New survey reveals that the average adult has experienced four breakups in their life — with a third of them saying they’ve been dumped via text message!
LONDON — Breaking up really is hard to do, and for many listening to music is the best therapy. Wondering which songs are most popular? Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” are dubbed the best breakup songs, according to research.
Among other hits making the list of top 30 breakup songs are Ariana’s Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road,” and Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.” This comes as a study of 2,000 British adults who have been in a long-term relationship and gone through at least one break-up revealed that listening to music is their preferred coping mechanism following a split.
And despite almost half of those polled saying they listen to sad music when heartbroken, breakup songs aren’t all melancholic.
More than four in 10 opt for empowering and happy music, such as Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” which also made the list.
‘Listening to music can allow us to grieve properly’
The playlist was curated by eharmony, which commissioned the survey. Their relationship expert Rachael Lloyd is also unveiling the seven stages of a breakup, including disillusionment, doubt, denial, anger, relapse, acceptance and happiness. She was kind enough to share her tips about how to approach them in a healthy way.
“Going through a breakup brings out all sorts of emotions all at once, which can be overwhelming. Other times we might go on autopilot and block out difficult feelings. Listening to music can help unlock them and allow us to grieve our losses properly,” she tells SWNS in a statement.
It also emerged that a third of heartbroken women focus on self-care practices to get them through a breakup, while only a quarter of men do. Letting loose on a big night out also appeared to be equally popular for 24 percent of singles. Overall, men are least likely use any coping mechanisms (24 percent) such as eating comfort food, watching sad rom-coms or exercising to recover from a broken heart, compared to women (19 percent).
Looking at their breakup history, the study reveals that the average adult has gone through an average of four breakups in their life. The first one occurred, on average, at the age of 20. And most of us believe five months is the right amount of time to wait before getting into a new relationship.
Meanwhile, four in ten adults say the first breakup is the hardest, even though they concede coming out of a long-term relationship never seems to get easier. While over half have been dumped in person, a third got dumped over text, a quarter over the phone – and just under a fifth have simply been ghosted.
“Going through a breakup is psychologically similar to grief, because you are losing someone who has played a big part in your life for a while. So, it’s not surprising we feel things like denial and anger before being able to move on,” says Lloyd. “Unlike grief though, we can ‘relapse’ with that person, which leads to all sorts of self-sabotaging habits. You have to learn to be kind to yourself while pushing through.”
Who is best to turn to after experiencing a breakup?
The study, conducted by OnePoll, also reports that four in 10 adults turn to their friends for relationship advice, while over a quarter go to their family. Yet a third of men do not seek anyone’s help, compared to just over a quarter of women.
Interestingly, different generations also approach breakups from varied angles. Younger people (aged 25 to 34) admit they will go to a relationship therapist or counselor to work through a breakup, which mirrors positive cultural shifts around mental health. Whereas more conservative 55- to 64-year-olds are far more likely to lean on their friends and only a fraction (5 percent) would be prepared to seek professional help.
It turns out friends may not be our best counselors either. Almost one in four received bad relationship advice from someone they know – increasing to more than four in 10 in those aged 18 to 24. More than a third also admit their own experience has influenced the dating tips they’ve given someone else.
“Most of us have a fairly subjective view when it comes to breakup advice, which is coloured by our own experiences with heartbreak. This isn’t always helpful as each experience is unique,” adds Lloyd. “While we can help our friends recognize factors such as red flags, it’s also critical we don’t project ourselves into their story. If a loved one comes to you to discuss their relationship, resist the temptation to overshare about your own romantic traumas.”
It also emerged a bad breakup has prevented more than a quarter of respondents from getting into another relationship, affecting women (three in 10) more than men (two in 10).
“A breakup should not be seen as just the conversation you have with your partner to end things. It is the entire period during which your body and mind process the pain before you can move on with your life,” concludes Lloyd. “Accepting your emotions and reflecting on them allows you to grow as a person and go into the next relationship with perspective, rather than negative bias.”
Best Breakup Songs: Top 30
1. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
2. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
3. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
4. Adele – Someone Like You
5. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
6. Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
7. Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
8. ABBA – Knowing me, Knowing You
9. Dionne Warwick – Walk On By
10. No Doubt – Don’t Speak
11. Coldplay – Fix You
12. Beyonce – Irreplaceable
13. Destiny’s Child – Survivor
14. Al Green – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?
15. Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next
16. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
17. Sam Smith – Stay With Me
18. Beyonce – Single Ladies
19. James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover
20. Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
21. Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
22. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
23. Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
24. Roy Orbinson – Crying
25. Toni Braxton – Unbreak My Heart
26. Boyz II Men – End Of The Road
27. Little Mix – Shout Out to My Ex
28. Carole King – It’s Too Late
29. John Legend – Used To Love You
30. Robyn – Dancing on My Own
The 7 stages of a breakup and how to approach them positively, according to relationship expert Rachael Lloyd
1. Disillusionment: The relationship is dying, love is gone, and you both know it, yet you still observe a few golden moments which make you hold on to it. Nostalgia, mutual financial commitments, maybe even children – there are plenty of justifications to stay in an unhealthy relationship. That’s why it’s important to embrace the clarity that this sense of disillusionment has brought to your and your partner’s life. Build up the courage to admit that whatever happens next, you know it’s for the best.
2. Doubt: Endings are so painful! What if you never get over it? This is partly because when we experience a breakup we can go through the same kind of physical and mental withdrawal experienced by addicts quitting alcohol or drugs. The brain’s reward system crashes as our happiness hormones (serotonin and dopamine) head south. We can’t sleep or eat. However, this stage is temporary. Don’t let anything make you stay stuck in a relationship that no longer serves you. Sometimes, things aren’t meant to be, and it’s worth remembering that fortune favors the brave!
3. Denial: The decision has been made, it’s over. You just can’t get your head around it. You feel numb and shocked. Now is not the time to keep everything to yourself! Acceptance often comes from opening up to trusted family and friends. You cannot overcome something you’re shying away from. Keep talking to your loved ones to process your emotions. They will be on hand to help you make sense of your feelings.
4. Anger and Grief: It finally hits home, and you feel like playing the blame game. “If only, what if, why?” Accepting the anger is part of healing, along with waves of grief which have you sobbing over your iPhone. Let these powerful emotions come up and find a way to transform the negative energy into positive adrenaline. Find coping resources and positive interactions such as going to the gym, listening to cathartic songs, meditating, and seeing friends.
5. Relapse: You’ve unblocked them and arranged to meet up. Don’t sabotage your progress and cave into sadness, sexual cravings, guilt or nostalgia… Detach yourself again and remember all the goals you’ve worked towards to. Minimize contact with your ex to stay on track.
6. Acceptance: At last, the clouds clear. They’re no longer on your mind the moment you wake up. You can forgive any romantic injuries and start to forget. You begin to smile again. Life is looking up and you might even find a new flirtation. You realize there is a whole world out there waiting for you! Test the waters, get out of your comfort zone.
7. Happiness: You feel yourself again. The cravings or pain associated with your ex are barely discernible. You have taken up new hobbies, moved on and have grown from your experience. You’re able to reflect positively on the outcome and go into any new relationships with clear perspective. Now you should know yourself better and be ready to try dating again and find a compatible match.
72Point writer Gemma Francis contributed to this report