Print    Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
    
KidsHealth - Teens
Bookmark and Share

Lee este articuloIf you've just had a break-up and are feeling down, you're not alone. Just about everyone experiences a break-up at some point, and many then have to deal with heartbreak — a wave of grief, anger, confusion, low self-esteem, and maybe even jealousy all at once.

Millions of poems and songs have been written about having a broken heart and wars have even been fought because of heartbreak.

What Exactly Is Heartbreak?

Lots of things can cause heartbreak. Some people might have had a romantic relationship that ended before they were ready. Others might have strong feelings for someone who doesn't feel the same way. Or maybe a person feels sad or angry when a close friend ends or abandons the friendship.

Although the causes may be different, the feeling of loss is the same — whether it's the loss of something real or the loss of something you only hoped for. People describe heartbreak as a feeling of heaviness, emptiness, and sadness.

How Can I Deal With How I Feel?

Most people will tell you you'll get over it or you'll meet someone else, but when it's happening to you, it can feel like no one else in the world has ever felt the same way. If you're experiencing these feelings, there are things you can do to lessen the pain.

Here are some tips that might help.

Let It Out

  • Share your feelings. Some people find that sharing their feelings with someone they trust — someone who recognizes what they're going through — helps them feel better. That could mean talking over all the things you feel, even having a good cry on the shoulder of a comforting friend or family member. If you feel like someone can't relate to what you're going through or is dismissive of your feelings, find someone more sympathetic to talk to. (OK, we know that sharing feelings can be tough for guys, but you don't necessarily have to tell the football team or your wrestling coach what you're going through. Talk with a friend or family member, a teacher, or counselor. It might make you more comfortable if you find a female family member or friend, like an older sister or a neighbor, to talk to.)
  • Don't be afraid to cry. Going through a break-up can be really tough, and getting some of those raw emotions out can be a big help. We know this is another tough one for guys, but there's no shame in crying now and then. No one has to see you do it — you don't have to start blubbering in class or at soccer practice or anything. Just a find a place where you can be alone, like crying into your pillow at night or in the shower when you're getting ready for the day.

Be Kind to Yourself

  • Remember what's good about you. This one is really important. Sometimes people with broken hearts start to blame themselves for what's happened. They may be really down on themselves, exaggerating their faults as though they did something to deserve the unhappiness they're experiencing. If you find this happening to you, nip it in the bud! Remind yourself of your good qualities, and if you can't think of them because your broken heart is clouding your view, get your friends to remind you.
  • Take good care of yourself. A broken heart can be very stressful so don't let the rest of your body get broken too. Get lots of sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly to minimize stress and depression and give your self-esteem a boost.
  • Do the things you normally enjoy. Whether it's seeing a movie or going to a concert, do something fun to take your mind off the negative feelings for a while.
  • Keep yourself busy. Sometimes this is difficult when you're coping with sadness and grief, but it really helps. This is a great time to redecorate your room or try a new hobby. That doesn't mean you shouldn't think about what happened — working things through in our minds is all part of the healing process — it just means you should focus on other things too.
  • Give yourself time. It takes time for sadness to go away. Almost everyone thinks they won't feel normal again, but the human spirit is amazing — and the heartbreak almost always heals after a while. But how long will that take? That depends on what caused your heartbreak, how you deal with loss, and how quickly you tend to bounce back from things. Getting over a break-up can take a couple of days to many weeks — and sometimes even months.

Some people feel that nothing will make them happy again and resort to alcohol or drugs. Others feel angry and want to hurt themselves or someone else. People who drink, do drugs, or cut themselves to escape from the reality of a loss may think they are numbing their pain, but the feeling is only temporary. They're not really dealing with the pain, only masking it, which makes all their feelings build up inside and prolongs the sadness.

Sometimes the sadness is so deep — or lasts so long — that a person may need some extra support. For someone who isn't starting to feel better after a few weeks or who continues to feel depressed, talking to a counselor or therapist can be very helpful.

So be patient with yourself, and let the healing begin.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: May 2013

 
Other Related KidsHealth Articles:
Abusive Relationships
Abuse has no place in love. Read this article to find out how to recognize the signs of abuse and how you can get help.
Am I in a Healthy Relationship?
Does your boyfriend or girlfriend treat you as well as you treat him or her? Does your BF or GF support you in good times as well as bad? Does he or she get who you really are? Find out if you're in a healthy relationship.
Death and Grief
If someone close to you has died, you probably feel overwhelmed with grief. Read about some things that might help you cope.
How Can I Deal With My Anger?
Do you wonder why you fly off the handle so easily sometimes? Do you wish you knew healthier ways to express yourself when you're steamed? Check out this article for help with dealing with anger.
How to Break Up Respectfully
Breaking up means having an awkward or difficult conversation. Here are some ideas on what to say and how to say it - and why it's best to break up in person.
I Think I May Have a Drinking/Drug Problem. What Should I Do?
Find out what the experts have to say.
Love and Romance
Loving and being loved adds richness to our lives. When people feel close to others they are happier and even healthier. But what makes a good relationship? Find out here.
Teens Talk About Love (Video)
In this video, teens talk about dating, relationships and breakups -- including their parents as role models and dealing with divorce.
Your Thoughts on Falling in Love
More than 5,700 visitors took our survey on falling in love. Here's what you told us.
 
Related Resources:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.
National Mental Health Association (NMHA)
NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.
Planned Parenthood Info for Teens
This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.