8 ways emotionally intelligent people deal with heartbreak, according to psychology

If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you know it can feel like a constant tug of war between sadness, anger, and hope.

Emotionally intelligent people don’t have a magical shield against it. They too feel the sting of a relationship ending, the emptiness that follows, and the whirlwind of other emotions.

What sets them apart, however, is how they handle this whirlwind of feelings.

So, let’s discuss the ways emotionally intelligent people handle heartbreak, as backed by psychology.

This isn’t about easy fixes or quick recoveries, so if you’re looking for that, this article is not for you.

But if you’re looking to develop your emotional strength and learn healthy coping strategies, read more below.

1) Embracing the emotions

For emotionally intelligent people, heartbreak isn’t something to be swept under the rug. It’s a raw and real emotion that demands attention, not avoidance.

Imagine feeling a surge of sadness or a pang of longing. Instead of pushing these feelings away, emotionally intelligent individuals lean into them.

They understand that each feeling is temporary and serves a purpose—yes, even if it’s uncomfortable.

This is not to say they wallow in despair indefinitely. They allow themselves to feel, to mourn the loss, but they also know when it’s time to move forward.

They understand that heartbreak is an integral part of their human experience—a chapter that hurts to read, but also teaches invaluable lessons about love, loss, and resilience.

2) Practicing self-compassion

It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-blame when a relationship ends. You might start picking apart your actions, words, or even your personality, trying to figure out what went wrong.

But emotionally intelligent people approach this differently.

They understand that no one is perfect and that mistakes are part of being human. Instead of beating themselves up for the end of a relationship, they practice self-compassion.

They acknowledge their feelings without judgement and treat themselves with kindness and understanding, just as they would treat a friend going through a similar situation.

They remind themselves that it’s okay to feel hurt, it’s okay to not have all the answers, and it’s okay to take time to heal.

3) Seeking social support

When going through heartbreak, it might feel natural to isolate yourself from the world.

But emotionally intelligent people understand the value of reaching out to others.

They lean on their trusted friends or family members during difficult times. They share their feelings, listen to others’ perspectives, and sometimes just enjoy the company to distract themselves from their pain.

This works because our brains are wired to connect with others. Our social interactions release oxytocin, a hormone that helps reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.

They’re also not afraid to seek professional help if necessary. Sometimes, having an unbiased third party to talk to can provide a fresh perspective and helpful strategies for coping.

So, don’t hesitate to reach out. You’re not alone in this journey.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a testament to your strength and resilience.

4) Allowing time for healing

Healing from heartbreak doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and patience.

Emotionally intelligent people understand this truth. They don’t rush themselves or set unrealistic expectations about moving on. They know that the wound of heartbreak needs time to heal, and rushing the process won’t make it any easier.

While they may have moments of frustration or impatience, they gently remind themselves that it’s okay to still be healing.

Each day is a step forward, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

In the end, healing doesn’t mean forgetting or pretending as if the relationship never happened. It means accepting the past and gradually finding peace within yourself. 

5) Turning pain into growth

things a man does when hes feeling lonely 8 ways emotionally intelligent people deal with heartbreak, according to psychology

Most of us have been there—replaying past conversations, analyzing every detail, and wondering what could’ve been done differently.

Emotionally intelligent people are no strangers to this, too. But instead of getting stuck in the past, they use this introspection as a tool for growth.

They ask themselves hard questions and reflect on their experiences, not to dwell on the pain, but to learn from it. They acknowledge their own role in the relationship’s end without self-blame, then use these insights to better understand themselves and their relationship patterns.

Heartbreak is tough, no doubt about it. But it can also be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery. Remember that every experience, good or bad, contributes to the person you’re becoming.

6) Developing healthy coping strategies

During my own experience with heartbreak, I found myself overcome by many emotions.

I remember feeling lost and overwhelmed. But what helped me through was developing and implementing healthy coping strategies.

This is what emotionally intelligent people do.

They recognize that distracting themselves with unhealthy habits like excessive eating, drinking, or spending hours mindlessly scrolling through social media, may provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t aid true healing.

Instead, they choose healthy outlets for their emotions. This might mean pouring their feelings into a journal, taking up a new hobby, exercising regularly, or simply taking long walks in nature.

These activities not only help channel their emotions in a positive way but also provide a sense of accomplishment and control in a situation where they might otherwise feel powerless.

Always be gentle with yourself and find healthy ways to cope. It’s not avoiding the pain, but learning to live with it and gradually letting it go that helps you move forward.

7) Learning to let go

Sometimes, the hardest part about a heartbreak isn’t the initial shock of the relationship ending, but the lingering hope that it might rekindle.

Even those who are emotionally intelligent struggle with this, too. 

They have moments of weakness, where they yearn for what once was. But they understand that clinging onto something that’s no longer there hinders their healing process.

They realize that you can’t force someone to feel the same way about you or change their mind about the breakup. They learn to accept that some things are simply out of their control.

Because holding onto a past relationship is like grasping a handful of sand—the tighter you squeeze, the faster it slips through your fingers.

It’s tough, but sometimes, letting go is the only way to move forward.

8) Remembering your worth

Heartbreak can leave you feeling unworthy or not good enough. It can shake your self-esteem and make you question your worth.

But emotionally intelligent people understand that their value isn’t tied to a specific person or relationship. They recognize that a breakup doesn’t diminish their worth or potential for future happiness.

They remind themselves of their strengths, achievements, and the love they have to offer. They know that they are enough, just as they are.

Above all, they understand that their ability to love and feel deeply is not a weakness but a strength. It makes them human, empathetic, and capable of forming meaningful connections.

Final thoughts

While heartbreak can feel like an emotional roller coaster, it’s also an opportunity for self-discovery.

There’s no right or wrong way to heal, and the pace at which you move forward is entirely up to you.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if your healing process looks different from what’s outlined here. After all, it’s your journey—not anyone else’s.

Most importantly, remember your worth and potential for future happiness. Heartbreak may leave a scar, but it doesn’t define your capacity to love and be loved.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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