The Five Stages Of Grief After A Breakup

Posted on June 19, 2017 By

The end of a relationship can be a profound loss. Not only do you love and miss the partner, you miss the relationship itself and all of the dreams for the future you had infused in it. People who go through a breakup often experience some or all of the stages of grief identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist who worked with terminally ill patients.

Stage 1: Denial

After a breakup, it’s common to hang on to the belief that there is still hope for the relationship. You may tell yourself that the breakup is only a temporary separation, and that your ex-partner will miss what he or she has lost and come back to you. In this stage of grief, you may keep trying to communicate with your ex and convince him or her of your love.

Stage 2: Anger

After denial comes anger, which may be turned outward or inward. You may feel enraged at your ex for hurting you, and you may blame him or her for destroying the relationship. It’s also very common to turn that anger toward yourself and blame yourself for mistakes that you made.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Bargaining is a really a form of denial because it’s motivated by a belief that the relationship is salvageable. You may try promising your ex to go to counseling or to change anything about yourself that he or she didn’t like. You may also try bargaining with God or the Universe, offering any kind of sacrifice in return for bringing your partner back to you.

Stage 4: Depression

Depression often sets in once it becomes clear that the relationship is truly over for good. Depression is more that persistent feelings of sadness. It may also involve excessive sleeping or wakefulness, weight gain or weight loss, and a pervasive feeling of hopelessness. If you are depressed, consider seeing a counselor to get help.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Acceptance comes very gradually, and it may seem like it will never arrive. But eventually, you will be able to make peace with the loss of your relationship and move on with your life. This may mean simply living your life as a single person rather than finding a new relationship right away. When you’re ready to consider dating again, look for more relationship insights at