12 Grieving Stages Of A Breakup: How To Cope With It

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When a loving relationship ends, people go through several stages of breakup before they heal. These stages might be painful, but one must learn to cope with them and become stronger than ever.

A breakup is an unfortunate end to a beautiful dream that two people had about their future. It might make couples feel trapped and strangled in misery. However, as the saying goes, time heals everything. Therefore, one must take breakups as a learning experience and gain more resilience in life.

This post describes the 12 stages of a breakup that you might have to go through before you come out better prepared for life.

12 Stages Of A Breakup

Various therapists and counselors have shared different stages of breakup and how a person goes through the grieving phases. We bring you a gist of those stages so that you can relate with them, understand you are not alone, and help yourself come out of the zone sooner than expected.

Stage 1: Bewilderment

Breakup at first can cause shock and even confusion. Everything on the outside may seem normal, but on the inside, the change in life may gnaw at your invisible wounds. You may try to ignore the feeling and may not be sure of what you are feeling. You may wonder what road to take at the crossroads and fear you might enter the stage of denial.

Stage 2: Denial

When you are out of the initial confusion and confronted with the truth, it can get traumatic to accept. In a bid to escape the pain, you might deny it. Your mind could be clouded by thoughts such as ‘is it over,’ ‘if I adjust a little, maybe we could get back,’ and so on. You might prefer doing anything but accept the actual breakup.

Stage 3: Guilt

In the next stage, you may feel guilty and even responsible for the failure of the relationship. It does not matter if your partner broke up with you or if you were a victim of abuse. At this stage, you start wondering if you had done things differently, reacted differently, behaved differently, you could have salvaged the relationship. These feelingscould prompt you to get in touch with your ex.

Stage 4: Negotiation

Out of guilt, you may try to make amends with your ex-partner. You might get in touch with them and try to reconcile. You may feel desperate to get back with them and overlook the reasons that led to your breakup. At this point, all that matters to you is to get back with them, which is a familiar zone for you.

Stage 5: Reunion

At this stage, if you are unable to accept the separation, and in caseyour partner experiences the same feelings—you might get back with them. But such a reunion does not last long, especially if the relationship has serious problems such as cheating or abuse. It may make you feel good temporarily, but eventually, the facade will break, and you might fall harder.

Stage 6: Anger

When you finally come to terms with a failing relationship, it is natural to feel angry. You are reminded of the time, energy, and everything else you invested in the relationship and feel cheated. You may get angry with yourself for falling for your partner and with your partner for letting you go. Remember that such anger is good as it gives you a different perspective and helps you see problematic aspects of your relationship.

Stage 7: Rebound

If you harbor anger in you, you might make the mistake of getting into another relationship as soon as you can. You may want to go on random dates and explore dating options you did not consider before. You may not think straight and feel that to get over your ex, you need another love affair to reduce your pain. But, you should know that itis the wrong way to deal with a breakupand loneliness.

Stage 8: Depression

When nothing works to soothe your breakupache, you may start feeling depressed over a failed relationship. You start questioning your choices in life and the kind of person you are. Life could feel dull, and even your favorite activities maynot excite you anymore. You might feel helpless at this stage.

Stage 9: Mood swings

If you cross the above stage without addressing it, you might find yourself in a downward spiral as youmay experience mood swings. One moment you may feel life is beautiful and that you are invincible. The very next moment, you may find yourself crying your eyes for no apparent reason. You might experience frequent mood swings that could keepyou on edge all the time.

Stage 10: Acceptance

Finally, you will feel tired of wallowing in self-pity and will seek out. You will start by accepting the situation. You may tell yourself that ‘breakup is not the end of the world’ and ‘I deserve so much better than this.’. You will see and acknowledge why the relationship did not work out and how it is good for you.

Stage 11: Self-care

If you have been eating your pain every night by binging on junk food, then you may want to get rid of it by this stage. Since you have time for yourself, you may want to invest in your health and happiness. Joining the gym or yoga class, regular visits to the spa, spending time with friends, and severalother ‘self-care activities become a part of your schedule.

Stage 12: Rejuvenation

As you spend more time maintaining good health, you start feeling happy from within, and it starts showing on your face. You look happier, which naturally attracts people to you. You realize that there is more to life than a relationship. By this stage, you learn to be content with yourself and may or may not want to give dating another chance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most challenging stage of a breakup?

Some consider the denial stage as the most challenging stage of a breakup. However, different people may struggle with different stages based on their personalities, coping mechanisms, and the depth of their relationship.

2. Can you be traumatized by a breakup?

Experiencing a breakup can be traumatic, leaving the affected person devastated. They may need to mourn and grieve over the end of their relationship for some time before they are ready to move on. However, if you feel like you cannot overcome this difficult situation alone, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

A breakup is difficult to process, and you need to give yourself time to go through the different stages of turmoil and eventually get over the pain. It is essential that you grieve and not suppress your emotions, as doing the same will make it even harder for you to move on in your life. Talk to your friends and family members about how you feel, and instead of bottling up your feelings, express them. Remember to love yourself all through the process and work on improving yourself.

Key Pointers

  • The first stage of a breakup is filled with shock and confusion, after which you may move to a denial stage where you do not accept your situation.
  • In the next stage, you may start feeling guilty about not maintaining your relationship well.
  • Then, you may try to make things better with your ex and reunite. Read further to know all the stages of a breakup.

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Ratika Pai

Ratika has experience writing in various fields including finance, education, lifestyle, and entertainment. After her masters degree in Commerce, she acquired a PG Diploma in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. She is inquisitive about human relationships and likes to study people and how they manage their relationships, during her freetime. At MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on... more

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