For the person who was left, it may seem as though you are the only one upset over the breakup, when in fact ending a relationship can be devastating to both people involved. The loss of a relationship can be worse than a death in many ways. A death has a sense of finality, while the end of a relationship can seem less permanent.
When a relationship ends, you will go through several stages of recovery. Everyone progresses through them at different times and in different ways, but generally before you can experience a new relationship you must work through the grief of losing your relationship.
What are the stages of relationship grief?
The initial stage is shock. Shock at the end of a relationship – especially if you were not expecting it to end – can be severe. The world seems upside down, and you can’t make clear decisions. As women, there is a tendency to cry – usually without even understanding why.
After the shock has worn off, the next stage is pleading. By pleading, you are attempting to restore the world to the way it was by restoring your relationship. You often will plead with the other person to give you another chance to make the relationship work, offering to change or do things differently.
Rarely does this work as a way of repairing a relationship. Even if you get back together temporarily, the change as a result of pleading generally doesn’t stick.
|After the Breakup|
When pleading fails to work, anger sets in. Anger is probably one of the easiest stages to identify – it shows up in destructive behaviors such as ripping up photographs, shredding clothes, the overwhelming desire to key your ex-partner’s car.
Anger is an attempt to gain control over a situation you feel powerless in. The temptation to lash out and do destructive things to the person you’re angry at can be strong – but it is important that you keep yourself from making a bad situation worse.
This can be one of the longest stages of healing, and is important to not feel as though there is something wrong with being angry. Anger can help propel you forward – it motivates you into action and helps to break the feeling of connection that you once had in your relationship.
Anger fades into sadness, which is vital to the healing process. Sadness helps you to view the world with a new perspective. It gives you a chance to slow down and process what has happened and how you can move on from here.
Often the stage of sadness brings a sense of wisdom and experience that broadens your viewpoint. It is a reminder that despite loss, you are still loved and can love again.
When you have moved into acceptance, you are almost ready to venture into the world of relationships again. You have come to terms with the reality of your lost relationship and have accepted that things will not be the same again.
It is within the acceptance stage that you begin to consider how you can change in future relationships and what you can do to make things better. With acceptance comes the readiness to start a new relationship as an older and wiser individual.
Don’t rush through the stages of relationship grief – they are all important and essential in the healing of a lost relationship and prepare you to move into a new, fulfilling relationship.