After any relationship break up you can experience a lot of contradicting feelings and emotions. Sometimes it may feel as if you are riding an emotional roller coaster and unable to get off.
What you are experiencing is grief very similar to the death of a loved one. You are grieving for the lost relationship, for what has been and what it could have become.
This is just as true when a long-term relationship comes to an end or even a very intense short relationship. The break up is a huge change in your life and you are grieving the loss of the relationship.
To move on quickly to a stage where you can decide what to do next it is important to understand the stages of grief. Understanding will allow you to take positive action.
You may decide to move on completely after the relationship break up or even try to get back together with your ex. You need to take such an important decision in a rational frame of mind.
The five stages of grief are a recognized psychological grieving process. You may experience all of the stages or miss a stage or two. You may even cycle back and forwards through the stages several times on your emotional roller coaster until you find peace and reach the acceptance stage.
Everyone experiences grief in his or her own way and on his or her own terms. We are all different – there is no “right way” to grieve. When you understand the grieving process you are going through it empowers you to take back control of your emotions and your life.
The Five Stages of Grief
The first stage of grief is denial. Logically, you know that your relationship has ended, but emotionally you cannot take it in. You may feel numb and confused. It is possible that you will continue to try to act as normal in the hope that everything will be fine later.
Usually the denial stage does not last long. Your ex does not return your calls; they do not come home after the break up as they usually do after an argument. You may come out of the denial stage when your ex collects their belongings etc.
Your emotions will finally catch up with your head and logic – the relationship is over.
Soon after denial comes anger. This can be a very dangerous stage and you may visit it several times. Anger is a very primal emotion and rationality and logic do not play any part.
In the anger stage of grief, you will often look for someone to blame. You will blame them for the relationship break up, for how you are feeling or even unrelated issues that are upsetting you at the time. It is important to try to keep control over you emotions at this stage.
Often, in an angry rage people take action that they would not normally do. They can hurt themselves and others both emotionally and physically.
After a break up, you may try to do deals with your ex to save the relationship. You may offer to stop seeing friends or family, stop taking part in activities you love or even move to another town or country. You may offer to change and beg your ex to come back.
Such bargains may work in the short term. However, the relationship rarely lasts. The underlying issues that caused the break up will not have been addressed. Additionally, you may go on to resent your partner and the new relationship because of the things you have given up.
Depression is a very common stage of grief that we most associate with breaking up. You feel lifeless, have no energy and in despair of what to do next. You have come to realize that the relationship is really over and feel that you will never love or be loved again.
Often you cannot even summon the energy to start taking the steps needed to come out the other side. Setting small achievable goals and taking small steps helps during the depression stage.
If you feel sad, down, full of despair and depressed for more than two weeks, it is possible that you will need professional help. Do not be afraid to seek it. You can overcome depression.
Acceptance is the final stage of grief. It is the time when you fully agree that the relationship has ended and are emotionally ready to move on or make plans to get back together with your ex.
Your grieving for the break up will end. You will wake up one morning full of hope for the future and ready to take on new challenges. How you cope and deal with the other stages of grief will determine how quickly you take back control of your life.
Alex Wise is a blog contributor and dating consultant for Loveawake dating site, which launched in July 2009 and has been providing original free dating services and relationship advices, tips, articles, reviews, and videos to readers ever since. Follow him on the company site or on Facebook and Twitter