The 7 Stages Of Grieving After A Breakup

You know that empty, confused feeling of being overwhelmed with a million emotions after a breakup? You know, that feeling that nags at you and makes you wonder if your life is actually over. Maybe it’s not exactly PTSD that you’re suffering from, but what you’re feeling can become consuming and is, well, normal.

After a particularly bad breakup, I recall speaking to a close friend and she told me ‘allow yourself to mourn’. I asked myself: “What does that even mean?” Soon after, I spoke to a psychologist who happened to double as a relationship counselor and he told me the same thing. As it turns out, dealing with a breakup is very much like dealing with a death. But wait, let me explain!

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You know how you always hear about the 7 stages of grief that one goes through when someone passes away? Well, that same coping/healing process is also what you can expect to encounter after a breakup, especially if you have been together for a long period of time or if it was a particularly emotional relationship.

Here’s a quick rundown of what these 7 stages of grieving are:

1. Denial

“Did that really happen? No it didn’t.” Actually, it did happen. Don’t fool yourself.

2. Guilt

There’s probably nothing you could have done differently to change the outcome of your relationship, or maybe there was. The truth is you’ll probably never really know, so don’t over think and blame yourself for what happened. It’s useless.

3. Anger

“What the hell? I’m going to call everyone in his family and tell him what a horrible human being he is! Maybe I’ll even key his car.” (Side note: don’t). Don’t let anger overcome you. Better yet, don’t let pettiness make you look like you’re the crazy one.

4. Bargaining

This is my favorite stage. Of course, I’m being sarcastic. This is what I like to consider the “purgatory with one foot inside the gates of hell” stage because all you do is torture yourself with the fantasy of getting back together while listening to really depressing music and staring at photos and planning an accidental run in with your ex. Don’t get stuck here. This is a bad place to be.

5. Depression

This is the stage where you start wearing sweats and not wanting to hang out with your friends. Don’t alienate yourself, your friends are there for you. And sweats don’t look cute on ANYBODY.


6. Acceptance

Abandon all hope all ye who enter here. Let it go and try your best to accept the fact that you’re not going to get back together. You can do way better, anyways.


7. Recovery

The light at the end of the tunnel. I think this one is self explanatory.

As you can see, the way you feel after a breakup is totally normal. However, if you find yourself stuck in an emotional downward spiral that is affecting your day to day activities and taking over your life, then the best course of action is to talk to a therapist (trust me, I’ve been there). That’s exactly what I did and the reason why I can share all of my breakup wisdom with you. Do keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with seeking help or at least having a knowledgeable person to vent to. And if you feel like crying, cry! Probably the most important lesson I’ve picked up from Dr. Griffith is to trust my feelings and allow myself to actually FEEL.

By the way, if someone broke up with you then they are obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed, because you’re amazing — and you don’t want to be with a man who doesn’t realize that, right? Right. Now, wash, rinse, repeat.

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