Cost of a Break-Up


The end of a relationship is a difficult time.  We all deal with it in different ways, and different things help each of us cope better.  This post was inspired by Bridget over at Hi That’s my Bike’s post on “I Still Self-Medicate with Shopping.” This blog is mainly about personal finance (and minimalism), so I am going to try to focus on the financial side of things.  This is not to make light of the emotional turmoil of a break-up, because I have been there, and it was a really rough time. This post will focus the pf side of how I coped.

The ex and I dated for 4.5 years, since high school and into college.  It was my first break-up and one of the most difficult times of my young life.  Like many first serious relationships, I had envisioned us together forever, with a white picket fence – because isn’t that what first loves are?  What I learned from it was so much more.  I learned I was my own person, and that I needed to stop trying to break down a brick wall, and walk away.

We were in an awkward stage the initial break up where we tried to “be friends.” I thought that I would be a bad person if I cut him out of my life.  I learned that guys and girls see this “friends” thing differently.  After a few months of “being friends”, I realized that I needed a clean break.  And I realized it wasn’t selfish, it was  more about starting to take care of myself and stop taking care of him.  (OK, maybe that is a little selfish.  But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.)

Lean on my sisters & girlfriends & family (priceless)

The support of my friends and family was amazing.  I’m not sure how I would have gone through this dark time without them.  No matter how many times, I ranted and discussed how and when everything went wrong, they were always there.

Exchange in Singapore and traveled Southeast Asia ($6,000)

I applied to exchange before the break-up, and I am SO glad that I went.  I visited so many beautiful and wonderful countries and met new friends along the way.  I also met BF on exchange (though we were only friends, then, and didn’t start dating until 2 years later).    I challenged myself in ways I never knew.

I went scuba diving in Thailand, saw beautiful ancient ruins in Cambodia, visited the home town of my father in Vietnam,  and tried the most amazing street food in Singapore and Malaysia.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.  (I didn’t include tuition in this because I paid my home university and would have paid anyway – but it’s $6,700 for tuition a semester at my school).

Long distance calls ($65)

Unfortunately, a lot these were phone calls I made to the ex during my time abroad.  We were trying to “be friends” and it was only after my time away that I realized that we needed to break contact so that I could heal and move on.

I also called my parents and sisters.  Then I discovered Skype, and went to heaven (yes, I am slow on technology!).

Salsa class, yoga, volleyball and dodgeball inter murals on campus ($100)

I’m not one to sit still, and I physically needed to be active to not think and mull on the past.  I joined an activity every night of the week, while taking a full course load my first semester back from exchange (after all, I couldn’t just hop a plane to explore another country, now).  It was amazing, and I had never been in better shape!  I learned that I didn’t need to feel shy because I wasn’t an expert or pro – everyone was there to have fun!

Squash lessons & belly dancing class ($200)

I got tired of learning tennis, and chasing the ball from outside the court – so I figured squash might be a good idea.  It was fun, and I want to play more of it now.  It’s an amazing work out.  Belly dancing – let’s just say, that it didn’t work out. At. All.

Dragon boating ($150)

My friend had put together a dragon boating team, and recruited me.  She also told me that since there is a much higher girl:guy ration than most teams (8:12), there are usually guys scoping it out.  So, of course, I joined.  Oh, and it was a great work out, too.

Various shopping trips ($500)

I didn’t go on a huge shopping binge, though I’m sure that my girlfriends and I bought stuff during that time.  No doubt, it would have made me feel a little better at the time.  I was a broke student after all, there is only so much damage Forever 21 can make on my wallet.

Ice cream ($20)

There was lots of ice cream in the house.  I remember making a special trip the night after the break-up, and my cousin, sister and I got a tub, each of Hagan Daaz ice cream.  I’m sure there were many trips during my getting over him stage.

Various dates ($150?)

I usually offer to split the bill on a first date, though I prefer when the guy pays.  It’s just me preference, please don’t pounce on me for that.  After the first or second date, I would definitely split the bill.  I don’t think I went on a tonne of dates, but enough.

Clubs and partying ($200)

I partied about 3 – 4 times a term, which was about 400% more than I had when I was dating my ex.  It was fun.  I’m not sure if it’s sad to say it, but it was a mish mash of all the above (including drunken nights at a club) that made me realize – my life can go on just fine.

Even though I missed what we had, it was in the past, and it could never be the same.  And, the thing was, I realized that I didn’t want it to be the same, because I am a stronger and wiser person, and I want something better.

TOTAL: $7,385

Maybe that’s a little over exaggerated.  I would have gone on exchange whether my ex and I had broke-up or not.  But I included that cost in there, because it was one of my greatest times of growth and maturity.   I learned a lot about myself, and if it took $7,385 to do it, then I think it was money well spent.  Keep in mind this was over a period of almost a year and half.

I’m sure this number will be different for everyone, and I am just lucky that I had saved a big chunk of money for my exchange trip.  I didn’t go into debt, and I think that even though it’s important to allow yourself to grieve in whatever way is right for you – please do not jeopardizing your financial well-being.  Remember to take care of yourself, first.

Have you thought of the cost of your break-up?  How do you cope with them best?



Filed under Personal

11 responses to “Cost of a Break-Up

  1. You know, I’ve never actually tallied the cost of breakup shopping/spending, so I don’t know how much mine set me back (It was a pretty penny). Interesting post though. It looks like you kept yourself really busy which is awesome 🙂

  2. I’ve had a couple break-ups but only one put me in a little “grief”. I remember partying with friends and drinking haha. That’s about it. At the time I didn’t shop as much so it wasn’t that expensive for me.

  3. Kim

    I have had a couple of difficult, “grief” like situations that lasted a few months. And yes, I usually refocus on myself and take care of myself better after a break up. This often involved $ towards things I neglected during a relationship, such as more haircuts, clothes-shopping, and going out with girlfriends. But I never regarded them as the “costs of a break up”, but rather as “costs of being healthy and independent”. I like your attitude of engaging yourself in other things to “rediscover” yourself. Although they are the costs of a break up to you, I think they are positive things to spend on. In the end, if they helped you move on and feel better, it’s worth it.

  4. While not everyone is skipping off to Asia to mend a broken heart, your costs are fair. I have a friend right now who is on the beach in the Dominican drinking & tanning away her bad break-up with a Mancation. That is easily costing $1500 for 7 days… but if she comes back refreshed and feeling better about herself, then I say it’s worth it!

    I did stumble upon this site where girls can sell the remains of their relationship – every item that is posted for resale comes with a break-up story… perhaps it is a way to make money on the end of your relationship (when the time is right and a girl is ready to move on, of course):

    • Wow. I just checked out that site, and showed BF.

      It’s a great idea, because there are some things that I can imagine you just want to get rid off. I kept all my gifts, but didn’t know what to do with stuff like jewelry… It would be good to make some cash off of it.

  5. Very interesting post! I think considering the financial cost associated with emotional events is always a very worthwhile exercise, as often many people don’t consciously link those two parts of life.

    I recently discovered squash through a co-worker. I had no idea it was such a fabulous workout and fun to boot!

    • I never thought of this, as I was going through my break-up. It was only afterwards – a good 5 years afterwards that I’m thinking back to the financial costs.

      I love squash! I wish that I could play it more.

  6. Pingback: Other Blogs | fabulously fru-girl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s