Falling in love and being in a relationship is one of the best things that can happen to you. But when a serious relationship ends, the breakup grief takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions that you may find difficult to deal with.
Breakups may leave people so disheartened that they reach rock bottom. They enter into self-destructive patterns and internalize wrong belief systems for life. This is why it is important to know the stages of grief breakup and what one can do during each stage.
7 Stages Of Grief After A Breakup
When you fall in love with someone, you start believing that you will feel this way forever. Similarly, when you break up with someone, it makes you feel like your grief will last forever. But, as the Buddhist saying goes, “Everything is impermanent” and so are the stages of grief breakup. Once you become aware of the breakup stages, you will understand that the pain that you are feeling is just one stage and it will eventually reduce with time. Here are the 7 stages of grief breakup and tips to move on, that might help you in developing a better coping mechanism.
1. Inability to process that it ended
When you suddenly lose something that is so valuable to you, it might come as a major shock to you. The very first breakup stage is not being able to make sense of what’s going on. Some people fall out of love and see it coming. But, if you get betrayed or cheated upon, then the breakup might hit you differently.
Drowning yourself in alcohol, drugs, sex or work might distract you for a temporary time period, but it won’t fix your pain. The pain will come rushing back, until you try and find ways to make peace with it.
In such a case, cry it out and let yourself feel all the feelings. Moving on is not something that happens in a day. But start by eating healthy and working out. Self-care might be one of the best ways to move on from a breakup.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself After Breakup
2. Missing your ex all the time
When you talk to someone day and night, you get used to them always being there for you. It is not easy to break a habit or pattern, so this stage of breakup grief might give you feelings of withdrawal as you learn to come to terms with the absence of the person you once loved so very much. You might feel like unblocking them or texting them.
This is amongst the stages of grief relationship breakup when you should surround yourself with people you trust and can really confide in. You need friends who can help you to establish self-control and listen to you grieve over your breakup. Talking about everything that’s bothering you can work miraculously well in this stage of breakup grief.
How to move on? Talk. Talk, talk and talk some more. Talk about your grief and get it all out of your system, until you come to a point where it stops triggering you. Make a journal, start writing in it…every menial detail. Burn it if you want. Expressing pain, instead of suppressing it, is an important tip for moving on.
3. Trying to get back with your ex
This stage of grief after a breakup is pretty common. This is the point where people lose their self-respect and end up begging the person to return, at any cost. The feeling of attachment is so high that the thought of losing a person is unacceptable.
You can use healthy coping mechanisms like yoga, meditation and exercise to keep yourself busy and avoid overthinking during this break up stage. You might feel as if you can fix everything and that this time it will be different, but remember that it’s a toxic loop that will keep repeating itself.
So, keep yourself extremely busy with activities so that you don’t get the time to stalk your ex’s social media. Pick up a new hobby or a skill. Do an online course. Join a dance class. Learn a new recipe. Try making new friends. Do whatever you can to keep yourself distracted. Being busy is a key tip that can accelerate your process of moving on.
Related Reading: 7 Stages Of Getting Back Together With An Ex
4. Experiencing anger/hatred/guilt
The feeling of love can quickly turn into the total opposite feeling and it is unbelievable that love can turn into hatred, but it sometimes does. You might feel extremely negative emotions for your ex and you might want to “get back at them”.
But taking revenge or hurting them in return won’t fix your pain or help you in getting over a breakup. In fact, your self-respect will go down in your own eyes. Avoid jumping into another relationship immediately or bad mouthing your ex everywhere you go. Grieving a breakup doesn’t mean losing your dignity and integrity.
Take all this anger and frustration, and channel it into your work and career. It will give you happiness, satisfaction and a sense of empowerment. How to move on? Make constructive use of your breakup grief by becoming professionally successful. Excelling in what you do might give you a kick that’s even greater than romantic love.
5. Feeling hurt
The anger eventually boils down and this stage of grieving a breakup consists of you feeling despair. You feel like your heart is broken and that you will never be able to trust someone or have faith in love. Your sense of self-esteem might also suffer because you might feel you weren’t good enough. Don’t worry, this often happens in the 7 stages of grief breakup.
At this stage of grieving a breakup, remember to not internalize it or take it too personally. Sometimes, things are just not meant to be and people are just incompatible. Also, keep in mind that the feelings you are feeling are normal and it is totally okay not to be okay. You don’t have to pretend that you have got it all together and you don’t have to shy away from your scars.
Reconnecting with old friends can help you in moving on from this pain. Pick up your phone and have long conversations with people you have lost touch with. Attend all the social gatherings you get invited to. Invite people over. Tips to move on? Let people help you and love you through your worst. Let them share that burden on your shoulders that’s so obviously weighing you down. Let them be there for you.
6. Accepting that it’s over
This stage of grief breakup is when you finally start accepting the possibility that it is over. This is when you realize that being by yourself might actually be better than being in a toxic relationship. Moving on is a long and gradual process and you don’t have to rush or force it. You have to go through the stages of grief after a breakup to be able to finally move on.
This is amongst the stages of grief breakup that requires a lot of patience and self-love. Channeling all your pain and vulnerability into something creative and worthwhile can help a lot in getting over a breakup. Transferring pain into creation has worked out well for many legends, be it painting, art, poetry, writing a book or starting a new company. It’s called “Meraki” in Greek, which means ‘doing something with all your heart or with love’.
Ehime Ora has rightly said, “You gotta resurrect the deep pain within you and give it a place to live that’s not within your body. Let it live in art. Let it live in writing. Let it live in music. Let it be devoured by building brighter connections. Your body is not a coffin for pain to be buried in. Put it somewhere else”.
Related Reading: First Breakup – 11 Ways To Deal With It
7. Moving on
This is one of the most important stages of breakup grief. Moving on, in its truest sense means forgiving yourself and forgiving the person that you loved so that you don’t carry this pain and burden into your next relationship. Practicing forgiveness is very important in breakup stages.
And how do you forgive someone who has caused you pain? Try to remember all the times they made you feel good about yourself. But, remember to do this from a distance. Forgiveness takes its own time, so don’t rush it. Also, keep in mind that looking at everything that happened, with compassion and not grudges, is for the healing of your heart, you aren’t doing it for them.
Even though you are scared, take a leap of faith and try trusting again, one day at a time. As someone said, “If you never heal from what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you”. Every person is different and don’t project the pain of your past onto your present. Try to be open and try seeing the new people in your life from a fresh lens, instead of one tainted from memories. Don’t let that one event change your whole outlook towards life, into a negative one.
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“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could”. – Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
Related Reading: 7 Things That Help You Heal Post A Breakup
A breakup can be extremely overwhelming and traumatic and breakup grief can even feel akin to that of losing a loved one to death. But, addressing the 7 stages of grief after a breakup can help you in healing and becoming an emotionally available partner to the next person you date. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety during/after breakup stages, don’t shy away from seeking professional help. Licensed and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel have helped a lot of people in similar situations. You too could benefit from their expertise and find the answers you have been looking for.
There is no definite timeline for the 7 stages of grief breakup. While some psychologists point out that it takes 6 weeks to adjust to a life without your ex, other polls point out that it might take around 3.5 months to heal from the breakup.
Some people don’t get over their ex, even years after their marriage. This is why grieving a breakup and processing all the emotions that come with it, is very important. Heartbreak can be one of the lowest points in your life, but also an opportunity for self-love and evolution. The stages of grief relationship breakup can be used as a fuel to kickstart growth and self-reflection.
Every guy expresses breakup grief in a unique way since grief hits everyone differently. Some immediately jump into another relationship, while some isolate themselves and cut everyone off. If a guy is not talking to you or even bad mouthing you, he is just channeling his hurt in the wrong ways.
But why do you want to know if he is hurt? Do you want him to suffer? Or is it because you want to give him another chance?
Relationships become addictive and you start depending on your partner for all your happiness. You hope to spend your life together and you become habituated to them. This is why it becomes difficult to let go of them, even when you know that it’s the right thing to do.
But, sometimes, you have to go against what you want and go for what you need. Stages of grief after a breakup seem difficult at first, but being hurt once is still better than being hurt every day.