5 Stages of Relationship Grief

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There seems to be one thing that has the ability to destroy a human from the inside out. The ending of a relationship that you thought would never end, or one that seemed to make you feel at home. You don’t have to have experience with love to know the feeling of having your heart broken. We crave connection, we crave intimacy, and we know that when we pursue those feelings, there is a chance that it could hurt us. But still, we try.

The idea of happiness is at the end of the race, but life seems to make it into a marathon instead.

Along this race, relationships will serve a purpose and it is important that you understand the dark side so that you can understand the bright and sunny side as well. Whenever we are faced with the severance of a relationship, the mind, body, and spirit goes through five stages of grief.

1. Denial

The first stage is denial, and denial is the act of not accepting the disintegration of your reality. You cling on to what you know because you are comfortable with the reality that you have constructed around this individual. A part of you feels like it is being ripped from your stomach, and you run. You run far away from that feeling because you know the pain will be too much to bear. Denial is you clinging on to the image in your head, but now it is time to face the reality. It will hurt, and it will push you into the next stage of grief.

2. Anger

Anger is famous for being the most memorable part of grief because it is where you will experience one of the most primal parts of emotion. The anger will stem from reasons that caused the separation in the first place, and you won’t deny the emotions any longer. You will feel them as they bubble up to the surface of your skin. Anger is the next stage because not only does it help you see the person you truly are, but it helps you release pent up emotions that need to exit your mind, body, and spirit. However, this release can have serious drawbacks.

3. Bargaining

At this stage, all you can think about is how to make things the way they were before, or what can you possibly give or do to make things better. Our social nature causes us to have the need to create balance in our interpersonal relationships because they are precious to us and we still may be carrying some feelings of denial with us during the bargaining stage. This is the “do whatever it takes to make it right” stage, but this is also the stage where some relationships can hopefully be mended. You feel the urge to fight for the relationship you once had, and this fight can take a lot out of a person.

4. Depression

The part of grief that seems to take a toll on most individuals is the depression that comes after anger and other tumultuous emotions. At this point you feel numb and you replay all of the wonderful parts in your head. Over and over and over again. The constant replay of memories make you feel drained and the only energy that you have the urge to expend is when it’s time to drag yourself from your bed to your bathroom. The spirit is hurt and life seems to only show up black and white now. All you can do is think about how fast your life has turned upside down.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance is the stage that most of us would like to reach because it is like reaching a new enlightened state of being. You now know that everything in your life has happened for your own personal growth and that you will be alright. This stage is filled with gratitude and it is the result of your choice to heal from the pain that caused you so much of your energy. The most interesting thing about acceptance is that you can experience this before you experience denial, or any other stage of grief. Accepting your life and the pain that comes with it is a choice, it is not something that just happens.

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