So when there is a break in this type of relationship, there is always some pain associated with the tearing away of what was once bonded so closely. It’s inevitable. But I think the key is what you do with that pain in dealing with heartbreak. Do you allow it to cause you to act out and treat the other person unkindly or view him or her with utter disdain? No. Or do you stuff it away and deny that there is anything hurtful that happens to you emotionally any time you are around this person? Again, no.

Okay. So then what? Get as far away as possible, say maybe Timbuktu? Well, perhaps.

But, seriously, you must first acknowledge that this person is still your “neighbor.” So you must love him or her as yourself (Mark 12:31). I don’t think that means you go out of your way to spend time with them like you used to and try to renew the once-strong ties. But you can still be kind and loving and affirming from a healthy distance (even if you work together or go to church together).

And so I recommend first starting with prayer. We are instructed to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Now you may not view this person as an enemy, but you’re certainly not bosom buddies any longer and there is definitely a wall between you now, right? It’s a new boundary that has been erected between you as a result of the break-up, and it is emotional protection for the both of you.

Why not pray for this person as you would pray for yourself? No matter who initiated the break-up (or even if it was mutual), there is brokenness involved. And that means healing must happen for both parties.

Lord, I lift up ______ to you today. I pray that you will bring healing to _____ and use this break-up to bring _____ closer to you and glorify your name. You make all things work together for good, and I know you will do so in _______’s life as well as in mine.

Now, praying like that is easier said than done, isn’t it? Especially if you’ve experienced a painful break-up and there is anger or bitterness involved. But in order for God to heal you and work in your heart, it must be softened and it must be pliable and ready to be moved. Thus, praying for this person—as difficult as it may be at first—will help in your healing process and give you new focus (perhaps as God sees it?) in your post break-up situation.

May I also recommend that you talk with someone about how you’re feeling right now? At least for women, it is such a relief to get some of the thoughts and fears and concerns out of our heads and into the open (Galatians 6:2). Speaking aloud what you are feeling doesn’t necessarily wipe away the pain, but it can be helpful in finding the proper place for those feelings in your life going forward (they don’t have to control you or consume you). Usually moms or grandmothers or women who are friends (meaning no romantic ties whatsoever, so for men I don’t recommend confiding in someone you are romantically attracted to for this kind of a conversation … find a female who is “safe” and will be a calm and soothing presence) are great resources. Most women love to help someone else process or just listen to whatever it is that needs to be shared by someone who is hurting. I’m sure you’re already thinking of someone you know right now who could be very helpful in this regard, and perhaps she can shed some new light on your break-up or help you see the person you once dated as someone who may also be hurting and in need of healing, too.

Finally, I’d recommend giving yourself time to be alone before you jump into another relationship—and especially if you’re thinking of rebounding with someone at your workplace or your church. Have you had enough time to heal? Have you been able to hear from the Lord as to what he is trying to teach you in this moment? Or are you looking for anyone close by you can date just to make yourself feel better when you’re around the person you were dating?

Check your motives first. And don’t date someone at your workplace or church just to rub it in the face of the person you were dating. Beyond being unkind, that’s just deceitful. Hurt people hurt people. So make sure your “hurt” is dealt with appropriately and adequately before heading off in search of the next relationship.