These four insights will help you get to acceptance, whether your breakup happened today or ten years ago. Accepting a breakup you didn’t want, expect or plan won’t be the easiest thing you ever do. But, learning how to accept that it’s really over will give you a new sense of freedom and peace in your life.
My tips for accepting a breakup are inspired by a reader, who said:
“My boyfriend said he wants to break up and doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore,” says a reader on How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want. “How and why could he do this to me? I feel so stupid. This is our second breakup and he said he couldn’t accept the first breakup. He was totally sure he wanted to get back together, that we could fix our relationship and that he wanted us to last forever. I told all my family and friends and had to convince them getting back together was a good idea. Now I’m heartbroken again, even worse than the first time. He has made it clear now we will never get back together and he doesn’t love me. I am literally a wreck my whole world has been destroyed. I can’t seem to let go.”
Shortly after she left that comment, I read an article called “Keep On Moving” in the December 2017 issue of Mindful magazine. “We don’t have to like everything life throws our way,” writes Dr Holly Rogers. “If we can learn to truly accept — not ignore or resist — the hard stuff, it won’t feel as hard.”
A breakup is one of the hardest things to experience in life. It’s a rejection and abandonment that goes to the very root of who we are. We were created to be safe, loved and together…and a breakup that you didn’t want doesn’t just hurt, it feels impossible to accept. Especially if our identities are based in the relationship.
The bad news is that accepting the end of a relationship you wanted to keep is one of the most painful things you’ll ever do. But wait, there’s good news! Dr Rogers’ acceptance tips will help you move through the pain of breaking up and start to feel alive again.
4 Keys to Accepting a Breakup You Didn’t Want
It’s inevitable that we will feel pain in life and love — especially after an unplanned or unexpected breakup. When unwanted things happen, it hurts. When we resist the pain, we multiply our suffering. Resistance is all the things we do to avoid or escape pain, such as overeating, shopping, drinking, doing drugs. Acceptance hurts, but it’s the healthiest and best way to decrease the suffering of a broken heart.
I weave my faith through these tips on how to accept a breakup you didn’t want. Jesus changed my life, the Holy Spirit is the source of my joy and power, and I love God with all my heart. How can I not include them in an article on accepting the pain after breaking up? You’ll know when I’m including Dr Rogers’ advice on acceptance and when I’m sharing my own insights.
1. Acceptance does not mean you enjoy being single again
“Acceptance is not the same thing as liking, agreeing with, or passively resigning yourself to anything,” writes Dr Rogers. “The kind of acceptance I am talking about does not require you to give up or be passive in the face of disappointments. There is nothing passive at all about acceptance. It is a highly active state of awareness that points you toward wise actions.”
When you accept a breakup, you’re simply recognizing reality. You’re seeing the end of your relationship clearly and honestly. For me, acceptance — whether it’s a breakup I didn’t want, an unexpected death, a scary health diagnosis, or even disappointing news at work — also involves trusting God. I don’t believe I’ll always see how He works all things together for my good, but I do know He does have a plan for my life and He is carrying me through. I do my best to keep my heart and soul open to the Holy Spirit so that no matter what happens in my life, I experience a deep river of joy, freedom, peace, love, and strength. My faith helps me accept everything that comes my way, whether or not I chose it.
2. Accepting a breakup doesn’t mean you agree with it
“You can learn to calmly, kindly, and firmly disagree with someone you love if you can accept him for who he is, rather than being mad at him for not being the person you wish he was,” says Dr Rogers.
If you didn’t want the breakup, then you don’t agree with your ex-boyfriend or ex-husband about why or how the relationship ended. You can disagree with him and still accept a breakup you didn’t want. Instead of putting your energy toward trying to change his mind or berating yourself for mistakes, flaws or weaknesses, focus on moving forward. Learn more about what acceptance means and how it can free you from the pain of a breakup. Practice accepting all things in your life — because how you do one thing is how you do everything.
3. Accepting a breakup isn’t passive resignation
Don’t confuse acceptance with passive resignation. Passive resignation is giving up, being resigned to grief, suffering, injustice or pain. Acceptance of a breakup you didn’t want doesn’t mean you give up on life, your future hopes and dreams, or your desire to have a happy, healthy family.
“Acceptance may allow you to see reality with greater clarity so you can develop more effective solutions,” writes Dr Rogers. “Accepting [a breakup you didn’t want ] might guide you to change your approach to a particular battle by helping you see that it is not the best way to win the war.” Acceptance doesn’t just promote healthy healing of a broken heart, it also helps you stop negative thinking after a breakup.
4. Acceptance is not a decision
This is the best quote in the whole article — and the best tip on how to accept a breakup you didn’t want:
“You don’t decide to accept a situation,” writes Dr Rogers. “Acceptance is an action. It is the action of bringing your awareness in to the present and acknowledging what is true in this moment. As soon as you pull your attention to the present and are willing to see what is true, you are practicing acceptance. When you acknowledge the reality of any moment, letting go of ideas about how things ‘should’ be or how you wish they were, you are practicing acceptance.”
She adds that acceptance — including accepting a breakup you didn’t want — lifts you out of being stuck. Acceptance helps you decide what the most sensible, healthy, life-giving move is in this moment. Acceptance is what carries you through the pain of a broken heart. Resistance will keep you stuck. Acceptance will help you heal after a breakup you didn’t want. Resistance will swallow you whole.
Will you choose acceptance or resistance? How can you rely on your faith and your trust in God to carry you through the healing process? Maybe it’s time to look up and return the gaze of Jesus. He’s been watching you with love, compassion, and patience this whole time. He is especially fond of you.
Letting go of the past is another dimension of accepting a breakup you didn’t want. For help, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.