What Are The Emotional Stages Of A Relationship Breakup?
The emotional roller coaster of a painful relationship breakup generally affects both parties in similar ways. The intensity may be different for the person who wanted the breakup than for the ‘dumpee’ who has to deal with the added hurt of rejection, but both people will go through the emotional stages of a relationship breakup.
Knowing and recognizing the different steps for what they are can help you move through the process a little easier. Each stage is necessary so you can heal and be whole and able to find love again some day. Don’t try to shortcut the steps, just remember that after you’ve gone through each step you will be on the road to feeling better.
There is no time limit for how long each step should take to get through. How long it takes will depend on a lot of things such as how secure you are in yourself and what type of a support system you have.
Here are the 5 common steps in a relationship breakup:
1) Pain. This will often hit hard and fast. At first the pain can be diminished somewhat by a feeling of disbelief but once that passes the pain can seem unbearable. This is a physical pain. You might not be able to eat or sleep. Everything seems like too much effort. You just want to crawl into a corner and be left alone.
2) Denial. This is the step when you start thinking that it is all a big mistake and surely your ex will realize it very soon and the two of you will be back together. That can be a dangerous way to think. It is important that you try to move through this stage as quickly as possible as hope can sometimes be a cruel companion. Lingering too long in this stage can really make it harder to heal and move on.
3) Anger. This is when all your fear and hurt turns to anger. You are outraged that someone who claimed to love you could hurt you so deeply. This stage is very destructive and hurtful to both parties and if you’re not careful how you handle this stage you might sabotage any chances you have of getting back together or at the least at a later date, be left with feelings of shame as to how you behaved.
It’s also important to make sure you don’t become overly bitter. If you let that bitterness grow too strong it creates distrust and it could follow you into other relationships making it harder to ever having a fulfilling relationship again.
4) Grieving. At this stage you will mourn your lost relationship. You will often spend a lot of time reminiscing about all the good times the two of you had shared. It is very important to keep a close watch on your mental health during this stage.
If you ever feel like ‘ending it all’ please make sure you seek help immediately. It may seem impossible to believe while going through this dreadful experience, but you really will love again, if you allow yourself to and time is a great healer.
5) Acceptance. You will finally reach a point where you realize it’s over and it is time to move on. You are stronger and better able to start thinking more about your future and less about your past. This time can be bittersweet: you’ve realized and dealt with the fact that your relationship is over which is sad, but you’re also excited about new opportunities and convinced you will find love again.
Some people feel ashamed and embarrassed that a breakup is consuming or impacting them, especially when the ex-partner is considered “just not worth it.” But breakups are painful! We put time, effort, hope, emotion, and much more into our relationships.
Seeing a therapist to process the residual emotions and thoughts is also a healthy way to deal with a breakup, especially if you’re feeling guilt, regret or starting to dwell in sadness.Breakups are rarely going to be easy; however, with healthy tools and motivation, we can heal.
To sum up, the more you know about the emotional stages of a relationship breakup and how to deal with them the easier and quicker you can move on from living in the past to a bright new future. Just make sure you understand that this is all normal and most of us go through it at some time in our lives often growing in the process, it will get better, just hang in there.