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How to deal with the guilt of breaking someone’s heart: 10 truthful ways

You’ve broken the heart of the person you used to love. You feel terrible, regretful, and despise yourself for it.

Your heart shattered for their immense pain and the grief you felt yet find so hard to express.

But you have to forgive yourself, find peace, and get over the guilt of breaking someone’s heart.

There are truthful ways that helped me deal with breaking the other heart, so I’m sharing them with you – and hope you can find healing and beauty underneath this all.

Ways to overcome the guilt of breaking the heart of someone you used to love

Being the heartbreaker can be as devastating as being heartbroken.

While we know it’s not easy for them, it’s heart-wrenching to see the person you care about in pain, begging you to come back.

But with these ways, you can survive the breakup and deal with the guilt that comes with breaking someone’s heart.

1) Be firm on your decision to break up

It’s the journey of your heart.

You know that even if you’ve worked things out, there’s something about your situation that doesn’t feel certain anymore. And that’s the very reason why you leave.

Remind yourself of those whys.

If you’re still unsure of your feelings for your ex – and why you broke up with this person, you’ll get drowned in emotional turmoil.

You’ll only feel more regretful when you question your motivation and decision. Thinking that you’re too harsh to the other person will also lead to further your feeling of guilt and regret.

The key here is: Commit and trust yourself.

Believe that ending the relationship is the best decision for you and your significant ex.

Understand that the aftermath of a breakup is filled with pain and regret. But these feelings mean nothing compared to when you allow your uncertain relationship to continue.

Hurting someone unintentionally also shows that you care for your partner and never want to prolong their pain.

It’s about acknowledging your partner’s right to be in a relationship that they so deserve to have.

Trust that you did the right thing.

2) Be compassionate towards yourself

Loving and being in a relationship with someone is a beautiful odyssey that’s filled with risk.

And leaving someone doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person.

In the first place, no one commits to a relationship wanting to be the heartbreaker. It’s far likely that you did it on purpose.

But at times, people change. Things happen and your heart changes too.

As much as we desire, we can’t go on with the relationship when our hearts become void – when love doesn’t exist anymore.

The decision you’ve made likely makes you uncomfortable nor is it pleasing to other people. But, never punish yourself for doing something that you know is best for you.

While you broke your partner’s heart, your heart shattered too. No one moves away from a breakup intact, without bruises or scars.

It might even be worse because aside from the loss, you’re guilt-ridden.

Falling out of love isn’t easy, it’s painstaking. We don’t control it and we never do it purposely either.

Remember this: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion instead.

3) Be aware of your honesty

Saying goodbye to someone you love can feel overwhelming.

Ending a relationship is a painful and difficult process.  And the mere fact of telling the person you’re breaking up will inevitably hurt them.

This also means giving up the time and emotions you’ve devoted to the relationship.

Think of how worst it can be when you have stuck around in a relationship that makes you miserable.

Some avoid breaking up as they’re concerned about what it says about them. While some pay more importance to what will be lost – even if it’s something as ephemeral as time.

We’ve seen them in the movies. People who break their partner’s heart are the ones who aren’t invested enough didn’t do anything to make their relationship work, or never cared at all.

While some choose to stay in a relationship even when they know things aren’t working out, you choose to be honest.

Remember this: Taking a stand is a fearless act.

While it’s distressing to break up with someone, you mustered the courage to be truthful to what your heart feels. You’re brave enough to gather the strength to face the reality, rather than living in denial.

And you’re not selfish either.

While your decision may have hurt them, you didn’t do it intentionally. You did it for your heart.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy and live at peace with yourself.

4) You’re responsible for your happiness

You’re living for yourself and your purpose.

And you’re not responsible for the happiness of your partner, the feelings of others, or even the thoughts of other people.

The guilt and regret you’re feeling are completely self-inflicted. It doesn’t exist outside of you.

You can’t control your partner’s pain and conflicts, nor are you in a position to resolve them. And keep in mind that you’re not responsible for it either.

They’ll feel heartbroken, devastated, resentful, and even spiteful towards you. Just try to understand their emotional burden.

Should they try to make you feel remorse or put their emotional burden on you just to make you stay, know that this will only make your separation worse.

When this happens, gather the strength to stand on your ground.

Remember that the only thing you can control is your feelings.

And you can choose not to feel guilty for deciding to end the relationship.

5) Be mindful of your reasons

Focus your attention on your responsibility and not on your partner’s issues.

Clear your mind from the thought of staying or restarting the relationship you’ve ended because of gratitude.

Your guilt might come from the fact that your partner invested too much in the relationship as much as you do. It might also be because of how your partner supported you throughout.

Thus, breaking your partner’s heart makes it seem like being ungrateful for all those things.

If these situations make you feel regretful, understand that staying with someone out of duty or gratitude will be pointless.  It doesn’t mean that you need to stay with them no matter what.

Keep this in mind: gratitude isn’t a substitute for love.

Appreciate what your partner has done for you and remain thankful for that.

If your partner is experiencing a difficult time, you can stick around for a while to help out.

Doing this might add a layer of guilt on your end, so once again, remember that you’re not responsible for their life.

Instead, focus on your healing.

6) Realize that your ex will move on

The pain that comes with breaking up isn’t eternal.

While the hatred, regret, and all the negativity that comes with leaving someone are so fierce, it won’t last forever.

Your partner will learn to accept this and eventually move on without you.

Know that you and your ex can get through all these – and perhaps, even better and stronger than before.

We are inclined to be resilient and can bounce back from emotional pain.

So don’t fall into the endless cycle of self-blame.

Here are good indicators that your ex has moved on:

  • They stop reaching out to you
  • They remove all traces of you on social media
  • They cut all forms of communication with you
  • They returned stuff you gave them
  • They start to date and see other people
  • They get in a serious relationship with someone else
  • They don’t blame you for the breakup

If you see one or more of these signs, it’s a reminder that you have to put all the weight of guilt and heartbreak behind you

Dating expert Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D. shares,

“Being over someone means that you are no longer emotionally invested in them to the extent that it is causing you to put other relationships (or the pursuit of finding new relationships) on hold.”

There’s also a possibility that you’re experiencing the guilt and pain as you’re allowing it to consume you. Your partner might now even be in too much misery as you thought they are.

Breaking up isn’t all about tears, grief, and loneliness.

Give yourself permission to grieve and be sad about the end of a relationship without a set timeline. Rest assured that you and your ex will recover and “get over it.”

It’s clear that in a way, everything that happened between you turned out to be a good thing.

Take note:  it’s only when you release yourself from guilt can you move into true happiness.

7) See the breakup as a favor to your partner

Breaking up was the last thing you wanted to happen.

Maybe it’s also that you didn’t end the relationship because of love, maybe you both wanted different things out of life.

Remind yourself that if you continue the relationship and prolong the inevitable, your relationship could turn out to be a painful and agonizing death.

Sometimes, breakups can be beautiful too.

They can serve as wake-up calls to new beginnings: a life filled with hope and endless possibilities.

Getting your hearts smashed is painful, but with this experience, you’ll both come out stronger than before.

Hopefully, your ex will see the separation for what it was – as an opportunity to live and fulfill your dreams separately.

Sooner, your partner will realize that you did each other a huge favor by letting what you have to go. It sets you both free.

No matter how devastating it had been, realize that you did the responsible thing before either one of you felt any more pain.

It was only through this that you can both live with profound peace.

8) Accept that it wasn’t meant to be

One of the hardest things we go through is finding and experiencing love with the person we want to spend the rest of our life with, only to find out that it’s not meant to be.

When you have a deep connection with someone, it’s a tough pill to swallow especially when you realize that the relationship won’t work out.

Or maybe the timing isn’t right and your lives weren’t in a space to stay with each other yet. Maybe you both need to explore, grow, and experience life separately.

It’s hard but you’ll both be better off long-term.

You’ll find several signs that you weren’t to be together. Even if you both put an effort and tried to make everything work, some relationships aren’t meant to be.

No matter how much you want it to happen, you can’t force it. You can’t force love and the relationship to manifest themselves in a place of hopelessness.

Realize that detaching yourself from situations that aren’t meant for you can be liberating in some way.

If it’s destined to happen, everything will come at the right time and the right place.

Most of the time, we simply have to understand that cosmic connections can change the course of our lives forever.

And if the relationship is truly meant to be, you will know and the universe will tell.

9) Change your perspective

Your perspective is everything.

The way you see yourself, your partner, how you look at, and how you see things matters a lot.

Don’t dwell on the negative aspects of the separation. Instead, see this experience as moving on to a place of self-discovery and new possibilities.

The guilt you felt is natural.

Feeling guilty about breaking someone’s heart is a natural human reaction – because it is. Understand that this sense of guilt is unavoidable, but you don’t have to be miserable for a long time.

It’s normal to feel devastated, but you got to move past the suck too.

Once you realize that you have the freedom to leave, you can easily let go of your resentment and your toxic guilt.

Acknowledge that while the guilt is impossible to avoid, you can use it above all.

The key here is: to shift your focus.

Changing your perspective and shifting your focus doesn’t come easy, but it’s fulfilling. Concentrate on what lies ahead, and you can find a way to get through this difficult time.

Most of the time, framing the conflict in your mind can change your life. When you look at what happened from a different angle, you’ll find peace.

In doing so, you’ll experience a sense of gratitude, excitement, and anticipation.

Keep this in mind:

Everything is a matter of taking responsibility for your actions, changing your perspective, and learning to forgive yourself.

10) Be kind to yourself

This comes with understanding that every relationship is a two-way street.

Perhaps our issues put tension to the relationship, or maybe it was our partner’s. Or perhaps, it wasn’t anybody’s fault in particular.

Either way, it can’t be fixed anymore.

While you’re the one who got away, stop assuming that you’re to be blamed. You face the crossroad and have to make one of the hardest decisions in your life.

What to do instead:

  • Accept that you’ve given the best out of your wholeness
  • Acknowledge that you did the right thing ending a relationship that’s already uncertain
  • Stop blaming yourself as you never have to sacrifice your happiness to please your partner

You did everything and maybe your partner did their best too –  but it just didn’t work out.

The tragedy that heartbreakers experience isn’t obvious. And it’s not easy to know that their partners are experiencing their broken hearts either.

While you’re hurting your partner with the truth, you’re also hurting yourself back.

To see that you made someone you care about cry right in front of you is heart-wrenching. That somehow, you feel like listening to the blame and hurtful things they say.

Maybe you’ve broken down because you can’t face the pain of hurting them. Maybe you’ve almost taken them back when they come back pleading, begging you to change your mind.

And this makes you want to stop their pain.

No matter what the reasons are, don’t feel terrible for taking the relationship to its breaking point.

The only way to go is to get back on track.

And you can start by expressing kindness to yourself.

You deserve it.

Move on and forgive yourself

For those of us who have felt the guilt over hurting someone’s heart, and for those who are still regretful for breaking the relationship, know that there is hope.

And this hope nestles so warmly inside our hearts.

You are worthy of forgiveness even if you’ve broken someone’s heart.

You never want to hurt nor disappoint people. But when circumstances call for it, you have to say goodbye.

In the same way, you can’t force your heart to love someone the same way that they love you.

It may seem selfish or harsh, but at the end of the day, it’s better to be real than to lie. It’s better to live with honesty than play pretends.

Remember that doing things for yourself isn’t being selfish.

Let go of your emotional baggage, and stop punishing yourself.

Healing the hurt

You need to forgive yourself for this.

Forgive yourself for the lost relationship – for the love that was.

And when our hearts are hurting, give it silence to mend.

Doing these things will work too:

  • Write a letter (then burn it). One for yourself that says, “I forgive you,” and the other for your ex that says, “I moved on with gratitude.”
  • Create mindful movements. Do yoga, play outside, walk around, or just about anything that makes your body move.
  • Breathe mindfully. As you meditate, take deep breaths in for self-love, and breathe out to release that negativity.
  • Spend time with nature. Enjoy the healing power of nature and allow yourself to heal completely.
  • Be grateful. Even if the relationship ended, find peace in knowing that you made room for love in your heart, experienced its beauty,  and learned from it.

Don’t let the guilt of breaking someone’s heart define you. You’re not your wounds.

So forgive yourself for breaking someone’s heart – for causing them pain.

I did and I let it go.

And I trust that you can do that too.

Harness love to heal

Love will not live in the oblivion of pain.

Feel all that there is to feel and embrace the emotions that come with it, without allowing them to overpower you.

When you’re ready, start focusing on yourself.

  • Fill your life with healthy, affirming moments
  • Create new experiences that will bring new opportunities and excitement into your life
  • Try new things and enjoy the hobbies you’ve always wanted to do

You have the power to control your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.  When you do, you’ll get back in control of your life.

And you need to follow your heart.

When the time’s right, you’ll feel better, and ready to welcome love again.

Believe that you are worthy to find love and be loved again.

I did – and this time around, I loved deeply, intensely, and unconditionally more than I did before.

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Written by Czaroma Roman

Czaroma is a content strategist and copywriter with a purposeful mindset. She finds fulfillment in crafting content for entrepreneurs and life coaches. In a place of love and growth, she's raising a tribe of three with her husband - and writes to inspire people to create impactful relationships.

Connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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