What Does a Breakup Coach Actually Do?
“Breakup Coach, I’ve never heard of that before!” — most people who meet me for the first time.
I meet and work with people at all stages of a breakup, including the stage where you’re living with daily anxiety and dreaded thoughts of “ am I better off without my significant other?” No decision during a breakup is anything short of overwhelming.
Before I became a breakup coach, I was working as a professional matchmaker in downtown Vancouver, Canada. I crossed with every kind of person around, and had a chance to hear their personal stories. My biggest learning moments were not just about the insights I gained from candid interviews and conversations, but from the impact of my supposed “dating advice.”
I learned that giving advice without fully hearing people out was a recipe for disaster. After many conversations that had gone sideways, I started learning how to coach effectively towards the end of my matchmaking career. I decided that if I wanted to affect people in a positive way, I needed to get the hell out of matchmaking, and start my own business dedicated to helping people be heard and understood—a rare experience today. We lead extremely busy lives these days.
This article is not about my life story, so let’s dive into what I do as a breakup coach and how we can work together to get you through this difficult time.
We make connections to past experiences. It's my belief that a lot of the pain we feel today is because we have seen it show up somewhere else in our lives—usually childhood or in our teen years. What we feel, and how we interpret situations, are deeply rooted within us, and are surfacing in what seems like a new circumstance with a new person. Consider this: your friends and family may have picked up on your “dating patterns” but you’re still a little unclear on them, or don’t want to believe that they exist. Humans are creatures of habit, and we often repeat things unconsciously with different people. Perhaps you’re aware you pick emotionally-unavailable partners, but haven’t quite pinpointed why that might be. My work with you will help you uncover this deep, inner world of yours in a safe space together.
We learn about your emotions. Being able to actually express yourself through feelings and needs is a life skill that is not taught to us. We are no longer relying on interpretations of what is “right” and “wrong,” which we were taught as young ones to rely on. You might be surprised to learn that we actually don’t have a wide emotional vocabulary, despite the range of emotions we feel on a daily basis. Our work together is partly spent labelling and understanding your emotions, and not just what you “think” about the situation; this is to help you understand yourself in the experience. Being able to fully express yourself is a huge step closer to freeing yourself from the anxiety of your breakup.
We create meaning from difficult experiences. Maybe you’ve cringed at the not-so-comforting words of friends, “everything happens for a reason,” and I totally understand that— and have been there. It’s up to you to decide that everything has a purpose, not the people around you. Together, we create healthy meaning for some of those hurtful events in your past relationships and release negative feelings associated with them. This process is not one that can be done in one session; it takes trust and time. Ask me more about this here.
We make it about you. My belief is that we struggle to work through the issues with our ex because we think our healing is about getting over our ex. In part, working on getting over a breakup is about your ex, but it’s so much more about your role and experience in that relationship—it’s about you. Your thoughts, feelings, behaviours. To put it in another way, we literally see through our eyes, and so it’s difficult to look inside of us and see what other motivating factors affected the way we moved through our relationships. We often describe how we feel through recounting what our ex-partners did or said, and our work together is about making what you see more about you and your perspective. This ultimately puts the power back in your hands, and alleviates the need to wait for your ex-parter to do things that will satisfy you.
We create space to talk through layers of confusing emotions. Im sure you’re familiar with that state of panic where you just need to pick up the phone and vent to your friend(s) or family; unfortunately, you’re hit with, “I’ve only got 5 minutes right now? What’s up?” You then try to go over everything in 5 minutes, and they suddenly drop advice like, “you’re overthinking things,” or, “you’ll be fine.” Not all our friends have time for hour-long phone calls every time an uncomfortable feeling or thought pops up. I give my clients the option of 60 or 90 minutes of space dedicated entirely to talking through things without feeling rushed. Great work is done when the mind and body become aware that it doesn’t need to look for a solution so quickly. If you’re not ready to hire a professional, ask a friend out for coffee with the explicit message that you’re wanting to talk and be listened to. Often times our friends have no idea you want to be heard, despite the fact that this is within all of us. Book a session with me here.
We Reframe the story. My clients come to me with a specific narrative in their head about the events that happened in their relationships; when you’ve had time to share your story, I’ll help you see a loving perspective from those exact events—I don’t ask you to change the story. You might be angry that you had to move in with your parents after your breakup which threw off your routine entirely; but you might also discover in our session that the support you feel from your parents—is something you’ve been waiting to see for years, and this breakup gave you a chance to see that. In addition to creating meaning, I can help you reframe the same events in the beautiful light that exists, once we’ve had time to acknowledge the darkness.
We study together. It’s absolutely exhausting hearing so many recommendations coming your way from people who think they know what you’re going through. There’s a lot of resources out there, and with several of my clients, I hand-select specifically relevant books, podcasts, articles for my clients to learn from. We spend time in session exploring their impact which can really enhance the coaching experience. I make sure that I’m providing further accountability at home as personal development is an every-day thing.
These are just a few of the significant ways I can help you through a breakup. Check out my online Masterclass and Coaching Programs designed specifically with you in mind