But knowing where exactly YOU are in this process will give you an enormous advantage. Surviving and thriving through these 5 common stages of a breakup is not only perfectly normal, it’s healthy.
Here’s what you can expect:
Accepting the stinging truth that your relationship is no longer working or that your partner no longer wants to be with your awesome self can be tough. But remember, you could be the juiciest peach in the whole entire world and there’s still someone out there who just doesn’t eat—or work well with—peaches. Instead of checking your phone every five seconds for a text of reconciliation, or even worse, backsliding into your new ex’s bed looking for some kind of comfort, take time for yourself now, and lean on your friends and family for support.
Anger can manifest in many different ways—anger at your ex (“How could he do this to me?”), anger at God or the universe (“Why can’t anything ever work out for me?”), anger at people or situations associated with the break-up (anger at the “other woman”), and anger at other people who don’t agree or stand with your anger. Remember, doing something drastic when you’re absolutely furious isn’t worth the consequences.
Bargaining can be looking for any possible way to make the relationship work through negotiation or threats —for example, telling your ex that you will change, or move, or go to therapy. Other times, it is about absolving your own guilt if you did something wrong that caused the breakup. Desperate to negotiate with yourself or your ex, you may go to extreme measures to make deals or make amends — when in truth, it is just about making the current pain go away. At this point try to recall the reasons your relationship ended and if you can’t, ask your friends to do it for you!
You realize the magnitude of your loss in this stage of grief, and it can feel all too overwhelming. You may wind up in a state of deep sadness that can even resemble mild depression. At this point, recalling what your life was like prior to your relationship or what it could be like now can be hard. Just getting out of bed feels difficult, and you may even feel physical aches and pains perpetuated by deep feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness. Allow yourself to feel all the sadness now, and you’ll have an easier time moving on later. Trust.
Finally, this is the phase in which we are able to make peace with the loss. It doesn’t always come on suddenly; it often happens gradually, bit by little bit, interspersed with some of the other phases. Acceptance doesn’t always involve sunshine and butterflies, and is almost certain to be lingering sadness. Acceptance entails making peace with the loss, letting go of the relationship and slowly moving forward with your life. Sometimes it feels like this phase will never come, which usually means you’re still struggling in an earlier phase.
Simply being familiar with these phases and knowing that they are common reactions can help you feel as though you’re not alone in your experience.
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