Image for article titled The Stages of Grief After a Breakup (and How to Survive Each One)

A break up can feel like a death. There is a definite mourning period after a relationship ends.

When a relationship is truly cherished, a break-up can be very traumatic. It is natural to grieve the loss of the person, the relationship, and the relationship routines. The break-up of a love relationship can be as devastating as the death of a loved one. We give the psyche a chance to come to terms with the loss when we grieve.

The five stages of grief can be applied to a break-up as well.

Five stages of grief are not linear. A person can go through the first four stages of grief before reaching the stage of acceptance. Some people shift from denial to anger and then back to denial in a short time, while others stay in a stage of depression for a long time. The stages of grief are the same regardless of whether a relationship ends or a job is terminated.

Here are tips for navigating each of the five stages of grief after a break-up.


The first stage of denial after a break-up is usually disbelief. People in this stage often say, "I can't believe this has happened to me" or "This has to be a bad dream" If there were problems before the break up, you could convince yourself that therapy or time could solve them.

If a sense of denial arises, it is important to acknowledge that the wishing things could be different. Try to understand the break up was for the best, even if you don't see it right away.


The anger stage can include raging about the former partner, or even projecting anger onto friends and family. Those who are prone to dysregulation may display angry behaviors at the former partner or at material items related to the partner.

Being angry is not bad. She says we give our feelings a chance to breathe when we pause to feel sad, angry, and frustrated.

Talking it out with a close friend or family member is a good way to channel your anger. Is boxing possible?


"Bargaining often occurs in the form of wishful thinking or actually reaching out to the former partner to connect." Someone might call an ex and say, 'We should try again.' I will do better this time. If you think therapy will help, I'll go.

Bargaining is a way to get back to feeling better, even if that means completely ignoring your previous issues in the relationship. If you can get your friends and family involved, you might be able to convince your partner to return. If you want to remember your worth and value, connect a trusted friend or family member. If you want to boost your self-confidence, you can do hobbies and activities.


If the former partner was truly beloved, depression is the most lasting stage. The realization that a person is powerless to effect any real change leads to depression. This stage involves deep sadness about the loss of a partner, the relationship, and other factors.

Here you might experience trouble sleeping or eating, and/or indulge in habits that numb your feelings, like drugs and alcohol. It's the best time to reach out to a therapist. If the grief process is affecting your ability to function, you should seek the help of a therapist. Breakups can be very difficult, and if you don't reach out to others, you won't have the strength to deal with it.


You are ready to move on after accepting the break up. It doesn't mean you've completely let go of your partner and that you don't experience any residual emotion, but it does mean you have found some peace with your situation and are ready for the next phase in your life

We want to allow each stage to wash through us and then move on. We realize that grief is our way of allowing us to slowly let go and prepare for the next step.