All About Stages Of Grief After A Breakup

Written by Sushmita Barman

It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that breakups can barely ever be peaceful and coping with grief after a breakup can be hard. Most breakups happen almost instantly, especially when it is because of losing someone to death or occur as a last resort after dealing with a lot of toxicity within a relationship. As a result, the pain associated with breakups is inevitable. Even breakups that happen after mutual understanding are not immune to pain and have to witness the various stages of grief after a breakup.

But it is of utmost importance to understand why and how we are pained terribly by breakups in order to minimize the grief, at least if avoiding it entirely is not feasible. And if you are someone who is breaking your head wondering how to overcome grief from a breakup, this article can serve as a Holy Grail. The phases of grief after a breakup shouldn’t last as long as you thought it would. So let us get down to the business and read ahead:

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


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.

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