Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
The Stages of a Breakup
The Stages of a Breakup: How to Heal a Broken Heart
We get so many breakup questions on our Growing Self blog and through Facebook from broken-hearted people looking for breakup recovery advice. More than anything, they want to know how to get over a breakup. They have questions like:
“How long does it take to get over a breakup?”
“How do you get over a breakup when you live together”
“How to cope when your Ex moves on?”
“How to stop thinking about your Ex?”
“How to get over a bad breakup?”
As you know if you’ve ever listened to my podcast, I have a special place in my heart for people who are in the midst of a bad breakup, and I really want to help. (You can read my own horrible breakup story here.) I thought that, instead of trying to answer so many specific breakup questions, it might be more helpful to everyone to learn more about the stages of a breakup. My hope is that in learning about the stages of a breakup, you can identify where you are in this process and get some direction for how to move past your breakup.
The Stages of a Breakup
Breakup recovery is not an event, it’s a process. Learning about the stages of a breakup, and what the breakup recovery process actually looks like, will provide you with a more robust answer about what to expect.
Breakup Stage 1: Craving Contact With Your Ex
In this stage of breakup recovery, you’re in intense pain. You can’t stop thinking about your Ex, you’re craving contact with them, you’re idealizing your Ex, and you’re often wishing that you could get back together. This is the “withdrawal” stage of breakup recovery, and it’s bad. Worst yet, people can get stuck in this stage for a really long time. We’ll talk how to take your power back, and break free from this stage so that you can truly begin the process of healing.
Breakup Stage 2: Grieving
Once you’ve decided for yourself that the relationship is really over, then your healing process begins with honest grieving. We’ll talk about how to use the power of grief to release your attachment to your Ex, and work through the pain of heartbreak.
Breakup Stage 3: Releasing Anger
Once you’re past the hardest parts of withdrawal and grieving, the deeper layers of healing can happen. Most people, when the dust starts to settle, become aware that they still have feelings like anger, guilt, and even shame related to their relationship. Until you work through these feelings, it’s hard to fully release your attachment to your Ex.
Breakup Stage 4: Repairing Your Self Esteem After a Breakup
The next stage of breakups often involves turning away from the focus being on your Ex, and turning towards yourself. Most people going through a bad breakup feel like it’s taken a toll on their self-esteem. Learning how to love yourself again is the foundation for being able to truly rebuild and move on after a breakup.
Breakup Stage 5: How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex
Once you’ve worked through the dark emotions of a breakup, craving, grief, anger, shame…. you’re free to move on. AND, annoyingly, many people still find that they are thinking about their Ex. They might even have intrusive thoughts about their Ex. In this stage of a breakup, there’s no continued reason to keep thinking about your Ex… but it’s easier said than done.
Breakup Stage 6: What Did I Learn?
When you’re feeling clear and strong, you have a wonderful opportunity to gather up the learning experiences that you may have uncovered through your healing process. Keeping these life lessons in the forefront will give you the power to create a better future for yourself in the future. If not, you’re destined to repeat the mistakes of your past.
Breakup Stage 7: Learning to Trust Again
The last stage of a breakup is learning how to create healthy new relationships in the future. For many people, this requires learning how to trust again after a breakup. What many people discover through this healing process is how to trust themselves.
The Stages of a Breakup & How to Heal From Heartbreak, On The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast
Today, I’m putting my breakup recovery coach hat on to address your breakup question and put them in context of the stages of breakups. I’m also taking this opportunity to answer a few listener questions.
All of these stages of a breakup require intentional skills and strategies to work through effectively. Some stages of a breakup take longer to work through than others. For example, many people stay stuck in the first stage of a breakup, craving contact with their Ex, for a very long time. However, getting stuck in any of the stages of a breakup can prevent you from being able to move forward.
I also hope that learning about the stages of a breakup will provide you with guidance about how to move forward after a breakup, no matter what stage of breakup you’re currently in. I’ll be sharing tips on how to move through each stage of a breakup on today’s show.
We’ll be talking about specifics related to how to get over a breakup when you live together, how it takes to stop thinking about your Ex, how to get your confidence back after a breakup, and how long it takes to get over a breakup.
I hope that this breakup advice, and the breakup success stories I share help you find your way forward too.
Yours in healing,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
PS: I discussed many resources to support you in YOUR journey through the stages of a breakup. Here are links to all of them, if you’d like to learn more:
- Connect with me on Facebook to be added to our private (free) online Facebook breakup support group
- Our online breakup recovery program, “Heal Your Broken Heart”
- Our new online breakup support group, with eight weeks of facilitated group meetings to help you gain both community, and closure
- If you’re looking for a book to read after a breakup, try “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love”
- And, as always, never hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to meet one-on-one with one of our caring breakup recovery counselors or coaches