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10 Stages of a Breakup and How to Get Through Them

stages of a breakup

Breakups are inevitable when it comes to your search for love. We’ve identified the 10 stages of a breakup—and how to get through them alive.

Breakups. They are definitely not the most fun things in the world. If you’ve ever put yourself out there and gotten into the dating world, you’ve been there: the place where you feel like you’ll end up all alone, with nothing to accompany your journey, other than an excessive amount of cats, too many empty buckets of ice cream, and the ever-present glow of your laptop screen.

Breakups are hard. You spend so much time with one person that you think could be “the one,” and then one day, you wake up and have to just cut them out of your life, as if they never made a mark. When I put it like that, it just seems crazy that this is how finding your soul mate works.

It’s like completely cutting out your favorite TV show—or junk food. You miss it. You even go through withdrawals, of sorts. Personally, I think I have a cuddling addiction, and definitely go through withdrawals after a breakup.

The lack of human contact is probably the number one thing people struggle with after a breakup. But that is certainly not the only thing people struggle with. The absence of someone that you’re so used to having around is hard to get past. [Read: The right way to survive the first 168 hours after a break up]

The 10 stages of a breakup and how you can get through them!

There are many stages of a breakup. None are easy, but there are ways to get through them all, and you will move on and be happier if you know the secrets to getting through each stage quickly and effectively. I’ve been through my fair share of breakups, so I, with some help, have put together the stages of a breakup and how to get through them.

#1 The initial pain. Cue the runny mascara, buckets of ice cream, and binge watching romantic movies. Initially, everybody *if they really cared for their partner* is going to be hurt and they’re going to show it. The crying, the moping around, and the distance from friends is definitely a part of this painful stage.

One way to get through this is to just let it all out. Get all the crying out of the way and let yourself feel it. Holding it back will only delay moving on and make it a lot harder—and more drawn out—than it needs to be. Let yourself be hurt.

#2 The “screw you, I never needed you anyways” stage—AKA: anger. After you’re sick of crying over that piece of you-know-what, you’ll get mad. You’ll be mad that you’re so sad, mad that you wasted so much time, and mad that you’re mad over someone that is now out of your life. You may even set fire to their pictures and things you still have of them.

The best way to get through this is to find something to occupy your time—specifically something that can alleviate some of your anger. Hit the gym, pick up a new hobby, or go see a comedy with friends. All of those activities are great ways to ease your anger and help you get through this part of a breakup. [Read: Why it’s easier to get over someone when you start hating them]

#3 The reflection stage. Bringing out all of the half-burned pictures and reliving all of your happy memories is usually the next step of a breakup—yes, right after getting super angry. You’ll start reminiscing on the good times, and cursing your ex for being so perfect.

This isn’t necessarily a bad stage and it’s okay to spend some time here. Just don’t make it excessive. Getting through this stage really just involves removing all of their belongings and photos, and putting them either in the trash, or a safe place, if you want to keep some memories.

#4 Rebound! So you’ve just gotten rid of all their stuff and are “ready” to go out and find yourself someone new! You’ll most likely hit the town and bring home someone only semi-worthy of your time, so you can forget your ex for a little while.

Although it may be fun to revel in this stage for some time, eventually you will get bored and start to feel like scum for “moving on” so quickly. Sadly, the truth is that you really don’t have feelings for these people, ever. To get through this, just take a step back and reflect on how you feel for these *obvious* rebounds. [Read: 13 rebound relationship questions to know if you’re ready for this stage]

#5 The “I don’t need anybody else because I’m my own person” stage. Once you realize that rebounds are not really worth your time, you will get into a deliberate, stubborn phase of not needing anybody because you are perfectly fine on your own. The problem is when you’re only faking this stage as a front.

This is actually a good stage to be in for some time. The truth is, you don’t need anybody to be happy. But if you’re only faking being happy alone, and you’re really dying inside, get through this stage by talking to someone. Express your feelings and get the opinion of someone who really is happy about being alone.

#6 The single power stage. Wahoo! Hashtagging every other picture with “#singlelife” is your new go-to in this stage. Prominently displaying your single status is how the next stage of a breakup will go—and it’s by far the most annoying stage. To everyone else, at least.

Being proud to be single is not a bad thing. This stage isn’t about true pride, however; it is an attempt to rub your “single and loving it” attitude in your ex’s face. To get through this stage, just keep your single happiness to yourself. Being happy for yourself and your single status doesn’t need to be shared across the internet, or snapchat. [Read: 8 annoying social media users that make everyone want to scream]

#7 The “I’m so over them” stage. Along with your newly found single status, you’ll go through a phase where you are overly “so over” your ex. This includes posting deliberate “over them” memes and quotes on your social media pages even though you, and probably everybody around you, can see that you’re not over them.

To get over this, you can *and should* just ignore social media and really try to get over them. Distract yourself with friends, fun times, and maybe even that cute person at the bar that bought you a drink. If you really want to be “so over” them, start by doing things for yourself.

#8 The relapse stage. This is when you realize that you’re not over them. Usually, you just so happen to find their phone number and call or text them that you miss them…and maybe want to work things out. I think this happens to everybody during a breakup, because you really do miss them.

To get through this…honestly, you should just delete their number. Get rid of it and get rid of all their social media, so you don’t even have the opportunity to contact them or see them. It’s the best way to steer clear of them during this difficult breakup stage.

#9 The boomerang stage. This is when all that pain and heartache comes back around full force and hits you again—hence the term “boomerang.” You will feel all of the initial feelings of hurt and pain again and probably spend more time knee-deep in a pile of empty pints of Ben and Jerry’s.

This stage won’t last too long again. You’ll be sad, maybe curse the fact that you thought they were perfect, but you’ll move onto the next stage fairly quickly. To get through this part, just be around other people; you won’t want to reflect on it in front of them. [Read: 8 most common post breakup mistakes you shouldn’t commit]

#10 Acceptance. Finally! After that crazy rollercoaster of emotion, you will see that maybe the breakup is for the best. Maybe it’s just a path that will lead you to your real love one day. You’ll accept this, get over them, and be on your way to a happier you in no time.

[Read: 9 clear signs you’re finally ready for a real new relationship]

Breakups are, without exception, messy and painful. Nobody will tell you that a breakup is easy. Although there are many complex stages of a breakup, the guide above will help you not only identify each of the breakup stages, but will also get you through each of the stages with your dignity intact.

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Bella Pope
Bella Pope
Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...

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5 thoughts on “10 Stages of a Breakup and How to Get Through Them”

  1. Tracygrey says:

    I really dislike the broken heart and all that comes with it whether I am on the breaking or receiving end. If on the receiving end I tend to fixate on the fact and reflect to the point the only thing I see is that I am rejected. I have worked on myself to try and change that pattern to where I can go through each stage and not remain in any specific one for too long. I like to get some of my venom out in the bad things or venting that is necessary and move on to acceptance. You are correct that healing is found here where I can get the lessons that the relationship that is now over has brought and move into a healthy space of love.

  2. Jacquie says:

    The boomerang stage definitely isn’t as light as the author here is making out to be. In fact, I’ve boomeranged quite a bit over the last little while over a recent breakup. It’s been nearly a year and I’ve been in a better place because of it, but the boomerang comes and goes at the most inopportune times. I’m still not quite over that breakup, even if my life has been hugely better for it all, but yeah… it’s tough.

  3. Isa says:

    I like this article because the author is aware of just how painful a break up can be. They are part of the grand scheme of life, but there are brutal at times. I’ll agree, there have been some break ups that were way too easy, but there have also been break ups that have been so painful that I thought death was sure to come next. As we get older, I think we learn to accept break ups easier. Although, there are some that you will never forget. I do like the fact that the author listed every stage of the break up and they hit it right on the head!

  4. queen b says:

    You just go on girl. You will find another man in your life. You would find a man that would really sweep you off your feet and always tell you how lovely you are. He will find you, and tell you he needs you and you are set apart from all the other girls. He will let you tell you secrets and you can ask him anything you want. Both of you will be running circles of never ending love. Nobody will stop you from loving each other and being together. It will not be easy but nobody said it was. There will come a point that your circle of never ending love will come to a pause but both of you can come back to it. It just takes time and effort. Don’t give up

  5. Baby brett says:

    I just leave and that’s it, I find someone new, I never really thought about going through some stages first. I just really leave the relationship if I’m not happy anymore. I tell my boyfriends at the beginning that if I become unhappy, I always leave and I have always left them. I never break my promises and I just wish a man can really take me seriously and make me reconsider not leaving him. I never have found a guy that I just couldn’t let go of. It’s always the same man that would just want to get laid and they’re happy even though I don’t get happiness from them. Men are dogs like that. I was once pregnant and the man who got me pregnant left me the moment he found out. I was devastated and I didn’t want to let my baby grow up without a father, so I aborted him. He was just 3 weeks old and a poor fella. I really cried for almost a year and I couldn’t get over what I did. Until now, I still feel guilty about taking away his life. I was confused at the time and it’s my biggest regret ever. I never would’ve done it if I wasn’t so emotional. I let my emotions control me and I didn’t think straight. I had the chance to say no while the doctor was still trying to get the baby. The nurse asked me 5 different times, I said that they should go on. People don’t know this but the people who do abortions don’t really like what they are doing but it’s their job to do it. I never realized it until now how devastating their faces were when I said no to them 5 different times. I never hesitated. I could’ve saved my baby, now he’s lost forever. That’s why right now, I don’t ever want a man to ruin my life ever again. If I get unhappy, I leave and that keeps me safe. No harm, no foul.

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