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Love and Relationships

The 23 Best Breakup Support Books and Why

Need help after a breakup? Check out these great breakup and relationship support reads!


Dympll Staff Writer


Feb 25, 2023

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.

23 Best Breakup Books - Heartbreak Recovery Reads

  • Discussion on breakup stages and phases
  • Recommended reading for each stage and phase
  • Content focus of each book

The best break up books are those that balance an overall understanding of your situation with actionable suggestions that will ideally provide immediate relief and improvement.

In order to get the most benefit out of these "Self-Help" books, it's important to understand where you are mentally and emotionally.

The book you choose should provide the right help for the emotional stage you're in.

We have reviewed and sorted a list of books with the intention of addressing your needs at the right time and with right support.

Let's get started!

Think about the stages of grief in order, Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, Anger and Bargaining, Depression, The Upward Turn, Reconstruction and Working Through, and Acceptance and Hope, or maybe the more simplified, Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance

There's typically an order to the major feelings you'll go through, so it makes sense your reading should target the feelings of the moment, at the same time preparing you for future stages.

Sometimes, you may “just not be ready” for advice, or help, or even the truth at certain stages.

Because of this - we broke up these grief stages into two phases with recommended reading for each:

  • Reaction Phase - When things are fresh, painful, and you're likely feeling a loss of control or not thinking clearly.

Focusing on Breakup Stages - Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, Anger and Bargaining, and Depression

At the beginning of this first phase, you likely don’t even have the ability to focus on an actually book or techniques, but towards the end you’ll find yourself open to certain possibilities as you see more clearly.

  • Pro-Action Phase - when you can begin accepting the reality of the breakup and you're more open to possibilities, options, and facts.

Focusing on Breakup Stages - The Upward Turn, Reconstruction and Working Through, and Acceptance and Hope

An interesting thing about the Pro-Action Phase is, at the very time you’re ready to start letting go and you’ve created distance, it's possible your ex may start wanting to work on things again.

In the beginning, you really just want to know what to do right now. This is where some No Contact reading may come in handy as it’s geared towards trying to get your ex back, but it can also be very useful to gain space and perspective for you personally as well.

The pain of your loss and your breakup brain are going to make it very difficult to do any rational thinking.

Sure, you may have some moments of clarity and calm, but for the most part, it’s likely that you’re focused on stopping the pain and figuring out what YOU can do to make things right by getting your man or woman back.

Reaction Phase Recommended Reading

1. Ignore the Guy, Get the Guy – The Art of No Contact by Leslie Braswell

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Whether you’re a woman or a man, you may use this book to try and get your ex back but, in the end, it becomes a tool to let you get yourself-worth and self-respect back. It’s much better to have someone because YOU have made the best choice for yourself, and NOT because that person simply allows you another chance. This book helps you get to the point where you are able to take back emotional and relationship control in your life.

Hopefully, things work out in your favor early on. More likely, there will be a bit of back and forth in some form or fashion. In any event, this phase of the breakup will potentially have you moving into the Anger, Bargaining, and Depression stage.

2. Maybe you should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

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If you’ve thought of speaking with a professional to help you get through this, then this book will give you some insight about therapy and how it works.

One of the most important steps to managing all the turbulence you are experiencing is to begin to understand how people are and what the human condition is.

Using personal stories to help you gain this insight, Lori puts some perspective around what is happening and how to approach healing.

3. This is Me Letting You Go by Heidi Prieb

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This book focuses on letting go, even when you don’t want to or aren’t quite ready to.

Is there even a right time to say good-bye? Yes, right now. See why.

People change, situations change, and life changes.

This Is Me Letting Go hits with harsh truths and helpful conversations with your “tough” self.

Full disclosure, there are some grammatical and spelling errors that can be distracting, but the content is the focus.

4. Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss Into the Best Thing That Ever Happened To You by Susan J. Elliott JD Med

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Tips, tricks, and what to do to when…

How to process the feelings of loss and understand the reality of different relationship dynamics.

There is no magic wand or immediate fix, it takes work and time. Create your roadmap to happiness.

When you don’t know where to start, this is a good place.


5. Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Behind and Creating a Happy Life (Zen as F*ck) by Monica Sweeney

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Journal, blunt, profanity for those that need a little profanity slap in the moment.

Get off your phone and get into your journal!

 Available on Kindle

6. Break Through the Breakup: A Modern Woman’s Guide To Mending A Broken Heart and Bouncing Back Stronger by Erin Davidson RCC, MA

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Explanations (science & psychology),

Looking towards the future,

Encouraging, with personal stories.

7. Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life: The Chump Lady's Survival Guide by Tracy Schorn

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Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life is a no-nonsense self-help guide

For anyone who has ever been cheated on.

Advice not for saving your relationship after infidelity -- but saving your sanity.

8. It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt

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Part 1 – Get Over It , Part 2 – Get On With It

Funny, insightful, blunt, common sense, smart, witty, honest.

Self-worth, slanted towards dating breakups and not marriage with kids breakups.

Addiction to love assumption, countered by Modern attachment style science.

Focus on women’s breakups from men, focus on underlying advice, puts things in perspective, feeling of motivation. 

9. He Did You a Favor: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Breaking Up, Waking Up, and Discovering the Gift of You by Debra Rogers

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Tips to find Mr. Right and avoid Mr.’s Not So Right, Right Now, and Wrong

Work towards a better you, Pity Party (to do list, get some support doing the hard things that will help).

Especially good for young women beginning their dating/relationship journey.

Empowerment, motivation, inspiring.

If the relationship was meaningful, regardless of the length, be ready for some irrational pain.

Trying to find that silver lining with future personal growth opportunity during a present full of pain and heartbreak. But, you're not alone.

10. The Girl’s Guide to Surviving a Breakup by Delphine Hirsh

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Step by Step advice, slant towards women.

Psychology (the WHY) vs Philosophical vs. Spiritual looks at heartbreak and how to handle it.

Books that commiserate with you and speak to you like a best friend.

Humorous, blunt, advice, lists, support. Understanding the Breakup State of Mind.

Much information is common sense, but helpful to hear/read when everything suddenly seems to stop making sense. 

11. The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce by Rachel Sussman

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Healing, understanding, transformation.

Empowered, road map, attachment theory, growth, perspective.

Journey, guide to recovery.

Pro-Action Phase Recommended Reading

During this stage, you’re ready to make more informed decisions about what you can do, for yourself, to feel happy and whole again.

This happy and whole “presence” that you will exude, is exactly what other people pick up on, notice, and are attracted to, including your ex.

The most important difference now?

  • You’re in a mind space where you can make better decisions for yourself.
  • You now know what to expect if you decide to take back your ex - who may not have been right for you in the first place.

At the very least, you can reenter the relationship with a very different understanding of what you’re willing to accept.

Some great books that focus on therapy techniques and exercises to help you work through those difficult times and get you to this happy and whole state are:

12. The Mindfulness Workbook for Depression: Effective Mindfulness Strategies by Yoon Im Kane, LCSW, CGP

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Mindfulness (definition: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.).

Great balance between teaching and doing.

Lessons, explanations.


13. How to Be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate by Jennifer Taitz 

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Nourish the things in your life that you love, you control this behavior.

Take control of the good things that you can, and build a supply of happiness in your life.

Easy read, uplifting, self-help, cognitive behavior therapy.

14. Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love by Lisa Marie Bobby

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Understanding the psychology of a relationship and breakup.

Practical advice

Science meets emotion overload

Understanding and guiding the irrational break-up brain.


15. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

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Understanding attachment styles to better make sense of impulses and actions related to relationship security.

This book is skewed toward helping the anxious attachment style, which in the breakup world is likely to be the "breakup-ee",

who's struggling to mend a broken-heart or find some way to get their ex back.

Self-help, attachment theory.


16. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel

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A deeper dive into attachment theory with explanations and exercises to help you understand behaviors and motivations in a relationship.

This is extraordinarily helpful when trying to make sense of your own relationship and what you should do to fix or improve things.

Some of the work to moving on also includes being ready for future relationships that are yet to come, how to be better prepared for what you want, and also to be just better, overall, in a relationship. Here are some reading options to support moving on and, present and future relationships:


17. He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth To Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

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Funny, Liberating, Relationship hopeful or relationship preparation.

The girl waiting and the girl on standby.


18. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix

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A book that takes a proactive approach to improving a relationship before things completely fall apart.

Great for understanding how to approach your next or new relationship and make it the best it can be.


Lastly, we didn’t want to leave out some other interesting finds, because you never know what will resonate with someone.

After-all, it’s all about timing, circumstance, and need.

These picks include self-help that is not directly related to breakups, but can just help with your overall self, there's fictional relationship stories, and even memoirs about breakups.

19. Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion, and Embrace Who You Are by Megan Logan MSW, LCSW

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Build self-esteem and self-worth to find your inner happiness.

Interactive activities.

Positive reinforcement.

Helps you look into yourself and be happy with what you see.


20. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple by Seth J. Gillihan

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Tackle negative thoughts using mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

Great for an introduction to CBT which may help provide readers with ways to manage their actions and negative triggers.

Practical tools and exercises.


21. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden

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Though not specifically targeting breakups, a strong self-esteem foundation is essential to finding and creating a satisfying relationship.

Fictional Relationship Centered Books.



22. Replay by Ken Grimwood

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How would you use previous knowledge to make better decisions and build a better life for yourself? Can changes from just one person impact events that are also a product of another person, or even many others?

If you could go back in time and “Replay” portions of your life, like staying with your wife or girlfriend, or maybe instead, seeing if a different relationship would be more successful…? 

A thought experiment.


23. The Modern Breakup by Daniel Chidiac

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A female perspective from a male writer.

The right advice at the right time.

Insightful, self-confidence, self-worth, easy read, light.

Memoir, Personal Journey. 



We've found that one of the best things to do early in a breakup is slow things down just a little.

Try to think a little more before acting, aka, texting, calling, or otherwise trying to connect.

The right book, at the right time, will help provide some "pause" time from thinking about what went wrong.

It will give you some help during those times when you need a better perspective,

and ultimately find peace and happiness no matter what the relationship outcome is.

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