Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Relationship Grief

I have a close friend who recently went through a break-up with his girlfriend.  He was so down as he expressed how much he hurt.  "You're grieving," I told him.  "But it's going to be OK.
"Grieving?  Hey, she's not dead!"
"But the relationship is.  Right now you think life can't go on, but it will and you will be fine.  Give it time and know there's an end to the dark tunnel."

After a breakup, there is a cycle of grief.


Wow, did that really just happen?  No, it was just a bad day.  She'll come around.  Your heart doesn't want to feel the pain, so your mind takes you to a safe place: the unreal.  This can last for a while, so you can assimilate what's happened in your own time.

When reality slowly returns, you will feel the pain of loss.  Sometimes it will seem unbearable, but you need to go through it.  Drinking it away will not help.  Instead, masking the pain will only prolong it.
Guilt is inevitable.  You will question everything you did, said, or did not do.  Your feelings towards yourself may become quite harsh.  You will think things like: "I'm too ugly!" or  "How could I have been so stupid?"  You aren't ugly or stupid or you wouldn't have been together in the first place, right?

 Now you get to vent.  It was all their fault!  How could they be so heartless?  I hate them!  Why me?  Why now?
This is your body getting rid of all the pent up emotion.  Mixed in all the anger is often bargaining.  "If she'll come back, I'll change."  You may begin to think of all the ways you could change to win back your love.  It's all part of the process.  You're fine.


A great time of reflection begins to overtake you.  You listen to all of "Our Songs."  Her pictures mean so much.  You wished you hadn't smashed that one when you were in the angry stage.  Others will try to cheer you up, but it will only aggravate you.   Try to let them know what's happening and that you'll be fine.  There's no sense burning bridges with the innocent.
Depression can set in.  You will probably want to sleep a lot.  Your mind will go to "that time when."  Once again, you're not going to live in this depression, but it needs to run its course.
Loneliness is also a part of the process.  You will feel all alone in a crowded room.  Without her, there's only one of you wherever you go. 


One day, you will wake up and your life will just seem normal.  Your first thoughts won't be of her, but of getting to work.  Depression will lift and you will begin to live again.  You will probably have thoughts about her, but they won't eat away at you.  


You now begin to function and find activities to enjoy with your friends without her.  Practical living will take precedence over lost love.


The day of acceptance is coming.  You will learn to love again and move on with your life.  Be careful not to force this while you are in stages 1-5.  Instead, let it happen over time.   
Accepting what happen does not mean you will never remember what happened.  Instead, it means that it will no longer control you.  You must choose to step out into happiness.

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