The 5 Stages Of A Break Up: What Happens, And How To Deal With It

The 5 Stages Of A Break Up: What Happens, And How To Deal With It

The five stages of a break up, explained...

Breaking up with someone you care about is the absolute worst, and everyone on the planet, it seems, deals with a break up differently.

Some of us bounce back quite quickly, taking the worst of the emtional upheaval on the chin and carrying on like an absolute trouper. The majority of us however can spend months, even years getting over a bad break up, with the first few weeks being a particularly devastating time.

But what actually happens when you break up with someone? Is there a coping pattern we follow as humans to help alleviate the very worst?

We spoke to Emma Kenny, TV psychologist and founder of health and wellbeing website Make Your Switch about what happens to us when we go through a break up, and if there are any particular rituals we should adopt to cope with the heartbreak. She believes that you can only forget about a relationship when you are 'ready' to do so, and that coming to terms with that loss is all about your mind set.

'Going through a break up is, in many respects, similar to losing a loved one,' Emma explained.

'You must acknowledge that there are various phases you must traverse before you can come to terms with this loss, and these are comparable to the stages of grief.'

So if you're recently single step away from the white wine - here's what's happening, and how best to deal with it...

Stage 1: Shock

'For many, the end of a relationship is an inevitability following a gradual falling out of love, over a long period of time,' Emma says. 'For others, however, it may arrive like a bolt out of the blue. Either way, when a long-term relationship finally ends, it can feel as though all sense of security and normality has been wrenched away in a heartbeat.' 

What to do: 'Don’t go through it alone. What are friends and family for, if not to be a shoulder to cry on when life gets tough? They are the people who know you best in the world and will be able to help you begin the process of forgetting about your ex and getting your life back on track.'

That settles it. Book a holiday with the BFF, or pack yourself off down to your family's place for the weekend. Is there anything better than a hug from mum? Nope.

Stage 2: Denial and disbelief

'Following the initial shock, the reality of the situation can be difficult to accept and process, and the absence of the person who was such an integral part of your life can prove emotionally brutal. At such a time, it’s completely natural to refuse to accept what has happened.'

What to do: 'Be careful as denial will only prolong the grieving process. Be strong and avoid the temptation to contact your ex – it will only add to the pain.'

Delete his number. It's the best thing.

Read More: What's Your Social Media Split Etiquette?

Stage 3: Anger

Emma explained that feeling the rage is completely natural (thank goodness), and that it's actually an essential part of the process.

'Once the shock, fear of the unknown and denial have subsided, it’s common for these feelings to be replaced with anger. Whilst this emotion usually carries negative connotations, in such circumstances it can prove highly therapeutic, and help you to put matters into perspective.' 

What to do: 'Use this time to channel any anger into proactively making changes for the better, and resist the temptation to bombard your ex with abusive texts!'

Now's the time to book those bootcamp classes. Get yourself fit and healthy instead of turning into a huffy mess. You'll feel so much better for it.

Stage 4 : Acceptance

'Acceptance will be a gradual process, and it’s completely normal to still feel sadness when reflecting on the past relationship. However, it will mark the beginning of coming to terms with the loss and moving forward with hope and excitement for the future.'

What to do: 'A mantra I have picked up and lived by over the years is, ‘Everything happens for a reason’. When I remember and accept this after something tough has happened in my life, everything just seems to fall into place because I know that something positive will come out of it.'

It's ok to look at Facebook pictures, just don't dwell on them too long. Memories are precious and a time will come when you'll look back and feel kind of ok.

Stage 5: Reframing

'Sometimes we are too close to a situation to really see the truth; being separated from the relationship allows you to analyse it more objectively,' Emma points out. 'Things may appear different from this perspective and encourage you to start thinking about your ex-partner in a different light. Remember - you deserve the best, and that means being with someone who appreciates you for being you.' 

What to do: 'Recognise that your ex was not the right person for you and, instead of dwelling on what could have been, being happy that he or she cannot waste any more of your time. This can prove highly empowering.'

Hopefully by this stage you'll be feeling a lot stronger and happier. Remember, everything should be in your own time guys - there's no rush to 'get back out there', although, the odd casual date isn't such a bad idea, as horrendous an idea as that seems in the beginning.

Ultimately, it will get better. Trust us. It will get better.

*group hugs*

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