3 mental health tips to help you get over a failed relationship

Many people come to therapy because they are hurt by a relationship that didn’t end well. They may say things like “I wish I could go back in time to make things turn out differently” or “I don’t know how I’ll be able to survive without him/her in my life.”

But the truth is that we all have an amazing ability to bounce back from even the toughest splits. Here are three techniques you can use to counteract the sting of a failed relationship.

#1. Failure is in the eye of the beholder

The term “failed connection” is a misnomer. Sure, relationships may not turn out the way we hoped, but that doesn’t make them failures. Unfortunately, our brains tend to categorize people, events, and things into specific, black-and-white categories. It helps us make sense of the messy, information-overloaded world we live in.

In the case of a “failed relationship,” it’s important to remember that there are always more nuances to the situation than your brain likes to accept. Failed relationships often have their mini-successes. Maybe you learned something about yourself that you didn’t know before the relationship. Maybe you’ve taken up a new activity, hobby, or routine because of the relationship. Maybe you saw a new part of the world or discovered a new healthy habit. Maybe you have a better idea of ​​what you’d like to see in your next relationship.

Do your best to avoid assigning value judgments to your past relationships, such as saying “X” is a success or “Y” is a failure. Instead, embrace the nuances that can be found in past relationships and learn from each experience, the good and the bad.

#2. Use past relationships as a catalyst for change

Two things can happen after we experience failure or failure. We can:

  1. Give up future opportunities for self-improvement
  2. Lean in and use failure as fuel for your own growth

Try to follow step two. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to get back on your feet after a bad breakup, therapy can help. Often what a mental health professional will help you discover is that you are taking on too much self-blame for the turn of events that led to the breakup. Perhaps you underestimate how many of life’s twists and turns are simply out of your control. This way of thinking can cause problems in other areas as well, such as parenting and professional pursuits.

It is comforting to remind ourselves that we cannot control the future. We cannot control the choices other people make. We cannot force ourselves into a reality that may or may not come true.

What we can control are our thoughts, emotions, actions and behavior. The better we are at steering our own ship, the less we are affected by the myriad things beyond our control.

#3. Don’t give romance more credit than it deserves

It is also important to keep in mind that all relationships in life are meaningful. So when we talk about “failed relationships” it doesn’t mean a failed romance. We can experience career interruptions or family breakups that affect us as deeply as a lost romance.

Also, when we experience a bad breakup, we can find comfort in the relationships we share with family members, friends, and colleagues. So be careful not to put your love life on such a pedestal that you alienate your other close relationships. (By the same token, be careful not to alienate your romantic partner by investing too much in other relationships.)

One of the keys to a healthy life and longevity is the growth and maintenance of very strong points of social contact. Cherish the connections you have with all the people in your life and community. Do what you can to help others and give back when you can. The strength we draw from our relationships with others is perhaps our most powerful resource and certainly the best antidote to overcoming a failed relationship.


People inevitably come and go in the course of our lives. To respond positively to the loss of a relationship, do your best to (1) avoid defining anything as a “failure,” (2) consider all the positives you can take from the experience, and (3) appreciate your other social connections and use them as a source of strength.

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