I know this is going to be hard for people who don’t want to accept the end of their relationship. Emotions can make things so complicated by putting you in a state of despair. When someone is telling you how much they care only then to turn around and end things it really does feel like you’re left to deal with the mess alone while your ex is enjoying life. Accepting the loss of a loved one feels impossible. That’s why we need to take things one day at a time, step by step and day by day.
Time doesn’t heal you
Everything in life takes time. Babies, butterflies, finishing that bottle of wine. But even though things take time that doesn’t actually mean that time can heal you. If that were true then a lot of us wouldn’t be struggling with past traumas. I mean sure time can numb you of the pain, but if it isn’t dealt with then you just have this big ol’ painful scar that still aches from time to time. But it helps to know that there are stages you will go through after getting dumped. After writing a lot about my breakup I noticed that I went through all of these stages. They’re all part of the healing process.
The stages are:
And eventually the real acceptance.
They don’t actually have a particular order, and not everyone will experience those things. You might go through the rest of the stages without ever having felt the need to bargain your way out of the breakup. And count your lucky stars if you avoided that stage because during my breakup I did a lot of bargaining and it only set me back.
Ah yes, the bargaining stage. The stage where out of complete desperation, you beg for one last chance while using the old line: I promise I can change, I can fix this. Don’t worry, I did that too. Sometimes they might even throw you a bone and give you another chance, and congrats if it worked out. But most of the time they do that because they feel bad or don’t want to accept it either. You need to remember that they’re hurting too. However, they’ve most likely already made up their mind, so be prepared for them to try to get out of the relationship again. And this time the bargaining won’t work. It might be the next morning, or in a week, or even a month. I wish I could have saved myself the pain and just accepted it. I remember convincing my ex to let me fix things, he agreed, but over the next few days everything felt so much worse. He was cold towards me showing clear signs that he wanted it to be over and I felt completely rejected. That was how my bargaining stage came to an end.
You tell your friends that it’s just a phase, and soon they’ll be back. You might bump into a mutual friend that doesn’t know about the breakup, so you pretend you’re both still together. You check your phone constantly, hoping they messaged. You might even call them up and tell them you can’t live without them, that you are soulmates and you’re meant to be in each other’s lives. You can’t or won’t accept it’s over. You still have this glimmer of hope that it will all work out. But hope is one of the worst things to cling onto. I remember telling my ex that I would move out in a month but that was just me buying myself more time because I thought I could change his mind. The sooner I had accepted it, as painful as it was, the better I felt. I was relieved to be free of that stage.
Grief, the universal emotion. Crying, waking up feeling sick, lack of sleep, not being able to eat, mood swings. That all comes with this stage. It might be a little different for you. Maybe you’ll deal with it differently. The first time I laughed after the breakup I felt sick to my stomach. Laughing didn’t feel right, so I went and cried instead. I found comfort in my sadness, and eventually, that turned into anger.
This is what stage I’m at now and it feels so damn good. Using anger as a strategy to cope should only be temporary. Lingering on anger can make things worse in the long run, you need to deal with your pain eventually. But for now, it’s a way to decrease feelings of love and affection towards your ex. It opens your eyes up to what was wrong in the relationship. Just don’t focus too long on the negative traits and qualities of your ex because if you do usually you start to embody them too.
Ah yes, false acceptance. When you think you’ve moved on. You feel good, your life is finally getting better and you realise how much better off you are without them. But then one night you decide, hey it’s time to get back out there and date. You go out with friends and get drunk. You meet a cute stranger, the two of you hit it off and everything is going great, right? Wrong. The moment you go in for a kiss your ex’s face pops into your head. And all of a sudden you can’t stop thinking about them. Everything you worked so hard to forget is all flooding back into your mind. Okay, that might be an over-exaggeration. But sometimes when you think you’re over it something small might trigger you and you’ll feel like you’re back at square one. But that is not the case because you have come so far! Remember that.
And finally, true acceptance.
The difference between false and acceptance and real acceptance is that you won’t get triggered by anything to do with your ex. You hear their name and it won’t make you feel weird, you accidentally see a post pop up that they’re tagged in and you won’t think much of it. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for that day to come.
So there we go, there’s my take on the stages of a breakup. It’s going to be a long process but in the end, it will have been worth it.
Thanks for reading, have a great day ❤