Why Moving On From Breakups Is Harder When No One's Clearly At Fault

Breakups are never fun, but some of them are easier to handle than others. Some are the healthy and sometimes mutual breakups that happen when you realize you aren't right for each other, want different things, or simply lose that spark. Then, there are the messy ones that come as a result of betrayal, lies, cheating, and disrespect — the breakups that make you want to destroy all the gifts they got you or make a dart board with their face on it. If you've experienced the latter, you may have noticed that once your anger passes, there's a sense of relief allowing you to move forward with your life — just one thing that happens to your body when you go through a breakup.


Chances are, if the breakup was messy, the relationship probably was, too. Coming out of a toxic relationship, which typically includes certain signs, it's common to feel relieved and happier being away from that person, and it's empowering to break away from someone who was holding you back. But when it comes to a breakup that wasn't necessarily anyone's fault, it can actually be a lot harder to recover from and move on. 

Breakups can be more difficult when no one is to blame

In the aftermath of a messy breakup in which you're on the receiving end of someone's toxic actions or even abuse, there's a period of anger and resentment followed by a wave of relief when you know you're out of a bad situation. It feels like the right choice to be away from this person, but in healthier relationships, it can be harder to let go. "Often, anger is described as the secondary emotion whose root is sadness. In breakups that aren't someone's fault, the primary emotion of sadness is easier to access than anger. When there is no one to blame, you are left confronting the true grief of the loss," psychotherapist and dating coach Christie Kederian explains to Well + Good


Any breakup will hurt, but it's the healthy and blameless breakups that can really sting the most. In these cases, one partner most likely doesn't want the relationship to end, but both parties ultimately know that it must. The person who initiates the breakup has had time to come to terms with and accept their choice. This makes it a lot harder for the person on the receiving end. Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows how, in close romantic relationships, your sense of self often becomes intertwined with your partner's. Over time, that person becomes a part of you, so when you lose them, it's like losing a part of yourself. 

Don't criticize the way you feel after a breakup

No matter which kind of breakup you've experienced, it's important to let yourself feel any emotion that comes with the process. It's not a bad thing to feel relieved and happier after ending it with someone. If you're the one who initiated the breakup, it's normal to feel guilty. But don't beat yourself up for making a decision you felt was the healthy and right one for you. If you were broken up with, try to be kind to yourself. Healing takes time, so give yourself all the time you need to recover and process.


It can be tempting to want to remain in each other's lives, but this can add a new layer of difficulty when trying to move on from heartbreak after a breakup. "Unless there is a compelling reason to maintain communication, such as shared property or co-parenting, it is generally not advisable for people to remain friends immediately after a breakup," licensed psychologist and sex therapist Nazanin Moali explains to Well + Good