Stages of a Breakup: 5 Phases
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Stages of a Breakup: 5 Phases

May 10, 2021
Staring at your phone waiting for a message of reconciliation that never comes? Yeah, you're in the denial stage.
Staring at your phone waiting for a message of reconciliation that never comes? Yeah, you're in the denial stage.

Breakups. Yeah, they suck, so if you've just experienced a breakup and you're feeling super vulnerable, you're not alone. Whether you did the breaking up or you were broken up with, you're probably feeling a flood of emotions right about now.

No matter if a breakup was a mutual decision or your ex did you dirty in some way, you're going to have some feelings. Okay, you'll probably have a whole lot of feelings. And that's normal! Getting over a breakup is hard work, no matter the circumstances. The good news? Though you'll have to go through several stages to come out stronger on the other side - you've got this! Understanding the phases of a breakup can help you brace yourself for what's to come so you can deal with your breakup in a healthy way.

What Are the Stages of a Breakup?

You've lost something big, so feel those feelings. Just know you can do this as you move through five stages of dealing with a breakup: denial, distance, sadness, acceptance, and hope. Knowing what to expect can make the process of grieving a breakup a little less scary. Here's how it might look for you.


Your heart is going to want to take control in this first stage after a breakup. Hey, you're in a super vulnerable space, trying to adjust to the idea of life without the person you love — and have lost. So, instead of your logical brain ruling your belief system, your heart will try to take the reins of your thoughts and actions. Even if you think you know your relationship has ended, you don't quite believe it in this phase.

What does denial look like? Well, against the frustrated advice of friends and family, you're probably harboring fantasies of how things will somehow, in the end, finally, one day, work out. You're likely looking for hidden signs in what others interpret as clear indications that your relationship is over that your relationship is not, actually, over. You're almost definitely checking your phone for a message of reconciliation, or maybe you're even late-night-texting your ex.

And you know what? It's all normal. Just keep hanging in there as you deal with your breakup and start making progress. Because you know what else? You ARE making progress, even on days when it doesn't feel that way.


Once you're not completely in denial, you may suddenly feel weirdly distant from your ex and the breakup. That strange hollow feeling is (yup!) very normal. Apathy or numbness can happen when you're working through your new reality. You might even feel like you're existing at a distance from the whole world around you.

To continue recovering, lean into your feelings instead of trying to block them. Even if your emotions scare you, you'll want to honor them so you can heal and grow. Journal, cry, scream, talk to someone you trust. These tough feelings are actually signs you're moving on.


This healthy stage of breakup acceptance unfortunately might be the hardest part. You're starting to really Get. It. Your breakup really happened. The person you deeply care(d) about is no longer in your life. This is the phase when you'll find yourself wallowing in feelings, maybe scrolling through your Instagram grid to take one last look at all your #couplegoals shots or reading through old messages.

For you, this stage might mean constantly feeling tired, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, or feeling disconnected from other people when you're around them. Maybe you're never hungry, or you're overeating to cope. You could just plain feel hopeless all the time.

Feel those feelings — they're totally normal after a breakup.  But even if you feel like you'll never move on, and nothing's ever going to work out for you in love ever again, remind yourself that this breakup is not the final chapter. (In fact, you're only halfway through the stages of a breakup!) Chatting with a Psychic can help you remember that your future isn't as bleak as the way you picture it right now. Trust us, your future's not bleak. Things are about to start getting easier.


Feel the fog of sadness lifting? Okay, TBH, you might not feel GOOD quite yet. But as you move into the acceptance phase of getting over a breakup, you start to make peace with the loss you experienced. Acceptance usually happens tiny piece by tiny piece, so don't think you're doing something wrong if you don't suddenly feel, well, completely peaceful. This stage typically works as a gradual process.

Lingering sadness is a hallmark of this breakup stage, but even that feeling means you're making peace and letting go, slowly but surely moving forward. Moving forward doesn't mean you can't (and won't) mourn what you've lost. Even as you accept your new reality, give yourself permission to feel sad. You might look back on this relationship with a smile one day (or maybe not!). That day doesn't have to be today, but this stage has you realizing there's only one direction to go: forward.


You did it! You've felt your feelings, dealt with your heartbreak, and now you're at a point where you can start truly looking toward the future. You're ready to start looking for love again. Oh, and you actually believe there could be someone else out there for you.

You may still have some tough moments as you adjust to your post-breakup life. Memories and emotions may still catch you off guard, but remember all the good work you've done and progress you've made. Keep doing the work from the previous stages, journaling and engaging in self-care to make sure that painful breakup energy keeps dissipating. Thank you, next to your ex AND those awful breakup vibes. That hopeful feeling is here to stay.

Speaking to a psychic can help you navigate these phases and shed light on when a new love might be ready to appear. Get a love Psychic reading from a PathForward psychic today.

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