The end of a relationship is always hard, whether it lasted for a few weeks or a few decades. You feel an unbearable pain that keeps you trapped in the past. You keep wondering if things could go back to how it was but you realize it won’t. You want this pain to end. But it just doesn’t. There are 5 different stages of grief at the end of a relationship and you need to go through them all, in order to move on and find happiness once again.
Psychologist Dr. Kübler-Ross wasn’t a relationship expert. She specialized in counseling those associated with grief from death.
While analyzing terminally ill patients, she observed the ways they would come to terms with their imminent demise and developed a theory that there are five steps necessary to properly grieve. Since then, many have drawn parallels between her theories as they pertain to processing the end of a meaningful relationship.
The key is to dedicate yourself to embracing your feelings as you go through this process. The more you open up and make yourself vulnerable, the faster you will be able to move on.
The most critical thing to realize is that oftentimes there isn’t something you can do to “fix” these feelings. The point is to let them happen simply and be aware of what they are. So, let’s break them down.
5 Stages of Grief at The End of A Relationship
Stage 1. Denial
The first thought of entering the human psyche after any traumatic event in their life—“How could this happen to me?”
Humans are not strictly rational beings and when your world is shocked, emotions take over. The heart overpowers the logical thought of the mind. Even though your brain is cognizant that the relationship is over, the heart can’t quite let go and will start to create a false sense of reality.
This is when you entertain fantasies of being able to work things out. You still feel that there’s hope. These delusions can lead you to do stupid things in an attempt to reconnect with your ex.
It’s critical to cut off communication so you’re not tempted by that late-night text. It’s not going to help. You’ll be tempted to hop on Instagram just to catch a glimpse of her smile, but what good will that do you?
Unfollow her on Facebook, remove her number from your phone for a while. Delete that playlist you guys shared together. You should also redecorate your pad and remove key triggers that remind you of her.
After my divorce, I moved to a new house altogether. I decked it out in my style and removed anything provoking bad memories. That had a massive impact on the overall vibe of my homestead. It now has a fresh, palpable new energy that has facilitated my healing and personal growth.
I’m not saying that you need to banish her from your life forever. But in the healing process as you grieve the relationship, stay distant and remove triggers that remind you of her. Going cold turkey for a while is the only way to accelerate progress through this critical phase.
Stage 2. Anger
As denial fades away, emotional pain emerges and often manifesting itself in the form of anger. This will be channeled in a number of different directions.
You’ll certainly be angry with her, blaming whatever you can on why the relationship didn’t work out. You might feel angry at the world for not being fair. Maybe you feel like lashing out at her friends for corrupting her perception of you. You’ll be tempted to express this through hateful emails and text messages.
It’s okay to write those out to get all of your emotions out of your head and onto paper. But, for the love of God, don’t click send. Nothing good will come from it.