Please note: Entries within this blog may contain references to instances of domestic abuse, dating abuse, sexual assault, abuse or harassment. At all times, Break the Cycle encourages readers to take whatever precautions necessary to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically.  If you would like to speak with an advocate, please contact a 24/7 peer advocate at 866-331-9474  or text "loveis" to 22522.

What Happens When a Breakup Goes Wrong

You’ve just gone through a breakup. It’s intense, painful, and sad. These feelings are totally natural and expected. Despite these common feelings, many people don’t want to accept or understand that their relationship has ended. What do you do when you break up with someone who won’t let go, especially if you were in an unhealthy or abusive relationship?

Rely On Your Support Systems

Your friends and family care about you. Talk to them about how you feel after the breakup. They want to help you! If you feel comfortable enough, tell your parents or friends about anything unhealthy or abusive that may have happened during the relationship. This way, they’ll be on alert if your ex tries to stop by your home. Even if you don’t want to, you can let them know you don’t want to see your ex at all and would appreciate if they didn’t let them in the house.

At school, talk to a counselor or teacher you trust. If you’re very worried about safety, they can alert security or adjust your class schedule to help you feel safer. The same goes for work -- let your boss or a co-worker know so they can find someone to walk you to your car and make sure your ex doesn’t come by when you’re working.

Pay Attention to Your Social Media

People often joke about “stalking” someone online, but in reality, it’s extremely upsetting and happens more than you’d think. Look for any signs of bullying or acting out, like your ex-partner posting old photos of you, leaving unwanted comments, tweeting at you constantly or texting you to say they knew what you were doing last night because they saw you went out with friends on Instagram.

Set your profiles to private on social networking sites, and ask your friends to keep you offline. You may balk at this, especially if you use these sites regularly, but it’s better to be safe. Moreover, save any harassing messages and take screengrabs of anything your ex sends, just in case you decide later to take any kind of legal action.

Stay Safe in Public

If you both go to school or work together, or still share the same friends or live near each other, it’s very likely you’ll run into each other. That said, your ex might try to see if they can find you at your old “haunts,” like a specific movie theatre you guys saw films at, or a certain Starbucks near the mall. Maybe they won’t try to “bump into you,” but if they do, it can be unsettling, not to mention really obvious. For a little while, hang back from going to those places you two shared for a while, and explore some new places! If you go to a party, bring a friend or keep family close if you think your ex might attend too.

Increase your safety. Avoid walking in isolated areas, and stick to busy streets with lots of lighting if you’re out at night. Try not to walk alone or wear earphones when you are alone. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you feel you’re in immediate danger.

Feeling on edge or afraid of what could happen? Want to create a safety plan? We have safety planning tools for both high school and college students, so take advantage and figure out the best way you can stay safe. You can also chat with a peer advocate and learn how to stay safe after your breakup.