If you think back to all of the breakups in your life, you might start to pick up on some patterns. Of course, some breakups stand out as being particularly worse than others. And some, well, you facilitated them because you were really just over it, and the pain wasn’t so terrible. But the ones that stung, those sent you spiraling into a series of behaviors and phases that you just had to get through in order to get over it. When you’re in it, it seems like every breakup is different. But looking back, you may realize that your post-breakup behavior fell into a range of activities.
Like with any difficult transition, such as grief or addiction recovery, it’s important to know that there is a process, it’s rather universal, and you really aren’t alone in it. There’s comfort in knowing what feels like an emotion-fueled mess of actions is actually falling neatly into place in one of the regular steps. And that’s the case for getting over a breakup. So next time you’re in a messy one and feeling like you’ll never recover, you can step back and say, “Ah. I’m just in that stage right now.” We spoke with Shanita Burgess (IG: @shanita__b), a licensed clinical mental health counselor and owner of ShanitaBurgess.com about the many stages of getting over a breakup.
It is a loss
Burgess agrees that going through a breakup is, at times, like suffering a more severe loss. “Getting over a breakup is a journey. The process of emotional recovery afterward is very similar to the grief of losing a loved one.” And, like the process of getting over the death of a loved one, breakups involve a stage of denial. Which is the first stage we’ll cover.