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Health & Relationships

How much it costs to get over a breakup

We need to talk... about breakups. We're sorry to say this over text (well, article) but it turns out they can cost a fair bit more than you'd expect.

man and woman worried with broken heart pattern

Credit: nakaridore, Pormezz, Venomous Vector – Shutterstock

For a lot of us, the go-to way to heal a broken heart is to treat ourselves to things that we don't exactly need, but very much want.

That new top you've had your eye on? In the basket. Overpriced chocolate? In the belly. Fancy fresh haircut? Done (and shared on Instagram).

But, read on to find out how much these 'little' post-breakup treats will actually cost you.

Treat yourself for less with these comforting homemade beauty treatments.

Most common types of breakup

In 2019, Direct Line conducted research in partnership with Celebs Go Dating's Anna Williamson. They found that digital technology played a pretty big part in our breakups.

Not only did 20% of those aged 17–25 meet their partner through a dating app or on social media, but most relationships in this age group ended via tech as well.

The 2,053 people in this survey said that these were the worst ways someone had broken up with them:

  1. Over text – 38%
  2. Through social media – 15%
  3. Ghosting – 15%
  4. In person – 14%
  5. By phone call – 12%.

Any form of breakup is hard, but we were surprised to see ghosting significantly below getting told over text. Surely a quick message is better than nothing?

How technology affects relationships and breakups

Digital technology plays a huge part in relationships. According to the 2019 research, 20% of young people said they started relationships for tactical, rather than romantic, reasons – like looking good on Instagram.

Anna Williamson from Celebs Go Dating suggested that, as well as impacting how we meet and break up with each other, our use of digital tech can also make it harder to get over people. She said:

Resist any urges to look at exes’ social media profiles as it will just exacerbate any upsetting feelings.

Instead, do some fun things with your friends and family, whose company you enjoy, to help distract and pull you through the breakup grief.

We couldn't agree more. After a breakup, 10% were said to block their ex. Every relationship/breakup is different, but if it feels right, unfollowing your ex can be a good way to get closure and create some distance.

When in relationships, 16% of people aged 17–25 admitted to getting annoyed if their partner likes other people's photos. This in itself can be damaging, and falling into the trap of feeling like this isn't any more helpful (or nice) after you've broken up.

So, when getting over someone, we'd suggest avoiding social media, spending time with your nearest and dearest, and trying not to spend quite as much money as the average person...

Why not take your mind off the breakup by making some money?

How much do young people spend on breakups?

money in a purse

Credit: Yevgen Kravchenko, kamui29, Bell Photography 423 – Shutterstock

Direct Line found out how much young people spent on breakups. And it was an eye-watering amount.

The research showed that the average 17–25-year-old spent a (heartbreaking) £1,140 in the aftermath of relationships.

It revealed that 34% of young people bought new clothes to cope with breakups, closely followed by 33% going on nights out.

What's more, 30% spent their money on comfort food, 20% got beauty treatments and a worrying 19% bought intoxicating substances like alcohol and drugs.

They also found that some people have to make a few bigger, and tougher, spends. These included moving out, with 8% having to find a new place to live, and 5% needing to learn to drive if they'd relied on their ex for transport.

Here's a rundown of the average spend per purchase after breakups, according to the 2019 research:

PurchaseAverage cost
Event tickets£158.33
Intoxicating substances (i.e. alcohol and drugs)£136.05
Weekend away£153.99
New clothes£127.12
Beauty treatments£104.40
Night out£95.93
Comfort eating£89.91
Hair cuts£78.33
Gym membership£79.58
Binge-watching your favourite show over and over to deal with your heartbreak? We've got some tips on how to get cheap Netflix to help.

How to treat yourself on a budget

When you're getting over a relationship, it's natural to want to indulge a little. You're bound to feel quite down at first, but there are so many self-care activities you can do to get over a breakup without your bank account taking a hit.

Here are 10 cheap ways to treat yourself:

  1. If you fancy buying new clothes, check out secret sales websites for the best deals.
  2. Get Headspace for free with Spotify Premium.
  3. Exercise is such a good way to let off steam. There are loads of cheap ways to keep fit without going to the gym.
  4. Spend time with dogs (this can help your mood and uni work).
  5. Get a takeaway for less.
  6. Improve your cooking skills. This will help you eat well, and it's a fun hobby.
  7. Take time off to go to a festival.
  8. Book a low-cost holiday with friends.
  9. Get free and cheap cinema tickets.
  10. Throw yourself into your favourite hobbies. Maybe even make money from them as a freelancer.

When going through breakups, it's important to put yourself first and look after your mental health.

Laura Brown

WRITTEN BY Laura Brown

Laura Brown, Head of Editorial at Save the Student, is an award-winning writer with expertise in student money. She project manages influential national student surveys and has presented findings to MPs in Westminster. As an expert on student issues, Laura has been quoted by the BBC, the Guardian, Metro and more.
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