In this post I’m going to break down the emotional rollercoaster that follows after the end of a relationship. I went through this process and I’ve found it’s common. When you realize how universal breakups are, it sometimes makes it easier to accept.
When I wrote this post I had just experienced a traumatic breakup myself (so I know from first hand experience how it feels). Since then, though, I’ve graduated from psychiatry residency and built a successful private practice where I help people just like you cope with grief and rebuild their lives.
Before I get into The Five Stages of Suckiness, I want to share this 8-minute video I created for anyone who is struggling to cope with, or get over, a break up.
Because I like to obsessively analyze my emotions, I diagramed the cycle of emotions I went through after my breakup. I realized later, unsurprisingly, that this drawing greatly resembles the Elizabeth Kübler-Ross stages of grief.
If you go through a difficult breakup, you’ll likely cycle through these emotions. Each emotion will have it’s own narrative- the voice that speaks from the anger, sadness, guilt- that you’re feeling. You’ll tell yourself you’ll never meet anyone else, that you’ll be alone forever, that if this relationship didn’t work no relationship ever will. Don’t get lost in the narrative. The stories you tell yourself will feel true- maybe you’ll even rationalize them to the point where they seem like logical, obvious conclusions- but they’re not. I’m going to use “him” to refer to the generic ex to avoid awkward pronoun switches, but of course this concept applies to women and men alike.
1. Sadness. At first you’ll be depressed. You’ll blame yourself for the breakup. You’ll tell yourself:
“Its all my fault”
“I’m a horrible person”
“I must not be lovable”
You’ll feel varying degrees of despair after the end of a relationship depending on how attached you were- at it’s worst, the anguish can be pretty soul-crushing. During this stage, you’ll be focused on the immediate pain of the breakup. You’ll feel like you’ll never get over it. The very thought of starting to date again will seem like some kind of sick joke. Your mind will turn over the events of your relationship, wondering what you did wrong, because if you’re suffering so much you must have done something horribly wrong.
[Note: You didn’t. Or nothing that bad anyway. Cut yourself some slack because no one is perfect and sometimes things don’t work out, no matter how much we want them to, for reasons beyond our control.]
2. Anger. Emotions after a breakup tend to fly in extremes. You may feel sad for a while, and then angry, or you may switch rapidly between the two. You may feel consuming, enormous hate toward your ex. You’ll tell yourself:
“It’s all his fault”
“I can’t believe what a [insert expletive] he is”
“I’m lucky that’s over, I don’t even care about him anymore”
Anger may feel like a relief from the sadness, but the narratives are still part of your psyche’s defense mechanism against the pain of the end of the relationship. No matter the person’s flaws or what he or she did to you, your ex is not all bad, and it’s not all their fault- in the same way it’s not all your fault.
3. Everything’s okay. At some point, you’ll reach some degree of acceptance about what’s happened. You’ll tell yourself:
“This breakup is horrible, but it’s not the last time I’ll be in love”
“Maybe I’ll be alright after all”
This is probably the first time you’ll emerge from the pain and imagine a future that looks, if not bright, at least tolerable. The idea of getting out there and dating again won’t seem like such a ridiculous and laughable idea. You’ll feel a sense of calm and acceptance.
Unfortunately, early on in the recovery process, the periods of feeling “ok” will likely be short lived, followed by:
4. Longing. Also known as bargaining. Unfortunately and ironically- once you start feeling better, and once you have enough energy and emotional reserves to start feeling hopeful about the future- you’ll also have enough energy to regress into the seductive thought of getting back together with your ex. You’ll tell yourself:
“Now that I’m feeling better, maybe we can be together”
“I feel good. I want to be in love. I’m still in love with him so he must be the right one for me”
“Maybe we shouldn’t have broken up- could it have been a mistake?”
Longing is particularly painful because you’ll trick yourself into questioning the progress you’ve made. You do this because you feel good enough to remember what a wonderful thing love is, and you grasp for it, and the closest thing you reach is your recently-ended relationship, even though it wasn’t the right one for you. Remember: if it were as great as you remember it now, it wouldn’t have ended. Great relationships don’t end, even temporarily. People may disagree with me on this one, but I’m sticking to it. A great relationship is not perfect, but it isn’t constantly difficult, and it isn’t painful, and no one breaks up with anyone.
5. Fear. Once you realize the futility of your longing, you’ll swing quickly into panic. You’ll tell yourself:
“I’ll never meet anyone ever again”
“No one else will ever love me”
“I’m too old to meet anyone, I’ve lost my chance to be in a relationship/get married”
I love this narrative because it’s the most absurd, yet seems the most realistic at the time. I remember being totally and utterly convinced that after my ex broke up with me at 26 I had missed my chance and was doomed to be single forever. Even my brother, after his first big breakup at 25, told me with a straight face he was going to focus on his career in the military “from here on out” because he was obviously too old to ever meet a woman, get married and have kids. (At 25!!). If he were 35 I would have told him he has oodles of time. And I wish I had told myself that too, because it’s true. I’m not saying you’re guaranteed to meet someone and have kids when you’re 50, but I’d venture to guess that 99% of the time people have this worry everything turns out all right in the end. At the very least, I can guarantee that you’ll never regret NOT acting out of fear.
Whew. It’s been a long ride. But it’s all been for a reason. Your journey may not be direct, and you may continue to cycle through the stages, but over time the negative emotions will be weaker and your acceptance will be more powerful.
When I emerged from the dark tunnel of my breakup and finally saw the light, it was brilliant. I felt more hopeful than I had ever felt before. Because when you go through something so painful and get through it, you realize, I can handle anything. You also realize, I deserve better. And you feel motivated to go out there and find it.
Please don’t believe the negative narratives. They feel so true, so poignant, and you feel you are the only person who could possibly be suffering in the way you are suffering, but you are not. Let the universality of your suffering comfort you. Two people stumbling upon each and falling in love may seem as likely as two meteors colliding, but it happens all the time. In fact, it happens to almost everyone. I can say with almost definitive certainty that how you feel after a breakup will not be how you feel forever.
During the process, you need to remember that whatever you had with that person, you will find something better. It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s true. Every relationship ends (usually poorly) until you have the one that doesn’t. And then everything is great. That’s pretty much how the story goes. So don’t pessimistically forecast the future just because you feel discouraged at this moment.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! When I wrote this post I had just experienced a traumatic breakup myself (so I know from first hand experience how it feels). Since then, though, I’ve graduated from psychiatry residency and built a successful private practice where I help people just like you cope with grief and rebuild their lives. I also met my husband and got married!
If you’d like more information about coping with grief and finding a path to wholeness after loss, you can join my email list here:
Just going through a break-up and this is very true.
I’m at the anger stage – if I make myself hate ‘the ex,’ it will make it easier to move on to accepting that things will get better!
Yeah at least with anger you’re not wishing you were back with your ex… and in my experience anger toward your ex eventually turns into disinterest, which is much more tolerable!
I don’t believe in “accidents.” I came across your blog and was captivated, intrigued, and inspired by you–LOVE your ukulele song about the last day of medical school. I broke up with my Significant Other a week ago. I’m 63, a professor, and very active in my community. I’m also a social psychologist so I knew about Elisabeth Kugler-Ross but reading about the stages in your words and from your own experience, made me feel hopeful and less alone.
You are a beautiful spirit and I’m grateful to have “stumbled” upon your blog.
I also want you to know that I’m praying for you and intend to keep up with your physical and psychological progress. You’re one “kick-ass” woman–powerful, strong, kind.
Thank you again! 🙂
Arlene Boyer says
Genie, reading your post gave me hope. I am 60, and just going through a breakup. A three-year relationship that I ended five times, and now wondering if there’s something wrong with me, did I lose the best thing I ever had, and at my age, will I ever find love again.
And Elana, you are an amazing and brave woman. Your story and your struggle touched me. I am a cancer survivor, so my heart goes out to you. You are beautiful and strong, and just so inspiring!!
I’m only angry that I stayed with him so long. I wish I would have left him sooner and I’m in the angry stage.
I’m not sure I’ll meet anyone else anytime soon because I have other priorities and am not that trusting.
Kelley Simpson says
Thank you so much for writing this article! I have saved it to my favorites. I know I will revisit it often. Thank you for your encouragement and hope!!
Joyce Y says
Very nice post again! 🙂 Really good analysis! If I ever find myself in a painful breakup (I’m single and feeling fine now) I will look back on this for sure. or I’ll send this to others going through hard times. It’s very encouraging.
Thanks Joyce! It’s amazing how universal the experience of getting dumped is 🙂 Hopefully you won’t need to come back to this post anytime soon!
I just went through a breakup today..officially and I swear i’m utterly exhausted from cycling through the sadness, anger and everything is okay. My head is pounding and I just want to rest and wake up and feel numb to all of it. I really look forward to the acceptance… the process is utterly painful..and I feel so broken. 🙁
Hey Joan, so sorry to hear what you’re going through (and sorry for the delay in responding to your comment, I was out of the country for a few weeks and not checking email). Do you feel any better now than you did a few weeks ago? I remember I felt pretty consistently awful for about 3 months, and then the pain just lifted. Things will get better, I promise 🙂
Hey it’s been 3 weeks we were engaged and suddenly he was acting like he wasn’t interested in me so I confronted him and my mom asked him how could he break our engagement now he’s angry with me and he doesn’t want to get back with me I’m really devastated I want to be with him but he’s saying that he doesn’t want me
Hi, I just went through a breakup. We were together 6 years. One day he packed his things, didn’t tell me and moved across the U.S. I am shattered. I feel broken. Unworthy. I feel like somethings wrong with me and maybe that’s why he left. It’s been a week and the feeling has gotten worse. My thoughts too. I feel very lost. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what to do.
I tell this for a reason, love can be hard and it can hurt you-literally. Just an fyi
I wonder what happened to you? I’m reading this in 2022. Sadly I guess I’m in the 1%. About 17 years ago I was in a relationship lasting about 2 years and thought we’d marry. I now look back and see it know it led to PTSD and illness along with chronic pain for life. I don’t know why this happened to me, he did do some dirty things behind my back but also said & did things to my face that any1 w/ self respect would’ve left. But to me he was love and I enjoyed life with him* I thought he’d come around, unaware that I bored him or was too wild or whatever.
I regret so much the pain I allowed myself to go thru for the sake of love (to me it was for love) but after him I was never the same again & disabled 2 years later. Sometimes I wonder why I was fooled by him, but definitely depression played a role, naivete & my love for him. I still love him to this day in a way. He recently remarried(2nd marriage) a beautiful woman about 9 years younger and I know is very happy.
I did try to get thru the steps of grief but the issue was getting sick & chronic pain, disablity- I lost my life chances. I met someone maybe 10 months after him & started to date him. I wanted him to be better or at least a new love. I was still working then but things weren’t going well. Mistakes at work, insomnia & pain were getting worse. I picked up drinking to cope. The stress likely caused my hormones to go out of whack leading to high speed endometriosis developing as well as my 1st surgery right b4 he fully disappeared. He had been so cruel but cortisol and hormones went wild. LISTEN TO YOUR BODIES.
Got into a car accident as well after him doing a u-turn after therapy shortly after to see a friend as I was really upset. Neck made everything worse.
I married a man about 6 years after him in a court house ceremony. I didn’t want to only bcs I had no money for a wedding but I realized times were different at that point and he was either in or out. I don’t know how to explain it but to say it was a mistake I was forced to make & both of us were not ready. We are still together but it’s not good. He wants to try & due to worsened issues I stay.
I ended up having about 9 surgeries total (1 was partial hysterectomy) and one of the surgeons did permanent damage and I’ve been bed ridden 90,% of the time since 2017.
I was very attractive, struggling but trying to find my way when I met him with very mild depression and ADHD so had self esteem issues in the work place. But I was no quitter. So after him, my life I wanted ended & I worked hard to create a new one, then got the injury & have lost everything. He moved on well before he admitted it was over between us. I hate sharing this, I found this looking for a support group BUT if you are with someone you love yet start to feel those emotions that something is not quite right or they start to down you here and there and maybe get slightly worse, LEAVE AS THAT IS NOT LOVE. But it was my only experience with it and I regret it every day of my life.
It’s been a rough 3 weeks…..6 months ago we get engaged…then didn’t realize my behavior and my families was being observed/analyzed, and now after 7 years together..he’s feeling guilty about my ex. So we’re estranged in the same household…I’m a mess.
Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a good situation. So you guys are broken up but living together? As soon as you can see if one of you can move someone else, it will be hard to even process what’s happening without a little distance.
OMG I am in EXACTLY THE SAME BOAT!!… My ex split up with me in early December so I stayed in our home while she went to her parents house for Christmas. So I decided to spend Christmas day helping the poor in a shelter and spent new years on my own too.. She has now come back as we can’t move out till January end… She is sleeping downstairs and the whole process is mental… I have panic attacks and moments of anger and sadness to.. Most of all though,I’m 34 and feel like I will be lonely for the rest of my life.. Life is difficult 🙁
Also we had been together for 5 years and work in the same field as eachother… The shelter thing I did because I wanted to see first hand how insignificant this should all be when someone is queuing for food on Xmas day… The effect was positive but all of the above feelings come in intense waves…I need to leave this house asap
My boyfriend broke up with me two days before Christmas, and I’m cycling through all of these stages. I like everything about your article except the part about being 50. I am 50. That part was more than a little discouraging. I have kids already and am not looking for that…but I would like to think I’m not too old to find someone out there for me.
Omg, I just posted the same thing! Hope you’re feeling better!
I broke up with my BF 5 weeks ago. Weve been together for 6 yrs on and off. He messaged me this long guilt trip/feel sorry for me message whcih I did not reply to …. His last sentence ended the msg with “Ill stop msging and calling you so we can move on with our lives separately as you wished..Take care, XXX………
I never replied. Now im wondering IS THAT IT? Will he ever try to contact me again? Its been 5 weeks. why isnt he fighting for me? How can he let me walk away like that?
Hey Elizabeth, if he’s cutting off contact with you it seems to me like he doesn’t want to fight for the relationship. That’s shady he didn’t have an in person conversation with you to end such a long relationship. But there must have been problems beforehand for him to send you such a message, right? I imagine there’s a better relationship out there for you.
If you broke up with him. You should fight for it back. Why should he? Makes no sense
I totally grinned when I read this article cause it totally hits the spot. I’ve recently ended a relationship and I’ve been going thru the whole rollercoaster of emotions and I’m now at longing. Thank you for kicking sense into me.
When we first broke off (this is the 2nd time), I went through the whole rollercoaster and got stuck at longing. It gave me hope to make amends with him. It was dandy at first, but it didn’t last long (look where I am today).
Thanks for the article. It made me feel that I wad not alone and that hopefully I am on the right path. Thanks so much!
Hi Claudia, yes, I’ve gotten suckered in by longing too which I why I now know to avoid it! I’m glad the article helped you – don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone, and you sound like you’re on the right path :-).
I just broke up with my boyfriend (for the second time) because he was having a hard time with the idea of committing to me as he’s been divorced twice. He says that he’s over her, but the idea of getting married and having that all fall apart would kill him. so I ended things with him because I can’t have him take me on this roller coaster over and over again. He’s done some shady things too, I think maybe even dated behind my back, all in an effort to not have anything serious.
My question is this….. I’m 39, with two kids 14 and 11. I am at that “I’m way too old to meet anyone that things will work out with!” do people really meet their soul mates this late in life!?
I am in the same situation, 2 boys and feeling like there can be no one else now…….ever. I have a plan to join some social groups and try and make friends and increase my chances of meeting someone new as friends and seeing how that goes. But I do think 39 is still young. People meet at all ages and you never know what’s around the corner.
This break up pain is horrible though isn’t it!!?
Hi guys, can someone please help me out here.. It’s Elizabeth again… In jan my partner of 8 yrs had a silly fight with me over a top I was wearing… I drove off and we didnt speak for weeks. Then 3 wedks later he texted me this extremely long text that was like an essay saying he loved me, wud do anything for me, told me I was an attention seeker etc and basically said at the end, “I’m not sending this for a reply as I won’t read it… I just wanted to get it off my chest as I owe it to myself”…. SO when I read that I was so mad, I never replied to him. I left things alone.
It’s been 2 months now. I tried to call him yesterday to wish him happy Easter but he never answered. I also wrote a text msg saying that I never got the chance to express how I felt and if its over then we should at least meet up in person and end things maturely face to face
I thought I was doing right thing- but he’s ignoring me now . What do I do?? Is he just moving on and never wants to speak to me again??
Do u leave it alone, or send another text explaining how I’ve been feeling? Pllllease help,
Thank you so much for this article. Having a hard time going through a break-up right now, and your post is SO spot-on.
Thanks Kristen, glad you found it helpful… I only know it because I went through it myself!
Hi guys, can someone please help me out here.. .. In jan my partner of 8 yrs had a silly fight with me over a top I was wearing… I drove off and we didnt speak for weeks. Then 3 wedks later he texted me this extremely long text that was like an essay saying he loved me, wud do anything for me, told me I was an attention seeker etc and basically said at the end, “I’m not sending this for a reply as I won’t read it… I just wanted to get it off my chest as I owe it to myself”…. SO when I read that I was so mad, I never replied to him. I left things alone.
It’s been 2 months now. I tried to call him yesterday to wish him happy Easter but he never answered. I also wrote a text msg saying that I never got the chance to express how I felt and if its over then we should at least meet up in person and end things maturely face to face
I thought I was doing right thing- but he’s ignoring me now . What do I do?? Is he just moving on and never wants to speak to me again??
Do u leave it alone, or send another text explaining how I’ve been feeling? Pllllease help,
This sounds really confusing because all the relationship talk happens over text. I agree you did the right thing by picking up the phone to find a way to talk face-to-face….so you’ve definitely have done your part. If he doesn’t return your calls, I’d move on. And if there is stuff you want to get off your chest that you haven’t been able to yet maybe write him a letter.
This post has been so helpful. I never comment on things like this but I am so sad right now I feel like it will never feel good again and this post gives me hope it will. My boyfriend who is probably the first person I have ever truly been in live with broke up with me by just ignoring me. His life has been a complete mess and he moved to another state without telling me until after the decision had been made. we were trying to work things out then all communication just stopped. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks and the last time I saw him he said he was going to come visit me and never showed. I feel like I am dealing with a death not a breakup because although its clearly over I am left with so many questions. I need to read this article over and over for the next few weeks thanks for posting!
Hey Jackie! I’m sorry it took me a while to respond to your comment. I completely know how you feel and felt that way myself and can definitely tell you that you WILL feel better. It does feel like a death – I remember saying that same thing. It sounds like he broke up with you in a pretty douchey way too. In one way that makes it harder, but in another easier because there is no doubt that this person was not right for you.
I’m so glad I found this article. I broke up with my boyfriend 2 weeks ago, he wasn’t the one for me but its so hard. I cried for 3 days straight, took time off work and didn’t get out of bed. I went back last week and gradually the mist was clearing but now all of a sudden I feel like my heart has been ripped out again and I can’t stop crying. Is it normal for this pain to come back when I thought it was easing?? I’m scared I will never feel right again…
Hi Ruby so sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. Yes, what you’re describing is really common. You start to feel better and then… bam! It hits again. I felt that I cycled through a bunch of negative emotions interspersed with feeling ok. Over time the negative emotions got weaker and feelings of being ok lasted longer.
I broke up 6 weeks ago and no anger at all until I got to longing we got back together (albeit for a couple of hours before we realised it was not going to work) now I have found anger……is that normal to be so delayed? The anger feels quite good because now I have said the things which means there is no going back now.
I was almost at 6(acceptance) but now I’m back into 5(fear) because he is at 4(longing) and started talking reconciliation and ‘better the devil you know…’ kind of talk. How do I get into acceptance and not hurt his feelings by rejecting his offers to ‘date’ again after he filed for divorce?! And if I have a crush on someone else, is that me trying to self-soothe the pain instead of just learning from it?
Hey there, it can be just a hard dealing with a breakup when you’re longing after the other person as when they’re longing after you. My take is that you can only take responsibility for your own path, and it’s not up to you to prevent your ex from feeling hurt (he’s got to deal with those feelings on his own). So if you don’t want to reconcile, I’d say be kind, but honest about it, and let him continue to move on. I don’t think a crush necessarily means you’re trying to self-sooth, but I would give yourself some time before trying to pursue a serious relationship.
I’m only in 24 hours of my breakup, and I’ve felt all the stages multiple times today. I’ll be fine and then I’ll be crying again out of no where. Is this normal on how fast the stages go? Does this mean I’ll recover faster cycling through the stages this fast? It’s only been a day but I don’t know how much of this I can take. 🙁
Me and my ex had a 6 year on and off relationship. And just after breaking up he got engaged to someone else within 15days. Its an arranged one as our indian tradition follows. I can’t bear d fact that he is happy and moving on with the other person. He has been posting these couple photos of him nd his fiance on networking sites nd all and it’s been 5 mnths now. I can’t seem to move on. I feel very sad. And emotionally numb. I don’t intend if he ever loved me that he is so easily moved on wid someone. Whats worst is I unexpectedly find a glimpse of him or his relatives or friends. And we have some common friends too who pity me. I hate dis part. Plz help. Cant find hope. Dont want to know when or how he will get married. Tired of running.
I am in the same boat as you. We were supposed to get married this year but he decided to marry someone else. I know how you feel. I’d just tell you what I tell myself – He ‘was’ the love of your life but ‘is’ not anymore so you don’t have to plan your life around him – He has no right to affect your mood or your state of mind – He doesn’t deserve another minute of your life so let him be. As for others who you think pity you – they will stop pitying you once you stop pitying yourself. Be strong and take charge of your life.
Can you block him on social media so you don’t see his posts?
Your post absolutely made all the sence in the world right now at this very moment. Today I got an email from my boyfriend to break up for the 2nd time around.
I fell victim of the longing after he dumped me the first time on my birthday with an email! Had a terrible time with depression and finally pulled through in 3 months and started seeing someone. But I still longed for my ex and we did get back together for these last 9 months. Until today which is 11 days after my birthday!! Lol.
But this time around I was wiser because I haven’t fully trusted him to commit fully to our relationship and I’ve been cautious. But things were coming right along and at first he tried really hard but slouched again making no efforts to make our long distant relationship work. It was great when he would stay at home and I would do all the travelling to see him but he wasn’t keen in sharing the distance. I was already thinking that I was disappointed in his lack of commitment, and then he beat me to it. He ended it before I did.
So ya, I fully understand and agree that I acted on my longing for him after I got on my feet again. Even my family and friends told me that it is a mistake, I convinced myself to try it again. And once again he hurt me. No balls to call me or talk to me face to face.
My immediate reaction today was instant stomach pain. But was I that surprised, NO! First few hours I was searching for comfort, and I texted only one friend and said it was a relief. But it still hurts.
Thank you for this post because I know now what I was going through after my first breakup.
Tonight I deleted all photos of him, tomorrow I’ll sleep in, feel sorry for myself then get up and wipe him out of my life for good this time.
I’m 58. And at this time in my life I am not concerned about starting over again. I’m happy with me and who I am. And I’m going to get on with my life without him. And maybe when I least expect it, someone better with come along and treat me with respect and love me for the selfless person I get taken advantage of. Amen
thats a very well written piece, ive passed by all of these stages. its been two years and i got to accept what happened at the end. I got in so many relationships after that and every time i compared them to my ex, so i ended up failing. It was getting worse after every breakup because it made me feel that he was the only one who can me happy and satisfied. I know im much better without him, im more successful and social person after the breakup. Yet, i can give up everything to get back to him. I can even forget what he did to me and start allover again. Maybe i still have this feeling because i didnt get him out of my life, and we act as friends, so he calls me from time to time to check on me and to take me out.
One more advice for those who are still in the shock, dont deny it. Accept the fact that you broke up and remove all the pictures and texts. Dont be involved in so many activities and outings claiming that keeping yourself busy will make you over him. Face it, know that you will have hard time, stay with people who are close to you, and cry as much as you can, so you get all your energy out. believe me Romeo and Juliet dont exist. No one will die from love.
Hi Elena and other posters experiencing this,
I have also come out of a break-up a week ago and it feels like I’ve experienced different levels of each of these stages compacted within the past couple of days. The last thing I want to do is contact him and have chosen to see out these emotions, no matter how painful they are. I thought heart break gets easier, but I don’t think it does. It still feels the same but maybe the duration shortens each time??
Although angry, hurt, sad and confused by it all I know I am proud of myself that I opened my heart up to a person. That in itself is a gift and whether he realises that now or down the track, I gave him a piece of my heart in a short span of time and that makes me feel good. I would rather feel like I made someone feel loved then made them feel hurt. It’s a shame he hurt me, but someone else will provide me with the love I deserve. This belief makes me stand taller and feel stronger every day (while still experiencing these motions in between, we’re only human).
Wishing you all a smooth (as can be) time getting through this.
It does make you feel better knowing there are resources out there to reach out to such as this.
Thank you for the article – I will keep it close as I get through it myself.
Great Article. I needed that insight on the stages. I feel a mixture of sadness and guilt for taking the initiative and ending the relationship.
It took a lot of courage to end it.
When I start to miss her I want to scream!
She has a lot of hurtful things to say in her texts, but it ended for a reason.
Disagree with the but about great relationship don’t break up, not even temporarily. My parents broke up go a year and then got back together and married. 43 years of marriage and going strong.
It’s been a week. She won’t say it’s over, only that she needs space. She says she still “loves me” and is still “in love with me”. This is so painful. I can’t get mad, only sad. I don’t know what to do. I’m so confused. There were no fights. No drama. The day before this came out of nowhere. Things like this happen frequently during her PMS week. She won’t communicate anything to me.
I struggled with a similar situation 3 years ago.
We loved each other dearly but she realized we both needed to do a little work on ourselves before we could continue successfully together. For me it felt like a large splinter sticking out of my heart and I was forbidden to remove it. I held out hope for 3 excruciating months of longing for her. I’d wished I was able to let her go much sooner. It took about a year to get over her but I’m so grateful for that day at the 3 month mark when i decided I had to move on. “Taking space” is many times the initiator not being sure about their true feelings. They think they are in love with you, but there is doubt. Doubt creates so much more difficulty in trying to eventually see it through. And I’ve seen many people go back and forth in a single relationship and its so damaging to the self.
Take it from somebody who has been there…..put all of your focus on you and healing. There’s someone out there who will love you and not even think about “taking space”. If its love she will want to stand in there and do the very hard work of working through it with you.
Incidentally, I’m 47 and have just been blindsided with a breakup email from someone I love very dearly. There was little consideration for my feelings, and I suspect it was because she was having so much difficulty with knowing she loved me but just not having room in her life for a relationship. I’m sure she is heartbroken as well and I will always think her brave for taking a big step for herself. Just wish she could’ve been mature enough to respect me with a face to face. It wouldn’t have hurt any less, but it would leave less for me to work thru regarding self worth issues.
Glad I found this article. Feeling slightly less alone in my pain and suffering
I am young and going through a break up. My ex was depressed and ended things. He has blocked me from all social media. We see each other everyday at school. He has been very mean to me and spreading rumours. I did the wrong thing and tried to beg for him back. Now I am ignoring him and not contacting him at all. He tries to make sure I cannot pair up in a group with any of the guys who flirt with me. He is now hanging around my friends but still ignores me while we are in the same group. I want him back. Please tell me what to do to get him back? Please don’t say move on because that is not what I want. I know he still loves me but I will accept if he won’t get back together. Please help me
I’ve just been broken up with. Reminders of him are everywhere and it sucks! I’m definitely in the longing and sadness stage. Thank you for writing this, it helps to remember I’m not alone and these moments pass. I just wish it would pass sooner!
Brian of Nazareth says
I’m still here at the fear stage… been this way for 10 years now. I’ve gone to taking the edge off with box wine. Chardonnay is my saviour and comfort. Chardonnay never calls me names. It never blames me for my shortcomings. It never ridicules me. It never pretends to be someone else. It’s always there for me even if I’ve had a bad day. I’m better off without you Lisa!!!!
I think for me the most devistating thing is breaking up with the same person several times . Each time going back with some hope that your love will come through and fix the underlying issues . When it falls apart again there is nothing left but frustration and pain. Sometimes letting go is the only way to find harmony
Nicki Nix says
This helped alot … thank you I am 5 &1/2 months out of a very abusive relationship of 15 months …. we were unseperable .. my protection order was granted .. he manipulated me “again* into a reconcilliatiin mediation in the criminal court with the last assault ..
I am still in the hate and anger stage and wish him dead … I am taking a 3 weeks break to another Province in a few days .. I am praying that I can get to the moving on stage on my return … I have lost everything and full funtion of all limps … I don’t forsee a future relationship and I am definitely not interrested I promised myself a 2 year recovery time seeing a therapist every 2nd week … blessings to all and a full recovery in the new stronger people we are all going to become
I’m still in the first 24 hours of my break up, and I’ve been going back and forth through all these steps. He broke up with me over text, on Christmas eve. I tried calling him immediately to get clarity about the situation, he refused to pick up, and immediately sent me a text telling me how things will never be ok until I treat him the way he wants. He hasn’t contacted me since; I’ve contacted him twice since, and he was cold toward me on the call, and didn’t even bother replying to my text. I’m having a pretty awful Christmas… It hurts
You and the majority of psychologists are too gueered on the negative and fledging forward against taking initiative to choose love, willingness to pick up the pieces and work things out. You psychologically plant destructive mechanisms to kill any hope for anything positive! All I have left to say to you is thank God you’re not working in world peace!! I hope you’ll find peace in your heart to love others as you need love.
I was in a long distance relationship for 3 years with someone i thought loved me . in the last 24 hours he broke up with me saying he no longer believes in “us” anymore. we had a fight the day before about him being on whatsapp and him saying he wasn’t. so i was willing to just let it go , but he decided to keep the fight going on. finally at the end of the conversation he told me it was late and gn with a kiss. the next day i was sending him messages on whatsapp and after 4 messages he finally respond saying “i dont see anymore us working” mind you i was to go visit him in a few months. i asked him how can he say something like that to me? all he could say was he was sorry he doesnt believe in us anymore. i told him i cant be friends with someone that can just throw me away and for a person to do that he must have already found someone and moved on to just come out and say we wont work anymore. i told him he will never hear from me again and i hope he finds what he’s looking for. i just don’t understand how a person can say they love you and so easily can just toss you aside like nothing. i have been through the pain the anger then pain again then anger now just stuck at crying and feeling heart broken.
Thank you writing something so incredibly insightful. I’m also one of those people that never comment or post anything but I was compelled to share my experience since I had the privilege to read the experiences of others.
As a 40 year old man who recently got dumped by his 33 year girl friend over a text after 3 years of relationship which I believed was written by the gods of love in heavens above, I have been reading content non stop regarding matter of the heart to try and make sense of how to deal with this latest challenge in my life.
10 years ago I went through a very messy and expensive divorce and struggled through depression and constant suicidal thoughts. Even though I felt sadness, I accepted the reality and look forward to being a father to my daughter who was an infant at the time. I recognized that I wasn’t a perfect husband and promised myself to be a better man and learn all I could from the setback.
6 years later in 2012, I met my ex girlfriend who I fell in love with pretty much from the start. Like all relationships we had our challenges but we stayed together and all the credit goes to her. I could not come to grips with a mistake from her past and I started seeking therapy to learn to accept and love people for who they are, not their potential. We lived together for over a year in house that she chose and I bought with the mindset that this was going to be OUR home. But she moved out 3 months before she broke up with me.
I wasn’t a perfect boyfriend, in fact I was a dick at times and took her for granted but I was always loyal. I never cheated, I never gambled, I never had any sort of addiction problem (alcohol, strippers, drugs), I never laid a finger on her, I never stole anything from her, I never put her in any sort of harms way and money was never issue as I do quite well.
Even she will admit that I would move mountains to give her whatever she desired. Money meant nothing to me when it came to spoiling her. I could always make more money but the happiness I saw on her face, the sparkle in her eyes when she got a present whether it was a simple bouquet of roses or diamonds. Those moments were the ones I lived for. It felt like standing on a beach in the Caribbean with my toes in the sand staring at the sunset over the beautiful turquoise color ocean as a cool breeze wraps itself around every pore of your skin. You realize that life is as perfect as it will get and if I died right now, I would die a satisfied man.
After she moved out, we stayed together for another couple of month until after yet another argument, she completely ignored me, started pulling away emotionally and eventually ended it over a text. It shocked me a little that she would walk away that easily but what could I do. I accepted what I had to and the truth of the matter is that if someone doesn’t want to be with me then I don’t want to be with them. I have to respect her wishes.
What I can’t figure out is why is this hitting me so damn hard. I’m F*&%$n 40. I seem to be stuck in the depression phase and just feel anger towards myself not her. Towards the end, she pulled herself back emotionally all the while painting a picture that I was pushing her away which was dishonest, deceptive and underhanded. I was never any of those things and I think I might have deserved it even though I would never pull way and then blame her for pushing me away. That is deception in every way.
The heart wants what the heart wants but its the mind that keeps the memories alive. I sleep in bed that she picked, cook in a kitchen that she decorated, live in a house she wanted me to buy. I paid for it all but there is no escape. She’s everywhere I go in or out of the house. The gym where we worked out, the restaurants we frequented, the list keeps going on and on.
I can’t seem to snap out of it and accept my new life. I went out on a couple of dates with some really nice girls but as those women hugged me, I wanted to throw up. I don’t want to be touched or even talked to by any other women but her. But she’s no longer there.
She’s gone forever and what we had is dead. The dead do not come back, there is no return from the abyss of death. I feel no fear of never finding anyone cause there is no one that will come close to her. I feel no anger towards her cause how can you be angry with a flower for going stale when you never water it or give it sunlight.
I do feel constant guilt, I feel sadness and most of all I feel emptiness. Making her happy made me happy but I failed and I can’t take that feeling.
I’m sorry for the rant as I know some of you might be getting tired of my soap opera but I want the women out there to know that Men hurt too. We feel pain, much more than you might think and unlike you, our friends don’t know what to tell us other to get out there to find another replacement.
I know one day the feelings will go away but a loss is a loss and losing an angel sticks with you forever. And she was an Angel.
I am in the same boat . I hope you find happiness. Oh and don’t let your age deter you. Take a day at a time. I too feel like throwing up at the thought of even going on a date with another guy. My mind says I’ll never find someone as good. Honestly… Rest and breathe. I can’t go to the gym anymore just because of my anxiety… My mind goes crazy. I have always hated running, but in alaska it gets dark super early and I have been running in the dark in the cold and I’m dieing at 3 miles, but it helps and andu cry at the end every single time and then I lay and stare at the stars. It has helped, though I feel broken , it does help. Please don’t rush into dating because of this or that or your age. Feel your pain and find out who you are and enjoy the time. I understand this is harder said then done, but remember those women you are dating may be hopeful as well and you have no idea if you are their last hope. Be kind and realize everyone is going through something. Give the little love you have left but don’t overwhelm yourself. Just take it slow and feel the sunlighton your face. I always used to say I sm thankful for every wrinkle because I’m blessed to have reached the age of 32 and somewhat healthy… I have not been cooped up in a hospital room waiting for an organ. We had the joy of being able to love and we will both love again as long as we find ourselves first. So again, breathe and make dinner for yourself and picture the beautiful woman that will be standing next to you very soon. God Bless:)
I know its been a while since you posted this but I felt the need to comment.
I believe very strongly that you loved her deeply but the way in which you showed your love made it unable to sustain the relationship.
Although she seemed very happy with all the lavish gifts you showed her, and she may have loved you, it seems her love foundation was based solely on what you could buy for her. In that case there is no room for her to feel real genuine love for you the person as opposed to you the material provider. Hope things have worked out for you and you’re able to move on
I’m 38. I dumped my fiancé three days ago. I’m a professional and he was a professional loser. But I still loved him with everything that I had. I got nothing for Christmas, he got boxes on boxes from me and my family. I took him back after two bouts of break ups due to cheating. We were in different classes and I didn’t care. Still loved him and all the hard work he put into building us a home (literally), but not paying for our home (that was on me). I still didn’t care. I would drive him an hour to work everyday and pick him up (he lost his license to a DUI) and I did this for two years…
Fast forward four days ago. I pretended to get drunk after filling the vodka bottles with water, then following him after he snuck out through the backyard at 1 AM. Caught him cheating on me red handed.
So right now, I’m intensely in the anger stage. The man you described being to your ex sounds heaven sent. I never got presents. I never got help from him. He wasn’t honest or faithful. And I never want to hear from him again. The only thing I’m having a hard time with is just being alone in the house. I threw his shit out the day I caught him and now I feel like I’m too old to ever find love and get married. That being said, I can do “bad” all by myself.
I Hate You Nick says
I got dumped back in July last year, and in September he married someone else! He wasted no time in finding someone he thought better, and before he left, he told me I was nothing more than a seductress and a silly dreamer who put all my dreams onto him and his actions. And I spent a year on this man, loving him with everything I had. I’m still hurting and angry all these months later, can’t stop crying. I even saw the wedding photos of him and his wife on Facebook and am crushed all over again. I wish I at least had closure, to where I could actually hear from him and tell him how badly he made me feel, how I can’t trust anyone or open myself up to anyone ever again, and how I don’t want any more contact. But I know I won’t. I’m 41 and life feels over for me. Like a previous post, I too wish him dead, because while he was not physically abusive, he could be verbally cruel, and I never thought he’d replace me so quickly. If things don’t work out for him and he ever tries to come back, I will seek my closure and send him away forever, but I don’t think closure will ever happen. I am completely shattered and feel hopeless.
Excellent and exactly what I have been likening my own post breakup emotions to – the stages of grief. I really enjoyed your post. Breakups are truly emotionally disruptive. Especially the missing them part. Especially when you were the dumper because then you wonder if you made a mistake but then you remember why and the anger comes back. And so the rollercoaster goes.. 🙂 Thanks. Needed to read this. M
It’s been 3 weeks and 4 days since who I thought was the love of my life dumped me. We were in a relationship for a year and three months. During that time, we talked about getting married someday, and have a wonderful future together. We did have complications since we were both divorced and didn’t want to involve our children in our relationship yet. We also had to keep things quiet since we work together. (It’s not allowed at our work place). I had planned on looking for another job eventually. I would’ve done anything for him. The pain is unbearable and every day without him seems like an eternity. I don’t understand how you can talk to someone everyday for over a year, tell them that you love them everyday, and then cut them out of your life like they’re nothing. I feel broken, like I’ve lost my best friend. Even though I want him back, I’m not sure if I’d ever feel secure with him if we got back together. Someone who truly loves someone, would never let the other person go. I want someone to fight for me, to really love me, and would never think of hurting me. Love doesn’t destroy people.
I am in the thick of a breakup. We were together for 3 1/2 years. In those 3 1/2 years, he worked 10 different jobs, got his license suspended for two yrs and got his car stolen. I have…er had…money in savings from when my mother passed. I used up EVERYTHING to keep us going.
Overall we had such a great relationship, we were best friends! SO much in common, he shared secrets with me that he never told anyone. When I went through my hysterectomy 2 yrs ago, he was beyond amazing, he bawled his eyes out when they wheeled me back, he was always SO protective of me.
But the financial situation was always stressing me out, and I felt guilty because of what a great man he was despite that. He always made comments that I didn’t help him get a car and license, if I did that…then he could get a good job. Fast forward to 3 months ago. He drove to my work to tell me he was going to get fired from his job that day (long story) and that he was leaving town to go live with a “friend” that had a job opening up., he couldn’t put me through all that again.
About a month 1/2 after he left, I messaged him out of desperation, I missed him SO much. His response was he ‘would always love me and wanted me to be happy, but we are over for good.’ That shattered me.
Fast forward another month 1/2…last Wednesday…when I was missing him so bad I snooped on his fb and clicked on some girls profile that had ‘liked’ his pic…there it was, her cover photo was them and another couple. He was leaning into her with his arm around her, smiling…so happy looking. So I freaked and messaged him, he KEPT denying they were together and said “just cause I take a pic with a female doesn’t mean I’m f***ing her”.
Not sure why he would deny dating someone 3 months after he left, he’s already hurt me enough? THEN he told me he was making $65,500 now, and has abs (cause he’s been working out, which he NEVER did in 3 yrs) The pic of him with her, his stomach is still pudgy…doesn’t look like abs, makes me wonder if he really IS making $65k a year? And if so, why couldn’t he do that with me??
So I have gone downhill in a bad way, I feel like I can’t go on. I have an appointment to get on meds tomorrow, and I’m also starting therapy, first appointment next Monday. I PRAY to the universe that I feel better soon. I’m 42 and an terrified nobody will love me and take care of me emotionally like he did. We were so alike it was scary…I want that back so badly
Thank you for the insight. I don’t know if it’s over yet. He’s my best friend and lover. We’ve been together 15 years. We’ve been struggling with long distance for almost a year now. The week before labor day we were making future plans since we soon will not have to continue with the long distance. We made plans all the way thru retirement, we were going to sell the house, buy a motor home rv and travel. Last week I found out he was in a relationship with someone else and all the plans he made with me he is currently doing with her. She bought the rv and he’s living with her. I confronted him and got the truth. This should be enough for it to be over, but he told me he doesn’t love her and wants out. The only reason he is with her he missed me and was lonely. He doesn’t love her he loves me. I’m having a hard time letting him go and our dream. He still wants all we planned at least that’s what he tells me. He said the guilt was killing him. We talk everyday normally and I told him I still loved him. 2 days ago he didn’t call like normal and is phone is disconnect. He hasn’t replied to email which he always does. I’m so worried if he’s okay and yet I’m mad he hurt me. I think it needs to be over but it’s hard to with not knowing what happened to him
b d says
My boyfriend and I dated for 1.5 years. we were inseparable, spending every waking moment of every day together when I wasn’t in class or he wasn’t at work on the weekends. I got a wonderful opportunity to go away for 2 months (only 4 hours away) for my dream internship. The day I found out I called him screaming with excitement and his initial response was “what’s going to happen with us?” I got instantly bummed out and a red flag went up. He ended up appologizing later that day but it didn’t feel like it was meaningful. When he dropped me off at my internship we were okay, I was ready to be passionate about my science and focus on me and love him and miss the heck out of him. We started fighting, he got angry when I would go out with my friends, he got mad if I dressed up cute to go out with my girlfriends on a Friday night after long days all week in the lab. He would yell at me to constantly tell him I loved him and would tell me everything he hated about me. He eventually told me he didn’t trust me even though he had no reason to. The fighting continued and it was constant yelling and neediness on his end. I was so overwhellemd by everything I told him I loved him like crazy but I just needed space to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and who I am without him constantly nagging me about how awful I am and wondering why is he even with me if I am that awful? He would call around 3 am after going out and asking how many times I got hit on and if any guys touched me and who hit on me and what did they say? In my opinion I figured he would be proud if I got hit on because I wanted him and I always chose him, I was his and only his. Days went by and I started to care less, I felt horrible about who I was and began to think that i am not good enough. My internship finally ended and he picked me up and we hugged eachother like crazy and spent the night in a hotel and nothing seemed like it ever changed. We got back home and he started to tell me he needs to do everything he can to prove himself at his new job, he was always so insecure about not being a man and so driven to be perfect. He had many insecurities and would always ask me if he looked good or if he was fat ( he is 5’9 and 140 pounds, smaller than me) and it broke my heart to watch him think of himself that way but i didnt know how to help because constantly complimenting him got tiring. He began taking antidepressants while I was gone and they totally changed him. Needless to say after 1.5 years he told him his job is so important he did not know if he could balance dating me and working. So he left, I cried and begged for him back. I felt so lost and empty. I would call him and convience him every day why we were perfect for eachother and he was making a huge mistake. A week went by and I messaged him on facebook saying I loved him and missed him., he said he loved me and missed me so much it hurt… that led to me saying a final goodbye and letting him go. He called a few nights later in a panic that he thought his meds were making him have a heart attack. Lost and alone he came to me for comfort. As sad as it is, I felt strong and great that he contacted me and I was okay without him. I was there for him i talked him down from his panic attack and figured that was the end. The next day he began texting me about my birthday gift asking if he could give me on, i polietly said no thank you I do not want or need anything. He begged for me to take it. I denied it and went on with me day. Over the next 2 days he began texting me wanting me back, he made a mistake… we met up and I said im not ready to take you back, I am happy and I am me again, if you want this, you will let me take it slow and learn to trust you again in that you arent going to leave me. He agreed. He would constantly tell me he loved me, but never showed it. It was just all blank worded text messages. I began to regret taking him back, not given enough time to heal from the first time, I got depressed. I got angry with him and what he did to me. I had no forgiven him. I would continue to have panic attacks and put up a huge wall waiting for him to fight for me and take it down. Something didn’t feel right, it all felt fake. He would tell me about all of these girls that wanted him all the time and show me what they looked like and get pissed when I didnt tell people we were back together. Eventually we started to drift. I could not bring myself to believe he ever loved me. It all seemed so fake and like pure lies. I tried to break up with him but he begged me not to , we ended up looking at engagement rings about 2 weeks ago and having fun. Then on my birthday i felt him not care, the gift was thoughtless and I did not feel right accepting it. He put the necklace on me and im not a showy or materialistic girl and it was a diamond necklace. With the idea that he left me the first time to make money and start saving money for retirement, I told him I wanted him to return it and keep the money he worked so hard for. I didnt want things from him I wanted time with him. He was in control and he had all the power. I melted down. I tried to hurt myself constantly thinking I was never good enough that he never wanted me that he was fake, his love was just all a fake lie. He told me he needed to go home because I am a diamond and he broke me. I wasn’t happy anymore, I loved him so much it hurt me and feeling so unloved made me feel like I had no purpose, I couldn’t do anything right, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t funny enough or pretty enough. I hated myself. He told me the next day that he was too busy to talk, I needed him to tell me everything was okay but he was too busy golfing and said he could not talk to me. I took a step back and cooled off after getting so angry and yelling at him. I wrote him a note appoligizing for everything and all of the drama and how he knows that’s not who I am. I wrote 2 pages of every reason why I ever loved him. I wanted it to work I wanted him to want me. 24 hours passed and there was no response from the note I had posted on his door. I could not bare the pain of him being so happy and not caring. I got on my bike and rode over there to say sorry one more time give his favorite shirt back and let him go. He was outside and we made eye contact and I rode my bike away, as I was riding away he called and asked to see me (me hopeful that he wanted to say sorry too) I gave the shirt back and said i was sorry and I know i messed everything up and I will let him go. He said “hey” and I turned around and rode away…only to fall down crying as soon as I turned the corner where he could no longer see me. I expected a phone call later that day because he still had all my stuff. Or some type of communication. and hour went by I called all my friends and ranted to them about how I hated him and how hurt I was and lost i felt. I called him twice and no answer. He called back later and I said we need to talk, now I needed to feel like I didn’t mess everything up. He came over and I poured my heart out and said how stupid I felt for loving someone so much who didn’t give a hell about me. He stood there filled with confidence and a large ego and said he couldn’t be with me anymore. Angry and hurt I went into my apartment and took anything I could and gave it back to him. Grabbed my stuff he had of mine in his car, went back to my apartment and cried and screamed in anger. Later that night I texted him a heartfelt goodbye and thanking him for letting me feel love and experience love and I wished him nothing but happiness, and he instantly responded saying he hopes I find peace of mind and am the happiest girl ever because I deserve to be. I deleted the message and didn’t think twice. two days later I changed my profile pic to one of me I loved saying that there is something great up ahead and im going just as fast as my feet can fly and im leaving that sinking ship behind. Later that night, I noticed he had blocked me after seeing my post. I went a little nuts and had his facebook log in and when I looked at his history he was searching for me at 4am, multiple times during the day looking at my page. I do not know what I did wrong or what went wrong but i just know that I am hurting like all hell that he left me and I cannot stop blaming myself for everything coming to an end. The first break up was easier because I knew he was depressed and he was not happy and he still loved me. He has many family issues with his mom never being sober when he grew up and his dad always being gone on buisness trips. I can only hope that this is why he is freezing me out, But it hurts so bad thinking how happy he is and how he just does not care about me and could care less if I did end up dead or something happened, how do they just move on so fast and not care!? Its not fair that I am going through hell and he isn’t then I think well he blocked me on facebook he must still care enough that he cannot even look at me right?
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Anna Hall says
I feel like I’ve been stuck in the first phase for three months. I honestly don’t believe I will find anyone else. I worry I’m too old. I feel unlovable. I feel unworthy of love. I feel like I lost my big chance. I haven’t really entered the angry phase yet and might not ever. I’m 30 and have had no luck with love.
Hey can you please help me out. It’s gonna be three months now of no contact but I wake up thinking of him and it still hurts. It keeps hurting. Idk I think I’m confused and stuck. He already with another girl i think he cheated on me and was two timing. It was over the during the first breakup but somehow we got back to add up only more pain. It’s so useless to be stuck like this. sometimes i think i am wanting him back and thats even mote scary. He put through hell lot. And sometimes it feels like I am not accepting it. This was my first serious relationship which lasted for about 1. 5 years. Its so hurtful he chose her over me and is living with her now. I hurt alot. And i also have my exams on the month of may and i cant focus at all. How do I find my acceptance?
Have you ever thought. That you assumed all this out of your own guilty conscience? As bad as it sounds. You made these folks accusations up yourself about your bf so you can have a reason to cheat on him in return. That includes sleeping with his best friend and his friend. Your problem is you take things that I told you the truth about and you take it and totally twist it all around into a evil fairy tale. “If I am you and you are me” The problem is. It wouldn’t makes sense to ever be with me because of all the worng doing, the crazy things you said, the guilt of a friend, and what you did with my other friends. all you did was hurt yourself. Don’t get me wrong . I’m not perfect either. i try to your friend. You can’t accept it as the guilt twist inside you and to you it’s unforgiving yourself. I forgave you already. Trust me. I forgave you. i just found this article as I was looking for help about groin pain that’s I write about awhile back with my name and ran into this.
Nancy Westberg says
There is One year completed for my break up but till now I blame myself for my break up. I think it is my fault for my break up. Because Of your Article I realize that I was totally wrong.Thank you so much for this article.
This is all quite helpful. One comment that I disagree with towards the end is, “Every relationship will end (usually poorly), until the one that doesn’t, and then everything is great. I disagree with that notion, because commitment and making relationships LAST is the real challenge these days. Falling in love is the EASY part! And too many just aren’t up to doing the (self) work that’s required to keep a relationship healthy and growing. So, that’s why I disagree with the “then everything is great” part. Thanks for the great article.
I was single for 4 years after separating from my sons father (who was very abusive). I remained single to work on myself and deal with the emotional baggage. When I turned 32 I met the man of my dreams. We fell deeply in love and planned our future together. After two years together he cheated, abruptly discarded me over the phone and then immediatley replaced me with the woman he cheated on me with.
That was 7 weeks ago now, and I’m only just beginning to cycle into the acceptance stage. Although some days I still cannot beleive it happened. I have said all of the things stated in this article such as ill be alone forever. But mostly I am just feeling hurt and sad, I want to go back to anger because it was easier :-*
Im going thru a similar situation! O hope you are freling better im 33
Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since he broke up with me. I’m 24 and it’s my first relationship. We have a 9-month old. We continue to share the same residence. It’s ROUGH.
But I actually did gain some comfort and insight through this article.
Thank you for sharing. Toggling between anger and sadness mostly, with some “everything’s okay” occasionally. It gets worst at night.
Different stages for me:
1- shock: why me? why does she want to leave me? why now? what have I done?
2- guilt: listening to her: It’s all my fault, I was a poor lover, I was inconsiderate. I did not pay attention enough, I was thoughtless. I hurt her.
3- anger: her breakup manner was horrible, she left me via an ambiguous poorly worded text message, didn’t even bother to call me, and then acted all huffy later when I asked for clarification. She labeled me “a distraction” and canceled me like a Netflix subscription. How more inconsiderate can you be?
4- rationalization/acceptance. It’s all for the best, it was never going to last, too many differences between us from the word go. Also: it was really nice while it lasted and I should focus on that.
5- hope. I will meet someone else and it will be better, I will use this experience to never do the same mistakes again.
After 4 years I managed to overcome my emotional feelings but some physical pains like nausea and rapid heartbeats won’t go away all this time and it really affected my life style…how can I cure this regular nausea?
Man this was so helpful. Me and my ex ended things on such a good note, we remained friends no hard feelings at all, but sometimes that makes it harder. We still talk almost daily and I’m scared that’s leaving hope for both me and/or him that we may get back together so I am scared to move on, but scared he’ll move on and find someone else and I’m left looking and feeling crazy thinking we’ll get back together due to miscommunication, but I’m scared to stop talking to him as I don’t want him to think I want to lose him as a friend. These last few days have been the most confusing, emotionally roller coastered (it’s a word now haha) and anxiety filled days ever and I’m not sure what the right thing is to do. Love this article!
I like your stages and they have been true for me. At 59, this is my first break up – a relationship that lasted 32 years. We were integrated into each other’s families and had a lifetime of shared experiences. While I know that a new relationship is a possibility, I will still miss a person with whom I had such a history. It will take longer than the time I have left on the planet to build something like that.
dead yet says
Yeah. Bit don’t you think the actual motive or climax was rather dull? I mean we already knew Michael was the criminal. It was made known in the middle of the book that he framed John. I found the second half kinda boring.
WOW! Atleast now I feel normal, for a while I thought I was going insane. We’ve been married for 11 years and 23 years together and 2 years ago my wife walked out and left me, ON MY BIRTHDAY, and been bouncing between these stages and now I’m bouncing between stages 4 & 5, she’s playing the victim and that I’m the one who wants to end the marriage 🙈 wish her luck!🕺
Anyway, you have no idea how positive I’m feeling right now 🙏 Stay blessed Elana
Was enjoying this until I read “I’m not saying you’re guaranteed to meet someone and have kids when you’re 50”. Over 50 here, and not that I plan on having kids, it would be nice to have hope of meeting someone if I was ready at my age.
It’s never too late to meet someone… although kids after 50 might be tough 🙂
You keep waiting for the heaviness to leave you. You keep waiting for the moment you never think about the ex again. It doesn’t come.
– Junot Díaz
Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It helped normalize my process through a recent break up. I have never commented on a post like this before, my feelings are raw at the moment.
Coming out of a long and loveless marriage, it was breathtaking to find myself in a mutually loving and caring relationship with a man, with whom I felt emotionally safe and most comfortable with. I believe his words and actions of love, connection, care were genuine. I shared his vision of us being together as companions. Then a bout of severe clinical depression, triggered by work stress and stopping one of his psychiatric meds, and refusal of all help and support I offered him as a girlfriend (I am a mental health professional, not sure if it was a blessing or curse) led to his slipping into a spiral, acting out of character, typical signs and symptoms of depression and rapidly changing moods. It took a toll on both of us. I loved him and wanted to stand by him from the physical and emotional distance he needed to create for himself. He then decided it had to end. The break up text was written respectfully, yet I couldn’t comprehend how shallow it referred to our relationship as he reduced it to not having “any outside interests in common” for his reason for the break up. It tore me…I ask myself, was this his perception all this time or is it distorted by his untreated depression?So, I am still in shaping my narrative, and coming to terms. Riding the waves of grief as the emotions rise up and down. I remind myself that the love and comfort I felt in his presence belongs to me, and I thank him for the relationship experience.
Three exclusive years. Two on and off before that. Now more than seven weeks since I last saw him. This weekend is the 4th since the discard.
He’s very strong on charm and persuasion. Especially for the last two years. Talk, talk, talk about our future together in a locale that was a goal for each of us. So many narratives about where we’ll go, about how we’ll live. “We have such a strong future…” Oh the sincerity in his bright blue eyes, his flashing smile.
I felt so safe. I totally internalized the promise of that future. I believed him; I believed in him. This was going to happen.
The last time I saw him was a Wednesday evening. Saturday he cancelled plans; on Monday he texted he was out of town. We had plans for the following weekend. Friday he texted he was out of state. I actually thought he would honor those plans. Why? Because I still believed in him and his promises.
Friends cautioned me he was a user. “Oh, no, this is real” I said over and over. Now there are no plans, there is no future and THIS is what’s real.
In my initial shock I texted him some crazy (and apologized). I texted him that if he never lashed out when hurt not only is he a better person than I am but he is better than anyone I’ve ever known.
Yes, text. He won’t answer calls and won’t text back.
He’s a liar and a future faker. He’s stolen $. And I’d probably see him again. No, make that I definitely would. I crave him.
In my dopamine and endorphin deprived state I cry, hope and wish both for the past and that elusive future. He’s my first thought upon waking; throughout the day waves of nausea and anxiety. Surely today he will get in touch… this can’t be real. But of course it is all that is real.
I recently went through a break up because I moved away for the summer. And now I am stuck in the anger stage. I obsess over all the small things he did that I disagree with and I am using that to delay accepting the break up. It’s hard because those little things were easy to work through when we wanted to stay together but now that we broke up entirely because of circumstance it’s hard to move on from the little fights.
I do really understand this. We just broke up 1.5 weeks ago. We were married for 2.5 years… together for a bit more than 3 years. And i was angry at him and in denial and sad and now im angry at myself… i wish i got back the anger i had towards him, because this self anger and blaming is killing me. I know there was no way of us being together without constant fighting and both being miserable. But sometimes the things look so small and managable in retrospect, if we both just would‘ve more this or would‘ve more that…. but there is no use of this. Its over and i know he doesnt love me anymore, because he told me hes not sure he does love me and he wants yet another break of the relationship. And i felt since a long time he doesnt really love me anymore. We did this break thing 2 times already and it was hell for me! Each time two months without him and me clinging onto hope he‘ll come back and begging him to be back, saying im sorry for my mistakes and that i will be more the way he likes me and that we are made for each other and not throwing away everything we worked for so hard. I couldnt do it another time. It crushed me the first times and he was very very bad and really evil to me in this period of breaks. He never told me its really over he just said a break and i asked him if he would come back, he said no. If i asked him so i could reach in divorce then, he said, just do whatever u want. I pit in separation in that time and when we got back together and i withdrew it, he learned that i put in the separation in the first place. He was mad at me so much for doing so, but what should i have done? This man told me hes not coming back but didnt tell me its over and i should do whatever. Who stays married to a person like this?
And i wasnt sure if i could really love him anymore after it, but i excepted it because i thought i deserve it somehow, because i was clingy to him. Even though he gave me reason for it, because even before we were married he chatted with a stranger lady on a strange app and told his uncle to download it as well because those ladies are all here to get laid. Im somehow sure he didnt cheat on me, but this was a big trust breaker. Then one of his family members told him, that he cant bring me over anymore because he saw his nephew sad because of me. And my husband didnt stand much in for me and kinda just accepted it. Or maybe used it as an excuse because he was secretly happy to go without me there. While i stood in for him and made my family like him even though they didnt. It was complicated because he came to me from a different country and culture and religion as well… and he migrated through our marriage here. I know he didnt just marry me because of the residency. I know he loved me, or at least the kinda love he can feel… but lately it was like our relationship was only a burden for him and he was only in anymore for the residency. And it killed me!! Because of this i tried so hard to get closer again and keeping him close, but it only worsend. Even for my feelings it did. And when he wanted another break i just couldnt handle this anymore. I wanted to be with him, while he only wanted space. He switched a lot of things around and accusing me of things i never said and done. He anytime i cried told me im a manipulator and using my tears… it was one of the most hurtgful things ever, because i just wanted him to hug me once when i was sad. Even when it was because of us fighting. Whenever i got mad in an argument, i tried to apologize right away but he would never accept it, while he never apologize at all…
Im so sad and feeling empty because i feel like we had something special and we messed it up so much and now there is no more hope to fix anything. All the respect and love is gone…I know its no use to think about the whole thing because it will never change anything, but im so heartbroken and i feel empty and alone…
Yesterday, actually it showed up as maybe 1:30 am today I posted a reply and it has disappeared. Why?
Julia Gomez says
This is the first article that made sense. I’m 53 and been in a relationship for 2 and half years. I love him and still do, even though he cheated on me with a younger woman. Then choose her and turned evil on me. At first I thought well we weren’t together for a month and got back together, that he found some one for the moment. He did but kept us both. I was trying to make things better and he was I don’t know what. But he is fine cause he got someone and I am the one suffering. I am going through what you just explain, I fine one minute, angry the next and then sobbing that it hurts inside and out. Of course it’s been about a month, so it’s still an open wound.
This at least help me stop and think that I’m not going out of my mind with a broken heart. I still emotional but I always been.
I just still figuring this all out.
Stephanie Rockenbaugh says
I long for disinterest. I am still so depressed. But reading your words gives me encouragement, which i need so very much now. Thank you for your depth of understanding. Stephanie
For some it doesn’t go away…. I’m stuck in longing for 7 years. I feel I’m wasting my life to depression. She was the one, even if it was only in my imagination, I cannot even think of being with someone else, it makes me sick. I don’t want anyone else taking an important place in my life. But living alone and isolating myself makes life useless. So sometimes it doesn’t get better.
Going to sound completely selfish and unkind here. My teen; 19, daughter is going through a 3rd breakup. (Different relationships) She has been on pills for depression for a couple of years now already because we found out 3 years ago she has a terminal, genetic neurodegenerative disease. She is losing her ability to walk but her mind stays intact. Her condition means she may be passed before 30. This year she turns 20 🙁
She has been desperate to find someone before she is in a wheelchair (she has to use a Walker now) as she believes she will never find someone if not now. This makes her actively seek out relationships.
After the 1st 2, I have discouraged her from it only because I see how hurt she becomes after! This last time, we all actually thought he was a good one! But I guess he had doubts all along with her disability and out of nowhere, he ended it. He told her cruelly; that to stay with her, meant a sad future for HIM!! She never saw it coming. None of us did. It was his first serious relationship (21) so he has yet to learn about communication in a relationship. (At her expense though.) Now, I try to help her pick up the pieces…again… it almost angers me! I’m sick of her getting hurt. I don’t feel compassionate like I have before probably because I discouraged her from trying so soon again but she’s so lonely. She now watches as most of her friends go on with their lives in University and moving in together in their relationships. She’s lost so much already. How do I get her out of this daily crying, not eating, sadness and get her to find a way to find some joy left somehow in the short life she’s got left? To know that even if she does end up ‘alone’, she’ll be ‘Ok’. That she has a big family who love her. Part of her still lives in the past where her dreams of a future mirrored those of her friends and one foot stands in the future which is so very sad for her???
I feel awful seeing her suffering even more than she already does.
Yes, she has a right to seek out relationships but it is heartbreaking to watch her fall apart when it doesn’t work out and physically and emotionally unhealthy for her to keep going through.
I knew him 30 years so saw the public side.
Then we became more than friends and then I saw the true side.
Defo a personality disorder. But I fell deeply. And we lived together six years. And then he had a emotional time with dad dying which I was there in all his ups and downs. Never had any support back. But you say have hope.
Well I do not see any because he got so angry and kicked me out his mums house 300 miles from home on a cold night In my pjams in anger. He was not in good place and I would of forgiven. Everyone said lots of people have bad times but they do not take out on their partner But as always he attacks me verbally and I get the blame.
So we had plans and plans to move to wales and so many other future dreams. In the blink of a eye I lost my home partner his family my dog and lots of other things I came to know. I’m not working due to depression and anxiety it all ended violently.
And I rented for 25 years moved In with him so I lost all.
I’m now with my mum four months now aged 51. And see no hope. I see four walls. Where his life Carrys on. Like I never existed. I’m traumatised. I have no space to grieve as not my home. I see no future. But a bedroom to stay out the way of my mum losing her space. 51. I had a normal life with a normal family and all was great. Yes he had mood swings. But I loved him deeper than any one in my whole life. Yes he is a narcissist and mirroring me at the start and all the red flags I see now. But I cannot stop loving him my life I had and especially my dog.
This was four months ago and I see no light. Especially at my age. Be different too if I had my own place to mend and heal.
Not the best position here as my mum can be nasty sarcastic.
Yes a good article. But I’ve lost all hope. Like all humans we crave company more than love. And I thought I found my end of life chapter. And feel no one else will want someone who lives with a mum and not working and depressed.
Thanks for this! I’m going to try to remember to not totally trust all my negative thoughts, but it’s hard.
I broke up with my ex because I got cold feet about us buying a house together after 5 years. But I was very unsure about whether or not I should break up with her. I felt doubtful about our relationship and was focusing on the negatives. But two months after the breakup I still feel doubtful and I miss her and I wish we were together and I can’t currently accept that leaving her was the right choice. What on earth do I do? I wish I could fix it.
Thank you for writing this. I’m still in touch with the rational part of my brain but boy does the pain take you over and the stories you tell yourself are absurd. I can feel it so heavily in my heart and belly. I left my husband due to his aggression and volatility but I still miss him. I’ve been through all of these stages, learning about practicing radical acceptance. This article really helped.