We’ve already touched on the signs you’re with Mr. Wrong: he criticizes your appearance or he expresses intense feelings for you but then disappears for days (to call out just a couple). Today we’re slightly shifting gears. With the help of our Heartbreak Coach, Claire Byrne, we’re sharing the stages of getting over a relationship that’s not meant to be. Below, Byrne breaks down the five main stages of moving on from Mr. Wrong.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
“Recovering from heartbreak is not a linear process, and it can entail all five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
You might wake up in the morning and feel that sick, aching, pain in your stomach—longing for him to hold you in his arms or hoping that when you check your phone there’ll be an ‘I made a mistake’ text, when you’re still in disbelief that it’s over (denial).
Then you wonder how you’re going to make it through the day, let alone find both feet on the ground after figuring out how to pull the covers off, or perhaps you don’t and choose to stay in bed (depression).
On another morning you decide to give yourself a badass boss woman pep talk and say: Today I’m gonna live my life to the fullest. I’m not gonna let his leaving derail my happiness (acceptance).
Later, you might replay his ‘I want to move in together’ talk that he initiated just days before he bounced, causing a fiery rage and heat in your body (anger).
And as you fall asleep at night missing him again, your brain lets you go over all the ‘mistakes’ you think you made that led him astray. If only I didn’t make him go to my mom’s birthday dinner instead of the game. If only I kept my mouth shut about him being perpetually late. God, what I would do for another chance to ‘be better’ (bargaining).
As much of a roller-coaster ride all of the above sounds like, these stages of grief are completely healthy and normal.
When we experience the loss of someone we love, our bodies go into panic, and it can feel like the death of a loved one. Meditation can help you separate from the story that feels very factual, and eventually give you the wiggle room to loosen the grip of how you think things should be, in order for you to feel better.
Author and spiritual teacher, Byron Katie, reminds us that when we argue with reality, we suffer … but only 100% of the time.
When we deny, bargain, or indulge anger and sadness over what is, we only create more suffering for ourselves. That said, it’s important to allow our hearts, minds, and bodies to do what they want to do in the initial shock of it all.
Allow yourself to move through the five stages of grief as they arise. And don’t think that if you make it to a moment of acceptance but then find yourself depressed again that you’re regressing. It’s perfectly normal for your head and heart to bounce around from stage to stage.
Let that pocket of acceptance be a reminder that you will eventually arrive in full acceptance—just keep committing to mindfully showing up and lovingly pooshing yourself forward, over and over again.”