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Advice About Breaking Up

You Asked: We Broke Up on Christmas Eve

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend of four years and I broke up on the morning of Christmas Eve. Talk about bad timing. Christmas Day was really, really hard on me. We've been together since I was really young, and I feel like I don't know myself without him. I’m so attached to him and even though things hadn't been right with our relationship for a long time and I knew it had to end, it’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. After four years, he's honestly my best friend, and I want to stay that way. We plan on seeing each other and hanging out and doing the fun things we used to do together.

It might sound strange, but I feel like I belong with him. I think about "my side" of the bed, and the drawer at his place where I kept my things, and the passenger side of his car being "my seat." I feel so empty and even though it was time for it to end, I miss him with all my heart. I'm trying to be as strong as I can be and not show my weakness around him. How do I get over this? I want to be excited again. I have my whole life ahead of me (I’m 21), and I haven’t been single since junior high school. But I just feel so depressed and usually when I’m upset, I run to him. So I have no idea what to do. Please help!

— Devastated Devon

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Devastated Devon,

Break ups are the hardest thing in the world while you’re going through them. It’s going to take some time in order for your heart to heal and for you to feel like you can live your life without him. Take comfort in the fact that deep down inside, you knew this relationship wasn’t right and that breaking up was the best thing.

With all that said, my advice is to have space from him. I know you said you want to remain friends, but you need to grieve your relationship first. There is no way you’ll be able to get over him if you continue to see and talk to him. It will give you a false sense of hope that you’ll get back together. So be strong on your own without him. Spend time with your friends and do what makes you happy. When you're upset, talk about your feelings or write them down in a journal. Keeping them inside will only make you feel more lonely and depressed.

This relationship was like a habit and of course for a while, everything that you do will make you think of him. So as you spend time being single, you’ll get used to being on your own. The first few weeks and even months will be awful, but every day that passes will get easier and easier, until you get over him (and you will get over him). Breaking up with this guy will allow room in your heart for new relationships, so just be patient and try to think about the amazing life you have ahead of you.


Join The Conversation
princessani princessani 9 years
I honestly can't say I know exactly how you feel but I have some sense. Would it be possible for you to just go back to being friends and just forget about what happened that way you wont feel so committed and you should feel free and be able to have fun. Including with him. Have a good day.
dmg923 dmg923 9 years
Space is key. Friends are key. Surround yourself with your friends and maybe even try and make some new ones. Just don't bring them down with your depression. Let them pump you up. It takes time and it is going to get easier.
burnsjl burnsjl 9 years
Give it time and it will eventually start to get a little easier. The holidays are an especially rough time to go through a break-up. I stayed friends with several of my ex-boyfriends but it was too hard to see them right away. You have to take time to mourn the relationship and then see if it works as a friendship. I had a boyfriend who dumped me right before Christmas. I was miserable, but a few months later I met the man who is now my husband. I feel lucky that the other relationship ended, because my husband treats me so much better than the other guy did!
MintedRose MintedRose 9 years
Just wanted to add great songs that help! Fiona Apple "Get Gone" and Ben Harper "Walk Away" You will feel sad listening to them at first but I promise it will empower you!! Good luck and stay strong...Your life is just beginning!!
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
I definitely relate to this; back in high school, I dated a guy for a while and then he broke up with me the day after Thanksgiving my senior year of high school. I was devastated because my life revolved around him, making him happy and dreaming up plans for us in the future. However, break-ups happen because the relationship isn't working's not necessarily because there's something wrong with you or with him, but the interaction that comes up. Maybe someday he will be the right person for you, but chances are, that won't happen. It really is best to just let him go. Take this time to spend your energy with friends and working on indulging on yourself. What better way to start off the new year than having a new you? And if you are able to live your life independently and well, maybe he will see that and there's a much greater chance of him wanting to be with you or even be your friend if he thinks you can take care of yourself.
loveisinbloom loveisinbloom 9 years
I agree with dearsugar and many of the girls. Time and space is what will be best for both of you. It will be so hard at first (believe me I've been there) but it will get easier and you will learn so many good things about yourself and begin to identify yourself as more than just "his" girlfriend. Who knows, after having some time to yourself, being with your friends, and dating other people, you might find that what you want to do is try to work it out with him. But after you have had that time apart you will be in a better position to be more sure of yourself and who you are, ultimately resulting in a better relationship, with whomever you choose. Try to keep positive though and keep yourself active!! It will get better!
alltherage alltherage 9 years
i went thru a similary experience and i remember everyone telling me time and space would help me get thru it -- and i remember thinking they were all wrong. but in the end they were right. but its hard to see that when u are in the middle of it. but its the best advice. good luck (and good luck to you longhorn!)
longhorn_sugar longhorn_sugar 9 years
i am going through the exact situation. all these ladies are giving great advice, and i am praying that time and space will heal all wounds. hang in there devon!
candy-apple candy-apple 9 years
That's interesting. I'm in practically the same situation at the moment. I even wanted to write DearSugar about it but well.. you beat me to it! Anyone, my break up was very painful because it involved some deceitful, crappy, manipulative behavior on his side. Plus, he was the one who did the dumping. Even though I could see the relationship coming to an end, eventually, I didn't expect it to come from him, so soon, and so brutally. It's very painful to end something nice you got used to, especially in my case when the hurt of losing someone you love is doubled by the pain of being hurt and betrayed by that person. He didn't cheat on me but he broke up with me behind my back, without telling me, like a total coward. I found out from his sister. And him confirming it on msn. MSN! i mean yeah, he isn't 13 or anything.. anyways. My own take on the situation is: if you know as well as I did that it was bound to happen at some point or other, even though you are hurting horribly right now, keep in mind that sooner is better than later. What if the situation had dragged on for another six months, even another year or two. Imagine another year of bickering, of unresolved conflicts and underlying tension. And imagine every actually positive moment you spend together in this next year, would have turned into yet another gut-wrenching memory by the time you would have eventually broken up. We do tend to blow up the good times and blur out the bad ones. So like others said: take some quality time with yourself. Cherish this opportunity to get to know who you really want to be, who you really are and the things you want to achieve in life. I've always wanted independance and that was one of the weak points of the relationship: how can you be truly independant in a couple. Take some time off guys and just have fun being single, hang out with your girlfriends, focus on your studies/career, take active steps towards defining and realising your dreams. You'll see that in doing this you'll be too engrossed to pine away for your ex, you won't even have time for a new one. You will have moved on. And once that happens and you are ready to date again, you will notice that guys have been lining up, and for quite some time, to take out the happy, confident and successful woman you will have become. :)
plasticapple plasticapple 9 years
Herjoiedevivre said exactly what I was going to say. You're a point in your life where you're going to go through a lot of changes mentally/emotionally. This is a positive thing! Meet new people, try new things, go to new places. The possibilities are endless! Go explore and have fun!!
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 9 years
Obviously, your life was entrenched in his. You say you don't know what to do without him- I think this is the perfect opportunity to figure out who you are. Maybe there are some things you did with him that you'd like to change. You can discover new aspects of your personality, date around, get excited ab out other guys- junior high is a long time to keep dating, a lot of personality changes since then, and I think a break-up is just in the cards when you've been together that long at such a young age. take this opportunity to figure out who YOU are.
elsiebelle elsiebelle 9 years
I was 20 years old last, last Christmas Eve when my fiance and I broke up. And like you, we were together for quite some time--we were high school sweethearts. I was absolutely wasn't easy at ALL! The worst part was that we WEREN'T friends afterwards. All communication was pretty much cut off and we went our separate ways. At the time it made no sense at all, but I realized in the time leading to the break-up, I was always questioning who I was as a person. That I really didn't know anything, but life with him. I was clearly unhappy and maybe even confused. Over time, eventually, I started picking myself back up and I started to discover and define myself, my independent self. I surprised myself in doing things I never thought I could do without him, it really made me proud. We stayed broken up for 9 months, and eventually came into contact again and realized how much we had matured in our time apart. I think had we not had that space, we would be running in the same circles we were. Even though it's only been a year, we have probably grown more in those 9 months apart than the four years we had spent together. We are now back together and I am truly happy. I know who I am, I see who he is, and we both know what we truly want. It's something about enduring love, if it's meant to be--it always finds its way. Good luck, with your situation. I really encourage you to take advantage of this time and not only give him space, but to give yourself space and to define and discover your independent self. If it's meant to be, it will find its way.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Just keep your distance. take a few days (weeks if you're really cut up), and cry it out. eat loads of ice cream. surround yourself with you closest girlfriends, sisters, mom, whoever. dont' try to date anyone right now. just chill out, and relect. at 21, it's a hard time anyways, (you're trying to figure out who YOU are, and you're becoming a woman). Start doing things (i know this is gonna sound corney), but play tennis, go rock climbing (you might meet a hottie- no wait, stay away from guys right now). just get out and enjoy life. not to hurt your feelings, but do you really think your ex is sitting around crying and sulking . . . You have to learn to know your value and have your own life, sans boyfriend. the guy doesn't complete you, he's just an embellishment. think of him as a cincher belt. you already looked hot in that dress, but the belt topped it off.
socialitebabe socialitebabe 9 years
YOu're only 21!! I never even had a boyfriend and I'm you're age! I think you need to put your focus elsewhere! Its not like you're 50 and breaking up! You have a whole lot of guys to meet and crying over one guy is not going to help you move on. Find a passion and pursue it!
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Well, I must be in the minority here. But I say trust your own instincts. When I was in college, my boyfriend of a few years and I broke up. I was devastated - I even called two of my professors and asked to postpone midterms for a few days. I felt like my whole life plan - my whole life had just come crashing down on me. But, he and I stayed friends. We didn't see each other much at all for a week or two, but after that we were hanging out again. My best friend lived with him, so it would have been impossible to avoid him completely anyway. Plus, we'd been dating since high school - most all of our friends were mutual. Hanging out wasn't always easy. But, honestly it helped me move on. I could see how much better we were as friends. And I had to force myself to confront the change in our relationship. I'm not going to lie and say that it didn't hurt when he started dating a co-worker/sorta friend of mine a few months later. But, for me, dealing with things head on is much better than trying to run away. Like ripping a band aid off. Good luck to you!!
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 9 years
oops where not wear lol
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 9 years
I really no how you feel as I am going through a similar situation, it hurts like hell and because it just so recently happened I still have those moments wear I text him at least i don't call. I know the relationship wasnt' healthy for me (emotionally abusive at times) but I got used to being with hiim. Now I am excited about my single life and can't wait for my prince charming to come. Hang in there girl you'll be alright!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
You need to cut the cord because he's not your boyfriend anymore. I get the feeling that you want to get together with him in an effort to try and get back your relationship. You cannot spend too much time together at this point nor should you. You can't move on with him constantly in your life.
Julienne Julienne 9 years
I want to let you know how much I feel sorry for you. I know the way it feels when the world around you seems to crash and nothing feels like it felt before. I hope you will discover -not re experience- love in a different way with someone else, just as beautiful and breathtaking but clearly separated from your past relationship. Wish you well!
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 9 years
Going through the same thing too - mine was a five year relationship. Things I'm finding are working: space, like everyone said, and a conscious effort to not stay home listen to break up music and mope. I also kind of stopped talking to mutual friends just to reduce temptation to talk about him and stuff. Trust me, at first it REALLY sucks, but as soon as you get over the first hurdle and start realizing that the break up is definitely a good thing, it gets much much easier :)
Femmekid Femmekid 9 years
I just got out of a two year relationship about a month ago, which ended because things had just been going down hill for awhile also. I loved him and still do a great deal. And every time someone would tell me I needed to take space from him and that things wouldn't always feel this horrible, I was angry. I didn't believe anyone. But when I was ready, I took my space and it is better now. It still hurts sometimes, but I haven't talked to him in 2 weeks and this nagging feeling to call him has gone away and I'm happy now. I realized how bad our relationship had been going and I felt free. Things really do get easier, just be patient and find ways to distract yourself. <3
d_ford d_ford 9 years
I've gone through a similar break-up...nothing particularly wrong, but it was time to end it. I thought my world had crashed down around me. Dear Sugar is right, you need to take a break from him. How can your heart and mind heal if you're still doing the same things but the love is no longer there? That's a mind trip for you. My ex and I broke up the day before I went to London and although it put a damper on my trip, even those 7 days without him were helpful and healthy. Take your time, and only when you feel you can see him with no feelings attached...wait another month then see him.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
DearSugar is absolutely correct. I was in a similar situation; I dated someone for 4 years and we broke up when we both went off to college far apart. We never hit any problems, but we both knew it would be best for us to go to college unattached -- we didn't want to regret not making new friends because we were too busy trying to spend weekends flying back and forth to visit each other. We took three months with NO contact -- no visits, no phone calls, no emails, I took him off my instant message lists so I wasn't tempted to see what he was doing. Within those three months, we were able to 100% get over each other from a romantic standpoint and there were no hidden feelings. We saw each other for the first time at Thanksgiving, and suddenly we were just best friends again. He remained my best friend in the entire world, but I was able to move on and no longer felt like I was missing half of me. I know it's going to be incredibly difficult, but take the time apart -- it will make it so much easier in the end. Otherwise, you'll never truly get over him. You're young, there are plenty of other men out there, but you CAN have him as a best friend (eventually) and still move on and find Mr. Right.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
You really do need to get space from him. You didn't mention how the relationship ended or what was wrong with it but I'm confused as to why it did? No attraction anymore? If you both plan on hanging out together then it's clear the spark hadn't gone... You need to get as much space between him and you as possible. If you instigate yourself as a "friend" straight away then it'll be harder for you to get over him. Surround yourself with friends and over time it will get easier. If you see his face every day then it'll just be fresh heartbreak over and over again.
stumbler02 stumbler02 9 years
I agree with DearSugar. Getting over this breakup requires two things: space and time. Do not hang out with him. Distance yourself. You're only going to prolong your pain if you stick around. It's going to be rough but the feelings will get easier to deal with as the months pass. Of course, you will miss him. But if the breakup was really the right thing to do, then time will help you conquer those feelings. Good luck!
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