Grieving the loss of a relationship is similar to grieving the death of a loved one -- the process seems to take forever, and there is nothing you can do to fast forward the process toward the final stage of acceptance. This grieving the loss of a relationship is similar in many ways to grieving the loss of a loved one through death. The "Psychology Today" article, "The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship" by Jennifer Kromberg, Psy.D. The article discusses the stages of grieving the end of a relationship, and the theories are based on those by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., author of "On Death and Dying," who originally developed the stages of grief to help those who learned they were dying, but you can apply these theories to the ending of a meaningful relationship, as well.
Utter Disbelief and Anger
Shock and denial often follow the announcement of a breakup. You may continue to fantasize about the two of you getting back together, happily working through all of your issues. As reality sets in that the relationship is over, likely, you will begin to feel angry, according to Kromberg. You may have the urge to tell everyone how horrible your ex was or you may feel angry at the world. HelpGuide.org recommends that you nurture yourself via activities such as taking a long walk, listening to music or getting together with positive, upbeat friends who can help you through this difficult time.
Let's Strike a Deal
Because everyone grieves differently, you may return to previous stages of grieving before moving forward again. You may find yourself bargaining with your ex-partner with promises to change or go to couple's counseling if he comes back. You may attempt to set a time limit by telling him, for example, that if he doesn't see changes in 6 months then you will break up for good. Even if this works for a while, you may still face the loss in six months. People in this stage may also try to get their friends and family to speak to their ex-partner for them, says Kromberg.
A Black Cloud
During the grieving process, it is likely you will feel depressed and hopeless. Feeling hopeless can cause you to ruminate and sink into a deeper depression, when you find it more difficult to see a brighter future, according to Kromberg. While giving yourself a break is a healthy thing to do during the initial grieving period, if you find it increasingly difficult to reach out to others or maintain a daily routine that meets your basic needs, consider joining a support group or seeking the assistance of a therapist, recommends Nathan Feiles, writing for Psych Central. This will give you a safe place to voice your thoughts and feelings without the fear of someone judging you.
Freedom Through Acceptance
Acceptance allows you to come to peace with the loss of your relationship. You are able to let it go despite the fact that there will be days you may continue to feel residual sadness, according to Kromberg. It's likely you are involved in new hobbies or meeting new people, and you are able to focus your energy on the positive things in your life. If memories of your ex-partner arise, you can remember the pleasant memories and stay in the present moment.