How to Help Your Roommate Post-Breakup
By Aaron Swartz
For those who are in relationships, the Valentine’s Day season is a nice occasion to celebrate with your significant others. For those who aren’t in a relationship, Valentine’s Day might entail spending time with friends, eating chocolate, or enjoying being single. There’s a third category of people though, and this time of year can be particularly hard on them: those who were in a relationship until very recently but are now broken up. Breakups are a part of life — most people who spend time dating will have to experience one at some point — but that doesn’t make them any easier to get through. If your roommate is going through a breakup right now they’ll need your support. If you’re wondering just how you can support them, then read on to find our top six ways of supporting your roommate post-breakup.
1. Ask Them How to Help
Everyone has different needs, and there’s no way for you to know what someones are; unless you ask, that is. Asking your roommate how you can help may seem counterintuitive — we’re raised to expect a near-telepathic level of emotional understanding, with or without cues — but there’s nothing wrong with asking. Your roommate may not know what they want or need, and that’s ok too. If they do, though, then you have a direction to take and a good way to support them through the process of grieving and healing.
2. Give Them Space to Talk
Your roommate is probably feeling a lot of emotions right now. Grief, rage, sadness, loss, are all swirling around inside of them. One thing that can be really helpful is to let all those emotions out. Give them space to talk to you about how they’re feeling, what happened, everything. Just let it pour out of them. Don’t worry too much about advice or solving the problem at the moment, just let them vent. Processing takes time and having someone to lean on can greatly help that. Being there for your roommate is a great thing you can do for them.
3. Help With Day to Day Things
One of the hardest parts about a breakup is the fact that a lot of things don’t change. You’re hurting but the world is still turning and there’re still things you need to do. One great way you can support your roommate is by taking some of those day-to-day things off their plate. Whether it’s doing some dishes, finishing a load of laundry for them, or just lending a hand with the daily upkeep of living together, it can be really helpful to someone going through a breakup to not have to worry about the small stuff as much.
4. Don’t Bad Mouth Their Ex
It’s a completely understandable human instinct, especially if the relationship that just ended was a bad one. Breakups can often be great things in the long run, especially if they free you from a toxic or manipulative environment. That’s in the long run, though. In the short term, it usually just hurts a lot. Even if you disapproved of their ex, insulting them or talking about how your roommate is much better off now won’t actually help them or make them feel better. Instead, it’ll make them refocus on what they’ve lost, which isn’t healthy. You’re welcome to pick apart the quality of the relationship at a later date, but when the hurt is still fresh, don’t bad mouth the ex.
5. Help Distract Them
The last thing your roommate needs right now is to ruminate on their pain until it’s all they can think about. Some recollection and angst are normal and healthy, but you should absolutely step in to make sure your roommate isn’t hiding away in their room feeling sad for days on end. Organize some fun, healthy distractions. Go out and do something fun, watch a movie or show together. Think of things they love and make sure you do them together. Distracting them from their pain will help them heal and move on quickly.
6. Give it Time
Healing is a process, and no matter how much you may want to help, there’s only so much you can do. At the end of the day, you can be there to support your roommate but the only thing that can really help them is time. Distractions, listening, help, and support can do a lot of good, and you should absolutely do them, but don’t beat yourself up if your roommate is still sad. They’re gonna have to be sad for a while, but given time, everyone heals from heartbreak.
Breakups are hard, but at least you’re not powerless before them. With these tips, you should have a good idea of how best to support your roommate and get them through the heartbreak and out the other side as best you possibly can.
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