationship. If spending time with friends and family is not an option, then try to stay busy with sports, your job, working out, studying, etc. This will allow you channel your energy to some place positive. Course work will also allow put your mind on a different subject, stay in control of your emotions, and preventing the break-up from negatively impacting your educational growth.” – Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
Gain some perspective.
“Accept that dating and breaking up in college is normal and healthy. Not everybody meets the person they’re supposed to be with in college. In fact, college is meant to date people who we might consider to be future partners – but they might not quite hit the mark yet. You are still getting to know yourself and learning who you are and what it is that you want in life. It’s great that you’re getting closer to your ideal mate, but don’t feel pressure to find him just yet, there’s still plenty of time!” – Kali Rogers
Refocus on your goals and dreams.
“Frequently in relationships we loose sight of what we really want in life, both professionally and personally. We might have put our ambition on the shelf for our partner and forgot we left it there. I suggest to my clients a process that I went through that brought back clarity, focus, and motivation- make a life map. Either write it down or get all Pinterest-y and create a big collage. But put down your life goals: who you want to be, what you want to have, and what you’re aiming to accomplish.” – Kristy De Leon, LMFT