7 Stages Of Grief After A Breakup And How To Move On

Grief does not disappear overnight and it's okay to take as long as it needs to recover.

By Sushmita Barman

There is not even an iota of doubt that breakups hurt and can be hard to deal with. The stages of grief after a breakup are painful and can cause a major emotional breakdown. Breakups can happen instantly or after enduring toxic behavior for a long time. Either way, it is believed that breakups are almost as traumatizing as losing a loved one to death. Pain is inevitable, and some find it too overwhelming to deal with. Even if you have agreed to have a mutual understanding with your partner, it does not lessen the intensity of the grief.

It takes time to get over a breakup, but you have to ensure that you deal with it in a healthy manner. Be it your own breakup or your friend’s – the fact is you cannot, in fact, you should not try to avoid the feelings. Instead, embrace the pain but do not let it win over you. In this article, we will delve deeper into the topic. Swipe up for more details!

The 7 Stages Of Grief After A Breakup:

The stages of grief after a breakup  can be divided into seven steps. These stages are Shock and the state of Denial, Pain and Angst, Guilt and Bargaining, Depression, Upward Turn, Reconstruction, and Acceptance. Let us understand these 7 stages better below to deal with breakup grief and loss:

  • Shock And The State Of Denial:“There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare,” opines Mary Renault. Yes, indeed. We are not ideally prepared to encounter sad events. We are always hopeful and trying our best to overcome difficult situations. That’s why breakups often lead us to a state of utter shock, pushing us to switch to a denial mode almost immediately. And it is usually in this stage that people desperately wait for their ex’s messages or calls, fiddle with the phone, spending hours viewing those selfies taken during the happy times, and the list is endless. In the case of losing someone to death, people also take a significant amount of time consoling themselves, saying, “He’s not dead. He’ll come to me; he has to.”

But while going into a shock is barely in our control, being in denial is an attempt we make to shield ourselves from the pain that breakups bring. It is a defense mechanism we adopt the moment we are shaken by a breakup. However, it is natural to be in denial with time; we manage to let go of it; and if we can’t, we can always work towards shedding off this defense mechanism.

  • Pain And Angst: Once you have gotten rid of the denial stage and come to terms with the reality, you are bound to feel the pain the most, and it is perfectly normal. This is when you accept the truth and explain that the loss is real, and this realization breaks you. There is going to be a lot of anger for being left by yourself by the person who just broke up with you. Even if it’s a grief for losing someone to death, there are chances in abundance you might be angry at the person who died, thinking they left you alone forever. This is humans’ reaction to loss. At this stage, you find yourself wishing bad things for the person who broke up with you and highlighting the dead man’s carelessness towards themselves that led them to leave you forever. You will try to find all possible ways to blame them for your miserable situation.
  • Guilt And Bargaining: Relationship breakup grief brings forth a lot of guilt and bargaining tendency. We begin to feel that we were entirely at fault for the breakup. Being on a guilt trip, we start making a lot of “what if” as well as “if only” statements wondering if the outcome could have been avoided. “What if I had not gotten angry at her, today, she would have been with me,” “If only I had spent more time with him, he would not have felt the void and left me,” or “If only I had taken her to the hospital right away, she would have survived today,” are some of the situations we tend to create in our head. It is another form of defense mechanism in order to delay the grief or cope with the unsettling situation.
  • Depression: Entering into a depressed state of mind is common too while dealing with breakup grief. In this stage, a person usually becomes quiet and alienates themselves from the rest of the world, hoping to cope with the loss better. This is also when they take a pause from being actively angry at the person with whom they broke up or hopeful about having them back into their lives. With this sense of hopelessness, people in this stage feel gloomy and fail to see the light of day. Also, as a result of this overwhelming feeling, the daily routine gets messed up big time. Sleep deprivation, eating disorders are some of the signs seen among people who are experiencing depression due to the loss.
  • Upward Turn: This stage is like that door to a brighter avenue one must take after all is said and done. Once the anger, guilt, and hate die down, this is when people find themselves in a much calmer and relaxed state. At this stage, people try to cheer themselves up and dust off all the toxins they have been dealing with during their breakup grieving stages for a better and happier life to lead.
  • Reconstruction And Acceptance: Once taking that much-needed relaxation after a breakup, at this stage, people try to pick up all the broken pieces and move ahead with their lives. This stage allows them to learn from their past and better themselves if required. People develop a firmer skin for themselves that can withstand all the ups and downs in life and make necessary changes to untangle the intricacies that may reside in different relationships. With this reconstruction and acceptance, people gain back their lost hope and look at the brighter side in life ahead.

How Long Does Grief Last After A Breakup:

How long does grief last after a breakup

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Well, when it comes to grieving after a breakup, a person can feel the loss until they really decide to stand up and walk the path of moving forward. Also, once they find solace in a partner later, their hearts gradually heal, and the breakup grief period ultimately ends. If you have just had a breakup, the grieving period for you has just begun. Having said that, the grief of a person who broke up a year ago is not lesser.

If a person just broke up from a toxic relationship, the grieving period could be less comparatively. All the pent-up grudge and wrath that get accumulated tend to burst out during the breakup scenes, and one feels relieved after the relationship ends.

On the other hand, when a breakup happens as a consequence of the death of the loved one, the grief comes and goes depending on the situation the person is in. While most people mourn deaths for 6 months or a year or two, the period sometimes fails to cease if the mind finds it difficult to reconcile with the shock of loss during the death itself.

How To Overcome Stages Of Grief After A Breakup?

In a way, the duration of grief clearly depends upon the grieving person because the affections do not end with the end of the relationship. There is no switch we can turn on to stop grieving over losses. These stages of grief after a breakup is a gradual process and usually takes its own sweet time to meet its end.

But, being acquainted with these seven stages of grief post breakup can always ease the pain. You can prepare yourself for the journey and learn to tackle the situation smartly instead of inviting the risk of going astray, unable to handle the pain.

Therefore, taking into consideration the psychological conditions, the closeness shared with the lost person, and also the kind of support system one has around, grieving over a breakup or a loss can be less complicated than it really is.

What is more, apart from introducing yourself to the stages of grief after a breakup, you can also adopt various healthy practices to cut short the grieving period. Meditation can always help. With regular meditation in your routine, you will be attaining a state of calmness and coping with breakup grief well. Other than this, you can also give more time to your long-lost hobbies. They will keep your mind busy and leave you with almost no time to dig into your past and feel remorse and anger.

And most importantly, talk to your loved ones and supportive folks. With their affection and extra care in place, dealing with this grief becomes easier. In no time, you will find yourself out of the grief period and in a much healthier environment. Their positivity will surround you with happiness too and eventually, it will allow you to think much clearer later.

Breakups are never easy to deal with. They can cast a dark shadow on an individual’s mental health, with emotions running high and a barrage of negative thoughts constantly storming the mind. The grieving period starts immediately after a breakup, and how long it lasts depends on the grieving person. Knowing the above-listed stages of grief after a breakup helps you live through them strongly. Embracing meditation, talking to the near and dear ones, and getting busy with your old hobbies may help keep your attention away from the negative thoughts and cut short the grieving period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my ex move on so fast?

It could be a fight or flight mechanism where the inability to handle pain makes the person move on fast. Your ex must have moved on fast because they are hurt and avoiding the pain.

How do you know if you still love someone?

Holding on to memories and things associated with your partner, hoping to reunite with them, thinking too much about them and who they are with, and analyzing your relationship with them are all signs that you still love them.

Can a heartbreak traumatize you?

Yes, heartbreak can cause you emotional shock and traumatize you. It can cause stress and affect your mental well-being.

What is the no-contact rule?

The no-contact rule with the ex means cutting off all contact with them for at least 60 days. This includes no texting, calling, or following them on social media. It will help you move on, heal, and prioritize yourself.

Key Takeaways

  • The healthy way to deal with a breakup is not to avoid the feelings.
  • These seven stages of grief are shock and the state of denial, pain and angst, guilt and bargaining, depression, upward turn, reconstruction, and acceptance.
  • Moving on is a gradual process, and one may take their own sweet time to meet its end.

 

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Sushmita has a master’s degree in English literature from Gauhati University, Assam, and is an experienced content writer and editor.... more

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