Like any situation where you lose a loved one, mourning a breakup can be very complicated. Many people, at the end of a relationship, have a series of emotions that they can’t control. This is especially true if the decision was unilateral or if the other person disappeared without any explanation.
However, mourning a breakup is very similar t other types of loss. This comes with a great advantage: psychologists have spent many decades studying how to overcome a loss. Therefore, there are many tools available that can help us through a separation. Let’s delve deeper into this.
Stages of mourning a breakup
The process of mourning a breakup has five stages. The peculiarity is that they present themselves in a somewhat different way to the stages that occur following the death of a loved one. However, the basic structure is the same.
So, when our partner breaks up with us, it’s normal for us to go through the five stages of grief:
These stages don’t happen in the same order for everyone. Someone could start with anger, then jump to denial, and then move on to depression. Another person perhaps gets caught between bargaining and depression, jumping from one to another for a long period.
The key is to remember that all these emotions are perfectly normal. In addition, we must bear in mind that, grief appears almost inevitably after a breakup if there were strong feelings. Therefore, just understanding what each stage consists of can greatly alleviate emotional pain.
Let’s look closer at each stage.
This is one of the first stages that can occur after a breakup. In the case of a breakup, the affected person isn’t able to believe that the relationship is over. Because of this, they continue to act as if the other person could come back at any time.
Depending on the person, this can happen in different ways. For some, the breakup will seem to be nothing more than a normal fight. In these cases, the affected person believes there will be a reconciliation soon. On the other hand, for others, it will be evident that it’s a real breakup, but they believe that they will be able to get their ex back will a little effort.
If you think you’re in this stage, you need to open your eyes and see what’s right in front of you. Denying reality will only bring you more long-term suffering.
Once the person accepts that their relationship is over, feelings of hostility and anger usually appear. These play a fundamental role: they allow emotional pain to be less intense.
Some typical thoughts you can have during this stage are:
- “I really didn’t deserve this.”
- “I’m better off without her.”
- “He doesn’t know what he lost.”
However, this mental dialogue hides large amounts of resentment and pain. To move forward with the grieving process, it’s necessary to understand that the ex-partner is a normal and ordinary person who’s only acting in the best way they know how to. Only then can anger be diluted and you can advance to the next stage.
In this stage, the person who is experiencing the loss tries to get their ex back in any way possible. This can be through romantic gestures, pleas, or even emotional blackmail. This is especially true in people with certain personality types, such as histrionics or depressives.
The only way to overcome this stage is to accept that your ex won’t come back. Only then will it be possible to advance to the next stage of grief.
During this stage, the person finally accepts that their ex won’t come back. However, the process of overcoming grief isn’t over yet. In the depression stage, the predominant belief is that you can’t live without the other person.
Because of this, some of the most common thoughts in this phase are:
- “I will never find anyone like him/her.”
- “I’m going to die alone.”
- “I will never be okay again.”
- “Nobody will love me like him/her.”
The messages that the person conveys to themselves are mostly irrational thoughts. To finish overcoming the grief, it’s necessary to accept that you’ll be okay without the other person and that losing this relationship isn’t so terrible.
The last stage occurs when the person finally accepts what happened. In addition, they realize that they don’t need the other person to be okay. At this time, the affected partner can rebuild their life and even start a new relationship in a healthy way.
The time it takes to go through the five stages of grief depends on each person. If you’re overcoming a breakup right now, you must be patient with yourself. You have to take things slow and work actively in your recovery.