Dear Grace gets a lot of questions about heartbreak. “How do I get over it?” “When will it go away?” “How can I win them back?”
All of those questions are normal when a relationship ends. You need to remember that you are going through the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. You are still losing someone from your life, even if the love has been gone for a while. Lets break these down though.
Shock: This can’t be happening. Everything was going so well. With shock you feel numb, cold and you have that horrible knotted feeling at the pit of your stomach. I once heard a comedienne say “relationships start and end with butterflies” and shes not wrong.
Denial: This cant be happening. Everything was going so well. There is no clarity with this one you just question it and question everything, including the relationship as a whole. You deny your faults and deny theirs. You find the good times and ignore the bad.
Anger: How could they do this to me? this one can last the longest, its the one that has you doing stupid things. Anger is when you take to social media and out your ex partners faults, its where you start to rally your troops with a battle cry. Its where you are telling everyone how much you have been wronged.
Bargaining: You try to find a way out, out of being split up or out of being single and alone, You look for excuses to talk to your ex, perhaps plead with them, perhaps remind them of the good times.
Depression: This is where you do the ugly crying, eat pints and pints of ice cream and wonder where it all went wrong. This might even be where you question who you are, what kind of person you are and generally, your confidence is so low, you wont even find your good qualities.
Testing: This is where you look for realistic solutions. Trying to find a way to make it all better. Or even attempting to change your outlook
Acceptance: This generally comes when you have found a way forward, when you can finally say that all the other stages are gone. And you can see your future without your ex.
There is no time frame for grief. You can grieve for the ending of a relationship as much as losing someone you love. Grief doesn’t occur because of death. In some cases losing someone who is still alive is worse; you see them around and there is no finality.
Because grief has no time frame, no one can tell you if or when you should or shouldn’t have moved on. Everyone takes grief at their own pace, recovery from a relationship is the same. You do need to watch for the pitfalls of a rebound relationship. Or burning bridges. Then there is always the question of when/if/how/why you should take an ex back or if they should remain in your past. Only you can answer these questions. The advice you get from well meaning friends would have worked for them, it may not work for you. Break ups are and always will be hard.
Its very hard to go through the stages of grief without tearing your life down. Every emotion you feel after a break up is valid, even things you may or may not do are valid in accordance to whichever stage you are at. The hardest part is going through them all and causing minimal damage to yourself or your ex partner. Then when you have achieved acceptance, the hardest thing to deal with is them moving on, even when or if you have moved on. Somehow, knowing they love someone else is the hardest acceptance of all. The only thing you can do is sit there, wish them luck and, if you truly loved them once, wish them happy.