The process of going through a breakup is comparable to the process of dealing with the death of a loved one. In fact, many psychologists base the post-breakup stages on the stages of grief outlined in "On Death and Dying," published in 1969, by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Much like a death, you are grieving the loss of somebody in your everyday life. When a relationship ends, be prepared to experience many different emotions.
Refusing to Believe
Soon after the breakup, you will experience denial, according to clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg. After getting used to having someone in your life, it can be hard to adjust to the idea that he is gone. You know in your head that have are broken up, but your heart won't let you believe it. You may find yourself calling him up out of habit or not knowing how to act now that you are single.
Anger Toward Anything
The anger stage is a part of the grieving process. You may find that you are angry -- at everything and anything. Anger will most likely be directed to your ex at first, no matter how big her role in the breakup of the relationship. It is not uncommon for people in this stage to take out revenge on the ex, usually in the form of mean-spirited texts or voicemails. You may also find yourself getting snappy at well-meaning friends and family, or directing your anger at a higher power. You might also feel hatred toward other people who might have played a role in the breakup, or anyone who happens to say "the wrong thing."
Bargaining for Another Chance
You will start to hope for another chance with your ex, either through negotiating with him, prayers to God or even looking to supernatural ways, asserts Kromberg. You may convince yourself that you will do anything it takes to get him back, whether it be changing the thing about you that contributed to the breakup or begging for him back. Even if you are beyond begging for another chance, you may start to think to yourself: "If only I had done this, or been more of that, we would still be together."
Down and Depressed
As with any loss, you will feel depressed. You may have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, getting no sleep or too much sleep, or eating too much or not enough. People who go through breakups generally feel lonely and out of touch with themselves, noted a study published in 2006 in the "Psychological Bulletin." Many people going through this phase feel hopeless and think that they will never be able to move on or be happy again.
Coming to Terms
It may take a while to get here, but eventually you will start to come to terms with the end of the relationship. You will start to accept that you have broken up and you will start to move on with your life. This does not mean that you will be happy right away; you may still feel sad, but you will be more at peace when you tell people you are not together anymore. You may also feel more hopeful about the future.
- Psychology Today: The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship
- Psychological Bulletin; Experimental Disclosure and Its Moderators: A Meta-Analysis; Joanne Frattaroli
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