Love Better

The Ultimate VICE Guide to Any Kind of Break-Up

Let us point you in the direction of good advice, whatever the end of your relationship looks like.
clowns. Credit: Grafissimo

We can do better with our break-ups – but how do you figure out how to do it right? VICE spent 2023 talking to people all over Aotearoa, from exes to experts, collecting all of the advice and thought-provoking info we’ve found. 

It’s a lot to process. Like, 94 articles worth of break-up intel to process. 

So to make things easier, we’ve put together a glossary of sorts. And where do you start when figuring out how to break-up better? Understanding what kind of break-up you’re in for. 


Different Types of Break-up:

From long-distance relationships fizzling out, to almost-endings that worked out in the long run, to the ugliest of blow-outs that leaves everyone involved feeling uneasy: there are so many ways a relationship can end. Of course, no two break-ups will ever be the same, but there are some common scenarios people find themselves in. 

Here are the articles that cover the basics: situations that almost everyone will either go through themselves or observe around them. Including being the one that calls it quits – and how to do it without being an asshole – and what it’s like to break-up when you’re still in love. 

Every Break-Up You’ll Go Through Before You’re 30

We Spoke to People in Long Term Relationships About How They Ended Things

How to Tell Your S/O to Give you Space Without Breaking Up

What To Do When You Have to End a Relationship With Someone You Love

Slow Burn Break-Ups Are Brutal. Here’s How They Build Up.


How To Call Off a Dating App ‘Thing’

The VICE Guide To Ending a Relationship

If you’re at university, or entering the post-highschool era, then it’s likely relationships are gonna be pretty front of mind. From dreaded interactions with exes in halls to how student nightlife complicates dating, we have a look at some of the situations you might come up against. 

Growing Beyond Your High School Dating Experiences

Piss-ups and Social Politics: Does Dunedin Party Culture Make Dating Harder

How to Handle Breaking-Up in Halls 

Deadlines Don’t Wait: How Students Cope with Break-Ups During Exam Season

Harmful Break-Ups:

Unfortunately, there are also relationships that can do serious damage to the people involved. Harmful or intentionally abusive relationships can seriously affect people, in everything from their safety to future mental stability – and ending a relationship like this can be incredibly difficult. In worst-case scenarios, dangerous. 


If you’re concerned that your relationship may cross the line into harmful territory or are considering breaking-up with someone who has exhibited abusive behaviour, have a read of these two articles (you’ll find a list of resources there too.) 

What’s the Difference Between Boundaries and Controlling Behaviour?

What To Do If Your Partner Won’t Let You Break-Up

For other harmful situations like stalking and image-based abuse, check out the articles below and make sure you understand your rights.

What To Do if You’re a Victim of Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn Victims Share Their Stories

How To Identify an Online Stalker

What To Do If You Think You’re Getting Stalked

The Aftermath:

Pushing out the words “it’s over” can feel like the hardest part – until it’s actually over and you’re left dealing with the aftermath. Whether the relationship itself was good, bad or ugly, having someone yanked from your life is inevitably gonna leave you with your head scrambled. 


It might be the smallest things, like not having someone to walk home with or suddenly having to learn how to cook for one person, or you may have lost your entire social circle and feel like you don’t know how to be happy anymore. Maybe you’re desperate to win them back or find yourself acting out. 

There’s a lot for you to handle after your relationship grinds to a halt.

Is Post Relationship 'Mania' Real?

What To Do If Your Ex Isn’t Coping After Your Break-Up

People Tell us Their Tips to Deal with Break-Up Loneliness

How to Cope with a Break-Up Without Just Getting Wasted All the Time

Why The ‘Getting Them Back’ Narrative Is One You Should Ignore

What Do You Owe Someone When Your Relationship Ends


So You’ve Changed Your Mind About Your Break-Up? Sucks For You

People Tell Us What They Did to Stay Happy After Being Broken-Up With

'I Went To Her Place And Cried' Men Take Us Through Their Break-Up Timelines

How It Feels To Go On A First Date After A Long-Term Relationship

Social media etiquette is also something to consider when you’re in a post-break-up haze. There’s everything from blocking, revenge posting, drunk messaging and online oversharing to think about. 

So if you want to avoid messy behaviour online, check the articles below. 

The VICE Guide to Social Media Use After a Break-Up

Should You Get Rid of Online Evidence of Your Past Relationships?


We Ask People: Is It OK To Block an Ex?

Shit you should think about: 

We’ve said it once and will say it again: every break-up is different. This means there are endless conversations to be had about our experiences when relationships end and how we process them. 

Below we’ve listed some of our favourite discussions on more complex break-up situations – whether it be how culture interacts with our ability to express ourselves, or understanding why we shouldn’t take advice from influencers (we see the irony, but don’t worry, these articles are all backed by real experts.)

How Neurodivergent People Are Challenging Conventional Notions of Romance

Is Breaking-Up Worse When You Live in a Small Town?

Dealing With 'The Feelings' As a Young Brown Person

How Queer People Came Out While in Cis/Het Relationships

Why Revenge Fantasies are Normal After a Bad Break-Up


What On Earth are Attachment Styles and How do you Navigate Them?

TikTok Has Made Everyone Think They’re a Relationship Expert

Don’t underestimate how important it is just to talk about how you’re doing, or even to hear someone else divulge their own shitty break-up stories. 

Break-ups are so often incredibly hard to process, especially the first time (and in some ways even harder when it’s the 15th time). But that should never stop you from experiencing love, sex and everything else relationships have to offer. 

Breaking-up better doesn’t mean you don’t ever do it at all. But we hope it means you can minimise the hurt and the hardship. 

Own the Feels is brought to you by #LoveBetter, a campaign funded by the Ministry for Social Development.

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Rachel Barker is a writer / producer at VICE NZ in Aotearoa. You can find her @rachellydiab on IG and Letterboxd and see her film criticism on Youtube.