An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

6 Stages of Breakups

1:00 PM |

What?  I see. Why??? I hate you! I'm free! It OK...

Breakups can truly suck. But just like there are stages of grief, there are stages of a breakup that many, if not all, of us go through. And after watching someone literally go through each of these stages almost a day at a time, I thought I'd share the stages with you all so you can recognize where you might be in this cycle and where you'll probably be headed next.

Stage 1: Shock/Disbelief

There are instances in a breakup where one party has no idea that this breakup is coming. When it does come they're left in a state of confusion and disbelief that the person they are with no longer wishes to be with them. Even if the breakup is mutual or has been seen coming, when it's actually finally happening it can still be a bit of a shock. Sort of a --Wow, it's actually over. This part can be like a punch in the stomach. All the air seems to have left your body. Many times it can be numbing and unreal. But typically this stage passes within a reasonable time period. It's not a long lasting Stage.




Stage 2: Reflection

As you start to come out of Stage 1, you start to think about some things and people tend to look back. Review instances where in hindsight they can see that the person they were with wasn't happy. They can see areas where they  could have done better. Situations that they could have handled differently. This is an important stage that many people either spend entirely too much time in (perpetually dwell in the shoulda/coulda/woulda's until they are just sick with regret) or not enough time in. Everyone should spend a little time in this phase because there are many lessons to learn in this phase. You can see not only where you could make improvements, but also what you may have been missing as well. You can asses your needs as well as what you currently have to offer another. It can ultimately help you in your next relationship by pointing out the positives as well as the negatives.



Stage 3: Sadness

You would think that after you've had some time to process what happened you'd be closer to acceptance. You'd be wrong. Many times after looking back you really start to see how bad things were or how much you weren't getting from the other person or you start missing the good times and you just get sad. Sad. Sad. And more sad. All the things the two of you used to do together are now gone and you start to have empty spots and times during your days and weekends. Activities that you used to enjoy now bring you sadness because they're just a constant reminder of your past relationship. You may cry a lot here. It's ok. You have to grieve the end of that time. But don't let yourself slip into a depression here. Be very careful because it can happen.Your support network is going to be key here. They have to let you cry and get it out, but they can't let you just flounder in your sadness. So don't be afraid to lean on your friends and family if you need them.



Stage 4: Anger

After all that crying and all that reflecting and all that shock, you get to a point where you just get angry. You start to think--well if he wanted to go be with other people why did he even bother with making this thing with us serious. Or -- if she was so unhappy why didn't she just say something, how am I supposed to know. And you get angry. Mad that they let things go on so long unchecked because there could have been a way to fix it. You get upset that the other didn't think enough of you or your commitment to think you'd be willing to try and work things out. Mad that they didn't even try to give the relationship a chance to try and improve. This is where the cursing and I hate them come in. It's fine. It's natural. It'll pass. (Unless the breakup is from a true wrong doing - in which case it'll be around for a good bit).





Stage 5: Euphoria

This is the stage where you start to realize all the things you can do now that you're not attached. All the friends you can see again. All the unbothered free time. You can kind of rejoin the world that so many people in couples tend to leave behind. You start to call people you haven't talked to in a while. Hang out after work without worrying about having to check in. Talk to people of the other (or same) sex and not worry that someone is going to misinterpret every hello, handshake and hug. And you start to feel free. Things are just great! There are so many things you can do now. It's a huge sense of just pure relief and happiness that you probably weren't expecting to feel. Now this may or may not be true happiness. So don't let this phase have you fooled. It is quite possible that you can cycle through phases 3 - 5 a bit before stage 6 comes.





Stage 6: Acceptance

Really once you come down from that high of feeling free, you do begin to accept the fact that things have ended. You realize that yes it'll be hard at times probably, but it won't be insurmountable. You can move on and there are things still out there in the world for you. This is the phase where you can probably truly begin a friendship with that ex if you want. Trying to do so before this can just make things weird because there are still so many emotions tumbling around in there. But this is the end of the cycle. You can move on and find ways to truly be happy.




So these are the stages as I see and have experienced them. Knowing where you may be in this cycle could help you move on or prepare for the next stage. Just know that if you are going through a breakup, things will get better. No matter how bad it may feel.




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