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How to Deal With Long Distance Breakups

by Maura Banar, studioD

The popularity of the Internet, particularly for forming relationships, has led to a spike in long-distance dating. While online relationships can mirror traditional, offline relationships, they also come with unique challenges. Such challenges include dealing with conflict and break-ups without the physical presence of the other person with whom you were involved. Dealing with the end of a long-distance relationship can therefore be difficult, due to breakdown in communication. But it can also be easier, because you aren't faced with constant reminders of the other person.

Express Yourself

Express your feelings about the end of the relationship. Your emotional response, explains the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in its online article, "Experiencing and Expressing Emotions," has a significant effect on your ability to deal with adversity in general. Express what you feel, in writing, or to members of your support system. Choose an outlet for emotional expression that is nonjudgmental and feels secure and safe, even for your strongest emotion. Expect your emotions to become less severe over time, as you express them.


Practice healthy approaches to self-care. Pooling your resources to take care of yourself after a long-distance breakup provides you with the opportunity for personal growth. Approaches to self-care, explains the University of Texas at Dallas in its online article, "Self-Care," include engaging in physical activity, pursuing spiritual interests or seeking professional help, when necessary. Start a program that encompasses exercise, a healthier diet and spending time with social supports to solidify your confidence and ability to heal on the heels of a break-up.

Purge Reminders

Purge aspects of your life that include reminders of the relationship. While this may be a difficult step, it's important not to be surrounded with photographs or other objects that suggest the relationship isn't over. Create a clean slate by replacing photos of you and your ex with those of you alone or with some of your social supports. Similarly, replace other reminders such as gifts, with your own items. The goal is to create a supportive atmosphere that encourages you to move past the break-up of your relationship.

Reach Out

Spend time with your social supports, including friends, family and coworkers. The importance of social supports, explains the Mayo Clinic in its article, "Combat Stress With a Strong Social Support Network," shouldn't be underestimated. Reach out to your supports and plan to spend time with them several days a week. Call your supports for an emotional shoulder to lean on or just to vent your feelings about the end of your relationship. Social supports can help reduce stress as well as provide you with a sense of security that decreases isolation.

Be Optimistic

Focus on the positive aspects of the break-up. Your interpretation of what has happened, explains the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, can occur unconsciously but can influence your optimism. Be aware of characteristics of pessimistic thinking patterns, such as dichotomous, all-or-nothing thinking; internalizing the feelings of others as your own; and emphasizing things in your life that are negative while ignoring the positive. Train yourself to think before saying something that is potentially negative.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

Photo Credits

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