If you initiated the breakup but still feel sad, you are not abnormal and I can help you cope.
People are often surprised to learn that somewhere around 30% of the people I speak to when I'm accepting coaching calls are the people who initiated the breakup.
A high percentage of those people tell me that they feel sad about the breakup even though they felt like it was the right thing to do.
Some report significant anxiety at times to go along with it.
Often times they will ask me how to cope and move on with their life following the breakup.
Of course you do!
It's a common thing after a breakup, even if you were the one who wanted it and initiated it, for you to feel sad.
After all, you probably still care a great deal for the person you broke up with.
It's not as if you wish them pain and sadness.
If you are like most people I speak to who are in your shoes, you can't stand to see this person hurt and wish that you weren't the cause of it.
I get it.
It's not as simple as some people make it out to be where, as they might think, since you were the one who initiated the breakup, that you are living a joyous life free of the relationship you left.
It's unlikely that you entered into that relationship thinking that you would end it or planning to do so.
You might not have been certain that this person was "the one" or that the relationship would last, but you didn't necessarily plan for the day when you would breakup with this person either.
You were living in the moment, happy with the relationship to large degree, until you weren't and realized that you saw your life heading in a different direction.
Or maybe there was a time that you were absolutely convinced that your ex was "the one," and that you wanted that relationship forever.
Either way, if you initiated the breakup, it's normal to feel sad at times.
You likely experienced a mixture of relief and sorrow after you initiated the breakup.
If you are like most, you likely had several days or even a few weeks where you were simply relieved that you had gotten the breakup over with and finished.
It wasn't something you just woke up and wanted to do.
The odds are that you had been wrestling with it for a while.
Maybe a few weeks or months passed where you tried to get a grasp on what you felt and you very likely wrestled with making a decision.
Then came the day when you felt that you must initiate the breakup.
Maybe you talked yourself out of it.
Or maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend at the time talked you out of it during that moment when you tried to break up with him/her.
But the doubts and concerns continued until you finally pushed yourself over the hump and did it.
You went through with it.
You initiated the breakup.
Time has passed now. Maybe a few days or maybe several weeks or months and you feel sadness over the breakup.
Does this mean you want to get back together with your ex?
That's certainly not something you should rule out (unless your ex was violent toward you or others and you are afraid).
I see couples get back together all the time after the person who initiated the breakup had time to reflect and see the value and love that the other person brought into their life.
So there's no need to discount that.
But the sadness you feel could also be from missing a relationship.
It could be that person you are missing but it also could simply be that you miss being in a relationship.
Only you can know for sure and I'm not trying to talk you out of giving some consideration to getting back together with the person you broke up with.
At the same time, I'm not saying that's absolutely why you are feeling sad right now.
It could be a combination or you could simply choose one that seems to fit:
The first thing I'd suggest is determining the source of the sadness.
Ask yourself why you are feeling sad and that what, if you could snap your fingers and magically make anything happen, would make the sadness go away.
That can be revealing.
Next, I'd suggest you start spending quality time with friends and family.
However, be very careful who you talk to about the breakup or your ex.
You would be stunned to learn how many times I've seen the words of the dumper get back to their ex.
It's almost never a good thing when that happens.
It can give your ex false hope if they are wanting to get back together and they interpret your words to suggest you want them back or are missing them.
Or it can hurt them more if you outright say that you don't want to get back together.
Confiding in family is somewhat less likely to get back to your ex so if you feel you must confide in someone and get it out, speaking to them would probably be a better bet.
Surround yourself with human beings who care about you.
Go through your contacts and set up lunches, drinks, movies, and walks with people who care about you.
That will help you determine if simple (but painful) loneliness is to blame.
It will also help you to start feeling "normal," again now that you are single and not in a relationship.
Some people think that starting to date again is what will make them feel better and will relieve their sadness.
If you do that too soon, it will likely have the opposite impact on you.
I know that through two decades of professional observation.
Not only can it feel like trying to use a broken arm before it has fully healed, but if it is too soon, you going on dates can cause unnecessary pain to your ex.
In my article, "How To Break Up With Someone Without Being A Jerk," I say this:
Life goes on. It does but that doesn't mean you jump into another relationship the day after initiating a break up.
Only you will know when the time is right but it's not healthy for you to intentionally start another romantic relationship that quickly.
It's also not fair to your ex.
For example, it would be very unfair for them to see you kissing another person only a couple of days after you broke up with them.
It might cause them to believe you were cheating on them with that person while the two of you were together.
That can delay their healing process and cause a tremendous addition of unnecessary pain.
So be fair to yourself and your ex by taking the post breakup stage slowly.
If you are like most people, you could feel even worse later on if you reflect and believe that you might have caused your ex more pain than necessary.
One other factor that might seem obvious to you or it might not is, whether you initiated the breakup or were the one who was dumped, it's going to take time before you feel "all better," or mostly better.
Take things one day at a time and be patient while acknowledging and celebrating the improvements you can feel and see.