The Five Emotional Stages of a Relationship Breakup
Many people don’t equate a relationship with a death, but the two are very similar in the processes it takes to get through them. There are distinct emotional stages of a relationship breakup. They don’t always happen in the same order, and you can often move on to the next stage and the next day find yourself back at the stage before. It’s a tumultuous time. Knowing what the stages are and that they are normal can help you deal with it all much better.
Here are the stages:
1. Pain. When you are faced with the knowledge that this person who you’ve shared so much of your life, and yourself, with doesn’t want you anymore it can cause unbelievable pain. This pain will ebb and flow during the whole breakup process, and yes it is a process. Some days will be worse than others. It’s important to remember that this is completely normal but you will get through it and the pain will lessen with time.
2. Denial. No one can really believe that someone who they’ve shared so much with really doesn’t want them anymore. It’s difficult to grasp the idea that this person could walk away from such a great connection. You convince yourself that they are just ‘going through a stage’ and that they’ll ‘come to their senses.’ The truth is they may, or they may not.
You really don’t know how long they’ve been contemplating ending the relationship. They They may have already worked through their stages of the breakup process before they even said a word to you about breaking up.
3. Anger. After you’ve gotten over the initial shock and you realize that this is really going to happen you’ll get mad…really mad. ‘How dare they treat me like this!?’ ‘After everything I’ve done for them.’ ‘They will never find anyone as good as me.’ These are common thoughts when going through this stage. You’re mad at them , at yourself, and if there was someone else involved in the breakup you’re really mad at them. This anger is a way to help you get the closure you need so that you can move on.
In some ways this can be the most dangerous stage of all. This is the stage where people will do, or say, stupid things. This is the stage where you have to be very careful to not let your anger overrule your good judgment. You also have to guard against your anger turning into bitterness, if you get bitter you will have a hard time ever finding happiness again.
4. Grief. You will grieve for the loss of the love and companionship you once shared with your ex. This is the same as the grief you would have if someone close to you has died. Again, this is a totally normal stage in the breakup process.
5. Acceptance. Finally, you can move on. You are finally to the point where you actually believe that you can be happy again. You realize that no matter what happened in the breakup you are a wonderful person who is capable of giving and receiving love and you are ready to start looking.
The emotional stages of a relationship breakup are inevitable. We all go through them. There is no set time limit, or order, but just remember that all of these feelings are totally normal and that going through the stages is actually helping you cleanse yourself of this emotional baggage so you can find love again.