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How to Get Over a Breakup

I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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If your heart is hurting in this moment, I wish you could come over to my house. I want to wrap you up in a blanket, and brush your hair back like my mom always would to me. I want to make hot cocoa and bake chocolate chip cookies—just to let the warm scent wrap you in familiarity and comfort.

Having your heart broken is the worst feeling in the entire world—I’m convinced. And it’s something I would not wish on my worst enemy.

The toughest part about heartbreak is the faith that it takes to survive.

There’s a quote in Under the Tuscan Sun where she marvels that divorce doesn’t actually kill you.

I have had my heart shattered into so many pieces that I marveled that it was still capable of moving blood around my body.

You have to put one foot in front of the other, still bring food to your mouth even after it’s lost its taste, and keep moving even when you’re not sure you’ll ever feel anything, ever again.

And when you’re in the throes of a breakup, it is almost impossible to see the bigger picture.

People tell you there are other fish in the sea, and that it’s all going to work out the way it should.

Well when you’ve had your heart freshly broken and you feel like your insides are being stretched over your outsides, you can’t really see straight. No amount of advice or reassurance really makes you feel better.

I have a special and well-worn empathy for what it feels like to have your heart yanked out.

But I also have an appreciation and respect for what these excruciating moments in our lives are capable of.

My life has been irreversibly changed by the breaking of my heart, and while I was in the midst of it, I didn’t think I’d ever heal.

But today I’m so deeply grateful for the breakups I’ve survived, because of what they were able to change and grow in me.

I am a Christian because I got my heart broken. I left the country and learned Spanish and took the time to understand who I am and what I’m about, all because of a broken heart. (Here's the full story!)

One of the central themes of the Bible is death and rebirth. You can see it all over scripture and all over nature. Winter comes, everything dies, but then spring peeks through again, brighter and more beautiful than ever.

And this is what I believe breakups are able to do in us.

Going through a breakup is the literal death of a relationship. But in the process, other things die too.

My security, my confidence, and my understanding that I’m worthy of love died along with my relationship in college.

But in the aftermath—the winter, and then the spring—something new and better and stronger grew in their place.

It really is going to be ok and I want you to know that—if you’re able to hear a whisper of hope among your hurting thoughts right now.

But I also want to give you a few tools that helped me along the way.

I learned the hard way, not how to get over a breakup, but how to survive one and how to turn it into something positive.

 1. Be kind

I don’t offer myself a lot of grace when it comes to the healing process. I expect to feel better instantly, and chide myself for being weak when it takes longer than anticipated. But when we’re going through a breakup, the last thing we need is criticism.

We need to be spoken to in soothing tones, and offered tea in the middle of the day, and to be comforted and loved. And that’s something that we, often our own biggest critics, need to offer to ourselves.

 2. Write letters—send none of them

In the aftermath of a breakup, there are a thousand things we want to say to the person who broke our heart. But in those first weeks and months, we’re not in any state to be able to really talk things out. Often our attempts just make things worse. So if there is something you need to say, write it in a letter. Be brutally honest. Say what you’ve been wanting to say for so long. And then rip up the letter. It’s the same catharsis without the damage.

3. Exercise

Exercise has this wonderful way of making us feel like we’re moving in a positive direction. It also provides a much-needed outlet for our frustration and our hurt. The best part is that the treadmill wont be offended if you pound on it for a while. It also provides the opportunity to create a new routine when your life may feel at loose ends.

 4. Stay away from alcohol

In moments of intense sadness, it’s tempting to reach for the comfort of a cocktail. But I can tell you (from experience)  there’s no quicker way to make you cry in public. It doesn’t offer you the escape you’re looking for, instead it functions a bit like a magnifying glass, and simultaneously removes your filter. Which tends to be a recipe for post-breakup disaster.

 5. Pray—a lot

God is able to do miraculous, stunning things with even the messiest of situations. I promise you that if you stick close to him, you’ll come out of this better than you went in, and you’ll be grateful for what this breakup was able to create in you.

You may not believe me today, and that’s perfectly ok. But you will survive this. You WILL survive this. I know because I’ve done it.

All my love and prayers to you, my sweet friends.

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  1. Shannon says:

    Stephanie, this is so perfect! I had a massive life-changing earth-shattering heartbreak last summer. Check out my blog for more of my testimony at

    I, too, became a Christian because of my heartbreak. I went through the same healing process, forgiving my ex, avoiding all alcohol, and praying and reading God’s Word all day every day. This post is proof to me that whatever you’re going through, someone else has been there. This is beautifully written, nice work!

  2. Melissa says:

    Yes and yes! I’ve done all of those after a breakup. I actually sent the letter, I did drink and regret it, and you are right, prayer was the thing that got me through! Your readers are lucky to have you, Steph!

  3. Patrick says:

    Your article was very freshing. I been praying and asking God what to do about my break up. I keep hearing stand still. It’s been over a month and people asked me if it was me saying that. One day I was praying in the shower and all of a sudden when I walk out; the story of Jesus raising the little girl from the dead (from Luke) rushed in my head. I am tired of enduring and hurting I don’t what to do. Any advice?

    • Emily grace says:

      You can have JOY in the sorrow. Even in your loss, take heart. Remember who Jesus is and you who are because of him. You are so SO valuable and dearly loved. COMMUNITY. Find community at a local church, in family, in Christ centered friends. BE HONEST about your sorrow and have others pray for you. Take courage, and GIVE courage; your story will encourage others! Hope this gives you some light, friend!

  4. Will says:

    Nice post. I find myself less than two months into my breakup and it seems the hole will never heal. I just wish someone would appear beside me to fill the void but I know it never works that way. Some days I feel ok and others I wish I never woke up. When you think you are over it the feelings appear again when least expected to bring you to your knees. I never knew such a roller coaster ride existed, and it seems to be one you just have to ride alone.

  5. Julia says:

    This speaks straight to my heart, Stephanie. I’m going through something like this right now. I met this amazing guy and he’s not a Christ-follower and that is a real deal-breaker for me. We became very emotionally wrapped up in each other right away. I’m someone who can’t help doing that, and he’s like that too. So it was a recipe for heartbreak.

    As of late, I have been asking God why, time and again, I have fallen for guys who are not believers. A few of them have actually come to Christ later on, so there was a seed planted and thus, something good. BUT this breakup of sorts is shining a light on the fact that I feel stuck.

    I don’t feel like I ‘fit’ in most churches (though I am trudging through being part of one now because I think gathering is important). I don’t fit in with ‘churchy’ men and women — I love Jesus, but I also have said a cuss word or two and I enjoy a good glass of whiskey. I don’t think ‘because the Bible says so’ is a valid answer. I think it is important to question and use the mind God gave me. But I don’t entirely fit in with those who don’t believe, either, because my faith is the most important thing in my life.

    Thank you for talking about the change and growth that will come about as a result of what’s happened. Your words give me a whole lot of hope.

    • Alyx says:

      Julia, I relate very much to this. The majority of my relationships from this past summer have been with non-Christians, all getting in too deep too fast (emotionally and sometimes physically). The first guy broke up with me in a text while I was on vacation, and the second guy immediately became distant after a date. He didn’t explain to me where he was at or why he pulled away. The one Christian guy I went out with seemed awesome, and we could both tell that there was something between us. But then he comes back and tells me that the “chemistry and connection between us wasn’t right” (for him) and didn’t want to explain. It was hurtful and frustrating, considering we had only been on one date.

      I also relate to your experiences with trying to meet guys in Church (or Christian related settings). I love Jesus, but I don’t consider myself conservative at all. And I want a man who loves Jesus, but focuses on Grace instead of legalism. I’m still trying to figure out exactly why guys in churches are so standoffish. Stephanie, what is the best way to let a guy know that we’re not trying to determine if we want to marry them (let alone date them) upon the first time we meet them?

      Love and hugs

      • Stephanie May Wilson says:

        That’s an awesome question, Alex! And actually — it’s something we talk about a TON in my new course, Make The Most Of Your Single Life! We also talk about how to find the kinds of guys we’re looking for, and how to be proactive about it, while still allowing ourselves to be pursued! If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would LOVE for you to join us! The doors open September 26th (and there’s a special Early Bird Discount for the first 24 hours!) The website is Let me know if you have any questions!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Gina says:

    I cannot tell you how badly I needed to read this. It’s been a few months since my breakup but for some reason it hurts more now. I think because I feel so much pressure to move on. I don’t even know where to begin when looking to find someone. I work with all woman and am so shy. I just don’t even know where to turn other than Jesus.

  7. Allyson says:

    Wow. This is definitely something I needed to read. My story is kind of crazy and such but I met my guy at the beginning of the year. And things were so great. He was my first serious boyfriend and just an amazing person. Exactly what i needed in a partner and I felt so incredibly blessed every single day just to be able to know him. After several months, after a lot of prayer and confirmation from God, I decided to start looking for jobs and a place to live closer to him. But I felt that God wanted me to wait until after my mission trip I was going on at the beginning of August so I could put all my focus and energy into that trip and doing what God wanted me to do there and then when I got back, I would start the process of moving since my boyfriend lived a few hours away, the distance was hard, and I truly feel/felt I would eventually marry him (and we both felt the same way). Well a few days into the trip, I noticed he seemed different, distant, and it stressed me out and took my focus completely away from my mission. I finally got it out of him and he confirmed he felt like God was pulling him out of the relationship. I spent the rest of the week trying to push my feelings aside and do what I was called to do. That was the hardest week of my life and the trip made it all worth it, we did a lot of amazing things and helped tons of people but when I got back, I was crushed. I’m still crushed when I allow myself to think about my circumstances. The whole entire situation just sucks lol. Cause in my heart I know that I’m supposed to marry him. But I’m slowly understanding the timing issue. Just in the past few weeks, I’ve realized all the baggage and unforgiveness I need to get rid of on top of changing how I view myself and how I conduct myself in every day matters. I think I really wasn’t ready to fully commit to someone on that level and the only way for God to show either of us that was to break it off for a while. Not saying I’m trying to let go of things and become a better version of myself for him, I’m not trying to do that. I’m doing it for myself. So I can be the woman God created me to be and I can share my story and light with others when they go through similar situations. But seriously some days I want to hide from the world and lay in bed all day. And that’s the main thing I’m trying to fight against. I let the depression and sadness win at first but now I’m trying to take each day at a time and let God lead me where to go and not worry about my future. Thank you for the post. I never realized break ups were so hard. But when you fully invest your life in someone and then they break it off, man there are no words to explain the heart shatter. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever had to go through and I’ve been through some rough things.

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