Stages of Grief After a Breakup

Breaking up is not easy. Whether it’s a breakup from a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, life partner or even a best friend, it takes time for wounds to heal. Even if you were the one who initiated the split, you can still go through the five stages of grief, which include anger and depression. If you give yourself time, you can eventually find yourself at the end of the grief stages, acceptance.


Denial is your brain’s automatic response to unwanted news. Denial gives your heart time to adjust to the new situation. In the denial phase you may think that your significant other is coming back to you. Everybody spends different amounts of time in the denial phase, so turn to your friends and family for support. Important people can keep you from making common denial stage mistakes, such as late-night conversations with your ex.


It is normal to be angry at your former partner. You may resent her for causing you pain or for breaking up your family. It is important in this phase not to make any rash decisions that you may later regret. In her 2013 for Psychology Today, Dr. Jennifer Kromberg states that you can go as far as sending hateful emails if you let this stage get the best of you. Allow yourself to work through your anger, perhaps by exercising, drawing or writing in a journal.


In the bargaining phase you will try to restore your relationship or perhaps rebuild it as a friendship. According to Dr. Jennifer Kromberg's 2013 article "The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship," you may try anything you can to reclaim your relationship 2. Instead of jumping through hoops to get your relationship back, you can salvage your pride by starting anew without your ex and progress to other stages of grief.


It’s normal to be sad. At this point in your grieving, you come to terms with the fact that the situation is not going to change. This is a time for reflection. You may want to be alone. Realize the kindness of others is not intended to upset you. Instead, rely on your support system to keep you distracted from your grief. The 2013 Help Guide article "Coping with a Breakup or Divorce" reminds those in pain to resist the temptation to turn to drugs, alcohol or food 1. Those habits can be destructive, so eat well, sleep well and exercise.


It’s natural to harbor a place in your heart for loved ones. Special relationships make you who you are. However, in the final stage of grief after a breakup, you will begin to piece together what happened, accept the breakup and acknowledge the part you played in it, according to the 2013 Help Guide article "Coping with a Breakup or Divorce" 1. The site suggests using this as an opportunity to learn from mistakes from the past and carry those lessons into the future. This is the healthiest way to fully accept a breakup and grow as an individual. The pain may not be gone completely yet, but time will heal those wounds.