The 7 Stages of a Breakup That Everyone Goes Through

Kanika Sharma
the stages of break up

A breakup doesn’t come alone, it targets you in phases. Especially when you were serious about your ex, each phase brings torment on you with its share of guilt, grief, blame-game, and mourning. The feeling of being consumed in a relationship doesn’t let you accept the heartbreak that easily. The science behind breakups also reveals that humans cannot handle rejections that easily, especially in romance. The breakup healing process is slow, painful and relentless.

7 Stages Of A Breakup And How To Channel Your Emotional Responses

If you are dumped in a bitter breakup, failure and self-blame encapsulate you to the extreme, leaving you depressed. At that time, overcoming a breakup looks like an unconquerable quest of a mountain where you are overburdened with a lot to carry on your shoulders. Breathing becomes difficult with every step and you are in self-denial and fearful of never being able to overcome this post-breakup depression. Each step towards moving on seems like a battle already lost. With ex-issues weighing you down, moving on seems like an unachievable feat after this emotional aftermath.

Even if you could forsee this breakup since weeks or even months, yet the reality of loss can hit you brutaly. So, if you are going through a bad breakup, then a proper knowledge of these stages will help you deal with the painful rejection, mourning, and struggles in a much stronger way.

These stages of breakup may occur all t once, or strike you one after the other as you leave each other’s space and move on.

1.Shock over a breakup – how can he/she break up with me?

This is an immediate reaction after the dumper dropped the breakup bomb on you. Everything was going right and you were so committed to him/her. You are still in shock how the relationship ended in a dead halt. Now, since he/she clarified their intentions, you are feeling lonely, vulnerable and insecure. You want to confront your ex on what led to the breakup and don’t know the answers.

Confusion and a state of disbelief have eclipsed your thought process. All you think at this point of time is how should I take this split? This gloomy phase could probably last for days, weeks and even months if you are dumped. You can’t just sleep over this. Rather, you are not ready to face this hard reality. You might end up calling him/her constantly, seeking explanations. Well, don’t do that, as it is going to inflict more pain on you. While it is OK to think over and talk about what went wrong in a relationship, don’t let it choke your sensibilities.

At this point in time, our experts suggest you should not freak out. Life might be looking like a messed up puzzle, but all will fall into place. Trust us. Give it some time. You will soon make sense of this decision. Probably, you were not meant to be. Or he/she needs to space out the relationship.

Angry lady after Breakup

Can’t believe phase Image source

Read more: Why do some people take breakups harder than others?

2.Denial of breakup – It can’t happen to me

Are you checking your phone, waiting for it to ring with his/her call to reconcile? Or writing emails and texts to assure them of your love? Or finding about them through your common friends? Or stalking their social media accounts to find any update on their life? All these behaviours reflect one common thing – your denial of a breakup. Psychologically, you are not ready to accept the reality of your breakup and are flooded with bottled-up emotions. This is a denial response: if you don’t accept the painful heartbreak, you can hope to get your ex back.

“This can’t happen to us. We were so happy with each other.” We know you were all consumed in the relationship and you can’t believe it is over. Life has become meaningless without him/her. You just hope he/she calls once and you reconcile your differences with each other. Alas! That denial of grief is what’s making you hold on to the pieces of a relationship that has no future.

3.Negotiate – To save the relationship and win him back

You want him/her back in your life and are willing to work on any differences. You commit to being a better partner, attentive to his/her needs. You are ready to take the onus of making things work in a relationship. But why are you doing all this? Just to avoid the excruciating heartbreak and win him/her back. Is all the effort you are investing in resurrecting a relationship worth it? Aren’t you being overoptimistic? Relationships are a mutual exercise and you alone cannot fix everything, repair and sustain it. Taking full responsibility not only makes you feel vulnerable but also puts the entire burden of relationship on you.

Most of the times, your attempt to negotiate fails and inflicts more pain on your soul.

Read more: 7 positive things to do after break-up

4.Isolation – I want to retreat from life

You want to be alone in your room, curled up in your bed, not ready to face the world. You may replay the relationship memories in your mind, again and again, trying to find faults and how it could have been saved. Also, you are stalking your ex on Facebook, tracing whether he/she has moved on or not. Life has no meaning at this moment and your withdrawal symptoms are at an all-time peak. At times, you even feel suicidal. But hey! We would like to ask you one thing: “Is lamenting over the breakup helping you in any way?” No, right? So, it is better to see the silver lining and involve yourself in work or social volunteering to regain the purpose and perspective of life. Don’t pity yourself. If you want to woo your ex back, then work on improving yourself and things will fall in place in a dignified way.

7 stages of a breakup

Stages of break-up

5. Anger – To express dissent against breakup suffering

Anger is one of the ways of grieving after a breakup. You are feeling derailed after the split and mad at your ex for making you go through this ordeal. If he/she in a relationship cheated upon you, then the anger holds validity and makes sense as well. You are feeling betrayed and bitter due to the infidelity. After being cheated on¸ your trust in the opposite sex and romantic relationships has received a big jolt. As a jilted lover, it is natural for you to express anger by tearing his/her photographs, burning their gifts or possessions. Or you are blaming yourself for choosing the wrong person for commitment. This anger is actually your psyche’s way to empower you. Instead of bottling up the feelings, you are actually confronting them, which is a good sign of overcoming the breakup grief.

Read more: 5 extreme things people did after breakup

6.Acceptance – Reality is here to stay

You have surrendered to this breakup ordeal, or in other words, acknowledged this dilemma. At this point, you have developed enough awareness and control to recognise that the relationship is over. You now realise that all the efforts to revive this relationship again are not working. This acceptance is the first step to post-split recovery. You have put all the hopelessness, dependency and sadness aside and are committed to winning this breakup battle. You are trying to be fitter than before through gymming, shopping for new dresses, bonding with your old friends or volunteering for a social cause.

Life has given you a new perspective that we need to cherish all good things and romantic relationships are a part. Isn’t that realisation of a newfound perspective great? Well, a moment to rejoice, as you are just one stage away from moving on to a better life


Try to adjust in new environment: Image source

7. Hope – Of new life and beginnings

Congratulations! You have overcome the perils of a breakup. Now you can breathe in peace as life is coming back to normal. This stage might take some time, but when it comes, make sure you celebrate getting through your breakup. Treat yourself. Feel better and don’t forget to learn from the takeaways of a split and use the past experiences for a better life ahead.

Sometimes pain makes you stronger and after overcoming this breakup battle, you will be rewarded with a newfound wisdom and awareness levels. If you were suffering from relationship abuse and are finding it difficult to overcome this gruesome phase, then do share your personal experiences with our counsellors. They will surely help you with their guidance and a neutral perspective on how to overcome a breakup successfully.

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