A breakup is always a big turning point in your life.
The phases of separation are similar to the death of a partner. Even when you break up, you mourn for missed opportunities, for your life plan that can no longer be implemented, and for the beautiful relationship that used to be there.
With a separation, everything often changes friends, living, the environment, and always everyday life, regardless of whether you have children or not. The changes in everyday life are often the ones that keep reminding you that a breakup has happened. New habits have to be rebuilt. That’s why it’s usually a long process.
The 7 Phases of a breakup
There are many different models for the process of separation. In my experience, you go through 7 different phases – regardless of whether you announced the separation or your partner.
However, the phases are different in length and severity for everyone. Sometimes you notice one phase more strongly, another almost not at all. In addition, the individual phases do not run strictly one after the other, but you can also get a “relapse” into the previous phase.
This is due to a variety of reasons:
- Our different experiences with the topic of separation itself
- With the experiences during the partnership
- The living conditions, i.e. whether there is a shared apartment/house or not
- Who may still be affected by the separation, e.g. children or pets
- The reasons that led to the separation
In addition, women and men mourn the past differently. It was found that women and men have different strategies for dealing with separation.
The fact is, however, that the phases of processing a breakup are the same for everyone. Now let’s take a closer look at each phase.
Phase 1: shock
Immediately after saying the breakup, you go into shock. You feel empty, numb, alone, helpless, exhausted, and afraid. In this phase, you hardly feel anything: neither your own emotions nor hunger or other needs.
Your own fears now come to the fore, e.g. fear of loss or fear of commitment, and may plunge you into even more shock.
In this phase of the separation, you do not yet realize the full scope of the new situation and you are just functioning.
Phase 2: Denial
In the second phase, you do not want to accept the separation and you deny it to yourself. You may be hoping for a clarifying conversation or you are looking for justifications as to why your partner announced the separation.
Even if you initiated the separation yourself, you feel – just like your ex-partner – powerless and exhausted.
Phase 3: Anger
In this phase, anger overcomes you and everything that has accumulated inside you up to this point is now making its way out.
If hate is added to the anger, ill-considered actions could also result. Therefore, control yourself, for such ill-considered actions always backfire on you. In these cases, you will get angry with yourself afterward or you will be very embarrassed. Rather try to vent your anger elsewhere, e.g. in sports or in conversations with dear friends.
Phase 4: emotional chaos
In the fourth phase, your emotions play a roller coaster with you. You are torn. One day you think you’ve come to terms with the breakup and the next you’re a mess again. This back and forth in the feelings is very exhausting and not only emotionally but also physically.
So just be patient with yourself and feel all the feelings and emotions. They are all important and want to be seen. You might find it helpful to write a journal during this phase. Here you can use questions to reflect on yourself and your emotional world and draw a good line under this separation.
Phase 5: Acceptance
For the complete processing of the separation, the acceptance of this separation is an important key. Only when you have fully accepted the breakup can you move on to the next phase. At this stage, you accept and learn from your own mistakes in the previous relationship.
Forgiving your partner’s behavior and mistakes is also a relief in this situation so that you can then enter into a new, fulfilling love relationship.
You can read more about acceptance in this article: What does acceptance mean in resilience?
Phase 6: Let go
When you let go of the old partnership, your old energy and zest for life will come back. Your gaze is directed towards the future again. Your life in the new constellation has become everyday life for you and no longer seems strange and difficult.
In this phase, you think about what your dreams and needs actually are. You can now imagine being happy with someone else.
Here it makes sense to start a so-called bucket list on which you record all the things you still want to do in your life.
Phase 7: Self-discovery
In this phase, you alone are the focus. You build a new life according to your wishes. This is often accompanied by other changes. You are now ready for a new, wonderful partnership that fulfills you and takes place on an equal footing.
You yourself are at peace with yourself and love your new life. Through the separation, you will come out of the process stronger and more resilient. Further development of your personality is also clearly noticeable for you and others. You are ready for a new, exciting life.
Read Also: How To Find A Therapist Who Focuses On Latine Mental Health
Each phase has its purpose and helps you to process your grief over the breakup. Only those who live through all the phases can face the future freely and carefree. Otherwise, there is a risk of getting stuck in the past, getting stuck in old patterns of behavior, and thus repeating old mistakes.
If you find you can’t cope with the breakup, seek professional help. This is a shortcut to this sometimes tedious process, making it quicker and easier to start over.
To support you in your separation process, please book an appointment with me here.