The 5 Stages of Grief Following a Break-Up

Deciding to leave an unhealthy relationship was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. You may think that sounds a little odd. Right? That should have been an easy decision. Why would I want to stay in a relationship with someone who made me feel unworthy, disrespected and alone? Looking back, it was a combination of denial, desperation and a lack of self-worth that kept me in that relationship. Nevertheless, I had eventually made the conscious decision to leave.

I was proud of myself. I felt empowered and I was prepared to face my fears. What I did not expect was the flood of emotions that hit me like a tidal wave after I left. The emotions were so intense at times that I went back on a few occasions in an attempt to feel better. But as expected, each reunion was followed by an emotional devastation that leads to yet another break-up. What is wrong with me? I wanted to leave, but it hurt so much to be without him. Why?


I felt like I was on the roller coaster to my ultimate demise in the months following my break-up. It was like I didn’t want to admit to myself that the relationship was really over. I became angry at him, my friends, my family, and myself. I felt that my faith was strong, but I even began to question God during that time… Why would you put me through this? What did I do to deserve this? Saying I was in bad shape is an extreme understatement.


Did you know that it’s normal to follow a grieving process as we “mourn the death” of a relationship? The process is not all that fun, but at least we have a “guideline” to help us along the way. As I began to recognize the stages of relationship grief, I was able to identify my feelings better, which gave me a sense of control. For instance, I knew that I was depressed, but I understood that this was only a part of the journey to releasing that relationship. I knew that I had to go through it, to get through it.


It was like doing my hair. I knew I had to wash, then rinse, then deep condition, then rinse, then apply a leave-in conditioner, then dry, then style… It was a process and it took a good amount of time to complete, but it had to be done. The best part of the whole process was that I knew it would leave me with STRONG, HEALTHY and BEAUTIFUL hair.

Aren’t you ready for a STRONG, HEALTHY and BEAUTIFUL relationship? Well, you have to let go of the wrong one to make room for the one you deserve. Let’s just jump right into it… Here are the 5 stages of grief following a breakup:



the act of declaring something to be untrue

The first stage is pretty tough because we sometimes do not want to admit that the relationship is actually over. It is especially tough if you have built a lifestyle with your partner. You are more than likely comfortable with the day-to-day activities in your relationship and change is subconsciously out of the question. You don’t want to be alone and you don’t want to feel the heartache, so you simply deny it until it goes away… But, it is ultimately inevitable.

TRY THIS: Put it on paper! Literally write, “This relationship is over. I have learned what I needed to learn from the situation and I am moving forward”. Once you have written it down in ink, read it out loud and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Look at it every morning while getting ready for your day and every night before bed. Try it, what do you have to lose?



a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility

Once, you have acknowledged that the relationship is officially over or you are done stalking your ex’s social media or driving by their house (lol, please don’t do either of these things) the anger comes in like an emotional hurricane. Prepare yourself, my friend, the anger phase can be intense. Try not to lash out at your loved ones or even your ex. This is not the time to slash tires or spread nasty rumors, this is a time of healing, growth, and development.

TRY THIS: When the anger emotion shows its face divert that energy toward something beneficial. For me, I was able to shed some pounds and tone up my body because running was the only way I could handle the anger I was dealing with.



negotiating the terms or conditions

This stage was notably difficult for me and probably the most time-consuming. This is because the fire from my anger stage had been put out and all I was left with were memories of the good times. It was as if I had forgotten the reasons I decided to leave in the first place and I began to think of ways to bring us back together. Dear God, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to get my baby back! Please bring him back to me…

I also developed an extreme obsession with relationship astrology. I would check the horoscope for my sun sign, rising sign and my moon sign hoping for a twist of fate that would bring us back together. I even went as far as checking his horoscope to see when it was favorable to reach out to him. It was pretty crazy looking back on it now. But, again… it was a learning experience.

TRY THIS: Remember why you two are no longer together. Go back to the statement you wrote during the denial phase and repeat that process. The goal here is to not venture back into the denial phase. You have to be proactive in your pursuit toward forward movement.



feelings of severe despondency and dejection

We each experience depression on different levels because we are all unique. Personally, I have dealt with depression all my life and events like ending a significant relationship is a huge trigger for me. I have learned to cope by using techniques ranging from thought-stopping to meditation. But, regardless of what I did to change my outlook; I would still feel down sometimes. I want you to understand that while depression affects us differently it is something that we can absolutely handle. This is not the time to be alone, stuck in bed or doubting yourself. Make a conscious effort toward your growth and tell depression to KICK ROCKS!

TRY THIS: Surround yourself with loved ones. I know that is the last thing you want to do right now, but it is soooo extremely important that you have support during this phase. Get out of your house and spend every second doing something you love with your closest friends and/or family members.



the act of consenting to receive

Finally getting to acceptance is like winning a gold medal at the Olympics 🙂 Once you get here you fully understand that the relationship is over, you understand why that person was brought into your life and you are a better person after having that experience. Congrats to you!

TRY THIS: Celebrate! This is important because making it through this grieving process is a Big Deal. You should be proud of yourself and feel a huge sense of accomplishment. So, go out and celebrate or buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.



It was tough to finally get to the acceptance stage and move forward. But, that is what we’re here to do right? We have to move forward, you have to move forward, I had to move forward and I am sooooo glad that I did 🙂 Here is a little homework for you. I want you to examine your current relationship and decide whether it is healthy or not. Need some help? No worries, check out this blog post—> IS MY RELATIONSHIP UNHEALTHY?

If you have determined that your relationship is healthy, then great! Your next step is to work on making it stronger for yourself and your partner. Also, if you know someone who may be in an unhealthy relationship or in denial, share this link with them. Pay it forward. Helping someone else grow is the name of the game.

However, if you have determined the relationship is unhealthy, you need to make the conscious decision to LEAVE. You can do it. You ARE strong enough and you would not be reading this if you were not capable of standing on your own two feet. Your next step is to prepare yourself to experience each of these stages of grief. Again, you can do this! You will work through this learning experience and you will GROW.



Neisha Serene