What Breakups Feel Like? | Experience Them Through Words

Breakups often cause a myriad of feelings. It’s not “just in your head” – but plastered across your life – from your sleep to your workplace. A breakup haunts you till you get over it.

A breakup is similar to getting over an addiction. It leaves you vulnerable, desperate, and longing for love. Emotional trauma is often no less than physical pain. It can also breed agony and hatred that can drive you towards impulsive and hurtful actions, only to regret them later.

If you are going through a breakup, try not to be too hard on yourself. All your feelings are valid and can be healed. But to move on, you must first understand what you’re feeling and the place it comes from.

What Does Breakup Feel Like?

While different people experience breakups differently, here are some of the most commonly observed experiences narrated by people:

1. Craving Attention

Love has the same response as a drug in our brains. Craving attention from your partner is your body begging you for the drug it took for ages.

Like every other addiction, it can only heal with time. The best thing you can do for yourself is not acting out on it or begging for your partner’s attention.

If it’s your ex craving for you, your best bet is to cut them out. The more attention you give them, the more they will crave it.

You’ll only make it worse for both of you.

Craving Attention

2. Staying In Denial

One of the critical stages of a break-up is denial, especially when you do not see it coming. It could not be over if everything was just perfect, could it?

Of course, it could. You can’t always know what someone has been thinking at all times.

Denial can help you feel good in the short term, but it is just a lie at the end of the day. And lying is going to help no one.

If your ex is the one in denial, there is not much you can do other than being crystal clear of your intentions. Leave no room for doubt and move on.

3. Chronic Stress

With such a drastic lifestyle shift, the mind and the body are bound to get stressed. Suddenly, you don’t know what life without your ex feels like.

You were simply too accustomed to sharing tasks and responsibilities. Stress is often a shared feeling across both parties.

It can also become the underlying cause of several other issues and feelings.

You would not enjoy work or activities with friends, and you will feel tired at the most mundane tasks.

The only way to cope with stress is to practice proper care for yourself. Indulge in relaxing activities when you can, even if you don’t feel like it.

4. Physical Sickness

Agony, stress, and sorrow can contribute to weakening your immune system. It may end up making you more prone to fatigue and physical sickness.

You may also feel headaches, nausea, and as if your chest is sinking. These symptoms range across individuals, and how hurt you are feeling also varies.

Treat your symptoms like any other sickness – with medication and rest.

Spending time with loved ones and friends, going out, and engaging yourself in things that soothe you can give you a positive emotional boost and help your immunity.

5. Change Of Appetite

Your mental and physical states are deeply entwined.

With high levels of stress and sadness, you are bound to witness a change in how you feel about food and your body.

While some people would binge-eat during their lows, you may end up losing all desire to eat.

You may even feel disgusted at the sight of food, or you might crave and seek food as a distraction.

Your eating patterns will then affect how you feel about your body – especially if your breakup has left you with insecurities about your appearance.

Either way, a diet plan, and a strong will are your saviors.

6. Passive Aggressive Anger

Pain often translates into anger, making it incredibly common during break-ups. You may want to curse, scream, or even break things because it hurts.

You might end up taking impulsive actions in the heat of the moment, only to regret them later on.

When you are in a fit of rage, try to look at the underlying emotion and address the pain.

You can talk to a friend or find better ways to drive your energy into something fruitful that does not cause harm.

If your ex is being aggressive, avoid any interactions and understand their stance. It is best to contact their friend or family and let a loved one deal with it.

Passive Aggressive Anger

7. Being Scared of Loneliness

The crushing feeling of “no one will ever love me again” is one of the worst. Our brains look at breakups like rejections.

We end up believing something is wrong with us – when in fact, that is usually not true.

Yes, you might have some issues, but it is rarely only one person at fault if a relationship doesn’t work out. Loneliness only gets worse when you cut people out.

Know that your close friends and family are there for you, even if you haven’t talked to them in a while.

This is the time to rebuild your life and expand your network once again.

8. Vulnerable and Weak

A fresh breakup will feel like an open wound. Opening up your heart to people seems threatening, and sharing your feelings will become harder.

How you respond to this feeling is also unique to you.

While some may close themselves out, others may open their hearts and run to their ex for comfort and acceptance.

You can only fight vulnerability when you push yourself to accept that it’s no big deal.

One person is not your entire world, and they can take nothing away from you.

9. Eager for Revenge

If you feel attacked or victimized during a breakup, you might also feel a strong desire to seek justice. The relationship will feel like a plot against you.

If you believe that seeking revenge and wronging your ex will bring you peace – it won’t.

Attempting to play your ex is only a waste of your own time and energy. The best revenge you could plot is working on yourself and becoming better.

Not because you want to prove something to your ex, but because you should. So, it’s an act of revenge but not an intentional one.

However, stay alert if you think your ex is plotting against you.

Try to cut off all possible contact and have a life without your ex and the common contacts for your own safety.

10. Lower Self-Esteem

Your self-esteem will take a hit with any kind of rejection – even breakups.

With a recent breakup, you may experience a sense of worthlessness or that you’re “just not good enough”.

Tarnishing your self-image will not only impact your current state of mind but will also bring difficulties at work and on future dates too.

With this sulking feeling, taking any initiative becomes ten times harder.

Constantly catching the language you use for yourself and consciously taking steps to turn it around, irrespective of how you feel, can be a big game-changer in the long run.

11. Difficulty in Focussing

A breakup leaves a trail of mental and physical health issues.

Undoubtedly, these repercussions become evident as a part of your everyday life that isn’t even associated with dating.

High levels of stress, misery, and sickness can make it difficult to focus on everyday activities or work.

Your mind may always wander around why your partner left you, where you went wrong, or a myriad of other questions that do not seem to leave your mind.

Your feelings will not suddenly cease to exist. The only way out is to just get up and do what you need to do, even when you don’t want to.

Pick up the easiest task first, and most importantly, do not be too hard on yourself.

12. A Desire to Isolate

Feelings of sadness, self-hatred, or worthlessness can also make you want to pull away from your social circle.

You may feel embarrassed or ‘like a loser’, making it harder for you to interact and engage with friends and family.

With an instilled fear of rejection, getting back out to date someone new again becomes a dreadful task.

No one wants to experience that kind of hurt over and over. The desire to isolate grows as you feed it, making it essential to take a step and break out of it.

Expressing your feelings will remind you that most of your worries are non-existent, and the people in your life still look at you the same way.

A Desire to Isolate

13. Devoid Of Emotions

We often tend to get a little too full of our partners – our time and resources completely sucked into them.

It is not only the loss of a person but our own energy. Emptiness is not a lack of emotion but also subconsciously suppressing your own feelings.

A breakup feels like something was snatched from you. Many a time, you will even fail to process your own emotions from the trauma.

You may be left with nothing to feel or think about in the end. That sinking, inexplicable feeling in your chest is sometimes a void that your ex has left.

The good news is: voids can always be filled again.

14. Longing For Human Connection

Contrary to popular belief, breakups don’t always mean you will sulk alone in your room.

Each person’s set of feelings is unique – and some might be just ready to jump out into the real world back again.

The addictive feeling of having been so closely loved can leave you longing for human connection once again.

As a result, you might want to go out on more dates, hook up, or flirt around immediately after your breakup.

It is not a sign of a lack of love for your partner, but your need to move on.

Just make sure you are not trying to move on too fast after a breakup just to show your ex that you no longer care.

Even if your ex is indulging with other people, do not use this as an opportunity to get into petty mind games.

For more details on this, read our article on: Moving On Too Fast After A Breakup

15. Self Awareness And Acceptance

Your emotions during a breakup are like a roller coaster ride with varying speeds for each individual.

At some point after your breakup and grieving, you will find a settling feeling inside you. A breakup will not only change your life but you as well.

Eventually, you will look at all the mistakes you made during your previous relationship and not hate yourself for it.

A sense of acceptance will dawn on you, and your desire to become better will get stronger.

Self-awareness does not hit everyone, but you should aim for it if you have had a recent breakup.

If all you’ve done till now is blaming, shaming, name-calling, and hating on your ex, it is high time you start assessing all sides of the equation and work on improving your own self instead.

How Long Does The Feeling Of A Breakup Last?

The feelings of breakup last from anywhere between 2 weeks to more than 6 months, depending upon the length of your relationship. People whose relationships last for up to 12 months need a few weeks to recover, while those with relationships extending over a year take months to get over their ex.

No one wants to sit and sulk forever – and none of us do it either. It does not matter what you feel and to what extent you feel it because all feelings are temporary.

These feelings and their duration are variable. You should always treat the timeframes mentioned below as a general criterion rather than a set standard.

The intensity of the pain of the breakup and related feelings depends a lot on the length of your relationship. So, if your relationship was:

1. 1-3 Months

Getting over your relationship should be a relatively easy task. You still remember what it was like to be single, so the transition isn’t as painful.

Even if you were deeply invested in a short relationship, you should only take about 2-4 weeks to get over it.

2. 6-12 Months

After 6 months, most people start seeing hope and begin to open up to their partners. A break-up at this stage can shatter your hopes.

Since your relationship had gotten comfortable but had not been cemented yet, you can look forward to getting over it in about 5-8 weeks.

3. 1-3 Years

A longer relationship can also take longer to heal. At this point, most people would have built a life around their significant other (SO).

A breakup at this stage means re-creating your life without your ex, which can take quite some time.

Fortunately, getting over your break at this stage is undoubtedly tough but not impossible.

The first couple of weeks will be devastating, but expect normalcy to set-in in about 9-16 weeks.

4. 3+ Years

It’s no surprise that breaking up after 3 years is highly devastating.

You may have trouble accepting the sudden change, live in extreme denial, and your brain might outright refuse to accept the truth.

It might even leave behind some little t trauma to heal before you can bounce back.

With common friends and family involvement, breaking out of contact and forgetting your ex will be so much harder.

Each stage of grief will last a little longer than the general norm.

You are most likely to take 6+ months to get over your ex completely, but the process will help you find a new version of yourself.

Beliefs are shaken, and identities are reformed overnight due to the crushing blow of a long-term relationship coming apart.

Breakup Recovery Psychotherapy

Other factors that influence the duration of breakup recovery are:

  • Emotional Investment: The more invested you are in a relationship, the more difficult it is to move on.
  • Cause of Breakup: While it is easier to move on due to differences, breakups caused by infidelity or breach of trust are harder to get over.
  • Experience: Your first breakup generally hurts more than the subsequent ones. As you get older and more breakups happen (if they do), you’ll usually handle the current one better than the previous one. Your ability to handle heartbreaks will directly influence your duration.
  • Who Dumped Whom: Having your heart broken by someone is often worse than breaking someone’s heart. Both hurt, but the level of pain is much different.

The more you try to push out and ignore your feelings, the longer you will stretch your agony.

The quicker you are to address them, the sooner you will move on.


A breakup, however devastating, is just another step to growth and a better life. Whether your ex was great or toxic, consider that you’ve just dodged a bullet.

You would frequently hear from friends and family: “There’s plenty of fish in the sea” – and that’s true.

But maybe dating and relationships should not entirely encompass your life.

You can use the breakup and all its feelings as an opportunity to learn, grow and find meaning in yourself rather than someone else.

There is no better way to succeed at relationships than to work on yourself.

People, moments, and feelings will come and go, but you will become more mature at handling these storms with proper focus.

Shashank Verma

A trained theatre actor and a STEM graduate who brings perspectives and methods from these worlds into dating and relationships. Also a big time Krav Maga enthusiast and practitioner.

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