7 Stages Of Grieving A Breakup And Finally Letting Go

Stages Grieving Breakup Letting Go

Going through a breakup is horrible as it is, but knowing what to expect when it comes to grieving one, can help you deal with it better. Normally there are seven stages of grieving a breakup, and the more you know about them, the better you might be able to handle it.

You fought to hold on to the relationship to the point of being all-consumed. You don’t want to believe it’s actually ending. You can’t believe it. Even if the relationship was awful, even unbearable at times, the idea of living without it is unacceptable. Still, it’s becoming clear that the two of you aren’t going to make it. You are finally starting to compute that it’s over. You’ve gone from, “Don’t leave!” to “Okay, I give up.”

But you still feel anything but okay. The moment you get off the phone with your ex, or the texting finally stops, or you leave each other’s space, you experience withdrawal, and you are hit relentlessly by the reality of the loss. It can be a brutal process, and it can take a long time until you feel deserving of investing in your own independent, reshaped life path.

You may have known somewhere within you that this breakup was coming, even for months or years, and yet you are still blindsided. No matter how the lead-up has looked, now that the breakup is actually happening, you may be overwhelmed, immobilized, and haunted by fear, loss, and despair about life without this person.

Following are some of the stages you can anticipate going through—they often occur all at once, or in varying orders at varying times during the process of letting go.

Here Are The 7 Stages Of Grieving A Breakup

1. Desperate for Answers.

The drive to know is consuming and can come at the expense of rational thoughts and behaviors. You must understand why this happened, maybe beyond anyone’s ability to explain it. You fixate on things your ex said at various times that you see as contradicting the breakup, and you hold onto them now as if they are gospel.

Yet somewhere within, you have moments of clarity, too. You likely swing back and forth between foggy disbelief, the daily, moment by moment rediscovery of the magnitude of your loss, and flashes of painful clarity that of course, it’s over. The pain, disorganization, and confusion can become all you think about, or talk about.

But initially, you remain driven to understand what happened, at any cost. The desperation to make sense of something so jarring compels you to debate friends, family, coworkers, even strangers, about why the relationship ended, while you justify to them the reasons it shouldn’t have as if convincing them it is equal to convincing your ex.

Related: 12 Signs You’re Emotionally Traumatized By A Hurtful Breakup

2. Denial.

It can’t be true. This isn’t happening! You just cannot be without your ex. It feels like you’ve put everything you are into this relationship. It’s been your world, your life. You cannot accept that it’s over. You funnel every last hope into saving it, even at the expense of your well-being.

You postpone your need to grieve its end because it’s just too painful to face. In so doing, you temporarily derail the grieving process by replacing it with unrealistically inflated hope that the relationship can still be salvaged.

3. Bargaining.

You are willing to do anything to avoid accepting it’s over. You’ll be a better, more attentive partner. Everything that’s been wrong, you’ll make right. The thought of being without your ex is so intolerable that you will make your own pain go away by winning him or her back, at any cost. Of course, you’re not logical at this point (and probably shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery). 

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