Cry Me a River
One of the hardest times in a person’s life is going through a breakup. A broken heart can leave you with many different emotions that are hard to understand. You will go through different feelings, you’ll have ups and downs – and that is completely normal. Sometimes you might feel empowered like Beyonce and other times, angry like Alanis Morissette. A breakup is extremely difficult because it is a loss. You have to mourn the relationship, exactly as if you would mourn a death. Looking at the stages of grief and loss can be helpful in understanding our emotions after a heartbreak.
The Stages of a Breakup = The Stages of Grief + Loss
- Denial + Isolation – This is usually the first stage people go through after being broken up with. You deny deny deny. You might wake up and can’t believe this has happened. Or you may think your ex will come to his or her senses and want you back. You haven’t given up on this relationship yet, and are still holding on. In this stage, you haven’t told your family or friends yet because saying it out loud will make it all the more real.
- Anger – Here’s where your Kelly Clarkson comes out. You start to feel angry that the person you loved has put you through so much pain. You start to think of all the things you hated in the relationship, and more so, about that person. Sometimes, it’s easier to get mad first before you get sad. During this stage, it’s best to release this anger through healthy and positive ways (ex. exercising, journaling, making breakup playlists, creating art, therapy, etc.)
- Bargaining – This is the stage where you start to think about how it is your relationship went south. You start to say to yourself “if only I had given my partner more attention” or “maybe we should have spent more time together”. This is a way for you to gain control and understanding of the breakup itself. Just remember, this is a very normal reaction to have.
- Depression – This is when you play ‘Someone Like You’ on repeat and watch ‘Annie Hall’ or ‘500 Days of Summer’ like there’s no tomorrow. This stage is an important one because you NEED to feel the sadness. You may want to push away the depression, but if you do that, it will only come back to bite you (crying over your ex 3 years later). Get out the sadness now, so you can move on sooner.
- Acceptance – The acceptance stage! You have made your way to finally accepting that annoying phrase ‘it is what it is.’ Even though you may still be angry, sad, etc., you have now been able to accept your newly found singlehood and can begin the process of moving on. Here’s where you find the joys of being single and independent again. In this stage, you realize parts of yourself that were lost through the relationship and ways to find your identity again. So go on, find yourself.