After a break up, you think your life is doomed. That fear of being alone makes you want to question your worth and value. It feels like your days of overthinking are endless. For several days or weeks, there is not a single minute that you can put this person out of your mind. You put him on a pedestal; you imagine him as flawless and perfect to have dumped you that easy and have decided to walk out of your life. You question every action you have made in the past few months of the relationship and you constantly blame yourself for everything that has happened even if the break up was caused by both parties.
So, you think you will not get over this, right? Maybe you are just on the process of moving on, that’s why. Perhaps knowing what stage you are right now will make it easier for you to trust the process and keep moving forward. I will share to you the five stages of moving on that I personally have experienced after ending a 6-year relationship.
STAGE 1: DENIAL
It seems like a routine to break up and make up with him. You think that the latest break up you had with him is just another usual dilemma that the two of you can resolve after days of no contact. You expect that he will send a text message later to tell you once again how much he values your relationship and how much he wants to work things out. But after several hours, days or weeks of waiting, you receive nothing. You now send him a text or call him just to ask how he is feeling right now. And he texts back or answers the call, with a short reply expressing the firmness of his decision. The chase begins. You cry. You beg. You plead. You still believe in the strong connection that the two of you had and you think you can still convince him to stay. But he has thought about this for weeks or months. He is decided. You have known this person for so long and now suddenly all the happy memories you had with him comes rushing in your mind. The first time you traveled together. The first time you met his parents. The first time he confessed he loves you. The first kiss. And all the fun moments together. You think you can both still work things out, if only you can make him remember these wonderful memories. Maybe that one last long text message will make him realize your worth and would make him change his mind. Maybe if you promise him that you will change or if he will just change this one little mistake, there is hope in the relationship. You cry. You beg. You plead. Repeat.
STAGE 2: REGRET
Since he says he is never coming back, you now blame yourself for the end of the relationship. You think a mistake you made caused its end. Or maybe you yourself are the mistake. If you just have done the opposite of what you did, maybe he is still here. You now even regret begging and pleading. Maybe if only you kept quiet or you did not show anger at the latter part of the relationship, maybe you two are still standing strong. You overthink; you cannot sleep; you cannot eat; you cannot live. You think maybe you were too possessive or too trusting. You think you were too much and too less all at the same time. Maybe if you did not have that one last fight, maybe you are still together right now. Just maybe.
STAGE 3: REBOUND
You are now starting to feel frustrated. You kept blaming yourself on the second stage but now you are realizing that the break up is not your sole mistake. You think you have now a reason to move forward since you realize that it was not just you. Finally, you now see that it was because of the two of you. And so you think you can find another love. So you try entertaining suitors; you start talking to old friends who can potentially make you feel loved again. You think maybe you can find somebody better, or maybe someone who is just okay for you, for now. But at the end of the day, you realize that you just see him in every song you listen to, in every date you go to, or in every conversation you have with another new person. It still is painful that at times even mentions of his name sting. Then you cry because maybe you are simply seeing other people to prove to him that you are capable of love. Then you stop. You stop entertaining others since it just damages you more. It makes you remember pains of the past.
You then decide to think of ways to keep him off your mind. You just aim to improve yourself instead. You go to the gym and achieve that body figure you want, thinking that maybe if he sees you again, he will regret. You try to revisit your old passion. You play the guitar, you paint, or you write songs once again. You divert your attention to other activities which you think make you feel that sense of achievement. You feel good about yourself once again.
Since you did not have time to hang out with your friends during the relationship, you now plan to spend most of your time with them. You travel with them. You try new things; you go mountain climbing; you go to different beaches. You still think of him sometimes, maybe it would be more fun if he is with you as you go to places. But you convince yourself that this is better. You somehow feel alive. You create a bucket list and crosses the items out. You still think of him, yes. But you just shake all the fantasies off because you think you will not anyway experience these new adventures with your friends if you are still with him.
STAGE 4: RELAPSE
You seem perfectly fine until you reach the fourth stage. You think the worst is over until a friend told you he is now seeing someone else or you personally saw him with someone new. You breakdown. You think you are back to square one. You want to talk to him and ask him about it. You want to know who she is, what she has that you do not have. You compare yourself. You overthink once more. Why does he seem so happy? Why is he happy with her? You thought you have grown too strong, but here you are again, mourning the relationship that was lost long ago. You start questioning all the gains that you have achieved. Do not worry this stage will not last too long. So do not send him that message.
STAGE 5: ACCEPTANCE
The final stage. You now finally have decided to forgive him and yourself. The burden inside you was released. You free yourself as you forgive yourself. You have accepted that he is now happy. You have accepted that truth. You are now moving on with your life. You do not want to be bitter anymore. You finally decide to be better not to prove to him that you are, but for yourself. You know that you are bound to achieve greater things for yourself. You are finally deciding to love your imperfections and flaws because you know you only got your back.
In what stage are you now? Believe that you will survive this break up. It may seem impossible right now, but you are going to make it. Someday you will laugh about the excruciating pain you are experiencing right now. You will find the love you deserve and will be grateful that this happened. Healing is a process. Trust the process.