Talk with Lia

A woman reflecting on her breakup

Whether you were dating your partner for just a few months or making plans to settle down, it’s hard changing your status to single. Fortunately, dealing with a break-up hurts less when you set a game plan. Here are five simple steps to help you conquer heartbreak:

  1. Process your emotions during a break-up

When you and your beau part ways, it’s easy to deny you’re hurt. But working through your emotions is key to moving on. If you need to cry, grab those tissues and let it out. Fight the urge to criticize yourself for being sensitive. Lean into the pain and mourn the loss. It’s tough when the people we love leave us, or we need to leave them. If you’re struggling to cope on your own, talking to a therapist can speed up the healing process.

  1. Take yourself on a self-care date

After we accept being single, it doesn’t take long to feel the nagging urge to partner up. It’s totally normal to see your partner as your closest companion. As tempting as it may be, avoid going on the rebound and try a new approach: Dating yourself! Many of us feel like we lose a part of ourselves when we’re in toxic relationships. Some of us gain weight, and others lose sight of their goals. Take advantage of being single to focus on self-care. Indulge yourself with a trip to the salon or a spontaneous personal day. Pampering yourself pays off in spades.

  1. Jot down your gratitude

Broken relationships create a sense of lack. We lack the love and nurturing that gave us happiness; the empty side of our beds keeps us up at night. All we see are happy couples and loneliness comes knocking with a vengeance. LPT: don’t focus on what you don’t have! Practicing gratitude keeps your spirits up and helps you cope. Hit the bookstore and buy a new journal (no worrying about cost!). Each day, jot down at least three things that bring you joy. Each week, compliment at least one person who has your back.

  1. Make a difference  

When your relationship hits the rocks, it’s natural to feel sorry for yourself. You obsess over what went wrong, and you wonder if you were good enough. But focusing on yourself multiples your misery, so reach out and lend a hand. is a great free tool to find community service projects. If you attend church or another spiritual community, this is also a great way to focus the attention on others. Commit to volunteering two hours per week to a good cause. Drawing your attention away from the drama gives your heart room to heal.

  1. Set your boundaries

Be honest with yourself about staying friends with your ex after the break-up. Does your chest ache when your ex posts a pic with their new beau? Do you hope that by keeping in touch, you might rekindle your love? If you’re stuck in the past, it’s difficult to move on. Hit Unfollow and delete old texts before you change your mind. If you and your ex share friends, inform them that you’re no longer hanging out. Keep the message short and sweet: Hey, I’m taking a permanent break from my friendship with (your ex’s name). No mutual meet-ups. Period, end of sentence.

It’s not always easy to cut ties with your ex, even in a toxic relationship. And opening your heart to someone new takes time. Remember to be kind to yourself. It’s painful to lose your partner, but our darkest moments are often blessings in disguise.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”


Lia Huynh, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who for 17 years has helped others find healing after hurtful events like a breakup. To find out more about her services, click here.


If you need help and want to talk through your break-up please reach out to me. I would love to help!

Lia Huynh San Jose and Milpitas


My life’s work is helping individuals and couples get better. I help couples restore their sense of togetherness by rediscovering their strengths as individuals, and their collective strength as a duo. And I help my individual clients to negotiate the sources of depression and anxiety, while moving them gently toward feeling a deeper sense of connection with their world. This is all done through our counseling and therapy together. 


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